Volunteers Pack, Send Shipments to WoundedStafford, VA 31 Dec 05
Dustin A. Derga—December 2005 Shipment Honoree
Marine Cpl., 24, of Columbus, Ohio; assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve, Columbus, Ohio; attached to 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward); killed May 8, 2005 by enemy small-arms fire while conducting combat operations in Ubaydi, Iraq.
Pickerington Marine Dustin Derga killed Sunday in Iraq
A Pickerington Marine who wrote recently in a Web site posting that he was “so ready to come home” was killed Sunday in Iraq. Cpl. Dustin A. Derga, 24, died in Ubaydi as the result of enemy fire, the Department of Defense reported Monday.
Derga, a 1999 graduate of Pickerington High School, was assigned to Marine Forces Reserves 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division. He was a member of the Columbus-based Lima Company.
Brandon Harmon, who is dating Derga’s sister, Kristin, answered the phone at the family’s home Tuesday. Harmon described Derga as a “very outgoing, positive person. Fun to be around.” He said Derga would “do anything for you.” Harmon said Derga’s family, including parents Stephanie and Robert, was handling the news as “good as it can be expected.”
Derga was due to return home next month, Harmon said. He said Derga had aspirations of becoming a firefighter and had made other plans, including possibly opening a bar with a friend and moving in with his girlfriend. “You feel like your world crumbles, you know?” Harmon said.
“He was a good kid,” said Ken Schneider, who was Derga’s teacher in the high school’s construction and engineering technology preparation program in 1998 and 1999. “He worked hard.”
In a posting May 3 on the “Reach a Marine” Web site, Derga said his unit had just returned from a week-long mission and was leaving for another, which he said would “be even longer,” right away. He described an “unusual” hailstorm that had hit the night before. “I am so ready to come home,” he wrote.
According to a biography of Derga on the Web site, he worked at ISG Columbus Processing before he was deployed. He also attended Columbus State University, where he majored in EMS and Fire Science, and had served as an EMT and firefighter in Baltimore, Ohio, for three years.
In Death, Lima Company Family Forges a Tragic Bond
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Their son was the first to die. On Mother’s Day, he led a team of Marines to a house near the Iraqi-Syrian border. Cpl. Dustin Derga, the practical joker who wanted to be a fireman, tried kicking in the door. He was met with a spray of armor-piercing bullets from insurgents tucked in a crawl space beneath the floor.
That night, in Uniontown, Ohio, the men in uniform came to Bob and Marla Derga’s door. Even in their own grief, they worried for Dustin’s comrades back in Iraq — the 160 or so men of Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th Regiment — and all the other parents, wives and children at home. They had become, simply, “The Lima Family.”
“We are in this together, good and bad, to the very end,” Bob wrote days later in an e-mail sent to other Lima Company families. “We are a team and none of us is going to falter.”
Three days after 24-year-old Dustin was killed, three more Lima Company Marines perished when an explosive detonated near their armored transport vehicle. Two weeks after that, another Lima Marine was gunned down. Two months later, two others were gone.
Then last week, utter devastation.
Lima mom Anne Ritchie heard it on the radio driving to work: Fourteen Marines killed in a roadside bombing. She started screaming: “It cannot be Lima! We just had two. It cannot be Lima Company.”
But nine of the 14 were.
War brings misery home, but this war has brought this place, this company, these families far more than their fair share.
The Columbus-based unit once was known as “Lucky Lima,” having suffered no fatalities and few injuries after arriving in Iraq in March. But the infantry company quickly became a workhorse of the war, cropping up in news stories about critical missions designed to rid a remote desert region of followers of Iraq’s most-wanted terrorist.
“We are arguably the ‘salty dogs,’ traveling from hotspot to hotspot …” Lance Cpl. Christopher Lyons wrote in a May column for his hometown paper.
Really, they are just everyday guys — not career servicemen but reservists who live and work in the cities and suburbs of Ohio. Students, police officers, firefighters. Newlyweds, new fathers and fathers-to-be. Lyons, 24, sold ads for the newspaper. His baby daughter, Ella, was born a few months after he deployed, though he will never hold her. He was killed July 28.
When their Marines shipped out, the families of Lima Company barely knew each other’s names. They were the parents of this lance corporal, or the wife of that one. They snapped pictures for one another at the deployment ceremony, knowing little about the person who stood on the other side of the camera.
They stand together now, swapping stories at their once-monthly “family days,” exchanging e-mails with good news or bad from the front, wrapping their arms around each other at each funeral.
“I only met them the other day,” Ritchie said outside Schoedinger Hilltop Chapel last week after paying respects to the parents of Cpl. Andre Williams, 23, who died alongside Lyons last month. Ritchie’s son, Jason, serves in Williams’ platoon and remains in Iraq.
“I told them ‘My son’s in Lima Company.’ That’s all it takes.”
Moments later, the Dergas arrived and eased their way past Williams’ flag-covered coffin. When they came to his mother, Mary, they embraced. Then Mary looked into Bob’s eyes.
They drove two hours to Columbus to be at Williams’ service. They planned to head Monday to Ashland, Ohio, for Cpl. Lyons’ funeral.
“I couldn’t sit at home and not go there and not hug that mom and that dad and be able to look into their eyes and say, ‘I don’t know everything you’re feeling, but you’re not alone in this,'” said Marla Dergas, Dustin’s stepmother.Sources:
- This Week
- The Associated Press
- Military Times – HONOR THE FALLEN
The members of Landstuhl Hospital Care Project were honored to remember Dustin during the month of December 2005 with our shipments to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, and U.S. military hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our thoughts and prayers remain with Dustin’s family and friends today and in the years to come.
Nicholas Wilt—November 2005 Shipment Honoree
Marine Lance Cpl., 23, of Tampa, Fla.; assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif.; killed Sept. 3, 2004 by enemy action in Anbar province, Iraq.
Mother, Wife Remember Marine as Quiet Hero Ready for Duty
In a cigar box she stores in a living room cabinet, Rebecca Wilt keeps dozens of letters her son, Nicholas, wrote while serving in Iraq. Her favorite was written April 21, 2003, after Baghdad seemed under control and friendly Iraqis embraced the American troops.
“Looking at their faces was the most amazing experience in my life so far,” he printed carefully in black ink. “I once doubted joining the Marine Corps, and I used to think it was the worst decision I’ve ever made, but now I’d do it all over again.”
In his second tour of duty in Iraq, 23-year-old Lance Cpl. Nicholas Wilt was killed Friday when a bomb exploded near the Syrian border. “He was such a great human being,” said Rebecca Wilt as she thumbed through his letters. “It was an honor being his mother.”
Inspired after 9/11 to enlist, Wilt was an enthusiastic supporter of the Iraq war. But he left much behind at home, including plans of starting a family with his new wife, Mercedes.
As he sat in his kitchen Monday, Wilt’s father-in-law wondered why men like Wilt keep returning to the war. “He was one of the first ones in Iraq, why does he have to go back?” said Richard Maestrelli. “He already faced down danger once. I don’t think it’s right he’s forced to do it a second time.”
He was ready to go back a third time if needed, said Mercedes Wilt. Doing more than others was something Wilt always did, she said. He wanted to serve his country. And after he finished his four-year hitch, he told her, he would dedicate his life to making her happy.
A graduate of Tampa Catholic High School, Wilt met Mercedes in the spring of 2001 at a friend’s party. “The world just melted away and we talked for hours that night,” Mercedes Wilt said. They weren’t dating long before the terrorist attacks of 9/11. After that, Wilt talked about joining the Marines. “The night I told him I loved him was the same night he told me he was a Marine,” she said. “I was petrified. I realized the man I was in love with was going to fight a war.”
Wilt was among the first U.S. troops to invade Iraq. He called once on a reporter’s cell phone to tell Mercedes about one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces. He marveled at the mammoth pools and the gold toilet seats.
A machine gunner on a Hummer that scouted for tanks, Wilt captured much of what he saw in letters to family and friends. In April 2003, he wrote about seeing a Marine shoot an Iraqi who had been shooting at them.
“But in the process, another Iraqi was standing near the incident and was accidentally shot twice,” Wilt wrote. “While the Marines were securing the street, the innocent man that was shot came up to the Marine who shot him and told him, “Thank you for killing that man and thank you for everything you’ve done.’ Then he said, “now I go to hospital.’ Can you imagine that?”
Mercedes Wilt keeps his letters in a binder notebook. “I’d get a letter just about every day,” she said.
When Wilt finished his first tour of duty in October 2003, he and Mercedes had a wedding with all of their friends and family. They had their honeymoon in Mexico, then moved to a base in California. By the end of August, Wilt was deployed again. This time, Mercedes Wilt said, she was filled with dread. “The whole week before he left, I was a baby,” she said.
On their last night, they ate a home cooked lasagna dinner and listened to a CD of love songs. “We just talked and cried,” Mercedes Wilt said. As they hugged goodbye the next morning, Wilt told her she meant everything to him. “I’m glad we at least got an official goodbye,” she said. “I at least have that.”
In the next few days, Mercedes said she expects to get his final letter, which he wrote during the plane ride to Kuwait. He called on Thursday, asking if she was okay. She said she was feeling blue and he wanted to cheer her up.
Now, she said she doesn’t know what to feel. “I’m hurt, I’m numb, I’m just outraged,” she said. “They robbed me of my life with him, my soul mate, the man I wanted to have children with. I pray to God every night hoping I’m pregnant so I can see his face again.”
St. Petersburg Times
The members of Landstuhl Hospital Care Project were honored to remember Nicholas during the month of November 2005 with our shipments to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, and U.S. military hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our thoughts and prayers remain with Nicholas’s family and friends today and in the years to come.
DeForest L. Talbert—October 2005 Shipment Honoree
Army Sgt., 24, of Charleston, W.Va.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 150th Armor Regiment, West Virginia Army National Guard, Beckley, W.Va.; killed July 27, 2004 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle in Baladruc, Iraq.
A Life Redeemed, Then Cut Short
Soldier Killed in Iraq Had Become Role Model After Troubled Teen Years in Alexandria
DeForest L. Talbert entered the alternative education program at T.C. Williams High School the way a lot of students do—full of resentment. He was raised by a single mother in a public housing complex in north Old Town Alexandria. He spent much of his freshman year skipping class and talking back to teachers. He was bright, athletic and good-looking—and he knew it, recalled Carolyn Lewis, principal of the Secondary Training and Education Program, which supports students who aren’t doing as well as they could. “He was really in trouble in the streets,” Lewis said.
Talbert was supposed to try the program for a year—and stayed for three, thriving. By senior year, he was a star running back on the football team, known to teammates and fans as “Touchdown Talbert.” He became a mentor to children from low-income families at a nearby preschool. Then he went to West Virginia State College on a military scholarship and joined the Army National Guard, dividing his time between service and school.
On Tuesday, Talbert, 22, was killed in Baladruc, Iraq, when a bomb exploded near his vehicle during a routine patrol with other members of the Guard’s 1st Battalion, 150th Armor Regiment, based in Dunbar, West Virginia. Department of Defense officials said yesterday that the incident is under investigation.
Years after he left Alexandria, teachers, police officers and children on the streets still marveled at the transformation of “Dee,” as he was called, from a tough-talking, troubled teenager to football star, responsible father and Army sergeant.
“Here’s this kid who went through so many hurdles growing up in the inner city,” said Jill Lingle, a George Washington Middle School resource police officer who knows Talbert’s family. “Even the younger boys I know at the school would talk about him. They’d say, ‘Did you see what Dee did?’ Everyone knew he’d gone on to college. He was definitely a role model for these young kids growing up in the same way.”
Friends, former teachers and mentors have crowded the Alexandria home of his mother, Gloria Nesbitt, this week to offer condolences and support.
Talbert’s girlfriend, Frances Hamilett, 22, said she had spent much of Monday at the home she shared with him in Charleston, West Virginia, trading instant messages with him over the Internet. As always, he asked about their son, Deontae, who turned 3 last week.
“We were having regular conversation,” she said. “He didn’t want to go on patrol. He kept saying he loved us and we would see him in August. I think he felt something might happen. He kept saying, ‘Don’t get off the computer.’ It was like he knew something was going to happen.”
On Wednesday, two Army officers arrived at Hamilett’s home and told her Talbert was dead. She said she fell to her knees crying.
They were talking about marriage, she said, but no wedding date was set. They had had a hard time in recent years, both emotionally and financially. They were college freshmen when Hamilett became pregnant, and they feared that one or both of them might have to drop out of school. Hamilett wants to be a social worker; Talbert was studying communications.
“It was a struggle, but we overcame it,” Hamilett said. “While I was in class, he would watch our son, and we went back and forth like that.”
Deployed in February, Talbert kept in frequent touch with his family, complaining of Iraq’s intense heat and promising his son that he would be home to watch the next Dallas Cowboys game. Hamilett said Talbert was not particularly patriotic or political but had enrolled in the Army so they could stay in school and he could provide for Deontae.
“He wanted to make sure he had money for our son,” Hamilett said. “The reason he signed up was to have money to pay for school. It was a job. I don’t think he ever thought he was going to war.”
During the last year, T.C. Williams students sent Talbert letters and care packages, and Talbert wrote them back thanking them for their thoughts—and for making him the envy of his fellow soldiers.
“He said he was the only one who got a lot of mail because we always wrote to him,” Lewis said.
Lewis said Talbert never forgot his friends in Alexandria and reached out to them often through the computer and telephone. His messages, she said, were filled with humor and gratitude. “We are a smaller learning community rather than a mainstream school,” Lewis said. “We were his family.”
Lewis said she received an e-mail from Talbert on Tuesday and regrets deeply that she didn’t save it. “Just want you to know that I’m fine,” it said. “It’s still hot.”
Source: Washington Post
The members of Landstuhl Hospital Care Project were honored to remember DeForest during the month of October 2005 with our shipments to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, and U.S. military hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our thoughts and prayers remain with DeForest’s family and friends today and in the years to come.
Having a tube stuck down one’s throat and hernia surgery will tend to do that to a person – especially a 20-year-old.
“I told her I was here for hernia surgery and that I had no one around here that I knew,” he said. “No family, no nothing.”
“He told me it would be a lot better if his dad could be here with him,” said Grimord. “But his dad couldn’t make it over for the surgery.”
That’s when she offered to step in as a surrogate parent and meet him at the emergency room entrance, follow him to the operating room and sit with him prior to and after his surgery. He took her up on the offer and the two saw one another several times prior to the big day.
“We sort of became friends along the way, just talking and shooting the breeze,” he said.
On the day of surgery Grimord was right where she said she’d be. The patient, however, wasn’t. He had overslept and was late to both the ER and the OR.
His anxiety level rose and he said he figured he’d have to brave the surgery alone. Little did he know that she was running around the hospital trying to find a way to get in touch with him. Several minutes after he made it to the OR, she showed up for him. Soon, he got his anesthesia and was feeling more confident.
“All I saw from the back of the gurney (as he was being wheeled to surgery) was a big thumbs up and I knew he was feeling all right,” she said.
She sat in his room and waited for him to come out of his haze after surgery and when he did, the first person he saw was his surrogate mother.
“He looked at me and his eyes were a little crossed from the medication,” she said. “The first thing he said was, ‘I know you!’ It made my heart swell bigger than my chest.”
To get that heart swell, she bought a plane ticket and left her family in Virginia to come to LRMC and volunteer for 45 days. She has been gathering and donating supplies to both downrange and LRMC for the past year-and-a-half. She said she knew there was something more she could do.
“I get so fed up with the news,” she said. “All you hear is negative. But you come here and talk to the servicemembers and it’s 98 percent positive. I knew when I left the states that was the truth, but being over here has reinforced that feeling for me.”
This isn’t her first stint with volunteer work, but she said it has been her most rewarding. Oct. 19 was her last day at the LRMC Chaplain’s Office. It’s a place she said she wasn’t quite ready to leave.
“This is something everyone should do,” she said. “They are giving me my freedom and I should give something back. This isn’t being nice, it’s giving back. And I’ll be coming back.”
Eric P. Woods—September 2005 Shipment Honoree
Army Spc., 26, of Omaha, Neb.; assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Carson, Colo.; killed July 9, 2005 when his Humvee struck an improvised explosive device, causing it to overturn, in Tal Afar, Iraq. Woods was in the area to evacuate another soldier who had been wounded.
Fallen medic from Urbandale ‘went above and beyond’
In life, U.S. Army medic Pfc. Eric Paul Woods cared for others, his family said Sunday.
The 26-year-old private first class from Omaha was killed Saturday about 6:20 a.m. Iraq time while traveling to help a wounded soldier. He was the 31st Iowan to be killed in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Lt. Col. Gregory Hapgood, the Iowa National Guard’s public affairs officer, said Woods was near Tal Afar, Iraq, when an explosive device detonated under his vehicle. The vehicle flipped and Woods was killed. No information was available on whether there were others in the vehicle.
Woods grew up in Urbandale, where his parents, Chuck and Jan Woods, still live. Jan Woods talked to her son on Friday, about 15 hours before he died. She said he told her he was doing OK and he talked about coming home in September. But later that day, Jan Woods got the feeling that something was wrong.
Jan Woods said that they tried to send a letter and at least one package to their son each week. At his request, the packages contained toys, candy and soccer balls for the children in Iraq. The couple also sent items that Eric said would help other soldiers: foot powder, moist towelettes and lip balm. “As a medic he would hand that out,” Chuck Woods said. “He went above and beyond.”
Woods joined the Army in April 2004 and was sent to Iraq in March. His parents said that he and his wife, Jamie, were concerned about the war, but they made the decision together. His family said he planned to become a physician’s assistant. “He had a lot of things left to do in life,” Jan Woods said.
Bob Stouffer, superintendent at Des Moines Christian School, was principal at Urbandale High School when Eric Woods graduated in 1997. “It doesn’t surprise me that his death comes as he was serving his country and helping someone else,” Stouffer said.
Woods is survived by his wife, Jamie; his 3-year-old son, his parents and three siblings. His parents have set up an e-mail address, email@example.com, for people who want to support their son’s squadron. Woods belonged to the G Troop, 2nd Squadron of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, based out of Fort Carson, Colo.
The members of Landstuhl Hospital Care Project were honored to remember Eric during the month of September 2005 with our shipments to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, and U.S. military hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our thoughts and prayers remain with Eric’s family and friends today and in the years to come.
Hoby F. Bradfield, Jr.—August 2005 Shipment Honoree
Army Spc., 22, of The Woodlands, Texas; assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Carson, Colo.; killed July 9, 2005 while he was conducting a dismounted cordon search in Tal Afar, Iraq.
Soldier’s Fight a Mother’s Heartbreak
“The day the towers fell, he called a recruiter,” said his mother, Dianne Sterling, who now lives in Wheaton. “I said, ‘Hoby, please, just think about it for a few days.’ But he had his mind made up.”
From that point on, Bradfield’s resolve and loyalty to his country never wavered.
Not when he was sent to Iraq the following year, and not when the Army specialist voluntarily signed up for a second tour of duty “because he wasn’t going to let the boys he fought with go back without him,” his mother said.
Bradfield, 22, was killed July 9 in Tal Afar, Iraq. His stepfather, Kenneth Sterling, said Bradfield was injured during a house-to-house search for insurgents. Then the ambulance he was in struck a roadside bomb, killing him and the ambulance driver.
His family will never know if he might have survived the initial injury. They choose not to dwell on what-ifs.
“His mom and I choose not to dwell on that potential,” Kenneth Sterling said. “We’re mostly angry about the fact that (the insurgents) bomb children and ambulances.”
Bradfield’s mother also chose to focus on the positives: “He had confidence in getting the job done, of bringing peace and freedom. He was under no illusions. He knew that was his job, and he knew what he stood for. And he made the ultimate sacrifice.”
Bradfield was raised mainly in New Jersey and Virginia. But his wife, Crystin, who’s due to deliver their first child this fall, was from Chicago’s South Side. His mother and stepfather, a Chicago native, moved to Wheaton last year, and had hoped Bradfield and his young family might someday choose to live in the Chicago area.
“They got married, set plans to have a baby, and then he went back to Iraq,” Kenneth Sterling said. “They didn’t really didn’t have a lot of time together. Now she’s widowed with an unborn child.
“This is so tragic,” he said. “So much of it was the potential of what could have been.”
Dianne Sterling described her son as generally quiet but with a dry sense of humor. He loved children, and, while growing up, often helped out elderly neighbors without being asked.
She has made a point to contact the widow of Eric Woods of Omaha, the ambulance driver who was killed along with her son that day. She told his widow how grateful she was that Woods had tried to help her son.
Bradfield’s funeral will take place Monday in Virginia Beach, Va., where his father, Hoby Bradfield, Sr., and stepmother live. He’ll be buried at Arlington National Cemetery Tuesday.
“I don’t want him to be remembered as just another coalition tragedy,” Dianne Sterling said. “I want people to know he was a kind, loving, caring young man who was fiercely loyal and patriotic.
“He’s not just a casualty,” she said. “He was a person. He was my son.”
Twenty-Two, Forever—Specialist Hoby Frank Bradfield, Jr.
“Day by day, fix your eyes upon the greatness of Athens, until you become filled with the love of her; and when you are impressed by the spectacle of her glory, reflect that this empire has been acquired by men who knew their duty and had the courage to do it.” – Thucydides, The Funeral Speech for Pericles
, Jr. graduated from high school in 2001 in Virginia Beach, VA. Immediately after witnessing the World Trade Center towers fall from his home in New Jersey, he called a recruiter and enlisted in the US Army. A member of the warrior caste, Bradfield’s father was a retired Navy veteran, his older brother an Army Cavalry Scout and his younger brother is now a Marine.
Hoby left his home and entered the Army on August 20th, 2002. He trained to be a Cavalry Scout and was assigned to the Sabre Squadron of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment at Fort Carson, Colorado. In a few short months, Bradfield went from raw recruit to leader among his peers.
Not long after joining the famed regiment, the 3rd ACR was sent to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom I. There, Hoby Bradfield earned a reputation for being a fierce Scout. As a Private First Class he was awarded the ARMCOM with V device for valor in combat and had been recommended for two Bronze Stars.
After returning from OIF, Hoby met a girl, Crystin, fell in love and got married. He also trained to be a Combat Life Saver. Crystin became pregnant and Hoby was thrilled.
“…not even subzero temperatures at downrange Fort Carson can keep the smile from a man’s face when he tells his best friends he’s going to be a father,” said 1st Lt. Brian Oman, Bradfield’s Troop platoon leader.
He knew the day would come when the regiment would go back to Iraq. Even though Crystin was pregnant, Bradfield volunteered to go back to Iraq.
On July 9th, 2005, Grim Troop of the 2nd Squadron moved into a neighborhood in Tal Afar to destroy a terrorist bombing cell. During the cordon and search, one of Bradfield’s team was hit and, as one of the Combat Life Savers, he raced to perform first aid. Then, Specialist Bradfield was shot. Medics were called to the battle. They stabilized Hoby, put him on the ambulance, and raced to the hospital. Terrorists were watching. They detonated an IED and destroyed the ambulance instantly killing Hoby and the medic that was saving his life, PFC Eric Woods.
“There are troopers in the regiment who most definitely owe their lives to him,” LTC Christopher Hickey, Commander, 2nd Squadron, 3rd ACR said about Hoby in the memorial service held in Iraq where over 200 Cav Troopers attended.
On July 26th, 2005, Specialist Hoby Frank Bradfield Jr. was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. Eric Woods’ family attended the memorial in Virginia and the burial at Arlington.
On September 3rd, Crystin Bradfield gave birth to Kloe Adell Bradfield who is the spittin’ image of her dad.
My thoughts and prayers are with Hoby’s family. Today would have been Hoby’s twenty-third birthday.
July 2006 Update:
SPC Bradfield Awarded Second Bronze Star with Valor:
The following recognition of Spc. Hoby F. Bradfield’s courage and selflessness were sent to his wife with the awarding of the Bronze Star Medal with Valor:
Hoby was a true hero in every sense of the word. Since his passing, many of our soldiers have done great justice to his memory by attempting to replicate the professionalism, enthusiasm, and bravery that Hoby displayed on a daily basis over here. Many times we fall short of his example, but his legacy in this squadron is truly a lasting one.
Enclosed is a Bronze Star Medal with Valor, which Hoby was awarded for actions two weeks prior to his passing. On June 25 2005 his squad was on a dismounted patrol in Tal’Afar, Iraq when they came under enemy fire. One of the soldiers in the squad was shot and lay separated from the rest of the team by enemy fire. Hoby, with no regard to his own safety exposed himself to the continuous enemy fire in order to reach his wounded friend, drag him to safety and provide first aid. After giving assistance to the wounded Soldier, Hoby again exposed himself to enemy fire as he went for a stretcher, then again as he helped to evacuate the soldier. His Valor and Heroism were supremely evident that day, as well as every time he was on a mission. Hoby’s action on June 25 2005 saved the life of Sergeant Jeremy Wolfsteller. Hoby always put the well-being of his fellow Soldiers above his own, and he exemplified all the values expected of such a dedicated and professional Soldier.
For August’s shipment I would like to honor Army SPC Hoby Frank Bradfield, Jr of The Woodlands, Texas. He was killed on July 9, 2005 in Tal Afar, Iraq due to enemy fire while conducting a dismounted cordon search. He was 22 years of age. I learned of this young man due to another yahoo group that I am a part of, Operation Baby Blanket. His wife, Crystin, is currently pregnant with their first child and is due in September. This link goes to his memorial video that I encourage you all to watch. It definitely brought tears to my eyes. With Jason (my husband) being his age, due with our first child in October, and Jason leaving to Iraq in Dec or Jan this definitely touched home.
9-03-05 Kloe was born at 2:01am Sat. weighting in at 7lbs 3oz and 19″ long. Crystin says she looks just like Hoby’s baby photo except she has brown curly hair. She and Crystin are doing fine. She was born at Evans Army Hospital on post at Colorado Springs, CO.Sources:
- Daily Herald
- Black Five
- Fallen But Never Forgotten
- The Mounted Rifleman
The members of Landstuhl Hospital Care Project were honored to remember Hoby during the month of August 2005 with our shipments to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, and U.S. military hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our thoughts and prayers remain with Hoby’s family and friends today and in the years to come.
In honor of Hoby, on Aug 12, 2005 we shipped 110 calendars, 4 dress shirts, 22 boxes of snack bags, 10 pounds of candy and 9 pairs of boxers .
Nathan B. Clemons—July 2005 Shipment Honoree
Marine Corps Pfc., 20, of Winchester, Tenn.; assigned to the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; killed June 14, 2005 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle while conducting combat operations near Rutbah, Iraq.
Nathan B. Clemons was active in his church– he was a drummer in the youth praise band and the guy who dropped the church’s new digital camera in a bucket of paint.
“Life to him was to be celebrated and have a good time,” said Pastor Mike Jackson.
Clemons, 20, of Jacksonville, Fla., was killed June 14 when an explosive detonated near his vehicle near Rutbah. He was based at Camp Lejeune.
Known as “Nate Dog” to his friends, he was straight-talking and eager for a good time like when he hit golf balls down the street and busted the light in front of his house.
“As my buddy, he was invincible,” said his best friend, Kenny Anderson. “He was tough and fun, and full of life like everybody says.”
He joined the military after graduating from high school and is survived by his parents. In a letter home, he told his father that if he didn’t make it through the day, he was OK with that. “I have my faith; my spirituality is in order,” he said.
The members of Landstuhl Hospital Care Project were honored to remember Nathan during the month of July 2005 with our shipments to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, and U.S. military hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our thoughts and prayers remain with Nathan’s family and friends today and in the years to come.
Original link (https://wwww.defense.gov/news/Jun2005/20050629_1905.html)
LeRoy E. Alexander—June 2005 Shipment Honoree
Army Staff Sgt., 27, of Dale City, Va.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, Fort Bragg, N.C.; killed June 3, 2005 when his convoy vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device at Forward Operating Base Orgun-E, Afghanistan. Also killed was Capt. Charles D. Robinson.
Services Held for Fallen Soldier
The words bounced off the church walls as the crowd came to its feet, ready to send Roy Boy home. A medley of LeRoy Alexander’s favorite songs rang through First Baptist Church in Manassas as the crowd of about 500 sang and prayed and remembered their fallen friend, both celebrating his life and mourning his death in a “Going Home Ceremony.”
Later Monday afternoon, the mood changed, as Alexander was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery, two weeks after an improvised bomb killed him and another soldier as they were riding in a convoy in southeast Afghanistan on June 3, 2005. “LeRoy is now with the Lord,” said the Rev. John Blackmon. “We must thank Jesus for the time we had LeRoy, but know that he is home, serving the Lord.”
Alexander, 27, was born in North Carolina, but lived in Dale City as a teenager, where he met his future wife Marissa. He graduated from C.D. Hylton High School in 1997 and joined the Army, following his father Ronald, who served as a Marine in the Vietnam War.
Alexander served in Kosovo and Haiti before his death in Afghanistan. He was scheduled to leave Afghanistan in nine days and then serve eight months in Colombia, before hopefully leaving the military to raise his family. His wife Marissa is pregnant with twins.
Alexander enlisted as a technical engineer specialist, but later graduated from Special Forces Qualification Course and became a Special Forces engineer Sergeant.
An estimated 500 friends and family attended Monday’s service, sharing stories about Alexander, who most people called Lee, except his grandfather, who called him Roy Boy.
“Lee taught me so many things during my life,” said Alexander’s mother, Felicia, “but the last one, and perhaps the most important, was that it’s better to die for something than to live for nothing.”
Family mourns fallen soldier
Felicia Alexander remembered other stories from her son’s life, like when he begged her to let him play the trumpet and she could not afford it, or the first time he brought Marissa home to meet her. At the end of her tribute, Felicia Alexander presented Marissa with a flower arrangement, as her son liked to do.
Elder Georgia Walker remembered running into Alexander at a restaurant in Fort Bragg, N.C., and him lifting her spirits, giving her the warm welcome she needed.
“In the military it’s unheard of for an enlisted person to salute another enlisted person,” Walker said, “but LeRoy has been promoted to a captain in the army of the Lord.” Walker then saluted Alexander, as the crowd came to its feet applauding.
Dustin Hanover, a friend from Fort Bragg, told a story of when Alexander and his wife followed them home from the hospital during a snowstorm to make sure they got home safely following the birth of Hanover’s first child.
“[Lee] was the first person outside my family to hold my baby,” Hanover said, fighting back tears. “He always joked he was going to drop her, but he never did.” Hanover then said he plans to name his next child in honor of Alexander.
The service then moved to Arlington, where Alexander’s body was laid to rest. His wife and father were presented with flags as most of the crowd from the morning’s ceremony watched on. A bugler played Taps from across a field while a firing party fired three shots in his honor.
His awards and decorations include: the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Army Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Parachutist Badge, and Air Assault Badge. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal.
Alexander is survived by his wife, Marissa; and parents, Ronald and Felicia Alexander of Manassas, Va.
- Potomac News
- Arlington National Cemetery Website
The members of Landstuhl Hospital Care Project were honored to remember LeRoy during the month of June with our shipments to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, and U.S. military hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our thoughts and prayers remain with LeRoy’s family and friends today and in the years to come.
Charles D. Robinson—June 2005 Shipment Honoree
Army Capt., 29, of Haddon Heights, N.J.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, Fort Bragg, N.C.; killed June 3, 2005 when his convoy vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device at Forward Operating Base Orgun-E, Afghanistan. Also killed was Staff Sgt. Leroy E. Alexander.
Army Capt. Charles D. Robinson’s Life Spanned the Globe
A resident of Haddon Heights, N.J., Robinson was commissioned in the Army immediately following graduation from Cedarville College in Ohio May 1998, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in foreign trade. His first military assignment was with the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C. Robinson graduated from the Special Forces Qualification Course and was assigned to 7th SFG in December 2003. Robinson deployed to Afghanistan in January 2005 in support of the Global War on Terrorism.
Army Capt. Charles D. Robinson’s life spanned the globe. The son of missionaries based in Haddon Heights, Robinson spent much of his life in Paraguay, where he developed a love of languages and a bond with other Americans stationed overseas. At Baptist Regional School in Haddon Heights, Robinson played soccer and kept in touch with friends after his family resumed their travels. And after the Special Forces sent him to Afghanistan in January as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, Robinson asked his family to mail him care packages of candy. He planned to give them to children in villages he was helping rebuild.
Robinson, 29, was one of two Special Forces soldiers killed Friday when a bomb exploded near the ground mobility vehicle he was traveling in during operations near Orgun-e, in the southeastern region of Afghanistan. He had been assigned to the First Battalion, Seventh Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, N.C.
“He put his heart and soul into everything he did,” said his maternal grandmother, Doris Anderson of Woodstown. “He was outgoing in a quiet sort of way.”
During Robinson’s childhood, his parents, Charles and Janet, were missionaries based at Haddon Heights Baptist Church. Robinson and his brother and sister were home-schooled by their mother in Paraguay, his grandmother said. During one family furlough, Robinson spent his freshman and sophomore years at Baptist High School, which is affiliated with the church, head administrator Lynn Conahan said.
“He was easygoing, friendly, outgoing, and he could take a joke,” said Conahan, whose son, P.J., was a friend of Robinson’s. After Robinson’s family returned to Paraguay, he continued to write letters to P.J., Conahan said.
Robinson later graduated from Asuncion Christian Academy in Paraguay, said his brother, Jeffrey. In Paraguay, Robinson and his family developed a kinship with American military officials and other Americans living abroad, his grandmother said.
He later majored in international studies and global economics at Cedarville University in Ohio, graduating in 1998, according to university spokesman Roger Overturf. That was where he met his wife, Laura, a native of Iowa, said Overturf, who remembered the couple. Several of Robinson’s and his wife’s relatives attended the tight-knit, 3,000-student university, Overturf said. “We’re all pretty devastated here.”
Robinson became involved in ROTC in college, which led him into the Army after graduation. He was first assigned to the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division, based at Fort Bragg. But “he wanted more than that,” Anderson said. Robinson completed a rigorous training program over more than two years and joined the elite Special Forces in December 2003.
He lived with his wife in Fayetteville, N.C., and they were hoping to start a family soon, Anderson said. The family was hoping Robinson would return in August. Laura Robinson said yesterday she did not want to comment. Robinson’s parents, who live in Pemberton Township, could not be reached yesterday.
Maj. Robert Gowan, a spokesman for the Army’s Special Forces Command, said Robinson had been riding in a ground mobility vehicle. “It is a modified humvee,” Gowan said, and was “heavily armored.” Also killed in the explosion was another member of Robinson’s group, Staff Sgt. Leroy E. Alexander, 27, a Special Forces engineer sergeant from Dale City, Va.
Captain Robinson is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Robinson is survived by his wife, Laura; and parents, Charles and Janet Robinson of Brown Mills, N.J.
His awards and decorations include: the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Parachutist Badge, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Expert Infantryman Badge, the Special Forces Tab and Ranger Tab. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal.
Source: Groups 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
The members of Landstuhl Hospital Care Project were honored to remember Charles during the month of June 2005 with our shipments to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, and U.S. military hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our thoughts and prayers remain with Charles’s family and friends today and in the years to come.
Justin B. Carter—April 2005 Shipment Honoree
Army Spc. Justin B. Carter, 21, of Mansfield, Mo., died February 16, 2005 in Forward Operating Base McKenzie, Iraq, from non-combat related injuries. Carter was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3d Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized), Fort Benning, GA
Specialist Justin B. Carter was born on 26 October 1982 in Witchia, Kansas. He entered active Federal Service in October 2002 where he attended Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training in Fort Leanordwood, Missouri. Following AIT, SPC Carter was assigned to A Co, 2nd Engineers, Camp Castle, Korea where he served as a Unit Armorer until February 2004. SPC Carter returned to the United States and was assigned to Fort Benning March 2004. At the time of his death, SPC Carter had served 11 months in Echo Company as a Combat Engineer and as the Unit Armorer at Fort Benning, Georgia.
SPC Carter’s awards include the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, and the Overseas Service Ribbon.
SPC Carter’s survivors include, his mother and her husband, Becky and Brett Misemer and his father William Carter.
Justin Carter had a truck that locals had nicknamed the “Red Blur.” “Everybody in town knew Justin and his truck,” said Carter’s stepfather and deer-hunting buddy, Brett Misemer. Carter was in a rush to live life, but he always kept track of details about friends and made time to speak to each person at family gatherings. He once invited a handful of friends from his barracks to his home for the Thanksgiving holidays. On Valentine’s Day, he remembered to e-mail his mother, Becky, and send his love. “I thank God every day for giving me the chance to be raised by the best mother on earth!” he wrote just days before his death. Before he graduated from high school in Mansfield and enlisted in the Army, Carter was involved with the Future Farmers of America. His cousin, Rebecca Denney, remembered the adventures they had during high school, such as the prom they never quite made it to. He was the life of the party wherever he went, she said.
Source: FRG News and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The members of Landstuhl Hospital Care Project were honored to remember Justin during the month of April 2005 with our shipments to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, and U.S. military hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our thoughts and prayers remain with Justin’s family and friends today and in the years to come.
Andrew F. Chris – March 2005 Shipment Honoree
Army Spc., 25, of San Diego; assigned to Company B, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Ga.; killed June 25, 2003 in Iraq. Chris was fatally wounded in combat operations in hostile enemy territory.
Army Ranger killed in Iraq to be buried with father in AlabamaSource: Kristen Green, San Diego Union-Tribune
Army Spc. Andrew Chris followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, father, uncle and beloved older brother when he joined the military in 2001. It was a way to connect with the generations of his family.
Chris, 25, who had ties to San Diego, was killed in combat operations June 25, a few days after arriving in Iraq. His brother, Derek, said ordnance exploded near the vehicle Chris was riding in, and the Army Ranger died immediately. Today, his remains will be buried with his father’s in Huntsville, Ala., where he was raised.
Before Andrew Chris joined the Army, he lived for five years in California, most of them in San Diego. After he graduated from high school in Florence, Ala., he moved to Lemoore, south of Fresno, to live with Derek. When Derek and his wife relocated to San Diego six months later, Andrew followed and rented a North Park home with the couple. He worked for a graphics company for a while before moving to Steel Skin Inc., a body jewelry company in Poway. When Derek relocated again, he stayed behind, moving into a Linda Vista apartment with friends. He and his roommate, Brett Hall, 27, spent many weekends exploring and camping in the mountains of California and Arizona. “We hiked all over the place,” Hall said.
Andrew Chris was well-read and had a special interest in World War II. “He’s just like a walking history book,” Derek Chris said. He planned to teach high school history when he completed his military career. Andrew Chris was quiet and reserved, and extremely loyal to family and friends. He had visited Derek’s family just before he was sent to Iraq. “He had such a magical aura that he drew people to him,” Derek Chris said. “He just had a ton of friends everywhere he went.”
Andrew Chris’ Army Ranger unit was based at Fort Benning, Ga. He is survived by his mother, Cheryl Dawson of Baton Rouge, La.; his grandmother, Barbara Phillips of Huntsville; two brothers; a stepbrother; and a stepsister.
The members of Landstuhl Hospital Care Project were honored to remember Andrew during the month of March 2005 with our shipments to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, and U.S. military hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our thoughts and prayers remain with Andrew’s family and friends today and in the years to come.
Kyle Eggers—February 2005 Shipment Honoree
Army Staff Sgt., 27, of Euless, Texas; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, Camp Greaves, Korea; killed Dec. 5, 2004 when his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device in Habbaniyah, Iraq.
AL HABANIJAH, IRAQ – Army Staff Sergeant Kyle Andrew Eggers, 27, of Yakima, Washington, was born in Grand Island, Nebraska on May 26, 1977 and was killed on December 5th, 2004 while serving in the US Army in Al Habanijah, Iraq. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 2d Infantry Division, Camp Greaves, Korea.
Kyle’s family lived in Nebraska until 1988; from there they moved to Oklahoma and to Euless, Texas in 1989. He attended Harwood Junior High and graduated from Trinity High School, class of 1995. He joined the Army in August, 1995. He was stationed at Scoffield Barracks, Hawaii until 1999. From there, he was stationed at the Yakima Training Center in Yakima, Washington. He met and married the love of his life, Jennifer Giles, in October of 2001. To this union, three beautiful sons were born; twins Tegan and Kaden, 2 1/2 years, and Zane, 1 year. He was transferred to Camp Greeves, Korea in February, 2004 and was then sent to Camp Manhattan in Al Habanijah, Iraq in August, 2004.
Kyle loved life and was a very caring, giving, and loving son, husband, father, brother, and friend. His family’s happiness and well being were very important to Kyle. He treasured the time he shared with his three sons, wife and other family members, especially his cousins Courtney, Danielle, and Ali. Kyle never knew a stranger and made friends wherever he went. He took great pride in serving his country and was honored and proud to wear his uniform.
Services for Kyle will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, December 12, 2004 at the West Valley Nazarene Church, Yakima, Washington and Tuesday, December 14, 2004, at First Baptist Church in Euless, Texas at 1 o’clock. Interment will be at Dallas National Memorial Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting memorials be made to the Tegan, Kaden, and Zane Eggers Benefit Fund provided through the Central Valley Bank of Yakima, Washington or the Summit Bank of Euless, Texas. Memorials can be made at any of the branch bank locations.
Source: Keith and Keith Funeral Home and Iraq War Heroes
The members of Landstuhl Hospital Care Project were honored to remember Kyle during the month of February 2005 with our shipments to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, and U.S. military hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our thoughts and prayers remain with Kyle’s family and friends today and in the years to come.
Daniel Martin Caballero—January 2005 Shipment HonoreeSource: The Washington Post, AP and WashingtonPost.com
Naval Petty Officer 3rd Class Daniel Martin Caballero, 21, was poised to see the world. He joined the Navy in 1998, trained as an electronics technician in Chicago and had worked for two years at the Pentagon, most recently staging satellite video teleconferences.
In December, Caballero would have started his first assignment at sea — not bad for a Texas kid whose only travel had been to visit relatives back in Mexico.
Caballero is among those killed during the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the Pentagon.
His mother, Carmen Cabellero, remembered her only son as a committed sailor, determined to rise through the ranks, always bringing his electronics and naval textbooks with him when he visited.
“He was quite dedicated to what he wanted to do,” Caballero said, “to all his dreams, to his country.”
As a teenager in Houston, Caballero was not into sports or other organized activities, according to his family. Instead, he liked playing pool or bowling with friends, or taking apart electronic toys. But Carmen Caballero said her son never put the toys back together, so she was surprised to discover his aptitude for electronics once he entered military life.
Carmen Caballero, who works in a medical office, and her husband, a body shop technician, had talked about visiting their son in Washington before his Pentagon tour ended. They declined the Navy’s offer to bring them here after the attack.
“We just feel like it would be really harder for us to just stand there and see the gap in the wall there, where the destruction happened, and not be able to do anything,” Carmen Caballero said. “I don’t think that we could do that.”
– Debbi Wilgoren
The members of Landstuhl Hospital Care Project were honored to remember Daniel during the month of Jan 2005 with our shipments to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, and U.S. military hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our thoughts and prayers remain with Daniels friends and family today and in the years to come.
Soldiers get sweat pants and shirts from Stafford resident and veteransFredericksburg.com By JODI BIZAR
Wounded U.S. soldiers undergoing treatment in Germany are in the thoughts of a Stafford County woman who, with the help of contributors and area veterans, is making sure these soldiers get something they need–warm, comfortable clothing.
Karen Grimord, who has seven family members serving overseas, is sending shipments of sweat pants and shirts to wounded soldiers.
She found out that the wounded soldiers needed sweats several months ago while visiting her daughter, who was stationed in Germany.
Medical personnel have to remove wounded soldiers’ uniforms, and they don’t have anything comfortable to wear while receiving treatment, Grimord was told.
The only requirements on the sweats, she said, is that they be new and sized large or extra large.
“We’re just trying to do something to help them,” she said.
So she and her family set to work saving money and buying up as many as she could find.
“I probably spend nine or 10 hours on the phone doing this,” she says.
She also appealed to area veterans associations, including the American Legion in Stafford, which contributed $1,600.
Post Commander Fred Miller said all overseas soldiers are sent to Germany for treatment these days, and when Grimord ap-proached the legion with her request it was quickly granted.
Others have chipped in, too, and Grimord said she has raised $3,200.
That’s enabled her to buy more than 30 boxes of sweat pants and shirts totaling about 700 pairs.
And she’s not done. “I’ll keep doing it as long as the money keeps coming in,” she said.
She said word of what they’ve been doing has spread, and she’s getting donations from all around the country.
One of the shipments will be dedicated to Petty Officer Daniel Martin Caballero, who was killed in the terrorist attack on the Pentagon. Grimord said a friend of his who is helping with the effort to collect the clothing asked that it be dedicated to Caballero.
Miller said there are other efforts afoot to help soldiers, including shipments of snacks.
The American Legion has been collecting lightweight, nonperishable snacks for soldiers to carry around in their pockets.
Anyone interested in helping out with these efforts can call the American Legion at 659-4461 or Grimord at 286-1539.
To reach JODI BIZAR: 374-5000, ext. 5627 firstname.lastname@example.org
Packing Sweats for Wounded Troops
09 Jan 2005