Baltimore soldier dies in roadside bombing in Iraq

Graduate of City College had enlisted in 1989

`He loved being a soldier'

June 14, 2005|By William Wan | William Wan,SUN STAFF

A 35-year-old Army sergeant from Baltimore was killed Saturday in Iraq after a roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle, the Defense Department reported last night.

Sgt. 1st Class Neil Armstrong Prince -- assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division -- died in Al Taqaddum along with a soldier from Iowa riding in the same military vehicle, said Lt. Col. Greg Hapgood, a spokesman for the Iowa National Guard.

Prince's convoy encountered a series of improvised explosive devices on the way to another city. The first bomb didn't injure anyone, but as the convoy stopped to secure the area, a second and third bomb exploded -- the last directly under their unarmored Humvee, Hapgood said.

Born in Jamaica, Sergeant Prince immigrated to Baltimore with his family at the age of 10, according to a sister, Shane Prince.

The parents, Cecil and Olive Bailey, now of Forest Hill in Harford County, named their children after famous people -- and their son after the first astronaut to set foot on the moon.

He graduated from City College in 1989 and immediately enlisted in the Army.

"He loved being a soldier," said his wife of nearly 10 years, the former Suzette McLeod, 31, who met him while working as an Army medic. "I tried to get him to leave, but he always said that's his job."

She and the couple's 4-year-old son, Jordan Prince, are living with the sergeant's parents and sister.

Sergeant Prince traveled across the country and to Korea twice during his almost 16 years in the military. While he was in Korea last year, a sergeant in another unit with the same job had a back injury and Sergeant Prince was assigned to replace him when that unit was deployed to Iraq.

"I wasn't happy, but he told me, `That's what I joined the Army to do. It's my job,' " his wife said. "He never complained about any mission, any assignment."

Sergeant Prince loved three things above all else, his wife said -- his son, her and sports.

"Oh, he enjoyed sports, I mean, thought, ate and slept everything that had to do with sports," Mrs. Prince said. "And he always said he would give his son everything he wasn't able to get."

Sergeant Prince is also survived by a brother, Aldean Lindo of Kingston, Jamaica; two other sisters, Ann-Marie Richards of Suffolk, Va., and Ava Prince of Queens, N.Y.; his paternal grandmother, Phyllis Trusty of Baltimore; and maternal grandparents, Olive Bailey of Baltimore and Neville Christie of Orlando, Fla.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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