|From The Seattle Times seattletimes.nwsource.com
Seattle soldier killed in Iraq
Cpl. Brandon Hocking, a 24-year-old soldier from the Seattle area, died Monday in As Samawah, Iraq, from wounds suffered when his unit was attacked by a roadside bomb.
By Hal Bernton Seattle Times Reporter
Cpl. Brandon Hocking, a 24-year-old soldier from Seattle, died Monday from wounds suffered in a roadside bomb attack in Iraq. He died just 10 days before his scheduled return home.
Cpl. Hocking was a small-arms repair specialist and also served as a convoy gunner, according to his sister, Brianna Hocking, who exchanged messages with her brother on Facebook just two weeks ago.
"I told him to stay safe, and he told me, 'Don't worry. I love you, and I will be home soon'," Hocking, of Reno, Nev., said Tuesday.
Cpl. Hockings's unit was attacked in the southern Iraq city of As Samawah.
And he posthumously received a Purple Heart and also the Bronze Star, which is awarded for acts of combat heroism, according to an Army spokeswoman at Fort Stewart, Ga., where Cpl. Hocking's unit is based.
Cpl. Hocking was on his second tour of duty in Iraq, where the United States has had ground troops since 2003. During that period, more than 4,440 U.S. troops have died, including 11 this year, according to the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count.
Cpl. Hocking first joined the Army in November 2005. He served with the 87th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion. In a June 2010 report by an Army public-affairs writer, Cpl. Hocking was featured as he worked at an armament-repair shop at a base in Iraq, where he was helping put together a team that could travel to repair weapons.
Cpl. Hocking was the eldest of six children and attended Federal Way and Decatur high schools.
He enjoyed fixing up old cars, sketching and playing the acoustic and electric guitar.
"He could strum just about anything," said his grandmother, Delores Pitts, of Lake Tapps.
Friends and family said Cpl. Hocking joined the military after high school in an effort to improve his life.
"I think it probably made him a stronger man," said Mike Davis, a friend since childhood.
On Tuesday, family members said that Cpl. Hocking's parents, Christine Dansereau, of Pomeroy, Garfield County, and Kevin Hocking, of Burien, were traveling to Delaware to meet their son's casket.
Other survivors include Hocking's wife, Havalah Hocking, of Seattle, a 4-year-old son, Sebastian Hocking, and a 3-year-old daughter, Gwen.
He is also survived by sisters Britney Hocking, of Tacoma; Brooke Hocking, of Kent; Brielle Hocking and Gracie Dansereau, of Pomeroy. His surviving grandparents are Myrna Hocking, of Bigfork, Mont., and Gary Pitts, of Lake Tapps.