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Friday, May 17, 2013

Taken Too Early

A military convoy was the target of a suicide bomber in the Afghan capital of Kabul yesterday. The blast resulted in the death of two U.S. soldiers, four civilian contractors and nine Afghan civilians (including two children). An Islamic militant group, Hezb-e-Islami claimed responsibility for the attack.

This tragic event directly affects Fort Thomas. A Highlands High School graduate was one of the U.S. soldiers who lost their lives. 

Michael R. Bradord was in the military vehicle when the bomb went off and injured at least 35 people in the industrial district of Karta-e Naw.

Photo courtesy of Facebook

Full disclosure, I was several years older than Mr. Bradford and did not know him personally. Many people in the city were close with Michael and their condolences poured out on Facebook when the news of the attack broke.

Common quips that I got from those who knew him were that Michael had an infectious laugh. He had an outstanding personality. He always put others before himself, which showed in his service in Afghanistan.

I reached out to one of Michael’s many friends to get a better sense of the kind of person that he was. I asked Josh McIntosh if he would reflect on Michael and share some of his favorite memories of the soldier.

“When I think about Michael Bradford, I can’t help but smile,” Josh said. “Mike was one of those rare types who had the gift of bringing joy to everyone and anyone who came into contact with him. If it was your first time talking to him, it didn’t take long until you felt as if you had known him for years. As anyone who ever met Mike would tell you, he had the most infectious laugh of anyone you would ever meet. When Mike laughed, it was physically impossible not to laugh yourself. The joy he lived his life with made others happy and brought so much happiness into a world that truly needs it.”

Josh went on to reflect on their time together. “Some of my favorite memories with Mike were when he would come down to Lexington to visit Jake Secter and I during our freshman year at UK. I’ll never forget how he would call me after he parked his car and was walking to our dorm. We could see the parking garage from our window and after he would call, we’d look out the window and could see him heading our way. Without fail, Mike always had the biggest smile across his face and would yell up to us to let him in the front door. It seemed like, on cue, Jake and I would start laughing because we knew it was going to be an unforgettable couple of days. I can honestly say that from the moment he arrived, I don’t know if five minutes went by where we all weren’t cracking up about some old story or a joke Mike told."

Josh added, "Mike lived his life like Mike chose to live it. Mike wore his heart on his sleeve and what you saw is what you got. He died serving our country, and for that, I can never thank him enough. I honor the ultimate sacrifice he made. But when I think about him, I don’t think about Michael Bradford, the soldier. I think about good ole Mike, my friend. I think about that infectious smile and laugh. I think about how much joy he brought to everyone and all the amazing times we shared together. I am humbled and honored to have known Mike and I will always have the countless memories of our time together. We may have lost an American warrior and remarkable human being, but I find comfort in knowing that I have gained a guardian angel.”

Michael Bradford made the ultimate sacrifice for you and for me. The next time you find yourself enjoying a cookout, a baseball game or just quality time with friends and family, say a simple "thank you" to Michael and all the fallen soldiers before him that make our every freedom possible. 

Josh said it best, "Michael may be gone, but now there is an angel, laughing contagiously and looking after us all."  

Thank you, Michael.


  1. Will Fort Thomas Matters be posting any information about a public memorial service for Mike?

  2. Missing my baby cousin...

  3. Kate - we will follow up this story with updates on that. Shiloh- so sorry for your loss. He was a true hero.

  4. He was like my brother. I'll never forget him!

  5. Missing him horribly. Like a brother

  6. I grieve for his parents who lost a special son and his grandparents I know from Christ Church, Ft. Thomas. May God be with you all in these sad times.