Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Bradley D. King dies of injuries from I.E.D.

The war in Iraq came home to Wabash County for the second time Tuesday, April 3.

That's when the Indiana National Guard announced that Staff Sgt. Bradley D. King, 27, LaFontaine, was killed Monday as a result of injuries received from an improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations in Al Amiriyah, Iraq.

Making the announcement was Gov. Mitch Daniels and Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger, Adjutant General of Indiana.

King deployed as a member of Company A, 2nd Battalion, 152nd Infantry, which is headquartered in Indianapolis, but he had been reassigned from the battalion headquarters in Marion.

He was a part of Team Gator, which included six other Wabash County National Guard members. They deployed in October of 2006.

King's wife, Adrian (Stepler), and son, Dathan, 15 months, survive in LaFontaine. They had been married three years. He is also survived by his parents, Wayne D. and Paula S. King, Marion.

Born Feb. 19, 1979, he was a 1997 graduate of Mississinewa High School, where he played football and wrestled, according to his brother Phil, who lives near Somerset. Brad also has an older brother Aaron in Gas City, a younger brother Kenny in Marion and an older sister Mary (King) Meyer in Portland.

In his civilian life, King was a mechanic at the Marion National Guard Armory. He had also worked for his brother Phil, who owns King's Heating and Cooling.

"He was the most patriotic person I've ever met," his brother Phil told the Wabash Plain Dealer. "He was glad to be there (in Iraq).

"Because of his job at the armory he wasn't deployed shortly after the war began (when members of the 76th Brigade went to Iraq). That bothered him," Phil King said. "He volunteered to go this time.

"He said he was following the people who went before him.

"In the videos he sent home, he always made sure we knew who the people were with him and how much good they were doing. He knew no enemies."

Umbarger said, "I would like to extend my deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Staff Sgt. King, who lost his life in the service of his nation. It is with true and personal sorrow that we acknowledge his sacrifice. Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones."

Gov. Daniels said, "It is difficult to receive word that one of Indiana's finest has given his life in defense of freedom. We all mourn the loss of such a young man."

Brig. Gen. Dave Harris, recently promoted to assistant adjutant general, said, "Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and Adrian's parents."

Harris, who also lives near Somerset and graduated from Southwood High School, was commanding officer of the 76th Brigade when Team Gator was deployed in October.

King is the first combat-related death for the 76th Brigade in Iraq. He was the second soldier from Wabash County to die there.

From the Plain Dealer