October 5-- A Toombs County native son is one of three U.S. Army Green Beret soldiers killed in Africa Wednesday.
Twenty-nine-year old Sergeant Dustin Wright of Normantown was killed in an ambush by what U.S. officials say were about 50 fighters thought to be affiliated with ISIS.
The U.S. Africa Command says the Green Berets were part of a team assisting and advising local forces in southwest Niger at the time of the attack.
Dustin's father, Ardie Wright, his brother Will Wright and maternal grandmother Elaine Trull were visited by an Army casualty notification team late Wednesday night. Ardie departed Thursday morning to meet his son's body at Dover Air Force Base in Maryland. He was accompanied by Dustin's mother Terri Criscio and brother Will.
Terri's sister, Ginger Russell, said "The news was shocking and confusing. There are still so many questions, but we are here to help Dustin's parents and siblings carry this burden. Dustin was the most lovable, funny jokester who never met a stranger and would give his last dime to help someone in need. He made the ultimate sacrifice. He is our homeown hero. He was loved by so many."
Dustin's cousin, Denise Collins, spent time Thursday morning with Ardie before his departure, "He was naturally very upset and kept saying that no father should have to bury his son. We agreed, but we know these things can happen when you join the service and are in a different country where they don't care and actually hate Americans. He was fighting for some of those people," she said.
Dustin graduated from Toombs County High School in 2007 and joined the Army soon thereafter, "He took great pride in being able to serve his country. I told someone today that Dustin knew exactly what could happen one day when he signed up and he was ready for it. He was ready to serve our country to the best of his ability and the fact he was a Green Beret proves to me that he did that. He was a very special person, a very unique young man," Collins remembered.
Funeral arrangements will be announced by Ronald V. Hall Funeral Home in Vidalia.