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WOUNDED GUARDSMAN IS GOING TO TEXAS

A South Buffalo soldier wounded in the same attack that killed a fellow soldier from West Seneca on Saturday in Baghdad is being flown to a Texas military hospital today, family members said.

Spc. James J. Bona, 22, of the 108th Army National Guard Infantry Regiment at the Masten Avenue Armory, suffered shrapnel wounds to both legs and a severe wound to his left knee.

Spc. David L. Roustum, 22, a West Seneca resident and Orchard Park High School graduate, died when a rocket propelled grenade struck their Humvee. Two other soldiers from the 108th also suffered non-life-threatening wounds in the same attack. Their names have not yet been released.

"They were in a Humvee on their way to help another unit that needed backup when they were ambushed. My son was up in the machine-gun turret on top of the Humvee, but his legs were inside. That's how he was wounded," Colleen M. Bona said Tuesday.

A 2000 graduate of McKinley High School, Bona is expected to make a full recovery, she said, "but he will need tissue grafting and therapy." He was expected to arrive later today at the military hospital in Fort Hood, Texas.

Bona was called to active duty in January. He and about 80 other members of the 108th were sent to Fort Hood for a month of training before receiving additional training in Louisiana. At the end of March, they arrived in Kuwait and by early April were in Iraq. The unit conducts patrols and security missions.

Since Bona and Roustum began serving in Iraq, their mothers have become close friends.

"I got to know David's mother, Jennifer, over the past few months when I went to military support group meetings. We'd talk about our sons and our fears about them serving over there," Colleen Bona said. "Our thoughts are with David's family and their loss."

Bona was completing criminal-justice courses at Erie Community College North when he was called up. He wants to attend Buffalo State College and earn a degree in criminal justice, leading to a career in law enforcement.

He is the oldest of three children; he has a brother, David, 19, and a sister, Meghan, 15. Their father is Joseph Bona.

"I'm hoping to go and visit my son in Texas over Thanksgiving," Colleen Bona said.

e-mail: lmichel@buffnews.com

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