Panhandle soldier killed in Afghanistan

LAUREL HILL, Fla. - A soldier from the Florida Panhandle died when his unit was attacked by rocket propelled grenades in Afghanistan.

The U.S. Department of Defense says Sgt. First Class William K. Lacey of Laurel Hill died Saturday in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan.

Lacey was on his fifth deployment and was scheduled to come home in less than two weeks. He was assigned to the 201st Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigrade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division in Fort Knox, Ky.

His father, John Lacey, told the Northwest Florida Daily News he was incredibly proud of his son.

"He was brave beyond brave," John Lacey said. "He was out there in the middle of nowhere, in hell, and he kept doing it over and over and over ... I'm just so proud of him.

John Lacey and his wife, Karla, were at their Laurel Hill home when the Army officials arrived with the news.

"The worst thing you can possibly see when you have a child in a war zone is gentlemen walking up in uniform," Lacey's stepmother said Sunday. "It's devastating."

William Lacey joined the Army in 2003 and severed three tours in Iraq and was on his second in Afghanistan. He came from a military family. His father retired from the Air Force and his brother served in the Army.

Karla Lacey said William was proud of his father's service and his goal was to make it to the same rank, which he did a few months ago.

He leaves a wife, Ashley Lacey, a 4-year-old daughter, three step-daughters and mother Pam Joiner.

"He loved his family - all of them," Karla Lacey said. "He was a wonderful son, a wonderful father, a wonderful husband and a wonderful brother."

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