U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 022-08
DoD Identifies Army Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the death of three soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died January 9, 2009, in the Zabul Province of Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle in Jaldak. They were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, Hohenfels, Germany.
Major Brian M. Mescall, 33, of Hopkinton, Massachusetts
Specialist Joseph M. Hernandez, 24, of Hammond, Indiana
Corporal Jason R. Parsons, 24, of Lenoir, North Carolina
Keith Tode remembers the first time he met his friend, Brian Mescall, formerly of Exeter, when the two worked stocking shelves at Shaw's Supermarket.
“There he was, just a 6-foot-3 bean pole that said, ‘Hi, I'm Brian, and I'm going to go into the Army,”‘ said Tode. “It was his dream. He was one of those guys from the time he came out of the womb; he wanted to be a soldier.”
Mescall, 33, an Army major and 1993 graduate of Exeter High School, was killed last week when a bomb exploded near his military vehicle in Afghanistan.
Mescall is survived by his parents, John and Peggy Mescall of Lowell, Massachusetts, his wife, Chiun, and his son, Nathan.
Brian Mescall's family moved to Hopkinton, Massachusetts, after graduation. Tode said he remained friends with Mescall and stayed in touch.
Mescall was with the 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment based in Hohenfels, Germany, and was among three troops killed in the Zabul province attack January 9, 2009. Tode, of Exeter, and other friends from the area are making plans to travel to the funeral services at Arlington National Cemetery, set for January 26, 2009.
Mescall's desire and commitment to his plans to enter the Army stood out from other graduating seniors who were looking forward to college parties and socializing, according to Tode. While he did apply to the University of New Hampshire, Mescall had no plans of actually attending.
“Brian purposefully messed up his UNH application so he could go to The Citadel,” Tode said. “He didn't even want to apply to West Point because he didn't think it was hard-core enough. He said he would only go to The Citadel because he said it was where the toughest guys go.”
Mescall, a track team member at Exeter High School, was a 1997 graduate of The Citadel. He was a member of the company F-Troop and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. He also took summer school classes at Framingham State College.
Underneath his military exterior, Mescall had a soft heart and would go out of his way to help others, Tode said. He was an avid cyclist, and Tode recalled one time when an uninsured motorist, a man from Laos, hit Mescall when he was riding his bike. Rather than report the incident to the police, Mescall worked to try to get the man a job as a translator for the state court system.
“He was such a sweetheart,” Tode said. “He was so nice that you wouldn't think he would want to go into the military, but he was so patriotic.”
Mescall was stationed in Korea and served multiple tours of duty in Iraq before he was transferred to Germany, Tode said.
“He died doing what he wanted to do,” Tode said. “He was just one of those people that came into your life that you couldn't shake; he was just the most positive person I ever met. You'd look at him and you would walk away wishing you were as nice as he was.”
Army Major Kevin Poole, The Citadel Class of 1999, worked with Mescall at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels. He spoke about Mescall's dedication to his country on The Citadel Web site.
“Brian was an aggressive war fighter and a magnificent trainer. He never backed down from a mission,” Poole said. “Having already served two tours in Iraq, one as a tank company commander and the other as a military transition team chief, Brian truly exemplified The Citadel spirit.
“Brian was truly dedicated to the Army and his family, and it showed in everything that he did,” Poole said. “As a soldier/leader and a friend, he was someone that we all should aspire to be. Brian Mescall is an American hero who will be sorely missed.”
In a 2003 interview with the New York Daily News, Mescall spoke of his shock in the aftermath of an insurgent rocket attack that injured three soldiers in Iraq. According to the Boston Herald, Mescall, then a 28-year-old Captain with the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, said the incident was “one of those things that you fear in a way that you fear you will lose your edge. … It's a wake-up call.”
Also killed in the bombing were Specialist Jason R. Parsons, 24, of Lenoir, North Carolina, and Specialist Joseph M. Hernandez, 24, of Hammond, Indiana.
Army Major Brian M. Mescall always knew that he would be a soldier, dressing the part every Halloween. Mescall, who served two tours of duty in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, also had a soft side, as a funny, talkative husband and father who liked to cook for guests, surprise his wife with flowers, and take their son on camping trips, his wife said last night.
“He was always a very positive person, very energetic, very optimistic, and very friendly and sweet,” Chi-un Mescall said of her husband, who was killed with two other soldiers in Afghanistan on Friday by a roadside bomb.
The Department of Defense, in a news release Monday, said Mescall, 33, came from Hopkinton. The parents of the officer lived in Hopkinton for several years before moving to Lowell last year, his wife said in an interview from Alabama, where he lived with her and their 6-year-old son, Nathan, when not stationed overseas. Mescall was born in New Jersey and raised in the South before his parents relocated to New England when he was a teenager, she said.
Mescall was sent to Afghanistan in mid-2008, said his wife, whom he married in 2001, when he was stationed in Korea. She said her husband was an avid chef whose specialty was the seafood dish cioppino. He loved to cook Italian and Korean recipes.
Chi-un said she could always count on him to cheer her up, whether by bringing her sunflowers, arranging food on the plate into a smiley face, or telling jokes. She worried when he was sent to Iraq, but he was able to joke about it. Buying a new pair of sunglasses before his departure, he asked her whether he looked good, saying, “I still have to look sexy at war,” she said.
Mescall's parents, John and Peggy, could not be immediately reached for comment.
Susan Domsky, a friend of the Mescall family in Hopkinton, said: “His parents, especially his mother, adored him more than anything in the world. This was something she worried about.”
Mescall attended Exeter High School in New Hampshire and Framingham State College before transferring in 1994 to The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, and graduating in 1997 with a degree in history, according to a Citadel news release.
130 Honor Afghan War Casualty
Army Major's Optimism, Service to Country Remembered
As a cold breeze tugged at their coats, they lined up under a mottled gray sky yesterday at Arlington National Cemetery to say goodbye to a man who was many things to many people: husband, father, son, friend and soldier.
More than 130 mourners came to honor Major Brian M. Mescall, 33, of Hopkinton, Massachusetts. The Army officer died January, 2009, 9 in Afghanistan's Zabul province after a makeshift bomb detonated near his vehicle in Jaldak, according to the Department of Defense.
Also killed were Specialist Joseph M. Hernandez, 24, of Hammond, Indiana, and Sgt. Jason R. Parsons, 24, of Lenoir, North Carolina. The three were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, based at Hohenfels, Germany.
Hernandez was buried at Arlington on Friday, and Mescall was brought to a neighboring grave site yesterday. Lined up between the two graves were wreaths, potted flowers and a flower-filled vase.
Mescall spoke to the New York Daily News in July 2003 as he surveyed the wreckage of a rocket-propelled grenade attack on a Humvee in Baghdad. He said the attack was “one of those things that you fear in a way that you fear you will lose your edge. Partially, it's a wake-up call.”
He graduated in 1997 from the Citadel, the military college in South Carolina, with a degree in history, according to the school.
His wife told the Boston Globe that her husband was a funny and talkative man, who liked to cook, surprise his wife with flowers and take their son camping.
“He was always a very positive person, very energetic, very optimistic, and very friendly and sweet,” Chi-un Mescall told the Globe shortly after his death.
The Mescalls and their 6-year-old son, Nathan, lived in Alabama when he wasn't stationed abroad. He married his wife in 2001 while stationed in Korea, and he loved to cook Italian and Korean recipes.
“We are devastated by the loss of Major Mescall, Sergeant Parsons and Corporal Hernandez,” said Brigadier General David R. Hogg, commander of the 7th U.S. Army Joint Multinational Training Command, according to an Army release. “But we are also profoundly proud and humbled by their service and their sacrifice in the defense of our nation and the Afghan people.”
Lieuenant Colonel Matt Pawlikowski, an Army chaplain, spoke of heaven and savior, scripture and prayer.
“With faith and hope in eternal life, let us assist him with our prayers,” Pawlikowski said.
Mourners bowed their heads in unison as Pawlikowski spoke in a booming voice that overpowered the honking of Canada geese overhead and the roar of planes departing Reagan National Airport.
Mescall's family was given the option to bury him with full military honors but chose to forgo the additional elements to bury him at the earliest possible date, said Kaitlin Horst, cemetery spokeswoman.
Flags were presented to Mescall's wife, son and parents, Margaret and John Mescall. After receiving her flag, Chi-un Mescall looked down and held a tissue against her eyes for several moments. Army Secretary Pete Geren went down on his left knee to offer his condolences.
An Army honor guard team carries the casket of Major Brian M. Mescall during his
funeral services at Arlington National Cemetery Monday, January 26, 2009
An Army honor guard team lowers the casket of Major Brian M. Mescall during his
funeral services at Arlington National Cemetery Monday, January 26, 2009
Army Brigadier General Thomas Vandal presents an American flag to Chuin Mescall, widow of
Major Brian M. Mescall during his funeral services at Arlington National Cemetery Monday, January 26, 2009
Army Brigadier General Thomas Vandal presents American flags to the family of Major Brian M. Mescall.
Shown are Mescall's wife, Chi-un Mescall; his son, Nathan; and his father, John Mescall
MESCALL, BRIAN M
MAJ US ARMY
- DATE OF BIRTH: 04/18/1975
- DATE OF DEATH: 01/09/2009
- BURIED AT: SECTION 60 SITE 8748
- ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
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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