Holly Charette

Since its inception, each month LHCP has honored a military service member who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Every box which is shipped from LHCP is labeled with information about the Honoree. The monthly Honoree’s story is attached to the box so others can read about those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. This month’s Honoree is Marine Lance Cpl. Holly A. Charette.


Marine Lance Cpl. Holly A. Charette

Died June 23, 2005 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

21, of Cranston, R.I.; assigned to Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; killed June 23 when a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated near her convoy vehicle in Fallujah, Iraq.


Rhode Island Marine killed in Iraq bombing

Marine Lance Cpl. Holly A. Charette
Marine Lance Cpl. Holly A. Charette

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A female Marine from Cranston who died in a suicide bombing attack in Iraq was remembered Saturday as a popular high school cheerleader who was “always ready to help anyone out.”  Lance Cpl. Holly A. Charette, 21, died Thursday after a vehicle carrying explosives struck her vehicle in Fallujah, the Defense Department said. She was the first female Marine killed in Iraq.

“She wanted to become a Marine after 9-11,” Charlene Wheetman, Charette’s aunt, said Saturday in a statement on behalf of the family. “She wanted to do something for her country. She was a very proud Marine.”

Jaime Caniglia said she didn’t know her former teammate on the Cranston High School East hockey cheerleading squad was serving in Iraq until she saw Charette’s photo in a newspaper Saturday. “She was an awesome, awesome girl,” said Caniglia, who also worked with Charette at a CVS store. “I can definitely see her (joining the Marines). She was always ready to help anyone out.”

Gov. Don Carcieri on Saturday ordered state flags lowered in honor Charette.  A suicide bomber struck Charette’s convoy as she and a group of Marines returned to their base Thursday. At least four Marines, including Charette, were killed, and 11 of the 13 injured troops were women, the Pentagon said Saturday.  Al-Qaida in Iraq said it carried out the fatal ambush.

“Holly was a happy girl and loved by all of us and everyone that she knew,” Wheetman said. “Holly always looked at the positive side of everything. We are all missing a part of our hearts without her here.”

Marine Lance Cpl. Holly A. Charette
Marine Lance Cpl. Holly A. Charette

State flags will fly at half-staff until Charette’s internment, Carcieri said in a statement. “Her sacrifice represents the best Rhode Island has to offer,” Carcieri said. U.S. Rep. James Langevin, D-R.I., expressed “profound sorrow… As a soldier in Iraq and Rhode Island citizen she served with dignity and honor.”

Charette, a 2001 graduate of Cranston High School East, was based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and was assigned to Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force.

Charette recently deployed to Iraq’s Anbar province from Camp Lejeune, where she worked delivering mail, according to a story from early last month posted on the Marine Corps official Web site. Charette is at least the seventh Rhode Island resident to die in Iraq and was the second military woman with ties to the state to be killed.


Rhode Island woman killed by suicide bomber in Iraq

CONVOY AMBUSHED: Rhode Island woman killed by suicide bomber in Iraq Associated Press

BAGHDAD, Iraq – A suicide car bomber and gunmen ambushed a convoy carrying female U.S. Marines in Fallujah, killing two Marines and leaving another four American troops presumed dead, the military said Friday.  At least one woman, a Marine from Rhode Island, was killed and 11 of 13 wounded were female.

Holly A. Charette
Holly A. Charette

The terror group al-Qaida in Iraq claimed it carried out the bombing, one of the single deadliest attacks against the Marines – and against women – in this country. The high number of female casualties spoke to the lack of any real front lines in Iraq, where U.S. troops are battling a raging insurgency and American women soldiers have taken part in more close-quarters combat than in any previous military conflict. The Defense Department identified the Rhode Island Marine as Lance Cpl. Holly A. Charette, 21, of Cranston. Charette was based at Camp Lejeune, N.C. She was assigned to Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force. Women do not serve in combat but female Marines are used at various checkpoints around the city to search Iraqi women in order to be sensitive to Muslim culture.

Charette was with a group of Marines returning to their base after a long day of duty, when the suicide car bomber struck the convoy. Then gunmen opened fire, killing a male Marine, the military said. 

She said she had never thought about joining the Marines until college, when a recruiter was canvassing and showed her a video about boot camp.  “When I get out, I plan to apply to the U.S. Post Office,” Charette said at the time. “It won’t be the same as being a Marine, but at least I’m still in uniform.”

Another four American troops were presumed dead in the Fallujah attack, the military said Friday. Eleven of 13 wounded were female.  The terror group al-Qaida in Iraq claimed it carried out the attack, one of the single deadliest against the Marines – and against women – in Iraq.

Sources:

2017 Healing Heroes

The 6th Annual Healing Heroes Benefits at Grace Chapel was held this past September 10th. Raven Cliff sing our National Anthem,a cappella, that alone was worth the $10 ticket. Songwriters Leslie Satcher Dan Demay, and Craig Morgan filled the night with tears, laughter and love.

Brian and I are so blessed to call Leslie Satcher, David Allen, Even and Korene Stevens our friends. To do this show year after year, when it takes months of planning, is truly a loyal friend and shows true dedication in supporting our USAF, Marines, Navy and Army. Thank you all!

PS. Jeannie and mama we know you are the glue behind the scenes.

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John T. Stone

Since its inception, each month LHCP has honored a military service member who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Every box which is shipped from LHCP is labeled with information about the Honoree. The monthly Honoree’s story is attached to the box so others can read about those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. This month’s Honoree is Army Sgt. 1st Class John T. Stone.


Army Sgt. 1st Class John T. Stone

Died March 28, 2006 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

52, of Norwich, Vt.; assigned to the 15th Civil Support Team, Vermont Army National Guard, South Burlington, Vt.; killed March 28 as a result of enemy mortar and small arms attacks during combat operations in Lashkagar, Afghanistan.


Finding lost brother motivated soldier to enlist

John T. Stone
John T. Stone

MONTPELIER, Vt. — John Thomas Stone was a junior in high school when his older brother Dana, a freelance photographer, disappeared in Cambodia along with Sean Flynn, the son of the actor Errol Flynn.

Tom Stone joined the Army in 1971 shortly after he graduated from Woodstock High School, motivated at least in part by a desire to learn what had happened to his brother. On Wednesday, Stone, still a soldier 35 years later but now in the Vermont National Guard, was killed in combat in Afghanistan. “He had it in his mind he might go and try to find his brother,” when he enlisted, said Elisha Morgan, now of Norwich, who played football with Stone in high school. Dana Stone was listed as missing in action for years and was eventually listed as dead. But Tom Stone never lost the sense of adventure the military imbued in him or his desire to help those around him.

Sgt. 1st Class Stone, 52, was killed by small arms fire in Afghanistan Tuesday afternoon, Vermont time, while he was helping Afghan soldiers repel an attack on their forward operating base in the southern part of the country. “He was the best friend anyone could have, anybody,” Morgan said. “I know when he was shot he was helping others. That’s all he did. He never cared about financial gain. He did it out of love for humanity.” Over the years Stone served in the regular Army, the reserves and the Vermont National Guard. Between 1992 and 2000 he walked around the world, literally, 22,000 miles through 29 countries.

Stone was on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan with the Vermont National Guard when he was killed. Guard officials and Stone’s friends remember a man who dedicated himself to others. During his earlier Afghan tours, Stone, a trained medic, set up a clinic for Afghan civilians in a shipping container. It served thousands of people.

It was in a similarly foreign land that Stone lost his brother. On April 6, 1970, Dana Stone was on assignment for CBS News and Flynn for Time Magazine. They had ridden into the Cambodian countryside on motorbikes when they were captured by communist guerrillas. They were never heard from again.

Morgan said Stone’s favorite poem was “The Men that don’t Fit In,” a 1916 work by Robert Service. The poem talks about men who can’t stay in one place and who break the hearts of their family members. “He was a man’s man,” Morgan said. “If he could have written he would have been an Ernest Hemingway.” Stone never married but he left a life partner, Rose Loving of Tunbridge, and a sister in Florida.

 “He was an individual, even though he was military. His motivation was always to help people in need, particularly kids,” said Smith. “I used to sit back and say he had it right. He had that sense of the world that ‘I need to help.’ He was an adventurer and he sought people out and tried to help them.”


Vermont guardsman killed in Taliban attack

COLCHESTER, Vt. — A Vermont National Guard soldier serving on a base with Afghan soldiers in the southern part of the country was killed Wednesday during an attack by Taliban militants, Guard officials announced.  Sgt. 1st Class John Thomas Stone, 52, of Tunbridge, who was known as Thomas, was killed by small arms fire, said Gen. Martha Rainville, commander of the Vermont Guard. Stone was on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan, she said, and was attached to Task Force Catamount. “He felt he was making a difference,” Rainville said. “He cared very much about others in the world.” Also killed in the attack was a Canadian soldier, identified as Pvt. Robert Costall of the 1st Battalion of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, based in Edmonton, Alberta.

Stone was unmarried but left a longtime partner, Rose Loving of Tunbridge, Rainville said. He had no children but a sister lives in Florida. Stone joined the Army after his graduation from Woodstock Union High School in 1971 and has served in the active duty Army, the Reserves or the National Guard since, officials said. He has worked full-time for the Vermont Guard since 2000.

Army Sgt. 1st Class John T. Stone's marker
Army Sgt. 1st Class John T. Stone’s marker

The attack took place early in the morning Wednesday in Afghanistan, which was still Tuesday afternoon in Vermont. He was assigned to train Afghan troops and was directing the soldiers when he was shot, Rainville said. He was wearing full body armor at the time. Officials in Afghanistan said at least five coalition troops were wounded in the same attack, including three Canadians and an American. A small contingent of Canadian and American forces serve alongside Afghan troops at the base in the Sangin

Vermont National Guard Capt. Jeff Roosevelt served in Afghanistan two years ago during Stone’s previous deployment. “He always had a positive attitude, always looked at the bright sides of things,” Roosevelt said after Rainville’s news conference at Vermont National Guard headquarters in Colchester.

Stone, who was trained as a medic and known as “Doc,” set up medical clinics for the Afghans that Roosevelt said probably saved hundreds of civilian lives.

Sources:

Anthony M. Carbullido

Since its inception, each month LHCP has honored a military service member who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Every box which is shipped from LHCP is labeled with information about the Honoree. The monthly Honoree’s story is attached to the box so others can read about those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. This month’s Honoree is Navy Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Anthony M. Carbullido.


Navy Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Anthony M. Carbullido

Died August 8, 2008, Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

25, of Agat, Guam; assigned to the Naval Hospital Corps School in Great Lakes, Ill.; died Aug. 8, in Sangatesh, Afghanistan, from injuries sustained when his convoy vehicle hit an improvised explosive device.


Family, friends mourn sailor: Acting governor orders flags to half-staff

Family and friends of Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Anthony M. “Tony” Carbullido gathered at the family’s home in Agat yesterday to mark his passing. Throughout intermittent showers, family members in chairs under an awning recited the rosary.

Anthony Carbullido, 25, is the 17th serviceman from Guam to die since the outset of the War on Terror in 2001 and the fifth this year. The total number of regional casualties is 29.

Navy Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Anthony M. Carbullido
Navy Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Anthony M. Carbullido

Anthony Carbullido, the sailor’s father, said that the family was notified of his son’s death early Saturday morning.  The sailor is survived by his wife, Summer, and his daughter, Lexie, both of whom live in Chicago. According to a statement issued yesterday from the Navy’s Public Affairs office, the corpsman died from “injuries he suffered when his convoy vehicle hit an improvised explosive device while serving in Sangatesh, Afghanistan.” Lt. Donnell Evans, public affairs director for Naval Forces Marianas, said the sailor died Aug. 8.

Island leaders shared their condolences over the loss of another of Guam’s sons.

“We extend our sympathies and prayers to his family, friends and loved ones,” said Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo in a statement issued yesterday.  “Anthony will rest in the hearts and minds of a grateful people who are humbled by his ultimate sacrifice,” said acting Gov. Mike Cruz in a statement yesterday. “I have ordered all government … agencies to fly all flags at half-staff in honor of Petty Officer 2nd Class Anthony Carbullido.”

Those gathered at the Carbullido family home yesterday remembered Anthony M. Carbullido fondly. “He was a real doer,” said Austin Carbullido, the sailor’s brother. Austin Carbullido said his brother always approached challenges head-on and that he enlisted in the military because he wanted to be a doctor. Jermaine Alerta, who had been friends with the sailor since they were in kindergarten together, remembered his friend’s sense of humor. “He was a very funny guy, … always talking. He was fun to be around,” said Alerta. “He was a great guy, just a great guy.”

Anthony M. Carbullido
Anthony M. Carbullido

Alerta remembered the corpsman’s last visit to Guam in March. He was here for two weeks with his wife, Summer whom he had recently married.  “We took him and his wife around and had a good time,” said Alerta. Alerta said the couple talked about how they planned to move back to Guam to raise their family once his tour of duty in Afghanistan was completed.

According to the fallen sailor’s father, the corpsman was scheduled to leave Afghanistan in July for the 3rd Marine Reconnaissance Battalion in Okinawa, Japan.  But Anthony M. Carbullido’s tour was extended until Aug. 7. His tour was extended yet again, until the end of August.

“He was over there so we can have the way of life we always believed in,” his father said. “He was the kind of kid that always made the ultimate challenge, and he made this ultimate challenge so we can have freedom anywhere in the world.”

While he doesn’t know the exact date yet, the sailor’s father said he plans to meet his son’s remains when they arrive in Dover, Del.

Aurora Carbullido, the sailor’s mother, said that her son’s death was the realization of her fears as the mother of a sailor involved in active duty. “I’ve seen past pictures and articles (of troops who have died in combat) and it scared me because my son is over there,” said Aurora Carbullido. “This is a hard situation to be in,” his father said. “It’s hard to believe that this is happening to us.”

Aurora Carbullido asked the community to pray for them during their hardship and pray for other servicemen and women serving overseas in Operation Enduring Freedom.

Sources:

Levi Nuncio

Since its inception, each month LHCP has honored a military service member who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Every box which is shipped from LHCP is labeled with information about the Honoree. The monthly Honoree’s story is attached to the box so others can read about those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. This month’s Honoree is Army Spc. Levi E. Nuncio.


Army Spc. Levi E. Nuncio

Died June 22, 2011 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

24, of Harrisonburg, Va., a combat medic assigned to 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; died June 22 of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with small-arms fire in Narang district, Kunar province, Afghanistan.


Spc. Levi E. Nuncio – In memory of our fallen brother

Spc. Levi E. Nuncio
Spc. Levi E. Nuncio

The 35th Infantry Regiment Association salutes our fallen brother, SP4 Levi E. Nuncio, who died in the service of his country on June 22nd, 2011 in Kunar Province, Afghanistan. The cause of death was listed as Small Arms Fire. At the time of his death Levi was 24 years of age. He was from Harrisonburg, Virginia.

The decorations earned by SP4 Levi E. Nuncio include: the Combat Medical Badge, the Soldiers Medal, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart,

SPC Nuncio was born in Laredo, Texas on September 10, 1986. He grew up in Harrisonburg, Virginia and enlisted in the United States Army on September 23, 2009. He received his Basic Combat Training in Fort Sill, Oklahoma and his Advanced Individual Training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas where he became a Health Care Specialist. He arrived to Headquarter and Headquarters Company, 2-35th Infantry on May 26, 2010. During his tenure in Cacti he held the position of Line Medic for 3rd Platoon, Charlie Company.

Army Spc. Levi E. Nuncio
Army Spc. Levi E. Nuncio

SPC Nuncio’s awards and decorations include: Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, and Combat Medical Badge.

SPC Nuncio died in action in support of Operation Enduring Freedom XII, Kunar Province, Afghanistan.

He is survived by both his parents Raul and Berta Nuncio, as well as his older brother Dan I. Nuncio.


Levi Nuncio, who was living in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley when he enlisted in the Army, “loved helping people”, his girlfriend said Sunday night. So when he had the opportunity to pick a specialty in the service, said Donnie Widdowfield, he became a medic.

Specialist 4 Levi E Nuncio, who listed Harrisonburg, VA as his hometown, was serving in Afghanistan on June 22 when he died in Kunar province of wounds suffered when his unit was attacked by small arms fire.

“He loved doing it,” Widdowfield said, “He was always excited when I talked to him”. Widdowfield, a resident of Elkton, VA, described Nuncio as real quiet and laid back.  In addition, she said, no matter what the circumstance, he could always put a smile on your face somehow.

Army Spc. Levi E. Nuncio
Army Spc. Levi E. Nuncio marker

Nuncio, 24, was energetic and determined. After dropping out of high school, Widdowfield said, he earned his GED. One reason he enlisted, she said, was to obtain the money needed for further schooling. When his service was over, Widdowfield said, he hoped to study to become a dentist.

Patriotism was also a motivation, said Mary Widdowfield, Donnie’s grandmother. Before Nuncio went to Afghanistan she said, he flew back to Virginia from Hawaii where he had been stationed. Then Donnie Widdowfield took him to the airport for the first leg of the trip that would eventually take him to Afghanistan.

“He was going toward the plane,” said the grandmother, and he looked back and said, “I love you, but I have got to go, this is my job.” According to the older Widdowfield, “He was a wonderful person.”

Sources:

Lucas Pyeatt

Since its inception, each month LHCP has honored a military service member who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Every box which is shipped from LHCP is labeled with information about the Honoree. The monthly Honoree’s story is attached to the box so others can read about those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. This month’s Honoree is Sgt. Lucas T. Pyeatt.


Sgt. Lucas T. Pyeatt

Died February 5, 2011 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

24, of West Chester, Ohio; assigned to 2nd Radio Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died Feb. 5 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.


Story of a Cryptologic Hero Sgt. Lucas T. Pyeatt

Sgt. Lucas T. Pyeatt
Sgt. Lucas T. Pyeatt

Sergeant Lucas T. Pyeatt was the epitome of a United States Marine. Raised in Newport News, Virginia, Lucas expressed from his earliest moments a keen interest in a wide range of topics and disciplines. Some might call him a Renaissance man. Growing up, whether he was pursuing the rank of Eagle Scout or expertly playing the stand-up bass, Lucas showed a unique passion and enthusiasm for life. In addition to using his many talents to accomplish many things, he lived his life in a way that would lead even a casual acquaintance to conclude that he was a person whose every action was characterized by kindness and consideration for others. For him, standing up for the little guy was a way of life. Among his many acts of benevolence toward his friends and family was taking the time to learn sign language in order to better communicate with a close friend who was deaf.

After high school, he would attend Old Dominion University for a short while, but Lucas was a young man in a hurry. He wanted something more out of life. In time, he would decide to follow in the footsteps of his father, a 30-year veteran of the United States military, and offer his service to his nation by enlisting in the United States Marine Corps.

Lucas put the same drive and devotion into being a Marine that he had exhibited in his formative

years. He excelled in his studies at the Defense Language Institute, becoming fluent in Russian. After training, he was assigned to the II Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, at Camp Lejeune. 2011 would find him on the harsh unforgiving battlefields in southern Afghanistan.

While deployed, Pyeatt’s job was to translate, monitor and transcribe critical information in real time, with the aim of gaining intelligence on enemy insurgent operations and activities. During his brief but significant time in Afghanistan, Sergeant Pyeatt’s leadership and technical skills “were instrumental in the conduct of direction finding and enemy communications

in a contested region.” Sergeant Pyeatt had only been “in country” for two weeks when he volunteered to participate in an important mission. While on his first foot patrol in February 2011, he lost his life due to an improvised explosive device.

Marine Cpl. Lucas T. Pyeatt
Sgt. Lucas T. Pyeatt

During his life, Lucas T. Pyeatt was many things to many people. To his family, he was a devoted son. To his friends, he was someone they could always look to for help and support. To his nation, Sergeant Pyeatt was a loyal and dedicated member of the United States Marine Corps. His father said it best, noting his son had “accomplished more in his 24 years of life than most people accomplish in a lifetime.” In his service and sacrifice, Sergeant Pyeatt more than lived up to the motto of the Corps by being always faithful to his loved ones, his fellow Marines, and most of all to those principles and virtues that for over two centuries, have allowed our nation to remain free.

Sources:

Jordan Haerter

Since its inception, each month LHCP has honored a military service member who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Every box which is shipped from LHCP is labeled with information about the Honoree. The monthly Honoree’s story is attached to the box so others can read about those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. This month’s Honoree is Marine Lance Cpl. Jordan C. Haerter.


Marine Lance Cpl. Jordan C. Haerter

Died April 22, 2008 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

19, of Sag Harbor, N.Y.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died April 22 of wounds sustained while conducting combat operations in Ramadi, Iraq. Also killed was Cpl. Jonathan T. Yale.


Marine Lance Cpl. Jordan C. Haerter remembered

Jordan Haeter
Jordan C. Haerter

In his senior year yearbook, Jordan C. Haerter’s favorite movie was “Black Hawk Down” and his ambitions included “become a good Marine and successful in life.”

“I know everyone says it when this happens, but he was a nice kid,” said Ronn Pirrelli, who coached Haerter in Little League. “Some kids come and go. He was one of those kids you don’t forget.”

Haerter, 19, of Sag Harbor, N.Y., was killed April 22 by a suicide car bomb in Ramadi. He was a 2006 high school graduate and was assigned to Camp Lejeune.

Haerter enjoyed waging paintball battles and driving his beloved Dodge pickup truck on the beach. “He was a great, great kid,” said Principal Jeff Nichols. “He was really well-liked. It’s just very sad.”

His father, Christian Haerter, said his son was always a hands-on type of guy who preferred to be out in the real world working, “getting your hands dirty,” rather than in a classroom. “It’s not that he was disillusioned with school, he was very good in school,” said his dad. “But he liked the whole concept of apprenticeship.”

He also is survived by his mother, JoAnn Lyles.


Six Seconds Of Iraq Valor Saved Dozens

Six seconds. That’s all it took to turn a quiet Iraqi street into a moment both horrific and heroic.
Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter and Cpl. Jonathan Yale died so others would live. “You’re talking about two guys who gave up everything for their brothers,” Staff Sgt. Kenneth Grooms said.

Haerter and Yale

They were Marine brothers from very different worlds. Yale’s was hard-scrabble Virginia. From a troubled home, he hungered to belong. “He touched your heart as soon as you met him,” said Rev. Leon Burchett, who took Yale in. “He never had a whole lot, but he was thankful for what he did have.”

On Long Island, New York, Jordan Haerter grew from middle-class toy soldier into mature Marine.  “He had your back, without a shadow of a doubt,” said Grooms.

Last April, Yale and Haerter were guarding the entry to their platoon’s camp in Ramadi. Standing here, out of sight. It was 7:30 in the morning. They had just met.   Suddenly a suicide truck appeared. It contained 2,000 pounds of explosives, heading toward them – and dozens of sleeping Marines.  “That’s like staring at the biggest, ugliest thing you could … and standing there,” said Lance Cpl. Nicholas Xiarhos, a fellow Marine.

The Marines shot at the driver, killing him. But then the truck erupted – its force ending a videotape of the event. It was so powerful, the blast leveled a city block. Yale was dead. Haerter was dying.  But everyone else nearby – Marines and Iraqis – survived. “And they made a heroic choice,” Grooms said. “And it ended up saving, you know, 50 people.”

Lance Cpl. Jordan C. Haerter
Lance Cpl. Jordan C. Haerter

Even by Marine standards, the heroism was extraordinary. The top Marine general in Iraq personally interviewed Iraqi witnesses, then nominated the two Marines for the Navy Cross. “They made a lot of decisions in those six seconds,” Maj. Gen John Kelly said. “And one of them was to die.”  The tape showed an Iraqi policeman ran. He lived.

Kelly said: “They wouldn’t have stood there and done that unless they were Marines, all the way to their DNA.”  Haerter had a hometown hero’s return on Long Island – like Yale in Virginia.  Friday at the Marine museum in Virginia, the families of Hoerter and Yale got their Navy crosses.  “None of us will ever be able to know or experience that split-second brotherhood,” Grooms said.

They started the day strangers. Their shared valor made them brothers forever.

Sources:

Jonathan T. Yale

Since its inception, each month LHCP has honored a military service member who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Every box which is shipped from LHCP is labeled with information about the Honoree. The monthly Honoree’s story is attached to the box so others can read about those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. This month’s Honoree is Marine Cpl. Jonathan T. Yale.


Marine Cpl. Jonathan T. Yale

Died April 22, 2008 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

21, of Burkeville, Va.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died April 22 of wounds sustained while conducting combat operations in Balad, Iraq. Also killed was Lance Cpl. Jordan C. Haerter.


Marine Cpl. Jonathan T. Yale remembered

Marine Cpl. Jonathan T. Yale
Marine Cpl. Jonathan T. Yale

Jonathan T. Yale’s mother said he was the kind of guy who liked to make people happy.

“He was the class clown, even when he wasn’t at school,” Rebecca Yale said. “But he also didn’t mind sitting home with his momma to watch a chick flick with a box of Kleenex between us. He was the best boy you could ask for.”

Yale, 21, of Burkeville, Va., was killed April 22 during the explosion of a suicide vehicle in Ramadi. He was a 2006 high school graduate and was assigned to Camp Lejeune.

When he was little, Yale loved to hang out with his granddad “in the bush and the thicket,” his grandfather, William Sydnor Sr., said. “I used to call him ‘Wild Man.’ No matter how much he would get scratched up in the woods, he always wanted to go again next time.”

Mother and son were so close that when he got stationed at Camp Lejeune almost two years ago, she and his sister moved to North Carolina from Virginia to be closer to him.

Yale became an “awesome skateboarder” and “one of the top paintball players” in the area, according to his mother. She said he was setting up a Web site for a paintball team he had founded.


UNSUNG HEROES: The Heroic Last Stand Of 2 Marines In Ramadi

Marine Cpl. Jonathan T. Yale
Haerter and Yale

Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter and Cpl. Jonathan Yale bravely sacrificed themselves to stop a suicide bomber, saving the lives of 150 comrades. On April 22, 2008, in Ramadi, Iraq, two Marine infantrymen, Cpl. Jonathan Yale and Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter, stood their ground and opened fire on a truck carrying 2,000 pounds of explosives as it barreled toward their post and the 150 Marines and Iraqi police inside the perimeter.

The truck stopped just shy of Cpl. Jonathan Yale and Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter, its windshield and the driver behind the wheel both blown away in a hail of gunfire. Then it detonated, killing the two Marines and leveling a city a block. The attack, the Marines’ final stand, and their sacrifice all took place in a matter of seconds.

Haerter and Yale, were posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for their actions, which were later recounted by Iraqi police present that day and captured on a security camera, according to Business Insider.

Before that day, Yale and Haerter had never met. They came from different backgrounds and deployed with different units, with Yale preparing to head home with the rest of 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, and Haerter just beginning his seven-month tour with 1st Battalion, 9th Marines. But their final act of courage, defiance, and selfless sacrifice bound the two together forever.

According to a 2009 CBS News report, 21-year-old Yale had a rough upbringing in Virginia, and Haerter, who was 19 when he was killed, came from a middle-class family in Long Island, New York. If it wasn’t for the Marines, it’s likely that the two never would have met. But, they did meet and that same day they made a split-second decision to stand, fight, and ultimately die together.

Marine Cpl. Jonathan T. Yale
Marine Cpl. Jonathan T. Yale

“I was on post the morning of the attack,” said Lance Cpl. Benjamin Tupaj, a rifleman with 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, in a May 2008 article released by the Department of Defense. “I heard the [squad automatic weapon] go off at a cyclic rate and then the detonation along with a flash. It blew me at least three meters from where I was standing onto the ground. Then I heard a Marine start yelling ‘we got hit, we got hit.’”

Shortly after the attack, Gen. John Kelly, the commander of all American and Iraqi forces at the time, met with those present that day, which he later described in a speech at the Semper Fi Society of St. Louis, Missouri, published by Business Insider. “By all reports and by the recording, they never stepped back. They never even started to step aside,” Kelly said in the speech. “They never even shifted their weight. With their feet spread shoulder width apart, they leaned into the danger, firing as fast as they could work their weapons. … Not enough time to think about their families, their country, their flag, or about their lives or their deaths, but more than enough time for two very brave young men to do their duty … into eternity. That is the kind of people who are on watch all over the world tonight — for you.”

Sources:

Phyllis Pelky

Since its inception, each month LHCP has honored a military service member who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Every box which is shipped from LHCP is labeled with information about the Honoree. The monthly Honoree’s story is attached to the box so others can read about those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. This month’s Honoree is Air Force Maj. Phyllis J. Pelky.


Air Force Maj. Phyllis J. Pelky

Died October 11, 2015 Serving During Operation Freedom’s Sentinel

45, of Rio Rancho, N.M.; died Oct. 11 at Camp Resolute Support, Kabul, Afghanistan, in the non-hostile crash of a British Puma Mk2 helicopter. She was assigned to the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo.


Air Force Academy Major Who Died in Afghanistan Remembered for Service

The Gazette, Colorado Springs, Colo.|Oct 27, 2015|by Tom Roeder

Phyllis Pelky
Maj. Phyllis J. Pelky

Hundreds of people packed a funeral service Monday for an Air Force Academy major killed in an Afghanistan helicopter crash.

Eulogists said Maj. Phyllis J. Pelky was a patriot who left a teaching job in New Mexico to enlist in the Air Force after 9/11. She also was described as a loving mother of two and a devoted wife who balanced a life of service with family. “She gave the ultimate sacrifice, her life, for all those she loved,” said chaplain Capt. Don Romero, who led the service. “One thing is certain: She saw life that way, with every moment a precious opportunity to serve others.”

Pelky died in Kabul on Oct. 11 in the crash of a British chopper. Born in Evergreen Park, Ill., Pelky attended the University of New Mexico and taught in Rio Rancho, N.M. She was commissioned in the Air Force in 2004. She was posthumously awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for her work in Afghanistan, which included advising on personnel operations and organizing monthly Afghan air force women’s forums, according to the citation.

Phyllis Pelky
Maj. Phyllis J. Pelky

The 45-year-old taught German at the academy and served as an aide-de-camp to Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson, academy superintendent, before her deployment.

Johnson and two other generals spoke during Pelky’s service. “My days were long, but hers were longer, and no matter how good or bad her day had been, Phyllis gave 100 percent of herself,” Johnson said. Johnson said the major won’t be forgotten. “She will always remain part of our story,” Johnson said. “It will be our duty to keep her story alive.”

Pelky was buried at the Air Force Academy service after the funeral. Along with her husband, Dave, and two sons, Pelky is survived by six siblings.

Academy dean Brig. Gen. Andy Armacost said Pelky was a strong teacher and mentor for cadets.  “She made a lasting impact on those with whom she worked, the faculty and cadets alike,” Armacost said. “The stories of Phyllis and her amazing contributions to our faculty and our academy will endure.”

The third eulogist was Brig. Gen. Steven Basham, who was Pelky’s boss at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. He said as a new lieutenant in 2004, Pelky showed maturity and wisdom that took superiors by surprise.  “Phyllis Pelky was the mentor — she was the one who provided the best guidance,” Basham said. “She took care of us on a daily basis.”

Pelky was one of five people killed in the crash, which has been deemed an accident by British authorities. The five represented three nations of the NATO coalition working to help the struggling Afghan government battle Taliban insurgents. Two Royal Air Force airmen, two American airmen and a French contractor died.

The other American in the incident was Master Sgt. Gregory T. Kuhse, 38, of Kalamazoo, Mich., who went to Afghanistan from Scott Air Force Base, Ill.

At the academy, Pelky will be remembered for giving her all to her family, her students and her nation, Romero said. “That’s what love looks like and that’s the best of the Air Force spirit,” Romero said.

Sources:

Military Times – HONOR THE FALLEN

Military.com

Christopher Drake

Since its inception, each month LHCP has honored a military service member who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Every box which is shipped from LHCP is labeled with information about the Honoree. The monthly Honoree’s story is attached to the box so others can read about those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. This month’s Honoree is Army Spc. Christopher R. Drake.


Army Spc. Christopher R. Drake

Died May 26, 2013 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

20, of Tickfaw, La., assigned to 1084th Transportation Company, 165th Combat Support Sustainment Battalion, 139th Regional Support Group, Louisiana National Guard, Reserve, La.; died May 26 of injuries caused by a rocket-propelled grenade in Bagram, Afghanistan.


Louisiana National Guardsman from Tangipahoa killed in Afghanistan

Army Spc. Christopher R. Drake
Army Spc. Christopher R. Drake

A Louisiana National Guardsman from Tangipahoa Parish was killed in Afghanistan during the weekend. Spc. Christopher R. Drake, 20, of Tickfaw, died Sunday from injuries he suffered when the vehicle he was in was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade, the Defense Department announced Tuesday.

The statement does not say whether the attack happened Sunday, or earlier. His fiancé has told reporters that he manned a gun atop an armored vehicle. Relatives of the fallen soldier announced word of his death before the Defense Department confirmed it.

Drake was assigned to the 1084th Transportation Company, an Army National Guard unit based in Reserve that specializes in transportation and in convoy escorts.

According to the Louisiana National Guard, Drake enlisted in September 2011 as a truck driver and completed basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. In Afghanistan, Drake served as a gunner on a Mine Resistant-Ambush Protected vehicle, according to National Guard.

He was one of about 115 soldiers based in the River Parishes who are in the early stages of a yearlong deployment. The National Guard gave the 1084th a send-off ceremony in February, in LaPlace.

According to news reports, Drake was the father of a 3-year-old and was engaged to be married. He was a 2011 graduate of Independence High School, in Independence, La. Family members on Tuesday were traveling to Delaware, where the bodies of U.S. troops killed oversees arrive in the United States.


Soldier Killed By Rocket Propelled Grenade In Afghanistan

Army Spc. Christopher R. Drake
Army Spc. Christopher R. Drake

Louisiana National Guardsman Spc. Christopher R. Drake, 20, was killed May 26 in Bagram, Afghanistan when a rocket propelled grenade hit his vehicle. The Department of Defense reports Drake was assigned to the 1084th Transportation Company, 165th Combat Support Sustainment Battalion, 139th Regional Support Group, Reserve, Louisiana.

According to Drake’s Facebook page, he lived in Tickfaw, Louisiana and was recently engaged to be married. On May 14, he posted the lyrics to the song “Drink One For Me” by Jason Aldean:

You don’t know how bad,
I wish I was home
Can’t wait to get back,
But while I’m gone
Y’all carry on.
Drink one for me, for all the old times
We tore up that town, raised hell alright
Tell the boys, thanks for having my back
Some of the best memories I’ve ever had
So go on and get crazy
And drink one for me

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