Thursday, June 10, 2010

Marine Lance Cpl. Gavin R. Brummund

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Lance Cpl. Gavin R. Brummund, 22, of Arnold, Calif.

LCpl Brummund was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died June 10, 2010 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, while supporting combat operations.

Marine Lance Cpl. Gavin Brummund, a former Bret Harte High School athlete and nearly lifelong Arnold resident, was killed in Afghanistan this week, family members learned late Thursday.

Brummund, who was based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., was on patrol in Marjah, in the Helmand province in southern Afghanistan when he stepped on a primitive explosive, commonly called an IED.

He was treated on site and then taken to a hospital, where he later died, said his mother, Debbie Morris, of Arnold, reached by phone this morning.

The incident happened Thursday night Afghanistan time, she said.

Morris and her ex-husband, Gregg Brummund, who operates Arnold’s Chevron service station and deli, were scheduled to leave today for the Air Force base in Dover, Del., to claim his body.

Lance Cpl. Brummund, 22, served in the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, and was the leader of his team.

He was born in Van Nuys and moved to Arnold with his parents in 1994, when he was six years old.

He attended Hazel Fischer Elementary School, Avery Middle School and Bret Harte High School, where he played football and excelled at wrestling. He graduated in 2006. He briefly attended College of the Redwoods, a community college in Humboldt County.

Morris said he left college and joined the Marines three years ago. He had one year left on his enlistment.

Lance Cpl. Brummund was first deployed to Iraq. He liked the Marines, but had grown weary of the war in Afghanistan, Morris said.

“When he was in Iraq, they didn’t really have any battles,” she said. “That was easy. But this one was taking a toll on him.”

He was deployed to Afghanistan in January, Morris said. He was scheduled to finish his tour at the end of July or early August, she said.

Gavin Brummund was married two years ago to Michaela Brummund, with whom he lived in North Carolina. He had no children, but had two dogs, eight puppies and a cat, Morris said.

AVERY - Grief for a fallen Marine and love for his parents painted Highway 4 red, white and blue for a few hours Sunday.

Hundreds gathered beside the highway in Avery, Arnold, Murphys and smaller communities to give a solemn welcome to Gregg Brummund and Debra Morris, who were returning from Delaware after claiming the remains of Lance Cpl. Gavin R. Brummund, 22. For now, the body remains on the East Coast with Gavin Brummund's wife, Mikaela Gause.

Lance Cpl. Brummund died Thursday after being wounded by an improvised explosive device in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

For many, it was a day of tears.

"I watched those kids grow up," Kathy O'Malley, 57, said of Gavin Brummund and his younger brother, Cole, 18.

O'Malley sometimes had to stop to wipe her eyes while she worked the cash register at the Chevron service station in Arnold. Gavin Brummund's parents own the business.

Across from the Chevron, an enormous U.S. flag was suspended between pine trees next to Bristol's Ranch House Cafe.

"Our kids all grew up with Gavin," said Patty Ellington, 53, owner of Bristol's Ranch House. "Gavin is my son's best friend."

Beth Hicks, 51, said she helped organize the roadside show of support so that Morris, who lives in Arnold, would know she is not alone.

"We love her. We think of her. And then she can go home and lock the door," Hicks said.

The crowd along the highway was much larger in Avery, a few miles west of Arnold. Gregg Brummund lives there, and organizers invited supporters to that location in the belief Gregg Brummund might turn off to return to his home there.

As it happened, Morris and Brummund traveled together in a silver van and continued east to Arnold, not stopping after they passed through Avery at 3:10 p.m.

Many in both Arnold and Avery were personally connected to Brummund and his parents. The Chevron station is a hub, where many people buy sandwiches, coffee and breakfast burritos on their way to work.

"I go there every morning," said Parris Scott, 44, of Avery, a roofing contractor. Scott was on the shoulder of Highway 4 in Avery with his daughter Ava, 3, on his hip, waiting to show his support as Morris and Gregg Brummund passed by.

"We try to support each other," Scott said. "He was a young kid and barely had started."

Others, including individual veterans and members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2600 in San Andreas and Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 391 of Sonora came to honor the family of the first Calaveras County resident to give his life during combat since the Vietnam War.

"It just hits home when it's somebody from your community," said Tim Saunders, 49, of Angels Camp. "I think this community really wants to let the family know how much we appreciate the sacrifice that he gave."

Marine Lance Cpl. Gavin R. Brummund was killed in action on 6/10/10.

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