Farmington, NM, USA
SGT, 126th Military Police Company (III Corps)
10/01/2005, Baghdad, Iraq
Before Marshall A. Westbrook was deployed to Iraq, he installed a new door on his family’s home. It was the start of many home improvement projects he wanted to get done. Recently, about 20 community volunteers from at least eight local businesses, including the Public Service Company of New Mexico, where Westbrook worked as an environmental process operator, picked up hammers and other tools and picked up where Westbrook left off.
“He worked for us for 23 years. This is the least we could do,” said Dick Goeden, who worked with Westbrook at PNM. “The house definitely needed some repairs.”
Westbrook, 43, of Farmington, N.M., was killed Oct. 1 by a roadside bomb in Baghdad. He was based at Albuquerque.
“He was a gentle giant,” said Sergeant First Class Arthur Garcia, who has known Westbrook in and out of the military for about 15 years. “He had a soft voice. He was a good guy, and he will be sorely missed.”
He is survived by his wife, Jolene, and five children: Marcia, 24, Ryan, 23, Anthony, 20, Nicole, 14, and Chadrick, 22 months.
“He was a good man. He loved his family. He loved fighting for his country,” Dave Westbrook, the fallen soldier’s brother, told The Daily Times newspaper Oct. 7.
Westbrook was a member of the Albuquerque-based 126th Military Police Company. He died on the morning of Oct. 1 in Baghdad after being struck in the head by shrapnel from an explosive device. Brigadier General Kenny Montoya, head of the New Mexico National Guard, spent the day Monday with Westbrook’s family.
“He loved his family. He loved his soldiers. This gentle giant, Sergeant Allen Westbrook, will rest in peace,” Montoya said. Westbrook, born July 25, 1962 at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., was married and the father of five children. Relatives declined to say much to reporters.
“Right now, we are hurting too much,” Dave Westbrook said. “But he loved doing what he was doing.”
The 126th Military Police Company was activated a year ago and was expected to return to New Mexico next March. Governor Bill Richardson has ordered flags at state office buildings flown at half staff to honor Westbrook, the 17th service member from New Mexico killed in Iraq or Afghanistan.
“I am deeply saddened by his death and I ask all New Mexicans to join me in honoring his passing,” the governor said.