Iceman Team mourns lost comrade

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Bryon McGarry
  • 354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Master Sgt. Brad A. Clemmons was a man of determination - a determination that guided him throughout his life and his Air Force career, both cut tragically short when he died Aug. 21 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. 

Sergeant Clemmons, an explosive ordnance disposal craftsman from the 354th Civil Engineer Squadron based here, was part of a transportation convoy traveling to Taji, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device struck his vehicle. 

Friends, family and fellow Icemen gathered to mourn his loss and celebrate his life in a memorial service held at the base theater here Thursday. Speakers ranging from lifelong friends and associates to fellow members of his church congregation shared the lasting impressions that Sergeant Clemmons made on their lives in the spirit of healing. 

"Brad had an informed type of confidence about him," said Jeff Baxter, Sergeant Clemmons' pastor at nearby Moose Creek Baptist Church in North Pole. "He was the type of person that would tell you, 'Hey, I know how to do this. It's under control.'" 

Pastor Baxter shared with the capacity crowd that his first impression of Sergeant Clemmons was one of a young and perhaps overly confident Airman 1st Class, when he first met him at Bergstrom AFB, Texas, more than 16 years ago. But as he got to know him, he realized that Sergeant Clemmons was merely a principled and determined man that would see anything he applied himself to through to the end.
Tech. Sgt. Arin Finch, a fellow 354th CES EOD specialist and close friend of Sergeant Clemmons, echoed Pastor Baxter's description of his character. 

"Anything he ever did, he gave it everything he had," he said. "And he always did what was right." 

Friends and co-workers shared memories of hunts past and future, the latter never to be undertaken, in describing his affinity for the outdoors. Tech Sgt. Steve Hallenbeck, another fellow 354th CES EOD specialist, spoke on his loss in a letter he wrote to Sergeant Clemmons about the next big hunt that they never got to enjoy together.
"Save a place for me," he said. "Scope out the trails and light a fire...I'll see you when I get there, brother." 

Sergeant Clemmons' selflessness, commitment and heroism were among the un-ending words of praise spoken throughout the ceremony. But the last lines from a poem written by his wife Rebecca perhaps best defined the impact of Sergeant Clemmons' loss: "As you leave tomorrow, just remember I want you. As you leave tomorrow, just remember I love you."