Staff Sgt. LeRoy Alexander’s family plans to see him again, just the next time it will be in Heaven, his father said Monday.
Alexander, 27, of Princedale Drive in Dale City, died Friday afternoon in Afghanistan after a bomb destroyed the truck he was driving as part of a convoy, killing him and a 29-year-old New Jersey man and wounding another man, the U.S. Army public affairs office and his family said.
“My wife picked up the phone Friday and began crying,” said LeRoy’s father, Ronald Alexander, “and I asked her what’s wrong. She just said ‘Lee’s dead. Lee’s dead.’ I said that it wasn’t true. I know he’s gone from here, but he’s not truly gone. We’ll see him again.”
Alexander, who was stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., was nine days from the end of his tour of duty in Afghanistan, his family said. He was going to be deployed to Colombia for eight months and then hoped to leave the Army to raise a family.
His wife, Marissa, who was Alexander’s high school sweetheart at C.D. Hylton High School, is five-months pregnant with twins – a boy and a girl – who family members would like to be named Lea and LeRoy.
“He always talked about wanting to be a father,” LeRoy’s brother, Reggie Alexander, said. “He was so excited to be having children. It’s so sad that he will never be able to see them.”
Marissa, who lives in Fayetteville, N.C., grew up down the street from Alexander’s home. The two dated throughout high school, where Alexander was a popular student who played on the school’s football, basketball and track teams and Marissa did ROTC.
They both joined the military following high school with Alexander fulfilling a dream to follow his father, who served four years as a Marine in the Vietnam War.
Alexander served as a parachutist in Kosovo shortly after enlisting. In 2002, he began two years of training to become a Special Forces engineer sergeant.
In 2003, he was sent to Haiti to rebuild schoolhouses, Reggie Alexander said.
“I always remember LeRoy’s posture and how he carried himself,” said former Hylton football coach Bill Brown. “He always presented himself very well. He was very respectful and a real good representative of our football program.”
Last June, Alexander was assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group and later sent to Afghanistan in November, family members said.
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In January, Alexander returned home for three weeks, but could not talk about his mission with family members because of national security, but did say how he felt about the war.
“We never talked about his work much,” Reggie Alexander said. “I remember, though, when he was home in January that he said he was scared and did not want to go back.”
Alexander was part of a convoy returning to base around 3 p.m. when his truck, which was leading the convoy, was hit by a bomb.
Alexander was given numerous awards and decorations throughout his military career. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal.
Family members said a memorial service is being held at Fort Bragg this week and they plan to hold a service in the Prince William County area soon, but no plans have been made as of yet.
“The whole thing comes as such a shock,” said Sean Farrell, who played football with Alexander at Hylton. “This war seems so far away and then something like this brings it home.”
Farrell remembers Alexander as a light-hearted guy who was fun to be around, as well as a great teammate on the football field.
Family members and friends came by the family’s Dale City home Monday afternoon to give condolences. Several family members live in the Centreville area, including Alexander’s grandmother.
Felicia Alexander, LeRoy’s mother, who is an assistant pastor at First New Birth Baptist Church in Manassas, went to Fayetteville to be with her daughter-in-law.
Alexander is the 10th person with ties to Prince William County to die during the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Also lost are Robert Zangas, 44; Army Capt. Humayun S.M. Khan, 23; Virginia National Guard Sgt. David Alan Ruhren, 20; Army Sgt. Maj. Robert D. O’Dell, 38; Marine Lance Cpl. Brian Medina, 20; Marine Sgt. Morgan W. Strader, 23; Army Sgt. Jack Bryant Jr., 23; Army Staff Sgt. Kristopher Linwood Shepherd, 26; and Pfc. Kyle M. Hemauer.