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Army Sgt. Brandon T. Islip

Died November 29, 2009 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

23, of Richmond, Va.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; went missing Nov. 4 while involved in a resupply mission in Bala Murghab, Afghanistan; he had been listed as Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown. His status was changed Nov. 29 to having died in a noncombat-related incident.

Body of missing sergeant found in Afghanistan

By Rahim Faiez

The Associated Press

KABUL — Rescuers found the body of a second U.S. paratrooper missing after being swept away by a fast-moving current while on an airdrop resupply mission earlier this month in western Afghanistan, NATO said Monday.

Sgt. Brandon Islip, 24, was recovered Sunday from the Bala Murgahab River in Badghis province after a local Afghan citizen provided information on his whereabouts. British divers searching the river Nov. 10 found the body of 21-year-old Spc. Benjamin Sherman, who was promoted to sergeant posthumously.

A memorial service for the two paratroopers will be held in Afghanistan in the coming days.

The two, both from the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, disappeared Nov. 4 in the Bala Barghab area of Badghis. Local police said they were swept away by the river as they tried to recover airdropped supplies that had accidentally fallen into the water.

During the first days of the search, intense fighting broke out with militants in the area. Eight Afghans — four soldiers, three policemen and an interpreter — were killed, while 17 Afghan troops and five American soldiers were wounded.

‘He made me the happiest I’ve ever been’

The Associated Press

Sonja Islip said her husband, Brandon, has “always been a hero to me.”

“He’s willing to put his life on the line for this country and that’s all anybody really can ask for,” Sonja Islip said.

Brandon Islip, 23, of Richmond, Va., died Nov. 4 in Bala Murghab, Afghanistan. He and another soldier were picking up supplies that had been dropped by aircraft. Military officials said he and the other soldier, Benjamin Sherman, tried to retrieve one that fell into a river and were swept away by the current.

The military did not announce his death until nearly a month later.

Islip graduated from Monacan High School and enlisted in the military in 2006. He was assigned to Fort Bragg, N.C.

“Sergeant Islip was a very focused individual when it came to work,” Sgt. 1st Class Joe Armenta, Islip’s platoon sergeant, said in a statement.

“He was always focused on mission accomplishment, success of the platoon, and more importantly, the welfare of his soldiers.”

Islip and his wife had been married for only seven months, but Sonja Islip said she was just relieved to know what happened to her husband.

“I had my short time with him and he made me the happiest I’ve ever been,” she said.

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