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An attendee pays final respects during a memorial ceremony for Sgt. William "Billy" Wilson, a 27-year-old squad leader with the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, on April 11, 2012, at the post theater in Grafenwoehr, Germany. Wilson was killed in Afghanistan in Paktika province on March 26 when an alleged member of the Afghan Local Police opened fire, based on Defense Department and media reports.
An attendee pays final respects during a memorial ceremony for Sgt. William "Billy" Wilson, a 27-year-old squad leader with the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, on April 11, 2012, at the post theater in Grafenwoehr, Germany. Wilson was killed in Afghanistan in Paktika province on March 26 when an alleged member of the Afghan Local Police opened fire, based on Defense Department and media reports. (Steven Beardsley/Stars and Stripes)
An attendee pays final respects during a memorial ceremony for Sgt. William "Billy" Wilson, a 27-year-old squad leader with the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, on April 11, 2012, at the post theater in Grafenwoehr, Germany. Wilson was killed in Afghanistan in Paktika province on March 26 when an alleged member of the Afghan Local Police opened fire, based on Defense Department and media reports.
An attendee pays final respects during a memorial ceremony for Sgt. William "Billy" Wilson, a 27-year-old squad leader with the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, on April 11, 2012, at the post theater in Grafenwoehr, Germany. Wilson was killed in Afghanistan in Paktika province on March 26 when an alleged member of the Afghan Local Police opened fire, based on Defense Department and media reports. (Steven Beardsley/Stars and Stripes)
Attendees pay final respects during a memorial ceremony for Sgt. William "Billy" Wilson, a 27-year-old squad leader with the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, on April 11, 2012, at the post theater in Grafenwoehr, Germany. Wilson was killed in Afghanistan in Paktika province on March 26 when an alleged member of the Afghan Local Police opened fire, based on Defense Department media reports.
Attendees pay final respects during a memorial ceremony for Sgt. William "Billy" Wilson, a 27-year-old squad leader with the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, on April 11, 2012, at the post theater in Grafenwoehr, Germany. Wilson was killed in Afghanistan in Paktika province on March 26 when an alleged member of the Afghan Local Police opened fire, based on Defense Department media reports. (Steven Beardsley/Stars and Stripes)
Attendees leave a memorial ceremony for Sgt. William "Billy" Wilson, a 27-year-old squad leader with the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, on April 11, 2012, at the post theater in Grafenwoehr, Germany. Wilson was killed in Afghanistan in Paktika province on March 26 when an alleged member of the Afghan Local Police reportedly opened fire.
Attendees leave a memorial ceremony for Sgt. William "Billy" Wilson, a 27-year-old squad leader with the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, on April 11, 2012, at the post theater in Grafenwoehr, Germany. Wilson was killed in Afghanistan in Paktika province on March 26 when an alleged member of the Afghan Local Police reportedly opened fire. (Steven Beardsley/Stars and Stripes)
Attendees at a memorial for Sgt. William "Billy" Wilson, a 27-year-old squad leader with the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, pay final respects on April 11, 2012, at the post theater in Grafenwoehr, Germany. Wilson was killed in Afghanistan in Paktika province on March 26 when an alleged member of the Afghan Local Police opened fire, according to the Department of Defense and media reports.
Attendees at a memorial for Sgt. William "Billy" Wilson, a 27-year-old squad leader with the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, pay final respects on April 11, 2012, at the post theater in Grafenwoehr, Germany. Wilson was killed in Afghanistan in Paktika province on March 26 when an alleged member of the Afghan Local Police opened fire, according to the Department of Defense and media reports. (Steven Beardsley/Stars and Stripes)
Attendees leave a memorial ceremony after paying final respects to Sgt. William "Billy" Wilson, a 27-year-old squad leader with the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, on April 11, 2012, at the post theater in Grafenwoehr, Germany. Wilson was killed on March 26 when an alleged member of the Afghan Local Police opened fire, according to the Department of Defense and media reports.
Attendees leave a memorial ceremony after paying final respects to Sgt. William "Billy" Wilson, a 27-year-old squad leader with the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, on April 11, 2012, at the post theater in Grafenwoehr, Germany. Wilson was killed on March 26 when an alleged member of the Afghan Local Police opened fire, according to the Department of Defense and media reports. (Steven Beardsley/Stars and Stripes)

GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — He was trained as a tanker, but Sgt. William “Billy” Wilson III easily found his footing on dismount.

At a Wednesday memorial ceremony here, fellow soldiers recalled Wilson, 27, of Getzville, N.Y., as a rifle squad leader mature beyond his rank. He was killed last month after his squad, with Company A, 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, came under fire from an alleged member of the Afghan Local Police in Paktika province, according to the Department of Defense and media reports.

“His death hit this task force like a hurricane,” said Lt. Col. Curtis Taylor, commander of the armor task force to which Wilson belonged, in comments read at the service by another soldier.

Taylor remembered Wilson as a soldier eager to learn and adapt, even when required to learn infantry operations before deployment. That Wilson served as a squad leader, a task generally reserved for a staff sergeant, was a testament to his maturity and abilities, Taylor said.

“He earned it, and this tanker built one of the best rifle squads in the battalion,” Taylor was quoted as saying.

In comments read at the ceremony, Capt. James Perkins, commander of Company A, recalled a noncommissioned officer diligent in his care for the squad and other soldiers, ensuring equipment was ready and vehicles clean so his men could get more rest between missions.

“Without question, he was my best, most skilled and talented squad leader,” Perkins was quoted as saying.

Wilson died March 26, after an alleged member of the Afghan Local Police opened fire while his squad was on patrol, according to a DOD release and a statement by the commander of the 172nd Separate Infantry Brigade, Col. Edward Bohnemann, which was posted on the brigade’s Facebook page.

Wilson had twice deployed to Iraq, according to a biography provided by the brigade. He deployed with the 3rd Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, in 2007 and 2008. In 2009-2010 he deployed with the 3rd Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, part of the 172nd. He remained in the battalion and was reassigned to the 2-28 before the current deployment.

Wilson is survived by his parents and two brothers. He was posthumously promoted to staff sergeant.

The 172nd Separate Infantry Brigade, out of Grafenwöhr and Scwhweinfurt, deployed last summer for a 12-month tour in eastern Afghanistan.

beardsleys@estripes.osd.mil

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