Thursday, May 10, 2007

Anthony M. Bradshaw dies of injuries from I.E.D.

Spc. Anthony Bradshaw, an El Paso native killed in Iraq over the weekend, loved martial arts movies and on his online page made numerous references to actor Chuck Norris, who played Texas Ranger Cordell Walker on television.

But close friends in El Paso said it wasn't so much the physical moves as the philosophy behind them.

"He was like my brother because we had a hard life -- we shared clothes," said William Connolly, also an El Paso native. "He was a humble guy, calm and observant and very outspoken."

Connolly said Bradshaw, 21, fought for the things he wanted and, along with others in a small group of longtime friends "joined the Army so we could go to school and make something of our lives."

On his MySpace page, Bradshaw said he looks forward to going to college, getting married and having children.

"He had plans with his brother to go to Austin and go to (the University of Texas)," said Felipe Ochoa, another member of the group. "He was very observant, very smart."

Entries on Bradshaw'sMySpace page reflected his sense of humor, Ochoa said.
A series of standard questions, meant to reveal the page owner's personality, asked Bradshaw to identify his fears and weaknesses. "Unlike Chuck Norris, I have none," he answered. And asked how he wanted to die, he responded, "Unlike Chuck Norris, I'll never die."

Bradshaw and two of his brothers -- one in Iraq and the other just returned -- respected the characters Norris and fellow martial-arts master Bruce Lee created, Ochoa said.

"They look up to men of good intentions," he said. "He was a true friend, he never has let me down. All his intentions throughout his life were good."

Bradshaw was with the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, which is a Stryker brigade based at Fort Lewis, Wash. A post spokesman on Monday declined to comment because the Department of Defense has not made an official casualty announcement. Friends said he was killed by a roadside bomb.

Another longtime friend, Mike Angerstein, an Army Reserve soldier, said Bradshaw "was just a real cool guy, a real outgoing guy." Angerstein said he used Bradshaw's MySpace page to stay in contact while his buddy was serving in Iraq.

On his page, Bradshaw, with humor, indicated he was ready to perform his duties as an infantry gunner.

Asked about his goal for the year, he wrote that he wanted to "close in with and destroy the enemy." Asked if he played an instrument, he responded, "The 240!," referring to the belt-fed machine gun that was his specialty.

"When it was time for him to go, he'd get pumped up," said Connolly, a National Guard soldier who has trained up and expects to go to Iraq in the near future.

"We're fighting for people like us to live their lives," Connolly said, adding, "you're fighting for the guy next to you, so they can come home."

For most of Bradshaw's life, home was El Paso. He lists three high schools on his MySpace page -- Hanks, Americas and Eastwood. That's because he moved around a lot, Connolly said, adding that Bradshaw earned his GED. Then the family moved to San Antonio, where his mother still lives, Connolly said.

Connolly, who met Bradshaw in the second grade, said the group of friends would play pickup football and basketball games. A common meeting place was Album Park, said Angerstein, who moved to Houston six years ago.

They all came from low-income families, Connolly said.

"There are a lot of people who take friendship for granted," he said. "We don't. We're like brothers. ... If one of us had a problem, we were there for each other."

But no matter how bad things got, Bradshaw never lost his temper, the friends agreed.

"He never really got serious or mad about anything," Angerstein said.

Bradshaw's only regret, according to his MySpace page, was "That I have only one life to give for my country."

From the El Paso Times