Pfc. Brandon Goodine was killed while serving in Kandahar Province in Afghanistan.
His image remains — scattered around his old high school are understated thumbnail-sized images found between the pages of yearbooks from years past and inside the collage mat framing hanging on the walls.
The 82nd Airborne Division has confirmed the death of Army Pfc. Brandon Goodine.
Goodine was a paratrooper assigned to the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. He died June 7, when insurgents attacked the unit’s patrol with an improvised explosive device in the Maiwand District, Kandahar Province in Afghanistan.
News of the private’s death is fast spreading to those who knew him, those who knew of him, and those who simply appreciate the soldier’s sacrifice. Among his mourners is retired U.S. Navy Master Chief Melvin Smith.
“I’m crushed right now. I’m hurting,” said Smith, who taught Goodine at Henry County High School in McDonough.
Smith is a naval science instructor in the school’s Navy Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) Program. He said Goodine was an active cadet in the program a few years ago as he served on the unit’s drill, academic, and athletic teams.
“He was good at what he did,” said the master chief.
Smith said he noticed his former cadet met and overcame challenges with little complaint.
“Even with hardship, he was still able to exemplify the life of a positive person — the life of a positive human being,” said Smith. “I remember close and personal conversations with him about life. When we talked about life, Cadet Goodine was always positive and upbeat. He was able to channel what he thought would be best for his life.
“He was devoted,” he added. “He cared about people. He cared about the people in his life. He cared about his unit. And he loved his country.”
Goodine began serving his country just over a year ago. The Lutherville, Ga., native attended One-Station Unit Training and Airborne School at Fort Benning, and joined 4-73rd Cavalry on Sept. 21, 2011.
He served as a Scout with Bravo Troop, 4th Battalion, 73rd Cavalry Regiment. It was his first deployment to Afghanistan since joining the Army on May 2, 2011.
“Pfc. Brandon Goodine was not only a paratrooper and infantryman, but he is also a true warrior and hero, courageous beyond his years,” said Lt. Col. Jeffery Howard, commander of the 4-73rd Cavalry. “He died answering the country’s call and fighting alongside his fellow paratroopers, his brothers.
“The loss is difficult, but his sacrifice will never be forgotten,” continued Howard. “The legacy he left in our lives and the memories we have of him keep him alive in our hearts forever.”
Goodine has earned the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with campaign star, the Global War on Terror Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge and the Parachutist Badge.
The soldier’s death is another reminder of the far-reaching effects of defending freedom in the world, according to retired U.S. Marine Sgt. Maj. Leon Jordan. The veteran Marine, too, was impressed by Goodine in Henry County High’s JROTC Program.
“It’s a sad occasion,” Jordan said. “Goodine was one of those cadets that touched my life. He was a good young man with a bright future ahead of him. He was smart, bright and articulate with the world in front of him.”
Jordan said the former cadet’s service and sacrifice are based upon values shared by all military men and women.
“What drove me, and what drives everybody like me to do this, is there is a calling and a purpose,” he said.
Jordan acknowledged he deals on a daily basis with the trauma of having served in combat zones. He said he is familiar with death in combat, having lost 12 Marines in Iraq during tours from 2003 to 2006.
“You really never get over it,” he said. “You never get rid of it, you learn how to manage.”
The 28-year career Marine said that, after he retired, he was diagnosed with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Jordan co-founded a group back on July 27, 2011, as a support group for military veterans.
He said the group meets each Thursday, at 7 p.m., at the Henry County Counseling Center/McIntosh Trail Community Service Board on 139 Henry Pkwy., in McDonough. The group has grown to about 25 members, consisting of veterans from World War II and the Vietnam War.
Jordan pointed to the need to continue to provide support for those who are surviving the traumatic ills of war — support for military veterans and their families.
“With Brandon, my heart goes out to his family, and his child,” he said.
Goodine’s funeral arrangements were not available by press time for this article.