Omak, Washington, US
United States Army
SPC, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment
Fort Benning, US, 06/29/2005
On the very day that most members of the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, were showing off their athletic skills on the playing fields of Fort Benning, 17 of their fellow Rangers were three time zones away, attending the funeral of one of their own — Specialist Brian C. Harrison.
“I’m very appreciative of their support,” Dean Harrison said via telephone from his home in Omak, Wash. “I think it was a tribute to my son that they came all this way for the services.”
The younger Harrison, a fire support specialist who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan during his almost four years in the Army, died June 29 after collapsing during a training exercise at Fort Benning.
“The cause of his death remains under investigation,” said Kim Laudano, the public affairs officer for the 75th Ranger Regiment. “I can say he died after physical training.” He was taken by ground transportation to Martin Army Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Harrison, who had applied for Special Forces service, died just three days after returning to post from a 10-day leave.
“That was a very special time for me and my son,” said Dean Harrison, whose wife — Brian’s mother — died several years ago. “The two of us rode our motorcycles, Brian went fishing with his grandfather, and he spent a lot of time with his friends here in Omak.”
A member of Bravo Company, the 5-foot-8-inch, 145-pound Harrison had been grounded after recovering from shoulder surgery. “He was finally back on full status after being restricted from certain activities for a long time,” said his father. “You can imagine how happy he was to be healthy once again.”
The fact that he was apparently healthy and in great shape makes it difficult for Harrison to accept the news of his son’s death. “I’m waiting to hear back from those doing the investigation,” he said. “I know the Rangers go through rigorous training and that there’s plenty of competition. But Brian accepted that.”
The city of 4,500 turned out in droves Wednesday.
“It was pretty much me and him since his mother died,” said Dean, who owns a jewelry store in rural Omak. “Now it’s just me. It’s tough.”