CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - The family of a Chesterfield man who died while serving in Afghanistan is speaking out tonight. 23-year-old, Sergeant Brandon Islip disappeared during a mission on November 4. His body was recovered in a river yesterday.
The family found out about Brandon Islip's death less than 24 hours ago. The soldier's aunt and stepmother they say they're heartbroken but appreciative of all of the support they've received.
Some of that support and encouragement is evident on Facebook. More than 2500 people have become members of the "Pray for Brandon Islip" page. Messages are posted by family, friends, and what appear to be complete strangers.
Brandon's stepmother writes, "Your father and I love you very much... Please know you're our hero and will always be. We're so proud of you"
Another message reads, "What a courageous soldier you're with the army's angels."
During a phone conversation, the family said Islip was on his second tour in Afghanistan and that he loved the military, life and his wife.
The 23-year-old para-trooper disappeared during a supply drop, earlier this month. Officials say he was swept away by a fast-moving current. Islip's body was recovered weeks later after a local Afghan citizen provided information on his whereabouts. Another soldier was also killed during the mission.
Family members say Islip was born and raised in the Richmond area -- he graduated from Monacan High School. Islip's stepmother said the family will be heading to Fort Bragg tomorrow to meet with military officials. The family says it has a lot of questions.