Family says NJ soldier killed in Afghanistan
The Associated Press
Posted : Friday Apr 2, 2010 16:47:21 EDT
BRIDGEWATER, N.J. ó A New Jersey soldier
has been killed in action in Afghanistan.
Family members say Sgt. Scott Brunkhorst,
25, who grew up in Bridgewater and was an Army weapons squad
leader, died Monday.
The Department of Defense has not released
details on his death.
Brunkhorst was a 2003 graduate of
Bridgewater-Raritan High School, where he was a member of
the football and track teams. He joined the Army shortly
He was serving his second tour of duty in
Afghanistan with a unit based at Fort Bragg, N.C.
Brunkhorst was married and the father of a
He is survived by his parents and three
siblings, including a brother who is an Army sergeant
stationed in Germany
Bridgewater-Raritan High School graduate killed in
action in Afghanistan
Stirling/For The Star-Ledger
April 02, 2010, 8:15PM
Scott Brunkhorst could have left the Army in August,
when his five-year commitment ended. Instead, the Bridgewater-Raritan
High School graduate re-enlisted, a decision that ultimately cost him
Brunkhorst, 25, a weapon squadron leader and father of
a young daughter, was killed in action in Afghanistan Monday while
serving his second tour of duty, his mother said yesterday.
"He really was a patriot," said Jim Morgan, a high
school friend from Branchburg. "He was a proud soldier. He died fighting
for his country and protecting all of us so we donít have to cower our
heads in the face of terrorism."
The Department of Defense has not released details of
Brunkhorstís death, but two friends who said they have spoken with his
widow said Brunkhorst was killed when he stepped on an improvised
explosive device as he got out of his truck.
Brunkhorst is at least the 15th service member with ties to New Jersey
to die in Afghanistan since the war began in 2001. Nearly 100 others
have died in Iraq since 2003.
Morgan said Brunkhorstís wife, Krystal, left him a
message during the week, saying she needed to speak with him
|"At that point I knew just from the tone of the
message," Morgan said. "Itís just crazy."
Brunkhorst, whose unit was based at Fort Bragg, N.C.,
joined the military in 2003, soon after he graduated from
Bridgewater-Raritan High School. Born in Colorado and after moving to
Fayetteville, N.C. as an infant, Brunkhorst moved to Bridgewater shortly
before entering high school, where he played football and ran track. He
then joined the military.
Friends said he was dedicated to serving his country, so when his
five-year commitment with the Army ended last year, he re-enlisted.
Yesterday, they remembered him as a selfless, fun-loving man and a
loving father and husband.
"He always put us before himself, always. That was just him," said Brett
Colavito of Branchburg, another high school friend. "He was like a
brother to me and like a second son to my family. The whole time he was
in the military, any time heíd get off duty heíd come up and see me."
Reached at her home in North Carolina, Linda
Brunkhorst, the dead soldierís mother, said she could not comment until
the military had issued a statement.
Another friend, Chris Snook of Martinsville, said he
saw Brunkhorst last summer before the soldier departed for Afghanistan.
"He was just a happy, happy guy. He loved his country.
He loved his family," Snook said. "He was proud of what he did. He
didnít really get into detail about (his military service,) but he was
definitely very proud."
Snook recalled with a smile a weekend two years ago
when he and Colavito drove to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point
where Brunkhorst was stationed at the time, picked him up, then drove
back to Seaside Heights.
"I remember rolling up right into the middle of the
military base blaring music and there he was with his bags all ready to
go," Snook said. "We drove like five hours all the way back down to the
shore. It was just like we were in high school again. It was one of the
best weekends of my life."
Morgan said Brunkhorst never forgot anyone who made an
impact on his life.
"If he had an idea and he wanted to do something, he
just did it. He was determined, so once he realized he wanted to go into
the military he just went," Morgan said. "But he still came around and
was always true to his friends."
"Itís been a tough couple of days, but heís a hero."
In addition to his wife, mother and daughter, Kendall,
Brunkhorst is also survived by his father Richard, brothers Adam and
Richard, and a sister, Danyella. His brother Adam, a U.S. Army sergeant,
is stationed in Germany, serving his second tour of duty.