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Local Soldier Killed in Iraq

by DJ Thursday, Feb. 10, 2005 at 3:03 PM

Marine captain from Redondo killed in Iraq. Sean Lee Brock died after being wounded by shrapnel. . His widow calls him "just so honorable."

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Marine captain from Redondo killed in Iraq

Sean Lee Brock died after being wounded by shrapnel. He is the fifth local serviceman to die in combat in Iraq. His widow calls him "just so honorable."

By Kristin S. Agostoni

Daily Breeze

Capt. Sean Lee Brock picked up the phone last week in the Iraqi city of Ramadi and told his mother about the strange silence surrounding him.

"This is what he said," recalled Anita Brock of Redondo Beach. " 'Mom, I can't talk long. It's so quiet here, it's eerie. And that concerns me, because when it gets quiet like that, something happens.' "

Anita Brock asked if he was in a safe place. But someone interrupted, and he told her he had to go. It was the last conversation she'd have with her 29-year-old son.

Brock, a lifetime Redondo Beach resident and 1993 Mira Costa High School graduate, was killed in combat about six hours later in Iraq's Anbar Province, family members said. He suffered from a fatal shrapnel wound to the abdomen and was pronounced dead Feb. 2.

His wife of two years, Navy Lt. Heather Brock, 27, said her husband sent her an e-mail four hours earlier. She believes he wrote a second note before he died, but she never got to read it.

Heather Brock, a nurse who had been stationed aboard the USS Fort McHenry off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, was awakened the next morning to the sobering news. She left almost immediately to start the trip back to the United States.

"The most he would say was, 'Oh, I had a close call today,' " she said of her husband's messages. "He knew he was going to die. He was just so honorable."

With a photograph of the trim, dark-haired Marine smiling up at them Monday night from the kitchen table, the Marine's mother, wife and two siblings remembered Brock's love for scuba diving and soccer and the close ties he kept to his hometown. Flower arrangements covered the counter tops, and the family's phone rang with offers of condolences and questions.

"Family was so important," Anita Brock said. "He was an excellent friend. And just loyal."

Even when Brock left Redondo Beach in August 1993 to launch his military career, he couldn't distance himself from his fraternal twin brother, Rayme, who made the same decision to enlist with the Marines.

Both teenagers -- by chance, Rayme Brock believes -- got assigned to boot camp at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego. Military officials usually separate twins, he said, but a typo on the registration documents fooled officials into believing the two were unrelated.

Rayme's last name was misspelled Brockr, while his brother's remained intact.

So, the pair shipped off together that August, learning the ropes, missing home and, later, figuring out how to pull off a few pranks.

Because visitation rules were stringent, the brothers became regulars at Sunday Mass and religious ceremonies at the chapel. Once the services began, they'd look around the pews and take turns walking outside.

Tucked inside a bathroom they'd find their mother and father, the late Maury Espelin, and younger sister, Kelly, who made the trip south so the family could spend just a few minutes together.

"I was inside the men's room. We were all there," Anita Brock said. "We planned it."

Heather Brock entered her husband's life several years later, and the couple married quietly after a few months of dating.

They met at the Marine Corps ball at the La Jolla Marriott on Nov. 9, 2002, and talked for about "three minutes," she said. Not long, but enough time for him to learn her name and that she was a nurse.

The following Monday, he showed up at Camp Pendleton Naval Hospital.

They started dating and entered marriage counseling Jan. 8, 2003.

But it didn't last.

A day and a half later, the couple got dressed in their military blues and picked up a bouquet of multicolored tulips. They eloped and were married at a courthouse in San Marcos. A separate wedding ceremony for family and friends took place the following October at Wayfarers Chapel in Rancho Palos Verdes.

The newlyweds bought a house in Oceanside in January 2003, but Heather Brock said her husband called it home for just a short time. He left days later to start what would be the first of two assignments in Iraq.

Sean Brock, who held bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of California at Santa Barbara and Central Michigan University, had been pursuing a doctorate in public policy and administration from Walden University, as well as a master's degree in international relations from Troy University.

"Sean's family was blessed to know him for 29 years," Heather Brock said.

"I was blessed to know him for 27 months. ... We had our whole lives to look forward to."

Sean Brock is the fifth South Bay soldier killed in Iraq. The others were Army Spc. Sergio Diaz Varela of Lomita; Army Spc. Edgar P. Daclan Jr., who lived near Carson; Army Sgt. Brian Wood of Torrance; and Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jose Gutierrez of Lomita.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at The Neighborhood Church in Palos Verdes Estates, followed by a military funeral service at the Korean Friendship Bell in San Pedro. A reception will follow at Fort MacArthur Community Center.

In addition to his wife, mother and two siblings, Brock is survived by his paternal grandmother, Margaret Espelin of Santa Maria; maternal grandparents, Joe and Phyllis Russo of Granbury, Texas; a half-sister, Ivy Blesser of Santa Monica; a brother-in-law, Dean Morishige of Redondo Beach; and a nephew, Brock Morishige.

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Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 10 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
AP Article DJ Thursday, Feb. 10, 2005 at 3:06 PM
Moral of the story: Don’t invade other people’s homeland Bring the troops home Now! Thursday, Feb. 10, 2005 at 4:05 PM
South Bay remembers an 'admirable' RB Marine DJ Sunday, Feb. 13, 2005 at 11:24 AM
Sean Brock - A True Hero Bush Hater Monday, Mar. 07, 2005 at 11:40 PM
The TRUTH Brenden Monday, Apr. 11, 2005 at 5:52 PM
Wheat from the chaff Todd Boyle Monday, May. 16, 2005 at 10:52 AM
Long Live the USA Publius Thursday, May. 19, 2005 at 1:02 PM
OneEyedMan KPC Thursday, May. 19, 2005 at 1:28 PM

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