SWARTZ CREEK, MI, US
U.S. Marine Corps
LCPL, WPNS CO, 1ST BN, 1ST MAR (RCT-5, I MEF FWD) 1ST MAR DIV
06/20/2006, AL KARMAH, IRAQ
Brandon J. Webb was good at a lot of things.
“He was an amazing student,” said his older brother, Austin W. Christofferson. “He loved baseball. He liked to pitch. And he loved painting Warhammer figurines.”
The miniature models of game characters are hand-painted and assembled by the player, and Webb, 20, was a whiz.
“They were really realistic,” said Christofferson, 22. “He was great at it.”
He was also a firefighter, a job he did with his mother in Michigan after the family moved there from Tempe, Ariz., where he grew up, according to the Detroit Free Press. He took a leave from that job last year to follow another of his passions: the Marines.
“He always wanted to be a Marine,” his brother said. “His uncle Eddie was also a Marine.”
Uncle Eddie never went to war, but Webb was sent to Iraq. The lance corporal was due to return home Aug. 2, his mother, Ann Christofferson, told the Arizona Republic. But Webb was killed in combat in Anbar province June 20, 2006. Two other soldiers from his unit, Private First Class Christopher N. White, 23, of Southport, North Carolina, and Staff Sergeant Benjamin D. Williams, 30, of Orange, Texas, also were killed that day. The men were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Pendleton, California.
At Arlington National Cemetery yesterday, the sun beat down as mourners watched six Marines slowly lift Webb’s flag-draped coffin out of a silver-colored hearse. As the Marines held the flag aloft over the coffin, Lieutenant Ron Nordan, cemetery chaplain, spoke of the cemetery’s history as a place to lay the nation’s heroes to rest.
“Today we add another hero to the list,” he said.
Seated a few feet from the coffin and dressed in black, Webb’s mother listened and at one point dropped her face into her hands. A few mourners dabbed at their eyes as a rifle salute was fired and a bugler played taps.
Marcus Otero, 20, of Mesa, Arizona, told the Republic that Webb had lived with his family during his senior year of high school and was like a brother to him. The report said that Webb had persuaded Otero to join the military as well, and that he will leave for Iraq this fall; the two had planned to spend time together after Webb returned and before Otero left. Otero told the newspaper that Webb was ready to come home and had even picked out the car he wanted to buy upon his return. Austin Christofferson said he admired his brother’s initiative.
“He led by example,” he said. “He put off a real example of how to live your life.”