GREENSBORO, N.C. -- A Navy K-9 handler from Greensboro was killed in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Sean E. Brazas, of Greensboro, died while conducting combat operations in Panjwa'l, Afghanistan.
He was assigned to Naval Base Kitsap Security Detachment in Bremerton, Wash.
Brazas, 26, leaves behind a wife and a 13-month-old daughter. He was originally from Greensboro and graduated from Western Guilford High School.
Sean's father Ed Brazas told the News and Record the family learned Thursday his son was shot while trying to help someone get into a helicopter.
Brazas' K-9 partner -- Sicario -- was with him at the time of his death, but survived. Sicario was treated for heat stress and is expected to be OK.
Ben Gleason, who has been friends with Brazas since high school, said Brazas recently moved to Seattle where he had planned to marry his fiancé.
Gleason described Brazas as a person who was known to lift the spirits of those around him.
“Which is why it's such a shock to hear that he's gone... I still can’t believe it. As the day goes on, it sinks deeper and deeper,” Gleason said.
Gleason, who owns a gym in Greensboro, said he plans dedicate a workout in Brazas’ honor.
“I always thanked him for being brave and doing what he does for our country,” Gleason said.
In an official statement from the Navy, Capt Pete Dawson, Naval Base Kitsap commanding officer, said “Sorrow fills our hearts at this sad moment. The news of the untimely death of Petty Officer Sean Brazas has resounded through the entire Naval Base Kitsap command. My sincerest sympathies go forward to the entire Brazas family and friends. It is difficult indeed to find words to express our regret at the death of this splendid young man”.
“I want to thank everyone for their support and we ask that our family privacy be respected. My husband died serving his country. He loved his job. We will all miss him and we will never forget him. He is my hero.” Mrs. Allie Brazas, wife of the deceased.
The funeral arrangements are incomplete, but Ed Brazas told the paper his son will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery with his grandfather, a World War II veteran.
The family said they are also planning a memorial in Greensboro.
The death raised the number of coalition troops who have died in Afghanistan this year to 176.