Kenwood High Alum Killed in Afghanistan

Sgt. Brandon Pepper, Class of 1999, was serving with the Army Special Services when he was killed in an insurgent attack July 21.

A Kenwood High School alumnus and U.S. Army Special Forces soldier was killed in Afghanistan on July 21, the Army has announced.

Staff Sgt. Brandon Robert Pepper, 31, was on his first deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom when he died after being attacked by insurgents in Ghazni Province, according to the U.S. Army Special Forces Command.

It was his second deployment to the region; in 2003 Pepper served in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Pepper was assigned to Company B, 4th Battalion, 3rd Special forces Group (Airborne), at Fort Bragg, N.C., where he served as a communications sergeant.

He graduated from Kenwood in 1999 and enlisted in the U.S. Army reserves in January 2000, according to a biographical sketch provided by the Army.

Early in his military career, Pepper was assigned to the 323rd Military Intelligence Battalion at Fort Meade, where he served as an intelligence analyst, according to the Army information.

He deployed to Iraq in 2003 as a reservist.

Pepper entered active duty in 2008 and attended Infantry Advanced Individual Training at Fort Benning, Ga.

He was then assigned to the 101st Airborne Division as an infantry squad leader.

Pepper graduated from the Special Forces Assessment and Selection Course at Fort Bragg in October 2009. In 2011, he completed the Special Forces Qualification Course and was assigned to his current battalion as a communications sergeant, according to the Army.

He was "great to be around," "lived by the warrior ethics" and "joined the military because he wanted to serve his country," according to a report in the York Daily Record.

"He wanted to do something for a better cause," Staff Sgt. Derek Pepper said of his brother in an interview with the paper.

Though from Baltimore, Brandon Pepper had lived in York for a few years, according to the report.

His awards and decorations include Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal with one oak-leaf cluster, Army Good Conduct Medal, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with “M” device, Non-commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon with numeral 2 device, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon with numeral 2 device, and Special Forces Tab, Expert, according to his biographical sketch.

He will be posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with campaign star, NATO medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge, according to a WBAL-TV news report.

In addition to his brother, Pepper is survived by his parents and wife.

Berni Baker July 26, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Brandon is survived by his parents, Geraldine Pepper & John Pepper, an older brother Nicolas & his wife Kim, and younger brothers, John Robert & Staff Stg Derek Pepper. He is also survived by his maternal grandmother, Marie Baker. May you RIP Brandon, you will never be forgotton. We love you and miss you more than words can say. Aunt B
Marge Neal July 27, 2012 at 08:40 AM
Thank you for the additional information, Berni. Maybe someone in the family could contact me for a followup story about Brandon. It would be nice to be able to cover his funeral, if it is local. My email address is marge.neal@patch.com
Joy Campbell July 31, 2012 at 11:05 PM
Geraldine, I am so sorry for your loss. I cannot find words to describe the grief you must feel right now. Please know that you are in my thoughts. Joy Campbell
Rev. Doc July 31, 2012 at 11:19 PM
Geraldine, I posted about Brandon and added you to the prayer list. I have known you all a long time, Dusty was Floored, All those Scout camping trips. You are in my Prayers.
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