Marine died with father at his side

By Michael Wright
The Facts

Published June 09, 2004

MANVEL — The mortar that thumped in a village in the Iraqi desert exploded 7,300 miles away in Manvel.

That mortar killed Marine Lance Cpl. Todd Bolding, 23, the first Brazoria County resident to be killed in the war in Iraq. Bolding, who graduated from Alvin High School in 2000, joined the Marines in 2001, informing his family only after he enlisted.

“He knew that we all would have been like, ‘No,’” said Keith Bolding, Todd’s older brother. “He did it real secretly.”

Todd Bolding was a hard worker who was a joy to be around, said Mike Bass, who coached him on the Alvin High School football team.

“He was one of those kids that epitomized what a team player was,” Bass said. “Todd was one of those quiet guys that had a smile that lit up the room.”

Keith Bolding said details of his brother’s death are still hard to come by, but he’s learned Todd was helping clear a village in the Al Anbar province of Iraq, which includes the hostile city of Fallujah.

“There was hostile fire,” Keith Bolding said. “There was a mortar attack in hostile fire.”

A spokesman at Camp Pendleton, where Todd Bolding was based before he shipped to Iraq, would not give any details on his death. The spokesman wouldn’t even say what part of Iraq that Al Anbar is in.

Keith Bolding said he wants to know more details of the attack, especially if there were any enemy casualties.

Keith said the Defense Department statement that his brother died in Iraq was wrong as well. He was evacuated to a hospital in Germany, where he died Thursday with his father, James Bolding, at his side.

James Bolding flew back three hours after his son’s death, but Todd’s casket didn’t arrive in Delaware until Monday. The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Friday at Sugar Valley Baptist Church in Houston. Several people in Alvin, including Bass, want to organize a memorial service for Bolding, but are waiting to see what the family’s wishes are before going forward.

Keith Bolding said his brother loved the Marines, but was rather matter-of-fact when the possibility of combat arose.

“He said, ‘If they call me to go, I’ll go,’” Keith said. “I told him, ‘I don’t want you to go and you know how Momma thinks.’”

Keith Bolding said the death has hit the family hard, especially his sister Joslyn, whom he described as Todd’s favorite sibling.

“That was my baby brother,” he said.

“We never argued, he always came to me for advice. It’s real hard for me. When he became a man at that age, all I could do was offer my hand.”

Michael Wright is a reporter for The Facts. Contact him at (979) 849-8581.


Rest In Peace