Screaming Eagles Through Time
Cpl. Sean R. Grilley

Cpl. Sean R. Grilley, 24, of San Bernardino, Calif.; assigned to the 716th Military Police Battalion, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), based in Fort Campbell, Ky.; killed while attempting to negotiate with armed men who were congregating on a road near a mosque after curfew on Oct. 16 in Karbala, Iraq. Also killed in the attack were Lt. Col. Kim S. Orlando, the commanding officer of the 716th, and Staff Sgt. Joseph P. Bellavia. Seven other U.S. soldiers were wounded.

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Cpl. Sean R. Grilley Memorial Book

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 Comrades honor MPs during Karbala memorial service

Close to midnight Oct. 16, Lt. Col. Kim S. Orlando stepped out of his armored Humvee and walked down a dingy, lamplit street toward a small group of rifle-wielding men standing at the corner of an alley.

Flanked by a security detail, Orlando approached them, intending to talk, hoping to find a diplomatic means to disarm them. He spoke the greeting known across the Muslim world, "As-Salaam alaikum." Peace be upon you.

According to reports from the scene, a man carrying an AK-47 emerged from the group and gestured to the MPs to lay down their arms. But Orlando did not come to surrender. After a moment of irreversible tension, the man aimed his rifle at Orlando.

The firefight that followed left Orlando and two other military policemen dead and three others wounded. They were there that night as part of joint operations with the Iraqi police forces they trained and mentored. In subsequent operations with the 1st Armored Division and the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, the MPs cleared that section of Karbala, captured more than 30 detainees and effectively drove any enemy that remained from that group into hiding.

Orlando, commander of the 716th MP Battalion, and Staff Sgt. Joseph P. Bellavia and Cpl. Sean R. Grilley of the 194th MP Company were honored by fellow soldiers Tuesday in separate ceremonies.

In the amphitheater at Babylon, where the battalion is headquartered with the Multinational Division South Central Iraq, Orlando's helmet, identification tags, boots and photograph stood before the assembled who remembered his life and with it the contributions he made.

A native of Nashville, Orlando served 21 years in the Army both as an enlisted soldier and an officer. He is survived by his wife, Sherry, their two sons, Gregory and Jason, and his father, Robert.

Speakers at the ceremony included Maj. Gen. David. H. Petraeus, commander of the 101st Airborne Division, Capt. George Shaffer, battalion chaplain, Orlando's executive officer, Maj. Brian Feser and his senior noncommissioned officer, Command Sgt. Major Michael Hayes.

Notably present were Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, Combined Joint Task Force 7 commander, Iraqi police chiefs from cities Orlando's MPs work in, and coalition commanders from various countries, including Poland.

"He was one of those rare individuals who realized he was living what he was destined to do, and was making the most of every minute of it," said Hayes, who served with him daily throughout Operation Iraqi Freedom. "He led from the front and held nothing back. I will miss him. I will miss his sense of humor. I will miss his infectious smile. I will miss his contagious positive attitude. But most of all, I will miss my commander."

In Karbala, the MPs of the 194th formed up at dusk to remember two fellow MPs, Bellavia and Grilley.

A native of Harvard, Mass., Bellavia entered the Army in 1995 and served in the 536th MP Company, Korea, before coming to the 716th MP Battalion at Fort Campbell. A 2nd Platoon team leader, he was also a graduate of the Pathfinder and Air Assault schools. He is survived by his wife, Christine, his father, Joseph and his brother, Jonathan.

A native of San Bernardino, Calif., Grilley joined the Army in 2001 and served in the Joint Security Area at Camp Bonifas, Korea, before reporting to Fort Campbell and the 194th MP Co. He was a team leader in 2nd Platoon and, although a graduate of the Special Forces Assessment and Selection process, he chose to stay with his unit to deploy to Iraq. He is survived by his wife, Luciana, his father, James and his mother, Susan Tyjenski.

During the ceremony, Sgt. 1st Class Michael Straub and Cpl. Raymond Taeger recounted their time working with Bellavia and Grilley, respectively, remembering their dedication, courage and example, and were grateful for the companionship and gifts that came with knowing them.

On the faces in formation, tears reflected in the fading light of day. Intermittent sobs broke out as soldiers fought to retain composure. As the ceremony concluded, 1st Sgt. Troy Wallen took roll call, choking out the names of the fallen.

No one answered.

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Spc. Bradford Livingston is consoled by 1st Sgt. Troy Wallen after a memorial ceremony Tuesday for Staff Sgt. Joseph Bellavia and Cpl. Sean Grilley, team leaders of the 194th Military Police Company, 716th MP Battalion, who with Lt. Col. Kim Orlando lost their lives during law and order operations in Karbala Thursday night, October 16.