The first Burmese-American soldier was killed in Iraq on March 2 in a deadly bomb blast along Baghdad airport road known as "Ambush Alley." U.S. Army Spc. Wai Lwin, 27, was on patrol driving a Humvee.
His father Thein Zaw Lwin spoke fondly of his son, who at the age of 12, fashioned a dog-tag replica and wrote on it in black ink - "Mg Wai Lwin, Six-Star General of the U.S. Eagle Squadron ID 004200."
"It was his wish to join the military since he was very young," said Thein Zaw Lwin. "I am very sad. It's a great loss to our family," said the father, who was on an extended business trip in Burma when he got word of his son's death. "We are proud of him."
Wai Lwin recently passed up a chance for a 2-week leave to attend his maternal grandfather funeral in Burma - the occasion from which his mother had just returned on Wednesday when she learned of her son's death.
Thein Zaw Lwin said, "He told me he didn't want to take advantage of his grandfather's death to come back." Wai Lwin was to come home for two weeks on March 29.
His funeral will be held in Long Island Pinelawn National Cemetery in New York, with Military honors on Saturday March 12.