Slain Soldier From Cleveland Was Prepared

An American soldier, Brandon Sloan, age 19, will be remembered for much more than being one of the first American soldiers to die while helping to liberate the people of Iraq. Connection Magazine has discovered his hope-filled story, overlooked by the national media.
by Editor, Jon Hanna

Just months after 9-11-01, Private Brandon Sloan of Bedford Heights joined the Army during his senior year at Bedford High School. It was something he felt he had to do.

Initially, Army Pvt. Brandon Sloan of Bedford Heights was considered missing in action, after he and other members of the U.S Army's 507th Maintenance Company, out of Fort Bliss, were ambushed on Sunday, March 23rd. As U.S. troops raced toward Baghdad, Brandon's unit fell behind a convoy of tanks and troops because they had to stop to repair several stalled vehicles. The ambush occurred as they were trying to catch up to their convoy. Some members of Brandon's unit were eventually rescued, including fellow soldier, PFC Jessica Lynch. As of press time, their war stories of rescue appeared to be the most inspirational news items the national media could find, and those receiving the most attention.

The good news of Jessica's deliverance was widely reported and briefly replaced America's tears of pain and sorrow with tears of comfort and joy. Then, pleasantly surprising many, the citizens of the United States received the highly anticipated good news that seven missing soldiers were also delivered from captivity. In contrast, the hope-filled life of Brandon Sloan includes a personal story of deliverance that had been largely missed or ignored by the secular news media. A life story his father gladly spoke of during a conversation exclusively with Connection Magazine.

"Brandon joined the Army about this time last year," recalled Brandon's proud father, Minister Tandy Sloan, Associate Minister at Historic Greater Friendship Baptist Church in Cleveland, "I was very proud of his enlistment," he added.

Brandon received specialized training to assume the duties of Statistical Logistics Specialist. Minister Sloan believes that his son was prepared and believed in what he was doing.

"He was confident in his training and expressed confidence in his comrades. I spoke to him just two days before he shipped out and he was very up beat," Brandon's father stated.

In spite of the loss of his son, Minister Sloan continues to maintain an up-beat attitude himself. When asked if he was angry with the U.S. Government, or more specifically the U.S. Army, or even Saddam Hussein, Minister Sloan answered, "Anger and bitterness are not of God." He further explained, "We all have our small satans that we come up against in life that confront and confound us. Sometimes we lose sight of who has (complete) authority. Of course, it's Jesus who is ultimately in control and we've got to keep our focus on Him."

During a private conversation with Minister Sloan, the Mayor of Cleveland, Jane Campbell, discovered just how focused he is. "I don't know if I made him feel one bit better, but I know he made me feel better," she told the Plain Dealer.

Though it took him some time, Brandon also learned how to focus on Jesus. Although Brandon's grandfather was a follower of Jesus, and the founding pastor of Bethesda Baptist Church in Cleveland, and though Brandon's father had accepted Jesus by the age of eight, it wasn't until Brandon was fifteen-years old that he personally decided to acknowledge Jesus as his Lord and Savior. "I'm glad he waited," Minister Sloan explained to Connection Magazine, "It was a more sure decision than it would have been if he was a lot younger."

Brandon Ulysses Sloan played defensive lineman on the Bedford High School football team. He also loved basketball. He looked a lot like his mother, smiled easily and had a strong sense of duty to his country. He, along with over one-hundred other American soldiers, lost his life while at war helping to liberate Iraq from an 'evil' dictator. Most importantly, Brandon followed Jesus Christ.

Today, Brandon's family does not have to grieve as others grieve who have no hope, (I Thessalonians 4:13-16). The good news of Brandon's deliverance from death to life by Jesus Christ, replaces tears of pain and sorrow with tears of comfort and joy.

Brandon was prepared.

Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live." (John 11:25 NKJV)

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