Las Vegas soldier dies

A soldier from Las Vegas died Jan. 17 when a helicopter he was riding in made a hard landing under combat conditions in the Konar Province of Afghanistan, the Department of Defense announced Friday.

Spc. Ezra Dawson, 31, had joined the Army to improve his life, said his ex-wife, Felicia Tucker, who divorced Dawson in 2003 but remained in touch through the years. He had been working as a waiter, she said.

“He wanted to better himself, so he figured that would be the way,” Tucker said.

The son of a preacher, Dawson grew up and attended school in Oklahoma before moving to Las Vegas as a young man, she said.

Dawson, a sometime rapper and stand-up comedian, was an upbeat and happy man, she said.

He joined the Army in September 2004 as an infantryman. He had been assigned to the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, since January 2008, according to the Army.

He was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, when he was shipped to Afghanistan in July.

The helicopter landing remained under investigation, the Army said.

Dawson was the 62nd military member with Nevada ties to have died in the nation’s wars overseas since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

He was the first from the Las Vegas area since July, when Army Pfc. Willington M. Rhoads, 23, died from injuries suffered in a non-combat related incident in Afghanistan.

Contact reporter Brian Haynes at or 702-383-0281.

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