Georgia Army veteran among Americans killed -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Georgia Army veteran among Americans killed

May 15, 2003

(Dallas, Texas-AP) -- Families of the victims of this week's bombings in Saudi Arabia are struggling with their loss, including the wife of a Georgia man. In all, 34 people died in the bombings, including eight Americans and nine attackers.

A six-member FBI team is expected in Saudi Arabia today to aid the investigation into the suicide attacks. Grace Lawson heard about the explosion Monday night while listening to the radio Monday night. She was not sure if her husband -- 45-year-old Clifford Lawson of Snellville, Georgia -- was a bombing victim until she received a phone call Tuesday at Stephenson Middle School, where she is a reading teacher. Lawson had planned to come home in July, after more than a year in Saudi Arabia.

The couple married in 1988 after meeting while Lawson was stationed at Fort Stewart, Georgia. They divorced for nine months before being remarried in 1997.

No list of the victims has been released. Relatives of Lawson and 35-year-old Jason Bentley of Hurst, Texas-- said the men's employer told them Tuesday that they were among the dead. Bentley and Lawson-- like all but one of the Americans killed-- worked for Vinnell Corporation-- a defense contractor that has been training the Saudi national guard. They had been staff sergeants in the Army before retiring and joining the company-- Lawson in 1997 and Bentley last year.

Relatives of Bentley said he was a single father who had been undecided about continuing to work for Vinnell, but decided to stay-- thinking he could save money for his 14-year-old daughter's college education.

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