May 16th 1983-
Sept 13th 2004
A Vietnam Veteran told me, the good
Lord had a reason to send my friend
on my last mission instead of me. He
did his best to convince me that God
has a better plan for me, and His
timing was not my own. But I on the
other end refuse to believe any of it,
because no other life-- my friend's life
is worth taken over mine, because I am
not any better. So in a more positive
sense of way, this page is in memory
of my brother-- my best friend Cpl
Adrian V. Soltau/USMC/KIA. Who has
made the ultimate sacrifice so I could
be here. Though he is gone during the
war of Operation Iraqi Freedom, he is
not forgotten.
Corporal Adrian V. Soltau, USMC, was
killed in action on September 13th,
2004 while serving in Anbar
Providence in Iraq. Corporal Soltau
was a Heavy Section Operator with
Motor Transport Platoon from 3rd
Assault Amphibian Battalion, 1st
Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary
Assigned to the 3rd Assault Amphibian
Battalion at Camp Pendleton
California, Corporal Soltau served in
combat during the drive from Kuwait to
Baghdad from March through April
2003. He was with his unit on a second
deployment in Iraq when he was killed.
During his military career he was
awarded the Purple Heart, Combat
Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit
Citation, Good Conduct Medal,
National Defense Service Medal, Sea
Service Deployment Ribbon with
Bronze Star, and Global War on
Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.
School, then into the Corps, has died in the conflict around Fallujah, Iraq, his family confirmed on Wednesday,
September 15th, 2004.
Cpl Adrian Soltau's second tour of duty in Operation Iraqi Freedom ended in an explosion Monday, September
13th, 2004. The 21-year-old became the 21st U.S. Military personnel from Wisconsin and the second graduate
of Milwaukee Public Schools to die in the fighting since the United States invaded Iraq in March 2003.
He last spoke to his father, Andrew Soltau, by telephone on Saturday, September 11th, 2004.
"He told me this was his last mission before he comes home, and I told him not to say that" The elder Soltau
said Wednesday. "I didn't like those words, 'his last mission,' and I told him to call me back."
"But he will not call me now"
Instead of a phone call, the Soltau's received a knock at the door, and the notice of their son's death, late
Monday night.
"I knew what it was when those servicemen were at the door," said Lakiesha Perry, 24 at the time, one of Adrian
Soltau's seven siblings. "I just started crying."
Growing up in a large family, Adrian Soltau provided energy and a spark for his siblings and a shadow for his
older brother, Andre.
If Andre brought home an A on his report card, Adrian worked for two. When Andre put is name on the Madison
High School honor roll, Adrian studied to put his name next to it.
Two years after Andre played safety on the football team, Adrian lined up at a receiver and, like his brother, in
the defensive backfield.
"He followed me in everything I did," Andre 23 at the time said.
The older brother took the sibling competition in stride, sharing the pride of competing in high school baseball
and football and performing well in classroom. But Andre initially objected when Adrian announced that he
planned to follow his path into the Marines.
"I was telling him, 'Make sure this is what you want to do,' " Andre soltau said. "I know you follow me in
everything I do, but this one is a bit different."
"Initially I was disagreeing with him, but he did it."
Adrian went off in boot camp in August of 2001, following his older brother, two years to the day.
Their mother, Desiree Soltau, said watching a son leave for the military was no less traumatic the second time
around. The anxiety she felt then, and the grief she feels now, are softened, somewhat, by pride.
"He believed in fighting for the United States, and to me that makes him a hero," Soltau said. "That makes all of
them who are there heroes."
Adrian Soltau's brothers, sisters and friends echoed that sentiment as they gathered in the family's home
across the street from John Burroughs Middle School. They described Adrian as a strong person, more
concerned about others than himself.
"there was no fear, there was courage," Andrew Soltau said.
Even in conversations with his brother, who served in Iraq from February through May, the dangers of being in
combat were left unspoken.
Andre Soltau said his younger brother approached his duties simply as tasks to be performed.
He and his brother accomplished good things in Iraq, Andrew said. Their sacrifice has helped give Iraqi women
more freedom than they had in decades.
Andrew Soltau says he had no regrets about the choices his sons made.
"It's a great chunk of our life that's been taken away from us, but we still have him in our hearts," he said. "when
I spoke to him on Saturday, his last words were, "It's a job that no one wants to do but someone has to do it, so
Dad, I'm going on a mission.' "