Army Pfc. Robert Dixon died of injuries he suffered on Sunday when the Humvee he was riding in was hit by an improvised explosive device. Dixon was assigned to a unit based out of Fort Riley, Kansas. He was deployed to Iraq in February.
His wife, Rusty Rose-Dixon of Minneapolis, called Dixon a warrior and an adventure-seeker who had strong leadership skills and was willing to help others through tough times.
"He would make sure that if somebody was not going in the right direction, or not having a good day, that he was going to do something to turn it around," Rose-Dixon said. "It was a joke or a smile, or a 'hey' or pick-me-up sort of words. 'We're going to do this together, not go off and figure it out on yourself.' It was, 'Come to me and we'll work it through.'"
Rose-Dixon says her husband was charismatic and had lots of friends.
"Everyone wanted to be on board with what he was doing. It didn't matter. As much as we knew there was a war going on, and as mad as we got about it, we all supported him 100 percent and we supported everyone around him," she said.
Rose-Dixon says part of her husband's motivation for enlisting two years ago was to ensure he could take care of his family -- Dixon has two young sons -- and, she says, Dixon also saw the military as a good career.
He'd planned to re-enlist, and, in fact, had recently gone to do so, but the re-enlistment office was closed.
“As much as we knew there was a war going on, and as mad as we got about it, we all supported him 100 percent and we supported everyone around him.”Rusty Rose-Dixon
Dixon was born in Oregon, but was raised mostly in a small town in Michigan by foster parents who adopted him. In high school, he wrestled, played football and ran track. He set a school record for the 100-meter dash.
When Dixon moved to Minneapolis in 2004, he first stayed with Anathea Alberda. She grew up with him in Michigan. She says he was a caring person who made friends easily.
"He was very outgoing, very extroverted," said Alberda. "Everybody loved him -- like everyone always says when someone dies. But everybody really did love him."
Alberda says she last spoke to Dixon, who she also called Bobby, on Saturday, the day before he died. With mixed emotions, she recalls their last conversation.
"I talked about things that were going on in my life, and I asked him how he was. He said he was bored because he didn't have any missions for the day," Alberda recalls. "I think that tells you where he was at in the military. That was where he wanted to be. That's what he wanted to be doing."
Dixon's service appears to have been inspiring. His wife says Dixon's commanding officer told her that two soldiers in his unit have re-enlisted since Dixon died on Sunday -- and they said they were doing it for "Bobby." Pfc. Robert "Bobby" Dixon is survived by his wife, two children, his parents and three siblings.