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PFC Brandon Keith Bobb
401st MP Company, 720th MP Battalion, 89th MP Brigade

Killed In Action ~ 17 July 2007 ~ Iraq

They Say,
our deaths are not ours,
they are yours,
they will mean what
you make of them.

They say,
we leave you our deaths,
give them some

Archibald MacLeish
poet and WWI

There is contact information on file for the next of kin.

PFC Brandon Keith Bobb, age 20, of  Port Arthur, Texas, PFC Ron J. Joshua, Jr., members of the 401st MP Company . PFC Bobb a gunner in the M1114 Up-Armored Utility Truck Armament Carrier, was killed in action when an improvised explosive devise (IED) exploded near his vehicle in Baghdad, Iraq at 1330 hours on Tuesday, 17 July 2007.

PFC Joshua

     A kind heart, respectful, a gentleman... Who loved sports. Those are some of the ways people who knew 20 year old Private First Class Brandon Keith Bobb are describing the fallen soldier.

     Bobb and two other soldiers in the 401st Military Police company were in a humvee that was struck by a roadside bomb. The Port Arthur soldier was just two weeks away from coming home.

     "He was mild mannered... willing to please... well behaved... he was a gentleman."

     Geraldine Viltz has been a friend of the Bobb family for her entire life. She's also a counselor at Memorial High School. Bobb attended classes there until his senior year in 2005, when the family moved to Florida. Shortly after graduation, he was stationed at Fort Hood when he got the orders sending him to Iraq.

     "It's hard because he was such a well liked person and his family is so well known in the community."

     "When I met him he was a very respectful young man... he comes from a fine family."

     Port Arthur Police Chief Mark Blanton is a close friend of Bobb's family.

    "This is the third soldier from Port Arthur that has been killed in Iraq and it's tough... it seems like Texas takes the brunt of the losses."

     Chief Blanton says news of Bobb's death spread quickly through the Port Arthur community. While a man the chief calls a hometown hero is gone, he is not forgotten. Blanton says it's time to rally around the people Bobb loved most, his family.

     "We are going to assist the family any way we can to insure that proper respects are paid to someone who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country."

     It was a sad Monday morning in Port Arthur as the body of Pfc. Brandon Keith Bobb was welcomed home for the last time.

     After a hero’s welcome at the Southeast Texas Regional Airport — complete with a water-made rainbow arch for the taxiing plane flying Bobb home— a procession carried the fallen soldier through the streets of his hometown. He was due to come home on July 26.

     Along the route, hundreds of faithful supporters waved American flags to the passing cars carrying Bobb’s family to Gabriel Funeral Home.

Courtesy of the The Port Arthur News, photographer unknown.

     "It’s a sad day to see our young men go to basic training, get sent to the front lines and this is how they return home — in caskets," said Mattie Morrow, a friend of the Bobb family. "My heart goes out to the family on this sad, sad day."

      Bobb’s uncle, Joseph "Joe" Bobb, took the news of his nephew’s death hard.

"I had to sit down," he said of receiving the tragic news. "His mother is my baby sister and all my life I’ve done things to protect her. I could be a thousand miles away and if she needed me, I’d be right there."

     Bobb’s uncle said the large, close-knit family is competitive in academics and athletics and he was not keen on the idea of the young man going into the military.

     "I didn’t like the idea at the time," he said. "But he manned up and did what he was going to do and I support him."

     Brandon Bobb was a typical teenager who pretty much followed in his family’s footsteps in athletics and academics. Many family members earned scholarships to various colleges in the U.S., which is something that pushed the young man towards the straight and narrow without a lot of heavy handedness, Joe Bobb said.

     A straight and narrow, respectful young man is how many remember Brandon Bobb and say he got those traits from his well-known family.

     "The family would give you their last, that’s just how they are," said Wesley Johnson. "It’s just so sad because he was so young. It’s good to see a young man serve our country and he gave his life trying to protect all of us."

    Whether a Port Arthur resident or a stranger to the Bobb family, the death of the American hero crossed all barriers and touched people across the area.

Edited from an article written by Amy Moore and Mary Meaux of the The Port Arthur News.

   The spirit of true American heroism was in Thomas Blvd. Church of Christ Saturday morning as family and friends gathered with heavy hearts to celebrate the life of and pay tribute to Pfc. Brandon Keith Bobb.

     After singing the always touching hymn, Amazing Grace, Bobb’s family was comforted by the words of the faithful who said their fallen soldier will live on forever in the hearts and memories of his loved ones.

     "In a world of give and take, only a few are willing to give what it takes and Brandon was one of them," said the Rev. Corey Shaw in his sermon. “Brandon did not die on July 17. He will not die until we destroy his memory from our hearts.”

     Grasping to those memories, Bobb’s cousin Ashley Bobb said she always felt like Brandon was more of a little brother to her. Reminiscing about times she and Brandon played basketball together or got into mischief at their grandparents, Ashley Bobb said her cousin was an extension of herself.

     "We were thick as thieves and I thought I could always protect him," she said through tears. "But he protected me with his life and I stand here today as strong as I can be, but he stood out there with his courage for his family and for his country. He was a great man and a great American hero."

     Other family members also shared their memories of Brandon, who as a child always wanted to be a hero.
"He used to tie a towel around his neck and pretend to be a hero," Bobb’s aunt said. "He wasn’t afraid to go to Iraq and he always encouraged his cousins to be the best they could be."

Courtesy of the The Port Arthur News, photographer unknown.

     A soldier spoke on behalf of the U.S. Army and read to the family a poem that said Bobb has arrived safely in his mansion above where he will serve as a soldier in another capacity — a soldier of Christ.

     "I no longer fear for tomorrow and the Lord has told me that my works were not in vain," the soldier read.
Bobb’s mother was then presented with her son’s Bronze Star medal and a Purple Heart for his service to his country and for the ultimate sacrifice of his life.

PFC Bobb (left) PFC Joshua (right), Iraq, 2007. Courtesy of The Gauntlet Forward, 720th MP Battalion Newsletter.

     "Greater love hath no man than he who lays down his life for his brother," said another Army representative to the grieving family and friends. "Brandon was one of the best the Army has to offer. In the Army, we respect our soldiers like our own children and now our responsibility to Brandon is to honor him not with our words, but with our actions."

     With Bobb that fateful day was his battle buddy and friend, Pfc. Ron J. Joshua Jr., 19, of Austin, who also died as a result of the attack.

     The young men were in basic training together and had developed a lasting friendship during their time in the Army.

     Brittany Joshua, Ron Joshua’s young sister, spoke at the funeral of her brother’s best friend.
"I felt like I’ve lost two brothers," the teen said. "It’s hard to see what everyone’s going through, but I’m happy — sort of — that they went together. They were brothers."

Edited from an article written by Amy Moore  of the The Port Arthur News.
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