Army Staff Sgt. William Wilson III remembered, laid to rest
Staff Sgt. William R. "Billy" Wilson III of Getzville was laid to rest today at Elmlawn Cemetery in Tonawanda, following funeral services at The Chapel at Crosspoint in Amherst.
Wilson, a seven-year military veteran, was killed by Afghan security forces March 26 at a police checkpoint. Wilson, 27, was one of three coalition troops to die that day in an escalation of anti-American sentiment in Afghanistan following a civilian massacre and the burning of Qurans at a U.S. base.
During the services, Army Maj. Gen. Kurt Stein posthumously presented the Purple Heart and Bronze Star medals to Wilson's parents, William Junior and Kimberly Wilson.
Wilson was a 2003 graduate of Williamsville North High School. He joined the Army in 2005.
Longtime friends spoke of Wilson's zest for life, and concern for others. In a prepared statement, his parents offered their remembrances of Wilson's "easy smile, his disarming demeanor, his hearty laugh, and his contagious joy."
A crowd estimated at about 1,000 attended the church service. Wilson was buried with full military honors at Elmlawn Cemetery in Tonawanda. More than a dozen volunteer fire trucks and other emergency vehicles joined the procession to his burial site, as Wilson was also once a junior volunteer firefighter.