News: King family helps National Guard remember
Story by Staff Sgt. Les Newport
MARION, Ind. - Family members of Staff Sgt. Bradley D. King joined hundreds of King’s fellow soldiers during a Wall of Honor ceremony at the National Guard Armory in Marion, Ind. King spent much of his career serving at the armory before being mortally wounded in Iraq in 2007.
Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger, adjutant general of the Indiana National Guard, presented a display of King’s awards and achievements, along with a portrait and American flag, which will be permanently mounted on a prominent wall of the drill floor.
“He wanted to serve his country; that’s why he joined,” said Staff Sgt. Jess Fordyce, a lifelong friend who deployed with King.
Fordyce spoke to the hundreds gathered for the unveiling of the display and drew many laughs as he remembered not only the soldier, but the son, the husband, the father, the brother and the childhood friend who was Brad King.
“Brad had a photograph of Daethan and Adrian [son and wife] on his desktop … and he showed us that photo every day. He wanted us to know how proud he was,” said Fordyce.
In closing Fordyce asked all to remember King: “I think of Brad every day. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t, so please, think of Brad.”
Capt. Daniel Hensley, King’s company commander, told the audience he also had a long history with King.
“I met Brad King right here on this drill floor in 1998,” said Hensley. “I was so impressed with him, his enthusiasm, his work ethic, I said ‘you know what, that young kid over there, he’s going to be a good one, he’s going to move up fast’ and he did.”
“We’re here to make certain the life, the service and the ultimate sacrifice of Staff Sgt. King … will always be remembered on this wall of honor,” said Umbarger.
“What each of us needs to do is take that piece, large or small, that he left for all of us. Each and every day strive to be a better person. Strive to be as giving and caring as Staff Sgt. Brad King,” added Umbarger.
King was killed in action on April 2, 2007, while serving in Al Amiriyah, Iraq. He served his state and country as a Bradley Fighting Vehicle mechanic with the 2nd battalion, 152nd Infantry.
The Wall of Honor Ceremony is a time to formally recognize King’s service and his family’s sacrifice.