YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — A 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division soldier was killed last week in Ramadi, Iraq, when his Humvee rolled over into a water-filled ditch, the Pentagon confirmed late Monday.

Spc. Nicholas E. Wilson, 21, was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, which deployed to Iraq in late August from South Korea. According to the Defense Department, Wilson’s vehicle flipped into a ditch after the shoulder of the road on which he was traveling collapsed.

There was no information on whether others were injured in the incident. At least 51 2nd Brigade soldiers have died since the deployment began; all but a handful of the deaths have been combat-related.

Wilson, of Glendale, Ariz., was remembered in his hometown as an eager young man who joined the Army in 2003 after serving in his high school’s Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.

“He was my miracle child,” his mother, Debbie Newhouse, told the Arizona Republic newspaper. Wilson was born three months prematurely and spent his first three months in a hospital intensive care unit, she said.

“They said if he was going to survive, he would be a real fighter,” Newhouse, an elementary school teacher, told the paper.

Newhouse’s fourth-grade class adopted Wilson’s company and sent care packages to Iraq on a regular basis, she said. In return, Wilson would send letters of thanks.

“Life is whatever you have … wherever you are, you have to remember you make it what you want it to be. You have to have faith, confidence, positive outlook and always be open to do things a different, faster and smarter way,” he wrote in one letter to the class.

2nd Brigade troops reportedly have been at the forefront of Operation River Blitz, a large-scale effort led by U.S. Marines in Anbar Province. The operation is aimed at increasing security in several cities, including Ramadi, along the Euphrates River.

Ramadi has been one of the centers of the months-long insurgency in Iraq. Officials from 2nd Brigade say they’ve identified several different groups carrying out attacks, many specializing in different methods of combat.

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