View Full Version : Valley mourns fallen Marine

02-13-06, 01:05 PM
Valley mourns fallen Marine
Husband, father leaves behind patriotic legacy
By Lindsey Stockton, assistant editor

In less than two months, Marine Corporal Brandon Scott Schuck would have been home, kissing his wife and watching his 1-year-old son play .

Instead, he will return in a flag-draped casket. Schuck was killed this week while serving in Iraq, and his family said he was fighting for a cause in which he truly believed.

Schuck was the rear passenger on a vehicle leading a convoy through Iraq. He and three other soldiers were clearing the roads of obstructions such as land mines and bombs when one went off, killing two of the men instantly.

Though Schuck survived the initial blast, he passed away before reaching the medical unit. The Marine Corps is attempting to find out if he had any last words for his wife, Megan.

Megan and their son, Gavin, have been living in Safford with her parents since Schuck's deployment Aug. 28, 2005.

When she got up to answer the door Tuesday morning, it took her a moment to clear her eyes, and she initially thought Mormon missionaries were behind the screen because the couple are church members. When she opened the door, two Marines in their dress blues stood before her, and, in the background, she could see a white sports-utility vehicle.

"They tell family members in the predeployment briefing that if two Marines come to your door in their blues and are driving a white van, they are there to tell you your family member has died," Megan said. "They asked if they could come in, and I said 'yes.' I went and sat down, and that's when it hit me why they were there."

Megan and Schuck met at Safford High School during basketball season.

"We both played basketball and met at a dance after a game," Megan said. "That was the first time we talked, but we were pretty much inseparable after that."

Though Megan said she was initially drawn to Schuck's good looks, it was his love for life and the ease with which they could talk to each other that kept them close.

"At first, he told me he had never said 'I love you' to anyone and didn't think he ever would," Megan said. "Nine months into our relationship, he told me he loved me."

Schuck immediately became a part of Megan's family, and her mother, Tammy Gray, said they were so happy because now they had a son.

"I think one of the things he loved so much about me was that I got all of his jokes," Megan said. "I thought he was hysterical. Not everyone got his jokes, so they would just be looking at him, but I would be busting up laughing."

For the last two-and-a-half years of high school, Schuck lived with Safford High School Athletic Director Joe Burnside and his wife.

Though Schuck was a successful athlete when in high school - playing football, basketball and golf - he doubted his ability to finish high school.

"It was Megan and Lindsey (Megan's sister) and Jacob (Arbizo, Lindsey's boyfriend) who made sure he had a ride and got him to school," Gray said. "They wanted to make sure he finished school."

Schuck wanted to make something of his life, but because he was unsure of what he wanted to do, he decided to go into the Marines.

"He looked into a couple of different things and got the best vibe from the Marines," Megan said. "Coach (E.J.) Romero was a Marine, and he really looked up to him."

She said Schuck was very strong and fit, and he could make a good life in the Marine Corps.

Schuck entered the Marines on June 28, 2004, and just prior to leaving for boot camp, he found out he was going to be a father.

"I was a little sad when I found out I was pregnant because he was going to be leaving for boot camp in a week," Megan said. "He was so happy, though, because he was going to be a dad. He wrapped his arms around me and told me, 'I know you are kind of sad right now, but I just want you to know that I am really happy.' "

Megan said Schuck's first priority was to be a good dad.

"He never really had a good dad," she said. "He wanted to be the best at everything, but he especially wanted to be the best dad."

Schuck and Megan married Sept. 18, 2004, after he graduated from boot camp.

From the start of his career with the Marines, Schuck knew he would be deployed to Iraq. There would be two deployments for no more than 12 months total. The couple was living on base at Camp Lejeune, N.C., when Schuck's deployment orders came.

"We knew it was coming, so we just dealt with it like anyone else would," Megan said. "We figured he would be fine."

Anytime Schuck's career took him away from his wife and child, Megan said he wrote and called whenever he could.

"When he was in boot camp, I swear he wrote me five times a day. I got a letter every single day, without fail," she said. "When he was in Iraq, I would get calls at really odd hours because he had to wait in line for hours to call - but he made sure he called."

Tammy said Schuck was considerate of Megan's feelings and always called her before he left on a mission and as soon as he could when he got back.

The phone calls and letters from Schuck came at a price, however - he would only call after Megan promised him she would send more pictures.

Gray said his entire barrack space in Iraq was covered with pictures of Megan and Gavin.

"He always wanted more pictures; he was always asking for them," she said. "I sent him pictures and videos when I could. The last video he saw was of Gavin walking. I know that was really important to him - to see Gavin walk."

Megan said she will always remember him as on the go.

"He never let any second go to waste," she said. "He always had to be doing something - playing sports, playing video games, playing with the baby - he was just a lot of fun."

Schuck won the Ironman Award, which goes to the strongest Marine in his boot camp class.

"He was really good at what he did," Lindsey said.

Megan's father, David, called Schuck a "true patriot."

"He really believed in the cause he was fighting," he said.

The Marines will provide Megan with an allotment of money and pay the funeral expenses for Schuck. He will be given full military honors at his funeral Feb. 18.

Megan has three Marines assigned to her who will help her through this time. Megan is also surrounded by her faith, family and friends, who she said have helped her through this time.

Contact Lindsey Stockton at 428-2560 (ext. 240) or e-mail her at lindsey@eacourier.com.


02-14-06, 11:29 PM
Semper Fi Corporal

02-15-06, 12:57 AM
Rest in Peace Young Marine. You will not be forgotten.

02-15-06, 06:04 AM
Corporal Schuck...Rest in Peace brother. My condolences to the Corporal Schuck's family. You will never be forgotten...