Phillip J. Brodnick – Corporal, United States Army

U.S. Department of Defense

Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Release

August 23, 2007

DoD Identifies Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the death of 14 soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died August 22, 2007, in Multaka, Iraq, of injuries suffered when their helicopter crashed.

Killed were the following soldiers assigned to the 4th Squadron, 6th U.S. Air Cavalry Regiment, Fort Lewis, Washington:

Captain Corry P. Tyler, 29, of Georgia.
Chief Warrant Officer Paul J. Flynn, 28, of Whitsett, North Carolina
Sergeant Matthew L. Tallman, 30, of Groveland, California
Specialist Rickey L. Bell, 21, of Caruthersville, Missouri

Also killed were the following soldiers assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii:

Captain Derek A. Dobogai, 26, of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Staff Sergeant Jason L. Paton, 25, of Poway, Califprnia
Sergeant Garrett I. McLead, 23, of Rockport, Texas
Corporal Jeremy P. Bouffard, 21, of Middlefield, Massachusetts
Corporal Phillip J. Brodnick, 25, of New Lenox, Illinois
Corporal Joshua S. Harmon, 20, of Mentor, Ohio
Corporal Nathan C. Hubbard, 21, of Clovis, California
Specialist Michael A. Hook, 25, of Altoona, Pennsylvania
Specialist Jessy G. Pollard, 22, of Springfield, Missouri
Specialist Tyler R. Seideman, 20, of Lincoln, Arkansas

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

Group Burial Funeral Services: Friday, 24 October 2008: Arlington National Cemetery

  • RICKEY L BELL, Specialist, USA POST CHAPEL 11:00
  • PAUL J FLYNN, Chief Warrant Officer 2, USA POST CHAPEL 11:00
  • MICHAEL A HOOK, Specialist, USA POST CHAPEL 11:00
  • JASON L PATON, Staff Sergeant, USA POST CHAPEL 11:00

Honoring Fallen 14 With ‘Quiet Strength'
By Mark Berman
Courtesy of The Washington Post
Saturday, October 25, 2008

Four Black Hawk helicopters skimmed overhead against the backdrop of a gray, cloudy sky. Below, more than 150 people brought together by tragedy and united in grief gathered yesterday to pay tribute to 14 soldiers honored at Arlington National Cemetery.

The soldiers were killed August 22, 2007, in a helicopter crash in Multaka, Iraq. Each had been buried separately. But 14 months after the accident, which was caused by mechanical failure, family and friends bundled together on a chilly October morning for a group tribute.

The mourners followed a horse-drawn caisson bearing a single flag-cloaked silver coffin up Bradley Drive. The coffin was carried to Section 60 of the cemetery and placed amid a bevy of red, white and blue flowers.

As part of the service, folded flags were given to parents and siblings, widows and a best friend. Each flag was touched for a moment to the coffin before being handed to the loved ones of the fallen soldiers.

The soldiers were between the ages of 20 and 30 years old. They hailed from 11 states, spanning from California to Massachusetts.

Captain Corry P. Tyler, 29, of Woodbine, Georgia, graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1999 and had deployed to Iraq in 2003 and 2006. Chief Warrant Officer 2 Paul J. Flynn, 28, of Whitsett, North Carolina, was a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter pilot with a decade of service.

The eldest soldier, Sergeant Matthew L. Tallman, 30, of Groveland, California, was a tall, easygoing man and a devoted father, family members told the Los Angeles Times.

The youngest soldiers were Corporal Joshua S. Harmon, of Mentor, Ohio, and Specialist Tyler R. Seideman, of Lincoln, Arkansas, both 20. Harmon, a medic, had married his wife, Kristin, 84 days before his death, she told the News-Herald in Ohio. Seideman, who loved to joke, was a generous person who would “give you the shirt off his back if you needed it,” said his best friend, Jeremy Bolivear, at a memorial service honoring the soldier, according to the Morning News in Arkansas.

Specialist Rickey L. Bell, 21, of Caruthersville, Missouri, joined the military in 2005 after graduating from high school.

Tyler, Flynn, Tallman and Bell were assigned to the 4th Squadron, 6th U.S. Air Cavalry Regiment based at Fort Lewis, Washington.

Captain Derek A. Dobogai, 26, of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, was selfless, kind and too modest to boast about his accomplishments, his family said in a statement last year. “Therefore, we will honor him with quiet strength,” relatives said.

Staff Sergeant Jason L. Paton, 25, of Poway, California, was to be married November 18, 2007, family members told the Los Angeles Times. He had deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq before, and his second deployment to Iraq was scheduled to end three weeks after the helicopter crash.

Sergeant Garrett I. McLead, 23, of Rockport, Texas, liked surfing, skateboarding and playing soccer. He enlisted shortly after his birthday in May 2002 because of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, according to the Rockport Pilot.

Corporal Jeremy P. Bouffard, 21, of Middlefield, Massachusetts, was a jokester and a loyal, dedicated man who loved his wife Amanda, son Caleb and the Boston Red Sox. Nearly 1,000 mourners attended his funeral last year, according to the Boston Globe.

Corporal Phillip J. Brodnick, 25, of New Lenox, Illinois, was “the life of the party,” a friend wrote on the guest book of a Web site dedicated to his memory.

Corporal Nathan C. Hubbard, 21, of Clovis, California, was one of three brothers serving in Iraq. Marine Lance Corporal Jared Hubbard was killed in 2004, so Nathan and Jason Hubbard enlisted to honor their brother's sacrifice. Jason Hubbard was in the same platoon as Nathan and in a helicopter ordered to secure the crash site, according to CNN.

Specialist Michael A. Hook, 25, of Altoona, Pennsylvania, was excited to come home because his fiancee, Susan Fetterman, was pregnant, according to the Altoona Mirror. Mere weeks after the crash, she gave birth to their son, Mason.

Corporal Jessy G. Pollard, 22, of Springfield, Missouri, embraced and believed in what he was doing and would tell family members about jumping out of planes at night, they told the Associated Press.

Dobogai, Paton, McLead, Bouffard, Brodnick, Harmon, Hubbard, Hook, Pollard and Seideman were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division based at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

Yesterday's burial brought to 447 the number of Iraq war casualties buried, memorialized or inurned at Arlington National Cemetery.

Even in his death, Phillip J. Brodnick made his family smile.


As they sat somber and grief-stricken after learning the 25-year-old was among the 14 U.S. soldiers killed Wednesday in a Black Hawk helicopter crash in northern Iraq, an unexpected package arrived.

“It was my birthday present,” said Brodnick's mother, Marian Stockhausen.

Wrapped inside was a chess set to commemorate many an online game and a note that read “Sorry it was late, but I was playing it.”

The gift that arrived at his mother's Warrenville home more than a month after her birthday turned tears to laughter — if only for a moment.

“It was kind of him saying he's OK. He's with God,” Stockhausen said.

Although the family tries to take solace in the symbolic goodbye that now sits in a glass china cabinet in the living room, dealing with losing a loved one so young is devastating.

“It's like a roller coaster, a black hole,” Stockhausen said, wiping away tear after tear.

The recently promoted Army Corporal who was deployed to Iraq last August was supposed to be home in June, but his tour was extended to October. His mother realizes those four months were the difference between life and death, but she doesn't dwell on it.

“He accepted it,” she said.

So does she.

As tears streamed down her face, her two daughters Kimber Larson and Lisa Brodnick held her hand and searched for their own strength.

“He just always wanted to make sure I was taken care of,” 20-year-old Lisa Brodnick said.

When he e-mailed them, he wrote about family vacations every summer and promised his mother he'd go to church with her.

“That was a big deal,” Larson, 27, joked.

As a way to serve his country and “find himself,” Brodnick enlisted in the Army when he was 18, Stockhausen said. After a tour in Kosovo, he was back home in 2003, only to re-enlist in 2005.

“He knew that our country needed him, so he went back,” Stockhausen said. “He was a dedicated soldier.”

Dedicated and deserving of the utmost respect, his father, James Brodnick, said as he grappled with the “unbearable loss.”

“I take comfort in knowing that my son did not die alone, but died in the company of other brave men who also gave their lives for our country. My deepest condolences go out to the families of these brave men. I will say a prayer for your sons while I pray for mine,” he said in a statement.

Brodnick was of the nine of those killed who were based at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, Senator Daniel Inouye, (D-Hawaii) said. His body will return home Tuesday, and once arrangements are made, Illinois Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn will speak at his funeral, officials said.

Father and son were very close, James Brodnick said as he fought back tears.

During Brodnick's time home, he lived in Chicago and applied to police departments in hopes of following in the footsteps of his father, a 25-year Burbank police veteran.

‘Very likeable and always smiling'

Brodnick was born in Mokena and became his grandfather's namesake after sharing his grandfather's birthday. He lived in Burbank until he was 8, then moved to Frankfort, said Stockhausen, who is the principal of Richard E. Byrd Elementary School in Burbank. In 2000, Brodnick graduated from then-Lincoln-Way High School.

Lincoln-Way Central principal Monica Schmitt remembers Brodnick's smile and upbeat attitude.

“He was very social, very likeable and always smiling,” Schmitt said.

Students at Lincoln-Way schools were greeted with flags at half-staff for their third day of classes Thursday. They paused for a moment of silence.

At East's home football game tonight, another moment of silence likely will greet a stadium full of mothers, fathers and teens not much younger than Brodnick.

“We have very patriotic students,” Schmitt said. “They understand service to country.”

When Brodnick wasn't training Iraqi police or serving as an infantry scout, he was instant messaging his family and friends, updating his account and sending home presents.

The morning after his death, someone left this message for him on his page: “You touched my life in a special way….you will always have a special place in my heart….thanks to you I will live every day to the fullest….you are a TRUE American Hero….you won't be forgotten.”

A tan stuffed camel with a camouflage cap sits in his mother's living room. He sent the same present — along with treats, balls and toys — to his German Shepherd Dozy, the object of his affection.

And though Phillip was famous for his love of animals, Lisa Brodnick didn't send him a picture of one to help get him through the days. She sent a poster of Marilyn Monroe.

“He was the quintessential guy's guy and ladies man,” Larson said.

His girlfriends would tell him how lucky they were that his sisters taught him the importance of bringing a girl flowers.

With a little brother like Brodnick, it's hard for Larson to pinpoint what she'll most about him.

“Just him — so much,” she said.

The 27-year-old son of a Burbank, Illinois, police officer is among the 14 soldiers killed Wednesday when a Black Hawk helicopter crashed in northern Iraq, officials said.

Burbank Mayor Harry Klein announced the death of Phillip Brodnick during Wednesday's village board meeting, according to a story in today's editions of the Daily Southtown.

Klein said Brodnick lived in Burbank, a Chicago suburb, until he was 8 and then moved to the New Lenox area. Brodnick graduated from Lincoln-Way Central High School in 2000.

Brodnick is the son of police officer James Brodnick, said Burbank Police Chief Bruce Radowicz.

Klein said the southwest Chicago suburb's fire department will lover its flags to half mast until Brodnick's funeral.

The death toll from Wednesday's helicopter crash also included troops from Pennsylvania, California, Missouri and Ohio, according to news reports. The military did not immediately release the soldiers' names. Military officials say it appears mechanical problems and not hostile fire caused the crash.

The Black Hawk had just picked up troops after a mission when it crashed, said Lieutenant Colonel Michael Donnelly, a military spokesman in northern Iraq.

The 10 troops picked up were based at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, according to a statement by Colonel Timothy M. Ryan, rear detachment commander of the 25th Infantry Division.

Army Corporal Phillip J. Brodnick had planned on becoming a police officer when he returned from Iraq.

Brodnick was appointed a Burbank police officer this week – but Burbank Mayor Harry Klein wasn't able to pin a police star on Brodnick's chest, as the mayor does with all new officers.

The 25-year-old, who spent his early years in Burbank before his family moved to Frankfort, was scheduled to come back from Iraq in July, but his tour was extended until November, said his father James Brodnick, a 25-year Burbank police veteran. Brodnick was among 14 U.S. soldiers killed August 22 in a Black Hawk helicopter crash in northern Iraq.

“He was getting out in July. They had extended his stay until November,” his father said after Wednesday's city council meeting. “He had even sent home some of his gear.”

Klein made Phillip Brodnick an honorary police officer September 1, the day of his funeral, Klein said Wednesday.

The city council unanimously approved the appointment of Phillip Brodnick, making him the “first honorary police officer we have ever had in the city of Burbank,” Klein said.

Phillip Brodnick was issued star No. 140, “which will be permanently retired,” Klein said.

James Brodnick attended the meeting in his police attire with his canine officer by his side and his wife, young daughter and sister nearby. Brodnick thanked the mayor and the city for his son's appointment.

“His intention was to come back here and work in the Chicago area,” James Brodnick said. “He had told me that he was considering applying to police departments when he got home.”

Phillip Brodnick joined the Army after graduating from Lincoln-Way High School. In 2005, he re-enlisted after completing an assignment in Kosovo. In August 2006, he was deployed to Iraq and recently had been promoted to Corporal.

Klein said he and Police Chief Bruce Radowicz decided to appoint Phillip Brodnick as an honorary police officer “because he wanted to be a police officer after he got out of the service, so the chief and I thought it was appropriate to honor his wish.”

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