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FALLEN BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

Editor's note: Washington Producer John Rutherford posts a weekly blog on burials of service members at Arlington National Cemetery. Since there were no public burials this past week, we are posting the burial of a highly decorated Green Beret on May 31, right after Memorial Day. 

Headstone by headstone, row by row, Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery is slowly filling with the casualties from Iraq.

Umbrell, Colby. Pursel, Michael. Murphy, Christopher. On May 31 it was Conner, Bradly. Number 341.

Sgt. Maj. Bradly Conner, 41, a highly decorated Green Beret on this fourth tour in Iraq, was killed May 9 by a roadside bomb. As an Army band played "America the Beautiful" in the distance, he was buried at Arlington Cemetery.

Conner's widow, Cynthia, and their three children, Aaron, 14, Katie, 12, and Rachel, 6, were among the many tearful mourners.

Photo courtesy USASOC News Service


Bradly Dean Conner grew up in Kellogg, Idaho. He went to college until his money ran out, joined the Army for its college aid, and ended up staying for the next 20 years.

"He loved what he did," Cynthia Conner told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

He also loved Cynthia. They were married nearly 18 years, bucking the 85 percent divorce rate among Green Berets. He called her just a few days before he died.

"He was notorious for not calling me as often as he should, but it was always good when he did," Cynthia told the Post-Intelligencer.

Conner served in Desert Storm in 1990, was in on the invasion of Iraq 13 years later, and returned for his fourth tour in March. Along the way, he earned nearly 50 awards and decorations, including three Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart.

"He considered himself a warrior," Cynthia told the Seattle newspaper. "And so did the rest of us."

On May 9, while on patrol in Al-Hillah, 60 miles south of Baghdad, an improvised explosive device detonated near Conner's humvee, fatally wounding him.

"We thought he was invincible," his widow said.

John Rutherford is a Vietnam veteran who earned a Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his service, and is also a 28-year veteran of NBC News.

As we recognize those servicemen and -women buried at Arlington National Cemetery, we want to offer you the chance to share the stories of other fallen military personnel either in personal remembrance and reflection or through public funeral or memorial announcements. All verifiable submissions for servicemen and -women who died in combat are welcome, as are photos of the deceased. Click here to submit yours.