Saturday, April 14, 2007

Brian Holden remembered

Army Pfc. Brian Lee Holden planned to trade the hot sands of Iraq for the cool ocean breezes of Myrtle Beach, S.C. He had a late-April vacation with his wife, Amanda, planned during a two-week leave.

Those plans were forever changed Monday. Holden, 20, a member of the 17th Field Artillery Regiment out of Fort Carson, Colo., died when a roadside bomb detonated underneath the Humvee he was driving while on patrol.

He was a 2005 graduate of Newton-Conover High School in central Catawba County.

Holden enlisted in the Army right out of high school. He got married on March 10, 2006.

Holden later found himself at Camp Loyalty, a forward operating base. A gunner, Holden was combat-ready.

Still, his mother, Leasa DeLozier, said he found it hard to get used to the crack of a rifle or the sound of mortar shells. He was ready for the two-week leave.

“He was looking forward to going to the beach for a few days and then coming home,” she said.

He planned on leaving the Army next year, buy a house and start a family.

“We saved every dime for our future,” Amanda Holden, 20, said. “Now I don’t know what I’m going to do with my life.”

The military was never far from Holden’s mind, ever since he was 8. “He knew I was in the service and always talked about joining the service,” said Eugene DeLozier, Holden’s stepfather.

Holden stood 5 feet 8 inches tall, but he looked much bigger after basic training.

“He went from a little fella, and puffed up pretty good,” Leasa DeLozier said.

One thing never changed - his sense of humor.

“He was always the one smiling,” his mother said as she held photos of her son. “You see in all these pictures, he’s smiling in every one of them.”

Holden and others in his unit often prayed with a chaplain before each mission. Often away from the barracks for five days at a time, Holden was growing weary of the fighting, Leasa DeLozier said.

Eugene DeLozier understands. He wonders why his stepson had to lose his life over what he calls a flawed foreign policy by the Bush administration.

Still, despite his feelings on the war, he is proud of Holden’s dedication to his country.

“He grew up to be a man in the military, serving this country,” Eugene DeLozier said. “I’m as proud of him as everybody who has fallen for this country.

“He was a hero.”

From the Journal

Related Link:
Brian L. Holden dies of injuries from I.E.D.