Mississippi Soldier Shares Experiences With Students - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

04/14/04

Mississippi Soldier Shares Experiences With Students

A Mississippi National Guardsman shared stories about Iraq with students at his old elementary school.

Michael Wills recently returned home following an eleven month tour of duty overseas.

He was welcomed as a "hometown hero" and wants youngsters to understand the realities of war.

Wills spent about 40 minutes speaking at a school assembly Wednesday morning. His goal was to put a familiar face with America's military mission in Iraq. His firsthand account helped them better understand the story beyond the headlines.

"It felt bad being in a place that you had to get used to. You had to relearn a lot of things in your life all over again," said Wills, as he addressed a school assemby at Woolmarket Elementary.

The Mississippi National Guardsman learned plenty about war during his eleven months in Iraq. He learned lessons about life at Woolmarket Elementary School.

"Not too many moons back, I was sitting right in the stands you were. Doing gym class in the same seats you are. Talking with the same teachers. Doing exactly the same thing you're doing now," Wills said.

This time, he traded places with the teachers. Students are hearing about Iraq from someone who's been there.

"They're just like any other nation. They have good people and they have bad people. We defend ourselves and fight against the bad people. But we're there to help the good people," he said.

He impressed to these youngsters the mission in Iraq reaches far beyond fighting. It's about helping promote freedom and a better quality of life.

"Our mission as 890th Engineers Battalion, while we were overseas, we didn't shoot people. We didn't do things like that. We had to defend ourselves if we needed to, but that was not our main goal. Our main goal was to help rebuild Iraq," he said.

Wills told his young friends how much he appreciates their support. Several classes sent letters last year.

"I wrote how much I missed him and hope he came back safe from Iraq," said one fourth grader.

"I told him how old I was. And Happy Christmas. And to be safe," recalled a third grade girl.

The hometown hero was most grateful for all the support from his former school.

And Wills' down to earth personality was a hit with the kids. He told them candy and sweets are among the things soldiers miss most. The children laughed when he talked about hoarding bags of "Skittles".

By Steve Phillips

  • NEWSMore>>

  • Wilkerson makes history in two-hit shutout

    Wilkerson makes history in two-hit shutout

    Sunday, July 23 2017 11:47 PM EDT2017-07-24 03:47:31 GMT

    Faced with a four-game losing streak and the potential of their first series sweep of the season, the Biloxi Shuckers snapped out of their funk in a big way with a 7-0 victory over the Mississippi Braves on Sunday. 

    More >>

    Faced with a four-game losing streak and the potential of their first series sweep of the season, the Biloxi Shuckers snapped out of their funk in a big way with a 7-0 victory over the Mississippi Braves on Sunday. 

    More >>
  • Marriage equality celebrated in Biloxi

    Marriage equality celebrated in Biloxi

    Sunday, July 23 2017 11:03 PM EDT2017-07-24 03:03:50 GMT

    On Saturday, marriage equality was celebrated. An event called One Night Out showcased the positive reaction to the federal law from 2015 that guaranteed marriage equality. 

    More >>

    On Saturday, marriage equality was celebrated. An event called One Night Out showcased the positive reaction to the federal law from 2015 that guaranteed marriage equality.

    More >>
  • WLOX News This Week: Biloxi Development

    WLOX News This Week: Biloxi Development

    A building boom is happening in Biloxi, within the next several months more than 300 new hotel rooms will be available downtown.

    More >>

    A building boom is happening in Biloxi, within the next several months more than 300 new hotel rooms will be available downtown.

    More >>
  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Bush's Baked Beans announces voluntary recall

    Bush's Baked Beans announces voluntary recall

    Sunday, July 23 2017 7:14 PM EDT2017-07-23 23:14:18 GMT
    Sunday, July 23 2017 7:14 PM EDT2017-07-23 23:14:18 GMT

    Bush Brothers & Co.Saturday announced a voluntary recall of certain 28-ounce cans of three varieties of its baked beans.  

    More >>

    Bush Brothers & Co.Saturday announced a voluntary recall of certain 28-ounce cans of three varieties of its baked beans.  

    More >>
  • Police: Parents gave newborn drugs to cover up addiction

    Police: Parents gave newborn drugs to cover up addiction

    Sunday, July 23 2017 1:52 AM EDT2017-07-23 05:52:55 GMT
    Sunday, July 23 2017 1:52 AM EDT2017-07-23 05:52:55 GMT
    Colby Wilde, 29, and Lacey Christenson, 26, face four counts each of child endangerment and felony drug charges. (Source: Utah County Sherriff’s Office/KUTV/CNN)Colby Wilde, 29, and Lacey Christenson, 26, face four counts each of child endangerment and felony drug charges. (Source: Utah County Sherriff’s Office/KUTV/CNN)

    The baby’s mother used heroin and prescription pain medication during her pregnancy, and the baby was born addicted to drugs, police say.

    More >>

    The baby’s mother used heroin and prescription pain medication during her pregnancy, and the baby was born addicted to drugs, police say.

    More >>
  • New York Times asks 'Fox & Friends' for apology

    New York Times asks 'Fox & Friends' for apology

    Sunday, July 23 2017 8:11 PM EDT2017-07-24 00:11:08 GMT
    Monday, July 24 2017 12:51 AM EDT2017-07-24 04:51:38 GMT
    The New York Times is asking Fox News' morning show "Fox & Friends" to apologize for what the newspaper calls a "malicious and inaccurate segment" about intelligence leaks and the Islamic State that aired Saturday.More >>
    The New York Times is asking Fox News' morning show "Fox & Friends" to apologize for what the newspaper calls a "malicious and inaccurate segment" about intelligence leaks and the Islamic State that aired Saturday.More >>
Powered by Frankly