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Special Forces soldier from Baltimore County killed in Afghanistan

Kenwood High grad Brandon Pepper killed by insurgents

By Matthew Hay Brown, The Baltimore Sun

2:54 PM EDT, July 26, 2012

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A Special Forces soldier from Baltimore County was killed Saturday in Afghanistan, officials said.

Army Staff Sgt. Brandon Robert Pepper, a 1999 graduate of Kenwood High School in Essex, was on patrol in Ghazni province in Eastern Afghanistan when his unit was attacked by insurgents, according to Army Special Forces Command. He was 31.

In a statement, his family called him "A good brother, a caring brother, a loving brother."

"Brandon was a good friend to all of us, and was always willing to help. We were all very proud of all of his accomplishments, who he was and what he was doing. He always wanted to be in the Special Forces and loved it when he was there.

"Our brother died doing what he loved, protecting our country and ensuring our freedom."

Pepper was the second soldier from the Baltimore area killed in Ghazni in four days. Sgt. Daniel A. Rodriguez was traveling in Ghazni city July 18 when his vehicle struck a roadside bomb. He was 28.

Pepper joined the Army Reserve in 2000 and worked as an intelligence analyst at Fort Meade. He deployed to Iraq at the start of the war in 2003.

He entered active duty in 2008 and was named an infantry squad leader with the 101st Airborne Division. He completed Special Forces training in 2011 and was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, N.C., as a communications sergeant.

His awards and decorations include the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, the Joint Service Achievement Medal and the Army Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster.

Pepper lived most recently in York, Pa. He leaves his wife, his father, John, his mother, Geraldine, and his brothers Nicholas, John Robert and Derek.

"When Brandon was around you always knew that you were going to have a good time," his family said. "He would always make the best out of everything through rolling with the punches and not letting things get him down.

"Even after this tragedy we cannot help but smile and laugh about the times that we had together."

matthew.brown@baltsun.com

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