View Full Version : Bridgewater man says goodbye to Marine brother a day after finishing boot camp

02-10-09, 09:16 AM
Bridgewater man says goodbye to Marine brother a day after finishing boot camp

By Kyle Alspach
GateHouse News Service
Posted Feb 10, 2009 @ 03:53 AM
Last update Feb 10, 2009 @ 07:40 AM

Dan Preach finished the grueling last stage of Marine boot camp on Friday but had to do something far tougher the next day: say goodbye to his brother.

Marine Lance Cpl. Kevin Preach, who helped inspire his brother to become a Marine, died Saturday from injuries sustained in Afghanistan. He was 21.

Kevin was being kept on life support until his 18-year-old brother, Dan, could see him one last time, said Jonathan Benson of Bridgewater, a close friend.

It was an emotional last day.

“It’s the hardest thing for (Dan) — that when he became a Marine, that’s when his brother passed away,” Benson said.

Dan Preach had been in the midst of basic training at Parris Island, S.C., when he learned his brother had been severely injured when his Humvee was hit by an improvised explosive device on Jan. 24. Kevin Preach lost both legs and a hand and suffered severe burns.

In the same week, soldiers from Rockland and Swansea died in accidents in Iraq. Since the war began, 75 servicemen and woman from Massachusetts have been killed.

Amid the tragedy, Dan stuck with the basic training and on Friday finished the final test — “the Crucible,” a 54-hour endurance test in which Marine recruits survive on just three meals and four hours of sleep.

Exhausted, he flew that night to Texas to see Kevin, who was in a medically-induced coma at a military hospital in San Antonio.

Dan and his mother, Laurie Hayes, decided not to keep him on life support any longer, and Kevin died that night after the family had left the hospital, Benson said.

Benson said he spoke to Dan, a longtime friend, on Sunday.

“We both cried on the phone,” said Benson, 18.

Dan is spending this week at Parris Island, finishing up paperwork before graduation from basic training on Friday, Benson said. The funeral for his brother won’t be held until he returns to Massachusetts, Benson said.

Dan will serve as a reservist for the Marines, meaning he won’t be on active duty, as his brother had been — though he can still be called into service overseas.

Though shaken by his brother’s death, he has no plans to try to leave the Marines, Benson said.

On his Facebook.com page, Dan left a message for his brother: “RIP bro,” “I’ll make you proud don’t worry Kev,” and finally, “I love you.”

Dan Preach attended Williams Intermediate School in Bridgewater and graduated from Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School in 2008.

When he decided he wanted to join the military, he settled on the Marines because of his brother and father, who’d also served as a Marine before being killed in a car crash, Benson said.

Benson said the Preach brothers have had a major influence on his own life, and he is about to head into the Marines himself. His basic training starts at Parris Island in August and he will be placed on active duty, giving him a high likelihood of deployment overseas.





02-10-09, 09:18 AM
Bridgewater mourns loss of first soldier since Vietnam to die in combat
By Theresa Knapp Enos and Maria Papadopoulos
Mon Feb 09, 2009, 08:18 AM EST

Bridgewater - Lance Cpl. Kevin T. Preach, who died Saturday from injuries sustained in combat while in Afghanistan, will be remembered for his smile, his sense of humor, and his selflessness. He was 21.

American flags in town were lowered to half-staff on Sunday in his memory.

“It’s clearly a tragedy that reaches across the whole town,” selectmen Chairman Herbert J. Lemon Jr. said Sunday, hours after learning of Bridgewater’s first military casualty from the War on Terror.

Preach was injured on Jan. 24 when the Humvee in which he was a gunner was hit by an improvised explosive device. He was at Brooks Army Medical Center in San Antonio in a medically induced coma last week. According to his mother, Laurie Hayes of Bridgewater, Preach lost both legs and a hand and was badly burned.

He was the first Bridgewater soldier to lose his life in service since the Vietnam War, says Bridgewater Veterans’ Agent Roderick K. Walsh.

“He was the funniest person I have ever met,” said Brianna Kelliher of Bridgewater, 18, Preach’s girlfriend of three years. “He would always make sure that everyone around him was comfortable, so he would always tell jokes. He was a gentleman, always opening car doors for girls and looking out for everyone around him, and he was the most selfless person. He was always happy and always made everyone around him happy. And of course he was the best boyfriend I will ever have.”

Preach was deployed to Afghanistan on Nov. 12, 2008. It was his first deployment. Preach served in southern Afghanistan, in Farah Province, according to the U.S. Marine Corps.

His awards included the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.

“It’s a great loss,” Lemon said. “This is a kid that died serving his country. I can only imagine what his family is going through right now.”

Barbara Murdoch, a history teacher at Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School, met Preach when he took her “History of the Vietnam War” elective class. Five boys in that class planned to enlist in the military, she said.

“He was very interested in the class, especially the military angle of it. He had that attitude that he wanted to (be a Marine) and he was going to do it and that was it,” said Murdoch. “He was always just a real nice, nice kid to have in class. He was really kind of a quiet kid with a beautiful smile. That’s what I remember a lot about him — his beautiful smile.”

Dan Linehan, 19, of Bridgewater, met Preach in middle school when Preach moved from Brockton to Bridgewater. They soon became fast friends and graduated together in 2007 from Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School.

“He was quiet at first, but that is not at all who he was,” said Linehan. “He was outgoing, friendly. He was a very, very unselfish kid. He just wanted to be in the Marines to show that he could do something to help. That was the kind of person he was — he always wanted to help.”

Preach’s family and friends said he always wanted to be a Marine since he was a young child, perhaps because his father had been one as well.

“He knew what it entailed, and he never complained or talked about how dangerous it was,” said Kelliher. “He once said that he wasn’t afraid to die, he was just afraid of what it would do to all the people around him. He really wasn’t afraid of anything. He would have been more upset if the accident had happened to anyone other than himself. He probably would have been angry that he couldn’t get right back up and keep on fighting. He lived for protecting our country.”

On Sunday morning at the Bridgewater fire stations on School and Plymouth streets, firefighters lowered flags at half staff minutes after learning of Preach’s death, said Bridgewater Fire Capt Joe Cairns.

“We lowered them as soon as possible, out of respect and honor to him,” Cairns said of Preach. “It really is a sad day.”

Another B-R graduate, Jared Monti, 30, a Raynham native, was killed in action in Afghanistan on June 21, 2006, as he attempted to help two injured soldiers.


02-10-09, 09:18 AM
Bridgewater Marine recalled as tough, compassionate

By Kyle Alspach
Posted Feb 10, 2009 @ 02:56 AM
Last update Feb 10, 2009 @ 06:59 AM

Kevin Preach was watching a band perform in Mansfield at the Warped Tour in 2007, and was getting into the music by swinging his fists around, when he realized something: he’d knocked another young man to the ground.

Preach didn’t do it on purpose — he was just extremely strong — and felt terrible about hurting someone, says Tim DeMoranville of Taunton.

That was Kevin Preach: he cared deeply for people but at the same time was very tough, friends said.

“He was one of the most easy-going, generous people I’d ever met,” said DeMoranville, 18, whose house Preach lived at for a month shortly before Preach joined the Marines.

Still, “he would probably be the one person I wouldn’t want to mess with if he got mad,” DeMoranville said.

Another friend, Jonathan Benson of Bridgewater, put it this way: “He was one of the toughest kids in Bridgewater,” but was also ready at all times to help a friend who was dealing with a relationship issue or some other problem.

That combination of toughness and compassion is probably what made him a good Marine, according to friends.

Preach had advanced to the rank of lance corporal before he was severely injured by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan on Jan. 24. He died Saturday at age 21 in a Texas military hospital.

Benson said some of the people who knew Preach the best were shocked by the death because they thought Preach would pull through anything.

“A lot of people thought, ‘He's going to make it, he’s Kevin Preach,’” said Benson, 18.

Nicole Buccella of Bridgewater said the first thing that comes to mind about Preach is his softer side.

He loved to make people laugh and cheer people up, and his own laugh — a slightly-high-pitched giggle — would crack up his friends even more, Buccella said.

“He was probably the nicest kid I ever met,” said Buccella, 20, who said she had been friends with Preach since eighth grade.

Preach was extremely well-liked at Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School.

Kyle Alspach can be reached at kalspach@enterprisenews.com.


02-11-09, 07:43 AM
Marine dies from wounds suffered in Afghanistan
Staff report
Posted : Tuesday Feb 10, 2009 18:32:01 EST

A North Carolina-based Marine died Saturday from injuries suffered two weeks earlier in Afghanistan, the Defense Department reported Tuesday.

Lance Cpl. Kevin T. Preach, 21, of Bridgewater, Mass., was gravely wounded Jan. 24 when his Humvee was hit by a roadside bomb in Farah province, according to media reports. A machine gunner, he was assigned to Camp Lejeune’s 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines.

Preach, who reportedly lost both legs and a hand in the attack, suffered severe burns and was being kept on life support at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, according to a report in the Boston Herald. His brother, Dan Preach — who is scheduled to graduate from boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., on Friday — flew to Texas to say goodbye just hours after completing the Crucible, the recruits’ 54-hour final exam, friends told The Patriot Ledger of Quincy, Mass.

Wounded during his first combat deployment, Kevin Preach died shortly after his family left the hospital, the newspaper reported.

Brianna Kelliher, the Marine’s 18-year-old girlfriend, told the Herald that joining the Corps, which Preach did Oct. 29, 2007, was the realization of a boyhood dream. He was a gentleman, Kelliher told the newspaper, recalling how Preach flew home from Lejeune so he could take her to the senior prom.

“He jumped through so many hoops, but he finally made it to take me to prom,” she told the Herald. “He’s the most unselfish person I have ever met.

“I’ll probably never meet anyone like him ever again.”


02-11-09, 08:02 AM
Lejeune Marine killed in Afghanistan
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February 10, 2009 - 5:21 PM

A Camp Lejeune-based Marine died Saturday in Afghanistan, according to a Marine Corps press release.

Lance Cpl. Kevin T. Preach, 21, of Bridgewater, Mass. died from wounds he sustained in combat in Farah province. He was a machine gunner with 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment.

Preach joined the Marine Corps on Oct. 29, 2007 and deployed to Afghanistan in November. His awards include the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.