Wednesday, June 29, 2016
1012 C Street  •  Floresville, TX 78114  •  Phone: 830-216-4519  •  Fax: 830-393-3219  • 

WCN Site Search


Preview the Paper Preview the Paper

Preview this week's Paper
A limited number of pages are displayed in this preview.
Preview this Week’s Issue ›
Subscribe Today ›

Lost & Found

*Includes FREE photo online! mywcn.com/lostandfound

VideoFound: male intact dog found in middle of road on 467 near Olmos loop area. Taking to a rescue or shelter soon. Cannot keep. If yours call Crystal at 830-832-4270.
Lost purse @ Maverick's Friday night June 24. Please return. No questions asked. Reward. 830-391-4013
More Lost & Found ads ›

Help Wanted

Welders needed at Felux Metal Works in Poth. Apply in person. 
EXECUTIVE office position for a Farm Mutual Insurance Company in Karnes City, TX. Requires P&C licensed individual with agency management experience. Send resume to: Heatherm@garfieldins.com For general inquiries contact 830-583-5637.
More Help Wanted ads ›

Featured Videos





Video Vault ›
You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.

South Texas Living


Poth’s hometown hero returns with Purple Heart


Poth’s hometown hero returns with Purple Heart
Willie Fluitt relaxes at home in Poth with his family — his wife, Stephanie; their 2-year-old twins, christened “The Twinkies”; and their 8-month-old daughter.


E-Mail this Story to a Friend
Print this Story
Pascalle Bippert
WCN Correspondent
August 15, 2012
4,101 views
3 comments

POTH -- If you live in Poth and you hear the name, “Willie,” you probably know who I’m talking about -- outstanding varsity football running back, good student, very popular, hometown boy. He graduated from Poth High School in 2006.

Please allow me to introduce the rest of you to Willie, also known as William Fluitt.

When I sat down with Willie, I only knew him as William Fluitt, Purple Heart recipient. He was quiet, respectful, and soft-spoken with me. He scooped up his little boy, who had just woken up from his nap, and snuggled with him.

William is the devoted father of 2-year-old twins, whom the family has lovingly christened, “The Twinkies,” and an 8-month-old daughter. He married his high school sweetheart, Stephanie, two years after he had graduated. She is a hairdresser at Cowboys and Divas salon in Floresville.

William went to work one month after high school for the Union Pacific Railroad. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 2008. Union Pacific assured him they would hire him back after his time of service and he wanted to serve his country. He knew before he graduated he wanted to be a Marine, like his great-grandfather was.

Serving his country

He did his basic training at Camp Pendleton in California and was stationed in Washington, D.C., before being sent overseas to Afghanistan. While in Washington, William was handpicked to serve on the detail at Dover Air Force Base that meets the caskets of Marines killed in action. He also took part in the military parade at President Obama’s inauguration and was on the cover of the 2011 Marine Corps calendar.

Following his service in Washington, D.C., he was shipped overseas and was assigned duty as a “team leader” in charge of looking for IEDs (improvised explosive devices). He lived in a mud hut for seven months, sleeping on a dirt floor near a town called Sangin, in the Helmand province in Afghanistan.

Clean sweep

Each day, his platoon would search the area in and around Sangin for eight hours looking for explosives, tools to make them, and drugs. The city of approximately 14,000 has long been the center of the opium trade in Afghanistan. As a “sweeper,” William would lead his platoon, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, through brush and dirt, mud huts, and in the “Green zone” -- corn fields.

He would walk first, with his “cover man” 3 feet behind him. William explained that each Marine walked at least 15 meters behind the one in front of them, in single file. The cover man would spray a line of shaving cream where he had walked, to let those following know it was safe to step in that area.

Since William’s eyes were on the ground and on his metal detector, his cover man, “Khach,” would look everywhere in front and back and to the side to protect William and make sure they would not come under fire from the enemy.

Undetected IED

On Aug. 15, 2011, William’s metal detector did not detect any metal, yet when he stepped over a buried IED, his cover man behind him stepped right on it, severing both his legs and a finger. William was carrying 70-plus pounds of gear on him and wearing his “flak” jacket with “SAMI” armor, but was immediately blown 10 feet into the air. He was thrown to the ground and was knocked unconscious for about a minute, then got up and ran to his cover man, Khach, and gave the next man in line his tourniquets to render aid.

William then returned to work, using his metal detector to “sweep” the area clear for the corpsman to arrive; he then had to sweep a clear path for 1400 meters to a safe location, where a helicopter could land to assist the fallen Marine. While William was sweeping the area for the helicopters, the medics saw that he was bleeding, too, and took him to the FOB -- forward operating base, much like a MASH (mobile Army surgical hospital) -- to have his wounds tended.

He sustained injuries to his head, neck, and back from the shrapnel in the IED and his left eardrum was perforated. William also suffered a concussion, a form of traumatic brain injury, which has resulted in short-term memory loss. He spent four days in a tent in 120-degree heat with no air conditioning, no soft mattress.

His family did not know about his injury until he called his wife, Stephanie, to tell her a bomb went off and he had a little “ringing in his ears” as a result of the explosion. He did not want to upset her, since she was expecting their baby. After four days in the medic tent, William was back at work, sweeping through the countryside. His family did not find out about the extent of his injuries until he arrived back home in October.

Brave heart

William was awarded the Purple Heart medal and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medal with V for Valor.

His award reads: “Heroic achievement in the superior performance of his duties while serving as a designated sweeper from April 2011 to October 2011. Corporal Fluitt conducted more than 135 combat patrols throughout his platoon’s area of operations. On 22 May, while conducting a patrol, his squad came under enemy small arms and rocket propelled grenade fire. Despite the volume of enemy fire, he cleared a path to a tenable position from which his squad could repel the enemy attack. On 28 May, after setting a cordon around two IED devices, his squad was engaged by enemy machine gun and rocket propelled grenade teams, he again cleared safe paths and firing positions so his squad could occupy positions of advantage. On both occasions his calm demeanor and thorough detection skills contributed significantly to his fellow Marines gaining fire superiority and forcing the enemy’s withdrawal. Corporal Fluitt’s initiative, perseverance, and total dedication to duty reflected credit upon him and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.”

For family, country

Despite all of the danger Willie faced on a daily basis in the harshest environments and unfriendly places, he said, “I’d do it all again” for his country and his family.

When I got into my car and drove away, I parked in the nearest parking lot and called my dad to tell him about this remarkable young man I had just interviewed, and I cried.

I am so glad our country did not lose this young man. He is a great asset to his family, his community, and his country.

We’re proud of you, Willie!
 

Your Opinions and Comments

 
BSP  
Floresville  
August 22, 2012 3:38pm
 
Welcome Home! Semper Fi!

 
Grace Perez  
Floresville, TX  
August 22, 2012 9:20am
 
Thank you for your service to our country. God Bless You and your entire family.

 
Ken Semlinger  
Poth, TX  
August 21, 2012 9:12am
 
Thanks Willie.

Share your comment or opinion on this story!


You must be logged in to post a comment.




Not a subscriber?
Subscriber, but no password?
Forgot password?

South Texas Living Archives


Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Celebrate July 4 in cradle of Texas liberty (June 29, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Freedom Fest brings in big names, big fun (June 29, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Hear Keen sounds at the river (June 29, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Paint by number (June 29, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Poth church offers Bible study, services (June 29, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Stagecoach ride in Anderson (June 29, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. The Falstaff years and the trucks (June 29, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Austin’s oldest museum offers daily tours (June 22, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Dine out with The ROCK (June 22, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Esparza reunion planned for July 9 (June 22, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Free guided hikes at Enchanted Rock (June 22, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Getting your hands dirty — in the garden with Iris Seale (June 22, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Men: Pay attention to your health (June 22, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Movies in the Park (June 22, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. New Pioneer Playroom offers hands-on learning (June 22, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Old newspaper makes memories ‘Local and Personal’ (June 22, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Poth church to celebrate 90 years (June 22, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. See Legacy of Leadership exhibit in Washington (June 22, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. SS museum plans meeting (June 22, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Tips for a safe trip to the beach (June 22, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Wall pocket (June 22, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Area seniors invited to Bingo Tuesdays (June 15, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Art Walk America contest deadline is June 23 (June 15, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Attend picnic at Dewees-Remschel House June 15 (June 15, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. DRT receives honors at state convention (June 15, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Hear patriotic tunes in Pleasanton (June 15, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. It’s gone! The Spot is gone! (June 15, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Join WASP for summer season (June 15, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Jubilee offers fun for the whole family (June 15, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Martinez Social Club keeps you dancing (June 15, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Meet 2016 Stockdale Watermelon Jubilee, rodeo court candidates (June 15, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Moms walking group invites members (June 15, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Napoli Glass (June 15, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Oak Hills Church plans yard sale (June 15, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Ramirezes celebrate golden anniversary (June 15, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. See free movies at Arcadia (June 15, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Sutherland Springs seeks volunteers (June 15, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Vendors needed for Freedom Fest (June 15, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Witness Summer Solstice performance (June 15, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Add amphibians to your landscaping (June 8, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Enjoy free summer movies at Rolling Oaks Mall (June 8, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Enjoy Pilgrim Opry (June 8, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Gene Watson in Kerrville (June 8, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Hear ‘Bach to Luckenbach’ (June 8, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Hummel plate (June 8, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. June dances in Geronimo (June 8, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Meet for Play Dates in the library (June 8, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. OLPH names 2016 Mother of the Year, May Queen (June 8, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Prepare to enter cool creation in Ice Cream Freeze-off (June 8, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Remember Flag Day June 14 (June 8, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Running group plans June 11 run (June 8, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. St. Ann Teen ACTS plan 5K Color Run (June 8, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Take Dad out to FatherFest June 19 (June 8, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. The old Wagenfuehr house in Bleu Casa Village (June 8, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Tracking an icon in the ‘horned lizard capital of Texas’ (June 8, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Building communities (June 1, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Cowboy penknife (June 1, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Garcia receives Linda West Scholarship (June 1, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Garner State Park celebrates 75 years (June 1, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Libraries prepare to launch ‘Reading Is So Delicious!’ summer program (June 1, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Lutheran Church windows relocated for a little TLC (June 1, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. St. Helena Men’s Club plans picnic (June 1, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Stockdale’s early beginnings (June 1, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. The progression of the classic ‘koozie’ (June 1, 2016)
WCN Photo Contest HHF
WWII Clippings HHF
Coupon Q&A HHF-right
coupon home-rght
Allstate & McBride RealtyTriple R DC ExpertsHeavenly Touch homeVoncille Bielefeld home

  Copyright © 2007-2016 Wilson County News. All rights reserved. Web development by Drewa Designs.