PINEBLUFF, N.C. — A former police chief for Pinebluff, N.C., died along with another contractor in Iraq when a roadside bomb struck their convoy.
Brian J. Wagoner had been police chief for about three years before going to Iraq in February 2004. He worked for a private security firm and was supposed to spend about a year in Iraq and return home later in March.
Missy Wagoner, Brian's widow, were married almost eight years. They have three children.
"I told [the children] there was a bad accident and he ain't coming home. He's gone. My oldest one said, 'Can't the doctor fix him, Mom?' and then my 5-year-old said, 'Mom, he said he was coming home for my birthday,' " Missy said.
"He was very jolly, always joking and kept us laughing," said Pinebluff Town Clerk Betty McDuffie.
Jimmy A. Riddle of Texas, also died in the attack. Wagoner and Riddle were providing security to Tetra Tech F.W. Inc. Spokesman Anthony Casas said the company is under contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to destroy and capture enemy munitions in Iraq.
Casas said both men were respected within the company and will be sorely missed.
When Wagoner was not clearing explosives, he gave Iraqi children clothes his kids outgrew.