Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Brandon J. Van Parys killed by rocket-propelled grenade

A 20-year-old Lynn Township man who was motivated to join the Marines by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks was killed by a grenade in Iraq on Monday just 20 days after arriving there for his first tour of duty.

Lance Cpl. Brandon J. Van Parys was killed as he was providing security for a colonel in Al Anbar province, according to his father, Alan Van Parys.

Van Parys, a 2005 graduate of Northwestern Lehigh High School, and his unit were checking out an area along the Euphrates River where insurgents were believed to be running supplies across the river, Alan Van Parys said.

As they were attempting to secure the area, a rocket-propelled grenade hit Van Parys, richocheted off his body, struck a humvee, then exploded. Van Parys died instantly, his father said.

Van Parys was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

He joined the Marines in November 2005 despite his parents' concerns about entering the military at wartime, his father said.

Alan Van Parys said joining the Marines was his son's way of avenging the attacks on Sept. 11.

He is the third Northwestern Lehigh graduate to die in the last week and a half. Capt. Mark T. Resh, 28, was killed Jan. 28 when his helicopter was shot down in Iraq. Mark Milot, 23, died on Friday in a plane crash in Massachusetts.

Read the rest at the Morning Call