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Roadside bomb kills Thurston High grad Brennan Gibson, 26.

Byline: Jeff Wright The Register-Guard

Army Sgt. Brennan Gibson, a 1997 graduate of Thurston High School "who loved being a soldier," was killed Sunday in Iraq when a roadside bomb struck his Humvee, family spokesman Pastor Ken Brown said Tuesday.

Gibson, 26, was one of three soldiers killed in the attack on the outskirts of Baghdad. The soldiers had completed a patrol and were heading back to their base when the bomb exploded, Brown said.

Gibson leaves behind a wife and an infant son in Alaska. He left for Iraq shortly after his son's birth, Brown said.

Gibson is the son of John and Linda Gibson of Springfield. His death has not been officially confirmed yet by the Army.

Brown said he was with the family when military personnel brought the news to them Monday morning. They first learned of the death in a phone call from Gibson's wife late Sunday, he said.

Gibson appears twice in Thurston High's 1997 yearbook - in his senior photo and on a page headlined "Sad Endings and New Beginnings."

After high school, Gibson attended Oregon State University in Corvallis, graduating in 2003 with a bachelor of science in art, with a special focus on graphic design. He was a member of Theta Chi fraternity.

Brown said he believes that Gibson and his wife, Corrina, met as students at OSU. Their child, Kaden, was born just before Gibson shipped out to Iraq, Brown said.

Gibson was a member of the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, based out of Fort Richardson in Anchorage. About 3,500 members of the division were deployed to Iraq in mid-October for a one-year tour of duty, an Army spokeswoman in Anchorage said.

The Associated Press reported Monday that three soldiers were killed and two were wounded on Sunday when a roadside bomb exploded on a late-night combat patrol in northern Baghdad. Insurgents often plant such explosives and hide nearby to set them off with hidden electrical cords or cell phone devices, as coalition forces pass by in convoys.

The three deaths raised to 46 the number of U.S. soldiers who have died this month. At least 2,934 members of the U.S. military have died since the United States invaded Iraq in March 2003, according to an AP count.

Brown said he has known the Gibson family for more than 11 years, first at Eastside Faith Center and more recently as pastor of Hope Chapel in west Eugene. John Gibson works as a building inspector, and Linda Gibson works in sales for an adhesives firm; Brennan Gibson is the youngest of their six children.

Brown said he had lunch with Brennan Gibson when Gibson visited Eugene shortly before his son's birth.

Gibson expressed no anxieties about going to Iraq and was instead focused on his family's long-term financial needs, Brown said. Gibson was debating whether to re-enlist for greater pay or leave the military after his current tour ended, he said.

Gibson "was one of those guys that whatever he does, he equips himself to do it well," Brown said. "He was going to be a father, and he was so looking forward to that."

Gibson would have turned 27 on Dec. 27. "I would not describe him as flashy or having a big personality, but he was fun and he was kind," Brown said. "It's just a shame."

Gibson found his niche in the Army, Brown said. "He loved being a soldier, and he was a good one," he said. "If there was a kid that you'd want representing us out there, it was Brennan Gibson."

Funeral arrangements are pending. A fund in Brennan Gibson's name has been established at all Pacific Continental Bank branches, to help the family with funeral and related costs.
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Title Annotation:General News
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Dec 13, 2006
Words:630
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