Sunday, July 13, 2008

Army 1st Lt. Jonathan P. Brostrom

Remember Our Heroes

Army 1st Lt. Jonathan P. Brostrom, 24, of Hawaii

1st Lt. Brostrom was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 503d Infantry Regiment (Airborne), 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Vicenza, Italy; died of wounds sustained when his outpost was attacked by small-arms fire and rocket propelled grenades from enemy forces in Wanat, Afghanistan, on July 13, 2008. Also killed were Sgt. Israel Garcia, Cpl. Jonathan R. Ayers, Cpl. Jason M. Bogar, Cpl. Jason D. Hovater, Cpl. Matthew B. Phillips, Cpl. Pruitt A. Rainey, Cpl. Gunnar W. Zwilling and Pfc. Sergio S. Abad.

Honolulu Advertiser -- 1st Lt. Jonathan P. Brostrom, 24, of 'Aiea, was one of nine soldiers killed on Sunday in Afghanistan, the Department of Defense announced today.

The soldiers died of wounds suffered when their outpost was attacked by small arms fire and rocket propelled grenades from enemy forces in Wanat, Afghanistan.

Brostrom's father, David Brostrom, a retired Army colonel, praised his son and fellow soldiers for the work they are doing in Afghanistan, but said they are not getting the resources they need.

"My son is very well trained. His leadership at the brigade and below were probably the best you'll ever find, the best in the world," David Brostrom said. "… (But) they were put in a situation where they were under-resourced."

"The conditions changed and we did not change our strategy. The military term is 'economy of force' in Afghanistan. While we fight the war in Iraq, Afghanistan is on hold. Soldiers are doing a great job with very little attention from our leadership in Washington, D.C."

"Unfortunately, we have not put in all of the resources required in order to stop this from happening, so the enemy has slowly gained a foothold and they're probably stronger than they were when we went right after 9/11, as my son found out."

"It took something like this, nine soldiers killed, to be a wake-up call. I just hope my son's death drives some policy to do what we need to do right in Afghanistan in order to protect our soldiers.

David Brostrom said his son was a very independent child. He attended Damien Memorial School, a Catholic school in Kalihi.

"He grew up in the military with me, but he never talked about joining. He was very bright, but he wasn't a student. He liked to experience things his own way. He was at times difficult. He was a natural athlete, excellent golfer on Damien golf team and when we lived in New York he played hockey. He loved to surf."

The soldiers who were killed were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 503d Infantry Regiment (Airborne), 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, based in Vicenza, Italy.

Jonathan Brostrom received a four-year ROTC scholarship at the University of Hawai'i, graduating in 2006, said a former instructor, Maj. Christopher Sweeney, who now is a recruiting officer with the program.

"Jon was very professional, but he loved to have fun at the same time," Sweeney said. "He had a serious side, but he also loved to joke around, and that's what made him a joy to have in class."

Sweeney taught Brostrom during his junior year. Each year, a cadet was selected to attend dive school at Pearl Harbor, and Brostrom was selected that year.

"He was the one cadet, and he made it through there with flying colors," Sweeney said.

UH selected Brostrom to attend airborne and air assault school, and he was a "distinguished military graduate" in the top 20 percent in the nation, Sweeney said.

Brostrom is the third UH ROTC cadet to have been killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, officials said. 2nd Lt. Jeremy Wolfe was killed in 2003 in a helicopter crash in Iraq, while 1st Lt. Nainoa Hoe was hit by sniper fire in Iraq in 2005.

Jonathan Brostrom is quoted in a June 2007 online report by the Stars and Stripes newspaper about a patrol by his platoon in Afghanistan.

He was then leading the 2nd Platoon, Company C, of the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment. The article said:

"Mission goals include checking to see if a newly built road can handle Humvee traffic, finding a girls school that 1st Lt. Jonathan Brostrom has heard about, and meeting with village leaders.

"He doesn't mention anything about hunting down enemy forces to engage in combat.

"'It should be OK,' Brostrom says at the start of the patrol. 'We usually don't have problems in this area.'"

The local leader they plan to visit is Haji Arif, from the village of Shalam, and talk about recent rocket attacks.

"'He is a guy who can find out what's going on,' Brostrom says. 'Some say he plays both sides. I don't think so. I think he's a good guy.'

The article then talks about the return trip to base which was more tense because the enemy often attacks units on their way back. "The last two times, we got lit up pretty good up here,' Brostrom says."

The journey turned out to be relatively uneventful and the unit returned safely to base.

Army 1st Lt. Jonathan P. Brostrom was killed in action on 7/13/08.

No comments: