Matthew Henderson

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. Matthew C. Henderson.

Marine Cpl. Matthew C. Henderson

Died May 26, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

Courtesy of
Matthew Henderson

Matthew C. Henderson CPL, 25, Lincoln died Wednesday (5/26/04) in Iraq. Born in Columbia, Mich., (5/15/79) to Owen L. and Rebecca J. (Hoffman) Henderson. He was a 1998 graduate of Palmyra High School, attended and played football for Nebraska Wesleyan University. Matthew loved football, 4-wheel drive vehicles, hunting and fishing, animals and had a very special love for his wife, Jaimie.

Survivors: wife, Jaimie; father, Owen Henderson, Lincoln; mother, Becky Henderson, Lincoln; sister, Kellie Henderson, Lincoln; grandparents, LeRee Henderson, Brock, Maxine Hoffman, Tucson, Ariz.; mother-in-law, stepfather-in-law, Kathy and Mike Meyers, Bennett; father-in-law, Jim Barnes, Las Vegas; aunts; uncles; cousins.

Matthew Henderson

Courtesy of

Mr. HAGEL. Mr. President, I rise to express my sympathy over the loss of Matthew C. Henderson of Lincoln, NE, a corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps. Corporal Henderson was killed on May 26, 2004, in the Anbar Province in Iraq while performing security and stability operations. He was 25 years old. LCpl Kyle Codner of Shelton, NE, a good friend of Henderson, was killed in the same explosion. Corporal Henderson graduated from Palmyra High School and went on to play football at Nebraska Wesleyan for 2 years before joining the Marines. He was assigned to 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, CA. Henderson was one of thousands of brave American service men and women serving in Iraq. Corporal Henderson is survived by his father, Owen Henderson of Bennet; mother, Becky and sister, Kellie Henderson of Lincoln; and wife, Jaimie of Lincoln. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this difficult time. America is proud of Matthew C. Henderson’s service and mourns his loss.

Matthew Henderson

Christopher Abeyta

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. Christopher Abeyta of the Illinois National Guard.

Army Sgt. Christopher P. Abeyta, 23

Died March 15, 2009 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

The Associated Press

Christopher P. Abeyta

Four service members, including three Illinois National Guard soldiers, died after a weekend roadside bomb attack in eastern Afghanistan, increasing to 11 the number of the state’s guard members killed in that increasingly violent country since October, officials said Tuesday.

Spc. Norman Cain III, 22, of Mount Morris in suburban Chicago died at the scene of the attack in Kot, Afghanistan, on Sunday, according to the National Guard.

Twenty-three-year-old Sgt. Christopher Abeyta of the Chicago suburb of Midlothian and 24-year-old Sgt. Robert Weinger of Round Lake Beach both died later that day at a base in Jalalabad. Round Lake Beach is about 50 miles north of Chicago.

An airman, 24-year-old Staff Sgt. Timothy L. Bowles of Tucson, Ariz., also died Sunday in the attack.

“Facing the loss of three more Illinois National Guard Soldiers is devastating,” Maj. Gen. William Enyart, adjutant general of the Illinois National Guard, said in a news release. “While this is a sad day for the Illinois National Guard, we will remember these soldiers by their bravery and the sacrifice they made for us all.”

Neither the National Guard nor the U.S. Defense Department provide many details about the attack, only that the Americans were in a vehicle when the bomb exploded.

Abeyta, Cain and Weinger were part of the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, an Urbana-based National Guard unit with about 3,000 members in Afghanistan helping train local police and the Afghan army.

The brigade has been in Afghanistan since October and is expected to come home at the end of the summer or in early fall, but has already had three more soldiers die than the New York-based brigade it replaced lost in its nine-month deployment.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates paid his respects to the four during a visit Monday night to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, according to the Defense Department. A spokesman called it a “personal visit” by Gates.

Cain was a married father of a son and a stepdaughter on his first deployment, while Abeyta and Weinger were single, according to the National Guard. Weinger was in Iraq in 2006 and 2007, while Abeyta was deployed from October 2003 through early 2005 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Cain, on his page at the MySpace social networking Web site, called himself a redneck and a family man.

“I am devoted to my family and damn proud of it,” he wrote. “I am a country boy. Love working on cars and being outdoors. Avid bow hunter. Yes — I’m a redneck.”

Friends wrote condolence messages to all three men on the pages they maintained.

Weinger’s grandmother told the (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald that her grandson loved a good practical joke.

“He was also a devoted soldier,” Mary Weinger said. “It’s just a shame he won’t be here any more.”

Abeyta was a 2003 graduate of Bremen High School in Midlothian, while Weinger graduated from Round Lake High School in 2002. Cain graduated from Freeport High School in Freeport, Ill., in 2006.

The war in Afghanistan has become increasingly costly for the United States, particularly since the beginning of the year. Thirty-five American soldiers have died in Afghanistan since Jan. 1, compared to 16 in the first three months of 2008.

Eight of the Illinois guard deaths have come since the first of the year.

Military officials attribute much of the increase in violence to the presence of more U.S. troops, leading to more contact with Taliban and other fighters, particularly in southern and eastern Afghanistan. The U.S. has about 38,000 troops in Afghanistan, roughly 10,000 more than a year ago.

The 33rd Brigade’s commander told The Associated Press earlier this month that his troops often don’t know the identity of their enemy — Taliban, al-Qaida or other local forces. But all the casualties have come as a result of roadside bombs or suicide bombings, something he said the unit has been trained to handle and take precautions against, but can’t entirely stop.

“That’s a fact of life over here, especially on the IEDs,” Col. Scott Thoele said. “It’s an easy method for the enemy to fight us with.”

Fallen Guardsman Remembered

The Associated Press

Christopher P. Abeyta

Sgt. Christopher P. Abeyta was a three-sport athlete in school, excelling in track, football and wrestling. Bremen High School athletic director Jim Matlon remembered Abeyta being an excellent student as well as polite and respectful of others.

“He was always a top-notch student. He was so task- and goal-oriented. That’s why he was such a good person for the service. When you gave him a challenge, he was always a taskmaster and detail oriented,” Matlon said.

Abeyta, 23, of Midlothian, Ill., was killed by a roadside bomb March 15 in Kot. He was on his second deployment in Afghanistan and was assigned to Woodstock, Ill.

Abeyta graduated from high school in 2003, having already enlisted in the Guard. He soon spent a year in Iraq, ending in 2005. Between tours, Abeyta graduated in 2007 from Harold Washington College in Chicago with an associate degree.

Abeyta was a self-described writer, who had kept a journal since he was 11. He read a lot, and listened to music. He cheered up his friends with a goofy sense of humor.

Christopher P. Abeyta

He is survived by his parents, Paul and Barbara.


Erica Alecksen

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 NavyPetty Officer First Class Jason D. Lewis.

Army Spc. Erica P. Alecksen, 21

Died July 8, 2012 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

Erica P. Alecksen

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

EATONTON, Ga For a few hours, at least, everyone could suspend reality. As long as they talked about her, she couldn’t really be gone — not dead, no, not killed a world away, not lying in a coffin bound for Georgia.

And so they waited in line at Maurine and Harold Huggins’ home to pay their respects. They came from just down the street and from across the county, from New York and St. Louis and California. On a Friday grumbly with thunder, they recalled Erica Alecksen — granddaughter, daughter, sister, cousin, wife, friend, soldier.

Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills was first to stop by. He stepped through the doorway and paused to view her portrait in the foyer: Army Spc. Alecksen, 21, uniform pressed, hair pulled back, and smile in place. She was the second oldest of the Hugginses’ nine grandchildren.

“In a small town, everybody calls the sheriff,” Sills said. “I don’t think I’ve ever had so many calls from people asking what they can do to help.”

Erica — only her sergeants and officers called her by her last name — died July 8 in Afghanistan. Attached to the 978th Military Police Company, she was riding in a large truck when it ran over an IED, or improvised explosive device. The blast killed six soldiers.

Erica became the third woman from Georgia to die in the fighting since the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. More than 240 U.S. female combatants have died in war operations since then.

With her death, the conflict came home to Eatonton, 80 miles east of Atlanta. “You knew she was over there,” said Bruce Morris, Erica’s youth pastor at Eatonton First United Methodist Church until she graduated from Putnam County High School in 2009. “You knew it could happen. But then you think, ‘It’s not real. It’s not right.'”

It’s unfair for someone who embraced life so fully to lose hers so soon, said Julia McKelvey of Chamblee. At 31, she’s the oldest of the Huggins grandchildren, Erica’s cousin. A native of Atlanta, she grew up visiting Eatonton, playing with the red-haired little girl who’d one day turn her gaze to the world beyond Putnam County.

“We were all so proud of her,” McKelvey said. “Joining the Army was her chance to become a woman and prove herself.”

She took a husband with her. Tim Bailey met Erica through her mom, Doria Alecksen. He went to a party at the Alecksen home, saw his co-worker’s only daughter and was smitten.

After that first meeting, “I never went a day without seeing her,” said Bailey, 23.

On Feb. 26, 2010, they were married. A month later, she joined the Army. After basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., Erica transferred to Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. Bailey followed, finding work with a landscaping crew.

Those were happy times. Bailey recalled an afternoon when he picked up his wife at her shift’s end. From a distance, he could see the kitten tucked under her arm.

An older woman who lived near the base discovered the little creature in her garage, Erica told her husband. Not knowing what to do, the woman called the police — the MPs on base — and an officer dispatched Erica. The rookie cop acted decisively: She adopted the kitten and named it Peaches. Case closed.

“With her,” he said, “I never had a bad time.”

In February, she shipped off to Afghanistan for a nine-month deployment as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. Erica called home nearly every day.

“You could hear happiness in her voice,” Doria Alecksen said. In one call, her firstborn cheerfully recounted how soldiers blew up an IED they discovered. “I said, ‘There are some things a daughter doesn’t have to tell me until she gets home.'”

She was a daughter of the wood and field, a country girl. When she was 8, Erica caught a small rattlesnake and showed it to her horrified mom. “I just reached in and pinched it behind the head so it couldn’t bite me,” she announced. At 10, Erica spirited tents, tarps and a cooler away to the far side of the family pond where she and brother Charles, 5 at the time, set up “base camp.” It was their makeshift home for the better part of the summer. When she was 16, Erica spent a week sleeping in a doghouse to make sure Angel, the family pooch, didn’t roll over on her newly born litter.

And, from one summer to the next, Erica often went to bed wearing a swimsuit. Why waste time changing clothes in the morning when you can be pond-ready the moment your feet hit the floor?

“She was always smiling, always happy-go-lucky,” said Haleigh Gunter, Putnam High Class of 2010.

She was a daddy’s girl, Lars Alecksen said. When she was 10, he popped open the hood of an ’87 Chevy El Camino to show his daughter its engine. Atop the V-8 was an air filter cover, held in place by a wingnut. “This is No. 1,” he said. Alecksen unscrewed the wingnut as the little girl watched.

They repeated the process about 300 times, taking apart the engine and making notes to ensure they rebuilt it properly. When it was finished, Alecksen knew he had a partner: They’d go on to restore other cars, to attend auto shows. One family photo shows Erica with a hand across her husband’s shoulder; her fingertips are black with grease.

Her father encouraged her to join the Army. Learn a skill. See the world. Then he found out what part of the world she would see.

“I thought, ‘Lord God, what have I done?'” Alecksen said.

Her service to her country is done. Erica’s remains arrived before daylight Thursday at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. Family members watched as solemn soldiers removed the flag-covered coffin from a truck. A chaplain comforted them at 3 a.m.

Now, Eatonton awaits her return. Some businesses in the little downtown sport bunting in her honor, and others have signs welcoming her home. Funeral details are incomplete, pending the arrival of her remains. She will be cremated.

In addition to her husband, parents and grandparents, Erica is survived by three aunts, one uncle and her brother. Charles Alecksen, 16, wants to go to the U.S. Military Academy and be an officer in the Army. He is slender like his sister, but his eyes lack her spark — probably because he’s grieving. His is sorrow in a hard shell, not opened easily.

The visitation at the Huggins household ran late. It continued through afternoon sun and rain, and still people kept showing up as night fell. Some folks cried, but a lot more laughed. And, for a few moments, she was with them — Erica, their Erica. Her memory is greater than any roadside bomb.


Courtesy of

Erica P. Alecksen


The funeral for Army Specialist Erica Alecksen was held in her home town of Eatonton. The 21-year-old soldier was killed July 8 by a roadside bomb on Afghanistan.

A military jet with Alecksen’s body arrived at Greensboro around 1 p.m., and a motorcade led the procession to United Methodist Church in Eatonton.

Members of the community lined the procession to show their support of Alecksen and to honor her bravery while serving in Afghanistan.

Throughout the funeral service, those close to Alecksen celebrated her memory through recollections and songs of worship and praise.

Alecksen’s sister-in-law, Danielle Swanger says the family is deeply thankful for the support the community is showing for their loved one.

“Thank you for being there and thank you for supporting us through this time. You know it’s a very difficult time for the whole family and we just want to say that we appreciate everything that they’ve been there for. The situation is tough but it kind of eases the pain because everyone, even people that didn’t know her is out supporting her and acknowledging the fact that she was fighting for us,” said Swanger.

Erica P. Alecksen

Courtesy of

Birth: Jan. 30, 1991

Death: Jul. 8, 2012, Afghanistan


Spc. Erica P. Alecksen Bailey, 21, of Eatonton, Ga., died July 8, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit in Maidan Shahr, Wardak province, Afghanistan, with an improvised explosive device. She was assigned to the 978th Military Police Company, 93rd Military Police Battalion, and Fort Bliss, Texas.

SPC Alecksen’s remains will arrive on Wednesday morning, July 18, 2012 at Greensboro Airport, Greensboro, GA. Her processional will travel Lake Oconee Parkway with an expected arrival into the City of Eatonton of 12:30 P.M. Her remains will be placed in state at The Great Hall of First United Methodist Church, 103 West Magnolia Street, Eatonton.

A Service of Love and Remembrance will be held Wednesday evening at 6:30 P.M., Reverend Dave Hinson, Pastor, officiating. Full military honors will follow the service.

She is survived by her husband of El Paso, TX; parents, Lars and Doria Alecksen, Eatonton, GA; brother of Eatonton, GA; maternal grandparents of Eatonton, GA; paternal grandparents of Manitowoc, WI; aunts, Eatonton, GA, Oakhurst, CA, Saratoga Springs, NY, Lacrosse, WI; uncles, Eatonton, GA, Tove Alecksen, cousins, Atlanta, GA, Eatonton, GA, Saratoga Springs, NY, Moorpark, CA; mother in law, sister in law, and other relatives and friends.


Erica P. Alecksen

Jason D. Lewis

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 NavyPetty Officer First Class Jason D. Lewis.

NavyPetty Officer First Class Jason D. Lewis, 30

Died September 5, 2012 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

Courtesy of

Jason D. Lewis

BROOKFIELD — Jason Dale Lewis was just 4 years old when the Rev. Mark Cernero first knew him.

In those days, Lewis would come with his family to Cernero’s church, the Assembly of God, in South Attleboro, Mass.

“He was a happy, energetic young boy,” Cernero said. “He was a delightful fellow.”

On Monday, Cernero joined family friends in mourning Lewis’ death.

Lewis, 30, a Petty Officer First Class in the elite U.S. Navy SEAL unit, was killed Friday when a homemade explosive device blew up beneath his Humvee in Baghdad.

“He grew up to be an outstanding young man and a real patriot,” Cernero said. “I am very saddened by his departure. How do you replace people like that?”

Cernero anticipates taking part in Lewis’ funeral service Saturday at First Assembly of God Church in Brookfield, where he is associate pastor.

After the service, scheduled for 11 a.m., Lewis will be buried in Center Cemetery, New Milford, with full military honors.

On Monday, Gov. M. Jodi Rell, who ordered all state and U.S. flags to be lowered to half staff, described Lewis as “a great American.”

“He is a hero, not just to us in Brookfield, but to our entire state and our entire country,” Rell said in a statement. “His sacrifice on behalf of all of us will never be forgotten.”

Rell urged all residents to recognize “the courage, bravery and dedication” Lewis displayed throughout his Navy career, and added: “Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to Officer Lewis’ family and friends.”

A spokesman for Rell said Monday it was not yet known whether the governor, who lives in Brookfield, will attend the funeral.

According to the Department of Defense, Lewis, who lived in Brookfield for most his life, died during combat operations.

Two other sailors, Steven P. Daugherty, 28, of Barstow, Calif., and Robert R. McRill, 42, of Lake Place, Fla., died with him.

“These sailors embodied the Navy core values of honor, courage, and commitment time and again in training and on the battlefield,” said Capt. Chaz Heron, the men’s commander. “They had a combined 34 years of dedicated service to our country. The Naval Special Warfare family will miss them and will ensure they are never forgotten.”

Lewis lived in Virginia Beach, Va., was married to former Brookfield resident Donna (Tyransky) Lewis, and had three young children, Jack, Max, and Grace.

“He was a wonderful man and he loved his children very much,” Donna Lewis said in a brief telephone interview Sunday.

The couple were married in Brookfield in 2002. Donna Lewis is a graduate of Brookfield High School and the University of Connecticut at Storrs and has a master’s degree in speech language pathology.

First Selectman Jerry Murphy called Donna Lewis on Monday to convey condolences from the town, and to offer the family any help they might need.

“Your heart just goes out to the wife and three children,” Murphy said. “I know from my time in the Navy that the Navy family is a tight family, but the SEAL family is even more so.”

Jason Lewis, who was born in Danbury, attended Brookfield High School but graduated from Murdock High School in Winchendon, Mass., and went to the University of Maryland.

Lewis enlisted in the U.S. Navy in July 1996 and after completing advanced SEAL training courses was assigned to a West Coast-based SEAL team in October 1997.

The SEAL unit, which is the Navy’s counterpart to the Army’s Green Berets, is regarded as one of the world’s finest commando and special operations units. SEAL is an acronym for Sea, Air, Land.

In 2004, Lewis reported to the Naval Special Warfare Center in Coronado, Calif., and in January of this year he was transferred to an East Coast SEAL team.

Lewis’ military awards included the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Corps’ Achievement Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.

Lewis became the 40th active-duty service member with Connecticut ties, and the second from Brookfield, to die in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001.

In March 2005, 21-year-old Marine Lance Cpl. John T. Schmidt III died from injuries sustained in a firefight near Fallujah.

Although Lewis’ family declined to be interviewed Monday, an obituary notice they prepared for publication today noted that Lewis enjoyed fly-fishing, rock climbing, cycling, and all outdoor activities.

The notice concluded, “He was a devoted father who loved spending time with his family.”


Courtesy of

Birth: Jun. 30, 1977


Fairfield County

Connecticut, USA

Death: Jul. 6, 2007, Iraq

Jason D. Lewis

Petty Officer 1st Class Lewis of Brookfield, Connecticut died July 6 as a result of enemy action while conducting combat operations in the vicinity of Baghdad, Iraq. He was assigned to an East Coast-based SEAL team. He is the beloved husband of Donna (Tyransky) Lewis, died of injuries sustained in combat. He was born in Danbury on June 30, 1977, cherished son of Jean Mariano of New Milford and Dale Lewis. He was a devoted father who loved spending time with his family. In addition to his parents and his wife, Donna, Jason will be sadly missed by his three children: Jack, Max and Grace; his maternal grandparents, Joseph and Frances Mariano of Brookfield; his sister, Jennie Schell and her husband, Kenneth, of New Milford; his mother and father-in-law, Jack and Doris Tyransky, of Brookfield; his sister-in-law, Kerri Eannarino and her husband, Brett, of Brookfield. He is also survived by several aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins.


Courtesy of

Sen. Christopher S. Murphy





Madam speaker, I rise today to celebrate the life of Jason Dale Lewis, who was killed in combat just over a year ago on July 6, 2007, in Baghdad. Petty Officer 1st Class Lewis called Brookfield, Connecticut, his home, along with his wife Donna and their three children.

Just 30 years old, Petty Officer 1st Class Lewis was a uniquely skilled member of an elite Navy SEAL unit. Highly decorated, he earned the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, the Navy “E” ribbon, two Good Conduct Medals, the Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service ribbon, the Expert Rifleman Medal, and the Expert Pistol Shot Medal. Petty Officer 1st Class Lewis was truly an elite among elites.

A year has passed since Jason left us. But the example he set, for his family, for his community, and for his Nation, will last forever. Our society is beset by those who live lives defined by unmet, wasted potential. That wasn’t a problem for Jason. He knew how great he could be, as a man, as a father, and as a SEAL. And in 30 short years, he achieved that greatness.

As Americans, we hold dear the values of honor, courage and commitment. Petty Officer 1st Class Lewis embodied those characteristics on and off the battlefield. His valor in defense of his country and his unceasing love for his community and family lend credence to the notion that the fullest lives are those lived for the greater good.

Jason D. Lewis

Thalia S. Ramirez

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 Chief Wwarrant Officer 2 Thalia S. Ramirez.

Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Thalia S. Ramirez

Died September 5, 2012 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

Courtesy of www.ksat.comThalia Ramirez Close Up

A U.S. Army soldier from San Antonio identified as Chief Warrant Officer 2 Thalia S. Ramirez, 28, and another soldier identified as Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jose L. Montenegro Jr., 31, of Houston died in a helicopter crash last week in Afghanistan, according to the Department of Defense.

The two soldiers were assigned to the 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.

The Department of Defense announced they died on Sept. 5, in Logar Province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when their aircraft crashed.

Ramirez is originally from Nairobi, Kenya. She joined the U.S. Army in 2003 as an enlisted water purification specialist, according to

She earned OH-58D Kiowa Warrior aviator qualification in 2008, and was assigned to the 82nd CAB in 2009. This was her second deployment. reports Ramirez is survived by her husband, Jesse Belbeck in the United States, and mother and father, Justin Ramirez and Alexandra Moll, in Kenya.

Courtesy of

Thalia Ramirez markerThe two members of the U.S. Army killed last week when their OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter crashed in Afghanistan were, according to the Department of Defense: Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jose L. Montenegro Jr., 31, of Houston, Texas, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Thalia S. Ramirez, 28, of San Antonio, Texas.

They were assigned to the 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

A colleague of Ramirez and Montenegro wrote to Home Post about how dearly missed is coworkers are. (He asked not to be identified.) These are his words:

Thalia Ramirez was a very beautiful, sweet, kind, caring, officer that was instant friends with all those she met. Her warm smile always lit up a room and she could always bring joy to those around her. She will be deeply missed, and the lives of her fellow pilots and other soldiers will be a lot less bright with her gone.

Mr. Montenegro was a caring, loving person who cherished his friends, his family back in Texas, and those he worked with.

There is a huge hole in the hearts of all of us here in the 1/17th Cavalry that will never be filled.

Courtesy of

ARMY Chief Warrant Officer 2 Thalia S Ramirez, 28, of San Antonio, TX, died Sept. 5, in Logar Province, Afghanistan.

Thalia RamirezRamirez, 28, originally of Nairobi, Kenya, and most recently of Raeford, joined the U.S. Army in 2003 as an enlisted water purification specialist, according to a news release.

“She was a true quiet professional, and an incredible role model to so many,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Landy Dunham, commander, Task Force Talon, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade. “Thalia never failed to set the perfect example of a confident and competent warrior. She was fearless, and loved her job. She selflessly risked everything, on a regular basis, in defense of her brothers and sisters in arms.”

She earned OH-58D Kiowa Warrior aviator qualification in 2008, and was assigned to the 82nd CAB in 2009. This was her second deployment.

Ramirez’s awards include the Air Medal 3rd device, the Purple Heart Medal, Army Commendation Medal with Valor, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Valorous Unit Award, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with three Campaign Stars, Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terror Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon 2nd device, NATO Medal, the Combat Action Badge and the Army Aviator Badge.

“As we finish up this deployment and return home, in some way remember my friend Thalia,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joseph Panza, Troop F, 1-17 Air Cavalry Regiment, at the Thursday ceremony on Bagram Airfield honoring both pilots. “Whether it’s a moment of silence, a toast, or a prayer to whatever divine power you believe in. Just a small gesture for someone who made a huge sacrifice doing what she believed in.”

Jennifer M Moreno

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. Jennifer M. Moreno.

Army Capt. Jennifer M. Moreno

Died October 6, 2013 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom


Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. – A nurse from Madigan Army Medical Center and three of her fellow soldiers in a special operations force were killed by an improvised bomb blast Sunday in Afghanistan, the Defense Department said.

Jennifer Moreno 21st Lt. Jennifer M. Moreno, 25, of San Diego, was based at the hospital at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and volunteered as a member of a cultural support team with a special operations task force that deployed in June.

Also killed in Sunday’s blast in the Zhari District of Kandahar Province were Sgt. Patrick C. Hawkins, 25 of Carlisle, Pa.; Sgt. Joseph M. Peters, 24, of Springfield, Mo.; and Pfc. Cody J. Patterson, 24, of Philomath, Ore.

All four service members were killed by an improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.

Army officials said 1st Lt. Moreno was on her first deployment to Afghanistan.

She was born June 25, 1988, in San Diego, Calif. After graduating from San Diego High School, she was commissioned in the U.S. Army as a Nurse Corps officer after graduating from the University of San Francisco with a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing.

Moreno completed the U.S. Army Airborne Course 2009 at Fort Benning, Ga., and the Army Medical Department Officer Basic Course 2010 at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

Moreno was then assigned to Madigan Army Medical Center, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., where she served as a clinical staff nurse on a medical surgical unit.

She volunteered and was successfully assessed and selected into the U. S. Army Special Operations Command Cultural Support Team program and deployed in June 2013.

“Our unit mourns the loss of 1st Lt. Jennifer Moreno,” said Lt. Col. Patrick J. Ellis, Commander of 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. “She was a talented member of our team who lost her life while serving her country in one of the most dangerous environments in the world.

“Her bravery and self-sacrifice were in keeping with the highest traditions of the 75th Ranger Regiment. She was making a difference in Afghanistan and that legacy will live on. The Moreno family is in our thoughts and prayers.”

Moreno’s awards and decorations include the Parachutist Badge, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terror Service Medal and Army Service Ribbon.

1st Lt. Moreno was posthumously promoted to Captain and awarded the Combat Action Badge, Bronze Star Medal with Valor, Meritorious Service Medal, Purple Heart, Afghanistan Campaign Medal and NATO Medal.

She is survived by her mother, Marie V. Cordero, and her sisters Jearaldy Moreno and Yaritza Cordova of San Diego, Calif., and her brother, Ivan F. Moreno, currently serving in the U.S. Army.
Courtesy of Find a Grave

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Four soldiers dead in roadside bomb attack

By Joe Gould
Staff writer for Honor the Fallen


Two Army Rangers, a nurse and an Army criminal investigator were killed by a roadside bomb blast in Zhari, Afghanistan, on Sunday, authorities said this morning.

One of the Rangers was killed while trying to aid a fallen comrade.

The criminal investigator killed was the first agent of Criminal Investigation Command to die in Iraq or Afghanistan, though agents often assist special operations forces, a CID spokesman said.

1st Lt. Jennifer M. Moreno, 25, of San Diego, Calif., a nurse assigned to Madigan Army Medical Center, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. She was with an Army Special Operations Command cultural support team.
Sgt. Patrick C. Hawkins, 25, of Carlisle, Pa., assigned to Company B, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Ga.

Sgt. Joseph M. Peters, 24, of Springfield, Mo., a special agent assigned to the 5th Military Police Battalion, Vicenza, Italy.
Pfc. Cody J. Patterson, 24, of Philomath, Ore., assigned to Company B, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, at Fort Benning, Ga.

Col. Christopher S. Vanek, commander of the 75th Ranger Regiment, called Hawkins a “man of character and commitment” and said Patterson, “had a limitless future.”

Faith R. Hinkley

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. Faith R. Hinkley

Army Sgt. Faith R. Hinkley

Died August 7, 2010 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom



Faith was born July 16, 1987 in Alamosa, Colo. to David and Annavee Hinkley.

Faith enjoyed a variety of activities. She was very active in Rainbow Girls, serving as Worthy Advisor of the Monte Vista Assembly, Grand Hope of Colorado Rainbow. Faith was active in her Sunday School Class, attended Vacation Bible School and was an instructor and helper. She also belonged to Girl Scouts. Faith was involved in sports and was an honor student in middle school.

During high school, Faith was a cheerleader for four years and was on the golf team for one year. She belonged to several clubs and organizations including Young Life, FBLA, Student Council, FCCLA, Peer Mediation and Key Club.

Faith also was in the color guard for the Monte Vista State Champion Marching Band, and was the 2006 Band Sweetheart and 2005 Homecoming Senior Attendant.

The general said Faith was instrumental in developing a relationship with Iraqi intelligence and also was instrumental in finding a weapons cache that contained materials for building IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices.”

Pasquarelli then said that, in addition to her posthumous promotion, Faith had been awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
A letter from her supervising officer said Faith was seldom seen without a smile on her face, an infectious smile that made others feel good to be around her.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“She had the courage to face any challenge,” he said, noting that she had posted the highest score, 126 points, on the promotion board.
“Faith is a true American hero, a true soldier, a true warriors, never to be forgotten.” The letter also conveyed heartfelt condolences to the family from the entire U.S. military.

Young women who had been Faith’s friends from childhood wept openly, along with their older relatives. People carrying U.S. flags lined the roadways and stood alongside the fence at the San Luis Valley Regional Airport-Bergman Field in Alamosa.

Youthful soldiers, many with combat ribbons on their chests, stood at attention until it was time to do their assigned duty of the day, then marched to a special gurney next to the small charter jet.

As a sergeant barked orders, they stepped forward in unison and grabbed handles of the dark wooden coffin, then marched in step to a waiting hearse.

Members of the Patriot Guard stood at attention, saluting and preparing to mount their motorcycles and become part of the solemn procession from Alamosa to the Presbyterian Church in Monte Vista.

Courtesy of:


Jason Togi

Army 1st Lt. Jason Togi

Died August 26, 2013 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom


Army 1st Lt. Jason Togi
Army 1st Lt. Jason Togi

Government leaders, military officials, family and friends gathered at the CCCAS church in Fagasa for the service remembering the life of U.S. Army 1st Lt Jason Asootama Atuatasi Togi —who served his family, church, village, his wife and the military.

1st Lt. Togi was married to Siosiana Togi and he’s the son of Alepapa and Jean Angela Togi. He died Aug. 26 in Hasan Karez, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, and Fort Hood, Texas. He was deployed to Afghanistan on July 4th this year.

Togi and his wife of less than a year, Siosiana, were based in Killeen, Texas.

The Fallen Toa o Samoa was laid to rest at the residence of his grandfather Atuatasi Talosaga in Fagasa yesterday afternoon. The two-day funeral service began on Wednesday with final burial services yesterday.

At the service, Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga said Togi defended and upheld the constitution of the United States of America. He noted that he did not just walk into the military, he knew very well the complication he was facing and he served his people the best way he could… “He’s our hero and we are here to celebrate his service to his people. “First Lt Jason, rest in peace.”

Jason Togi
Jason Togi

Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin stated that he did not come all the way from Washington DC to mourn the passing of Jason, rather he came to celebrate his life. He said to Jason’s parents, and his wife that Jason sacrificed his life to protect us, so we can continue to live as a free people.

Brigadier General of the US Army, Daniel L Karbler, who escorted the body of 1st Lt Togi also gave remarks, stating it was an honor to represent the US Army in paying the last respects to Jason.

“His fellow soldiers loved him, his fellow bosses, deeply respect him and his Battalion Commander considers him family. Jason is a great man, and his Battalion Commander said that he had a great sense of humor, was athletic and was a great leader in every aspect.

Family members stood behind his casket after being presented by the Army with Gold Star lapel pins. The pins are given to immediate Family members of service members killed in combat during active duty.

According to the program handed out at the service, Jason attended Le’atele Elementary School, Samoana High School, ASCC and Wentworth Academy in Missouri. Jason enlisted in the US Army in 2007 and following that he, earned an AA from Wentworth Academy along with a BA in Civil Engineering.

He was a Sunday school teacher, a CCCAS Fagasa youth leader and choir member.

Courtesy of Joyetter Feagaimaalii-Luamanu American Samoa News


Service for Army 1st Lt. Jason Togi
Service for Army 1st Lt. Jason Togi

More than 100 Family members, friends and fellow Soldiers with the “Black Jack” Brigade paid their final respects to their fallen brother-in-arms during a remembrance ceremony Oct. 12 at the 73rd Street Chapel (1st Cavalry Division Memorial Chapel).

During the ceremony, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cav. Div., paid tribute to 1st Lt. Jason Togi, who was killed in action on Aug. 26 while serving as a combat engineer platoon leader in Hasan Karez, Afghanistan.

“The last thing I said to him before he deployed was, ‘I hope I see you when you come back,’” said Sgt. Genaro Sexton, a combat engineer with Company C, 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. “He was a good, hard worker. He always portrayed himself in a professional manner and was Family-oriented first. It was an honor and a privilege to serve under him.”

Togi, a Pago Pago, American Samoa native, attended Wentworth Military Academy in Lexington, Mo. and graduated from the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps in 2010. He entered the Army the following year and graduated from the Engineer Officer Basic Course at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. in 2012.

He was assigned to Co. C, 2nd BSTB, 2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div., and deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan, July 4, 2013, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

On that day, he died of injuries suffered when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device.

Family of Jason Togi
Family of Jason Togi

“Jason Togi paid the ultimate price for our freedom,” said Lt. Col. Michael Kielpinski, rear detachment commander for Task Force Pershing, 2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. “When he came to Fort Hood, he sought out the most challenging position he could find. He always had a positive attitude, was respected and admired by his peers, and led by example with a smile on his face.”

After Soldiers spoke and final respects were paid, a lone candle was lit in Togi’s memory and a three-volley salute was rendered.

“He will be truly missed,” Kielpinski said. “We’ll never forget our freedom and the ultimate sacrifice he made to protect it.”

Togi is survived by his wife, Siosiana Togi, and his parents Alipapa and Angela Togi.

By Sgt. Christopher Calvert, 1st ACB, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs


Christopher L. Camero

Marine Lance Cpl. Christopher L. Camero

Died July 12, 2011 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom


Christopher L. Camero
Christopher L. Camero

Lance Cpl. Christopher L. Camero, 19, from the Big Island of Hawaii, died Friday of wounds suffered in combat with the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment. Camero had been injured July 6 in Helmand province, Afghanistan. In June, Taliban insurgents increased attacks against coalition forces in northern Helmand, in an apparent bid to regain lost territory.

Lance Cpl. Christopher L. Camero came from a military family, and as a young boy he was always saluting, relatives told West Hawaii Today newspaper.

His aunt, Florida Ballio, said Camero emigrated from the Philippines at about age five and grew up in Waimea, where he enjoyed to cook, fish and play football, judo and wrestling. (The Defense Department had reported that Camero’s hometown was Kailua-Kona.)

Marine Lance Cpl. Christopher L. Camero
Marine Lance Cpl. Christopher L. Camero

“He would always goes fishing with his father whenever he had the time,” Ballio told the Hawaii newspaper. “I’m really trying to cope with it,” she added, speaking of Camero as if he were alive: “he’s a very, very good boy. Very active.”

Camero family
Camero family

A friend who attended boot camp with Camero wrote on his web site: “His lifelong goal was to become a Marine, and his childhood dream came true. … On July 6th, I heard you were hit badly by an IED (improvised explosive device,) and I prayed for you.”I will never forget you or any of the stunts we pulled.”

His personal service awards include the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon and Afghanistan Campaign Medal.

Courtesy of Gretel C. Kovach of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Victoria A. Pinckney

Air Force Capt. Victoria A. Pinckney

Died May 3, 2013 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom


Victoria A. PinckneyCapt. Pinckney died May 3, near Chon-Aryk, Kyrgyzstan, in the crash of a KC-135 aircraft that involved two other Airmen. At the time of the accident, the Airmen were assigned to the 22nd Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron. Their home unit is the 93rd Air Refueling Squadron, Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington.

Victoria was loved by many and will be remembered forever as a hero and a patriot for her service and sacrifice. She was a beloved daughter, a devoted wife, and a caring mother. Victoria was born on September 28, 1985 in Denver, Colorado.

Pinckney 2In 2003, Victoria graduated from Palmdale High School in Palmdale, California. She went on to complete a year at the Air Force Academy Preparatory School where she met her future husband, Richard Pinckney. Victoria graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 2008 with a B.S. in Systems Engineering, Space Systems. While there, she played on the Women’s Rugby Team and was a member of Cadet Squadron 15, the War Eagles. She was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on May 28, 2008. On May 31, 2008, Victoria married Captain Richard Pinckney in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She was a devoted and loving wife and was cherished by her husband. The two both attended pilot training at Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma. There, Victoria flew the T-6 and the T-1 aircraft. On May 28, 2010, she was promoted to First Lieutenant. Shortly after, she received her wings and her assignment to fly the KC-135 at Fairchild Air Force Base, Spokane, Washington. In May of 2012 she earned the rank of Captain, and she completed her Master’s Degree in Psychology later that year.

Victoria A. PinckneyVictoria shared a smile and a positive attitude with everyone she encountered. She was extremely proud of her military service and was always generous with her time and talents. As a young student, she enjoyed competing in the Academic Pentathlon. Tory enjoyed scrapbooking, snowboarding, and crocheting. She also had a black belt and red stripe in karate. She loved to bake and share her goodies with friends and neighbors. Victoria’s son, Gabriel, was the light of her life. She was an attentive and loving mother. Capt. Pinckney is survived by her husband, Richard Pinckney and her son, Gabriel Pinckney, both of Spokane, Washington. She leaves behind parents, Larry and Michelle Castro; two sisters, Nichol and Samantha Castro; grandparents, Lt. Col (Ret) Don and Terry Castro, and Josephine and Emil Grulkowski. She is also survived by mother-in-law, Nina Pinckney and Wally Slate; father-in-law, Richard and Lorraine Pinckney; sisters-in-law, Christine, Stephanie, and Jeanna Pinckney; brothers-in-law, Tyler and Kevin Obrock and Douglas Kozar; and grandparents Anna and Donald Bull, and Virginia Hunt. She also leaves behind many aunts, uncles and cousins.

Victoria will be laid to rest with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

Plot: Section 60 Site: 10574

Published in The Gazette on June 2, 2013







Anthony O Magee

Army Sgt. Anthony O. Magee

Died April 27, 2010 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

HATTIESBURG — Sgt. Anthony O. Magee, 29, of Hattiesburg, returned home for the final time when a Kalitta Charters jet carrying his flag-draped coffin touched down at the Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport at 7:22 a.m. Friday.

Army Sgt. Anthony O. Magee
Army Sgt. Anthony O. Magee

Magee died April 27 from wounds suffered three days earlier when his unit came under indirect fire at Contingency Operating Base Kasul in Iskandariyah, Iraq. He was a member of the United

States Army’s 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division from Fort Benning, Ga.

Magee is the second soldier from the Hattiesburg area killed in a 20-day span during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Spc. William Anthony Blount, 21, of Petal was killed April 7 by a roadside explosive device in Mosul, Iraq.

“This is something we should do,” said Maxine Coleman, neighborhood coordinator for the city, who stood at Pine Street and Second Avenue to pay her respects as the funeral procession passed. “He gave his life for our freedom.

“I can’t imagine what his family is going through. It could have been my son. I have kids that age.”

About 25 members of Magee’s family were at the edge of the airport tarmac Friday, one grasping a small American flag that rippled in the breeze.

The Mississippi Honor Guard Team from Jackson met Magee’s casket at the airport.

An escort of law enforcement from Hattiesburg Police Department, Forrest County Sheriff’s Office, Petal Police Department, University of Southern Mississippi and Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol, followed by a formation of Patriot Guard Riders, led the procession down I-59.

Anthony O. Magee
Anthony O. Magee family

The halls of Hattiesburg High were silent Friday morning as students filed along Hutchinson Avenue to catch a glimpse of the hearse.

As Leisha Weathersby stood outside, she had nothing but kind words to say about Magee, whom she taught in her Algebra I class when he was a ninth-grader.

“He was one of the nicest people,” she said. “He was sincere and hard-working in and out of school. This is a bittersweet moment. It was an honor and privilege to teach him, and I wish I had 101 students like him.”

Magee is survived by his mother and father, Patricia and Tony Davis; three siblings; his wife, Courtney Magee; and his 5-year-old son, Kameron Johnson,

The funeral of Sgt. Anthony Magee’s will be 1 p.m. today at Shady Grove Baptist Church in Eastabuchie, with burial in Venia Park in Collins.

Source: Clarion Ledger May 8, 2010

Additional Source: Military Times