‘I call it glory’: Hometown honors soldier killed during insider attack in Afghanistan
By ALLISON CHEN AND JAY SKEBBA | The Blade | Published: August 1, 2019
BRYAN, Ohio (Tribune News Service) — Mayor Carrie Schlade and local school officials honored the life and sacrifice of 20-year-old Pfc. Brandon Jay Kreischer of Stryker, Ohio, at a Bryan High School news conference on Wednesday.
Kreischer was killed in an ambush in Afghanistan on Monday.
Gov. Mike DeWine has ordered flags for Williams County public buildings and the Ohio Statehouse to be lowered to half-staff until sundown, the mayor said.
A Bryan High School Class of 2018 graduate, Kreischer participated in football, wrestling, track, and choir in school. Bryan Schools will offer support and counseling as needed to students and families within the district, said Diana Savage, the Bryan Schools superintendent.
District officials plan to discuss an appropriate honor to bestow upon Kreischer. The mayor said there will be more events in the coming days to commemorate Private Kreischer in Bryan.
When Kim Massie heard her former student had died in an Afghanistan ambush, she kept calm to console her devastated grandson who was the former soldier's classmate.
Massie, who taught Kreischer Spanish for two years, told The Blade that he disliked the subject but had good rapport with Massie.
“Who knows where you’ll be stationed in the future — you might need to speak Spanish some day,” Massie said, quoting a past conversation with Kreischer. “Unfortunately, that ... that didn’t happen for him.”
Kreischer was shot and killed in an insider attack at a base in the Shah Wali Kot district, 100 miles north of Kandahar. U.S. officials told the Associated Press that an Afghan soldier had shot and killed two American servicemembers. The other soldier killed was 24-year-old Spc. Michael Isaiah Nance of Chicago.
“If I die in the combat zone for America, I do not call it a tragedy,” Kreischer wrote two years ago. “I call it glory.”
The Pentagon says the incident is still under investigation.
Kreischer’s body was returned Wednesday to the United States, according to the 82nd Airborne Division in Fort Bragg, N.C. He was stationed there before deploying to Afghanistan less than a month ago.
The Defiance County Sheriff’s Office shared a message on Facebook Tuesday to honor Kreischer.
“Sheriff [Douglas] Engel and staff would like to take a moment to honor the life and sacrifice of Williams County Resident Brandon Kreischer,” the post said. “Brandon, while serving his country in the United States Army, was killed in action. To his family, our prayers are with you during this incredibly difficult time.”
The Williams County Veterans Memorial also posted a message on Facebook.
“It is with great sadness that we must report Pfc. Brandon J. Kreischer, a 2018 Graduate of Bryan High School and a Paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division, was one of two soldiers killed in action on Monday in Kandahar province, Afghanistan. As a sign of our respect for his family and his service, the flags at the Williams County Veterans Memorial have been lowered to half-staff until dusk of the day of his interment. Brandon leaves behind his wife, Grace, and their son Callum who is expected in December."
Kreischer’s military honors include the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Army Service Ribbon.
Rogue Afghan soldiers attacking their American comrades — also known as green-on-blue attacks — started occurring about 10 years ago. According to the Long War Journal, there were two instances in 2008; five in 2009 and 2010; and 16 in 2011.
Insider attacks spiked to 44 in 2012 and accounted for 15 percent of all coalition deaths in Afghanistan that year. Additional security measures were put in place following the sharp increase, and the numbers came down.
Monday's attack is the first of its kind since November.
A small percentage of green-on-blue attacks are attributed to terrorists infiltrating the army, but most stem from religious and cultural differences, and other factors driving a wedge between Americans and Afghans, according to a 2013 report by Marines Maj. David Arenas.
American military officials said in October that they had halted most face-to-face contacts with members of the Afghan security forces, and have temporarily withdrawn from Afghan security facilities, after two “insider” shootings that month that killed a top Afghan regional police commander and a Czech soldier.
Such insider attacks peaked in 2012 but have declined steadily since then, with added vetting of Afghan recruits, extra guards accompanying foreign advisers, and the withdrawal of most foreign troops. However, there have been several such deadly attacks in the past two years, including some at the hands of highly-trained Afghan commandos.
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