Monday, July 19, 2010

Army Staff Sgt. Brian F. Piercy

Remember Our Heroes

Army Staff Sgt. Brian F. Piercy, 27, of Clovis, Calif.

SSgt. Piercy was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died July 19, 2010 in Arghandab River Valley, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device.

Soldier killed in Afghanistan was Buchanan grad --

A soldier from Clovis who was within a month of completing his Army service was killed in Afghanistan on Monday, his brother said Tuesday.

Staff Sgt. Brian Piercy, 27, was killed during a foot patrol north of Kandahar when an improvised explosive device detonated, said his brother, David Piercy.
The Clovis solider, a 2001 Buchanan High School graduate, would have completed his second tour of Afghanistan in about 30 days and was planning to move back to California from North Carolina with his wife, Christina, David Piercy said.

Piercy's family was notified of his death Monday night.

Piercy is the ninth Clovis resident and the seventh Buchanan High graduate to die in Iraq or Afghanistan.

"He believed in the values of the Army and in the mission of what he was doing in Afghanistan," David Piercy, 35, said of his brother.

Brian Piercy, who played drums in the Buchanan High marching band, loved to play piano and loved his Volkswagen Beetle, his brother said.

He attended Fresno Pacific University for two years before deciding to enlist in the Army about seven years ago.

Piercy and his wife, whom he met while attending Fresno Pacific, were married in December 2006, his brother said.

A month later he began his first tour of duty in Afghanistan. During that tour, he suffered only minor shrapnel injuries.

He lived with his wife just outside the North Carolina Army base where he was stationed.

"Brian was just an all-around great guy, friendly with everybody," David Piercy said.

Brian Piercy was a gifted student and Buchanan High School marching band drummer who went to Fresno Pacific University before deciding to go into the military.

Piercy, an Army staff sergeant who was only weeks from completing his second tour in Afghanistan, was killed Monday by an explosive device while patrolling near Kandahar.

He was remembered Wednesday by Buchanan principal Ricci Ulrich as a dedicated student.

She was principal of Alta Sierra Intermediate School, which is adjacent to Buchanan High, when Piercy and his brother Eric attended.

"He was a brilliant kid and a very loving young man," Ulrich said. "I will remember him as being very kind and stellar in school."

And, the loss for Clovis Unified is compounded because Piercy's mother, Carolyn, is a teacher in the district.

Standing next to a memorial where the names of Buchanan's six other soldiers who died in action are inscribed, Ulrich said the school community is joining together.

"There is a real sense of wanting to comfort the family," she said.

The Clovis soldier was planning to move back to California from North Carolina with his wife, Christina, after his second tour ended, brother David Piercy said.

Brian Piercy was reserved until you got to know him, said Ricardo Flores, who stood with Piercy in the drum line in the Buchanan High School marching band.

"Once he finally let loose of that shyness, he was a good, fun person to be around," Flores said.

Clint Petty, who also graduated in the class of 2001, said Brian Piercy could have done whatever he wanted because of his academic abilities. "He definitely had us all beat academically," said Petty, who has a mechanical engineering degree from Fresno State.

Petty said he could see his friend in a leadership role in the military, even though it wasn't something he talked about in high school, because Piercy knew when to take care of business but also tried to "bring smiles to every one's faces."

Piercy's death has saddened many in the Valley and it led to prayers for his family at several church services.

Wednesday night's service at the New Hope Community Church began with a prayer for Clovis native Brian Piercy.

Associate Pastor Gene Spurling says it doesn't matter whether or not Brian went to their church. They pray for him just the same. "Whether it's in a war, whether it's an automobile accident. Whether it's some other tragedy. When our city family hurts, our church family hurts."

The New Hope Community Church is no stranger to military tragedies. A Memorial sits in Plain view and was built in 2005. It honors two of their local marines who died fighting overseas.

Spurling says even to this day people randomly stop by to pay their respects. "We don't know who they are necessarily. They stop. They get out of their cars. Some bring flowers, some stop and pray, but they remember and that's the purpose of the memorial fountain."

The Clovis church is not the only church in the Valley to honor Brian. For many years the Piercy family attended Peoples Church in Northeast Fresno.

Longtime pastor and family friend Pete Gavarilis says the Piercy brothers were known for their selflessness and dedication to their family and country. "He had the opportunity to come home, but because of his comradely with his fellow soldiers, their family while they're there. He didn't want to leave and leave them short. And he ultimately paid the price."

Army Staff Sgt. Brian F. Piercy was killed in action on 7/19/10.

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