Van Andrew Wilson

Tender Warrior

This site is dedicated to the loving memory of Van.

You are listening to "Falling" by Mindy Smith. It was one of Van's favorite songs.

Van Andrew Wilson: Beloved son, brother and friend, Van Andrew Wilson went to heaven on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2006. He was born in Baton Rouge on Sept. 3, 1982. Van lived a short but full life. On Dec. 9, 2005, he achieved a goal he had set in middle school -- he completed training as a U.S. Navy SEAL. Van was in an auto accident while en route to his first duty assignment with SEAL Team 10 in Little Creek, Va. He graduated from Lee High School in 2000 with academic honors and was voted "Most Athletic" his senior year. He was the Louisiana state wrestling champion in his weight class. Van graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md., in 2004 with a bachelor of science in oceanography. He was co-captain of the U.S. Navy rugby team and president of Team Bill, the squad that handles the Navy's mascot at football games. Confidence, fearlessness, and nonchalance -- three of Van's most notable characteristics -- were the product not of bravado but of trust in his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Good humor, loyalty, and genuine concern for others earned Van the title "best friend" from many of the young men who came to know him. He trained hard to be a leader of men in combat. An enlisted man who trained with him said Van was the officer under whom all the men wanted to serve. He was competent, led by example and loved his men. A fellow officer said, "If God ever needed a warrior Himself, he would pick Van Wilson." Posted on his wall was a quote by Chief Tecumseh, "When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home." Van is survived by his parents, Stephen A. and Claire Wilson of Baton Rouge; a brother and sister, Blake Wilson, recruit, U.S. Marine Corps, and Grace Erin, a freshman at LSU; paternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. J.V. Wilson Jr. of Covington; maternal grandmother, Mrs. J.B. Whitlatch of Baton Rouge; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, and fiancé, Michelle Dauro of Long Beach, Miss. Van was preceded in death by his maternal grandfather, J.B. Whitlatch. Visitation at Rabenhorst Funeral Home, 825 Government St., was on Wednesday, Feb. 1, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Visiting at First Presbyterian Church on Thursday, Feb. 2, from 11:30 a.m. until religious service at 1 p.m. Burial with full military honors was at Port Hudson National Cemetery, attended by a U.S. Navy Color Guard.
Van's grave site is at Port Hudson National Cemetery.  
Port Hudson is in Zachary, LA; it's about 19 miles outside Baton Rouge, LA.


This is the memorial between Lordsburg and Deming, New Mexico on I-10 (East) at mile marker 54.6. Steve did a great job in making this. At the top, in stained glass, is a heart and a trident. Below that is Van's name, U.S. Navy SEAL, and dates, also in stained glass. Then through the center, the cross is hollowed out and strung through it are 23 "holy rocks" representing 23 years of Van's beautiful life on earth. Holy rocks are rocks with a hole in them from the Bogue Chitto River in Mississippi, Van's favorite place! Steve and Claire took Van, Blake and Grace there through their childhood and now to enjoy nature and collect special rocks and the prized petrified wood and Indian arrows. Claire, Blake, Grace and Michelle drove to mile marker 54.6 to see the site and place the beautiful cross which faces the sunset.


"His training was finished here, He achieved his goal, The greatest mission lies ahead."

This memorial bench was dedicated in Coronado, CA on Sunday March 11, 2007 at 11am. It is placed in a Lavender Garden at the Coronado City Hall connected by a park along the Glorietta Bay.

Simple parks and swings were meaningful places to Van. This bench marks the place (near Naval Base Coronado) where he trained and fulfilled his dream to become a Navy SEAL.

It was a beautiful ceremony with gorgeous weather. Friends and loved ones spoke; Steve's words were perfect and inspiring. It was a great way to remember and honor Van.


The Climbing Boulder in Baton Rouge, LA

The 2010 Recreation & Park Commission for the parish of East Baton Rouge, opened the new Perkins Road park featuring a climbing boulder in memory of Van on 10/16/10:. Check out the website and see how cool the park is:

In the park there is the BREC's Extreme Sports complex. BREC's Perkins Rd Community Park is an Extreme Sports complex with: a 30,000 sq ft concrete skatepark, a BMX track, a 35 foot rock climbing boulder, and a 333 meter Velodrome.

Guestbook info

Please go to the Guestbook tab located at the top of the page and write something memorable about Van, tell a story that honors him or just write something that leaves a lasting legacy of the love, laughter and relationships built by the Van Wilson, we all know, love, and miss.

To read inspiring comments about Van's life...a life worth living, go to the comments posted at the guestbook:

USNA '04


Van was a USNA Rugby Team Captain. View his Semper Memor:

Van wanted to create stained glass art after the SEAL teams

Visit to view stained glass artwork by Van's father, Steve Wilson. Van was always so proud of his parents' talents as artists.

Van completed his dream and graduated from the Navy's Basic Underwater Demolition (BUD/s) training as Honor Man on April 15, 2005. He completed SEAL Qualification Training (SQT) on December 9, 2005. He spent 3 weeks in January 2006 at Kodiak, AK for cold weather training and was assigned to SEAL Team 10, Little Creek, VA as an Assisting Officer in Charge.

7/29/06-Blake honored his brother by getting this tattoo on his leg...marking six months after our loss of Van on earth.

It is a picture of Van, in uniform, on the day of his SQT Graduation. It symbolizes Van working so hard and accomplishing his dream as he received the Trident on his chest that day. He also has angel wings symbolizing where he is and what he is doing now.

Van in Alaska and through BUD/s & SEAL training

After the growing up in his beloved home town of Baton Rouge and then attending the Naval Academy, Van loved training and hanging out with friends and his family...leading up to his dream of becoming a SEAL. He went to Alaska in the summer of 2004 and for SEAL Qualification Training (SQT) in January 2006. He along with four close friends went through the Naval Academy together,  finished BUD/s together, and they earned their Trident together...becoming U.S. Navy SEALs on December 9, 2005.

The website that held all the pictures went offline, I will re-add them to a new slide show manager and post soon. Thanks!


We love and miss you Van!