Sunday, March 13, 2011

Joel K. Brattain, Army, Private 1st Class -- Rest In Peace

Joel K. Brattain, 21
Army, Private 1st Class
Based: Ft. Bragg, N.C.
1st Battalion, 504th Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: March 13, 2004
Baghdad (southeast area), Iraq
Gender: Male
Hometown: Yorba Linda
High School: Esperanza High (Anaheim)
Burial: Holy Sepulcher Cemetery, Orange
Snowboarding, skateboarding and just being kids. As a friend it hurts to know I'll never see him again, but he truly is a hero and he won't be forgotten.
— Sean Viele

Last March, Joel Brattain joined the Army and became a paratrooper. Last fall, he married his high school sweetheart, Andrea Del Campo, on the sand in Laguna Beach. In January, he shipped off to Iraq. "It was a maturing process," his brother said. "He had gone off adventuring and this and that, and it was time for him to mature. He was becoming a man."

On March 13, Army Pfc. Joel K. Brattain, 21, and two other soldiers --  Staff Sgt. Clint D. Ferrin and Sgt. Daniel J. Londono -- were killed in Baghdad when their vehicle was struck by the blast of a roadside explosive.

Kris Brattain said his brother's decision to join the Army probably was driven both by pragmatism and patriotism. "First and foremost, he loved Andrea. He really wanted to provide for her," he said.

But also, "9/11 touched him like it touched everybody," he said, pointing out that his brother had graduated months before the terrorist attacks. "When you become 18 and you're out of school, I think your eyes open to the world, and you ask yourself, 'What am I going to do with my life?' "

Being a paratrooper was a logical step for someone who loved adventure and the outdoors, his brother said. "He wasn't going to be a computer technician," Kris Brattain said. "He was a paratrooper. He had his wings and he loved it."

He said he would miss a brother who tagged along with him for much of his life. "He was my little brother, and we were close our whole lives," Kris Brattain said. "He didn't let things get to him, because you come to find out life is short. He lived life to the fullest."

In addition to his wife and brother, Brattain is survived by his father, Gary; his mother, Elaine Clark; and a 9-year-old half brother, Brandon Clark.
Read the entire LA Times article about Army Private 1st Class Joel K. Brattain here, find more at Fallen Heroes and Military Times and the War Heroes Page, visit Private Brattain's Guest Book and go to Wall Dads for more pictures and stories about Joel K. Brattain.

Joel K. Brattain

Daniel J. Londono
Clint D. Ferrin

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