Wylie Soldier Killed in Afghanistan

A Fort Knox soldier from Wylie has died in combat in Afghanistan.

The Department of Defense said on Tuesday that 1st Lt. Robert F. Welch III died Sunday of wounds he received when insurgents attacked his base in Khowst Province.

Welch was 26 years old and was an ordnance officer assigned to Company B, 201st Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Task Force Duke.

Welch is strongly remembered for his work ethic and the impact he had on his community in Wylie.

"Robby's smile, his attitude, the way he carried himself -- Robby is one of those guys he could look in the mirror and be proud of who he was," said his former coach at Wylie, Bill Howard. "His life was rich, but you know, a full life. I'd like to see him again; I'd like for him to see his own son grow up."

His awards and decorations include the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon. He has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart posthumously.

"If he was in something he wasn't just in it, he was involved," said Wayne Wilbanks, Welch's ROTC instructor. "I had to do some soul searching last night. I've been doing this about 15 years and this is the first time it's come up. It's one of those things where you sit and you question yourself, 'Did I play a part in doing this?' He's the one you get every so often and say, 'This is why I do it.'"

A news release from Fort Knox stated Welch was on his first combat tour. He entered the U.S. Army in October 2008 and arrived at Fort Knox in July 2009.

There will be a memorial service at Fort Knox at Prichard Place Chapel on Friday in honor of him. There is also a memorial service scheduled for Thursday in Afghanistan.

NBCDFW's Randy McIlwain contributed to this report.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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