Sheldon Hawk Eagle

Army Pfc. Sheldon Hawk Eagle

Died November 15, 2003 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom


Army Private First Class Sheldon Ray Hawk Eagle
Army Private First Class Sheldon Ray Hawk Eagle

Army Private First Class Sheldon Ray Hawk Eagle, 21. Her nephew was quiet and loyal, a mature young man who gave every decision careful thought, says Turner, who helped raise him after his parents died. “He didn’t jump into anything,” she recalls. “He was very meticulous and organized.” Sheldon was from Grand Forks, North Dakota and was a member assigned to the, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; killed Nov. 15 when two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters crashed in Mosul, Iraq.

Sheldon was killed from injuries suffered during combat operations in Iraq. Sheldon Hawk Eagle was a talented artist who loved to draw and paint, and a classic car buff who knew every model he saw on the road. Hawk Eagle also adored kids and talked about a career in child psychology, and looking forward to using the Post 9-11 GI Bill. Our Eagle soars with wings, today.

If you listen closely, you will hear the angels pray.

He’ll be watching from above Still sharing of his love. “Our nation owes him our utmost gratitude and earnest thanks. To his sister, grandfather, the elders and friends of his Native American Tribe. Know that your precious one loved his family and country deeply. Private First Class Hawk Eagle joins the thousands who have given, so that you and I might enjoy the freedoms that we enjoy today.”


Sheldon Ray Hawk Eagle
Sheldon Ray Hawk Eagle

The Wings Of An Eagle

Sheldon Ray Hawk Eagle of Grand Forks, North Dakota was carried to the Heart of

All that is, Paha Sapa, the Black Hills and laid to rest as

Warrior with honor, dignity and respect.

The coffin and the pall bearers were purified with

Sweet grass. Each of the twelve, wore yellow ribbons

Tied around their arms.

The Lakota people are a warrior people. It is an honor

To be a warrior and protect your land, your freedom and

Your family. Because they were here first,

They love the land more than any other race.

This Lakota Warrior made the ultimate sacrifice

For both his Nations.

For 18 hours, an overnight vigil, hundreds of Tribal

Members listened to both Christian and Lakota

Prayers and honor songs by drum groups.

There were giveaways and feasts.

At sunrise, a two hour funeral, followed by a three

Hour procession, carried Hawk Eagle’s body

One hundred and fifty miles to the Black Hills,

The heart of all there is in Lakota tradition.

Color guards from the Cheyenne River, Rosebud,

Standing Rock, Oglala and Sisseton Wahpeton

Tribes bore the flags of the Nations.

Proof of the family’s goodwill was evident,

When they began giving away jars, vases, and

Baskets of flowers that had been sent.

They handed out bouquets to the elders and then

One flower for each of the mourners to press in the

Memorial program in remembrance.

Pillows, towels, baskets bowls and household goods

Were passed out to the hundreds in attendance.

Giveaways are traditional among the nations during

Important occasions. It is the Lakota way.

Sheldon’s sister, Frankie and their relatives,

Stood to drape stack after stack of

Lakota Star quilts over friends and elders.

The Lakota have a relationship, with the Big Dipper

Constellation. In Lakota culture, it is said to help the

Deceased on their way to the spirit world.

The family completed the giveaway and faced the east.

Mitakuye Oyasin, all my relatives, began the elder.

Tunkasila, (grandfather)

We pray for this day, your wisdom and not our own.

We pray for one mind and one spirit.

Sheldon descends from Tshunka Witko.

Chief Crazy Horse who helped defeat

Lt. Col.George Armstrong Custer, at the

Battle of Greasy Creek (Little Big Horn).

As he was being buried, a Black Hawk helicopter flew

Over the cemetery, lingered in the snowy hills.

It flew into the heart of all that is,

And was gone.

~~Somehow, it did not seem like enough. ~~

Our Eagle soars with wings, today.

If you listen closely, you will hear the

Angels pray.

He’ll be watching from above

Still sharing of his love.


Sources:

  • CBSNews.com
  • MilitaryTimes.com

Scott A. Saboe

Army Chief Warrant Officer (CW2) Scott A. Saboe

Died November 15, 2003 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom


Scott Saboe, 33, was born and raised in Willow Lake, South Dakota graduating from high school in 1989. His father, Arlo, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, said he had not been told much about what happened.

Saboe was a serious, committed man who planned a military career, friends said.

Army Chief Warrant Officer (CW2) Scott A. Saboe
Army Chief Warrant Officer (CW2) Scott A. Saboe

“He died doing what he loved, and he was a dedicated soldier. That’s all there is to it,” said Bill Stobbs, a former teacher and football coach who now is the principal at Willow Lake.

Saboe played center on the football team and was on the basketball and track teams.

Willow Lake pulled together to support Saboe’s father, Stobbs said.

“Soon as people heard the news, there was just person after person showing up at his house,” Stobbs said.

Willow Lake farmer Curwin Bratland, a high school friend, said a group of friends recently sent a greeting card to Saboe in Iraq.

“I wrote to him, said I’m very proud of him and everything that they’ve done,” Bratland said. “I said I hope he gets back, and we’ll have a cold one together.”

Scott Saboe “was giving his all and believing what he was doing,” said Darin Michalski, a childhood friend. “That’s what makes me most proud of him, I guess. Most of us can go through our whole lives and don’t really accomplish anything and some of us only live to be 33, and we’re heroes.”


Funeral held for soldier killed in Iraq

WILLOW LAKE, S.D. — a crowd estimated at more than 600 attended the funeral Wednesday for Chief Warrant Officer 2 Scott Saboe, a Willow Lake soldier killed Nov. 15 in the crash of two Army helicopters in Iraq.

Saboe, 33, was described as soldier who served his country proudly.

Army Chief Warrant Officer (CW2) Scott A. Saboe
101st Airborne Division

Capt. John Butora of the 101st Airborne Division said Saboe was “the best and brightest pilot we had, he was always the guy we’d turn to in a pinch.”

Saboe always kept his comrades upbeat in difficult situations, Butora said.

“He leaves behind a legacy of faith, honor and service to his country,” said Maj. Gen. Kevin Campbell. “His name joins other American who gave their lives to preserve our freedom.”

The funeral will be held in the Willow Lake School gym.

The 1989 Willow Lake High School graduate was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart posthumously before being buried with full military honors.

Saboe is survived by his wife, Franceska, and 6-year-old son, Dustin, of Newton, Ala.

Seventeen soldiers were killed in the crash.


Life Legacy

Arlo was born on November 12, 1970 at DeSmet, SD, the son of Arlo and Linda (Yexley) Saboe. He grew to adulthood in the Willow Lake community attending Willow Lake grade school and graduating from high school in 1989. While attending high school he worked for Floyd Mundhenke, even going out there for a day or so when he was home on leave from the service. On September 12, 1989 he enlisted in the United States Army taking his boot camp training at Ft. Dix, NJ. He completed AIT at Ft. Dix, NJ and was also stationed at Ft. Belvoir, VA. He also served on the base at Ramstein, Germany where he was the postmaster and also was the Post Commanders driver.

Following that he was stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC in the 82nd Airborne. He was one a few survivors of the Ft. Hope, NC accident and was promoted ahead of others due to his willingness to work.

Scott A. Saboe
Scott A. Saboe

On October 22, 1994 he was united in marriage to Franceska Kabet at Raleigh, NC. They moved to Boise, Idaho where he was an Army recruiter and also so he could hunt. On May 4, 1997, a son, Dustin Scott Saboe was born, which Scott was in awe of. He also attended his little Sisters graduation from ROTC Advanced Camp at Ft. Lewis, WA in 1998. He also took her 1st Salute at Brookings, SD.

He was selected to become a warrant officer and was an honor graduate at Ft. Rucker. He chose to fly a Blackhawk because it was the most versatile. He went to Ft. Stanley, Korea, flew over the DMZ, which he volunteered for due to the ability to get many hours in the air. He wanted to be the best of the best. In early 2002, he was transferred to Ft. Campbell and became a part of the 101st Airborne Division.

In February of this year he was deployed to Operations Iraqi where he was the lead command pilot for the Blackhawks. Recently he had been selected to go to Blackhawk instructor school at Ft. Rucker.

Some of his awards, honors and other decorations he has received are the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon and the Army Oversees Service Ribbon. At today’s services, he will be awarded posthumous, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. He will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him.

Some of his fondest moments though were spent hunting and fishing and spending quality time with his Dad.


Memorial Service

Grateful for having shared his life is his wife Franceska and son Dustin of Newton, Alabama, Father, Arlo Saboe of Willow Lake, a sister, Ann & Mike Remington and Breanna of Silver Spring, MD, Maternal Grandparents, Ernest and Helen Yexley of Bradley, Paternal Grandmother, Borghild Saboe of Bryant and many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

Preceding him in death was his Mother, Linda Saboe in 2000, Paternal Grandfather, Clarence Saboe in 1985 and an Uncle, Jean Saboe in 2001.

This memorial provided by: Furness Funeral Home

Sources: Associated Press, Military Times

Kevin J. Griffin

Army Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin J. Griffin — September 2013 Shipment Honoree

Died August 8, 2012 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom


Army Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin J. Griffin
Army Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin J. Griffin

CASPER, Wyo. — Relatives of a Wyoming soldier who was killed in a suicide attack in Afghanistan remember him as a man who was intensely dedicated to the military and to his family.

The Defense Department said Thursday that 45-year-old Army Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin J. Griffin, who grew up in Riverton, was killed Wednesday.

Dustin Griffin, the soldier’s nephew, told the Casper Star-Tribune he would never forget the time his uncle took him to Fort Carson in Colorado when he was 10 and let him sit in a military tank.

“He was definitely 100 percent Army,” Dustin Griffin said. “He was all about the Army. … He lived it.”

Meanwhile, Shawn Griffin described his brother — a 24-year Army veteran and father of two — as someone who loved his family even more than the military, adding that Kevin Griffin was a “very competitive, fun-loving, real adventurous-type kid” growing up.

Kevin Griffin competed on the Riverton High School wrestling team and won a state championship before attending Northwest Community College in Powell. He transferred to the University of Wyoming after two years, joined the military and continued to wrestle for the Army.

During his Army career, he served three tours in Iraq and had been deployed to Kuwait and the Balkans. Griffin was on a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan when he was killed.

Kevin J. Griffin
Kevin J. Griffin

“He truly believed in what he was doing, and that’s the one solace that we kind of get out of this,” Shawn Griffin said. “He was where he wanted to be.”

Wednesday’s attack also killed Army Maj. Thomas E. Kennedy, 35, of West Point, N.Y.; Air Force Maj. Walter D. Gray, 38, of Conyers, Ga.; and USAID Foreign Service officer Ragaei Abdelfattah.

Griffin and Kennedy were assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division based at Fort Carson.

Gray was an air liaison officer and flight commander for the Fort Carson-based 13th Air Support Operations Squadron, which is part of the 93d Air Ground Operations Wing headquartered at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia.


Griffin remembered as father figure

Army Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin J. Griffin
Army Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin J. Griffin

The Gazette reported that Lt. Col. Scott Mueller said at the memorial service Tuesday that the Army’s culture of structure and discipline were a perfect fit for Griffin, but Griffin also would often joke with his troops.

Mueller remembered how Griffin would suggest a trip to the golf course right when his soldier evaluations were due. And Mueller smirked when Griffin then offered a shot or two of tequila.

“Griff was an inspirational leader, like a father to his troops,” Mueller said. “Kevin always had a way of keeping people focused through laughter.”

Kevin Griffin’s son, Sgt. Dane Griffin, and his nephew Spc. Derek Griffin each joined the military in his footsteps.

“He didn’t want us to go, but he was proud at the same time,” Derek Griffin said.

After the service at Fort Carson, a procession traveled from the Army post outside Colorado Springs to Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver for his burial.

Scores of people dabbed their eyes under graying skies while others wept softly during the memorial service.

“The Army in this country has lost a great soldier and a champion,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Jody Heikkinen.

“Let us hold their service dear,” said Lt. Col. Keith Goode. “Let us make sure that their sacrifice is not in vain.”

The three men received a 21-gun salute before a single trumpet broke the silence.

Source: Military Times

Jennifer J. Harris

Marine Capt. Jennifer J. Harris — September 2013 Shipment Honoree

Died February 7, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom


The Early Years

Capt. Jennifer J. Harris
Capt. Jennifer J. Harris
November 6, 1978 ~ February 7, 2007

Jennifer Jean Harris was born on November 6, 1978, to Rosalie and Ray Harris of Swampscott, Massachusetts. As a young child she developed a determination to overcome obstacles in achieving her goals and a compassion for others. She was serious yet full of enthusiasm, and as she grew, so did her enthusiasm for life. That enthusiasm and her beautiful smile were contagious to those around her.

Her high school yearbook quote reflects her core values of hard work, excellence, compassion and service to others:

“You cannot hope to build a better world without improving individuals. To that end each of us must work for his own improvement, and at the same time share a general responsibility for humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful.” -Marie Curie

As a senior in high school, she learned about the military academies. They intrigued her as she wanted a different college experience, different from the four-year traditional model. After visiting the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD and the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY and receiving appointments to both, she selected the Naval Academy. Her multifarious interests, her passion for serving others and her love of sailing combined to draw her to Annapolis.

The Naval Academy Years

Capt. Jennifer J. Harris
Capt. Jennifer J. Harris

During her senior year at Swampscott High School, Jennifer volunteered at Congressman Peter Torkildsen’s office and developed a love of politics. She went on to become a Political Science major at The United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD.

The United States Naval Academy (USNA) is an undergraduate college that educates and commissions officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps. The mission at USNA is “to develop Midshipmen morally, mentally and physically and to imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, honor and loyalty in order to graduate leaders who are dedicated to a career of naval service and have potential for future development in mind and character to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship and government.”

On July 2, 1996, Induction Day (I-Day), Jen began her new life at the United States Naval Academy with a rigorous day of medical examinations, uniform fittings, equipment issue, completing paperwork, getting her first Plebe haircut, and being assigned to a Brigade of Midshipmen military unit – Echo Company – for Plebe Summer. Jen took her Oath of Office to become a U.S. Navy Midshipman during the evening Oath of Office Ceremony in the court yard of Bancroft Hall, thus officially becoming a Midshipman and beginning her Plebe Summer Training. Jen’s USNA Class of 2000 comprised 1,212 Midshipmen 4th Class (Freshmen), 16.5% or 200 of which were women.

During Jen’s Plebe year her Company, 9th Company, was selected to be the Color Company based on its accomplishments. As a member of the Color Company she was present at the December 1997 Army-Navy Game for President Bill Clinton’s review and she participated in his inauguration in January 1998.

For the remainder of her years at USNA, Jen was in 18th Company. Her activities at the Naval Academy included membership on two athletic teams — the USNA Power Lifting Team, and the USNA Intercollegiate (IC) Sailing Team, where she raced Lasers. She also continued her commitment to others through the community service activities of being a Religious Education instructor at The USNA Chapel and by participating in Toys for Tots, a program she started replicating the one of her hometown in Swampscott, MA.

In the Summer of 1998, as a Midshipmen 2nd Class (Junior), she was a member of a cadre of First and Second Class Midshipmen, known as Detailers, providing leadership and training for the incoming 4th Class Midshipmen, the Class of 2002. In this role she was a Squad Leader assigned to 10 Plebes for Plebe Summer making sure they were trained in the Naval Academy tradition and ensuring they were physically and mentally fit.

Jen’s leadership skills continued to develop and as a “Firstie” (Midshipmen 1st Class, a Senior), she was chosen to be a “Brigade Striper”, a much-respected position of leadership and responsibility within the Brigade of Midshipmen. The Brigade consists of 30 companies and the Midshipman Command Structure is made up of First Class Midshipmen selected for their outstanding leadership performance.

During the Class of 2000 Commissioning Week, she received a Political Science Department Award for her accomplishments and enjoyed with her family many of the Commissioning Week activities leading up to Graduation and Commissioning Ceremonies. On May 24, 2000, at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, MD, Jen graduated with her Class following which she was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps.

Marine Years

Marine Capt. Jennifer J. Harris
Marine Capt. Jennifer J. Harris

During her years at the Academy, Jen’s upper-class Midshipmen and role models, who were going to become Marines, impressed her. They are the reason she chose to become a United States Marine Corps Officer and pilot. Like the Marines who consider themselves “The Best of the Best,” Jen always set high standards and goals for herself and worked hard to accomplish them.

Following graduation from USNA and her commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps, Jen went to The Basic School (TBS) in Quantico, Virginia. At TBS, she spent 6 months training and developing the professional knowledge and skills necessary to effectively lead Marines under her command. After graduating from TBS, Jen reported to Naval Air Station Pensacola, FL for Aviation Preflight Indoctrination. While there, she completed physical training and courses in engineering, air navigation, aviation physiology and water survival. After completing her training, Jen reported for primary flight training at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, TX where she was trained to fly the T-34 turbo propeller, fixed-wing aircraft.

Upon completing primary flight training, Jen was selected to fly helicopters, which brought her to Naval Air Station Whiting Field in Milton, FL. As a member of Helicopter Training Squadron Eight (HT-8) Jen completed a rigorous program and earned her coveted Wings of Gold on September 13, 2002.

Upon completing her CH-46 training, Jen was assigned to Marine Helicopter Squadron HMM-364, Purple Foxes, and immediately deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). HMM-364 is a legendary squadron. In Vietnam, they became famous for repeatedly going into harm’s way, under any conditions, in order to evacuate the wounded. That dedication continued in OIF.

During her time with HMM-364, Jen was chosen to attend The Weapons and Tactics Instructor’s Course (WTI), the Marine equivalent to Top Gun training. Jen was the first deployed female pilot in the Purple Foxes Squadron and served three tours of duty in Iraq. While she was with the Purple Foxes, she was promoted twice; first to the rank of First Lieutenant, and then to the rank of Captain.

During Jen’s first OIF tour with the Purple Foxes at the Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait in 2003, her enlisted Marines affectionately dubbed her “The Dove”. While on her daily exercise runs she would hear some of the enlisted say, “There goes the dove.” She learned that they were referring to her as she ran by and was told that this was because they considered her “the prettiest and calmest thing in a war zone.”

Substantiating this image was a fellow Marine Corps pilot’s wife who said, “Jen was grace under pressure. She was gentle and peaceful, beautiful and elegant. At the same time she was strong, confidant, motivated and humbly commanded the utmost respect of all those around her. She was courageous.”

As a casualty evacuation pilot, Jen saved countless lives. According to her Commanding Officer, “Jennifer brought out the best in those around her because she was so demanding of herself, yet understanding of others. She believed in her mission as a helicopter pilot and dedicated fourteen and fifteen hour days while deployed in Iraq to ensure that every mission was well coordinated and executed as safely as possible. She watched out for the young pilots in the squadron and took them under her wing. She used to kid that she was their mother hen. She was equally protective of her peers and those senior to her. She was after all, a Purple Fox. She was always professional but managed to make things pleasant with her endearing personality.”

On February 7, 2007, on the very last flight of her third deployment, only days before coming home, and after completing a successful casualty evacuation mission, Captain Jennifer J. Harris was killed in action when the helicopter she was piloting was shot down by insurgents. That day and many days before it, the Dove flew so others could live.

The Symbol of the Purple Butterfly

The butterfly has long symbolized new life. Aztec beliefs include a belief in an afterlife where the spirit of the dead returns as butterflies. In the Aztec tradition, two addition beliefs related to Monarch Butterflies are known- they are believed to be the incarnation of fallen warriors wearing their colors of battle; they carry the soul of the fallen warrior.

While visiting Jen’s resting place on the 7th month anniversary of her passing (7 September 2007), a monarch butterfly arose from behind her headstone and encircled her loved ones, Linda and Laura, again and again, as if she were giving them hugs. Shortly after that, at a memorial service for four Service Academy women killed that year in service to their country, a maquette called “Woman Soar: Porcelain on Steel” was presented to each family with Linda accepting the Harris/Macone Maquette. The artist who created the Maquettes worked with the Aztec beliefs stated above. Her inspiration came from watching the emergence of a monarch from its jeweled jade chrysalis while she was painting a mirror at the Long Beach Veterans hospital.

The purple butterfly symbolizes Jen’s life by blending the Aztec beliefs and the family’s experiences with Jen’s squadron, HMM-364, the Purple Foxes. This symbol, the purple butterfly, has, therefore, special meaning for Jen’s family and friends.

Written by Linda Macone and Laura M. Ventimiglia

The Dove Story

Captain Jennifer J. Harris has become widely known as “The Dove”. It seems that people created their own explanations for how and where this nickname originated. According to Jen, as she told her Aunt Linda and her other family members, at the time she became aware of people referring to her as “The Dove” she was stationed at the Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait in 2003. On her daily exercise runs she would hear some of the enlisted say, “There goes the dove.” She had been told that they said this because they considered her “The prettiest and calmest thing in a war zone.” Corroborating this explanation are several people who either served with Jen or had relatives served with Jen during her first deployment to Kuwait for Operation Iraqi Freedom I.

Source: Seven Stars Foundation


Marine killed in Iraq

The Associated Press

SWAMPSCOTT, Mass. — Marine Capt. Jennifer Harris, a Swampscott woman and Naval Academy graduate, died when the helicopter she was piloting crashed Feb. 7 in a field northwest of Baghdad, killing all seven people on board.

Harris, 28, a graduate of Swampscott High School, was on her third tour and was scheduled to be home next week, said Jim Schultz, the town veterans’ agent.

“She was a great kid,” he said.

Harris was the second Swampscott resident to die in Iraq in the last six months and is believed to be the first woman from Massachusetts to die in the war. Army Spc. Jared Raymond, 20, of Swampscott, died when the tank he was driving was hit by a roadside bomb Sept. 19 in Taji, Iraq.

“Jennifer Harris exemplified the best of what this country has to offer,” a statement released by family spokesman Anthony Macone said. “She had a passion for life and was a compassionate human being.”

Macone declined to comment further when contacted by The Associated Press.

Harris graduated from the Naval Academy in 2000, after choosing the difficult path of training as a Marine officer, Schultz said.

“She liked to take on the challenges,” Schultz said.

The crash that killed Harris remains under investigation, with conflicting reports of what caused the transport helicopter to go down. A U.S. military statement gave no reason for the crash of the CH-46 Sea Knight, which went down near Fallujah in Anbar province, about 20 miles from Baghdad. Marine Corps officials at the Pentagon said the aircraft was in flames when it went down, but there was no sign that it involved hostile fire.

An Iraqi air force officer, however, said the helicopter was downed by an anti-aircraft missile. An al-Qaida-linked group, the Islamic State in Iraq, claimed on its Web site that it shot down the helicopter.


Marine pilot killed in Iraq buried in Swampscott

The Associated Press

SWAMPSCOTT, Mass. — The first servicewoman from Massachusetts to be killed in the Iraq war was buried with full military honors Monday, less than two weeks after the helicopter she was piloting in Iraq was shot down.

Marine Capt. Jennifer Harris, 28, was taken by horse-drawn hearse to a funeral service at St. John the Evangelist Church. Bagpipes played as Marines in full uniform carried her casket inside.

The eulogy was delivered by Lt. Rose Gascinski, who roomed with Harris at the Naval Academy before Harris, of Swampscott, graduated in 2000. Harris then choose the difficult path of training as a Marine officer.

Speaking before the service, Gascinski said Harris earned the nickname “Dove” at the Naval Academy for her calm demeanor in the face of adversity. Gascinski said those qualities would have served Harris well when the Marine CH-46 troop transport she was piloting went down northwest of Baghdad on Feb. 7.

“I was thinking that if I wanted anybody to be my pilot in that moment, I would want it to be her,” Gascinski said.

All seven people on board the helicopter were killed. An al-Qaida-linked Sunni group claimed responsibility for shooting down the helicopter, and aired a video.

Harris’ body arrived home Thursday, accompanied by a Marine escort, Maj. Christopher Aaby, her fiance.

Harris, a graduate of Swampscott High School, had been on her third tour in Iraq. She was scheduled to return home the week after she was killed.

Harris was the second Swampscott resident to be killed in Iraq in the last six months. Army Spc. Jared Raymond, 20, of Swampscott, was killed when the tank he was driving was hit by a roadside bomb on Sept. 19 in Taji, Iraq.

Source: Military Times: HONOR THE FALLEN

Kenneth W Harris Jr

Army SGT Kenneth W. Harris Jr — August 2013 Shipment Honoree

Died August 20 2003 while serving in Iraq


Kenneth W Harris Jr
Kenneth W Harris Jr

SGT Kenneth W Harris Jr has a twin brother, Nathan Harris, who spoke with him a week prior to his passing. His brother reported that the last time they spoke he seemed to be more concerned with family back home than about himself. Nathan said “I can’t even explain it. I just talked to him last weekend. He didn’t even think about himself. He just wanted to know that everyone (at home) is OK.”

SGT Harris was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Army Service Medal. He was born June 5, 1980 and raised in the Charlotte, Tennessee community in Dickson County. Ken Harris enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves during his junior year at Dickson County High School. Upon his graduation from DCHS, SGT Harris completed his Basic Training and A.I.T with the reserves. Ken continued his education attending the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Ken was called to active duty February 2003 and deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. During this deployment SGT Harris was fatally injured on 20 AUG 2003 in Scania, Iraq.

SGT Harris was the son of Kenneth W. Harris and Marie A. Harris-Steinmetz. He was the stepson of Walter M. Steinmetz and the brother of Nathan Daniel Harris (his twin brother) and Jennifer L. Harris. SGT Harris left behind a family of aunts, uncles, and grandparents, as well as, a host of friends and co-workers who all miss him solely.

SGT Harris’s mother, Marie (a.k.a Toni), tore at this writer’s heart when she provided some words regarding her son’s passing. As the mother of this Fallen Hero, Toni wrote regarding SGT Harris biography “It (the biography) does not tell a lot about Ken’s personality, or that he gave the best hugs in the world. It does not tell how losing him has forever damaged the lives of our family. I have written testimonials from his fellow Soldiers that reflect his charismatic personality and that he was a good listener, and gave good advice. He was a Christian. He was never married and had no children. He was very handsome  and the ladies loved him.”

Toni continues to honor her son’s memory and all those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for us to have all the freedoms we have today. For the last ten years, Toni and her children host the SGT Kenneth W. Harris, Jr. “Ride for the Fallen” on the Saturday in August that is closest to the date of her son’s passing. Each year the Poker Run ride gets bigger and bigger with more riders and participants with proceeds going to charities. Toni’s tireless efforts preserving her son’s memory only proves the saying “once a mom, always a mom.” LHCP is honored to have SGT Kenneth W. Harris, Jr. as the August 2013 LHCP Honoree.

Warren A. Frank

Marine Capt. Warren A. Frank — July 2013 Shipment Honoree

Died November 25, 2008 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom


Marine slain on mercy mission

By Eileen Kelley, Cincinnati Enquirer
Marine Capt. Warren A. Frank
Marine Capt. Warren A. Frank

An Anderson Township Marine who died in Iraq this week was killed during a humanitarian mission, his family said. Capt. Warren A. Frank, 26, died Tuesday while participating in a food distribution mission north of Baghdad. His team came under small arms fire by an attacker in an Iraqi soldier’s uniform. It was not known if the outfit was a disguise or if the Marine was slain by an Iraqi soldier. Many members of the Iraqi military have been trained by U.S. troops. Also killed in the attack was a U.S. soldier. Several service members were injured.

“Our son wanted nothing more than to make a difference in our world,” said Frank’s father, Warren R. Frank, in a statement sent to the media. “He was not a movie version soldier, but a man who looked forward to loving his children.”

If Frank was killed by an Iraqi soldier, it would be at least the second time since the 2002 U.S. invasion that a Greater Cincinnati Marine has been killed by a member of Iraq’s military. Cpl. Bryan Taylor was killed in April 2006, just weeks after arriving in Iraq. His unit had been living with the then-fledgling Iraqi Army. Taylor was refueling his Humvee when he was shot. All told, more than 4,200 U.S. service members have lost their lives in the war.

Warren A. Frank
Warren A. Frank

Frank grew up in Anderson Township. He is survived by his wife, Allison, and daughters Sophia Lynn and Isabella Grace. They live in Okinawa, Japan, with their mother, where Frank’s unit was based. Locally he leaves behind his father, his mother, Rebecca, and his sister Sara. Frank is a 2000 graduate of Turpin High School and a 2004 graduate of the Citadel.

The written statement from the family suggested that Frank had done at least three tours in Iraq. It also said that he looked forward to retiring from the service and planned to teach high school history and coach track. “Our deep sorrow is not in the life we had with him, but in the loss of life we always thought we would share,” wrote Frank’s father. “He was our son, our brother, devoted husband and an enthusiastic father. He is our reminder that all generations have those who comprise ‘The Greatest Generation.’”

Funeral arrangements are pending, though the elder Frank said it is likely his son will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery.


Birth: Mar. 4, 1982, Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio, USA
Death: Nov. 25, 2008, Iraq
Marine Capt. Warren A. Frank
Marine Capt. Warren A. Frank

Marine Capt. Frank was assigned to the 5th Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa, Japan. He was killed while participating in a food distribution mission in Biaj, located outside Mosul. His team came under small arms fire by an attacker in an Iraqi soldier’s uniform. It was not known if the outfit was a disguise or if he was slain by an Iraqi soldier.

Warren graduated in 2000 from Turpin High School in Cincinnati, Ohio and went on to graduate in 2004 from The Citadel where he majored in political science. He was on his third deployment to Iraq when he was killed. Warren was looking forward to retiring from the service so he could spend more time with his wife, Allison, and two young daughters. He planned on teaching history at a high school and coaching track. Warren was a wonderful husband, father and patriot who wanted to make a difference in the world.

Burial: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot: Section 60, Site 8745
Source: Find A Grave

Warren A. Frank service
Warren A. Frank service

My name is Chief Warrant Officer 2 Marc N. Shelton. I am an active duty U.S. Marine stationed at MCAS Miramar. I wear a hero bracelet bearing the names of two of the finest men in the world. The bracelet serves as a small memorial to the Marine Captain and Army Master Sergeant who both lost their lives on Nov 25th 2008.

We were ambushed by terrorists while giving out food to impoverished Iraqis in the city of Bi’aj located in the Ninewa province. I was hit several times as well as another Lieutenant Colonel. Even though injured I was very angry as I watched helplessly as one of my friends slipped away at my feet. Following the firefight and evac, the MSG passed enroute back to the COP.

Captain Warren A. Frank / USMC and Master Sergeant Anthony Davis / USA are who I wear my hero bracelet for. I will never forget them. My Family wears purple hero bracelets to represent my Purple Heart; as a small reminder of how much I love them and want to keep them and our country safe from the faces of evil.

Sincerely, Marc Shelton, CWO2/USMC

Courtesy of: Hero Bracelets

Eric D. Warren

Navy Hospital man Eric D. Warren — June 2013 Shipment Honoree

Died May 26, 2012 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom


Eric Dean “Doc” Warren
Eric Dean “Doc” Warren

LHCP’s June shipments will be made in honor of Navy Corpsman Eric D. Warren 23. Eric enlisted in the U.S. Navy, graduated from corpsman school, completed Fleet Marine Force training as a combat corpsman, and he was henceforth considered a Marine. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 6, 1st Marine Division (Forward), 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.Eric attended school at Dale, Grove, Shawnee, and graduated from McLoud High School in 2008. As a child, he was active in Cub Scouts, numerous little league sports, and earned his black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Later he was active in his church youth group, football, wrestling, and drama.

Eric died May 26 of wounds received in action due to an improvised explosive device in Sangin District, Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

Eric Dean “Doc” Warren
Eric Dean “Doc” Warren & mom

“Our nation owes him our upmost gratitude and earnest thanks. Eric was preceded in death by his great grandma and grandpa Starkey, Uncle James Burris, and his precious granny Sebena Burris. He is survived by his mother and father Donna and Marvin Warren, Jr.; his birth father, William and his wife Patti, sister Paris, brothers Chance Houston and Torn Burris; maternal grandmother Carole Nichols, maternal grandfather Senior Chief W.D. Nichols USN (Ret.) and wife Paulette, aunt Lori Nichols, uncle Darin Nichols, his wife Terra and son Kai; grandparents Yvonne and Charles Eoff, Marvin, Sr. and Libbey Warren; his aunt Michelle and husband Jeff Edmonson, his uncles Melvin Burris and Philip Burris and his wife Paula; and numerous cousins, family, and friends who all grieve his absence: know that your precious one loved his family and country deeply. HN Eric D. Warren joins the thousands who have given, so that you and I might enjoy the freedoms that we enjoy today.”


SHAWNEE, OK., U.S. Navy, HN, 2ND MDIV FMF LNT, 05/26/2012, SANGIN, AFGHANISTAN
Eric Dean “Doc” Warren
Eric Dean “Doc” Warren

Eric Dean “Doc” Warren was born November 22, 1988. He was a resident of Shawnee, Oklahoma and was stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He was deployed to Afghanistan in January 2012 for his third tour of duty. HM Warren was killed 4 months into the deployment. HM Warren attended school at Dale, Grove, Shawnee, and graduated from McLoud High School in 2008. As a child, he was active in Cub Scouts, little league sports, and earned a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Eric was also active in his church youth group, football, wrestling, and drama.

HM Warren enlisted in the U.S. Navy, graduated from corpsman school, completed Fleet Marine Force training as a combat corpsman, and he was then qualified to be a Marine.

Navy Hospital man Eric D. Warren
Navy Hospital man Eric D. Warren

“When he was home last time, I shook his hand and he hugged my neck and whispered in my ear ‘pray for me,’” Reverend Ron Baldridge said. “I prayed for him every day.”

Eric was a skinny kid with a mischievous streak who took pleasure in challenging his pastor and youth minister, Reverend Baldridge explained. Kevin Spurgin, youth minister at Eric’s church said HM Warren knew the possible consequences of being in one of the most dangerous areas of Afghanistan, but any fears he may have had were overcome by pride for the job he was doing there. There was a 60-second standing ovation for Eric during his funeral service to commemorate HM Warren’s service to his country, and the ultimate sacrifice he and his family made.

Source: Fallen Heroes Project

Irvin M Ceniceros

Marine Lance Cpl. Irvin M. Ceniceros  — May 2013 Shipment Honoree

Died October 14, 2010 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom


Irvin M. Ceniceros

Irvin M. Ceniceros
Irvin M. Ceniceros

Lance Corporal Irvin Martin Ceniceros, born in Tampa, Florida, on August 29, 1989, a dedicated and courageous United States Marine, deeply loved by his family and many friends, died on October 14, 2010, while serving his country in Afghanistan, Helmand Province.

Lance Cpl. Ceniceros was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, 1 Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, California. He had traveled to lands across the globe, including Hawaii, Dubai and several African countries. He was a highly skilled machine gunner.

He was a young Marine, only 21 and had only been in Afghanistan for two short weeks before an IED exploded next to the Humvee he was driving, leading a convoy. He was a great kid…smart and kind…the youngest of my first cousins said Cousin Bob Ducca. His sister, Vanessa, said he died in service to a cause he believed in. He told his father: “Don’t worry for me, papa, I’m fighting for the ones who can’t fight, the ones who can’t defend themselves.” A fellow Marine, Cpl. Andrew Gutierrez, said “Ceni” was a straight-up Marine who did what he was told and knew right from wrong.

Irvin graduated from Clarksville High School in 2007 where he was known for his humor and his ability to find the good in others and in life. His interests included cars, motorcycles, and fitness; as a young child he played tennis and football. He was fascinated with cars wanting to detail them, make them look good. After graduating from Clarksville High School, Ceniceros signed up with the Marines in August of 2007. The Marines are very strong people to him; he admired their strength of character. That’s why he wanted to be in the Marines says his sister, Vanessa.

Irvin was the beloved son of Ignacio Ceniceros and Maria A. Armendaniz of Knoxville, Arkansas; the devoted brother of Karla Vanessa Ceniceros, also of Knoxville, and brothers Ivan and Abraham Ceniceros of New Mexico. He is also survived by his girlfriend, Stacy Rios, and an extended family as well as loyal friends around the world.

Lance Cpl. Ceniceros never hesitated when duty called. He served our nation with honor and dedication. We will never forget his courage and valor, and may we always honor the life he gave for our country, words of U.S. Senator Mark Pryor, D-Ark.


Sen. John Boozman on Irvin M. Ceniceros

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor one of America’s bravest, Lance Corporal Irvin Ceniceros of Clarksville, Arkansas, who was taken from us while supporting combat missions in Afghanistan.

After graduating high school in 2007, Lance Corporal Ceniceros enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. Family members say it was the strength and character of the Marines that drew him to serve with the Corps, and his friends and comrades say he was a great machine gunner.

Lance Corporal Ceniceros served with the Marines all across the globe, and less than 2 weeks after arriving in Afghanistan, at the age of 21, he made the ultimate sacrifice for our great Nation.

My prayers and the prayers of the people of Arkansas are with the Ceniceros family. I humbly offer my thanks to Lance Corporal Irvin Ceniceros, a true American hero, for his selfless service to the security and well-being of all Americans.

Courtesy of: CapitolWords.org

3 Marines killed in Helmand province combat

Three Camp Pendleton, Calif.-based Marines died Thursday during combat operations in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, the Defense Department announced.

Lance Cpl. Alex E. Catherwood, 19, a rifleman from Byron, Ill., and Lance Cpl. Irvin M. Ceniceros, 21, a machine-gunner from Clarksville, Ark., were killed by small-arms fire, the 1st Marine Division said in a news release.

Lance Cpl. Joseph C. Lopez, 26, a rifleman from Rosamond, Calif., died after an improvised explosive device detonated during dismounted combat operations, the release said.

The Marines were on their first combat deployments and were part of 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines. The battalion has suffered seven deaths in the past two days.

Catherwood enlisted in June 2009. His military awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal and Korean Defense Service Medal.

Ceniceros enlisted in September 2007 and deployed in 2009 to the western Pacific with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.

His military awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.

Lopez enlisted in March 2009. His military awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Korean Defense Service Medal.

Source: Military Times

Micheal E. Phillips

Army Spc. Micheal E. Phillips — April 2013 Shipment Honoree

Died February 24, 2008 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom


Fort Campbell soldier killed in Iraq

The Associated Press

Army Spc. Micheal E. Phillips
Army Spc. Micheal E. Phillips

ARDMORE, Okla. — His knack for drawing and love of history could’ve landed Pfc. Micheal Phillips in college, but he had told his parents he wanted to be GI Joe when he grew up.

Phillips fulfilled his dream, but he lost his life.

The 19-year-old died Feb. 24 near Baghdad after the vehicle he was in was hit by an explosive device, his family said.

Phillips, a member of the 101st Airborne based in Fort Campbell, Ky., died in the attack, but the other men in the Humvee escaped with minor injuries, said his mother, Anglia Phillips, who was informed of his death Feb. 24.

“He was a hero,” Anglia Phillips said. “What I’ve heard from his squad is that he was an excellent soldier who was always trying to improve himself and was always willing to go the extra mile. He’s more of a man than most will be.”

The military confirmed his death Feb. 26.

Micheal Phillips had written to his family and former teachers at Ardmore High School while serving in Iraq. When he was home on leave, Phillips visited his 18-year-old brother and other students at school.

“He had an infectious smile,” said Jake Falvey, assistant principal at Ardmore High School. “He was an outgoing kid, and you could see the maturity in him; he had grown up quite a bit.”

Micheal Phillips was an astute student who loved history and ran track and cross country. He excelled at drawing and had been offered admission to the San Francisco Art Institute, his mother said.

But serving his country meant more than going to college, she said.

“He came home one day and said he wanted to join the Army, and we got in the car and went down to the recruiting station,” Anglia Phillips said. “He said terrorism was like a virus. It had to be stopped. It had to be contained.”

She said her son was re-enlisting to join for two more years.

“He didn’t want to leave his squad, his guys,” she said.

Plans for a memorial service are pending.

Source: MiltaryTimes


Young Ardmore soldier killed in Iraq

By Manny Gamallo World Staff Writer

ARDMORE — A young soldier from Ardmore who was killed Sunday in Iraq was remembered Tuesday for his endearing smile and the courage to stand up for the country.

Army Spc. Micheal Phillips, 19, was killed when his Humvee struck a roadside bomb in Baghdad. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), based at Fort Campbell, Ky.

Funeral arrangements are pending at the Griffin Funeral Home in Ardmore.

The Department of Defense on Tuesday night officially announced Phillips’ death.

Micheal E. Phillips
Micheal E. Phillips’ Highway

Phillips joined the Army after graduating from Ardmore High School in 2006. He was a popular student at school, where he also ran cross-country and played football.

Phillips would often visit his old classmates and teachers while he was on leave from the Army, so the news of his death came as a blow at the high school.

Counselors were being made available to students so they could deal with their grief.

For Jake Falvey, assistant principal at the high school, word of Phillips’ death came as a shock.

Falvey, who was Phillips’ sophomore English teacher, said he and Phillips had kept closely in touch ever since the young man graduated and went on to the Army.

“He was one of those kids you never doubted would succeed,” Falvey said.

“He had a great smile, and he was proud of the fact that he joined the U.S. Army. That’s what he wanted to do,” Falvey said.

About six months ago, the assistant principal said, he received a letter from Phillips, expressing his pride in the Army and the country.

“I’m doing this for my family, for you, for everyone, for America, to protect it from the bad guys,” said Falvey, quoting Phillips’ letter.

Phillips was planning to re-enlist in the Army, according to Falvey.

“The Army had made a man of him. You could see that,” Falvey said, recalling the last time Phillips had visited the school on leave.

Falvey called Phillips’ death a “real American tragedy.”

“He leaves behind a wonderful family; good hard-working folks,” he said.

Falvey said Phillips has a younger brother at the high school — David, a senior, who is an all-state runner.

Phillips also has another brother, Anthony, 9, and a sister Barbara, 14, Falvey said.

Falvey called Phillips’ parents, Angelia and Steve Phillips, a hard-working couple “whose whole world changed” when they received news of their son’s death.


Specialist Micheal E. Phillips Post Office

By: Tom Cole, Date: May 2, 2011, Location: Washington, DC
Army Spc. Micheal E. Phillips
Army Spc. Micheal E. Phillips

Mr. COLE. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 1423, a bill I sponsored, to designate the post office in Ardmore, Oklahoma, as the Specialist Micheal E. Phillips Post Office.

Micheal was driven by a personal sense of duty and honor. He joined the Army because he recognized injustice and terror in our world and sought to make a difference. Specialist Micheal Phillips lived out that sense of duty through military service and made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure our Nation remained secure and free.

Mr. Speaker, Micheal turned down an opportunity to attend the San Francisco Art Institute to volunteer for the United States Army. When asked why he wanted to join the Army, Micheal simply stated, “I want a career and we are at war.” Specialist Phillips saw terrorists as thugs, often referring to them as the “ultimate bullies in the world.” A fervent student of history, Micheal knew that his service would be against a tough and formidable enemy, still he enthusiastically embraced what he believed was the right decision and enlisted in the United States Army.

Mr. Speaker, Micheal Phillips was only 17 years of age when he joined the military via the delayed entry program. He left for boot camp on June 24, 2006. Upon finishing advanced infantry training, Micheal was assigned to Bravo Company 1 of the 502nd Strike Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division, one of the most storied divisions in the United States Army. On October 13, 2007, Micheal and his brothers in arms were deployed to Iraq for combat operations.

Micheal’s enthusiasm for his work inspired members of his platoon. In addition to his enthusiasm, Specialist Phillips also endeavored to foster real camaraderie amongst his fellow soldiers. Even in the middle of a war, it was said that Micheal made bad times good and good times better. Micheal’s team leader, Sergeant Matthew Whalen praised his abilities in terrain association, map reading, and his tremendous bravery in combat. Sergeant Whalen reflected on Specialist Phillips’ leadership skills, noting, “I know that soldiers that did serve with him have taken away with them, as I have, the undoubted and unmistaken values that he always possessed and always portrayed.”

Mr. Speaker, Specialist Micheal E. Phillips was killed in action on February 24, 2008, in Shula, Iraq, just outside of Baghdad. An explosively formed penetrator, a so-called EFP, hit the driver’s side of the door on the vehicle that he was driving. Despite the severity of his injuries, he continued to smile and reassure those taking care of him. Even in the most grim and serious times, Micheal still fought and lifted up those around him.

For his service, Specialist Micheal Phillips was awarded a Bronze Star. He was also designated as a Distinguished Member of the 502nd Infantry Regiment. The Distinguished Member award is for those who display honorable service, loyalty on active duty in peace or war. These are qualities Micheal Phillips lived with each and every day of his service career.

Mr. Speaker, Micheal always gave more than his share back to his community. When he did have time away from his duty, he would often visit his high school to speak with students and encourage them to pursue their goals.

Never without a smile, had Micheal fought for his country, have his community and his family with valor and with honored. He wanted others in the world to have the freedoms and opportunities that we enjoy here in the United States, and he risked his life to achieve that end.

Like many who have made the ultimate sacrifice, Specialist Micheal Phillips leaves behind loved ones, friends, and comrades in arms who treasure his memory and honor his service. Micheal is survived by his parents, Steven and Angelia Phillips; his brothers, David and Anthony; and his sister, Barbara–all of Ardmore, Oklahoma. He also leaves behind a Nation and a community that will never forget his courage, his sacrifice, and his devotion to duty.

Mr. Speaker, I urge the passage of this legislation.

Source: Thomas.gov

Tyanna Avery-Felder

Spc. Tyanna S. Avery-Felder — March 2013 Shipment Honoree

Died October 21, 2004 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom


Unit: 296th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division – Unit’s Base: Fort Lewis, Wash

First Connecticut woman killed in Iraq is laid to rest

Tyanna S. Avery-Felder
Tyanna S. Avery-Felder family

When Spc. Tyanna S. Avery-Felder joined the Army, she created a new family for herself in the military. “She was a daughter to me,” said Sgt. Thomas Smith Jr., who was stationed with Avery-Felder at Fort Lewis, Wash. She even called me dad.” Avery-Felder, 22, of Bridgeport, Conn., died April 7 of injuries sustained on April 4 when her vehicle was hit with an explosive. In high school, Avery-Felder played basketball and sang in the choir. She later took classes at Southern Connecticut State University toward a career in early childhood education, but left school after completing her freshman year. She joined the Army soon afterward, in 2000. Friends remembered Avery-Felder as a strong, caring woman. “She told me, ‘Never, even let them see you cry or they’ll walk all over you,'” said Odessa Blackwell, a high school friend. “She was so tough.” Survivors also include her parents and her husband.

Source: Connecticut Post

Spc. Tyanna S. Avery-Felder's grave
Spc. Tyanna S. Avery-Felder’s grave

We were going to eat the whole time she was here,” said Ilene “Patricia” Avery, her mother, describing the expected celebration. “Everyone was going to bring their favorite dish and we were all going to eat.”

Avery said her daughter had especially missed her aunt’s special dish, macaroni and cheese. “There’s no place like home,” she said, holding back tears.

Avery-Felder, a cook in the Army’s Stryker Brigade, died last week from injuries sustained when a military truck hit a homemade bomb device in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

She was the first member of the armed services from Bridgeport to die in Iraq and the first woman from Connecticut to perish in the conflict.

Family members and friends called her a tough, determined and enthusiastic person, who also was kind-hearted and funny. She came from a large family.

The 22-year-old East End native will be remembered Thursday with a funeral at Mount Aery Baptist Church. She will be buried at Bridgeport’s Lakeview Cemetery.

“She’s coming home,” Ilene Avery said at a family press conference organized by the military last week, explaining her daughter would be buried in the city where she was born and raised.

The fallen soldier’s husband, Army Spc. Adrian Felder, also attended the press conference. He said his wife had a great sense of humor and was fun to be around.

“I’m so sad it happened,” the South Carolina native said. “She’s in a better place.”

The two had met in the military while stationed together at Fort Lewis in Washington State. A mutual friend told Felder about an “attractive” cook on the base.

He asked her out on a date and she accepted, and they went to see a movie together. “From there our relationship grew,” Felder said.

They were married in December 2002 in Washington, and she was sent to Iraq last November. Despite being separated by thousands of miles, they stayed in frequent contact by writing and phoning as often as possible.

Avery-Felder also frequently sent e-mails to her family in Bridgeport and would call them from Iraq as well. “We were always going to be proud of her,” Avery said of her daughter. “We’re all proud of her.”

Sources:

  • Find A Grave
  • Military Times

Jesse Samek

Airman 1st Class Jesse Samek — February 2013 Shipment Honoree

Died October 21, 2004 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom


Arkansas airman dies in Afghanistan helicopter crash

Remembering Jesse
Remembering Jesse

ROGERS, Ark. — An airman from Rogers who worked on a rescue helicopter died in Afghanistan when his aircraft went down, the Air Force said Friday.

Airman 1st Class Jesse Monroe Samek, 21, died Thursday, a day after his helicopter crashed during a medical evacuation, Capt. Maureen Schumann said.

A statement issued by Samek’s family in Rogers said he’d moved to northwest Arkansas in 1997 from O’Fallon, Mo., near St. Louis. He graduated from Rogers High School in 2001 and attended the University of Arkansas for a year before deciding to join the Air Force.

“He was a great outdoorsman,” the family statement said. “He loved camping, hiking, hunting, fishing and snow- and waterskiing. He played recreational hockey as a goalie.”

Military officials said technical problems brought down the HH-60 helicopter, which was carrying a wounded Afghan election worker. The crash occurred in the Herat province, 105 miles east of Shindand.

Two other airmen were injured in the crash, one critically, military officials said.

Samek’s family said the airman worked for months in a training program, and became a member of an elite group that qualified for the rescue duty as a flight engineer on a HH-60 Para Rescue helicopter.

“He loved that his job was to do rescues and saving people in this war-torn world,” the family statement said.

A presidential election worker had been accidentally shot by a guard earlier in the day, and Samek’s helicopter was transporting the man for medical treatment.

Samek was assigned to the 66th Rescue Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., just outside Las Vegas. He joined the Air Force in February 2003.

He is survived by parents Gavin and Julie Samek of Rogers, Ark.; brother Benjamin Samek of Rogers, Ark.; and grandparents David and Jenny Burkemper of St. Louis, Mo.


Airman killed in Afghanistan chopper crash buried

Jesse M. Samek
Jesse M. Samek

BELLA VISTA, Ark. — The cracking boom of seven rifles fired in unison pierced the air at Airman 1st Class Jesse Samek’s burial on Wednesday.

Onlookers who winced instinctively stood their ground as the second and third rounds echoed over the hills surrounding the Bella Vista Memorial Cemetery.

A few moments later, the high-pitched strains of “Taps” lingered in the air, only to be blown away by the whirring blades of an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter that flew over Samek’s casket.

Samek, 21, a member of the 66th Rescue Squadron, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev ., was killed Oct. 20 when the helicopter carrying him on a rescue mission crashed in Afghanistan. Samek and his family moved to Arkansas in 1997 from O’Fallon, Mo.

A friend, David Dezarov, returned to Arkansas aboard the aircraft that carried Samek’s body.

“The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do was spend the last four days with him and not saying a word,” Dezarov said.

Dezarov, a scout with the 1st Armored Division based in Germany, recalled a gesture by the pilot of the plane carrying Samek’s body on a flight from Atlanta to Tulsa. He circled Rogers for 10 minutes as a tribute to the young man who had graduated from high school there in 2001, Dezarov said.

“He was a great outdoorsman,” the family statement said. “He loved camping, hiking, hunting, fishing and snow- and waterskiing. He played recreational hockey as a goalie.”

Blake Johnston, another friend, also recalled times with Samek. He recounted a trip with his buddy to Cancun, Mexico, canoe trips down the Elk River a few miles north in McDonald County, Mo. — and the bond that allowed the two friends to communicate without saying a word.

“His life was full of happiness and laughter,” Johnston said. “I never would have believed I’d be standing up here doing this.”

Instead, he said, he had imagined a future of good times with Samek.

“There would have been beer bellies — big ones,” Johnston said. “I’d like to think we’ll be together again someday, with our beer bellies.”

Corrine Hagedorn, a cousin of the fallen airman, read to the mourners a message from Samek’s mother, Julie.

“(There were) moments in the last few days that I felt I had to force myself to keep on breathing,” she wrote.

Air Force Airman 1st Class Jesse M. Samek
Air Force Airman 1st Class Jesse M. Samek

She thanked those who offered their words of sympathy, but acknowledged there was no word or deed that could soften the blow.

“Our hearts will never be whole again,” she wrote.

He is survived by parents Gavin and Julie Samek of Rogers, Ark.; brother Benjamin Samek of Rogers, Ark.; and grandparents David and Jenny Burkemper of St. Louis, Mo.

She wrote that her son was a hero for who he was, not what he did.

Sources:
  • Associated Press
  • Military Times 

Lillian Clamens

Army Staff Sgt. Lillian Clamens — January 2013 Shipment Honoree

Died October 10, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom


Soldier from Florida unit killed in insurgent attack in Iraq

The Associated Press
Army Staff Sgt. Lillian Clamens
Army Staff Sgt. Lillian Clamens

OMAHA, Neb. — A soldier from a unit in Florida was killed in Iraq, just says before she was due to come home, her family and the military said Oct. 12.

Army Staff Sgt. Lillian Clamens was one of two people who died Oct. 10, according to the Department of Defense.

Insurgents fired rockets on Camp Victory in Baghdad from a nearby abandoned school, killing Clamens and Army Spc. Samuel F. Pearson, 28, Westerville, Ohio.

Clamens was assigned to the 1st Postal Platoon, 834th Adjutant General Company, Miami.

Lillian Clamens
Lillian Clamens

Family members in Omaha, Neb., say Lillian Clamens was due to return to Homestead, Fla., next week.

“She was the type of person that was honest,” her niece Sierra Cobbin, of Omaha, told KETV. “She never had a bad bone in her body. She did everything for her family. She was confident, strong and just a very down-to-earth person.”

Clamens, who served in the Army Reserve for 17 years, was a full-time postal worker, and served as an administrative clerk for the unit. She was married with three children.

“She died doing what she wanted to do,” said her sister Dana Cobbin, of Omaha. “I don’t have a sister no more. I miss my baby. I’m going to miss her. I just wanted to see her one last time. She was supposed to come home.”

Source: Military Times 


Army Staff Sgt. Lillian Clamens
Army Staff Sgt. Lillian Clamens

MIAMI, Fla. –A local Army Reserve Soldier from Miami was killed in action while serving in Iraq. Staff Sergeant Lillian Clamens, 35, was with assigned 1st Postal Platoon, 834th Adjutant General Company in Miami, Fla.

CLAMENS, LILLIAN L., 35, Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army Reserve, Military Personnel Clerk for United States Southern Command, wife and mother of three, died in a mortar attack on Camp Victory in Baghdad, Iraq, on Wednesday, October 10, 2007. She was assigned to the 1st Postal Platoon, 834th Adjutant General Company in Miami.

Lillian was born May 9, 1972, in the city of Omaha, Nebraska, to Dorothy Cobbin and Solom Bogard. She graduated from Central High School in 1990. Lillian served in the U.S. Army (Adjutant General Corps) as an Administrative Specialist from 1990 until 2007. She was stationed in Korea; Ft. Leonard Wood, MO; Vilseck, Germany; Ft. Sill, OK; and participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom. She attained the rank of Staff Sergeant (SSG). On August 14, 1997, she was united in marriage to Raymond J. Clamens in Omaha, NE.

Lilly
Lilly

Lillian was affectionately known as “Lilly” and with her endearing personality, radiant smile and caring demeanor warmed the hearts of everyone that came in contact with her. At home she was a devoted wife, fantastic mother, and the center of the family. She loved taking care of soldiers and their families and touched so many people no matter where she was in the world.

Lillian is survived by her husband Raymond, her daughters Lana 8, Victoria 7,and her son Ayinde 14; her sister Dana; her mother Dorothy; and her mother-in-law Gemma. She is further survived by aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends. Funeral services for Lillian L. Clamens will be held at 11:00 a.m., Friday, October 19, at St. Brendan’s Church, 8725 SW 32nd St. Miami, FL 33165. The Burial will be in Our Lady of Mercy Cemetery, 11411 NW 25th St. Doral, FL 33172.

Relatives and friends are welcome for visitation at the Van Orsdel Funeral Home, 9300 SW 40th St. (Bird Rd.) Miami, FL 33165 on Thursday October 18, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. We would like to thank all of the staff of the FIU Army ROTC, USSOUTHCOM, and the 834th AG Postal Company for their help and support. VAN ORSDEL – BIRD RD CHAPEL 9300 SW 40 St. (305)553-0064 Family Owned Since 1924 to visit this Guest Book Online, go to www.MiamiHerald.com/obituaries.

Published in The Miami Herald on October 17, 2007