VANCOUVER, WA, USA U.S. Marines LCPL, ENGRCO, 6TH ENGRSPTBN, 4TH FSSG, EUGENE, OR CAMP COYOTE, KUWAIT 05/09/2003
Cedric Bruns was a graduate of Prairie High School in Vancouver. He arrived in Kuwait in January for his first tour of duty overseas.
The Marine reservist died May 9 when the pickup truck he was driving collided with a logistics support vehicle, similar to a flatbed truck. Bruns was a combat engineer in a unit trained to do “anything from demolition to building,” said Gunnery Sergeant Rick Nelson.
He transferred through Hawaii to Vancouver, to which he returned a week ago to prepare for his May 17 wedding to his fiancee, Jenna Rogers. Rogers, 19, said she first met Bruns when she was in the fifth grade and he was in the sixth grade at Pleasant Valley Middle School in Salmon Creek.
“He was kind of a punk little kid,” she said, affectionately, with a laugh.
“Not in a bad way. I was a punk too. But he had fun teasing the girls, like a normal sixth- and seventh-grader. I went to a different school then, and didn’t know him until Prairie High School.”
After graduating two or three years ago, our group or friends “hung out every weekend,” said Rogers. “We didn’t do anything really. We’d just sit around. Rent movies. Go out to dinner.”
Bruns was neither an athlete nor a musician, she said.
“He was a good guy,” said his friend and fellow Marine Shane Hafner, reverting to respectful Marine lingo. “I lost a devil dog.
“We talked Marines. He burned me some CDs. Rap songs.”
Bruns had written to Rogers of back-breaking labor in Kuwait filling sandbags and building bunkers to hide from Scud missile attacks.
“Things are starting to pick up a little,” Bruns wrote in one of his last notes before the war started. “We’ve been doing a lot of training exercises. They tell us we’re leaving this camp soon to move in to occupy Iraq and Baghdad.”
It wasn’t clear if Bruns made it all the way to the Iraqi capital, but “they were among the first to go over the berm into Iraq,” said Rogers. He hadn’t written lately.