Will Lee “Bill” Payne

Fallen Hero’s Hometown and State: Monroe, MI

Branch of Service: Army

Rank: Master SGT

Bill joined the Army right out of High School. When we deployed to Iraq, he took it upon himself to wake up in the middle of the night to check on soldiers and keep us at ease. He was the type of leader who took care of his soldiers.

His friend, Michael, remembers, “Bill did not have to go to Iraq in 2003. He had 25 years in, and he could have retired and ridden off into the sunset. That was not who Bill was. He knew that the young soldiers in his unit needed a leader who cared more about them than he did himself. He was a true embodiment of the Non-Commissioned Officer’s Creed. I miss him every day.”

Will Lee “Bill” Payne was killed in an accidental ordnance explosion in Haswah, Iraq on May 16, 2003. He served in the United States Army for 25 years, yet he put off retirement to deploy with his unit, 2nd Battalion, 70th Armor Regiment, 3rd Armor Brigade, 1st Armor Division.

Age: 46

Date of Death: May 16, 2003

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