Brandon S. Asbury
4th Support Battalion
Attached to 1-22 Infantry
4th Infantry Division (Mechanized)
Thursday, October 12 2006 @ 08:07 AM EDT
Washington Post -- Brandon S. Asbury called his father from Iraq on Friday with good news: He'd been promoted to sergeant.
Asbury had been in the Army for only 24 months, but the other sergeants on the board were very impressed.
"I told him I was very proud of him," said his father, Walter Asbury, a sergeant in the Virginia National Guard.
"I said he'd probably reach a higher rank than I do."
But Asbury, 21, was killed the next day. According to a Department of Defense announcement, Asbury died in Baghdad after his unit --
the 4th Support Battalion, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division -- came under small-arms fire.
Family members said he was struck in the head by sniper fire while setting up a roadside checkpoint.
Asbury grew up in Tazewell, Va., in the Blue Ridge Mountains 130 miles west of Roanoke.
At Tazewell High School, he played drums in the marching band and was elected grand marshal, or homecoming king, his senior year.
He went straight into basic training after graduation, said his father, who is a 20-year veteran of the Virginia Guard.
Last December, a few months after he completed training at Fort Hood, Tex., the younger Asbury was sent to Iraq's Anbar Province,
the country's most dangerous. "I was worried about him," said his father, who had spent 13 months in Iraq, ending last year.
"I was in Mosul, and we took a lot of mortars and small-arms fire, but it wasn't as bad as where he went. He was in the worst part of Iraq."
Asbury said that his son "was a model person who never did anything halfway" and that he enjoyed his missions in Iraq, however risky.
"He was a loving person," Asbury said. "I never heard a cruel word out of his mouth."
Family members remembered Brandon Asbury as a joker with a knack for physical comedy, "like Jerry Lewis," his older sister said.
"He'd make you laugh so hard that you cried," said the sister, Kelly Perdue. "You'd bust your sides laughing at him."
One costume of Asbury's featured plastic teeth, a mullet wig and a trucker's cap that read "Gooder than Snuff,"
and Asbury would use the phrase to lighten even the dreariest situation. When Army cooks would ask him if he liked the chow,
Asbury would answer, "Gooder than snuff," Perdue said.
"He was one of the funniest people I've ever met in my life," said Jason Perdue, his brother-in-law, with whom he enjoyed camping,
hunting and fishing. Asbury also loved NASCAR and the Green Bay Packers, Perdue said.
War, and the combat deaths of fellow soldiers from his unit, didn't dampen his humor, "even when he called from Iraq,
even in the worst situations," Perdue remembered. "We were so worried, but he'd say, 'I'll be fine, just take care of everybody at home.' "
His mother, Diane Alberts, spent yesterday preparing for the drive from her home in North Carolina to Texas for a memorial service.
Asbury's wife, Sherri, and her three children live near Fort Hood, where Asbury's unit was based.
"He always tried to make everybody happy," Alberts said. "He wanted to do everything for everybody and make their lives easier."
Sergeant Brandon Asbury's decorations
SGT Brandon Asbury
Published: October 10, 2006 09:01 pm
Good spirited Tazewell native falls in Operation Iraqi Freedom
By BILL ARCHER and CHARLES OWENS
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
TAZEWELL, Va. Family members in Tazewell are grieving the loss of a beautiful and kind-hearted hero.
Although the Department of Defense has not yet released his name, family members have confirmed that Brandon Asbury, 20,
of the 4th Infantry Division, was killed in action Saturday while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Asbury, a 2004 graduate of Tazewell High School, was due home in November, his sister Kelly Perdue said.
He was the most beautiful and kind-hearted person that anybody could have ever known, Perdue said.
He always made you laugh. When we found out, it was hard. He was coming home in November. To me, its like a part has been ripped out of me.
He was my best friend. We grew up together. We got in trouble together. He was just a wonderful kid. He had his whole life ahead of him.
Perdue said her brother was stationed out of Fort Hood, Texas, where he lived with his wife Sherri.
I am very proud of him, Perdue said. He was supposed to be a mechanic, but he was a medic and gunner.
I talked to him last Sunday. He was always in good spirits. He was ready to come home and start his life again with his family.
He didnt know a stranger. Everybody knew Brandon. Honestly, he was my hero. I could never be more proud of him than I am now.
Perdue said her brother continued a family tradition of service in the military. Their father, Walter Asbury, just recently returned from Iraq
as a member of the Virginia Army National Guard.
All of us miss him, Brandons uncle Danny Asbury said. He used to come and stay at my house.
We would watch car races on television every night. He was a real good young man.
Perdue said a memorial service for her brother will be held in Tazewell.
SPC James Grant Altizer, a classmate of Asburys who is now serving with the U.S. Army 3rd Battlefield Coordination Detachment in Korea,
heard of his friends death early Monday morning in Korea.
Brandon Asbury (is) an American hero not because he died, Altizer wrote in an open letter to his community.
He was a hero the day he gave his time to serve and protect all in the greatest country in the world, Altizer wrote.
He is my hero, Altizer wrote. I just looked through my yearbook and I remember how friendly and goofy he was.
He knew everyone and everyone knew Brandon. Maybe it was because he always had a smile on.
Maybe it was because he could make anyone laugh in any situation. I remember his family and how great friends they were to my family
throughout the years. Brandon was a friend, a brother-like figure to many.
But I think to myself, and this is what bothers me, Altizer wrote. Brandon was a husband, a father, he was a son, grandson, and a brother.
Now my thoughts and prayers go out to his entire family and his many friends, for no one knows exactly what they are feeling
and going through at this very moment ... Oh dear God. Everyone please keep Brandon Asbury in your thoughts and prayers also.
Altizer called the Bluefield Daily Telegraph newsroom Sunday afternoon from Korea and asked if he could share his thoughts
with the community he loves. Altizer just returned to Korea after spending a month at home in Tazewell.
Back home, its like a routine, Altizer wrote. Every morning the American populace wakes up to CNN and its flashing banners
and Iraq reports on what had just happened in the desert or much worse, the numbers of how many had been killed.
Most parents, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters or friends etc., stay glued to the screen, praying that this is not his/her time, he wrote.
That sounds bad, but I have friends and family members watching and I know for a fact they worry terribly all of the time.
bluefield daily telegraph
Birth: Jul. 30, 1985
Death: Oct. 7, 2006
Al Anbar, Iraq
Brandon married a girl from Texas, and they resided near the division's home base at Fort Hood, Texas. He was a member of the Tazewell High band
and Green T singers while attending Tazewell High School. He was homecoming king during his senior year who could make people's ribs ache from laughter.
As a sophomore, in a play called "Hollywood Hillbillies," Asbury played a character called Bubba to such comic perfection that members of the choir
thereafter called him by the name. In school, Brandon Asbury sang in the choir, played in the band and performed in plays. During his senior year,
his good-natured personality prompted students to elect him the homecoming grand marshal, the school's version of homecoming king. He came from
a military family. His father, Army National Guardsman Walt Asbury, returned to Tazewell County in 2005 after serving a year in Iraq. His military awards
and decorations include the Army Service Ribbon, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal,
the Iraq Campaign Medal and the Combat Action Badge. He posthumously received the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart and Good Conduct Medal.
He is survived by his wife, three daughters, parents, grandparents. He was 21.
4th Support Battalion
4th Infantry Division
Fort Hood, Texas
SPC Brandon Asbury
Sgt. Brandon S. Asbury, 21,
always thought about what was best for his wife and three
daughters before he did anything,
said Sgt. 1st Class Jimmie Arthur.
Tazewell soldier dies in Iraq
Friends and family described Sgt. Brandon Asbury as the type who loved to make others laugh.
By Cody Lowe
Across the country, the bad news has been more common this month than at any time since January 2005 -- the word that a loved one has been killed in combat in Iraq.
Southwest Virginia hasn't been spared, either, as the name of Army Sgt. Brandon Asbury, 21, of Tazewell, has been added to the list.
To date, at least 28 of the more than 2,700 U.S. troops killed in Iraq and at least four of the more than 150 U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan have ties to Western Virginia.
The Department of Defense announced this week that Asbury died Oct. 7. His unit came under enemy small-arms fire while setting up a roadside checkpoint
in Baghdad, the Army reported. His family told The Washington Post that sniper fire struck Asbury in the head.
That family had escaped tragedy in Iraq earlier when Asbury's father, Walter, a sergeant in the Virginia National Guard, completed a yearlong tour of duty unscathed.
His unit, Company B, 276th Engineer Battalion, returned from Mosul in February 2005.
The elder Asbury downplayed the danger to his unit, but it suffered several casualties including those inflicted by a suicide bomber who attacked a mess hall in December 2004.
"It wasn't as bad as where he went," Walter Asbury told the Post. "He was in the worst part of Iraq."
Brandon Asbury was part of the 4th Support Battalion, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, based at Fort Hood, Texas. He trained as a tracked vehicle repairman,
but his sister, Kelly Perdue, told the Bluefield Daily Telegraph he was a medic and a gunner.
A 2004 graduate of Tazewell High School, Asbury played drums in the band, sang in the choir and was grand marshal for homecoming his senior year.
In published reports, friends and family all described Asbury as a happy-go-lucky sort who loved to make others laugh.
Former classmate Amanda Branam told the Richlands News-Press, "I never managed to catch him during a serious moment, because he made sure to keep
such a joyous demeanor no matter the circumstances. The most respectable jester you've ever seen. He was also a charmer, and very sweet toward the opposite sex,
so as you can imagine he was popular with the ladies," said Branam, now a student at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. "I've never heard anyone
say an unkind word against him, and I don't think anyone could force out an insult either."
Taking a phrase from a comical trucker's hat he owned, Asbury would use "Gooder than Snuff" to get a chuckle even when times were tough, his sister said.
"He'd make you laugh so hard that you cried," Perdue said. "You'd bust your sides laughing at him."
Family members were traveling back to Virginia on Wednesday after funeral services were held Tuesday for Asbury in Texas, where his wife and stepchildren live.
In addition to his father and sister, Asbury was survived by his wife, Sherri, three stepdaughters, and his mother, Diane Alberts of North Carolina.
Family members have said a memorial service will be held later in Southwest Virginia, but arrangements for that have not been announced.
Asbury is the second Tazewell County native to die in the war in Iraq. Sgt. Guy Stanley Hagy Jr., a mortarman also based at Fort Hood, died in September 2004
of wounds inflicted by an improvised explosive device in Baghdad.
From the Roanoke Times
The grave marker for Brandon S. Asbury
Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery
Plot: Sec 1 Row D Site 129
Created by: Z46561848
Record added: Oct 09, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 16122140
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