U.S. Army Spc. Brandon Soileau has completed his active duty enlistment and is home in Bridge City, after earning a Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his service in Iraq.
He returned home in late February after a 15-month tour of duty in northern Iraq.
He came back to the United States on Nov. 13 at Fort Drum, N.Y.

While in Iraq, he served with the 10th Mountain Division in the area around Tikrit.
“I was trained as a small vehicle mechanic, but I didn’t get to do a whole lot of that duty”, Soileau said. “We went out in convoys of gun trucks. The convoys consisted of two recovery teams with 20 to 30 men on each team. Our duty was to go out and recover damaged vehicles and return them to base for repair, if they could be repaired.”

Most of Soileau’s duty was in the area of Iraq near the Turkish border near Iran. Combat was at times heavy, consisting of small arms fire and roadside bombs.
“We were always under stress and never knew where the next attack would come from or when it would come,” he said.

Soileau was wounded in combat and received the Purple Heart Medal for his wounds.
“We were in a convoy when they set off a culvert bomb and blew up our vehicle. They would take about 300 pounds of explosives and place it in drums and shove them inside culverts. When a vehicle would be on top of the culvert, they would set the bomb off by remote control. There were three of us wounded when the bomb went off under our truck” Soileau said.

He said the soldiers with him were more seriously injured than he was.

Soileau was also awarded a Bronze Star Medal for the time served under combat conditions and the amount of actual combat he served.

He enlisted when he was17 and has been in the Army for five years. He will still have one-and-a-half years of inactive duty to complete his enlistment period.

“Even though the duty was stressful and at times very dangerous, I would do it again if I had to,” he said.

His mother, Becky Joiner, said “I am very proud of Brandon and his service to his country. We are very glad to have him back home safe. He earned several medals and we are also proud of the way he did his duty.”

Soileau is earning a degree in criminal justice and plans to apply to the Beaumont Police Department upon completion of the degree.

He is a 2004 graduate of Bridge City High School.