PLYMOUTH, WI, USA U.S. Marines CPL, F CO, 2D BN, 24TH MAR, (24TH MEU, 1ST MAR DIV), 4TH MAR DIV, MILWAUKEE, WI YUSUFIYAH, IRAQ 11/12/2004
Family members said Prening — a graduate of Plymouth High School — had just gotten married on Aug. 13 and was expecting his first child with his wife, Amy.
Amy had a son from another relationship that Brian Prening loved like his own, said Prening’s father, Bill Prening, of Plymouth. He said the family last spoke with Brian Prening about three weeks ago. As winds in Iraq blew sand and dust and he spoke with his family, Brian Prening had his unborn child on his mind.
“He couldn’t wait to come home,” Bill Prening said. “He knew he had a baby coming. He was hoping to be home with his baby at that time.”
Bill Prening said his blond-haired, blue-eyed son — who stood 6 feet, 3 inches — joined the Marines because “he wanted to challenge himself.” “He was real proud after he finished boot camp,” Bill Prening said. “It was a major accomplishment in his life.”
After boot camp, Brian Prening went into the reserves, his father said, and had completed his service. “He was done,” Bill Prening said. “Then he got called back up.”
His mother, Deborah Prening, said while she was fearful for her son’s life, her son knew he had to go and had readied himself for battle. “He was that kind of guy … ‘Let’s get it on,’ you know?” Deborah Prening said. ” ‘Do what you gotta do’ and have a real good outlook on life.”
Brian Prening, 24, was killed Nov. 12 by small arms fire in the Babil province south of Baghdad as his 23member unit was attacked by more than 70 insurgents.
The Reverend Craig DuBois told about 500 mourners who packed into the church that they should keep Brian Prening in mind when they contemplate their own deaths, and hope to “die instantly, without any suffering.”
“I wonder is that really the most important way to die? Isn’t the highest and the grandest way to leave this world discovered in the exit of a young soldier tending to a fellow comrade in danger?” DuBois asked them, referring to Prening.
After the funeral, Bill Prening said his son was struck down as he helped a fellow Marine whose machine gun malfunctioned.
“He was under heavy fire, and Brian was giving him cover fire and trying to go over and help him get the machine gun going again and that’s when he was killed,” Bill Prening said.
The other soldier survived.
“Brian was doing what he thought he was right. His commanding officer, when he called me from Iraq, said Brian was always going to be his hero,” the father said.