OPERATING BASE ZANGABAD, Afghanistan (9/3/2011) – With a pair of
OH-58D, Kiowa Warrior scout helicopters flying above the outer
perimeter of Forward Operating Base Sperwan Ghar, members of Company
C, 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team,
25th Infantry Division (L) paid their final respects to one of their
own in a memorial service, Aug. 28.
Pfc. Brandon S. Mullins,
21, from Owensboro, Ky., was killed Aug. 25 when his Mine-resistant,
ambush-protected, All-terrain Vehicle struck an improvised explosive
device and rolled over.
With an attack jet roaring overhead,
Lt. Col. Stephen Miller, 3rd Bn., 21st Inf. Reg., Gimlet battalion
commander said, “It never seems to fail that those that we lose are
the very best among us. Everyone will remember Brandon's impatience
with those he thought weren't moving fast enough and his brute
strength and force he would employ to get things done.
will move forward to respect Brandon's memory. We must continue to
honorably help the Afghan people who desire a better life. Brandon
died trying to help accomplish this mission and we must complete
it,” Miller added.
Company Commander, Capt. Sean Allred,
thanked Mullins' family for “the exemplary man you raised.”
He added, “We offer our deepest condolences ... he was a man worthy of
admiration and we know that we cannot fill the void created by his
loss. It is with a heavy heart that we have gathered in this attempt
to honor and remember his sacrifice.”
Mullins' squad leader,
Staff Sgt. Matthew Mills, took his turn next to reflect on the loss
of his Soldier. “I can honestly say I've never met anyone like
Mullins,” Mills said.
Spec. Deroderick Jackson, of Slidell,
La., stepped up to the podium to pay tribute to Mullins. He told of
the way Mullins was the first person from their platoon and squad
that he met after stepping off the jetliner in Alaska.
was just a big help to me. Every time he saw I had a hard time, he
made me smile and told me to get it together,” Jackson related. “On
a mission with the Afghan National Army, I was real tired and they
were going real fast and he [Mullins] said, ‘You got this,
The final tribute by one of Brandon Mullins'
brothers-in-arms was from Pfc. Adam Baldridge from Imperial, Mo. He
emphasized the fact that he was honored and proud to serve with him
right from their first day at Creature Co. when they both were
assigned to one of the company's weapons squads.
he was really goofy. One time I remember we got in trouble and we
were getting smoked until we almost had a tear rolling down our
cheeks. He just turned and looked and me and said, ‘Just remember,
they can't smoke rocks,'” Baldrich shared.
ceremony came to a close with the final roll call by 1st Sgt. Robert
Fontenot called out the names of three soldiers
from within the company formation, including Pfc. Mullins. All of
those called answered, except for Mullins. Fontenot called his name
three times and all three times – silence. Fontenot executed an
about face, and an honor guard of seven riflemen fired a 21-gun
salute. Seamlessly, “Taps” played from an unseen bugler.
With “Amazing Grace” played on bagpipes, the leadership of Lt. Col.
Mullins and Command Sgt. Maj. Ricahrd Brown, marched up to the altar
and rendered salutes, each retrieving battalion coins from their
pockets and placing them at the base of Mullins' weapon. Brown
gently placed a hand on Mullins' helmet before returning to the
position of attention and again rendering their final salute.
A set of desert tan boots sat below an M4 carbine weapon,
pointing down. An advanced combat helmet sat atop the weapon's butt
stock with a set of dog tags dangling from the pistol grip, the
day's fading sunlight glinting off the metal.
may be gone but his memory is forever honored in the Gimlet history.
By Army Maj. Joel Anderson
1st Brigade Combat Team, 25th
Infantry Division Public Affairs
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