11/30/2011 04:25 pm ET | Updated Nov 30, 2011

Kile West's Mom Retraces Killed Soldier's Steps In Iraq (VIDEO)

After her son died, Nanette West said she wanted to understand what her son, an Army Lieutenant, experienced during his final days.

"I wanted to see where he was," West told KXAN. "I wanted to see what he was doing, how he was living, what they were doing over there, how he died."

Kile West died in May 2007 from wounds he sustained after his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device in Abu Sayda, Iraq, according to Freedom Remembered. The 23-year-old had hoped to attend Texas A&M for graduate school.

The Hutto News reports that West died while trying to rescue the flight crew of a downed aircraft.

West was given the Bronze Star for heroism and the Purple Heart.

West's mom was so determined to retrace her fallen son's steps steps that she tried to enlist in the army, KXAN reports. Nanette was told she was too old, but she got her chance when she secured a job with a defense contract.

She spent two years providing troops with food and lodging, according to KXAN.

"I needed to get over there and see and touch it," Nanette told the paper about her journey. "I also felt like I needed to pick up where he left off. It was a wonderful venture like you wouldn't believe."

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