S.C. soldier killed in Iraq to have local burial

GREENVILLE -- A South Carolina woman with ties to York and Chester counties was one of two Fort Hood, Texas-based soldiers who were killed by enemy fire in Iraq last week, the Defense Department said.

Spc. Zandra T. Worthy-Walker, 28, of Greenville and formerly of Chester County, was killed with Sgt. Princess C. Samuels, 22, of Mitchellville, Md., on Wednesday in Taji, Iraq, according to a news release from the Defense Department.

Worthy-Walker was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Aviation Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division.

She fueled helicopters and was serving her second tour with the Army, one of her sisters said Monday.

"She'd be the one clapping her hands and cheering them on when they came in," Worthy-Walker's oldest sister, Charlita Worthy, said by telephone from their mother's Greenville home.

Worthy-Walker, who was called "Nicey," went to Chester schools through sixth grade and attended Mount Hopewell Baptist Church between Bullock Creek and Sharon in York County, Worthy said. The funeral will be at 2 p.m. Friday at Mount Hopewell, where Worthy-Walker will be buried next to her youngest sister, Katrina, who died in June at age 22 from a brain tumor.

"They were real close," Worthy said, adding that Worthy-Walker came home for Katrina's funeral. "Out of sadness, came joy. If we hadn't been together then, it would have been more than a year since we saw each other."

The family of five girls grew up until the early 1990s in Thomson Quarters, also known as Cross Road Community, in Chester County, Worthy said.

Worthy-Walker and her twin sister, Yolanda Worthy-Weathersby, graduated from Woodmont High School in 1997 and joined the Army during their second year at South Carolina State University, Charlita Worthy said.

Yolanda Worthy-Weathersby, who was serving in Kuwait when she learned of her twin sister's death, has returned home, said Charlita Worthy, 31.

"We were upset they decided to leave college, but it's something that they wanted to do," said Worthy.

Worthy-Walker met her husband while they were both in the military, and he has been serving as a civilian in Kuwait, Charlita Worthy said.

She was a very bright, energetic girl, said the Rev. W.T. "Dub" Massey of Rock Hill, who once was pastor at Mount Hopewell. "They were a close-knit family -- a friendly, cheerful bunch," said Massey. "We just had a great time working with them."

The family plans a memorial service on Thursday in Greenville, followed by the funeral Friday.

"It's hard. We're trying to keep busy to keep our mind off it," Worthy said. "Right now, we need a lot of prayer."

Worthy-Walker is the fourth South Carolina woman to die in the war in Iraq, according to an Associated Press database of casualty records released by the U.S. military.