Fam­ily Re­mem­bers Ded­i­ca­tion Of Young Fa­ther, Fallen Of­fi­cer

The Washington Post Sunday - - The Conflict In Iraq - By Donna St. Ge­orge

His son was born on his birth­day, and 1st Lt. Gwilym J. New­man could not have been more proud. The baby, who will turn 2 on April 27, was given his fa­ther’s name — which is Welsh for William — and looked a lot like him.

This April, the fam­ily is in mourn­ing: The proud fa­ther and Army of­fi­cer who spent his high school years in Wal­dorf was killed Thurs­day af­ter he came un­der small-arms fire while on pa­trol in Tarmiyah, Iraq, ac­cord­ing to the Pen­tagon. New­man would have turned 25.

“He had a very, very good sense of hu­mor, and fam­ily was the most im­por­tant thing to him,” said his sis­ter, Brit­tany New­man.

A pla­toon leader in Iraq, New­man was ded­i­cated to his men and to lead­ing them as his unit was de­ployed in Oc­to­ber, his sis­ter said. He was as­signed to the 2nd Bat­tal­ion, 8th Cavalry Reg­i­ment, 1st Brigade Com­bat Team, 1st Cavalry Di­vi­sion.

“He was ready to go,” she said. “He wanted to go with his guys and make sure they were okay and be there with them.”

In De­cem­ber, New­man was quoted in an Army news story about his unit’s work in Tarmiyah — catch­ing in­sur­gents who set up road­side bombs in the dark­ness. It was work that he and other sol­diers thought would help save troops.

The of­fi­cer had joined the mil­i­tary af­ter grad­u­at­ing from col­lege with hopes of be­com­ing a doc­tor, his sis­ter said. His fa­ther, Peter Gwilym New­man, had been a re­search physi­cist who worked for the Army. His mother, Chris­tine, was a nurse.

Born in Thou­sand Oaks, Calif., New­man spent part of his child­hood in New Jer­sey . His fam­ily moved to Wal­dorf when he was in high school and lived there for seven years, his sis­ter said.

New­man was an hon­ors stu­dent who grad­u­ated ahead of his class from West­lake High School in Wal­dorf in 1999. He went to Frostburg State Univer­sity, where he ma­jored in psy­chol­ogy and mi­nored in bi­ol­ogy and re­ceived his diploma in De­cem­ber 2003.

He and his wife, Sa­man­tha, mar­ried in June 2004, and in a mat­ter of days New­man headed to ba­sic train­ing.

His son was born while he was sta­tioned at Fort Knox, Ky. Most re­cently, New­man was sta­tioned at Fort Hood in Texas. The child shared his fa­ther’s birth­day but was also born within days or weeks of the birth­days of New­man’s wife, his sis­ter and his brother, Pa­trick.

“He was very big on hol­i­days be­cause it was all about fam­ily,” his sis­ter said, also re­call­ing him as “a goofy guy. He could make any­one smile when they were up­set. He could just cheer you up.”

Now, his young son, Gwilym Alexan­der, “is look­ing more and more like him,” she said. Staff re­searcher Magda Jean-Louis con­trib­uted to this re­port.

COUR­TESY OF BRIT­TANY NEW­MAN

Gwilym J. New­man, 24, shared his birth­day and first name with his son, who will turn 2 on April 27.

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