Fellow soldiers, friends share memories of Chandler soldier killed in Somalia Friday

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Conrad was a human intelligence collector and a decorated soldier with a list of awards for his service. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Conrad was a human intelligence collector and a decorated soldier with a list of awards for his service. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Conrad’s fellow soldiers shared powerful words about him and memories they'll never forget. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Conrad’s fellow soldiers shared powerful words about him and memories they'll never forget. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Conrad was a human intelligence collector and a decorated soldier with a list of awards for his service. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Conrad was a human intelligence collector and a decorated soldier with a list of awards for his service. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The Chandler soldier was killed by enemy fire in Somalia this past week. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The Chandler soldier was killed by enemy fire in Somalia this past week. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
CHANDLER, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A brave soldier and a fearless friend, that's how 26-year-old Alex Conrad is remembered by his Army brothers, who say the world is a little darker without him.

The Chandler soldier was killed by enemy fire in Somalia this past week. Four other soldiers were also injured during the attack.

[PREVIOUS STORY: Army says soldier from Arizona killed in Somalia]

Conrad’s fellow soldiers shared powerful words about him and memories they'll never forget.

Conrad served as Camari Webb's team leader in Afghanistan twice. Webb sent us this emotional statement:

“Even though Alex was younger than me, I always looked up to him. He was a go-getter, determined, motivated and made sure that we could accomplish anything. Alex took every miserable situation and made it into a positive one. His smile and laughter were contagious. He was loved and admired by everyone around him. He made every situation meaningful; nights where we slept on top of trucks, sharing a blanket with him in the desert of Afghanistan, to soaking in the rain during field training at Fort Lewis. He made me feel like we could go to war with God watching out for you. He gained responsibility and rank faster than most - and was nicknamed the Corporal for a while since he was the only one in our unit. I learned a lot from him and his leadership. Alexander Conrad is my definition of an American soldier. He never accepted defeat, never complained and always finished what he started. He will be truly missed. The Army has lost a great leader, my brother and my friend.”

Conrad was a human intelligence collector and a decorated soldier with a list of awards for his service. His fellow soldier Staff Sgt. Mark Villarreal is heartbroken over the loss of his brother, and sent us this statement:

“Alex was more than a friend but a someone I considered a brother. He was a great leader, soldier, and was the epitome of selfless service. His dedication to his job, career, and soldiers is (sic) what stands out most in my mind. His willingness to not just look at how he can change today but how he can change tomorrow for the betterment of the Army is truly hard to define. He will live long in our memories in all of those that he touched and his memory will be shared with the future soldiers of the Army. I will do everything in my power to ensure that I and others live up to the potential of Alexander Conrad.”

Conrad's death was the first public announcement of a U.S. military combat death in Africa since four U.S. service members were killed in Niger in October.

Since Conrad's death, he has been awarded a Purple Heart and a Meritorious Service Medal.

"He was an incredible person, very happy, such a hard worker," said Alex Salazar. She said she went to Hamilton High School with Conrad. They were paired up in freshman orientation. He did not attend the graduation ceremony with the rest of his classmates; Salazar said he was already at basic training.

"He was willing to sacrifice such a big moment in adulthood, graduating, and he gave that up to go start serving our country," Salazar said. "I forever thank Alex, and he is forever in my heart for the sacrifice he gave to this country."

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Briana WhitneyBriana Whitney joined CBS 5/3TV in February 2018, and is no stranger to the sunshine and heat!

Click to learn more about Briana.

Briana Whitney

She’s from Northern California, but prior to coming to Phoenix, she reported at KIII-TV in Corpus Christi, TX for three years.

During her time in South Texas, she reported on several national stories. Some of the most memorable were the 2015 Wimberley floods, reporting for eight hours off the Gulf of Mexico during Hurricane Harvey in August of 2017, and reporting from the church shooting in Sutherland Springs in November of 2017.

Her general assignment reporting won her two Associated Press awards, six EMMA awards, and one Emmy nomination for a half-hour special she wrote, produced and hosted on the issue of child pornography.

Briana graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and during college had seven different internships at several news stations.

When she isn’t chasing breaking news or working on a feature story, Briana loves checking out the best restaurants in the Valley, and hiking or rollerblading around town. Briana is very happy to have made Arizona home!

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