Army Reserve SGT
Gladwin, MI
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Memorial Location: 

Highland Cemetery
Gladwin, MI

Killed on a main supply route when his convoy was attacked by enemy forces somewhere in Iraq.

Assigned to the 180th Transportation Company, Army Reserve, Muskegon, MI.

Sergeant Brad A. Wentz was born Noember 10, 1983. He was the oldest of two children born to Chris and Shelly (Hisey) Wentz. Brad is survived by his wife Tami, their daughter Jerzey (2), step-mother Christine Wentz, sister Brandy Wentz (18), and brother Justin Clemons (17). Brad graduated from Gladwin High School where he met his future wife, Tami Orvis. Before graduating from high school, Brad had insight as to what he wanted to do with his life. In his junior year, he joined the U.S. Army Reserve. In June or 2001 Brad departed for basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. After graduating high school in June of 2002, Brad attended Advanced Individual Training (AIT) and was then assigned to the 180th Transportation Company in Bay City, Michigan. In January of 2003, Brad was activated and ordered to Fort Dix, New Jersey. He was assigned to the 623rd Transportation Company, which was preparing for deployment to Kuwait. While home on leave, Brad and Tami were married on May 25, 2003. Returning to Fort Dix, Brad continued to train and wait for deployment orders that never came. A few months later the unit was demobilized and Brad returned home. On January 25, 2004, Brad's pride and joy, his daughter Jerzey Lynn Wentz was born. For the next year and a half Brad would juggle family and military commitments. During this time he would continue with his hobbies and interests. He would spend time hunting, motorcycling and snowmobiling, but his real passion was playing hockey. He played for the Gladwin Area Hockey Association (GAHA) for four years and was Captain of the midget division for the Gladwin Citgo Hockey Team his senior year of high school.

On November 4, 2004, six days before his 21st birthday, Brad's unit was once again mobilized and two months later deployed to Kuwait. The unit departed on December 31, 2004 and Brad celebrated New Year's Eve at 30,000 feet with his military family. Shortly after their arrival in Kuwait the unit would be sent to Iraq. While in Iraq, Brad would keep in touch with his family and friends via e-mail, instant messenger and by telephone. He said he was scared yet excited for this journey. He thought that it was cool to have traveled to another country, half way around the world. Life was so different in Iraq, Brad would see things that would amaze those of us back home.

On May 20th, 2005, Army Reserve Sergeant Brad A. Wentz would participate in his final mission. While in convoy his vehicle was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and Sergeant Wentz suffered fatal wounds. During his Army career Brad would receive the following Awards and Decorations: The Bronze Star Medal, The Purple Heart Medal, The Global War on Terrorism Medal, The Operation Iraqi Freedom Medal, The National Defense Medal, the Army Overseas Ribbon the Army Service Ribbon and the Combat Action Badge.

Gone, but not forgotten, is a courageous young man and a brave soldier. While in Iraq he tried to help those who wanted the same freedoms that we back home enjoy. Brad was a wonderful young man, a father, husband, son, brother, and friend, and he will always be with us. His beautiful smile lives on forever within all who had the honor and privilege of knowing him. We look forward to the time when we will be reunited with him.

Though Brad was only with us for 21 years, he was blessed to find his calling, his purpose, something that many who live far longer lives than Brad's, never find for themselves.


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