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Army Spc. Brandon A. Meyer

Died January 28, 2008 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

20, of Orange, Calif.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.; died Jan. 28 in Mosul, Iraq, of wounds sustained when his unit encountered an improvised explosive device during convoy operations. Also killed were Sgt. James E. Craig, Staff Sgt. Gary W. Jeffries, Spc. Evan A. Marshall and Pvt. Joshua A.R. Young.

Soldier, newlywed dies in Iraq just short of 21st birthday

The Associated Press

ORANGE, Calif. — When Spc. Brandon Meyer was deployed to Iraq five months after his wedding, he told his bride that if he died he wanted to be buried by the ocean and he wanted guests to wear his favorite color, baby blue.

Meyer, 20, was killed Jan. 28 when his convoy hit a roadside bomb in Mosul, Iraq. Four other soldiers — all from the 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment Team, 4th Infantry Division, from Fort Carson, Colo. — died in the attack, according to the military.

Meyer’s wife, Caitlin, will bury him by the ocean this weekend after a funeral in the church where they were married. She said her husband never doubted his decision to enlist in the military.

“You go into it knowing it could happen, but at the same time you think, ‘Did this just happen to me?’” she said. “I’m a 20-year-old widow. That’s not normal. That’s not the way it should be. At all.”

The couple met on a blind date and Caitlin Meyer fell in love with the young man who had moved to Orange County from Texas to be closer to the beach. He also loved music, baseball and football.

“He’s everything I’m not, and I’m everything he’s not,” said his wife, who grew up in Orange. “It was a spark.”

Meyer called his wife two or three times a week between patrols in Mosul. He told her he had dodged bullets, including one that flew by his head when he looked out a window in a house that was raided by soldiers.

About a week after she heard that story, Meyer was killed in the roadside blast.

Meyer, who was promoted to specialist after his death, is also survived by his parents and a younger sister.

Fort Carson soldiers remembered in Iraq

The Associated Press

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Five Fort Carson soldiers killed while on a mission to hunt insurgents were remembered in Mosul, Iraq, for their determination and tenacity.

More than 800 troops gathered inside a movie theater on the Army’s Forward Operating Base Marez to eulogize the five soldiers killed Jan. 28 when a homemade bomb exploded and destroyed their Humvee, The Gazette of Colorado Springs reported.

Killed were Sgt. James E. Craig, 26, of Hollywood, Calif.; Staff Sgt. Gary W. Jeffries, 37, of Roscoe, Texas; Spc. Evan A. Marshall, 21, of Athens, Ga.; Pfc. Brandon A. Meyer, 20, of Orange, Calif.; and Pvt. Joshua A. R. Young, 21, of Riddle, Ore.

They were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.

The memorial was attended by top American commanders in Iraq, including Gen. David Petraeus.

“He never wanted to quit,” Sgt. Tyler Daly was quoted by The Gazette of Marshall. “If you beat him at anything he would say ‘One more time’ or ‘Best two out of three.’”

Pfc. Anthony Mims said Meyer set an example by always giving of himself.

“Brandon was a great soldier and an awesome friend,” Mims eulogized.

Choking back tears, Spc. Richard Jackson told the crowd that Young’s dream was to make a difference in the world.

“That’s what he did,” Jackson said. “He made a difference where the fight is.”

“All were my friends, all were my comrades, and all were leaders,” Sgt. 1st Class Felipe Cruz said during a eulogy.

Cruz said Jeffries was an expert at ridding people of their sadness so they could face another day at war.

“He would bring me back to the light when I was seeing darkness,” Cruz said.

Sgt. Jacob Sandoz spoke about Craig during the service, recalling his friendship and his dedication to the American cause in Iraq.

“He would want us to continue fighting,” Sandoz said.

Slain soldier loved music, sports, the beach

The Associated Press

Army Pfc. Brandon A. Meyer and his wife, Caitlin, met on a blind date. She fell in love with the young man who had moved to Orange County from Texas to be closer to the beach. He also loved music, baseball and football.

She gave him a stuffed horse wearing a baby blue outfit with a shirt reading, “Surf’s up.”

“He just sat there with a stupid, goofy grin on his face and said, ‘That’s the first time someone’s actually listened to what I like,’” said Caitlin Meyer.

Meyer, 20, of Orange, Calif., was killed Jan. 28 in an explosive in Mosul. He was born in Beatrice, Neb., and went to high school in Texas. He was assigned to Fort Carson, Colo.

The summer before he left for Iraq, Meyer had Caitlin kiss a piece of paper and had the image tattooed over his heart. He nearly fainted when her name was tattooed across his back. On his left arm, he had a Chinese character for warrior.

A towering 6-foot-4, with size 13 shoes, Meyer would scare friends and family with masks, imitate voices from TV and movies, and plant fake plastic bugs to elicit screams. He also loved teasing his younger sister Desiree, now 18.

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