Camp Casey soldiers share memories of friend who died suddenly
January 18, 2008
CAMP CASEY, South Korea — When Pvt. Christopher Nicosia ran out of smokes during a field exercise, Pfc. Jason Lee Williams gave him the last pack he had.
When they went over to the Post Exchange to grab a burger, Williams bought $100 worth of food and left it at the barracks for everyone.
“Anytime you were hungry, he would buy you something to eat,” Nicosia told the crowd gathered Tuesday at Crusader Gym to remember Williams, 19, who died Saturday of meningitis-like symptoms.
Williams never shied away from a gathering; he was gregarious, strong, tough and optimistic, said friends and fellow soldiers from the 2nd Infantry Division’s 1st Battalion, 72nd Armor Regiment.
He visited the Camp Casey medical clinic Saturday and was then airlifted to the 121st Combat Support Hospital at Yongsan Garrison in Seoul, where he died shortly before 5 p.m. the same day.
At that moment, Pfc. Jeremy Miller lost a man he considered a brother. Williams was a man Miller trusted with absolute faith, he said.
“I know that Jason would not want us to sulk … he would want us to live our lives,” Miller said.
Williams, of Colorado Springs, Colo., joined the Army on Nov. 2, 2006, and went to basic training at Fort Benning, Ga.
Following field artillery school, he reported to 1-72 as his first duty station on April 1 as a forward observer with Company C. Since July 23, he served with headquarters company’s fire support platoon.
Williams’ honesty earned the respect of both his peers and leaders, said Sgt. Jermaine Walker, Williams’ supervisor.
“The truth is, whether in uniform or civilian clothes, Jason Williams was a great guy to have around,” Walker said.
Although meningitis is suspected, results of Williams’ autopsy were not available Wednesday. As a precaution, soldiers in close contact with Williams and health-care workers from Camp Casey and Yongsan Garrison received antibiotics last weekend.
A 2nd Infantry Division spokeswoman said Wednesday that there haven’t been any reports of additional sickness.