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Baptist among 5 soldiers from Ark. killed in Iraq

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (BP)–An Arkansas Baptist was among five Arkansas soldiers killed in Iraq April 24.

Staff Sergeant Stacey Brandon, a member of First Baptist Church of Hazen, died early Saturday, April 24, in a rocket strike against Arkansas’ 39th Infantry Brigade at Camp Cooke, north of Baghdad. The blast seriously injured five others, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

According to the report, Brandon and three others were standing in the mouth of a bunker when a rocket hit dead-on. The bunker and surrounding trailers where soldiers live were scarred with shrapnel from the rocket.

Brandon’s funeral service was held May 1 at the Hazen church where he and his wife, April, have been members since 1999. A 13-year veteran of the National Guard, Brandon had been on active duty since last October.

First Baptist pastor Ronnie Malone said Brandon was outgoing and very likable. “He always had a smile on his face … and loved to sing,” Malone said, adding that Brandon often performed solos during worship services. Malone said he believed Brandon’s unit had been in Iraq less than two months.

Malone said Brandon and his family were very involved in church ministries. “They were very, very active in the church. Put it this way, when the doors were open, they were here.”

Malone said the church family is ministering to Brandon’s wife. “We are trying to comfort and help in any way we can,” he said.

In addition to his wife, Brandon is survived by two small children. Graveside services were held at Kingsland Cemetery in Kingsland.

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  • Stella Prather