PRINCE WILLIAM, VA, USA
CAPT, MITT, TF 1-172 AR, 2-28TH BCT, I MEF FWD
TAMMIN, IRAQ 05/03/2006
Captain Brian S. Letendre, 27, of Woodbridge, Va., was stationed in Plainville with the 1st Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division. He died Wednesday in combat operations against enemy forces in Al Anbar province, military officials said.
Letendre was assigned to the Marine Forces Reserves inspector and instructor staff, the Defense Department said.
Letendre was killed when a suicide vehicle exploded near him, his family in Virginia said Friday. It was his second tour of duty in Iraq.
He wasn’t ordered to go back to Iraq for another combat tour, and his unit was not going to deploy there, but he selflessly and courageously volunteered to go help train the Iraqi forces, his family said in a prepared statement. Brian just didn’t feel right being back here in the U.S. while other Marines were serving overseas, and wanted to get back to the front lines as soon as he could, the statement read.
Letendre was born in California and raised in Woodbridge, Va., where he graduated from Potomac High School in 1996. He joined the Marines in 2000 after graduating from Milligan College in Tennessee. After completing training, he chose to become an infantry officer. Before serving in Iraq, was deployed in Okinawa and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
He first went to Iraq as part of the initial invasion in 2003 and earned the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with a Combat V for valor. Letendre returned to train Iraqi forces about three weeks ago, his family said.
Letendre and his family lived in New Britain for about 18 months while he was stationed in Plainville, and Autumn Letendre worked as a teacher in Farmington, The Hartford Courant reported. The people who bought the Letendres’ home six months ago said it was sold because Brian Letendre expected to be sent to Iraq and his wife wanted to stay with family in Indiana while he was overseas.
Letendre was captain of his high school soccer team and graduated from Milligan College in Tennessee in 2000 with a degree in computer science. He joined the Marines later that year.
He was deployed to Japan, Cuba and then to Kuwait at the start of the war. After returning from Iraq, part of his job was to inform soldier families of deaths and help with burial arrangements.
Several times throughout his life, Brian could have chosen the easier or more comfortable path, but he didn’t, his family said.
His survivors include his wife, Autumn, his 3-year-old son Dillon, his parents and two brothers. His wife and child live in Indianapolis and his parents live in Woodbridge, military officials said.
Brian Letendre is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.