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Allegany Co. man dies in Iraq blast

April 02, 2004|by DAVID DISHNEAU

A 20-year-old Army private from western Maryland was among five soldiers killed when a bomb exploded under their vehicle near Fallujah, his mother said Thursday.

Jackie Weatherholt said the Army told her that her son, Brandon Lee Davis, 20, of Cresaptown, died Wednesday morning, about six months after he went to Iraq. He was with the 1st Engineer Division, based in Fort Riley, Kan., she said.

"It's terrible," she said. "He was my baby. I have three kids, and he was my baby."

Weatherholt said she last spoke with Davis on March 20 by telephone. They discussed the dangers of the high-risk areas into which he was always being sent, she said.

"I said, 'Watch your back, Brandon."'

She said Davis enjoyed carpentry and fishing. A graduate of Fort Hill High School in Cumberland, he had joined the Army in hopes of learning a trade, she said.

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"He was just your average, everyday teenager, basically," she said. "He was just one of those all-American kids, the guys who help old women across the street."

Weatherholt, a divorced medical secretary, said she wants the war in Iraq to end.

"It's being drug out too long. We're losing guys right and left over there. They need to go over and get the job done and get out of there."

She said the Army had told her it could take five days to two weeks for Davis' remains to come home.

Davis' father, Jeff, a worker in the Cumberland railroad yard, said he had spoken with Brandon about two weeks ago.

"He was laughing and carrying on, asking about his sister and his brother and stuff like that," he said.

Brandon loved being a soldier "and he was happy to be doing what he did," his father said. "Unfortunately, he was on the wrong end of the stick."

Jeff Davis said he was proud of Brandon but frustrated with Iraqi resistance to the U.S.-led coalition. Coalition forces "need to step it up," he said.

"They're not seeing that we're real. They're not feeling the punch."

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