FINAL SALUTE FOR BROSTROM
Hundreds attend 'Aiea soldier's funeral
By William Cole
Advertiser Military Writer
By William Cole
More than 400 people attended funeral services this morning for Army 1st Lt. Jonathan Brostrom of 'Aiea, who was killed July 13 in Afghanistan along with eight other soldiers in the deadliest attack on U.S. forces in three years.
Brostrom's American flag-draped casket was flanked by large bouquets of flowers at Holy Family Parish, and a large framed photo of the smiling soldier draped with lei was placed in front of it.
Brostrom's father, David, a retired Army colonel, his mother, Mary Jo, and his brother, Blake, greeted well wishers for more than an hour before the Mass.
Blake Brostrom, a cadet in the University of Hawai'i ROTC program like his brother before him, said, "Jon wouldn't want us to sit here and mourn."
Rather, the 24-year-old would want those assembled to rejoice in his life, Blake Brostrom said.
"He made a decision, and his decision was to defend and support his buddies who were about to over-run," he said. "For that, I stand proud of him."
Brostrom was buried at Hawai'i State Veterans Cemetery in Kane'ohe. His mother held a tri-folded American flag, David Brostrom held his wife's hand, and both took in long deep breaths as they contemplated the silver-colored casket in front of them.
He posthumously was awarded a Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
The remote outpost Brostrom was at in Wanat, Afghanistan, was occupied by about 45 soldiers and 25 Afghan troops. The base, which had been manned only days before with Humvees and concertina wire providing a perimeter, was attacked by about 200 Taliban fighters with a withering fury of rocket propelled grenades and small arms fire.
Brostrom's son, Jase, who just turned 6, waved a small American flag at the church service for his father.
Brostrom and the other soldiers who were killed were with the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne) out of Vicenza, Italy.
Brostrom graduated from Damien Memorial School in 2002, and received a four-year UH ROTC scholarship.
Capt. Vic Underwood, who recruited Brostrom into the UH program, said the Army seeks people who can be scholars, leaders and athletes and "Jon hit all three of those out of the ballpark."
Brostrom had graduated from Airborne school, air assault school, a Navy dive class, and had earned a Ranger tab. He reported to Vicenza, Italy on June 26, 2007, and deployed to Afghanistan shortly afterward.
Brostrom is the 240th service member with Hawai'i ties to died in Iraq, Afghanistan or Kuwait since 2003.
The platoon leader was one of nine soldiers who was killed July 13 in the Taliban attack.
Reach William Cole at firstname.lastname@example.org.