Brad S. Shuder
Lance Corporal, United States Marine Corps
IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 14, 2004
DoD Identifies Marine Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the death of two Marines who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Lance Corporal Brad S. Shuder, 21, of El Dorado Hills, California, died April 12, 2004, from hostile fire in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to EchoCompany, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, California.
Lance Corporal Kevin T. Kolm, 23, of Hicksville, New York, died April 13,2004, from hostile fire in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, California.
For further information related to this release, contact the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton Public Affairs Office at (760) 725-5044.
April 26, 2004
A Marine's last homecoming
By JONATHAN SCHWARZBERG Staff writer
A community mourned on Friday night.
Lance Corporal Brad Shuder is dead, and the lives he touched gathered at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in El Dorado Hills to remember his life.
Though the church held less than the 912 capacity crowd, every seat was filled and people stood in the back and along the sides of the sanctuary. The people grieved for the 21-year-old who is El Dorado Hill's first loss in this most recent war.
Shuder died from a mortar shell in Iraq on April 12 near Fallujah, a Marine on his second tour of duty.
"Brad did something extraordinary," said Rev. Michael Bugarin, Shuder's cousin who officiated the service. "He was willing to sacrifice his life for me and you."
Shuder was graced with full military honors at the service. Marines from both Camp Pendleton where he was stationed and the Sacramento area attended the service.
Shuder was born in Korea on May 6, 1982 and was adopted less than two years later by his parents in Michigan. He went down to Camp Pendleton shortly after 9/11 and ended up in Iraq for a tour of duty.
He signed up for a second tour, even though he said he had premonitions of not coming back from the Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.
Before the service, three Marines stood silently at the foot of the coffin to honor the fallen hero.
After the Catholic mass service, a pair of the Marines held the flag draped slightly over Shuder's coffin. A 21-gun salute burst across the silent room. And in the doorway a silver bugle cried out the mournful sounds of "Taps."
The two Marines carefully folded the flag and handed it to Shuder's younger sister, Chelsey. Six Marines picked up the coffin and carried it out of the church.
Behind the coffin, Shuder's sister clutched the flag. Shuder's father, Glenn, and mother, Rose, held one another as a Marine escorted them. The rest of the family filed out the doorway with Marines at their sides.
Shuder will be cremated and buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
The service was not full of only tears though, as family and friends remember the person Shuder was.
"He was the first person in the world to accept who I was," said Chelsey Shuder, Brad's sister. "And he accepted a lot of people."
One of Shuder's friends from San Diego, Brian Healea, told the story of how Shuder once charged a huge beehive in San Diego at a home his friends from high school were renting while they were going to college at San Diego State.
Healea said Shuder attacked the hive with a cinder block and with a garden hose until the bees were gone, while the family watched from inside.
"Brad is a role model to me," Healea said.
And then Healea explained how the salute in the Armed Forces is a sign of respect.
"I leave him with this in order to honor him," Healea said as he walked to the casket and gave a silent salute.
Bugarin was Shuder's cousin and godfather, and the priest who officiated the service. Bugarin recalled some of the details from his cousin's death.
When Marines in Iraq pulled back Shuder's flak jacket, they found a small plastic pouch with pictures of his family.
The Marines put up a small memorial for Shuder and another Marine who died during the same battle. The piece of cardboard serving as a tribute read, "All that is needed for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
Bugarin said that this is the kind of person Brad was.
"Brad was one of those good men," Bugarin said. "Brad was one of those heroes. Brad's sacrifice for you, for me and for the country is something we should not forget."
Bugarin mentioned a quote from Shuder that his parents had discovered following their son's death. It is a quote that sums up everything about Shuder's service and leaves his family with the knowledge that he did not die in vain.
"I joined because it was my dream," Shuder
wrote. "I wanted to protect my loved ones. I wanted to protect the United
Lance Corporal Brad Shuder's mother Rose took her time looking over the photographs of her son. Tears well up in her eyes as she goes through an album. The pictures show a smiling Brad graduating from boot camp with the U.S. Marine Corps. One photo, framed on a table of their El Dorado Hills home shows the 21-year-old man polishing his Marine Corps cover (hat).
The photo album will have no new pictures of Brad. The young Marine, an Oak Ridge High School graduate with the class of 2001, was killed in action on Monday while serving with Echo Co., 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division just outside of Fallujah, Iraq.
"Brad was hit with a mortar attack," Glenn Shuder, Brad's father, said. "He was killed and another Corporal died."
The Shuder family received the tragic news from two Marines who visited their home a day after the attack and immediately, Rose said, an outpouring of support from the community surrounded them. Thursday morning was the quietest the house had been in days, she added.
"It feels good because you know Brad touched a lot of people," Glenn said.
"When he had a friend, he didn't just have one friend; it was the whole family," Rose added.
The couple adopted Brad from Korea when he was a toddler. They also have a daughter Chelsey, 19.
The loving and friendly nature of their son are what the couple said they will miss the most. Even as a child, Rose said, Brad was so energetic and fun.
That personality made Brad many friends, several of whom have visited his home since hearing the news. Others gathered around the rock in El Dorado Hills that carried a poignant message for the fallen soldier.
"In God's Care Brad Shuder," it read.
High school friend Joe Flannery told the Mountain Democrat that Brad's death doesn't seem real. The two played together on the Oak Ridge High School rugby team and Flannery said he was encouraged by Brad's attitude.
"He was like the little guy on the rugby field but he never quit," Flannery said. "Out of pure will he'd play."
Brad also enjoyed playing with his younger cousins and Chelsey said he could make a game out of anything. One time, she said, Brad taped cardboard to his hands and played paddle ball.
Chelsey also recalled that even at a young age, her brother tried to take care of her and protect her. He also used her as an early test for his passion for cooking. When she was hungry one time, Chelsey said her brother made her an omelet, egg shells and all.
After years of practice and a trip to a summer culinary program, Brad's recipes became a treat for the family. He would make breads and creme brulé, Rose said.
He also made a special vegan dinner for his uncle Jim and aunt Kate one night as a treat for the couple. Then, to give them privacy, Jim said he offered to baby-sit his cousins.
Family, near or far, was very important to Brad, Kate said.
Brad was also very devoted to planning his life around the military, At a young age, Glenn said, Brad knew he wanted to serve and protect his country.
The day he graduated from high school, Brad joined the Marines. He went through training and was stationed at Camp Pendelton. In January 2003, Brad headed to Iraq for his first tour, which lasted until July. He returned to the war torn country after a President's Day weekend visit with his family a couple of months ago.
Rose said she went though a gamut of emotions regarding her son in Iraq. She went from wanting to know everything she could about operations over there to wanting to know nothing. When she did hear that a soldier or Marine was killed, Rose said she would get anxious and then relieved. But it was always in the back of her mind, she said, that whoever died was someone's son or daughter.
On April 12, it was her turn to lose a son.
"I know my son died doing exactly what he wanted to do," She said, holding back more tears.
The family has found out Brad's body was headed home and plan to have a viewing at Green Valley Mortuary next Thursday, schedule permitting. The family plans to hold mass next Friday at Holy Trinity Church in El Dorado Hills.
Brad will be cremated and buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.
Donations made to the family, she added, would
go toward the families at Camp Pendelton of other young soldiers killed
in Iraq. The lance corporal killed alongside Brad, she said, left behind
a pregnant wife.
Final salute for fallen Marine
The winding road was lined with small American flags and Boy Scouts, each saluting with one hand and waving a flag with the other. Atop the hill, U.S. Marines stood stiff and strong outside a church as a grieving family waited inside.
The church filled to capacity as El Dorado Hills said goodbye to a hero Friday.
Brad Shuder, a 21-year-old Marine and graduate of Oak Ridge High School, was killed in Iraq earlier this month. On a cloudless evening, about 1,000 people packed into Holy Trinity Catholic Church to pay tribute to a young man who friends and family said never gave anything less than his all.
"Brad did something extraordinary: He sacrificed his life for me and you," the Rev. Michael Bugarin told the gathering during a funeral Mass. "Brad did something so that evil would not triumph. We need to stand behind him no matter what we think of the war."
Born on May 6, 1982, in South Korea, Shuder was adopted at 22 months by Glenn and Rose Shuder of El Dorado County.
A montage of photographs displayed at the funeral showed the different sides of his character: a comedian, a superhero, a soldier.
He attended Oak Ridge High School in El Dorado Hills, where he played rugby despite his short stature. He never hesitated to dive for the goal line, even in practice, friends said. He was a referee for a local children's soccer league and counselor to troubled junior high students.
He dreamed of being in the military. His family initially tried to talk him out of it, but ultimately saw his determination and supported his decision.
One month after September 11, 2001, Shuder departed for Camp Pendleton to begin training as a U.S. Marine. There his toughness impressed even the drill sergeant, one Marine said.
"We saw him one month after he came back from basic, and he just glowed," said family friend Marilee Flannery. "His energy and ability and his spirit were just amazing. I feel like I have to live my life a little better because of him."
Shuder served his first tour of duty in Iraq from January to July last year.
In February, he agreed to return for a second tour.
"Brad went on that second tour to Iraq, even with a premonition that he would not return," said Bugarin, who was Shuder's first cousin through his adopted parents.
"His life, and even his death, has enriched us."
Shuder, a lance corporal with Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, was known to his fellow soldiers as someone trustworthy and dependable.
"He was a good team leader, always more worried about the Marines under his control than himself," said Spencer Hale, a fellow lance corporal in Echo Company who attended the funeral. "I could talk to him about any problem. Anybody could."
At the beginning of April, Shuder was among thousands of Marines who encircled Fallujah, 35 miles west of Baghdad. The city in Anbar province has been a hotbed of insurgent activity involving remnants of former President Saddam Hussein's Baath Party government.
On April 12, Shuder was near Fallujah when he was killed by hostile fire, according to the military. Further details have not been released.
"He died trying to save other people," said a Marine named Brian, who also grew up in El Dorado Hills but served in a different unit. He declined to give his last name.
April has become the bloodiest month for the military since the invasion. At least 100 soldiers and five American civilians have been killed. Dozens of foreigners also have been kidnapped.
At the end of Friday's Mass, a 21-gun salute was fired outside the church as two Marines held the flag over Shuder's coffin. The flag was presented to his family, and his sister Chelsey Ann Shuder hugged it to her chest as the hearse pulled away.
Shuder will be buried in Arlington National
Cemetery in a private ceremony.
Posted: 16 April 2004 Updated: 25 April 2004 Updated: 1 May 2004 Updated: 1 June 2004 Updated: 30 May 2006 Updated: 25 March 2007
Updated: 25 July 2007
Photo Courtesy of Holly, May 2006