Bradley David Marion was born on August 25, 1976, in Davenport, Iowa, the son of Otto H. “Bud” Marion and Gail Wuellner Marion. He attended school in the Quad Cities and was a 1998 graduate of Bettendorf High School. Bradley not only excelled in the classroom but also as a highly touted football player, winning the state championship his junior year with the Bulldogs. He was also a wrestler.
During his senior year at Bettendorf, Brad decided to follow in the footsteps of both his grandfather and father and serve in the military, inviting the Army recruiter to his home to talk to his parents. He enlisted after graduation. His grandfather, Otto W. Marion, served in the Army during WWII with the 768th FA Battalion in Rhineland and Central Europe.
Bradley completed basic training at Ft. Jackson, Columbus, South Carolina. Bradley first served in Korea. After Korea, he was honorably discharged, and then joined the Illinois Army National Guard in 2002 and was a member of the 2nd Battalion, 123rd Field Artillery, which was based out of Milan, Illinois. From October 2004 to December 2005, Bradley served in Iraq with Battery B. The United States led a coalition to overthrow the dictator Saddam Hussein, as well as to locate any possible weapons of mass destruction. Another goal was to search and capture suspected terrorists in the area.
A couple of years later, he went back overseas, this time to Afghanistan. There, he served with Troop C, 2nd Squadron, 106th Cavalry Regiment from October 2008 to September 2009.
For his service, Brad received numerous awards, including the Army Commendation Medal, two Meritorious Service Medals, two Overseas Service Ribbons, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Combat Action Badge, the Korean Defense Service Medal, and more.
Afterward, he worked full-time for the Illinois Army National Guard in Milan, working as a federal technician in Field Maintenance Support 19. A federal technician works on vehicle maintenance and/or equipment maintenance.
In July 2008, he married Dawn Hardy and had three children. During his free time, Bradley loved to go “off-roading” as well as “rock-crawling” and spend time with his friends and family. Brad was even a part of WEROCK, an off-roading organization. Before he passed, Brad was working on a new rock crawler. His friend pledged that they would finish the project for him.
Bradley unexpectedly passed away at the age of 34, on October 24, 2010, when he fell while attending the Senior Leaders Course at Camp Dodge, Iowa. He complained of chest pains and died during transport by paramedics to a hospital in Des Moines. Brad is buried at the Rock Island National cemetery in plot 3-166.