Wednesday, August 20, 2003

North Carolina Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Bobby C. Franklin

Remember Our Heroes

North Carolina Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Bobby C. Franklin, 38, of Mineral Bluff, Ga.

SSgt. Franklin was assigned to the 210th Military Police Company, Army National Guard, Murphy N.C.; killed by an improvised explosive device Aug. 20 in Baghdad, Iraq.

N.C. Guard soldier killed was prison worker at home

Associated Press

Family members of a North Carolina National Guard soldier who died in Iraq said they knew something was wrong even before the military came to their door to give them the bad news.

Staff Sgt. Bobby Franklin, 38, a member of the 210th Military Police Company based in Murphy, was killed Aug. 20 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle, according to the military.

Franklin’s death marks the first time in more than three decades that the North Carolina National Guard has lost a soldier to hostile fire, guard officials said.

Two other soldiers with Franklin were injured. By the night of Aug. 20, Franklin’s family knew something was wrong.

“The other two guys that were always with him had already called in and checked with their wives,” said Tim Nicholson, Franklin’s brother-in-law. Franklin’s wife, Brenda, didn’t receive a call.

By the morning of the 21st, soldiers had arrived in Mineral Bluff, Ga., the town just across the border where the Franklins lived to tell Brenda what happened.

When not in the guard, Franklin worked at the Carlton Colwell Probation and Detention Center in Blairsville, Ga. He supervised inmates working on construction projects in the community.

When the reservist was called up, his co-workers made sure he periodically received care packages filled with comforts from home.

Family members tried to talk the longtime reservist into calling it quits last year as the nation’s war of words with Iraq increased.

“He was within a year of retirement,” Nicholson said. “That’s why he went back this time.”

More than 1,300 North Carolina Guardsmen are on active duty, many overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan. Soldiers in his unit are trying to make sense of what happened to Franklin, a father of two children.

“Their morale is low,” said Kim Johnson, the family coordinator for the 210th. “They feel guilty they’re not home to give Bobby the burial he deserves. It’s hard for them to focus on their mission.”

Georgia man killed in explosion in Iraq

ATLANTA — A Georgia man was killed and two other soldiers from the same North Carolina National Guard unit were wounded Aug. 20 in Baghdad when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle.

Staff Sgt. Bobby Franklin, 38, of Mineral Bluff, and the two wounded men — who were not identified — were assigned to the 210th Military Police Company of Murphy, N.C.

The bombing happened in the Karkah district of Baghdad late Aug. 20, according to U.S. Central Command. Franklin was from the 1st Armored Division.

The wounded soldiers weren’t seriously injured, and one already has returned to duty, said Capt. Robert N. Carver, spokesman for the North Carolina National Guard.

Carver said the family asked reporters to not contact them.

“This is the time to ask all North Carolinians to not only express their gratitude for Staff Sgt. Bobby Franklin’s service, but to pray for his family, his wife, his son and his daughter,” North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley said.

— Associated Press

North Carolina Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Bobby C. Franklin was killed in action on 08/20/03.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Army Pfc. Timmy R. Brown Jr.

Remember Our Heroes

Army Pfc. Timmy R. Brown Jr., 21, of Conway, Pa.

Pfc Brown was assigned to D Company, 519th Military Intelligence Battalion, Fort Bragg, N.C.; killed by an explosive device while traveling in a convoy in Taji, Iraq, on Aug. 12, 2003.

Soldier killed in Iraq to receive Purple Heart, Bronze Star
Associated Press

CONWAY, Pa. — A 21-year-old soldier killed in Iraq will receive the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and other honors posthumously, the Army announced.

The medals will be sent in time for the Aug. 20 funeral of Army Pfc. Timothy R. Brown Jr., according to Maj. Steven Chung, deputy provost marshal for the 99th Regional Readiness Command in Moon Township.

Brown, a native of Conway, about 20 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, was assigned to D Company, 519th Military Intelligence Battalion, based at Fort Bragg, N.C. He was killed by an explosive device while traveling in a convoy Aug. 12 just north of Baghdad.

On Aug. 17, more than 250 people gathered at the Conway War Memorial to pay tribute to Brown. Candles were passed through the crowd and friends and families left flowers on the memorial. Some held American flags and a bell was struck to honor Brown.

Brown’s father, Timothy Brown Sr., and his stepmother, Pam Brown, were presented with a flag.

“He was a spectacular human being,” said Bryan Revelant, 19, one of Brown’s friend. “He would give you the shirt off his back if you asked him to.”

Pennsylvania soldier killed by explosive device in Iraq

PITTSBURGH — A western Pennsylvania man was killed by an explosive device while traveling in a convoy in Iraq, the Defense Department.

Pfc. Timothy R. Brown Jr., 21, a native of Conway, about 20 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, was assigned to D Company, 519th Military Intelligence Battalion, based at Fort Bragg, N.C. He died Aug. 12 in Taji, about 12 miles north of Baghdad.

Brown’s stepmother, Pam Brown Lois, said Thursday she was “devastated.” She said did not want to talk about her stepson until she heard more about his death from the military.

Brown’s friend, Bryan Revelant, 19, described the 2001 graduate of Freedom Area High School as a prankster who was popular with his peers.

“This is real tough. We were so close because I knew him all my life. He was like my brother,” Revelant said.

Brown decided to enlist in the Army on April 1, 2001, just to see his friends’ reactions, Revelant said.

“He thought it’d be funny to do it on April Fools’ Day. He was one of those jokesters,” said Revelant, a 2002 graduate of Freedom Area High School.

Brown signed up for two years of military service and was scheduled to be discharged in February. But Revelant said Brown was having second thoughts about leaving the Army.

“He wanted to go to Iraq ... When he got over there, he said he wanted to stay,” Revelant said.

Since May 1, when President Bush declared major combat over in Iraq, 60 American soldiers have died in attacks. Eight Britons have been killed in combat in the same period.

Army Pfc. Timmy R. Brown Jr. was killed in action on 8/12/03.

Friday, August 01, 2003

Army Specialist Justin W. Hebert

Remember Our Heroes

Army Specialist Justin W. Hebert, 20, of Arlington, Washington.

Spc. Hebert was on patrol when his vehicle was struck by a rocket propelled grenade in Kirkuk, Iraq. Hebert was assigned to the 319th Field Artillery, 173rd Airborne Brigade, Camp Ederle, Italy. Died on August 1, 2003.

Associated Press

ARLINGTON, Wash. — Years ago, Justin Hebert played basketball and took physical education classes in the wood-floored gymnasium at Post Middle School.

More than 200 people filed into that same gymnasium on Aug. 16 to honor him, two weeks after a rocket-propelled grenade took his life near Kirkuk, Iraq.

“You are a brother unlike any other,” said his sister, Jessica, sobbing. “Nobody else could compete.”

Family members and friends, high school buddies and fellow soldiers attended the service. Afterward, he was buried beside a small white church on a hillside overlooking a dairy farm in nearby Silvana, the tiny town where he grew up.

“I am proud to be the one who brought Justin home,” said Sgt. Nicholas Lewis, who helped return Hebert’s body. “In doing so I have fulfilled a promise to him and helped ease my own pain.

"I ask God to protect him, to keep his music loud and his steaks well-done.”

Army Spc. Hebert, barely 20 years old and a paratrooper with the 173rd Airborne Brigade, was on a nighttime patrol when the grenade struck his vehicle, killing him and wounding three others.

He was the 250th American to die in Iraq, the 114th since May 1, when President Bush declared an end to major hostilities.

Army Spc. Bret Rickard was one of Hebert’s best friends growing up in Silvana. The two met at Post Middle School in the seventh grade, then both enlisted immediately after graduating from Arlington High School.

Hebert’s parents had to sign the paperwork for him because he was only 17, too young to sign it himself.

“I was thinking about joining the Army because of the college money — they were going to give me $50,000 for college,” Rickard said after the funeral. “He also didn’t have the money but wanted to go to college, so we both signed up.

“He was really proud of what he did. It was something he was good at.”

Rickard, with a maroon beret and forest green uniform, said he tried not to cry during the memorial, but “then they showed the movie and you see the pictures of the day-to-day life with your best friend and he’s not here anymore, and I just cried.”

The Army presented Hebert’s family with his posthumous Purple Heart and Bronze Star, as well as the American flag that draped his casket.

His death reverberated through Silvana. Willow & Jim’s, the town’s only restaurant, took up a collection for the family, and co-owner Willow Payne gave the Heberts a copy of a plaque bearing Justin’s likeness. The plaque will be placed next to the restaurant’s flagpole.

Silvana residents and rodeo enthusiasts Kory and Rachel Johnson held a bull-riding benefit for the family at their ranch. Bill Hebert, Justin’s father, directed that the proceeds instead be given to 2-year-old Jessica Fisher, a Tacoma girl receiving a bone marrow transplant from her older brother at Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle.

“In a small town like this you get to know pretty much everybody in the community,” Kory Johnson said. “Something like this is real hard. Everybody just tries to pull together to support the family.”

Army Specialist Justin W. Hebert was killed in action on 08/01/03.