Another Valdosta soldier dies in Iraq - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Another Valdosta soldier dies in Iraq

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August 2, 2005

Valdosta - Last week, she was comforting her friend through the death of her husband. "I felt very guilty being happy that my husband had survived and letting her cry on my shoulder," said Shelley.

Now Heidi Shelley is dealing with her own loss. "I looked out there and I saw two Army officers putting on their jackets and that was my nightmare come true," said Shelley.

Her husband, Specialist Ronnie Shelley, died Saturday when a roadside bomb exploded near his humvee. "I had myself convinced that I would never get this news, my husband was too trained to get killed in combat, and I really did have myself fooled," said Shelley.

A little over a week ago, Specialist Shelley was patrolling behind his best friend, Sgt. John Thomas, when his humvee was hit by an explosion. The 48th Brigade has now lost eight members in combat. "How am I going to make it when those other guys come home and I go to see them and I look in that crowd and my baby doesn't get off that plane," said Shelley.

Specialist Shelley died just two weeks before he was scheduled to return home. "He was coming home on leave on August 15th for our son's fourth birthday," said Shelley.

Now instead of planning how they'll spend that precious time together, Heidi must explain to their three children why their father won't be coming home, and plan her husband's funeral.

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