By Sgt. Cody Harding, 1st Inf. Div., USD-S PAOSeptember 11, 2010
Sgt. Brandon Maggart was sleeping when the sirens went off August 22. Seconds after the warning, a rocket struck the roof of his housing unit on Basra,. Fellow Soldiers of the 5th Battalion, 5th Air Defense Artillery Regiment rushed to his side providing medical aid. He was removed from the room and rushed to the troop medical clinic emergency room.
Brandon Edward Maggart, 24, a husband and a father from Liberty, Mo., serving his second deployment as an air defense artilleryman with the 5th Battalion, 5th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, was pronounced dead on arrival.
Four days later, a memorial was held for Maggart at the post chapel. Hundreds of people came to say farewell.
On the stage, his commander, fellow NCOs, and Soldiers stood side-by-side to talk about Maggart. From Capt. Lloyd Sporluck, commander of Battery A, 5-5 ADA, to Staff Sgt. Simon Cannon, Maggart's platoon sergeant, the message remained the same: he was a man of character and a person to aspire to be like.
"Brandon was a man whose life could be summed up in one word: excellence," Sporluck said. "In my years of military experience, I've never met a man of greater character."
Spc. Kandise Phillips, one of Maggart's Soldiers, remembered her NCO's contributions.
"As we all know, Sgt. Maggart was a great NCO, leader and friend," Phillips said. "Spending the last eight months with him, I have learned he was just a kid. He loved to make everyone laugh and was always trying to make the most of every day."
"Every time I had a question or needed something fixed, Maggart was usually the first person I asked," said Staff Sgt. Richard Hauser, a platoon sergeant with Battery A. "In addition to being a great Soldier, Brandon was one of the rare people you meet that single-handedly raised the morale of the people around him."
The ceremony continued with a rendition of 'Amazing Grace', sung by Chief Warrant Officer Cynthia Choo, liaison with the 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, and Sgt. Shina Richburg, a counter rockets and mortars system operator with the 1st Infantry Division.
The end of the ceremony was marked by the last role call, where 1st Sgt. Billy Lingar, senior NCO of Battery A, called the names of the sergeants in attendance. When he reached SGT Maggart's name, he called three times with no response. Outside the chapel three volleys of a 21-gun salute were fired to mark the passing of Maggart.
At the end of the ceremony, each row stood and offered final respects to Maggart. As the line continued, the small memorial stand was soon covered with coins and personal effects as the Soldiers and officers offered tribute to the fallen Soldier.
Maggart is survived by his wife, Teresa, and his three year-old son, Blake.