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Army Spc. Ari D. Brown-Weeks

Died September 10, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

23, of Abingdon, Md.; assigned to the 1st Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died Sept. 10 in Baghdad of injuries sustained in a non-combat-related vehicle rollover. Also killed were Staff Sgt. Yance T. Gray, Staff Sgt. Gregory Rivera-Santiago, Sgt. Michael C. Hardegree, Sgt. Omar L. Mora, Sgt. Nicholas J. Patterson and Spc. Steven R. Elrod.

Former Greenfield resident killed in Iraq rollover

The Associated Press

ABINGDON, Md. — A soldier who had lived in western Massachusetts was one of seven paratroopers killed when their vehicle rolled over in Iraq, the Department of Defense said Sept. 13.

Spc. Ari Brown-Weeks, 23, a military radio operator from Abingdon, Md., was killed in the Sept. 10 accident in western Baghdad. The seven soldiers were members of the 82nd Airborne Division’s 2nd Brigade, based at Fort Bragg, N.C..

The soldiers were returning from a raid when their truck “veered off an elevated highway” and fell about 30 feet, division spokesman Maj. Tom Earnhardt said. Two detainees also were killed, and 10 soldiers from the unit and another detainee were hurt. The cause of the accident remains under investigation.

Brown-Weeks excelled academically and athletically, loved his family and embodied loyalty, family members said.

He joined the 82nd Airborne Division in December and was deployed to Iraq in the first wave of the surge of troops into the country in January, a month after getting married. His father, Jon Weeks of Leyden, Mass., said he was scheduled to return home in November.

Brown-Weeks was the only child of Weeks and Karyn Brown. His parents told The Republican in Springfield, Mass., that their son was good at sports and academics and liked to write poetry.

“He loved his family above all and was loyal to the end with his friends. He loved being around people and always needed to be where the action was,” Weeks said.

His decision to enlist was influenced by the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, his father said.

“He believed they were fighting terrorists there so they won’t come here,” Weeks told The Recorder in Greenfield, Mass. “He did believe that. But he also could see firsthand that a lot of what was going on wasn’t working.”

Brown-Weeks went to Pioneer Valley Regional School in Northfield, Mass. before getting his GED. He met his wife, Ashley, at a wholesale business in Massachusetts. He attended schools and college in the state for one semester before joining the Army.

He was living in Maryland at the time of his enlistment, according to military records, and his funeral will be there. The family hasn’t completed funeral plans, according to McComas Funeral Home.

“Specialist Brown-Weeks, was a true American hero,” said Capt. Patrick Koucheravy, a spokesman with the 82nd Airborne Division, in Fort Bragg, N.C. “He will be sorely missed by everyone who had the honor to serve with him.”

Brown-Weeks is the second Franklin County native to die in Iraq. Army Sgt. Gregory Belanger, 24 — who grew up in South Deerfield, but later moved to Narragansett, R.I. — was killed in August 2003 when a roadside bomb detonated next to the vehicle he was driving.

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