Injured Kaneohe Marine, 21, dies at military hospital
A 21-year-old Kaneohe Marine has died in a military hospital in Germany from wounds he suffered when his convoy was hit by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.
The Pentagon said Lance Cpl. Billy D. Brixey Jr., 21, of Ferriday, La., died Friday at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. He was the 28th person with Hawaii ties to die from injuries in Afghanistan. He had been in Afghanistan for less than a month.
Brixey, a mechanic, was taken to Germany after he was wounded by a roadside bomb Wednesday while on convoy duty with the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, from Kaneohe Bay. He was a transport mechanic assigned to Kaneohe Bay's Combat Support Service Group 3, but while in Afghanistan he was assigned to the 1st Battalion. The 1st Battalion is attached to 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force from Okinawa.
In Louisiana his grandfather Joe Brixey told the Associated Press and the Alexandria Daily Town Talk that his grandson was a passenger in the vehicle when the explosion happened. "They were on patrol in a convoy when they were hit by what they told me was a roadside bomb. It wounded him pretty bad," he told the media.
Brixey said his grandson had both legs amputated in Afghanistan and was traveling to the military hospital in Germany when he died from cardiac arrest.
"He was a fellow that touched a lot of lives around Ferriday," Joe Brixey said. "He was a good Christian boy. He loved the church and he loved the Marines, and he made the sacrifice."
Brixey's body was en route to Baton Rouge and will be brought to Ferriday, family members said.
Brixey was among the nearly 900 Marines from Kaneohe Bay's 1st Battalion, which left in late January to replace its sister unit from Oahu, the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment. The 1st Battalion had just been home from Iraq for eight months before it was sent back into combat.
Brixey, who was single, joined the Marine Corps in July 2002 and reported to Kaneohe a year later. He is survived by his father, sister and grandfather.
He was the eighth Marine from Kaneohe to die in Afghanistan since 2003.
Today, the Marine Corps will honor four members of the 2nd Battalion who were killed while the unit was in Afghanistan from June until January:
» Lance Cpl. Kevin B. Joyce, 19, of Ganado, Ariz. He died June 25 after falling into the Pech River and drowning while conducting combat operations in Afghanistan.
» Lance Cpl. Phillip C. George, 22, of Houston. He died Aug. 18 from enemy small-arms fire while conducting combat operations near Taleban village.
» Lance Cpl. Ryan J. Nass, 21, of Franklin, Wis. He killed himself on Sept. 3 at Camp Blessing, Afghanistan.
» Lance Cpl. Steven A. Valdez, 20, of McRea, Ark. He died Sept. 26 from enemy mortar fire at Camp Blessing.
Also pending are memorial services for Pvt. Lewis T.D. Calapini, 21, of Waipahu. He was killed in a vehicle accident at Al Taqaddum, Iraq, on Jan. 23. He was assigned to Anti-Terrorism Battalion, 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, II Marine Expeditionary Force from Camp Lejeune, N.C.