Army 1st Lt. Brian N. Bradshaw, 24, of Steilacoom, Wash.
1st Lt. Bradshaw was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska; died June 25, 2009 in Kheyl, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.
The News Tribune -- Paul Bradshaw said his son Brian joined the Army and went to Afghanistan “to try and help people” and to make the lives of the people there better.
“He could make people feel better,” the elder Bradshaw said Friday shortly before he and his wife Mary left their Steilacoom home to fly to Dover Air Force Base for the arrival of their son’s body back in the United States. “That was his hope. He didn’t go to win a war.”
Lt. Brian Bradshaw, 24, a 2007 graduate of Pacific Lutheran University, died Thursday in Kheyl, Afghanistan. An improvised bomb went off near his vehicle, the Department of Defense announced Friday. Bradshaw and the other soldiers escaped without injury, but with the soldiers out of their vehicle, a passing civilian truck detonated a second roadside bomb, killing Bradshaw.
Bradshaw is the first Pierce County service member to die in Afghanistan in more than a year and the 27th service member from Washington or assigned to military installations in the state to die in Afghanistan since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division in Fort Richardson, Alaska.
The unit deployed in stages to Afghanistan beginning in February and Bradshaw arrived in March, his father said.
Paul Bradshaw said he talked to his son by telephone on Father’s Day.
“He said that where they were at you couldn’t recognize if they were making a difference but they had made friends in that area,” his father said.
The danger there was obvious, Paul Bradshaw said, but whenever his son spoke about it “he was worried about all his men. He was worried about the people he was responsible for, not himself.”
Bradshaw came from a military family. His father is a retired National Guard helicopter pilot. His mother is a retired Army nurse. A lieutenant colonel, she returned to duty to serve with the Warrior Transition Battalion at Fort Lewis.
Brian Bradshaw volunteered for the ROTC program at PLU and was in the first class after the 9/11 attacks.
“We are proud beyond belief,” his father said Friday, “(but) we really didn’t encourage him very much either.”
A graduate of Visitation Catholic School and Bellarmine Preparatory School, Bradshaw grew up in Steilacoom. In high school he was member of Pierce County Search and Rescue and was a summer counselor at Camp Don Bosco, a Catholic Youth Organization camp in Carnation, where he once was a young camper.
Paul Bradshaw said his son had “a great sense of humor” and described him as “very athletic, an outdoors and very action-oriented person. He bicycled, was a backcountry skier and climbed mountains.” He knew Crystal Mountain Ski Area and Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia very well.
“But his favorite place (to ski) was Mount Baker,” Paul Bradshaw said.
Paul Bradshaw said he didn’t know if his son planned on making the Army a career though he had talked about it.
“He also talked about teaching history,” he said. “He had started taking helicopters for backcountry skiing and talked about wanting to be a guide for backcountry skiing.”
No funeral arrangements have been made. A memorial service will be held probably after July 4.
“You know what can happen (in war),” Paul Bradshaw said. “You hope it doesn’t. You pray a lot.”
Army 1st Lt. Brian N. Bradshaw was killed in action on 6/25/09.