« Roadside bomb claimed Marine from Bensenville | Main | Airport Volunteers Welcome Troops Back Stateside »

Marine dies in Afghanistan

'Outgoing,' 'brave' RHS grad among 4 killed by roadside bomb

A 22-year-old Richmond Marine described by friends as "outgoing" and "brave" was killed over the weekend while serving in Afghanistan.

http://www.pal-item.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080617/NEWS01/806170304/1008

BY MICHELLE MANCHIR • STAFF WRITER • June 17, 2008

Lance Cpl. Layton Bradly Crass, a 2005 Richmond High School graduate, was one of four Marines from a unit based at Twentynine Palms, Calif., who died Saturday in a roadside bomb attack in Afghanistan.

Brad Covert, family readiness officer for the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, confirmed Crass' death Monday.

The attack in Helmand Province in southwest Afghanistan was the worst single attack on U.S. or coalition forces in Afghanistan this year, The Associated Press reported.

Crass and the other Marines arrived in Afghan-istan in April to help train and mentor struggling Afghan national police units in Farah and Helmand provinces.

The U.S. Department of Defense did not release further details about the incident Monday.

Crass' friends and acquaintances remember him fondly.

Dustin Gibbs, a former classmate and close friend of the soldier, said Monday in an e-mail message that Crass was "a brother to me."

"I joined the Marine Corps partially because of him," Gibbs said in the message. " ... He was a true friend and an extremely brave man. He had a huge heart and made quite an impact on my life and my future to come."

Both men appear in a photo in the Richmond High yearbook as members of the school Computer Club.

Rusty Hensley, career education director at Richmond High School, said Monday he remembers Crass attending machine tool technology classes at RHS in 2004.

"He was hardworking for us in that program," Hensley said, also describing the graduate as "outgoing."

Hensley said he spoke with Crass once since his graduation.

"He was very proud and he loved what he was doing (for the military," Hensley said, adding: "I'm proud of the fact that he was heading into the military for his career."

Crass' family did not respond Monday to requests for comment. His funeral services are pending at Doan & Mills Funeral Home in Richmond.

Details of the service were unavailable Monday.

Funeral home Director Gil Alford said the Patriot Guard, a group composed primarily of veterans who attend the funerals of U.S. Armed Forces members, would escort Crass' body into Richmond once it arrives in Dayton, Ohio.

Jim Disney, Wayne County veterans affairs officer, said a local honor guard will be available for the family if it wants ceremonial military rites at Crass' memorial service.

He also offered a message to the Crass family: "My condolences on their loss at the very least."

Gibbs said in an e-mail: "I encourage everyone to please come pay their respects for Layton. He died for our country, for us all and he deserves the best whole-hearted respect that we could possibly give him."