Well the Iraq war finally hit home

Papagolash [Incarcerated]
Wackbag Staff
Or the Iraqi occupation, since the war's been over for years now. One of my brothers friends growing up was killed in Iraq. My bro's already in bad shape, not sure how this is going to effect him. It's got me worried.


Oakdale soldier dies just days after 20th birthday


June 2, 2007

Growing up in Oakdale, Matthew Baylis dreamed of being a soldier.

He watched the Military Channel and the History Channel. He was fascinated by swords. He joined the Army two years ago, after graduating from Connetquot High School, his family said.

"Even when he was a little boy, he always played Army," said his mother, Laurie Baylis. "We couldn't convince him to do anything else."

On Thursday, 10 days after his 20th birthday, Army Pfc. Matthew Baylis died from injuries he received a day before in Baghdad. He had been wounded when his dismounted patrol encountered small arms fire, the Pentagon said Friday.

Baylis is the 26th Long Islander killed in the Iraq war. He was one of 125 American service members killed in May -- the third-deadliest month for U.S. soldiers, according to Iraq Coalition Casualty Count.

Baylis had sent his family photos of himself with his Army buddies and Iraqi children. But the gung-ho soldier's perspective changed shortly after arriving in Iraq in October.

"He wanted to go there and do his job, but once he got there, his statement to me was that there was no mission," said his father, Richard Baylis, 56, of Holtsville, a dealerships acquisitions manager for Long Island Auto Group. "There was no defined mission, and that bothered him and everyone in his unit. Sometimes they would get fired at before they got their orders for the day."

His mother said there was "no purpose at all" to her son's death.

"Things changed once he got over there," said Laurie Baylis, 55, of Holtsville, who works in human resources at Stony Brook University Medical Center. "He didn't feel that the people wanted them there anymore."

The family on Friday seemed torn between disillusionment and pride in their son and his dedication to the military. They talked of a handsome, fun-loving boy who was admired by his cousins and beloved by children.

"He was not only gorgeous, he was a heartthrob with the girls," said his aunt, Wendy Farrell Mele, 43, of Pound Ridge in Westchester County.

His girlfriend, Lisa Laura, 20, of Holbrook, shared a birthday with the man she had been dating for more than three years. Baylis had sent her a ring for their birthday on May 21.

"It was a promise ring," Laura said, adding that they had discussed getting married when Baylis came home.

Baylis was reluctant to tell her about his work, said Laura, a student at the University of Central Florida. "I didn't really want to hear it, anyway," she said. "He said, 'I'm going to be doing some bad things, but don't worry about me.'"

His cousin, Cheryl Lehmann, of Holtsville, noticed a change in the "normal, everyday kid" who was the ring-bearer at her wedding. Baylis enjoyed the camaraderie of the military but detested life in the combat zone, Lehmann said.

In an online profile, Baylis said of life in Iraq: "Over here nothing but getting blown up and shot at."

To help Baylis and his fellow soldiers augment their supplies, his family initiated fundraising efforts.

His father hung posters soliciting donations to the United Service Organizations at his office and the New Idle Hour Deli in Oakdale. The posters featured a color photo of Baylis with six Iraqi children and a message from the hometown hero:

"I lived here in Oakdale 19 years," said the message, written in capital letters. "Now I live in Baghdad." The poster listed the USO Web site, uso.com.

"I was just hoping people would look at it and give money to the USO," Richard Baylis said. He said he doesn't know how much money was raised.

Mele said her two daughters, Olivia, 12, and Hannah, 9, raised $30 on Memorial Day weekend by selling painted seashells on Fire Island. The money was meant to help buy supplies for Baylis' unit.

"My children adored him," Mele said. "I thought my family was going to be spared, but it didn't happen."

Staff writers Michael Amon and Eden Laikin contributed to this story.
Copyright 2007 Newsday Inc.


fucking sucks man.... sorry to hear.

ME and AF have about 4 or so friends that went over there after 9/11, one finished his shit and choose not to re-inlist, 2 brothers are still over there, and one of AF's best friends is stationed in germany now.

We always dreaded to hear that one of them was KIA.

Glenn Dandy

makes it real. the actual price so many have paid for our way of life. Its an honor.
i feel for you man. My best Friend is over there. He's been there for about 5 years now. I'm just glad he'll be home for good in december.
20 years old, really makes you realize most of these guys are just barely out of High School...almost kids. Sorry for you and your brother man, be there for him.

Papagolash [Incarcerated]
Wackbag Staff
Talked to my brothers friend, was telling me they have no clue when a funeral is, there's an investigation going on, possible crossfire. So I wouldn't be surprised if Matt was a victim of friendly fire.