BENWOOD, WV, US
SPC, COMPANY C, 3D BATTALION, 509TH INFANTRY, 4 BCT, FORT RICHARDSON, AK
11/04/2009, BERMAL DISTRICT, AFGHANISTAN
Julian Berisford wanted to be there for his daughter’s first steps, so he asked his wife to hold little Mya back just until he could come home. He was supposed to come home in November to celebrate Mya’s first birthday.
The Army specialist who loved hunting, fishing — and “the great outdoors,” as he wrote on his MySpace page — was proud of his family and proud of being a soldier, said Berisford’s cousin Randi Jo Chavanak.
“The only thing he said before he left was that he was going to do things right for families like ours,” Chavanak said. “He was going to fight for families.”
Berisford, 25, of Benwood, W.Va., was killed Nov. 4 in Paktika province, Afghanistan, when insurgents attacked his unit. He was assigned to Fort Richardson, Alaska. He graduated from John Marshall High School in 2002 and enlisted in February 2007.
Berisford’s interests are clear from his MySpace page — he professes his love for West Virginia University sports and has several photos of a fishing trip to Canada. Also posted are numerous photos of his wife, Gina, and his daughter.
“He was a jokester and a fun-loving guy and always smiling,” said Cathy Jones, whose son went to school with Berisford.
According to a prepared statement from Fort Richardson, Berisford joined the Army in August 2007 and initially served at bases in the South. Twelve months later, he was a paratrooper assigned to the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) at Fort Richardson. He deployed to Paktika province in March with C Company of one the brigade’s battalions, the 3-509th Parachute Infantry Regiment.
Berisford was the 12th soldier of the brigade to die in combat since it began its deployment in February. His battalion lost two soldiers July 4 when Taliban forces attacked their mountain fortress.