Doyle W. Bollinger Jr.

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 Petty Officer 3rd Class Doyle W. Bollinger Jr.


Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Doyle W. Bollinger Jr.

DOYLE W. BOLLINGER
DOYLE W. BOLLINGER

21, of Poteau, Okla.; assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133, Gulfport, Miss.; killed in Iraq when a piece of unexploded ordnance accidentally detonated in the area he was working.


Doyle W. Bollinger

Doyle W. Bollinger joined the U.S. Navy shortly after high school. He was a Seabee.

“Wayne is a very special young man and is proud to be a Navy Seabee. He died defending his country. He is without doubt one of America’s finest,” a family statement said.

His unit has been in the Middle East since January, providing construction support to the Navy, Marines and other armed forces during military operations.

“He marched to the beat of a different drum, and he was happy in his own little world,” said Pat Eidschun, a retired teacher who taught Bollinger when he was in the seventh grade in Poteau.


Navy Petty Officer Third Class Doyle W. Bollinger, Jr. Overpass

Bollinger Overpass
Bollinger Overpass

The overpass is a 4-lane roadway along the Business Route of U.S. 59, spanning another 4-lane divided section of U.S. 59, where the routes converge with U.S. 271 south of Poteau, Oklahoma. Doyle “Wayne” Bollinger, Jr. joined the Navy shortly after graduating from Poteau High School in 2000. He was assigned to the “Seabees” with a rating (specialty) as a Builder. He was assigned for duty with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 133 based at Gulfport, Mississippi.

He deployed overseas to the Middle East with his unit in January, 2003 in support of the Global War on Terrorism, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Navy Petty Officer Third Class Bollinger was killed on June 6, 2003, at age 21, while serving his country in Iraq. He was working with his unit on a bridge over the Tigris River, connecting Baghdad with the city of Sarabadi, when a piece of unexploded ordnance detonated.

He was awarded the Naval Presidential Unit citation, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Naval Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Navy Rifle Marksmanship Ribbon, and Naval Pistol Marksmanship Ribbon. The overpass memorial was designated in 2005.


Slain Seabee called generous, always smiling

By Bob Doucette, The Oklahoman

POTEAU Petty Officer 3rd Class Doyle Wayne Bollinger Jr. was remembered Monday as an energetic young man who enjoyed giving to others.

Doyle W. Bollinger Jr.
Doyle W. Bollinger Jr.

“He marched to the beat of a different drum, and he was happy in his own little world,” said Pat Eidschun, a retired teacher who taught Bollinger when he was in the seventh grade. “He was so sweet.” Bollinger, who joined the U.S. Navy shortly after high school, died Friday in Iraq after unexploded ordnance accidentally detonated in the area where he was working, according to the Navy. Bollinger was 21.

Eidschun said Bollinger was a happy person who liked to give to others. “He was always grinning and had a smile on his face,” she said. “He wasn’t very big, but he didn’t know it. In his mind, he was a giant.”

Navy Petty Officer Third Class Doyle W. Bollinger, Jr.
Navy Petty Officer Third Class Doyle W. Bollinger, Jr.

In Poteau, Bollinger often did odd jobs for people and liked to give people things he’d found or made. Eidschun said she still has a ceramic turtle Bollinger gave her years ago. Bollinger was assigned to the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133, based in Gulfport, Miss.

Bollinger was killed when his unit was working on a bridge over the Tigris River near the city of Sarabadi, according to the Biloxi (Miss.) Sun-Herald newspaper. The bridge is on a highway that connects Baghdad to Sarabadi. Three other people were injured in the blast.

The Navy said Monday the explosion was not combat-related. The accident is under investigation.

 

Brian K. Lundy Jr.

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 Brian K. Lundy.


Navy Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Brian K. Lundy

Brian K. Lundy Jr.
Brian K. Lundy Jr.

Died September 9, 2011 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

25, of Austin, Texas; assigned to 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died while conducting a dismounted patrol in Marjah, Helmand province, Afghanistan, on Sept. 9.


Petty Officer 2nd Class Brian Keith Lundy, Jr.

Brian earned his heavenly wings on September 9, 2011. In the ever so brief 25 years that Brian was on this earth, he led a full and meaningful life. It began with his birth to Ramona Fowler and Brian Lundy Sr. at Bergstrom AFB, TX on July 29, 1986. Brian accepted Christ at an early age and was baptized by Rev. R.E. Foster at Zion Rest Missionary Baptist Church. He sang with the Voices of Joy and was an active member of TCIA and JCIA Youth groups. He was also a Jr. Deacon and early on demonstrated an eagerness to serve.

Brian had a passion for animals and as a young child spoke of being a veterinarian. He loved his Great Danes, his iguana and his parrot (who now resides with Brian’s mother). Brian loved motorcycles, which fulfilled his need to live on the edge and his need to go fast. Many of Brian’s friends witnessed his impulsiveness while experiencing his passion for nature and mankind. Good times were always guaranteed when Brian was around. Brian graduated from Bowie High School in May 2004. One of the fondest memories of Brian at Bowie High School was his participation in the Mr. Bowie Bulldog contest.

Even then Brian demonstrated signs of his outgoing personality. Brian received a scholarship to Huston Tillotson University and enrolled in August 2004. During this period of his life, he determined college did not provide the challenge and adventure that he was seeking so he decided on a different path.

Brian K. Lundy
Navy Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Brian K. Lundy

Determined to fulfill this burning desire to do more with his life, help others, and serve his country, he enlisted in the United States Navy in May 2006. During Brian’s enlistment in the United States Navy, he successfully completed Basic Training and Hospital Corpsman “A” School in Great Lakes, Illinois. His first duty station was aboard the Aircraft Carrier USS Ronald Reagan from November 2006 to August 2008. His next assignment was the Naval Hospital 29 Palms, California from December 2008 to December 2010.

However, these past assignments still did not challenge Brian to his full potential. So once eligible, he applied for and was accepted to Special Training as a Hospital Corpsman with the Fleet Marine Force. Fleet Marine Force training consists of specialized training in advanced emergency medicine and the fundamentals of Marine Corps life, while emphasizing physical conditioning, small arms familiarity, and basic battlefield tactics. He went on to train for Fleet Marine Forces (FMF) in January 2011 and successfully completed FMF training in March 2011. After successful completion of this training, he was assigned to 2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina in March 2011.

He then deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to Afghanistan in July 2011. Brian often called his mother Ramona (“Mama”) detailing interesting stories about his duties as a Corpsman. He told her about having to deliver a baby, treating an Afghani National with multiple stab wounds, and even having to remove a rock from the eye of a young Afghanistan boy. Brian had finally found his calling and his purpose in life, and he was doing something that made him feel that he was making a difference in this world.

Ramona delighted in the fact that her little “Peanut” had become a man. Unfortunately, his acts of heroism were cut short after his life was taken while conducting a dismounted patrol at 11:44 A.M. (Afghanistan time) on September 9, 2011. At that moment a bright and shining star went dim.
However, the most rewarding commendation Brian ever received was the opportunity to help others and to give his life in the service of his country.

Rachael Hugo

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 Cpl. Rachael L. Hugo.


Army Cpl. Rachael L. Hugo

Rachael L. Hugo
Rachael L. Hugo

Died October 5, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

24, of Madison, Wis.; assigned to the 303rd Military Police Company, 97th Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade, U.S. Army Reserve, Jackson, Mich.; died Oct. 5 in Bayji, Iraq, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked her unit using an improvised explosive device and small-arms fire.


Madison soldier killed in Iraq described as volunteer

The Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. — The Madison soldier killed last week in Iraq kept volunteering to go out with the troops when she could have stayed back on base, a great uncle says.

“That’s the kind of person she was,” Robert Hugo said of Army Reserve Spc. Rachael Hugo, 24, of Madison.

Army Cpl. Rachael L. Hugo
Army Cpl. Rachael L. Hugo

The Defense Department said Oct. 6 she died Oct. 5 when insurgents attacked her unit using an improvised explosive device and small-arms fire. She was assigned to the 303rd Military Police Company based in Jackson, Mich. The 88th Regional Readiness Command of the Reserves said her parents, Kermit and Ruth Hugo, would hold a news conference Oct. 8 in Madison that will also be attended by her brother, Scott.

Juanita Davis, 21, who described herself as a friend of the soldier, said Hugo had been working toward a bachelor’s degree in nursing at Viterbo University in La Crosse before she was deployed to Iraq a little more than a year ago. “She would do anything for anybody,” Davis said. “Her heart was always in everything that she did.”

Davis described her friend’s job in Iraq as combat medic. While “I knew she didn’t like being there … she knew that she was there to serve her country,” Davis added. She said Hugo would have returned to Viterbo after her deployment ended.

As a part-time certified home health aide for the La Crosse County Health department, Hugo would visit homebound patients to help with daily health needs, said Gwen Loveless, a former co-worker. “She was excellent with everybody,” Loveless said. “She worked so hard.

I wish I had her drive.” Hugo also worked at Meriter Hospital in Madison as a nursing assistant in the hospital’s mobile unit, according to Sue Simo, one of her supervisors there. Simo said Hugo would work at Meriter during breaks from school. “She was a lovely young woman, mature beyond her age,” Simo said.


Parents: Medic killed in Iraq had saved a soldier’s life

By Ryan J. Foley, The Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. — A Madison woman killed in Iraq last week had won an award for saving another soldier’s life earlier in her tour, her parents said Oct. 8.

Spc. Rachael Hugo, 24, was killed Oct. 5 when her Army Reserve unit was attacked by insurgents with a roadside bomb and small-arms fire, military officials said. She was serving as a combat medic with a Michigan-based unit expected to return to the U.S. in about a month.

Sgt. Maj. Janet Jones, a spokeswoman for the Army Reserve, said she believed Hugo was treating another soldier when she was killed during the incident in Bayji, Iraq. She said details were sketchy and an investigation into her death was underway.

Rachael L. Hugo
Rachael L. Hugo

The former high school cheerleader was looking forward to coming home and had even gone on an online shopping spree for new clothes, said her mother, Ruth Hugo. Her parents and her little brother remembered Hugo as a beautiful and intelligent woman who had a passion for caring for the wounded. In an e-mail to her parents from Iraq, she wrote: “Being a medic is what I live to do.”

Hugo was assigned to the 303rd Military Police Company, based in Jackson, Mich. The unit, which was deployed in September 2006, was responsible for providing security for convoy operations. “She was always very adamant about volunteering and going out on missions with her guys,” said her father, Kermit Hugo. “She told us countless times that she needed to be out there with them. If somebody got hurt or something and they didn’t have a medic, she was beside herself.”

He said his daughter was credited with saving the life of a sergeant who was badly wounded by a roadside bomb about three months into her tour. She was in the back of the convoy when the bomb exploded and jumped into action even though gunfire was going off, he said.

“She told the guys, ‘Cover me.’ She ran up there and started treating him,” Kermit Hugo said. “She just stayed with him and kept treating him, talking to him. She talked a lot to him to keep him alert. She did her job.” The man was taken away by a helicopter and is recovering from his injuries, thanks to her “quick thinking and her excellent training,” Kermit Hugo said.

During a news conference at an Army Reserve center, he pulled out of his pocket a commemorative coin his daughter received for her actions. She gave him the coin when she was in Madison on a two-week leave in May for her birthday. “She told me that she carried it with her wherever she went. She wanted to be sure that it didn’t get lost so she could bring it home to me and give it to me,” he said. “I’m just truly honored that my daughter would do something like that. Thinking of her family over herself. That’s just how she was.”

He said the coin — featuring his favorite colors of Green Bay Packers’ green and gold — would be proudly displayed in the family’s Madison home.

Hugo was studying to be a nurse at Viterbo University in La Crosse when she was called to active duty. She had two years of school remaining. Family members said she signed up for the military because she wanted to serve the country. Scott Hugo, 19, said his sister had a caring and serious side, but she also was one of the goofiest people he knew and was always pulling pranks on family members. Kermit Hugo, a custodian for the city of Madison, paused at the news conference to directly address his only daughter.

“Rachael, I always told you that you needed to be an asset to society and not a detriment and to give back to your community,” he said. “And you didn’t disappoint me. You made the ultimate sacrifice for your country.”

Source:  Military Times – HONOR THE FALLEN

Tony Carrasco

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 CPL. Tony Carrasco Jr.


Army CPL. Tony Carrasco Jr.

Tony Carrasco Jr.
Tony Carrasco Jr.

Died November 4, 2009 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

25, of Berino, N.M.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.; died Nov. 4 in Ad Dawr, Iraq, of a gunshot wound sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit.


Teachers say he was a hard-working student

The Associated Press

At Gadsden High School in Anthony, N.M., Tony Carrasco was remembered as a hard worker who didn’t cause problems.

“He was an ag student who was involved in the horticulture program here,” said principal Carey Chambers, who arrived at the school after Carrasco graduated but heard teachers’ memories of him. “By all accounts of everyone we talked to, he was a good kid.”

Army CPL. Tony Carrasco Jr.
Army CPL. Tony Carrasco Jr.

Carrasco, 25, of Berino, N.M., died Nov. 4 in Ad Dawr, Iraq, when he was shot during an attack. He was assigned to Fort Riley, Kan.

His sister, Susana, wrote in an online message board that she remembered her brother’s jokes and all the times he told her to be strong and not take life for granted.

“Those are the things that help me go on. I am very proud of you. You are my HERO!” she wrote.

Carrasco graduated from high school in 2003 and entered the Army in January 2008. A field artillery specialist, he deployed to Iraq earlier this fall.

He is survived by his wife, Johana Lizeth Martinez Gavaldon-Carrasco; stepson, Axel Antonio; stepdaughter, Ilse Iveth; parents, Antonio and Juana Carrasco; and sisters, Rosalia, Susana, and Jessica.


CPL Tony Carrosco Jr. Memorial

Cpl Tony Carrasco Jr., 25, of Berino, N.M.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.; died Nov. 4 in Ad Dawr, Iraq, of a gunshot wound sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit. He was killed in Ad Dawr, Iraq after being hit by sniper fire.

Army Spec. Tony Carrasco Jr., 25, born February 11, 1984 in Las Cruces, NM to Antonio and Juana Carrasco. Tony’s life was cut short while on deployment in Iraq.

Tony Carrasco Jr.
Tony Carrasco Jr.

Tony enlisted with the U.S. Army in January 2008 to serve his country. He was currently stationed in Ft. Riley, KS. Tony was a 2003 graduate of Gadsden High School.

Tony was a caring and loving young man with a heart as big as the world and a big smile to match. He was a loving son, brother, uncle and friend, always with a helping hand.

He was protective of his family and by joining the military he was also protective of his country.

Minhee Kim

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. Minhee Kim.


Marine Lance Cpl. Minhee Kim

Marine LCpl Minhee Kim
Marine LCpl Minhee Kim

Died November 1, 2006 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

20, of Ann Arbor, Mich.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve, Lansing, Mich.; died Nov. 1 while conducting combat operations in Fallujah, Iraq.


Family, friends mourn A2 soldier slain in Iraq

Minhee Kim, a University of Michigan at Dearborn student, remembered at memorial event

By: Dave Mekelburg
Posted: 11/3/06

Every chair in the Anderson Room of the Michigan Union was filled last night. Those unable to find a seat lined the aisles and gathered at the back.

The sounds of stifled sobbing and crumpling tissues echoed through the room where family and friends had gathered to celebrate the life and mourn the death of Lance Cpl. Minhee Kim.

Kim, 20, died Wednesday in the Anbar province of Iraq. The Marine was a student at the University’s Dearborn campus. He had spent the last 10 years of his life as a resident of Ann Arbor. He had been in Iraq for only a few months.

In a eulogy, his brother, Isaac Kim, spoke about how his brother embraced life and those around him.

Once, when Isaac Kim and his brother were young, Minhee Kim came home with his knee covered in blood. Shocked and worried, his mother asked him what had happened. Kim was completely unfazed by the injury. He calmly told his mother he had hurt it diving for an errant ball in a pickup basketball game.

“He had no fear,” Isaac Kim said as he held back tears.

The speakers at last night’s memorial service painted a portrait of a young man deeply rooted in his faith and his community.

Marine LCpl Minhee Kim
Marine LCpl Minhee Kim

Before leaving for Iraq, Kim had spoken with Pastor Seth Kim of the Harvest Mission Community Church in Ann Arbor about joining the ministry when he returned. When Seth Kim asked Kim why he was joining the Marines, Kim said he wanted to serve his community and the country that had been had so good to him.

When Seth Kim heard those words, “it was a breath of fresh air,” he said.

Another friend told the story of when he and Kim met, playing recreational hockey. As the only Asian Americans on the team, they were drawn to each other. The two forged a friendship. They often stayed up late, jamming on guitars and talking about their faith.

Kim spent his first year of college at Purdue University before transferring to the University’s Dearborn campus last year.

While in Iraq, Kim sent his last e-mail to his friends, family and fellow congregation members exactly a month before he died. Seth Kim read from the e-mail during the service.

The letter said his unit had just arrived at the outskirts of Fallujah. He described the excitement and anxiety of finally seeing battle and wrote about how his faith had been strengthened by the experience.

As the service ended, tears welled in the eyes of nearly everyone in the room. Several people lingered in the room and outside the doors after it was over, hugging, consoling each other and helping to brush aside the tears.

Seth Kim said crying was a necessary part of the process, something that everyone has to go through. But the key, he said, is learning to take joy a the life that had ended so suddenly.

Emily Perez

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 2nd Lt. Emily J.T. Perez.


Army 2nd Lt. Emily J.T. Perez

Emily J.T. Perez
Emily J.T. Perez

Died September 12, 2006 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

23, of Texas; assigned to 204th Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; died Sept. 12 of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near her Humvee during combat operations in Kifl, Iraq.

Source: Military Times


Army officer, 23, leapt high in life cut short by war

By Rona Marech
September 22, 206

Quick and intense. That’s how Emily J.T. Perez performed on the track, one coach said – and the same could be said for the rest of her short life. She was a star student and talented athlete. She was a captain of her high school track team and a leader at her alma mater, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. She helped start an AIDS ministry at her church.

Army 2nd Lt Emily Perez
2nd Lt. Emily J.T. Perez died Sept. 12 after an improvised explosive detonated near her Humvee.

A 23-year-old soldier from Fort Washington in Prince George’s County, 2nd Lt. Emily J.T. Perez was killed while on duty in Al Kifl, Iraq, on Sept. 12. A Medical Service Corps officer, she died during combat after an improvised explosive device detonated near her Humvee, according to the Department of Defense.

“She was just the kind of kid you want your own children to be like,” said Joe Rogers, the assistant track coach at West Point.

“Emily, as far as I’m concerned, was one of the most brilliant people I ever met. She was the consummate intellectual,” said the Rev. Michael Bell, executive pastor at Peace Baptist Church in Washington. “But she was not the kind of person who was only book-oriented. … She always wanted to help someone, to help the community.”

When she was in high school, Lieutenant Perez was instrumental in starting the HIV/AIDS ministry at her church. She was also an HIV/AIDS educator with the Red Cross.

Her desire to help led to personal sacrifices: Shortly before shipping out to Iraq, Lieutenant Perez flew from Texas to Maryland to be a bone marrow donor to a stranger who was a match, Pastor Bell said.

Lieutenant Perez, who came from a military family, spent much of her youth in Germany. She returned to the United States in 1998 and graduated from Oxon Hill High School in 2001. She excelled at West Point, where she was a medal-winning athlete and a top-ranked cadet, said Jerry Quiller, the head track coach. She also had one of the highest grade-point averages of all the students on the track team, he said.

“You know the old advertisement – ‘Be all you can be,'” Mr. Quiller said. “You probably couldn’t do better than that.”

In her junior year, when the track team was sorely in need of a triple-jump competitor, Emily Perez – who had never attempted the event – volunteered to give it a try, Mr. Rogers said. She practiced the way she did everything, with intensity, and competed within a few weeks.

After a particularly good jump in an Army-Navy meet, she threw her arms around Mr. Rogers’ neck. “It was one of those spontaneous moments of joy for both of us,” he said.

Army 2nd Lt Emily Perez
Army 2nd Lt Emily Perez

That was Lieutenant Perez, friends said – bubbly, dedicated, talented, opinionated, confident.
Another West Point classmate, Tanesha Love, who sometimes sought tutoring help from Lieutenant Perez, said, “You could hear her laugh from probably miles away. There was no doubt in your mind who that was as soon as you heard it.”

Lieutenant Perez’s family is establishing a scholarship fund for African-American and Hispanic women who share the soldier’s passion for medical services and sociology.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal Church in Fort Washington. Lieutenant Perez will be buried Tuesday at the West Point cemetery in New York.

Survivors include her parents, Daniel and Vicki Perez of Fort Washington; and a brother, Kevyn, of Fayetteville, N.C.

Emily was the first female graduate of West Point to die in the Iraq Wardia, the first West Point graduate of the “Class of 9/11” to die in combat, and the first female African-American officer to die in combat.

Source: The Baltimore Sun

Richard Berrettini

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 Lt. Col. Richard J. Berrettini


Army Lt. Col. Richard J. Berrettini

Richard J. Berrettini
Richard J. Berrettini

Died January 11, 2008, Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

52, of Wilcox, Pa.; assigned to the Pennsylvania Army National Guard Medical Detachment, Erie Clinic, Erie, Pa.; died Jan. 11 in San Antonio of wounds sustained Jan. 2 in Khowst province, Afghanistan when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device.


Guardsman dies from injuries sustained in Afghanistan

The Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A soldier has died in Texas from combat injuries he suffered in Afghanistan, the Pennsylvania Army National Guard announced Jan. 13.

Lt. Col. Richard J. Berrettini, 52, from Eldred, McKean County, died Jan. 11, nine days after the attack, which also killed an interpreter and South Carolina National Guard Sgt. Shawn F. Hill, 37, of Wellford, S.C.

Berrettini was scheduled to return home at the end of the month after a year in Afghanistan. A nurse practitioner, he had volunteered to serve in Afghanistan. In civilian life, Berrettini was a Port Allegany High School nurse.

He joined the Pennsylvania National Guard in 1984 and was a former active duty sailor.

“He was a very good man, very professional, somebody, they trusted,” said retired teacher Ron Caskey, a former colleague of Berrettini’s. “He was a confidante.”

Tony Flint, Port Allegany superintendent of schools, said Berrettini had been an elementary school nurse for seven years before becoming a nurse at the high school, where he also worked for seven years.

Berrettini, who died at Brooke Army Medical Center, is survived by his wife, Jane; mother, Doris; brother, Nello; and sons Vincent, 26, and Christopher, 22.

Vincent Berrettini is an Air Force Academy graduate and an Air Force pilot. Christopher Berrettini is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.

Source: Military Times


Nurse Killed in Afghanistan Bombing

Pennsylvania school nurse had nearly finished tour of duty.

Author – Jennifer Moser

Army Lt. Col. Richard J. Berrettini
Army Lt. Col. Richard J. Berrettini

Lieutenant Colonel Richard J. Berrettini, RN, CRNP, 52, of the Army National Guard, died January 11 of injuries he sustained while serving at Camp Clark in Khowst, Afghanistan. Berrettini, of Eldred, Pennsylvania, was a school nurse in nearby Port Allegany. Injured in a roadside bombing January 2, Berrettini was flown to medical centers in Germany and then Texas, where he died.

“He just had a way about him that would put people at ease,” said Andrew Barrett, ANP-BC, a former coworker at the ED of Bradford Regional Medical Center in Bradford, Pennsylvania. Berrettini had a great sense of humor and great nursing skills, said Brian Benjamin, LPN, also of Bradford Regional. Asked for his favorite memory of Berrettini, Benjamin sighed. “I only have about a million of them,” he said.

Berrettini spent 15 years as a school nurse in elementary and high schools. In Afghanistan, he cared for Camp Clark personnel and for Afghan citizens, especially children. He had nearly completed his one-year tour of duty when he was injured; two others died and one other was injured in the blast. Berrettini is survived by his wife and two grown sons.

Captain David J. McDill, who served with Berrettini at Camp Clark, said, “He hated me saluting him, but I did it because it’s a sign of respect. And he earned mine.

Source: NursingCenter.com

 

 

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:

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

Sources:

Travis Griffin

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 Staff Sgt. Travis L. Griffin .


Air Force Staff Sgt. Travis L. Griffin

Died April 3, 2008 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

28, of Dover, Del.; assigned to the 377th Security Forces Squadron, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.; died April 3 near Baghdad of wounds sustained when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device.


Airman remembered as confident leader

Air Force Staff Sgt. Travis L. Griffin
Staff Sgt. Travis L. Griffin

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Air Force Staff Sgt. Travis Griffin knew the dangers of serving in Iraq, but the 28-year-old volunteered anyway as part of a yearlong deployment to help train Iraqi police officers. Griffin was on patrol in central Baghdad on Thursday when his vehicle encountered a roadside bomb and he was killed, officials at Kirtland Air Force Base confirmed late Friday. Griffin, who had served in the Air Force for nearly nine years, was a member of the 377th Security Forces Squadron at Kirtland. He had been stationed at the Albuquerque base since July 2004.

Griffin’s mother, Christine Herwick of western Ohio, was at the Clearcreek Christian Assembly in Springboro, Ohio, on Thursday when she learned of her son’s death. Griffin’s picture is on a prayer wall at the church. “He died doing what he loved,” she said. Herwick and Griffin’s stepfather, Donald Herwick III, said he was born in Okinawa, where the Herwicks were both on active duty, and traveled with them from base to base. “We knew there was risk every day,” Donald Herwick said. “He wanted to be there.”

Col. Robert Suminsby, installation commander at Kirtland, said Griffin’s mission in Iraq was much more dangerous than what most airmen are confronted with. “Most deploy for four to six months. He actually volunteered to go on a 365-day tour,” Suminsby said. “He was one of the folks that really stepped up to do not just a very dangerous and demanding mission, but one that was going to last a lot longer.” Griffin, of Dover, Del., had been in Iraq since October and was working with the 732nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron. As part of the squadron’s Detachment 3, Griffin and his fellow airmen were focused on helping build Iraq’s police force.

Capt. Kevin Eberhart, operations officer of Kirtland’s security forces, had regular talks with Griffin before he deployed last fall. The two talked about Griffin being safe and taking care of his troops as well as the importance of the mission. “The biggest thing that comes to mind when I think about him is he was definitely the right person if you had to pick one individual from our unit to go over and do this training. He was that one,” Eberhart said.

In a November interview with the American military newspaper Stars and Stripes, Griffin said: “I want to leave knowing that we’ve done something.” Eberhart described Griffin as competent and confident but not arrogant. “He had a capability and a charisma about him,” he said.


Kirtland to rename street for fallen warrior

Kirtland Air Force Base Public Affairs — Kirtland Air Force Base officials will rename a base street April 3 in honor of a fallen warrior.

The ceremony changing the name of M Street to Griffin Avenue in honor of a fallen security forces defender, Staff Sgt. Travis L. Griffin, will be at 10 a.m. at Building 20412, the security forces logistics building. The ceremony’s date commemorates the fourth anniversary of his death, when he was killed in action by a roadside bomb while deployed with the 732nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron in Baghdad, Iraq.

Travis L. Griffin
Travis L. Griffin

A former colleague recalled her experience with Griffin. “I was stationed here with Travis when I was on active duty,” said Mirella Bidgood, 377th Security Forces Squadron security specialist. “My husband, at the time, knew him and our kids were the same age, so we hung out together sometimes after work. He was awesome. He was a helper; he would do anything for anybody. He would put people first.” Bidgood said she remembers a time when Griffin helped her while her husband was deployed.  “I was about six or seven months pregnant and had to move on base,” said Bidgood. “So I had a bunch of people trying to help me move. After everyone had left, he stayed and put pictures on the wall, set up my bed and arranged my furniture. I remember him always being upbeat and having a smile on his face.”

Griffin supervised Staff Sgt. Niles Bartram, 377th Weapons Systems Security Squadron, when Bartram arrived at Kirtland AFB as an airman first class. “He was a firm leader who set the standard,” said Bartram. “He was an incredible leader. Anything he had us do, he was willing to do with us. We knew if we ever needed anything we could go to him. He got me well prepared for my job. He was the best NCO in our unit. There is no other person I would rather have been mentored by as a young Airman than Sergeant Griffin.” While stationed here, Griffin was a security forces instructor. His duties included instructing the 550 security forces Airmen on security requirements. He was a key member of the base’s deployment training center, where he instructed more than 300 Airmen in combat operations.

“It was obvious he had a strong personal connection with a number of people in the squadron,” said Chapapas. “Young people came to him for advice, while his peers and colleagues had great confidence in him. A good testament to that when his Humvee was hit, the Army medic who tried to save his life also attended his funeral in Ohio. It was very obvious that he made some of those same connections with the people he deployed with.” “The entire base was soaked in sadness,” said Bartram. “I remember the Freedom Riders lined the entire church. We lined up our whole squadron outside. You could not pack one more person into the church. Everyone was there to honor him.”

Sources:

Christopher Raible

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 Lt. Col. Christopher K. Raible.


Marine Lt. Col. Christopher K. Raible

Died September 15, 2012 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

40, of North Huntingdon, Pa.; assigned to Marine Attack Squadron 211, Marine Aircraft Group 13, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward); died Sept. 15 at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, when insurgents breached the base using small-arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire. Also killed was Marine Sgt. Bradley W. Atwell.


Bastion attack kills squadron CO, sergeant

Marine Lt. Col. Christopher K. Raible
Lt. Col. Christopher K. Raible

U.S. forces in Afghanistan were moving forward Monday following a bold attack on Camp Bastion that killed two Marines, including the commanding officer of a Harrier squadron, wounded nine other U.S. personnel and destroyed six Harrier jump jets. Lt. Col. Christopher Raible, 40, and Sgt. Bradley Atwell, 27, were killed after 15 insurgents armed with automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and suicide vests breached the perimeter of Bastion about 10 p.m. Friday. Raible served as the commanding officer of Marine Attack Squadron 211, and Atwell was assigned to Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 13. Both units are out of Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz.

The attack was launched on a British base that is home to several U.S. Marine aviation units and coalition forces from several other countries. It abuts Camp Leatherneck, the main hub of Marine operations in Afghanistan, forming a sprawling complex connected by bus routes and other services.

Sturdevant, commanding officer of 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), told Marine Corps Times that the “more intense fighting was in the first hour or so” after the insurgents breached the wire. However, it took about five hours to ensure that the base was secure. Virtually all of the Marines working on the flight line at the time responded to the attack, as well as personnel with 3rd MAW (Fwd.) living on a nearby portion of Bastion, Sturdevant said.  “Had they not done what they did, it could have been a lot of worse,” Sturdevant said. “Obviously on the wing, we focus on fixing aircraft and flying those aircraft in support of ground forces. But, when forced to, we can quickly transition to offense on the ground, and that’s exactly what happened Friday night.”

U.S. military officials said Saturday that in addition to the two Marines killed, eight service members and one civilian contractor were wounded in the attack. None of their injuries are considered life-threatening, but Sturdevant said two of them have been medically evacuated to the U.S. for additional treatment.


Slain Marine commander’s actions in Afghanistan called heroic

Lt. Col. Christopher K. Raible was heading home to video-chat with his wife after dinner when the first blasts rang out. The pops in the distance on Sept. 14 at Camp Bastion in southern Afghanistan were harbingers of the most audacious Taliban attack on a major NATO base in the decade-long war.

Like most folks in the sprawling remote desert camp, Raible, 40, a Marine fighter pilot, faced two choices: seek cover or run toward the sound of gunfire. “The difference between me and some people is that when they hear gunfire, they run. When I hear gunfire, I run to it,” the squadron commander had often told his Marines, half in jest, recalled Maj. Greer Chambless, who was with Raible on the night of the attack. That evening, Raible did just that. Armed only with a handgun, he embarked on a course that cost him his life and probably averted even more devastating losses, witnesses and comrades said.

At least 15 heavily armed insurgents dressed in U.S. Army uniforms snuck inside the British-run airfield and incinerated six U.S. fighter jets, each worth about $25 million. The attack offered a sobering glimpse of the capabilities of the Taliban in Helmand province, one of the key targets of the American troop surge that ended this past week. It resulted in a staggering loss of military materiel and served as a reminder of the challenges of winding down the war by the end of 2014.

Marine Lt. Col. Christopher K. Raible
Marine Lt. Col. Christopher K. Raible

By daybreak the next morning, as smoke stopped billowing from the airfield and weary commanders gave the all-clear to U.S. Marines and British Special Forces troops who spent the night defending the camp, it wasn’t the threats raised by the infiltration on the minds of many people on the base. Rather, they were primarily struck by the actions of a tough and widely admired commander who returned home in a coffin.

When it became clear Bastion was under attack, Raible threw on body armor and jumped in a vehicle with Chambless. Because his rifle was not nearby, the commander charged into the combat zone armed only with a handgun. The two men exchanged nary a word during the short drive as they scanned the landscape for insurgents. When they got to the flight line, Raible dashed into a maintenance room and began barking out orders to the Marines who would soon push the assailants back.

Backed by a handful of men, he ran toward another building to check whether the troops there were safe. Along the way, Raible and his men were attacked. He and Sgt. Bradley W. Atwell, 27, of Kokomo, Ind., died of wounds from an explosion, said Lt. Col. Stewart Upton, a military spokesman. Chambless was devastated but not particularly surprised. “It was very fitting that he was killed leading his men from the front,” the major said.

The men Raible led out of the maintenance building fought back, pushing one team of five assailants into a remote area of the airfield, where they were killed in an airstrike. A Taliban statement said the intended purpose of the raid was to catch the foreign troops by surprise and attack them in bed. Upton said Raible and his men helped prevent what could have been catastrophic losses. Nine of the remaining assailants were killed in the following hours, and one was wounded. “The feeling is that because of the aggressive counter we were able to contain them,” Upton said.

Sources:

Bruno Solenni

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 Capt. Bruno G. de Solenni.


Army Capt. Bruno G. de Solenni

Died September 20, 2008 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

32, of Crescent City, Calif.; assigned to the Joint Forces Headquarters, Element Training Team, Oregon Army National Guard; died Sept. 20 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.


Capt. Bruno de Solenni

Bruno Solenni
Capt. Bruno de Solenni

Oregon National Guard Capt. Dominic Oto described Bruno de Solenni as smart, kind and with a steel core that made him the best officer on the team. “He loved the Afghans, and in combat never was there a better operator or leader,” Oto said. “The man was absolutely fearless.”

De Solenni, 32, of Crescent City, Calif., was killed by a roadside bomb Sept. 20 in Kandahar. He was a 1994 high school graduate and was assigned to the Joint Forces Headquarters. 

Before being stationed in Afghanistan for the past nine months, the Oregon National Guardsman had served in Egypt and Iraq, where he had a previous brush with death. “He was on patrol when he had a mortar — it turned out to be a dud — drop right between his legs,” said his father, Mario. “We always thought Bruno was invincible.”

He had labored as a crab fishermen and a logger and was working toward his bachelor’s degree from Southern Oregon University in Ashland. “He was always one to inspire people, no matter where he was, he was able to bring out the good qualities in people,” said his brother, Gino. He also is survived by his mother, Cali Martin.


Army National Guard Capt. Bruno de Solenni, 32, Crescent City; killed by roadside bomb in Afghanistan

As a timber faller, Bruno de Solenni labored through the spring and summer in groves of giant redwood, cedar and fir. As a soldier, he died in Afghanistan, and the tree trunks he sawed and milled became his coffin.

The Army National Guard captain was killed Sept. 20 when a roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle, on which he was a gunner, in Kandahar, Afghanistan, southwest of Kabul.

De Solenni, 32, was assigned to the Joint Forces Headquarters, Element Training Team in Salem, Ore. In Afghanistan, he was helping to train the national army.

Capt. Dominic Oto, who was driving the vehicle when it struck the 500-pound explosive, remembered De Solenni as a natural leader with a generous spirit — “one of the finest battle captains I’ve ever seen.”

Oto met De Solenni in January but said he had heard of him long before. “Everybody always had a Bruno story,” he said. “It was like hanging out with the Fonz. He was the coolest guy you ever met.”

De Solenni’s father, Mario, learned that his son won over Afghan troops when, upon meeting them, he jumped onto a table, raised a fist and yelled, “I am Capt. Bruno! I am here to lead you into battle!”

De Solenni’s mother, California Martin, said, “He was so moved by how terribly the Taliban treated people. He felt a great deal that [the Afghan people] needed someone to help them stand up.”

Bruno Solenni
Bruno de Solenni

A native of Crescent City, Calif., a coastal town of about 7,500 residents just south of the Oregon border, De Solenni had served in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula in 2003 and in Iraq in 2005.

“He started getting deployed a lot when he didn’t have to,” said Todd Nickel, who lowered the casket that he and De Solenni’s family built into the grave they dug at the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church cemetery in Crescent City. “He actually thought they were making a difference.”

Nickel hired De Solenni fresh out of high school at his logging company, Northwest Chopping, but not without hesitation.

“I didn’t think he was really for it,” said Nickel, 47. “It just struck me odd he’d work so hard when he didn’t have to.”

De Solenni persisted and eventually became Nickel’s business partner.

When it wasn’t logging season, the two fished for crab on Nickel’s boat. De Solenni eventually bought his own 36-foot vessel, the Sea Belle.

About twice a year, De Solenni and his identical twin, Ricardo, hunted for deer.

Last November, the brothers and a friend hunted through Colorado, Idaho and Wyoming in what Ricardo de Solenni said “was the best trip I remember” with his brother.

“We were always kind of pranksters, just having a good time,” he said. “Bruno was the guy you wanted to be doing that with. You felt a lot more secure, that he had your back and wouldn’t sell you short.”

“When an Afghan comes up to you thanking you for everything that you have done to help them and for making their [home] a better place now that the Taliban are gone . . . this is probably the biggest reason why I proudly enjoy being over here,” Bruno de Solenni wrote nine days before his death in an e-mail that was later published in his hometown paper, the Daily Triplicate.

De Solenni didn’t join the military in 1996 with the same convictions though. He enlisted the day after Christmas, feeling “like I was going nowhere with my life and needed to take a new direction,” he wrote to a Triplicate reporter. “I was always fascinated with history and the military, and was amazed at some of the hardships my grandfather endured in both WWI and WWII.”

That interest led him to enroll at Southern Oregon University, where in 2004 he earned a bachelor’s degree in history.

While trying to convince Nickel that he was an aspiring lumberjack De Solenni insisted that he had no intention of following in his parents’ footsteps by becoming a lawyer or teacher. In time, his goals changed.

De Solenni filled in as a substitute teacher at his alma mater, Del Norte High School, where his mother teaches Spanish. With his father, a lawyer, he spoke of a future in politics, where he would fight against big government and environmental restrictions on woodlands.

“He took this stuff personally and thought people should do something about it,” Nickel said. “That’s what I admired about him. . . . He believed in what he was doing.” 

In addition to his parents and twin, he is survived by another brother, Gino; and a sister, Pia Conway.

Sources:

Kenneth Cochran

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. Kenneth E. Cochran.


Marine Lance Cpl. Kenneth E. Cochran

Died January 15, 2012 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

20, of Wilder, Idaho; assigned to 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa, Japan; died Jan. 15 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, while conducting combat operations.


Wilder Marine Kenneth Cochran found joy in helping others

Kenneth Cochran
Marine Lance Cpl. Kenneth E. Cochran

PARMA — Born with his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, Kenny Cochran spent his first days in a neonatal unit fighting to survive. For the next 20 years, he didn’t take a moment for granted. “Live life every second, because every second counts,” Kenny wrote for an assignment at Parma High School on his life goals. He also wrote that the country he’d most like to visit was Afghanistan. He wanted to be a Marine, and he thought Afghanistan was a place where he could test his body and soul, where he could learn to fight and bring honor to himself and his country.

About 450 people gathered in the Parma High School gymnasium Sunday to remember Kenny. The Marine from Wilder died in Afghanistan Jan. 15 at age 20. In a written statement, Kenny’s mother, Julia, remembered her son as always on the move. As a child, he zoomed around on a red electric Jeep. Later, he graduated to a Model A pickup go-kart his father built, then a motor bike and finally a Camaro. Motoring around, he always shone an ebullient smile, she said.

His uncle, Jim Howell, recalled Kenny as an energetic boy running wild with his brother and sisters. After the others grew tired, Kenny would keep playing, alone. He entertained himself with a game: he would knock on a door then jump out of the doorway and laugh out loud, pretending to surprise himself, Howell remembered.

As he grew, Kenny harnessed his energy. At 13, he decided to become a Marine like his father, George. But he doubted the Marines would take him, so he endeavored to become stronger and smarter. He trained with weights and studied from a book of vocabulary words he kept in his pocket.

Kenny also developed a love for the written word. He had a hard time talking about his beliefs — honor, freedom and responsibility — so he spent endless hours creating stories, poems and essays, expressing himself through writing. “His ideals came from an earlier era of chivalry,” his mother said. “He would have made an exceptional knight during the early Crusades.”

His pastor, Dale Larson, remembered sitting in his pickup truck one day when Kenny approached him and started a conversation. The Parma High graduate seemed so mature and spoke so eloquently about matters of faith that Larson was awestruck. Kenny was concerned about people acting selfishly when there’s so much good work to be done in the world, Larson said. He believed that life is about helping others. “I watched him walk away and thought, there is a good man. He is a good man,” Larson said.

Another time, Kenny visited his uncle’s house, which was under construction. After writing his favorite Bible verse, Psalm 23, on a beam, Kenny climbed up into the unfinished rafters and began walking around. His uncle looked up and expressed concern for his nephew’s safety. “He told me, ‘I’m going to be a Marine. If I fell off, I wouldn’t be a very good Marine.’ I had to let Kenny go. I had to let him be his own person,” Jim Howell said.

Kenneth Cochran
Kenneth E. Cochran

The Cochran family has a legacy of military service. Kenny’s mother, Julia, is an Army captain on active reserve, his father, George, is a retired Marine, and his older sister, Joyce, is an Army specialist. Joyce Cochran was also serving in Afghanistan when Kenny was there. About a week before he died, they spent time together. Kenny showed her around his base and introduced her to his fellow Marines. He was happy to be with his sister and proud to be in Afghanistan following his life’s dreams. “He died wearing his Marine uniform. He was so proud of it. I can be happy knowing he will be in it until the end of time,” Joyce said.


Pendleton, Okinawa Marines die in Afghanistan

Two Marines were killed Sunday in Afghanistan, according to the Defense Department.

Cpl. Jon-Luke Bateman and Lance Cpl. Kenneth E. Cochran died in combat in Helmand province, Pentagon officials said in a news release issued Tuesday. It’s not immediately clear if their deaths are related. Bateman, 22, of Tulsa, Okla., was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, out of Camp Pendleton, Calif. An infantryman, he was on his first combat deployment. Cochran, 20, of Wilder, Idaho, was assigned to 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, out of Okinawa, Japan. He was a water support technician.

Marines with 2/4 have been operating in the southern part of Musa Qala, according Lt. Col. Bill Vivian, the battalion’s commander, who posted a message Saturday on the unit’s Facebook page. Earlier this month they launched Operation Double Check, aimed at booting Taliban fighters from the area, which he referred to as “contested terrain.” The enemy, he said in his message, “doesn’t want to let it go.”

Vivian said 2/4 is scheduled to be replaced in March by Camp Pendleton’s 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines. Ninth ESB has been in theater only since late-November.

Sources: