Tramaine J. Billingsley
Private First Class, United States Army
Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 944-10
The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of three soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died October 14, 2010 while conducting combat operations between Moqur and Darreh-Ye-Bum, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device.
Staff Sergeant Carlos A. Benitez, 24, of Carrollton, Texas.
Specialist Rafael Martinez Jr., 36, of Spring Valley, California.
Private First Class Tramaine J. Billingsley, 20, of Portsmouth, Virginia.
They were assigned to the 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colorado.
For more information the media may contact the Fort Carson public affairs office at 719-526-7525 or 719-526-5500 after hours.
UPDATE: Oct. 20, 2010 -- Sgt. Benitez
was posthumously promoted to Staff Sergeant.
A soldier from Norfolk and two others died Thursday morning after an IED blast in Afghanistan.
Private First Class Tramaine J. Billingsley died while conducting combat operations between Moqur and Darreh-Ye-Bum, Afghanistan of wounds when insurgents attacked their unit with an IED, according to a DOD announcement.
Billingsley was a 2008 graduate of Booker T. Washington High School, where he was in the band as a drum major. At Booker T., he was also involved in soccer, wrestling and NJROTC. Billingsley was with the 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, out of Fort Carson, Colorado.
"He had so much spark that nobody could put his flame out. I will never forget how much life he put in his life as well as others. He will be in our hearts and prayers day-by-day and night-by-night," said Travis Billingsley.
Tramaine's twin brother, Tramal, is in the Navy stationed in Italy. His older brother, Trevon, just came back from a one-year Army deployment in Afghanistan, and is currently stationed in Seattle. Their father also served in the military.
Travis said his brother was well-liked and respected, and could make anyone laugh. "He will be deeply missed," said Travis Billingsley.
Tramaine Billingsley has a large extended family in Hampton Roads. On Friday, a bugle played and the flag at Booker T. Washington High School was lowered and given to Billingsley's brother Trevon.
"I just knew exactly what he was going through because I went through it, I had a rough tour over there. I'll miss him forever, he'll always be in my heart, he'll be in a lot of people's hearts - heroes never die," said Army Specialist Travon Billingsley.
Tramaine's teacher Sally Cooke said he brought spirit to the high school. Cooke messaged him asking him to be careful in Afghanistan. "So he responds back, 'Thanks Momma Cooke, I'm trying my best to do my best,' and then to hear this, it was so devastating," said Cooke.
Billingsley's mom flew to Dover Air Force base
at 5 a.m. for the arrival of her son's casket, quite possibly the hardest
flight she ever had to take. Billingsley's family said they're planning
a memorial service in Chesapeake. He will be buried in Arlington National
Fewer than three months after his deployment, Private First Class Tramaine J. Billingsley of Norfolk was killed Thursday in Afghanistan when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using an improvised explosive device.
Billingsley was 20.
"He loved his job, and he died doing what he loved," said Shatara Billingsley, the soldier's only sister.
Billingsley was one of three troops killed in the attack. They were assigned to the 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colorado. The other soldiers were from Texas and California.
Billingsley joined the Army in September last year and his unit in January. He was deployed to Afghanistan in July.
Army officials said Billingsley received numerous awards, including the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon and the Combat Action Badge.
Family members said Saturday that it was almost a given that Billingsley would join the military.
His father served 21 years before retiring. His older brother, Trevon, was in the Army and his twin, Tramal, was in the Navy.
"We're a military family," Shatara Billingsley said. "He followed his older brothers and his father."
Trevon Billingsley, who was also stationed in Afghanistan, served one month while his brother was there, his sister said. He returned home three weeks ago from a one-year tour, she added.
Tramaine Billingsley's family remembered him as a focused, hard-working man who also loved to make people laugh.
"He was a jokester," Shatara Billingsley said. "Surprising people was his thing."
Shatara Billingsley said she will never forget when her brother called his mother in May pretending to be in Colorado. Instead, he had taken emergency leave and surprised his mother at her job.
"He was just an all-around good guy, always happy," Tramal Billingsley said during a phone interview, as family members gathered at his mother's home. "He just loved to have fun and enjoy life."
Tramal Billingsley said he and his brother loved music. Tramaine Billingsley pounded the drums, and Tramal played the saxophone.
"We'd have these dance battles, even though he'd always win," Tramal Billingsley said.
Tramaine Billingsley, who graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in 2008, also enjoyed playing sports. In high school, he wrestled and played soccer. He was a member of the ROTC and a drum major in the marching band.
"Everywhere I was, he was," Tramal Billingsley said. "He was my left hand. . . . We did everything together."
Tramaine Billingsley offered a glimpse of himself on his Facebook page. His favorite television show: "Everybody Hates Chris," based on the comedy of Chris Rock. His favorite movie: The list is too long, he wrote.
In his bio, he said, "I like to stay active, hate sitting around . . . serving the country the best way i know."
Posted: 9 November 2010
Photos By EIleen Horan, November 2010