Friday, March 30, 2007

Christopher Brevard laid to rest

FORT RICHARDSON - A paratrooper and Wasilla resident was laid to rest Thursday after a memorial service was held in his honor at the Fort Richardson Community Chapel.

Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Robert Brevard died March 16 while deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in Baghdad. Brevard's unit was conducting a dismounted patrol when a roadside bomb detonated and killed him, according to Army officials.

As a squad leader for 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, he was in charge of eight other soldiers. His team survived the attack and is still conducting missions in Iraq.

“He trained his team well,” said Chris Brevard, his dad, at the memorial service, which was attended by Gov. Sarah Palin, Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich and about 200 family, friends and fellow service members. “It's not anyone's fault. The fact they survived is testimony of how well he trained them.”

The 31-year-old joined the Army in 1992 in Anchorage, according to Fort Richardson officials. His name ended up on a promotion list for Sgt. 1st Class on March 20, a few days after he died.

“We're not sure if he knew he made the promotion list,” said Chris Brevard, his dad. “But the Army took care of him and promoted him posthumously.”

Brevard always wanted to be a soldier, he said. At 17, while he was still attending Dimond High School, he wanted to join the Army, with his father's permission of course. “But I wouldn't let him. So he signed up when he turned 18,” he said.

At the time, his father was stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base as a first sergeant. “I tried to get him to join the Air Force but he was Army through and through.”

Besides being a career soldier, Brevard also enjoyed a variety of Alaska sports.

“He was the guy with all the toys,” said Staff Sgt. John McFalls, who served with Brevard at the Fort Richardson NCO Academy. Four-wheelers, snowmachines and a cool truck. “He had it all. And the best thing about him was he wasn't afraid to share it.

“His wife, Amber, drove the truck, though. Even though he said he bought it for himself,” McFalls said. “But every once in while he stole it from her.”

Besides loving the Army and everything about Alaska, Brevard was well-known for loving his family, too. Brevard is survived by his wife, Amber, and his two little girls, Emily, 9, and Jessica, 7.

“Those girls were his whole life,” said his father. “Every chance he got, he was holding them, kissing them, and just having fun with them.”

And every chance he got, he called home while he was deployed. He also called his parents, who live in the Lower 48.

“On one particular phone call, he told us that if he died tomorrow he would be happy because he accomplished everything he set out to do,” his father said. “He was the kind of guy everyone followed. Whether it was in the field as a soldier or with his friends out on the four-wheelers or snowmachines.

“My son trained for war, but he always felt war was a last resort,” he said. “He went, he gave his life for it, and he did what needed to be done.”

Brevard was also posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star Medal. He was laid to rest at the Fort Richardson National Cemetery.

From the Fontiersman

Related Link:
Christopher R. Brevard dies of injuries from I.E.D.