Friday, July 20, 2007

Brandon Bobb remembered

Pfc. Brandon Bobb left for Iraq two months ago in good spirits.

The 20-year-old soldier kept in touch with his large family after long days in the volatile streets of Baghdad and found pride in his job as a military police officer.

But he never made it to his next phone call home.

Bobb died Tuesday when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle in Baghdad. He was the second military member with Florida ties to die this week in Iraq.

Navy Chief Petty Officer Patrick L. Wade, 38, of Key West, also died Tuesday while in Salahuddin province, the Department of Defense said. More than 170 Floridians have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Bobb joined the Army a year ago after trying his hand as a student chef at Orlando Culinary Academy for a year. It wasn't exactly what he wanted to do, relatives said, and he decided to follow in the footsteps of some of the men whom he admired -- soldiers such as his late grandfather, who served in the Korean War.

He spent most of his young life in Port Arthur, Texas, before moving to Florida more than two years ago. Bobb graduated from high school in Riverview, south of Tampa, where family members said he excelled in his studies and was in the National Honor Society.

He was an avid athlete and enjoyed track, football and basketball. A kind and mature young man, he was a mentor to the younger children in his family, said his mother, Paula Bobb-Miles of Port Arthur.

"Everybody looked up to him," she said.

He enjoyed the Army

Bobb thought about a long-term career in the Army and was eager to serve his country.

"As of right now, it's the best job in the world," he wrote on his page, where he posted pictures of himself in uniform with his Army buddies. He last signed on to the page a day before his death. "Im thinking bout making this Army thing a career but dont know yet."

He was skilled in weapons training and was proud to say he finished first in his class in sharp shooting, his mother said.

"I know he was doing what he loved; that's why he was excelling so fast," she said. "He tried to be the best he could in everything he did."

His uncle, Terry Bobb, 36, also of Port Arthur, said others were drawn to his nephew's friendly personality and quick wit. "He brought a bright light into any room he stepped into," he said. "He was never shy. He could make you laugh in a minute."

Bobb was great with children and always made his brother, 10-year-old Johnny, and sister, 12-year-old Racquel, smile.

Growing up, he loved to drink "cool cups," and always had to stop for McDonald's fries, his uncle said.

"It's just sad," Terry Bobb said. "I think any family in the world would love to have had him. He was the type of person that was loved by all. He's going to be greatly missed."

Bobb and another soldier killed in the Baghdad blast, Pfc. Ron J. Joshua Jr., 19, of Austin, Texas, were assigned to the 401st Military Police Company, 92nd Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas.

From the Orlando Sentinel

Related Link:
Brandon Keith Bobb reported killed in Iraq