Hoby F. Bradfield, Jr.—August 2005 Shipment Honoree
Army Spc., 22, of The Woodlands, Texas; assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Carson, Colo.; killed July 9, 2005 while he was conducting a dismounted cordon search in Tal Afar, Iraq.
Soldier’s Fight a Mother’s Heartbreak
“The day the towers fell, he called a recruiter,” said his mother, Dianne Sterling, who now lives in Wheaton. “I said, ‘Hoby, please, just think about it for a few days.’ But he had his mind made up.”
From that point on, Bradfield’s resolve and loyalty to his country never wavered.
Not when he was sent to Iraq the following year, and not when the Army specialist voluntarily signed up for a second tour of duty “because he wasn’t going to let the boys he fought with go back without him,” his mother said.
Bradfield, 22, was killed July 9 in Tal Afar, Iraq. His stepfather, Kenneth Sterling, said Bradfield was injured during a house-to-house search for insurgents. Then the ambulance he was in struck a roadside bomb, killing him and the ambulance driver.
His family will never know if he might have survived the initial injury. They choose not to dwell on what-ifs.
“His mom and I choose not to dwell on that potential,” Kenneth Sterling said. “We’re mostly angry about the fact that (the insurgents) bomb children and ambulances.”
Bradfield’s mother also chose to focus on the positives: “He had confidence in getting the job done, of bringing peace and freedom. He was under no illusions. He knew that was his job, and he knew what he stood for. And he made the ultimate sacrifice.”
Bradfield was raised mainly in New Jersey and Virginia. But his wife, Crystin, who’s due to deliver their first child this fall, was from Chicago’s South Side. His mother and stepfather, a Chicago native, moved to Wheaton last year, and had hoped Bradfield and his young family might someday choose to live in the Chicago area.
“They got married, set plans to have a baby, and then he went back to Iraq,” Kenneth Sterling said. “They didn’t really didn’t have a lot of time together. Now she’s widowed with an unborn child.
“This is so tragic,” he said. “So much of it was the potential of what could have been.”
Dianne Sterling described her son as generally quiet but with a dry sense of humor. He loved children, and, while growing up, often helped out elderly neighbors without being asked.
She has made a point to contact the widow of Eric Woods of Omaha, the ambulance driver who was killed along with her son that day. She told his widow how grateful she was that Woods had tried to help her son.
Bradfield’s funeral will take place Monday in Virginia Beach, Va., where his father, Hoby Bradfield, Sr., and stepmother live. He’ll be buried at Arlington National Cemetery Tuesday.
“I don’t want him to be remembered as just another coalition tragedy,” Dianne Sterling said. “I want people to know he was a kind, loving, caring young man who was fiercely loyal and patriotic.
“He’s not just a casualty,” she said. “He was a person. He was my son.”
Twenty-Two, Forever—Specialist Hoby Frank Bradfield, Jr.
“Day by day, fix your eyes upon the greatness of Athens, until you become filled with the love of her; and when you are impressed by the spectacle of her glory, reflect that this empire has been acquired by men who knew their duty and had the courage to do it.” – Thucydides, The Funeral Speech for Pericles
, Jr. graduated from high school in 2001 in Virginia Beach, VA. Immediately after witnessing the World Trade Center towers fall from his home in New Jersey, he called a recruiter and enlisted in the US Army. A member of the warrior caste, Bradfield’s father was a retired Navy veteran, his older brother an Army Cavalry Scout and his younger brother is now a Marine.
Hoby left his home and entered the Army on August 20th, 2002. He trained to be a Cavalry Scout and was assigned to the Sabre Squadron of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment at Fort Carson, Colorado. In a few short months, Bradfield went from raw recruit to leader among his peers.
Not long after joining the famed regiment, the 3rd ACR was sent to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom I. There, Hoby Bradfield earned a reputation for being a fierce Scout. As a Private First Class he was awarded the ARMCOM with V device for valor in combat and had been recommended for two Bronze Stars.
After returning from OIF, Hoby met a girl, Crystin, fell in love and got married. He also trained to be a Combat Life Saver. Crystin became pregnant and Hoby was thrilled.
“…not even subzero temperatures at downrange Fort Carson can keep the smile from a man’s face when he tells his best friends he’s going to be a father,” said 1st Lt. Brian Oman, Bradfield’s Troop platoon leader.
He knew the day would come when the regiment would go back to Iraq. Even though Crystin was pregnant, Bradfield volunteered to go back to Iraq.
On July 9th, 2005, Grim Troop of the 2nd Squadron moved into a neighborhood in Tal Afar to destroy a terrorist bombing cell. During the cordon and search, one of Bradfield’s team was hit and, as one of the Combat Life Savers, he raced to perform first aid. Then, Specialist Bradfield was shot. Medics were called to the battle. They stabilized Hoby, put him on the ambulance, and raced to the hospital. Terrorists were watching. They detonated an IED and destroyed the ambulance instantly killing Hoby and the medic that was saving his life, PFC Eric Woods.
“There are troopers in the regiment who most definitely owe their lives to him,” LTC Christopher Hickey, Commander, 2nd Squadron, 3rd ACR said about Hoby in the memorial service held in Iraq where over 200 Cav Troopers attended.
On July 26th, 2005, Specialist Hoby Frank Bradfield Jr. was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. Eric Woods’ family attended the memorial in Virginia and the burial at Arlington.
On September 3rd, Crystin Bradfield gave birth to Kloe Adell Bradfield who is the spittin’ image of her dad.
My thoughts and prayers are with Hoby’s family. Today would have been Hoby’s twenty-third birthday.
July 2006 Update:
SPC Bradfield Awarded Second Bronze Star with Valor:
The following recognition of Spc. Hoby F. Bradfield’s courage and selflessness were sent to his wife with the awarding of the Bronze Star Medal with Valor:
Hoby was a true hero in every sense of the word. Since his passing, many of our soldiers have done great justice to his memory by attempting to replicate the professionalism, enthusiasm, and bravery that Hoby displayed on a daily basis over here. Many times we fall short of his example, but his legacy in this squadron is truly a lasting one.
Enclosed is a Bronze Star Medal with Valor, which Hoby was awarded for actions two weeks prior to his passing. On June 25 2005 his squad was on a dismounted patrol in Tal’Afar, Iraq when they came under enemy fire. One of the soldiers in the squad was shot and lay separated from the rest of the team by enemy fire. Hoby, with no regard to his own safety exposed himself to the continuous enemy fire in order to reach his wounded friend, drag him to safety and provide first aid. After giving assistance to the wounded Soldier, Hoby again exposed himself to enemy fire as he went for a stretcher, then again as he helped to evacuate the soldier. His Valor and Heroism were supremely evident that day, as well as every time he was on a mission. Hoby’s action on June 25 2005 saved the life of Sergeant Jeremy Wolfsteller. Hoby always put the well-being of his fellow Soldiers above his own, and he exemplified all the values expected of such a dedicated and professional Soldier.
For August’s shipment I would like to honor Army SPC Hoby Frank Bradfield, Jr of The Woodlands, Texas. He was killed on July 9, 2005 in Tal Afar, Iraq due to enemy fire while conducting a dismounted cordon search. He was 22 years of age. I learned of this young man due to another yahoo group that I am a part of, Operation Baby Blanket. His wife, Crystin, is currently pregnant with their first child and is due in September. This link goes to his memorial video that I encourage you all to watch. It definitely brought tears to my eyes. With Jason (my husband) being his age, due with our first child in October, and Jason leaving to Iraq in Dec or Jan this definitely touched home.
9-03-05 Kloe was born at 2:01am Sat. weighting in at 7lbs 3oz and 19″ long. Crystin says she looks just like Hoby’s baby photo except she has brown curly hair. She and Crystin are doing fine. She was born at Evans Army Hospital on post at Colorado Springs, CO.Sources:
- Daily Herald
- Black Five
- Fallen But Never Forgotten
- The Mounted Rifleman
The members of Landstuhl Hospital Care Project were honored to remember Hoby during the month of August 2005 with our shipments to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, and U.S. military hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our thoughts and prayers remain with Hoby’s family and friends today and in the years to come.
In honor of Hoby, on Aug 12, 2005 we shipped 110 calendars, 4 dress shirts, 22 boxes of snack bags, 10 pounds of candy and 9 pairs of boxers .