Monday, June 07, 2010

Army Spc. Blaine E. Redding

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Blaine E. Redding, 22, of Plattsmouth, Neb.

Spc. Redding was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; died June 7, 2010 in Konar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device. Also killed in the attack were Sgt. Joshua A. Lukeala, Spc. Matthew R. Catlett, and Spc. Charles S. Jirtle.

Due to the large crowd expected, funeral services for Sgt. Blaine Edward Redding will be at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 22, Church of the Holy Spirit in Plattsmouth with Pastor Raymond Wicks officiating.

Because his love of casual dress, the family requests everyone wear flip flops to the services.

Born in Omaha, the son of Teresa Redding and Blaine “Pete” Redding, Blaine was raised and educated in Plattsmouth.

In 2007 his brother and mother moved to Elmwood. After high school, Blaine worked for John’s Appliance in Plattsmouth before enlisting in the army.

He married Victoria “Nikki” Nichole Colwell on March 13, 2010, in Portland, Ore.

Pallbearers are SSGT Michael Broderick, SSG John McLochlin, PFC Logan Redding, SSG Wavie Shurnate, CPL Jon Smith and SSG Josh Tjarks.

When Kay Cunningham thinks of her grandson, memories from nearly 20–years ago still come to mind. "I think he wanted to grow up to be Peter Pan or Robin Hood... he was adorable."

Growing up to be a hero was a way of life for 23–year–old Plattsmouth resident Blaine Redding, who followed in his grandfather and father's footsteps when he enlisted in the military right out of high school.

"He just said he was glad to be doing what needed to be done." Even if that meant risking his life for his country. "You know it's going to happen, but you just can't be prepared," said Cunningham.

On Monday, just one month into his second tour overseas, Blaine and two of his friends, were killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. Blaine's brother Logan, also serving in Afghanistan, saw it happen just 15 miles away.

"There's so much sadness and despair when you're standing there watching them," said Theresa Redding, who now lives in Elmwood. "I don't know what we're going to do without him."

Blaine Redding's younger brother Logan is still a soldier. Both members of the 101st Airborne Division, the Reddings were stationed less than an hour from each other in Afghanistan. Logan escorted his brother's body home.

"So I'm doing the hardest duty of all," Logan Redding wrote on his Facebook page, "not even the duty of a soldier, but I will soldier on as a brother in arms, and a brother proud of all Blaine has ever done."

Both parents said Logan Redding looked up to his brother. "He lost his best friend," their mother said in a telephone interview with the Journal Star. "Blaine was always the leader and Logan was always Blaine's crash test dummy. They were very adventurous. They were a lot of fun."

Logan has stayed strong, his mother said.

So has Nikki Redding, who married Blaine Redding March 13. The couple -- who met near Fort Campbell, Ky., where he was stationed -- had planned to have children. They were friends first, and they married less than a year after they started dating.

The wedding was in an old brick building with hardwood floors, Theresa Redding said. "It was very simple and very tasteful, and it was just family and close friends. ... They were so excited to get married."

Nikki Redding's mother, Gina Cotton, flew from Tennessee to Dover with her daughter.

"I love them," Theresa Redding said of Nikki's family. "My daughter-in-law is like one of my best friends. "She's holding on. She's very strong."

Nikki Redding is studying to become a teacher. Blaine Redding, who earned his GED in Plattsmouth, was hoping his military career could help him enroll in college, too.

He came from two military families, said Blaine A. Redding, his dad, who now lives in Lincoln. "He loved what he did in the Army."

Arrangements for Redding's services are pending. The family plans to have his memorial in Plattsmouth.

"He was pretty much indescribable," his mother said. "He was a priceless personality. ... He was very energetic and strong and just very loyal and just a very sweet person.

"I'm his mom, so naturally I think that of him -- but everyone thought that of him."

"Blaine was extremely handsome, like a Ken doll," his mom told KETV. "He had a smile for everything, a quick wit and was always ready to help somebody."

Redding is the 59th U.S. service member with a Nebraska connection to have died in Afghanistan or Iraq since the beginning of military operations following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, according to the Department of Defense and family members. Two military-employed civilians who had Nebraska connections also were killed in Iraq.

"It was just a total shock that one of our young men from our local area here was killed over in Afghanistan," said Don Butler, Industrial Technology Teacher, Plattsmouth High School. "I knew him when he was in school. A very quiet, a very nice young man. I really enjoyed having him as a student. He's going to be greatly missed."

"It's so sad to see our young men and women at risk, and losing them in this manner, but I know they and others are of the opinion that fighting against this terrorist group is critically important to the safety not only of Afghanistan, and the security of the region, but to the whole world, because this brand of extremism and terrorism is being exported, and we have to hit it at its source," said Sen. Ben Nelson.

"As a teacher, your students become almost like your kids, and when something happens to one of them, and particularly when one of them gets killed, a little piece of you dies right along with them," said Butler.

For those who knew him, Redding's bravery and pride is something they say they'll never forget.

"I couldn't be more proud of him for serving his country and community the way he has," said Butler.

Army Spc. Blaine E. Redding was killed in action on 6/7/10.

No comments: