NEWS RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense
No. 801-06 IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 23, 2006
DoD Identifies Air Force Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of an airman who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Master Sergeant Brad A. Clemmons, 37, of Chillicothe, Ohio, died August 21, 2006, when an improvised explosive device struck his vehicle. The vehicle was part of a transportation convoy enroute to Taji, Iraq. Clemmons was assigned to the 354th Civil Engineer Squadron, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.
Media with questions related to this release should contact the Eielson Air Force Base public affairs office at (907) 377-2116.
1 September 2006:
Words were hard to find for friends and family of Brad Clemmons Thursday afternoon as the Air Force Master Sergeant made his final trip home.
Clemmons, 37, was killed August 21, 2006, in Iraq after an improvised explosive device destroyed the Humvee he was in.
Brad's wife, Rebecca, smiled as she remembered her husband prior to Thursday's funeral services, during which Clemmons was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.
“He was a great man. He loved people, he loved kids, he loved this country and he loved working for the Air Force,” she said.
Rebecca said she and her husband had returned to Chillicothe every year of their four-year marriage, usually in December. She laughed thinking of the times Brad would drive her onto Ross County's back roads – roads she now knows by heart.
John Stubbs, of Waverly, greeted Rebecca prior to the beginning of the services. He fumbled his words slightly, not knowing quite what to say. Stubbs is a member of the Patriot Guard Riders, a motorcycle group dedicated to protecting grieving families from anti-war protesters through non-violent means.
“I'm just glad the other side wasn't here,” Stubbs said.
“Thanks so much,” Rebecca said. “I appreciate seeing you guys.”
Once back in line outside the funeral home with the other riders, Stubbs said he and the rest of the volunteers were invited by the family and just want to show their support for the fallen serviceman.
“I don't know how to say it,” Stubbs said. “If I can do anything, and I'm sure the other (riders) feel the same, they'd jump right in.”
Technical Sergeant Tim Sterner had known Brad since October 1995. The two remained close despite being separated by thousands of miles. Brad was the best man in Sterner's wedding.
Sterner is trim with broad shoulders who carries himself with formality. On this day, his face broke and his eyes watered as he began talking about his fallen friend.
“He's the kind of guy who would give you anything,” Sterner said, looking through the window of the funeral home toward the riders holding flags outside. “I'm sure there are better ways of putting that.”
Sterner said his friend was not only a good friend, but a good soldier.
“What's the best way to put it? When he saw a job that needed done, he'd latch onto it. He was a bulldog,” Sterner said.
“If it needed done, it was getting done, and nothing was going to stop him,” Rebecca said.
Pastor Doug Hudson, the pastor of Trinity Reform Church in Ramstein, Germany, conducted the funeral service. Brad and Rebecca met while they both were stationed in Germany and attended the church led by Hudson, an Army Reserve chaplain.
“The one thing I can say about Brad: I'm not sure he was afraid of anything,” Hudson said.
Hudson spoke of Brad's professionalism and extensive knowledge in diverse areas. He spoke directly to Brad's two sons, 3-year-old daughter and Rebecca, who, shortly before Brad was killed, told him she was pregnant. Hudson quoted Ecclesiastes and told the family there was a time for every season.
“I want you to remember these seasons in particular: there is a time to be born and a time for laughter,” Hudson said.
Rebecca kept her composure during the service and read a poem she had written for Brad.
“I wrote this a long time ago when we were dating,” she tells the audience.
The poem, titled “Tomorrow,” is a requiem on parting.
“As you leave tomorrow, you will take my light,
As you leave tomorrow, you will take my night.”
“As you leave tomorrow, promise we won't be far apart.
“As you leave tomorrow, promise the love will never part.”
When she finished the 20 lines of verse, Brad's mother and other friends said a few words about him. “I never really realized what a wonderful, wonderful child I had made,” said Brad's mother, Pamela Clemmons. “He gave his life for his country and he'd gladly go back and do it again.”
Brad Clemmons' body made the trip from Iraq to Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Delaware, and then to Pittsburgh, where a motorcade of Columbus City Police officers and State Highway Patrol escorted him to Haller Funeral Home in Chillicothe. It was one of the final legs of a journey that began when Clemmons was deployed to Iraq. His travels will end at 1 p.m. Tuesday when he is laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, resting place for thousands who have given their lives in service of their country.
1 September 2006:
Their courtship was full of goodbyes and reunions. That’s military life, and they both understood.
Before one of those goodbyes, Rebecca Clemmons jotted down her feelings in a poem and gave it to her husband, Brad, right before he left to return to his base.
“As you leave tomorrow, promise we won’t be far apart.
As you leave tomorrow, promise the love will never part.”
Rebecca Clemmons repeated those words yesterday as she said her last goodbye to her husband, who always kept the poem close to him until his death last week.
“He didn’t like you to know he was a sentimentalist,” she said. “He carried it around in his wallet.”
About 100 people gathered to honor the life of Air Force Master Sergeant Brad Clemmons, 37, who was killed August 21, 2006, by a roadside bomb in Iraq. He was part of a transportation convoy on its way to Taji, Iraq.
Some remembered his laughter. Others admired his intelligence. But the Chillicothe-area native stood out to those who loved him most as a man who chose his dream early in life and never faltered from that path.
Rebecca Clemmons and their daughter, Isabelle, made the trip to Chillicothe from Alaska, where Clemmons was stationed at Eielson Air Force Base for the past eight months. He was assigned to the 354 th Civil Engineer Squadron.
He also left behind two sons, Nicholas and Zachary, from an earlier marriage.
The walls of Haller Funeral Home were covered with flowers and many of the awards Clemmons had earned since he enlisted in 1987.
All around were pictures of him: as a young, baby-faced Southeastern High School grad; as a more muscular, experienced airman; and as an involved, caring father.
The last time Rebecca spoke with Brad was August 17, 2006, by phone. She told him he was going to be a father for a fourth time.
Rebecca said yesterday that she’s heard many stories from friends Brad served with — mostly about her.
“I have learned a lot since he died, about how he knew right away that I was the one and how much he loved me,” she said.
Rebecca stopped and looked away for a moment. “It does help, but it doesn’t lessen the pain.”
F. Douglas Hudson is a pastor in Ramstein, Germany, where Brad was stationed at one point. He came to know the couple well and baptized their daughter.
Hudson, also a reserve military chaplain, said he always was impressed with Brad’s wit and his knowledge of the world around him, as well as his devotion to his family.
“He was always talking about training the soldiers and getting them prepared for the worst-case scenario,” he said. “If there’s one thing I can say about Brad, I’m not sure if he was afraid of anything.”
Pamela Clemmons, Brad’s mother, said her son discovered his love of the Air Force as a child, and she watched as he meticulously worked his way up to master sergeant.
“I never realized what a wonderful child I had made,” she said, fighting to stop her tears. “I will sorely miss him and everything he meant in my life.
“I want everyone to know that he died doing what he loved. And he’d go back and do it all over again because that’s how much he believed in it.”
Brad Clemmons was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. Military graveside services are scheduled Tuesday in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington.
CLEMMONS, BRAD ALLEN
- MSGT US AIR FORCE
- PERSIAN GULF
- DATE OF BIRTH: 08/27/1968
- DATE OF DEATH: 08/21/2006
- BURIED AT: SECTION 60 SITE 8417
- ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard