Private First Class Brian R. Bates, Jr. was from Gretna, Louisiana. He attended George Cox Elementary school and Livaudais Middle school in Terrytown, Louisiana. He played basketball, baseball and soccer at Oakdale Playground.
Our son, Matthew Wildes was a special young man and soldier. He wanted to serve his country in the Army at the earliest possibility and entered at age 16 into the delayed entry program. It was not possible for him to join until he turned 17 years old without our parental permission. Matt wanted to join so badly that we signed the necessary papers. Matt wanted to be an infantryman even though we tried to persuade him to choose a different MOS. He knew from the beginning that he wanted 11B. In April of 2008, he left Hammond for Ft. Benning, Georgia. In BCT Matt got stress fractures in his legs and was sent home for a month and then returned to Ft. Benning for rehabilitation. Since this occurred halfway through BCT, the entire month that he was home, Matt was anxious to return even though he was disappointed that he would not be graduating with original friends. After graduation on September 26, 2008, Matt came home for a week before leaving for his first duty station at Ft. Carson, Colorado.