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Honoring those who fought and died in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn
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Army Cpl. Brian M. Connelly

Died February 26, 2009 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom


26, of Union Beach, N.J.; assigned to the 40th Engineer Battalion, Task Force 1-6, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Baumholder, Germany; died Feb. 26 in Baghdad, of wounds sustained when his vehicle was struck by an explosive device.

Funeral services held for newlywed N.J. soldier

The Associated Press

KEYPORT, N.J. — Hundreds of people attend funeral services for a fallen soldier from New Jersey, who was killed in Iraq just five months after being married.

Spc. Brian M. Connelly of Union Beach died Feb. 26, after his vehicle was struck by an explosive device. The 26-year-old was assigned to the 40th Engineer Battalion, Task Force 1-6, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division based in Germany.

Connelly had married his wife, Kara, last September.

While speaking with her via webcam just four hours before he was killed, he told her his tour in Iraq had been shortened by three months and that he would be heading back to Germany in May.

At Saturday’s service, Connelly’s younger brother, Kevin, said “it’s up to all of us to finish what he’s left undone and to take his lessons with a humble heart.”


Soldier ‘was everything’ to those who loved him

The Associated Press

Once, when Brian M. Connelly was mad at his mother, he put itching power all over her clothes.

“He loved practical jokes, anything to keep people laughing and smiling,” said his wife, Kara. “He never tried anything with me. He knew better.”

Connelly, 26, of Union Beach, N.J., died Feb. 26 in Adhamiya of wounds suffered when his vehicle was struck by an explosive device.

He was assigned to Baumholder, Germany. His brother, Kevin Connelly, recalled him as rowdy, loyal and protective. He loved being on the water, raucous music, mosh pits and once saved his younger sibling from a rip tide.

After graduating from high school in 2000, Connelly enrolled in Brookdale Community College, where he studied computer technology for about 18 months. He joined an electricians’ union, then was laid off.

After finishing his Army stint, Connelly hoped to land a construction job to help pay for his wife’s college. They talked about moving south, to someplace warm and affordable, and starting a family.

“He was just awesome,” said his wife. “He was good hearted. He was funny. He was everything.”

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