Pfc. Brandon Kreischer was many things.
He was a husband, an expectant father, a son, a brother and a friend. He had heart and dedication. He was willing to help others in any way he could and had a unique and infectious laugh.
He was also a man who, by age 18, had already fulfilled his lifelong dream by becoming a soldier in the U.S. Army, a member of 82nd Airborne.
He was also a man whose life ended too early when he was killed in action on Monday, July 29, 2019.
Friends and teachers remembered him fondly on Saturday when he was laid to rest after a funeral service at Bryan High School, where he graduated in 2018.
Noah Rohrer became best friends with Kreischer in the fifth grade.
They spent time together often, sharing a love of comic books and watching super hero movies.
“We were like brothers, we were so close,” he said. “We had spontaneous wrestling matches ... We were in choir together.”
They had so many memories, it would be hard for Noah to have shared all of them at the funeral.
But one he did share involved him, another friend and Kreischer, walking down the school’s hallway after lunch.
“I gave him a little jab in the ribs, and that would turn into him smacking me or whatever,” Noah said. “He went to smack me in the chest, but there was this little guy in front of me and I’m a little bigger. He was aiming for my chest but (the other friend) got hit right in the cheek. He had a sucker in his mouth and it flew out into the hallway. It was so funny.”
Kreischer was one of the most authentic people Noah ever knew, saying everything he meant and meaning everything he said.
“His sacrifice was for my family and your family,” he said. “After all this is done, don’t forget his wife. Don’t forget his son and don’t forget his family. Please honor his sacrifice.”
Among those he left behind were his wife, Grace, and a son, Callum, expected in December.
In high school, Kreischer befriended Pfc. Zac Harrow, who fought back tears as he spoke of his friend.
They shared many memories, he said, including fishing trips and “hours spent in the parking lot, talking about our goals.”
“I will miss him,” Harrow said. “You’re my best friend and my brother ... Rest easy.”
Kreischer’s recruiting officer, Michael Taylor, said he embodied what it meant to be a soldier.
Kreischer could be found running around town, volunteering in the community and supporting his friends and family. Taylor knew he would be a good leader.
“He displayed a maturity and professionalism that the rest of the future soldiers did their best to emulate,” Taylor said. “Brandon often asked me before he left for basic training what it was like to be an airborne trooper. I told him it was the hardest thing he’d ever do. He just laughed, if you knew Brandon that’s what he always did.”
Kreischer, he added, was “wise beyond his years” and a role model for many.
Although Taylor was only part of Kreischer’s life for a short time, the impact was “monumental.”
“You never know when you first meet someone the positive effect they’ll have on you,” Taylor said. “Brandon was one of those people who would have a positive impact, whether you wanted him to or not. He would lead by example. He would be the strongest person in the room and he sure as hell wouldn’t be afraid to tell you.
“Brandon, I say thank you,” he continued. “I say thank you for your commitment to your country. I say thank you for your commitment to your family and friends. I say thank you for being the greatest paratrooper I will ever know.”
Kreischer was in the student ministry program with Noah’s father, Pastor Brock Rohrer. So, they spent a lot of time together in church but also at home.
“Needless to say, there was never a dull moment when Brandon was around,” Brock said. “My favorite thing about Brandon, I think, was he had the most distinctive laugh I have ever known. He and Noah would be joking around, watching some stupid YouTube video that I didn’t think was funny at all, but they would both be laughing and I would just jump in because I couldn’t contain.”
Kreischer, he continued, could light up a room and his family was “so important” when he was growing up.
Kreischer would often talk about his love of his parents and brothers, his cousins and his wife.
However, he was most defined by his patriotism.
“Brandon made the decision to join the Army and nothing was going to stand in the way of him achieving that: 5 a.m. workouts, long runs, working out at the gym, those were all commonplace for Brandon,” Brock said. “In Brandon’s mind, countless hours of hard work, blood, sweat and tears were a small price to pay for his country.”
Kreischer wouldn’t want to be remembered as a victim, he continued.
“I believe Brandon would want to remembered as a young man who gave his life for something that he believed in,” Brock said. “I look forward to the day his son can hear the stories of his father. How his dad loved and served and how genuine he was as a person ... And how his dad laid down his life for the people he swore to defend.
“One day, friends, please tell Callum that his dad was a hero and a patriot,” he added.
Kreischer was laid to rest in a private ceremony at the Evansport Cemetery with graveside military rites conducted by the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Honor Guard.