Bradley Dean Conner
Sergeant Major, United States Army
RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense
No. 572-07 IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 11, 2007
Media Contact: (703) 697-5131/697-5132
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Sergeant Major Bradly D. Conner, 41, of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, died May 9, 2007, near Al-Hillah, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improved explosive device detonated near his vehicle.Conner was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group, Fort Lewis, Washington.
For more information in regard to this release the media can contact the U.S. Army Special Operations Command public affairs office at (910) 432-6005.
11 May 2007:
The press release from the U.S. Department of Defense gives the facts:
"Sergeant Major Bradly D. Conner, 41, a Special Forces company Sergeant Major assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Lewis, Wash., was fatally wounded when an Improvised Explosive Devise (IED) struck the troop carrier in which he was riding.
"He deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in March 2007. This was his fourth deployment to Iraq since 2003."
But he was more than just a few lines of type to Kay and William Conner. He was their son, the youngest of three boys, brother to one sister, the father of three, husband to Cynthia.
"He was a wonderful man," Kay said Friday, four days after a military chaplain and his assistant arrived at their door and told her the news she felt in her heart the moment she saw them approach.
"He was outgoing, friendly, with no biases at all. He was helpful, an encourager -- and when he set his heart on something, he gave it his all."
Bradly was born in Tacoma, Washington, and went to junior high and high school in Kellogg. He attended the University of Idaho and North Idaho College before going into the military in 1987 where he took advantage, his mom says, of every class, of every opportunity for training the military had to offer.
"He was a typical kid," Kay said. "He wanted to be everything. He was a very good athlete, and had he survived, he would have gone into teaching.
"He loved teaching.
"He loved students."
A memorial service is scheduled for May 16, 2007, at Fort Lewis, and he will be interred on a future date at Arlington National Cemetery.
His awards and medals include three Bronze Stars, a Purple Heart, three Meritorious Service medals, three Joint Service Commendation Medals, six Army Commendation medals, seven Army Achievement medals, the Joint Meritorious Unit award, five Good Conduct Medals, and two National Defense Medals.
He also earned the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Kuwait Liberation Medal, NATO Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Military Freefall Parachutist Badge, and the Special Forces Tab.
In his letters and e-mails home, Kay said, he never complained or expressed any apprehension. Instead, she said, "He was always encouraging somebody else."
Her son spent five tours in Iraq as well as time in Bosnia and Kosovo. The "quiet man" who wore the elite Green Beret first served in the Gulf War and that was when, Kay said, his family learned not to watch the news.
She said their entire family will get through Bradly's death the way they got through his life and his repeated tours in the military -- with faith.
"The same faith that kept us going when he was serving in other tours will keep us going now," she said. "He was a strong believer, and so are we. We trust in God."
Conner is survived by his wife, Cynthia; son
Aaron, 14; daughter Katie, who will turn 13 in September; and daughter
Rachel, 6, all of Fort Lewis; parents William and Kay Conner of Coeur d'Alene;
brothers Brian and Bruce Conner, and sister Brenda Day.
Idaho lost two soldiers last week in Iraq, both killed by roadside bombs. The most recent, 41-year old Sergeant Major Bradley Connor of Coeur d’Alene was killed about 100 miles south of Baghdad.
A man who spent 20 years serving his country in the Army is remembered fondly by one of his friends who lives here in the Treasure Valley. He described him as a devoted family man who loved his country and his job.
“He's one of those guys where I could say i was his best friend, but everybody would probably say he's their best friend,” David Roberts said.
Roberts had known Connor since junior high. They both graduated from Kellogg High School in 1984 and even attended their freshman year together at U of I.
News of Connor's death came as a shock to David and other friends and family.
“So many times I’ve heard about the roadside bombs going off and hadn't really given it a second thought," he said. "But this time you hear the story of a roadside bomb and it's one of your best friends, it certainly takes on new meaning.”
David says Brad who had a wife and three children and was a happy go lucky guy.
“A great sense of humor, loved to make people laugh. And just a lot of fun to be around.”
A lot of his friends remember him as the wide receiver on the football team and as someone who was involved in everything from basketball to choir and drama.
But moving around the country for the army made it hard for his friends to always keep in touch.
“Think a lot of his friends are looking back saying we wish we would have stayed in better contact," he said.
Brad according to his friends and family had a strong work ethic and was committed to everything he pursued. He led his high school ROTC class and later went on to become a Green Beret, a medic, and was awarded the Purple Heart.
“He loved what he was doing, he was very committed," David said.
In addition to his fun-loving character, David described Brad as a man of faith.
“He often would lead the men in his group in prayer before they would go off for their mission each day," he said.
It's that kind of faith that has David says has helped Brad's family through this sad time.
“They're obviously heartbroken, but they're also very proud. They know this is what he wanted to do.”
David has spoken to Brad's family and knows this news is hard to take especially over Mother's Day, but he says he is honored to have been his friend.
“I'm proud to be able to tell people about what a great man he was," he said.
Sergeant Major Brad Connor and his family were
stationed at Fort Lewis in Washington.
Just four days after she should have been celebrating her 18th wedding anniversary, Cynthia Conner was instead accepting a folded American flag as her husband was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.
Sergeant Major Bradly Dean Conner, 41, was killed May 9, 2007, when a roadside bomb detonated near his vehicle in Al-Hillah, Iraq, about 60 miles south of Baghdad. Conner, of Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, was a highly decorated 20-year veteran.
"He accepted everyone as they were," his father, William Conner, told the Idaho Statesman. "He made an impression on everybody's life. He was just outstanding."
Yesterday, more than 120 mourners gathered to pay tribute to the husband, father, friend and serviceman. A horse-drawn caisson, followed by family and members of the Special Forces, carried his flag-draped coffin to the grave site. He was the 341st service member killed in Iraq to be buried at Arlington.
Cynthia Conner and Conner's parents, William and Kay Conner, accepted flags from Major General Thomas R. Csrnko, commanding general of the U.S. Army Special Forces Command (Airborne). Sitting between Conner's wife and parents were his son, Aaron, 14, and one of his daughters, Katie, 12. His youngest daughter, Rachel, 6, stood close by. He is also survived by his brothers, Brian and Bruce Conner.
Conner was born in Tacoma, Washington, and lived there until he was 4, when his family moved to Idaho. His father said he was very active at Kellogg High School, where he participated in basketball, football, track, choir and ROTC.
After graduating from Kellogg in 1984, Conner studied at the University of Idaho and North Idaho College before enlisting, his sister, Brenda Day, told the Spokesman-Review newspaper of Spokane, Washington.
He enlisted in 1987, and served in a number of assignments with the Special Forces. He had numerous honors, including the Purple Heart, three Bronze Star Medals and three Meritorious Service Medals.
"The men that were under him had tremendous respect and admiration for him," Day told the Spokesman-Review. "He was a natural-born leader. He cared about everybody, no matter who they were."
William Conner said his son was a devout born-again Christian. He met his future wife at church while stationed in Alabama. They were married May 27, 1989, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
"I think he considered himself a warrior," Cynthia Conner told the Post-Intelligencer. "And so did the rest of us. We thought he was invincible."
Serving with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Special Forces group, based at Fort Lewis, Wash., Conner was on his fourth deployment to Iraq since 2003. He had been in Iraq for his current deployment since March.
"He loved what he did. He believed in the cause," Cynthia Conner told the Post-Intelligencer. "If you could talk to him today, he'd say they're really making progress, and we need to be there. He was extremely intelligent and well-spoken. He had quite a rapport with people he'd meet."
Conner was the second Idaho soldier to die
in Iraq in as many days, his death coming one day after Corporal Blake
Stephens, 25, of Pocatello, was killed.
A highly decorated U.S. Army Special Forces Sergeant Major from Coeur d'Alene, who died May 9, 2007, was buried Thursday afternoon at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
Sergeant Major Bradly Conner, 41, was killed in an explosion while serving his fourth tour in Iraq, the Defense Department said.
Conner was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group, headquartered at Fort Lewis, Wash. He fought in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, including the capture of Baghdad International Airport, said his sister, Brenda Day, of Spokane Valley.
Conner's convoy was ambushed near Al-Hillah, about 60 miles south of Baghdad, on May 9, according to a statement by the U.S. Army Special Operations Command in Fort Bragg, N.C. Conner was fatally wounded when an improvised explosive device struck the M1114 armored personnel carrier in which he was riding.
Day said Conner was "headed out to check on his team" and that two other soldiers were injured in the blast.
Conner, the son of William and Kay Conner, of Coeur d'Alene, was born in Tacoma on March 5, 1966.
He was a 1984 graduate of Kellogg High School, where he participated in football, basketball, track, choir and ROTC. He enlisted in the Army in 1987 after studying at the University of Idaho and North Idaho College, Day said.
He served in a number of Special Forces assignments with the 10th Special Forces Group before his assignment last year as company sergeant major with the 1st Special Forces Group. His latest deployment to Iraq was in March.
Conner's numerous awards and military decorations include three Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart.
He met his wife, Cynthia, at church while he was stationed at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, in 1989. They have three children: Aaron, 14, Katie, 12, and Rachel, 6. The family lives at Fort Lewis.
They were a special couple, Day said, citing an 85 percent divorce rate in the Special Forces. After being made Sergeant Major last year, Conner re-enlisted for an additional six years.
"The men that were under him had tremendous respect and admiration for him," Day said. "He was a natural-born leader. He cared about everybody, no matter who they were."
Conner is survived by his wife, children, parents and sister, as well as his brothers, Brian and Bruce Conner.
CONNER, BRADLY DEAN
SGM US ARMY
DATE OF BIRTH: 03/05/1966
DATE OF DEATH: 05/09/2007
BURIED AT: SECTION 60 SITE 8630
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
Posted: 14 May 2007 Updated: 1 June 2007 Updated: 3 June 2007 Updated: 9 June 2007 Updated: 2 July 2007 Updated: 14 July 2007 Updated: 14 May 2008 Updated: 3 June 2008 Updated: 15 June 2008 Updated: 18 June 2008
We just returned home from our trip to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and Arlington, Virginia. Brad was honored at Fort Bragg (the headquarters for the Special Forces). Along with 28 other Special Operations soldiers, Brad's name was added to the memorial wall. There were two days of events honoring the fallen soldiers. Our family escort was Brad's boss, Command Sergeant Major White and his wife Sandy. Once again, the Special Forces has treated my family with the utmost care and respect. Meeting families that have also lost thier loved ones was good. It struck deep in my heart to see the young widows ( early-mid 20's) holding thier babies/toddlers, knowing those small children will not grow up with thier fathers.
We continued on up to Arlington National Cemetery to visit Brad. Arlington is a hummbling place. Whether you personally know someone there or not, you can feel the silent honor and respect that parcel of land demands. We got together with one of Brad's soldiers, Paul. Paul was in the vehicle with Brad at the time of his death. Thank you Paul for all you have done. We all have so much to be thankful & greatful for.
Love to all,
LEFT: Brenda Day, Sister, Bill Conner, Father, Kay Conner, Mother, Bruce Conner, Brother, Brian Conner, Brother RIGHT: Sister, Brenda, Daughter, Katie,Wife, Cyndi
LEFT: Father, Bill, Comand Sergeant Major Donald White,Wife, Sandy White,\ Kay RIGHT: Mother, Kay, Brother, Brian and son, Aaron
LEFT: Brother-in-law, Steve Day, Command Sergeant Major Donald White, wife, Sandy White, sister, Brenda Day RIGHT: Special Forces soldiers at Fort Bragg
LEFT: At Arlington, Brads parents: Kay & Bill Conner RIGHT: At Arlington, Brad's Brother, Brian, Sister, Brenda, Brother, Bruce
Note: Rocks Gathered From A Creek Near The Family Home
Photo Courtesy of Holly, July 2007
Photo Courtesy of Holly, June 2007