Local soldier leaves for Iraq

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

Just three weeks after his 20th birthday, a local soldier joins war efforts in Iraq.

U.S. Army Soldier Vince McConnell said goodbye to his family and friends last week at

Email newsletter signup

his going away party before he left for Fort Gordon, Ga.

“He’s my oldest and only son,” Latoya McConnell said.

With hopes that college had been the route taken, Latoya said she accepts her son’s career path.

“I love what I do for a living,” Vince said.

He joined the Army June 27, 2006 and is a light mechanic. He will celebrate his one-year anniversary on foreign soil with the 63rd Signal unit.

Vince said he’s not worried, but when his family members say how much they are going to miss him, he gets a little uneasy.

“I just can’t explain how I feel about it,” Lina Reese, Vince’s grandmother said. “We all pray for him. It’s in God’s hands.”

Vince has four sisters, Latasha Leshore, 24, Latarra,14, Jasmine, 11, and Aleexis McConnell, 9.

His sisters are having a hard time with it, according to Latoya.

“They’re not going to be able to call him or see him like they want to,” Latoya said.

But plans are in the works to keep the lines of communication open.

Latoya has an aunt who’s been in Afghanistan for about seven months now and the family has been able to communicate with her thanks to modern technology.

“Once (Vince) gets over there (Iraq) we’ll get his computer set up (so we can) communicate through the Internet,” Latoya said.

Vince said he joined the Army because “I thought it would be a good thing for me.” His mother’s dream of her son going to college may come true. Vince said he still plans to go to school while in the military. He wants to major in Business Management.

Selma is close to Vince’s heart and he has the tattoo to prove it. On his right shoulder he

has an outline of Alabama with a star that marks his hometown.

“I love where I’m from,” he said.

Vince attended Martin Middle School and graduated from Autaugaville High School.

Other family he will leave behind are his father, Freddie Reese, grandmother, Linda McConnell, and great-grandmother, Mae McConnell.