Soldier’s death attributed to vehicle accident

Published 4:56 pm Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tony Bailey, who retired from the military after 25 years, said his daughter always wanted to follow in his footsteps and join the Army.

“From the first time she was able to understand what I did, she wanted to come to work with me,” Bailey said. “She was always curious.”

Lakeshia Bailey, 23, died this week in Iraq. She was believed to have been killed in a vehicle accident, said her father.

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“We are going to just stick with that until the Army finishes its official investigation,” Bailey said.

Her body was set to arrive in the United States today. Bailey and his wife Phyllis are 1984 graduates of Greenville High School.

Lakeisha was part of Gulf Company 203, 3rd infantry division, her father said. She was attached to the 110 field artillery, where she drove trucks and heavy equipment to the front lines.

When her father was transferred from Fort Benning, Ga. to Fort Carson, Colo., Lakeisha stayed behind to attend college in Columbus.

After a year of college life, however, Bailey said his daughter still longed to be in the service. She dropped out of college and in 2006, she graduated from basic combat training in Fort Jackson, S.C.

Bailey said he knew the same danger awaited his daughter in the military that he faced in the service.

“I knew when I served that I could possibly lose my life one day, but it never bothered me,” Bailey said. “Something about standing behind the U.S. flag made me proud.”

His faith and confidence in the flag has not wavered.

“I am even more proud standing under it today knowing that my child gave her life for it doing something she wanted to do.”

Lakeshia Bailey had served in the U.S. Army for four years. Family friends said she will be buried in Georgia, where her parents have a home.

A memorial service will be held in Georgia and in Greenville in the upcoming weeks. The Greenville Advocate will provide more details about both services as they become available.