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Family Of Wylie Soldier: “It’s Just Another Day In Afghanistan”

By Jason Allen, CBS 11 News
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First Lt. Robert F. Welch III of Denton died of wounds he received when insurgents attacked his base. (credit: U.S. Army)

First Lt. Robert F. Welch III of Denton died of wounds he received when insurgents attacked his base. (credit: U.S. Army)

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WYLIE (CBSDFW.COM) – The father of a Wylie soldier killed in Afghanistan last month said he’s glad Osama bin Laden is gone, but it probably would not have saved his son’s life if it happened earlier.

First Lt. Robert Welch died exactly one month ago, when insurgents launched a mortar attack on his Afghanistan post.

Bob Welch said he had just gone to bed Sunday night, when the phone rang with news of bin Laden’s death.

“About 10 o’clock my sister called me from Oklahoma City and she said ‘hey have you heard the news?’” said Welch. “I said ‘no, what’s going on?’ She says ‘they got bin Laden. I said, ‘hold on a minute.’”

In the minutes and days since, Welch said he’s still glad bin Laden is gone.

The second-generation army vet says on September 11th he was ready to go over himself find the al Qaeda leader.

But he says the death doesn’t change much for his family, and for others still overseas.

“For the guys over there right now, it’s just another day, and there’s one less guy to worry about,” he said. “Would it have made a difference 30 days ago? I doubt it seriously.”

Welch is still waiting for an official Army investigation of his son’s death to be completed

He speculated though that is was Taliban members, of the lone wolf variety, and that few insurgents are directly controlled by bin Laden anymore.

Bin Laden’s end didn’t help the family much on the one-month anniversary of Welch’s death.

Welch said he and his wife still get choked up easily.

He said the family takes more comfort from the continuing support of the community.

Welch said the Wylie community is planning blood drives and a Memorial Day celebration honoring Robert Welch.

“Robbie happened to be the first soldier killed since Vietnam, from Wylie,” he said “And they have gone out of their way to remember him. And it’s very, very touching for the family.”

Welch said his daughter-in-law’s reaction to the bin Laden news was that her husband didn’t die in vain.

He said Becky Welch sounded the best she’s been since the funeral last month.

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