Son, grandson of Virginia City residents killed in Iraq
May 2, 2008
A soldier with ties to Virginia City will be buried next week, instead of being married next month, as he had planned.
Staff Sgt. Bryan Bolander, 26, was on his fourth tour of duty in Baghdad when he was killed Tuesday from injuries suffered when his vehicle struck an IED, or improvised explosive device.
Bolander grew up in Southern California, his relatives said.
He is the son of Greg Bolander, stepson of Brenda Bolander, and the grandson of Jack and Dorothy Bolander, all of Virginia City.
Greg Bolander said his son was due to be back in the U.S. on May 30, and planned to marry his fiancee, Sandra, in June.
“I have a hard time understanding four tours,” Greg Bolander said. “But he was a very dedicated Army person. He loved his job. The big thing with him was it was the toughest job he ever had, but the most rewarding.”
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Staff Sgt. Bolander was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division in Fort Campbell, Ky. He had been shot at several times before in Iraq, and was wounded, his father said.
Greg Bolander said his son’s body is in Dover, Del., waiting for the rest of his platoon to fly in, which is what the men in his platoon say Staff Sgt. Bolander wanted.
Greg Bolander said members of his son’s platoon plan to escort Bryan Bolander from Dover to Fort Campbell, where his platoon leader plans to be one of the pallbearers.
He said he and his family will head to Fort Campbell next week for the burial.
Greg Bolander said the family asked for help from the military to fly his parents to Fort Campbell for the burial, but they don’t provide that service. He credited the Reno Airport Authority, Delta Airlines, and Sen. Harry Reid’s office with “stepping up to the plate” to help.
Staff Sgt. Bolander was born in Westminster, Calif., and raised in Huntington Beach and attended school in San Jacinto, Calif. His great-grandmother, Virginia Bolander, moved to Virginia City in 1960, and owned three stores, Greg Bolander said. She also ran the Comstock Fireman’s Museum for the last five years of her life. Greg Bolander’s parents moved to Virginia City in 2002 to care for her, and Greg followed in 2003. Virginia Bolander died in June 2004.
Bolander entered the Army in April 2000 and arrived at Fort Campbell in November 2002.
His awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal with “V” Device; two Army Commendation medals; National Defense Service Medal; two Army Good Conduct medals; Iraqi Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; medals for his service in Kosovo, and numerous Army service medals.
In addition to his father, stepmother and grandparents, Staff Sgt. Bolander is survived by his son, Tyler, 4, of St. Louis, Mo.; and mother and stepfather Toni and Robert Kahrmann of Clarksville Tenn.
A memorial service will be held in Iraq, and a service and burial will be in Fort Campbell, Ky., which holds a monthly Eagle Remembrance Ceremony the second Wednesday of each month for soldiers killed in the line of duty.
Condolences may be sent to Greg Bolander at P.O. Box 383, Virginia City, NV 89440, or Jack and Dorothy Bolander, P.O. Box 42, Virginia City.
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-7351.