As a combat engineer in the 48th Brigade, Spc. Mathew Gibbs would scout patrol routes in a hulking armored vehicle the Army calls a "buffalo," designed to sniff out bombs before they kill other troops.
On August 2, the 21-year-old factory worker called his wife and family in the rural, southwest Georgia town of Ambrose. He'd been assigned to a new duty, manning checkpoints.
The next day, a suicide bomber detonated a car loaded with explosives at the checkpoint Gibbs was guarding with two other soldiers.
The Fleetwood mobile home factory in Alma, where Gibbs worked building interior walls, stopped its fast-paced production line for a moment of silence.
Rae Gibbs asked her husband's fellow soldiers to tell all they knew. "They all assured me they didn't even know what was coming and didn't know what hit them."
Before he deployed, Gibbs planned to move his wife and daughters, ages 5 and 3, to a small house on his in-laws' farm. He had the restoration plans drawn up. He'd even picked the color -- bright yellow.
"He should have gotten to college like he planned. He should have gotten to watch his daughters grow up," said Lee Carver, Gibbs' mother-in-law. "He should have gotten to paint that house yellow."
I wish I were rich. His daughter's are close to my son's ages. I'd make sure they had the chance to go to college. And I'd paint that house yellow.