Funeral, visitation to be held for Michael Bradford, Fort Thomas veteran killed in Afghanistan
- By: Sarah Beth Hensley, WCPO Digital
FORT THOMAS, Ky. – On Friday, a Northern Kentucky community will mourn the loss of a veteran who was killed in Afghanistan last week.
Michael Bradford of Fort Thomas was one of at least 30 people killed in a suicide car bombing in the Afghan capitol of Kabul Thursday. Bradford’s visitation and funeral services will take place in his hometown Friday.
“I’m just finally glad we’re home with him,” said Bradford’s widow, Sasha Cantrell Bradford, when his body arrived at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport Wednesday. “I’m just so glad [Bradford] was finally able to meet his son and the love and support from everybody is just amazing and I really can’t ask for anything better for a homecoming for my husband.”
The 26-year-old Highlands High School graduate was one of four DynCorp International personnel working on the Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan program tragically killed by the explosion, according to a DynCorp spokesperson. Bradford, who resided in Grovetown, Ga., was an instructor of law enforcement and safety with DynCorp.
DynCorp International is a defense contractor and global services provider that offers aviation, logistics, training, intelligence and operational solutions.
Bradford joined the company on Nov. 12, 2012, after working as a civilian contractor in Afghanistan. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army, and served in Iraq and other locations.
The car bombing that killed Bradford tore through a U.S. convoy and was so powerful it rattled the other side of the Afghan capital. U.S. soldiers rushed to help, some wearing only T-shirts or shorts under their body armor.
A Muslim militant group claimed responsibility for the morning rush hour attack, saying it was carried out by a new suicide unit formed in response to reports that the U.S. plans to keep bases and troops in Afghanistan even after the 2014 deadline for the end of the foreign combat mission.
The group, Hizb-e-Islami, said its fighters had stalked the Americans for a week to learn their routine before striking – a claim which raises questions about U.S. security procedures.
Two children were among the Afghan civilians killed in the attack.
The suicide attack was the deadliest to rock Kabul in more than two months and pushed the monthly toll for the U.S.-led coalition to 18, making May the deadliest month so far this year.
Bradford’s visitation will take place from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and his funeral will be at 7:30 p.m., both of which will be at the Fort Thomas Mess Hall, 801 Cochran St. A reception will follow the funeral from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Bradford will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va.
Memorials are suggested to the Michael Bradford Memorial Trust Fund at the Victory Community Bank, 602 South Fort Thomas Ave.
Bradford is survived by his wife, Sasha Cantrell Bradford, their unborn son Michael Robert Bradford II, his parents Gary Bradford and Linda Faulkner Bradford, his brothers, Chris and Kenny Bradford and two sets of grandparents—Bob and Nancy Faulkner and Bob and Gwen Bradford.
“Just having him home is just a blessing,” Bradford’s father, “Moose” Bradford, said on Wednesday. “There isn’t anything else to say. It’s the saddest thing in the world to bury a son.”