Cpl. Brian P. Prening, U.S.M.C. (KIA)
A 24-year-old U.S. Marine from Plymouth died after being struck by small arms fire in Iraq, his family said Saturday.
The family of Cpl. Brian P. Prening says the Marines delivered news of his death Friday afternoon - the same day he died from his wounds after action in the Babil Province south of Baghdad. Prening had been assigned to the Marine Corps Reserve's 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division in Chicago.
Family members said Prening - a graduate of Plymouth High School - had just gotten married on Aug. 13 and was expecting his first child with his wife, Amy.
Amy had a son from another relationship that Brian Prening loved like his own, said Prening's father, Bill Prening, of Plymouth. He said the family last spoke with Brian Prening about three weeks ago.
As winds in Iraq blew sand and dust and he spoke with his family, Brian Prening had his unborn child on his mind.
"He couldn't wait to come home," Bill Prening said. "He knew he had a baby coming. He was hoping to be home with his baby at that time."
Bill Prening said his blond-haired, blue-eyed son - who stood 6 feet, 3 inches - joined the Marines because "he wanted to challenge himself."
"He was real proud after he finished boot camp," Bill Prening said. "It was a major accomplishment in his life."
After boot camp, Brian Prening went into the reserves, his father said, and had completed his service.
"He was done," Bill Prening said. "Then he got called back up."
His mother, Deborah Prening, said while she was fearful for her son's life, her son knew he had to go and had readied himself for battle.
"He was that kind of guy . . . 'Let's get it on,' you know?" Deborah Prening said. " 'Do what you gotta do' and have a real good outlook on life."
To date, 27 soldiers from Wisconsin have been killed in the fighting in Iraq, including four in the past week.
Brian Prening ran track, played football and wrestled at Plymouth High School. He later went to Lakeshore Technical College in Cleveland, Wis., where he got a degree after he completed the school's tool-and-die program.
He then got a job working as a machine set-up man at the Kohler Co. with his father.
Bill Prening said some of his fondest memories of his son are of the times the two went hunting for turkeys in the Kettle Moraine forest or for bears and deer in Eagle River.
When Brian Prening found out he was being sent to Iraq, his father said, he chose to go with his company, even though he didn't have to, because he had developed an affinity for his comrades after they trained in Poland.
Brian Prening was in charge of a three-man "fire team" and, as such, would take the younger soldiers who had just entered the Marines under his wing, his father said.
Bill Prening said his son went to Iraq out of a sense of duty but had doubts about the government's stated reasons for being there.
"One of the letters he wrote is that the only reason he thought he was there was for oil," Bill Prening said. "That's the only thing we got out of him from his letters," he said, adding that the only other thing his son wrote about was being sick of the Marines' Meals Ready to Eat.
Bill Prening said he supports the troops, not the war.
"I know they have to be there because they have to," Bill Prening said. "I don't believe we should be there."
Bill Prening said his son is survived by a twin brother, Bill, and a younger sister, Ann, 21.