Va. Soldier's Death Under Investigation

By Michael Birnbaum
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Defense Department announced yesterday the death of Pfc. Bradley Shane Coleman of Martinsville, Va., who had been serving in Iraq.

Coleman, 24, died Oct. 29 of noncombat injuries, and the death is under investigation, according to a department news release. He was assigned to the 51st Transportation Company, based in Mannheim, Germany.

Yolanda Coleman, his stepmother, told the Martinsville Bulletin on Sunday that he died of a gunshot wound. She declined to be interviewed yesterday.

Coleman is survived by his wife of two years, Heather Coleman, and two children, Edward Shane, 2, and Shyanna, 1, the Bulletin reported.

"His biggest thing was he liked spending time with his children and his wife," his stepmother told the newspaper. She said he had known his wife since they were children.

Coleman died at Qayyarah Airfield, about 185 miles north of Baghdad. An Army spokesman based in Germany was unavailable for comment yesterday.

Coleman had been in Iraq since June and was scheduled for home leave in January. Coleman enlisted in the Army in April 2007 but had talked about joining "from the time he was a small child," his stepmother told the Bulletin.

Coleman, a transportation specialist, had found Iraq difficult, his stepmother said.

"He really liked the Army itself, but once he got to Iraq . . . it was hard on him," she told the Bulletin.

"He told his daddy that what you see on the news and what he saw over there were like two different worlds."

Staff researcher Meg Smith contributed to this report.

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