Chandler soldier killed in Africa remembered for love of life, family
PHOENIX — The brother of a Chandler man killed in Africa last week said the soldier loved life and his family equally.
Army Staff Sgt. Alexander Conrad, who died from wounds suffered in Somalia on June 8, was remembered fondly during a press conference Thursday.
Jacob Conrad, a Phoenix police officer, said his older brother enjoyed “Motorcycle riding with my dad; snowboarding with his nephew Jack; drinking a craft beer with his brother-in-law; going to Universal Studios with his sister Christy; going furniture shopping with his mom.”
The news that Alexander was killed by indirect enemy fire devastated his mother, Jacob said.
“She didn’t sleep, or really eat, for the first couple of days,” he said. “But she’s getting better; she’s starting to sleep.”
Jacob said his mother was relieved when Alexander’s remains came back to the United States at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.
“We … watched Alex land,” he said. “That, I think, took a big weight off of her shoulders, knowing where he was.”
Jacob — himself an Army reservist — said his brother died doing what he loved. In fact, he said, Alex was so eager to get started with the Army, he didn’t participate in his high school graduation. He was off to a waiting bunk in an Army barracks.
“He was happiest being worked,” Jacob remembered. “The Army loves to work people, and he loved to work. He loved what he did, loved being out with the guys, loved the camaraderie.”
The young man said communication with his brother was often at the mercy of circumstances.
“I sent him a message … the week before (he was killed),” he said. “He said he was busy.”
Jacob said the family is deeply thankful for the support from friends, other military families, and even old high school coaches. However, he said that without the support of the Army it would have been near impossible to deal with the tragedy.
“Reach out,” he advised military families going through loss. “The Army’s got so many benefits. (They’ve) taken very good care of us.”
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