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Army Sgt. Brandon S. Hocking

Died March 21, 2011 Serving During Operation New Dawn

24, of Seattle, Wash.; assigned to 87th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.; died March 21 in Samarra, Iraq, when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

Soldier was on second tour of duty in Iraq

The Associated Press

The summer before he died, Brandon Hocking told a military writer how much he enjoyed his job at a base in southern Iraq where he fixed weapons for the Army.

“My favorite part about this job is learning different weapons systems,” Hocking said in an Army public affairs report. “There’s always something new to learn so I can be better at my job.”

At the time, he was also helping put together a team that could travel and repair weapons, according to The Seattle Times.

Hocking, 24, of Seattle, died March 21 after his unit was attacked in Samarra. He enlisted in the Army in November 2005, and was assigned to Fort Stewart. He held the rank of corporal when he was killed, but was posthumously promoted to sergeant.

His family said Hocking, who was on his second tour of duty in Iraq, had been scheduled to return home at the end of March.

His sister Brianna Hocking told the Times that he was a small-arms repair specialist and also served as a convoy gunner. The two exchanged messages via Facebook while he was deployed, and last communicated in the weeks before his death.

“I told him to stay safe, and he told me, ‘Don’t worry. I love you, and I will be home soon,’” Hocking said.

Hocking attended Federal Way and Decatur high schools before enlisting and enjoyed fixing old cars, sketching and playing guitars.

He leaves behind his wife, Havalah Hocking; 4-year-old son, Sebastian Hocking; and 3-year-old daughter, Gwen.

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