Bradley Steven Korthaus was born on May 19, 1974, and was raised in Davenport, Iowa. He attended Assumption High School, where he played football, wrestling, soccer and tennis. After graduation in 1992, he followed his lifelong dream of becoming a Marine. He served for four years in various parts of the world, including in Operation Restore Hope in Somalia.
After his term of service, Korthaus became a plumber in the Quad Cities, while continuing to serve in the Marine Corps Reserve, in Engineering Company C, 6th Engineer Support Battalion, 4th Force Service Support Group. It was during his service in Company C that he would deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Korthaus deployed to Nasiriyah. His unit was tasked with securing a water purification site at the Saddam Canal. On the north bank of the canal, over the course of a few days, they observed several dozen locals gathering. Unsure if the Iraqis were civilians or enemy forces, the unit decided to send four swimmers to the north bank to secure a beachhead rather than wait for a helicopter to transport them across. The four swimmers were Sgt. Alden Conrad, Cpl. Evan James, Cpl. Joel Graves, and Sgt. Bradley Korthaus.
During the swim, Korthaus’ GORE-TEX boots became waterlogged. He was dragged down by the weight of his boots and gear, caught in the sucking mud. Stuck to the canal floor, he and another Marine drowned, despite the other members’ efforts to save them.
Korthaus was buried with full military honors at Rock Island National Cemetery on April 6, 2003. He was awarded a posthumous journeymanship as a plumber by his employers at Ryan & Associates, Inc. In honor of Korthaus, baseball field number 2 in Davenport’s Ridgeview Park was renamed “Korthaus Field” at the Little League Hometown Heroes Day Picnic ceremony on May 17, 2003. League President Keith Byars Jr. honored Korthaus and his comrades with the following eulogy:
“It is because of men and women like Korthaus that millions of people enjoy Little League baseball and softball … None of these people are drafted; they are volunteers who willingly take on the task of protecting us and often with little recognition.”
We honor his service.