Rachel Bosveld

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 Pfc. Rachel K. Bosveld.


 

Rachel Bosveld
Rachel Bosveld

WAUPUN, Wis. — All Rachel Bosveld wanted was to come home.

She never complained, but after eight months in the sands of Iraq, barely surviving a roadside ambush and patrolling anti-American riots, the 19-year-old military policewoman from Waupun had had enough.

“More and more people want us to go home,” she wrote in a letter to her father. “Believe me, we want to go home.”

Rachel Bosveld died Sunday in a mortar attack at a Baghdad police station, becoming the first Wisconsin woman killed in the Iraqi conflict and the fifth soldier from the state to die in that country this year.

Marvin Bosveld said he supported the invasion at first, but now he isn’t sure.

“That war killed her,” Marvin Bosveld said. “I’m not so sure what I’ll support now.”

Craig Bosveld, 32, described his sister as an artist who loved to draw forest scenes, play her violin and act in Waupun High School’s drama club. She played Frieda in the school rendition of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” She hoped one day to become a graphic artist, he said.

“Can’t believe it,” he said. “The chances are one in a hundred thousand. She did what she had to do and never complained. We’re all proud of her.”

Reporters, photographers and cameramen descended on the Bosvelds’ modest white house Tuesday as a cold rain fell outside. A red Marine Corps flag hung outside the door in honor of Rachel’s stepbrother, 19-year-old Aaron Krebs.

The other Wisconsin soldiers who died in Iraq were Army Spc. Paul J. Sturino, 21, of Rice Lake; Army Reservist Dan Gabrielson, 40, of Frederic; Army Maj. Mathew Schram, 36, of Brookfield; and Marine Sgt. Kirk Straseskie, 23, of Beaver Dam.

Marvin Bosveld sat on the couch and told the story of his daughter’s short life.

Marvin Bosveld and his former wife, Mary, were serving as foster parents when Rachel came to them as a neglected baby. The couple adopted her. After they separated, she lived in Oshkosh with her mother but moved to Waupun with her father for her junior and senior years in high school.

She enlisted in the Army when she graduated in June 2002, following in the footsteps of her father, who served in the Army in Italy from 1967-1969, and Craig, who served in the Army in Alaska.

“She idolized her brother,” Marvin Bosveld said, pointing to a photograph of Craig holding a toddler-sized Rachel on a tree branch. “I had some reservation because she was a girl. She asked me not to worry about it. She was as good as anyone.”

Her mother said she desperately tried to talk her daughter out of it.

“I would have done anything to have her choose a different career,” Mary Bosveld said. “She said, ‘I know, Mom, but I have to do this. I want to keep up the family tradition. Except, Mom, I’m going to be the first girl in our entire family.”’

Rachel graduated from boot camp in October 2002. Her father rode his Harley-Davidson motorcycle to Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri to see her graduate. She asked for a ride on the back. That, Marvin said, was his last real memory of her.

Rachel Bosveld
Rachel

When she first got to Iraq, she was ready to “kick butt,” her father said.

Until Sept. 12. That was the day a rocket-propelled grenade hit the Humvee she was driving.

Craig Bosveld said the Humvee burned up from the inside. His sister dislocated her shoulder trying to open the door. When she did free herself, her unit started taking small-arms fire until another Humvee arrived to help.

From then on, her father said, her opinion changed.

She counted the days until she could leave in her letters. One focused on all the dead and abused horses she saw in Baghdad. Another talked about anti-American riots and people chanting “USA go home.”

She transferred from night patrol to day patrol. She hoped she might live longer that way, Craig Bosveld said.

Mary Bosveld said her daughter wrote to her and asked her to ask newspapers in Wisconsin to do a story on the real hardships troops there face.

She got three letters from her daughter Tuesday, the day after the family learned she had been killed.

“Mom, don’t worry so much about me,” one letter said.

Rachel Bosveld
Rachel K.H. Bosveld

Mary Bosveld said Rachel hoped to write a book about her experiences. Now she has to pass on her daughter’s story to reporters, as much as she hates it, she said.

“I’m doing this for Rachel because this is her story,” she said.

Marvin Bosveld said the hardest part for him will be dealing with unopened birthday cards when they return. Rachel would have turned 20 on Nov. 7.

“She kept assuring me she was getting her sleep, staying alert, keeping her head down and looking over her shoulder,” Bosveld said.

“I can hardly believe it yet today,” he said. “That was my daughter.”

— Associated Press

Michael Weidemann

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. Michael R. Weidemann.


 
Michael Weidemann
Michael Weidemann

Fallen: October 31, 2006

Sergeant Michael R. Weidemann of Newport, RI was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division, Giessen, Germany. He became a hero on Oct. 31, 2006 in Asad, Iraq, from injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Light Medium Tactical Vehicle in Hit, Iraq.

Remembering Michael:

Born in Canada on August 17, 1983, Sergeant Michael R. Weidemann moved to Middletown, RI with his family when he was 7. In 2001, he graduated from Rogers High School, where he attended the Newport Area Career and Technical Center and participated in the automotive program. He was also an honor student and an active member of the Junior Recruiting Officer Training Candidate program. His participation in the program had the biggest impact on him. The program completely turned his life around, giving him some direction. One month after graduating from high school, Sergeant Weidemann pursued his interests by enlisting in the Army as an auto mechanic and joined the 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment of the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division.

Those who knew Sergeant Weidemann remember his optimistic personality, his loyalty, his hard work and willingness to fix everything. Most importantly, he had a positive impact on all who knew him. He loved the Army and wanted to make it a career. After serving one tour in Iraq, Sergeant Weidemann was nearing the end of his second tour when he became a fallen hero at the age of 23 in Asad, Iraq from injuries sustained after an improvised explosive devise detonated near his Light Medium Tactical Vehicle in Hit, Iraq.

When Sergeant Weidemann’s Nation called him to duty to preserve freedom, liberty and security, he answered without hesitation. We will remember him as a patriot who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country.
Sergeant Weidemann is survived by his grandmother, Gertrude K.C. Miller; his sister, Catharine E. Weidemann; and his brothers, Richard L. Weidemann and Edward R. and Benjamin J. Berriault.

Courtesy of Run for The Fallen Rhode Island


 
Michael Weidemann
Sergeant Michael Weidemann

Lt. Col. Raoul Achambault drove from Newport to Providence this morning thinking of one person: Sgt. Michael R. Weidemann, who was killed Tuesday in Iraq. He was 23.
Archambault, who works in the Junior ROTC program at Providence’s Hope High School, ran the program at Rogers High School in 2001, when Weidemann graduated.
“The thing I remember most clearly about Michael is that he was a nice kid and he was nice to other kids,” Archambault said. “That is not always the case. He went through the same challenges that all kids face. It can be a tough time of life for kids. And they can very mean to each other. He was always nice to other kids, and I think they looked up to him in a lot of ways. He was a very active participant in our events and in any community service project we did.”
Weidemann was killed while on patrol when his armored military vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in the city of Hit in the area of the Anbar province west of Baghdad, according to the Rhode
Island National Guard.
Weidemann is the 11th Rhode Islander killed in Iraq since 2003. Funeral arrangements this morning were incomplete.

Weidemann was an honors student who attended the Newport Area Career and Technical Center, housed at Rogers, where he specialized in automotive technology. But his uncle, Ambrose Miller of South Kingstown, said it was the JROTC program that had the biggest impact on his nephew.

“That school and that program completely turned his life around,” Miller said this morning. “It really gave him some direction. He loved the Army and wanted to make a career of it. It’s a sad situation, of course. But he ended up doing exactly what he wanted to do. And how many young people can say that?”

Miller said Weidemann’s father lives out of state. His mother, Susanna Weidemann, died in 1999 at the age of 39, he said. She was a Navy veteran, Miller said, but her experience had little influence on her son’s military decision.

“It was the school and the ROTC that had the biggest impact,” Miller said. “That’s what did it.”

Weidemann is the second oldest of five children and also is survived by a grandmother.

Victoria Johnson, retired Rogers High School principal, had yet to hear the news of Weidemann’s death until this morning. She remembered him vividly.

“He was such a nice young man, so friendly,” she said. “I used to talk to him in the cafeteria and he was always so likeable. He’s one you remember.”

Johnson recalled Weidemann telling her he planned to enlist in the Army after graduation. “He wasn’t going on to college and was very excited about joining the Army,” Johnson said. “I think he saw it as a good opportunity. This is such sad news.”

Sheri Martins graduated from Rogers in 2003, two years after Weidemann, but said she knew him early on in high school. “He was a total sweetheart,” she said. “He always had a smile on his face. If you needed someone to talk to, he was always there for you, just a sweetheart.”

Weidemann was a member of the 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment of the 1st Brigade, based in Germany.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., an Army veteran, issued a statement about Weidemann’s death. “This is a moment to reflect on the courage and dedication of one brave American who has given all for his country,” he said.

Courtesy of Newport Daily News

Camella Steedley

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 Sgt. Camella M. Steedley.


Camella M. Steedley

Courtesy of www.findagrave.com

Birth: Jul. 19, 1981
Death: Oct. 3, 2012
Sgt. Camella M. Steedley, 31, of San Diego, Calif., died Oct. 3, while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. She was assigned to Combat Logistics Regiment 17, 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif. Steedley lived in San Clemente with her husband of eight years and fellow Marine, James, and their four children. She also is survived by her mother, Ardraine and father, Marcus.

Courtesy of www.dailykos.com
Camella Marchett Alsbrooks Steedley comes from San Diego, California, where her father and mother still live. She enlisted in the Marine Corps in December of 2001.
Camella had lived in San Clemente with her husband of eight years, fellow Marine James Steedley, and their four children. The couple and children had also been previously stationed at Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay.
Sgt. Steedley was an air operations clerk in a logistics unit and serving her first Afghanistan combat deployment.
Her friends and fellow Marines describe Camella Marchett as a great friend and loving soul with a beautiful smile and good conversation whenever needed.
Among those Sgt. Steedley leaves behind are her husband and four young children, and her mother and father, and her fellow Marines.

Camella M. Steedley

Joel Clarkson

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. Joel D. Clarkson .


Sgt. Joel David Clarkson
Assignment: 2-75th Ranger Battalion
Location: Afghanistan
K.I.A.: March 16, 2010

Joel Clarkson
Sgt. Joel David Clarkson, 23, was a team leader assigned to 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. He was born on Oct. 8, 1986.
Clarkson was seriously wounded during a fierce direct-fire combat engagement against a heavily armed and determined enemy in Farah Province, Afghanistan, March 13. He was treated by unit medics, immediately evacuated to the nearest medical treatment facility and subsequently transferred to Landsthul Regional Hospital, Landsthul, Germany where he died March 16. He was on his fifth deployment in support of the War on Terror with three previous deployments to Iraq and one to Afghanistan.
Clarkson enlisted in the U.S. Army from his hometown of Fairbanks, Alaska in February 2006. He completed One Station Unit Training at Fort Benning, Ga., as an infantryman. After graduating from the Basic Airborne Course there, he was assigned to the Ranger Indoctrination Program also at Fort Benning.
Following graduation from the Ranger Indoctrination Program, Clarkson was assigned to Company A, 2nd Bn., 75th Ranger Regiment in September 2006 where he served as a grenadier, Squad Automatic Weapon gunner and a team leader.
His military education includes the Basic Airborne Course, Ranger Indoctrination Program, U.S. Army Ranger Course, Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape Course, and the Warrior Leader Course.
His awards and decorations include the Ranger Tab, the Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge, Army Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with combat star, Iraq Campaign Medal with combat star, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon and the Overseas Service Ribbon.
Clarkson was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star Medal and the Army Commendation Medal.

Joel Clarkson
Courtesy of: https://www.leadthewayfund.org

Birth: Oct. 8, 1986
Alaska, USA
Death: Mar. 16, 2010, Germany

Special Forces Army Ranger Joel D. Clarkson was assigned to A Company, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. Joel was wounded March 12 by small-arms fire while his unit was on patrol in Helmland province and he was transferred to Germany for care. He died from his injuries on March 16 with his family by his side. He is survived by his wife, Cassandra, and their 9-month-old son, Orion. The couple lived in Puyallup. Joel had served multiple tours of duty in the mid-east.
Burial:
SGT Joel D Clarkson USA
Arlington National Cemetery
Section 60 Site 9081
Courtesy of: www.findagrave.com

Joel Clarkson

He is survived by his wife Cassandra and their son, Orion of Norfolk, Va.; his parents, Karen and Steven Clarkson of Fairbanks, Alaska, and his older sister, Jessica who resides in Hong Kong.

Jennifer Parcell

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 Staff Sgt. David H. Stewart.


Jennifer M Parcell

USMC CPL Jennifer M Parcell, 20, of Bel Air in Harford County, MD died in Al Anbar Province while supporting combat operations. She was assigned to Combat Logistics Regiment 3, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa, Japan as a landing support specialist (E-4) for combat operations and was scheduled to leave Iraq on 1 March and return to Okinawa, where she was stationed. Jennifer graduated in 2004 from Fallston High School and followed her older brother into the Marines in January 2005. They were actually stationed together in Iraq for about a month before being separated. Jennifer enjoyed boating, scuba diving, yoga and music as well as being a whiz at mathematics. She had already received six medals and will no doubt receive a Purple Heart. Jennifer became the fourth woman from the state and 55th Marylander to be killed in Iraq. She was a true humanitarian and had already sponsored an African child through a mission charity and went with her unit to help when Pakistan was devastated by an earthquake last year. She earned the Humanitarian Service Medal for her efforts. Jennifer planned to leave the Marines and attend college when her tour ended in 2009. She was already taking a course at University of Maryland online while in Iraq. Her family plans to hold a funeral service at Mount Calvary Free Will Baptist Church in Aberdeen. She is survived by her parents, other family members including her brother CPL Joseph Parcell who is returning from his tour to be with family and her aunt Martha Benton of Aberdeen.

Courtesy of www.nooniefortin.com
The following is how Jennifer described herself –

About me:
I think that I’m overall a pretty small person. I love to have fun doing nothing at all. Specially just chillen with good friends. I love Yoga! But mostly I lay around and watch movies. Yes I am in the Marine Corps, but it’s a lot of fun sometimes. I’m currently stationed at Okinawa, Japan Camp Foster. I hang out with Landing Support Company all the time, we always eat at CoCos and chill at Third Floor. Not much else to do in Oki before 12 o’clock.

Jennifer M Parcell

 

Bel Air Soldier Killed in Iraq

By Patricia M.Murret
Capital News Service
Friday, Feb. 9, 2007

WASHINGTON – On “My Space,” a Web site where members profile their life and loves, post messages and reach out through e-mail, Marine Cpl. Jennifer M. Parcell beams from a photo next to a caption saying, “Going to be chillin’ in Iraq for awhile.”

Down to just a couple weeks left in her service in Iraq, Parcell, 20, of Bel Air, was killed Wednesday while supporting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Defense officials said Thursday. Now her My Space page is rapidly filling with tributes to the slender 5-foot-2-inch lover of Jimmy Buffett and the Texas band Bowling for Soup. “We’re just all very much in shock,” said Parcell’s cousin, Candace Atwood. “She had just told us that she was coming home.”

On Jan. 29, the last day she logged into her “My Space” account, Parcell sent Atwood an e-mail saying that she had “just 22 days left” before departing Iraq for good and returning to Camp Pendleton, Calif., for another year of service, Atwood said. “She was really looking forward to being in California. … She joined the Marines mainly to travel, and she was really looking forward to doing that,” Atwood said. She’d planned to leave the Marines at the end of her California tour. A landing support specialist for 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Parcell often assisted in transferring supplies, food and ammunition.

Wednesday evening, her family was told by Marine officials that she was killed along with other Marines by a suicide bomber during a sensitive mission at a military checkpoint, said Ray Fender, a family spokesman. Though the family does not know the details of what occurred, Fender said they were told Parcell was searching Iraqi women for explosives and had been able to detect a bomber. The family wishes the Iraqi people no malice, Fender said. Their Christian beliefs dictate reaching out in love to them. “We do not believe that Jenny’s life was taken. We believe that her life was given,” Fender said. “She was a good kid. Anyone would love to have her as their daughter.” He called her “a good Marine” and said, “We’re so proud of what she’s done to serve with her country.”

Parcell attended middle school in Bel Air, Atwood said, and graduated from Fallston High School in 2004. In late June 2004, she followed in the footsteps of her older brother Marine Cpl. Joseph “Joey” Parcell, 24, and enlisted in the Marines. She pursued college courses at Hartford Community College in Bel Air, before departing for boot camp on Jan. 2, 2005. Determined to complete her college education, Parcell continued online study from her foreign posts, even while in Iraq, Fender said.
After initial training in Parris Island, S.C., and job specialty training in North Carolina’s Camp LeJeune area, Parcell was assigned to the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force in Okinawa, Japan, where she served until her deployment to Iraq in August, Marine officials said Thursday. While in Japan, the soldier relished learning more about her culture and background, Atwood said. Parcell’s Japanese paternal grandmother is originally from Okinawa. Parcell was promoted to corporal in 2006 and received six medals during her military service, Marine officials said.

Jennifer M Parcell

A longtime member of Mount Calvary Free Will Baptist Church in Aberdeen, Parcell often volunteered in the nursery and helped prepare congregational dinners with her aunt, Martha Benton, a secretary in the church, Atwood said. She had a talent for all things artistic, longtime friend Michelle “Shelly” Wolff said, whether that was arranging flowers at the church, dressing up and taking photos or painting a picture. Wolff recalled accompanying church friends and Parcell to a high school art exhibit to see Parcell’s painting of a favorite rock band’s album cover. Atwood cherishes a still-life painting of a vase of sunflowers that earned Parcell an A-plus. Known affectionately as “Boo” by family, Parcell considered her brother a “best friend,” and named her mother her personal hero on her My Space page. Parcell is survived by her parents, John and Pam Parcell Simon of Bel Air, and her brother and sister-in-law, Joseph and Sarah Parcell of Bel Air, and other relatives. Her maternal grandfather, Eugene Albert Parcell of West Virginia, will also be buried there. He died the day after his granddaughter was killed.

David Stewart

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 Staff Sgt. David H. Stewart.


David Stewart
Staff Sgt. David H. Stewart

A Marine from Stafford County, Virginia, was killed last week while on deployment in Afghanistan.

Staff Sgt. David H. Stewart, 34, died Friday while supporting combat operations in the Helmand province of the country, the Department of Defense announced.

Lance Cpl. Brandon J. Garabrant, 19, of Peterborough, New Hampshire, and Lance Cpl. Adam R. Wolff, 25, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, were also killed as a result of the hostile incident.

All three were all assigned to the 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion (Forward) in the 2nd Marine Division.

Stewart most recently deployed to Afghanistan in April, while Garabrant and Wolff deployed in March. It was his fifth deployment in 10 years, and his second in Afghanistan. He was serving as a platoon sergeant for the 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force.

He also completed three tours of duty in Iraq after joining the Marines in June 2004. He was promoted to staff sergeant in 2010.

Stewart graduated from North Stafford High School and still considered Stafford his home despite living near Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, said his father, Nelson Stewart.

Nelson, who also served in the Marines, told News4’s David Culver that his son was a “warm, loving person.”

David Stewart also left behind his wife, Kristine, and two young children.

“We’ve been together since we were teenagers and he’s always been positive,” Kristine Stewart said. “It didn’t matter what was going on. All the joys in our life and then the hardships that come with five deployments; he just was my rock.”
It’s painful to think their two young children won’t have their father with them as they grow up, she said. She wishes they would be able to see for themselves what a wonderful man he was.

“…David’s probably up in heaven right now saying, ‘I’m so sorry, sweetheart. I love you so much. And I’m so sorry,’ because he always put us first,” Kristine Stewart said.

Courtesy of https://www.nbcwashington.com/news

 

During his first deployment to Iraq, as a Marine Corps reservist, David Stewart called his wife, Kristine. He said he was thinking about becoming an active-duty Marine.

“I was like, ‘Do it.’ I could just tell how much he loved the Marine Corps,” his wife said. She said his dedication never wavered through four more deployments. While on his fifth, Staff Sgt. David H. Stewart, 34, was killed in Afghanistan on Friday, along with two other Marines.

The son of a lieutenant colonel, Stewart was born in New Orleans and moved wherever his father was stationed, including two tours in Okinawa, his wife said. But he considered Stafford — where the family settled after Stewart’s father retired and when Stewart was in middle school — his home.

There he met Kristine, when they were in middle school. They began dating as juniors in high school.

The two married and have a daughter, Mackenzie, 2, and son, Marshall, 14 months.

Marine Staff Sgt. David H. Stewart was the son of a lieutenant colonel. (AP)

“He was the most joyous father you could ever know,” Kristine Stewart said. “He had such a sparkle in his eyes when he looked at his beautiful children.”

David Stewart
David Stewart Family

She said that she helped her husband decide to follow in his father’s and brother’s footsteps by joining the Marine Corps Forces Reserve. “It was all about serving something that was bigger than ourselves and doing the right thing. I fell in love with him when I was 16 years old because he was like that as a teen, and he just carried that on,” she said.

Stewart deployed to Iraq from September 2004 to March 2005, from March to October 2006 and from September 2007 to April 2008. Then he went to Afghanistan from October 2012 to April 2013. He left for his last deployment this past April, according to the Defense Department.

He served in the 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion (Forward), Marine Expeditionary Brigade Afghanistan, Regional Command Southwest. His wife said that as a combat engineer, he worked on clearing roads during his last deployment.

The Defense Department said Stewart died as a result of a hostile incident in Helmand province. Lance Cpl. Brandon J. Garabrant, 19, of Peterborough, N.H., and Lance Cpl. Adam R. Wolff, 25, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, also were killed. All three were based at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

“He just had so much fun. Gosh, he would come home with this light in his eyes,” Kristine Stewart said of her husband’s early days in the reserves, before September 11, before the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Even after he went to war, five times over, Stewart remained upbeat. “He just was so proud to be a Marine and so proud to serve his country, and I was just so proud of him,” his wife said.

Courtesy of https://www.washingtonpost.com
By Julie Zauzmer

STAFFORD, Va. (AP/WJLA) – The body of a Marine killed one week ago in Afghanistan came home to Virginia on Friday amid a procession of motorcyclists.

Staff Sgt. David H. Stewart seen with his wife, Kristine, and two young children, Mackenzie and Marshall.

David Stewart
The Stewarts

Staff Sgt. David H. Stewart died as a result of what the Pentagon calls a hostile incident in Helmand Province. The 34-year-old’s body was transported Friday afternoon from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Friday to Stafford County, accompanied by a procession of motorcyclists made up of current and former police, fire and rescue workers and military members. It’s an honor for us to escort him to his final resting place…He lost his life fighting for our country you know, and for us to be able to help out and make sure everything goes smoothly for him and his family, it’s a big honor,” said Corporal Mike Ashe with the Prince George’s County Motorcycle Unit.

Stewart’s funeral is set for Tuesday at the Marine Corps Base Quantico chapel.

He was deployed three times to Iraq and twice to Afghanistan. He is survived by his wife, and two young children.

Courtesy of WJLA

Staff Sgt. David H. Stewart, 34, of Stafford, Virginia, died June 20, while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Staff Sgt. David H. Stewart died as a result of what the Pentagon calls a hostile incident in Helmand Province. His body was transported Friday afternoon from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Friday to Stafford County, accompanied by a procession of motorcyclists made up of current and former police, fire and rescue workers and military members. “It’s an honor for us to escort him to his final resting place…He lost his life fighting for our country you know, and for us to be able to help out and make sure everything goes smoothly for him and his family, it’s a big honor,” said Corporal Mike Ashe with the Prince George’s County Motorcycle Unit. Stewart’s funeral is set for Tuesday at the Marine Corps Base Quantico chapel. He was deployed three times to Iraq and twice to Afghanistan. Survivors include his wife, Kristine Stewart; his two beautiful children, MacKenzie and Marshall; father, Lt. Col. Nelson H. Stewart (USMC Retired); and brother, Nelson E. Stewart. A funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday, July 1 at the Marine Memorial Chapel, Marine Corps Base Quantico. Burial will follow at 2:30 p.m. at Quantico National Cemetery. Obituary information provided by Covenant Funeral Service.

David Stewart
David H. Stewart

Burial:
Quantico National Cemetery
Quantico
Prince William County
Virginia, USA
Plot: Section 28 Site 4

Courtesy of https://www.findagrave.com

Donna Johnson

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


Donna Johnson

Courtesy of www.findagrave.com
Sgt. Donna R. Johnson, 29, of Raeford, N.C., died Oct.1, in Khost, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when an insurgent detonated a suicide vest while they were on dismounted patrol. The soldiers were assigned to the 514th Military Police Company, 60th Troop Command, Winterville, N.C.
Staff Donna Johnson, 29, of Raeford died Monday, October 1, 2012 while on patrol in Khost City, Afghanistan.
Sgt Johnson was born in Moore County on May 10, 1983 to Mr. Philas Ray Johnson and Mrs. Sandra Guiton Johnson. Sgt. Johnson was raised in Raeford, North Carolina and joined the North Carolina Army National Guard in 2006. Sgt Johnson was a member of the 514th Military Police Company based in Winterville, NC and had previously deployed to Iraq from 2007 to 2008. Sgt Johnson awards and decorations included, the Bronze Star Medal posthumous, the Purple Heart posthumous, Army Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star, Iraq Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M Device, 2, Noncommissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal posthumous, North Carolina Meritorious Service Medal posthumous, 1, Combat Action Badge, Driver and Mechanic Badge, Bar, Driver-W (for wheeled vehicles), Combat and Special Skill Badge Basic Marksmanship Qual Badge, Bar, Weapon: Rifle (Inscription: Rifle), Expert, Overseas Service Bar, 2.
Survivors include her spouse, Tracy Joe Dice of Raeford; parents, Mr. Philas Ray Johnson and Mrs. Sandra Guiton Johnson of Raeford; sister, Rene Anne Johnson Albattrawi of Raeford; godchildren, Jason and Hanna.


Donna Johnson


 

Daniel Healy

Since its inception, each month LHCP has honored a military service member who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Every box which is shipped from LHCP is labeled with information about the Honoree. The monthly Honoree’s story is attached to the box so others can read about those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. This month’s Honoree is Navy Senior Chief Information Systems Technician (SEAL) Daniel R. Healy.


Daniel Healy

https://www.fallenheroesproject.org

“No one left behind” – a hallmark of the Navy’s special operations teams (as well as military units in general). Often said, SCPO Daniel Healy willingly sacrificed his life in an attempt to save his fellow Navy Seals in the mountains of Afghanistan (as outlined in the book “Lone Survivor” by his teammate, Marcus Luttrell).

Yesterday, there was a dedication ceremony in Exeter, NH (where Dan grew up) where the town unveiled a monument to his memory and renamed their community pool and a nearby bridge to his honor:

Four members of his team were ambushed; he insisted that he be on the rescue mission. Eight of his fellow Seals onboard the helicopters, as well as the Army NightStalkers that staffed them, lost their lives.

John 15:13 says:

Greater love has no man than this – that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Daniel had a young family that loved him; he didn’t have to go. But he knew that he was needed and showed us all a lesson that many tritely say “freedom isn’t free”. Sometimes, it takes self-responsibility to preserve that freedom; you cannot have the latter without the former. He showed that self-responsibility can sometimes demand “giving all”.
Daniel Healy
Healy was part of a dedicated team fighting the Taliban, a fundamentalist regime that a U.S.-led coalition knocked from power in Afghanistan in 2001, but has continued to conduct guerilla operations, particularly along the Pakistan border. Healy worked to help ensure al Qaeda terrorists could not train in, nor launch strikes from Afghanistan since their lethal attack on the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001.

Daniel Healy enlisted in the Navy in 1990 and graduated from BUD/S in 1992. He was assigned to SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team ONE (SDVT-1) from 1992 – 1996, followed by a year of intensive language training at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA. Healy next served at SEAL Delivery Team TWO, before returning to SDVT-1 in Pearl Harbor, HI, where he led a training platoon.

In March 2005, Healy deployed to Afghanistan. He died along with seven other SEALs and 8 Army “Nightstalker” commandos when their MH-47D Chinook helicopter was shot down during a mission to rescue a four-man SEAL reconnaissance team in Kunar Province on June 28, 2005.

Lieutenant Michael Murphy, Matthew Axelson, and Danny Dietz fought on courageously, providing protective fire for their fourth squad member to escape, before being killed in the fierce firefight by overwhelming Taliban forces with superior firepower.

A total of 11 SEALs died that day in the Global War against Terror, in the biggest single loss of life for Naval Special Warfare forces since World War II. To a man, these SEALs embodied the Navy’s core values of Honor, Courage and Commitment, and took care of their teammates to the last.


https://www.findagrave.com

Birth: Jul. 17, 1968

Exeter

Rockingham County

New Hampshire, USA

Death: Jun. 28, 2005, Afghanistan

Senior Chief Petty Officer Daniel R. Healy, 36, of Exeter, N.H. assigned to SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. He was killed while conducting combat operations when the MH-47 helicopter that they were aboard crashed in the vicinity of Asadabad, Afghanistan in Kumar Province on June 28. Dan is survived by his wife, Norminda; his seven children, parents, Natalie and Henry; sisters, Jennifer and Shannon. He died while conducting combat operations when the MH-47 helicopter that he was aboard crashed in the vicinity of Asadabad, Afghanistan in Kumar Province.

Inscription: SCPO, US Navy Seal, BSM “V” PH

Love of my Life

Our Hero and Dad

 

Burial:

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery

San Diego

San Diego County

California, USA

Plot: Sec A-E Site 65-A

Daniel Healy

 


 

https://ftebrand.com

Dan Healy was born on July 17, 1968, in Exeter, New Hampshire. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1990 and after completing basic training he attended Information Technician School, and then entered Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Training in January 1991. After completing BUD/S, Jump School, and SEAL Qualification Training, Petty Officer Healy served with SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team ONE at NAB Coronado, California, from February 1992 to December 1996, followed by language school at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, from January 1997 to January 1998. His next assignment was with SEAL Team TWO at NAB Little Creek, Virginia, from January 1998 to February 2000, and during this time he deployed aboard the amphibious transport dock USS Ponce (LPD-15) from April to October 1999. Petty Officer Healy served with SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team ONE after its move to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, from March 2000 to March 2005, and then deployed with SEAL Team TEN to Afghanistan from March 2005 until he was killed in action during Operation Red Wings when the MH-47 Chinook helicopter he was aboard was shot down by an enemy rocket-propelled grenade on June 28, 2005. SCPO Healy was buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, California.

His Bronze Star Medal w/Valor Citation reads:

For heroic achievement in connection with combat operations against the enemy while serving as Platoon Leading Chief Petty Officer, SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team ONE, while deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM on 28 June 2005. As part of a Quick Reaction Force, Senior Chief Healy was sent to reinforce a Navy SEAL Special Reconnaissance element engaged in a fierce firefight against numerically superior Anti-Coalition Militia near Asadabad, Konar Province, Afghanistan. The Special Reconnaissance element was under siege from enemy fire in extremely rugged and unforgiving terrain. Demonstrating exceptional resolve and fully comprehending the ramifications of the mission, Senior Chief Healy’s element launched aboard a helicopter for direct insertion onto an active battlefield, ready to engage and destroy the enemy in order to protect the lives of their fellow SEALs. While airborne Senior Chief Healy continued working with members of his team to develop the plan of attack to support both a Quick Reaction Force and an urgent execution of the intended deliberate assault. As the helicopter hovered in preparation for a daring fast-rope insertion of the SEALs, the aircraft was struck by an enemy rocket-propelled grenade fired by Anti-Coalition Militia. The resulting explosion and impact caused the tragic and untimely loss of life of all onboard. Senior Chief Healy’s bravery and heroism in the face of severe danger while fighting the Global War on Terrorism was extraordinary. By his courageous actions, zealous initiative, and loyal dedication to duty, Senior Chief Healy reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

The Combat Distinguishing Device is authorized.

Medal

Ember Alt

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


Ember Marie Alt

 

https://www.dignitymemorial.com

Ember Marie Alt, 21, of Killeen died Tuesday, June 18, 2013 in Afghanistan while serving her country.
She graduated from Killeen High School in 2009 where she excelled in track. One of her crowning moments is where she helped lead her team to the State finals her senior year.
Ember joined the United States Army in 2011. During her service, SPC Ember Marie Alt received many awards for her accomplishments to include the Bronze Star, Purple Heart Medal and the Combat Action Badge just to name a few.
She was a vibrant and loving person who left a lasting impression on everyone she came into contact with.
Ember is survived by her parents; Chuck Alt of Killeen, Cynthia Merchant of Gulfport MS. and Rick and Jennifer Owens of Killeen. Grandparents; Charles Alt, Ruchanee Holmer, Mike and Bella Trowbridge and Marc and Theresa Nadeau. Godparents; Corey Daughtry, Cody Hall, Bryce Nadeau and Shannon Alt.
She will also be missed by her siblings; Kayla and Jacob Alt, and Bryce and Evan Owens and many aunts, uncles and cousins.
Ember is preceded in death by her grandmother, Mary M. Alt and her grandfather, Roger Holmer.

 


 

Ember Marie Alt

U.S. Army Women’s Foundation

SPC Ember M. Alt, 21, of Beech Island, S.C. died June 18, in Bagram, Afghanistan along with three other soldiers, from wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with indirect fire. She was assigned to the 32nd Transportation Company, 68th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 43rd Sustainment Brigade, 4th Infantry Division.

She graduated from Killeen High School in 2009 where she excelled in track. One of her crowning moments was when she helped lead her team to the State finals during her senior year.

Alt joined the Army in May 2011 and was deployed to Afghanistan for the first time on Nov. 26, 2012. She served as a wheeled vehicle mechanic. During the course of her military career, she was awarded the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon.

Ember is survived by her parents; Chuck Alt of Killeen, Cynthia Merchant of Gulfport, MS, and Rick and Jennifer Owens of Killeen. She will also be missed by her siblings; Kayla and Jacob Alt, and Bryce and Evan Owens as well as her grandparents, godparents, and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.

 


 

Contributed by Kevin Posival of the Killeen Daily Herald

The Roo Nation is mourning the loss of another teammate and friend.

Spc. Ember Alt, a 2009 graduate of Killeen High School, was among the four U.S. service members killed by indirect enemy fire Tuesday in Bagram, Afghanistan, the Pentagon announced Thursday.

Alt, 21, was among the three killed who were assigned to the 68th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 43rd Sustainment Brigade, 4th Infantry Division from Fort Carson, Colo.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s attack. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said Wednesday that militants fired two rockets into the Bagram Air Base late Tuesday.

Alt, who ran track at Killeen High, is the second Roo athlete to die in a little more than a year. Dino Cannon Jr. was fatally shot and killed June 15, 2012, in Orlando, Fla., less than two weeks after he graduated.

Alt, a native of Beech Island, S.C., was a stand-out on the Lady Roos’ track team and entered the Army in 2011.

She was serving her first tour in Afghanistan at the time of the attack. She’d been deployed since November.

She was awarded the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and an Army Service Ribbon.

“I think it (the Army) was a good fit for Ember,” said former Killeen girls track coach Leah Cannon. “She wasn’t for sure what else she wanted to do. She was a very loving person. Always had hugs for everyone. I could see her serving her country and giving everything she had like she did here in school.

“This is last thing I ever thought about,” Cannon added. “When kids join, you just don’t think about (this happening). I know you should, but I never thought about that for Ember.”

Also killed from Alt’s unit were Spc. Robert W. Ellis, 21, of Kennewick, Wash., and Spc. William R. Moody, 30, of Burleson.

Sgt. Justin R. Johnson, 25, of Hobe Sound, Fla., who was assigned to the 10th Transportation Battalion, 7th Sustainment Brigade, Fort Eustis, Va., also was killed in the attack.

Alt ran the first leg of the Lady Roos’ 1,600-meter relay team that finished seventh at the University Interscholastic League State Track and Field Championships in 2009.

Alt called the relay team the “Fantastic 4-by-4,” in an interview with the Killeen Daily Herald that year.

Cannon said Alt, who also was a regional qualifier in the 300-meter hurdles, had a love-hate relationship with the mile relay.

“Sometimes, she couldn’t decide if she needed to give it her everything in the 300 hurdles because she was afraid she would let her teammates down on the mile relay,” Cannon said, “but yet, she loved the 300 hurdles and she didn’t just want to not give it her everything, either.”

It was the relay that reached the pinnacle of Texas high school track — Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin.

Alt told the Herald in 2009 that she was glad she achieved that milestone with her teammates.

“Anybody can get to state as an individual,” Alt said. “It means more to go with your family. It’s an adrenaline rush. If I’m running (an event) by myself and I mess up, it doesn’t affect anybody but me. Having them out there makes me want to do better because how I do affects them.”

Ember Marie Alt

James Steel

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

James Steel


Air Force Capt James M. Steel
KIA April 3, 2013
Operation Enduring Freedom
Assigned to 77th Fighter Squadron, Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina

Air Force Capt. James Steel died April 3, 2013 in the crash of an F-16 near Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. While returning to the airfield from a close-air support mission, Capt. Steel was flying his F-16 low to prepare for landing but could not see the mountain in his flight path due to poor weather conditions. According to the crash investigation report, Steel’s plane had a low altitude warning that sounded before he crashed. However, his Predictive Ground Collision Avoidance System did not warn him about the mountain because it was not connected to the digital terrain database. Capt. Steel began to pull up when the PGCAS emitted an altitude warning, but not enough to avoid the mountain. Capt. Steel was on his first deployment to Afghanistan and was due to come home in just three weeks.

“He was always smiling, always happy,” James’ mother, Dee Steel, said, “He loved life. I think he lived two days for every one day. He just got the most out of every day.” Dee recalls that though James was not the oldest of his four brothers and one sister, he took the lead from the very beginning. Every Christmas, James told his siblings what gifts they would get their parents and how much they each owed him. James taught himself to play guitar, had a love for skydiving, working out, and fishing.

From as far back as Dee can remember her fearless son wanted to be an F-16 pilot like his father, retired Air Force Major General Robert Steel. James’ mother had also spent 4 years in the Air Force, as well as both grandfathers, who were Air Force veterans. James ran cross country and track in high school, graduated valedictorian and, like both his parents, went on to the Air Force Academy where he was commander of the same squadron to which his mom and dad belonged more than two decades before. Col. Clay Hall said, “Mano [Steel’s call sign] was proud of serving his country, proud of being an F-16 pilot and proud of being a ‘Gambler.’” Col. Shaun McGrath, 20th Operations Group Commander, honored Capt. Steel by allowing members of the 20th OG to wear 77th FS “Gambler” red and black t-shirts under their duty uniforms. On an internet post dedicated to James, the words “Once a gambler, always a gambler” appear next to his name.
Capt. James Steel was 29 years old from Tampa, Florida

https://americanfallensoldiers.com

JamesSteel3


 

I Salute You; Air Force Captain James M. Steel
Mankato Times
Air Force Captain James M. Steel, 29, of Tampa, Florida died April 3 in the crash of an F-16 near Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.
Captain James M. Steel was assigned to 77th Fighter Squadron, Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina and was serving during Operation Enduring Freedom.
Steel graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 2006, completed pilot training and arrived at Shaw in June 2010. He was the chief of mobility for the squadron, which provides close air support for U.S. and coalition troops on the ground.
Steel is the son of retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Robert Steel, former commandant of the National War College in Washington. Steel’s mother, Dee, twin brother, Jonathan, and younger brother Christopher are also Air Force Academy graduates, according to an article from the Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., newspaper and the Air Force Times.
“Capt. Steel was an outstanding young officer who loved being a fighter pilot – it was obvious from the moment you met him,” said Col. Clay Hall, 20th FW commander. “He was well liked and respected within the Shaw community; subordinates, peers and supervisors alike. Mano [Steel’s call sign] was proud of serving his country, proud of being an F-16 pilot and proud of being a Gambler. He served his country with honor and made the supreme sacrifice. Mano will be missed, but not forgotten.”
“Capt. Steel was an absolute pleasure to work with as a student. I wish I had more students just like him,” said Sanetta Holder, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University-Shaw Campus. “He was a good student and a great friend. I’m going to miss him coming in the door smiling, telling me he’s ready to register for the next class.”
James Steel taught himself to play the guitar. He liked to sky-dive. “He loved to work out. He loved fishing,” Dee Steel said.
Steel is survived by mother, father, and five brothers and sisters.


JamesSteel2
Captain James M. Steel, I Salute You.

By Capt. Ann Blodzinski
20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
4/9/2013 – SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. — On April 5, 2013, Shaw AFB flags were slowly brought to half-staff at noon honoring a fallen 20th Fighter Wing combat Airman.

The Airman, 77th Fighter Squadron pilot, Capt. James Steel, died April 3, 2013, after his F-16 Fighting Falcon crashed in Afghanistan. He is the first 20th FW aviator lost in combat since 1945 during World War II in England.
The flags at Shaw AFB remained at half-staff throughout the weekend in observance of Capt. Steel’s final trip home.
“Capt. Steel was an outstanding young officer who loved being a fighter pilot – it was obvious from the moment you met him,” said Col. Clay Hall, 20th FW commander. “He was well liked and respected within the Shaw community; subordinates, peers and supervisors alike. Mano [Steel’s call sign] was proud of serving his country, proud of being an F-16 pilot and proud of being a Gambler. He served his country with honor and made the supreme sacrifice. Mano will be missed, but not forgotten.”

On Monday April 8, 2013, Col. Shaun McGrath, 20th Operations Group commander, honored Capt. Steel by allowing members of the 20th OG to wear 77th FS “Gambler” red and black t-shirts under their duty uniforms.
The 77th FS has been deployed since the fall of 2012. In total, Capt. Steel flew 85 combat missions; his efforts in combat saved American and coalition service members’ lives, according to Lt. Col. Johnny Vargas, 77th FS commander.
“He flew with great passion and as sad as his loss is, know that Mano died doing what he loved to do,” said Lt. Col. Vargas. “He died serving his country, protecting his fellow service members, and accomplishing our nation’s objectives. He died a fighter pilot. A hero.”

As a base, Shaw has had to keep moving forward, accomplishing the mission. However, you can see and feel the loss everywhere you go.

“Mano was the finest American and patriot warrior,” said Lt. Col. Scott Shepard, former 20th Operations Support Squadron commander. “He worked extremely hard enhancing the combat readiness of the 20th FW during his tour in my squadron as the chief of air-to-surface programs. Mano never said ‘no’ or ‘I can’t’ and never tried to deflect even the most difficult tasking. He was happy, friendly, funny, ever so patriotic, and loved flying the mighty F-16 Viper like you can’t even imagine. This young man was truly cream of the crop and there’s no explanation on this earth why he was chosen to depart this world early. He will be sorely missed.”
Capt. Steel, a 2006 U.S. Air Force Academy graduate, is remembered throughout base, not just the 20th OG. The exuberant pilot befriended everyone he met.
“Capt. Steel was an absolute pleasure to work with as a student. I wish I had more students just like him,” said Sanetta Holder, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University-Shaw Campus. “He was a good student and a great friend. I’m going to miss him coming in the door smiling, telling me he’s ready to register for the next class.”
The families of the Gamblers back home also mourn Capt. Steel’s loss, here in Sumter, as do those whose lives Mano touched at previous Air Force assignments. The news of the crash resulted in an outpouring of support from the F-16 community, the Sumter community and more.

“I have been stationed at a number of locations through my 17 years in the Air Force. I can honestly say that nowhere else have I felt more close and more cared for by a community than in Sumter,” said Lt. Col. Vargas. “The support that has been provided by our community to our Gambler family throughout this tragedy has been incredible. We cannot thank the Sumter community enough for helping us through our loss.”

As the Gamblers wind down their deployment, they look forward to returning home and celebrating Capt. Steel; he was the friend who always wore a smile and made you laugh, Vargas said.

“Mano will always be a part of our lives and I can tell you that from this day until our very last, every member of the Gambler family will hold him in a special place in their hearts.”

Marilyn Gabbard

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 Command Sgt. Maj. Marilyn L. Gabbard.


 

By Henry C. Jackson
The Associated Press

Marilyn L. Gabbard
Command Sgt. Maj. Marilyn L. Gabbard.

JOHNSTON, Iowa — The first woman promoted to the rank of command sergeant major in the Iowa Army National Guard was among those killed when a Black Hawk helicopter crashed in Iraq, guard officials said Jan. 24. Command Sgt. Maj. Marilyn L. Gabbard, 46, of Polk City, was a passenger on the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter when it crashed Jan. 20 northeast of Baghdad, officials said. She was the first woman in the history of the Iowa National Guard to be killed in combat, Iowa National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Greg Hapgood said. Gabbard was 19th Iowa National Guard member and the 50th service member with Iowa ties to be killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Marilyn L. Gabbard
Marilyn L. Gabbard

Gabbard was born in 1960 in Boone and graduated from Boone High School in 1979. She served in the National Guard for 27 years, starting in 1979, ascending to the rank of sergeant major. In her most recent post, Gabbard served as state operations sergeant major at the Iowa National Guard’s Joint Forces Headquarters in Johnston. Gabbard’s long tenure with the Iowa National Guard made the pain from her loss acute, Hapgood said. “She touched so many people in so many different areas of our organization,” he said. As the first woman promoted to her rank, Gabbard was in a position to serve as a role model to other woman soldiers in particular, Hapgood said, but Gabbard never saw herself as a trail blazer, just a soldier and a leader. “She didn’t take it as a burden,” Hapgood said. “She embraced the fact that she had gone places other people hadn’t gone before. I think she relished having soldiers look up to her.”

Gabbard leaves behind her husband, Edward Gabbard; daughter, Melissa Danielson; mother, Mary Van Cannon; brothers, Mark and Mike Van Cannon; sister, Marla Noren; two grandchildren, five stepdaughters and a stepson.


 

JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP)   In the tight-knit headquarters of the Iowa National Guard in Johnston, Command Sgt. Maj. Marilyn L. Gabbard was known for her near perpetual smile. “She was always smiling,” her friend, Sgt. Maj. Renee Blodgett, said Wednesday. “And she always had a smile to give.” With the smile came a drive and determination, colleagues said. Gabbard enlisted with the Iowa National Guard in 1979, the same year she graduated from Boone High School, and spent the next 27 years in the Guard, starting as a personnel management specialist and earning a reputation as an adept problem solver. She was the first woman in the Iowa Guard to attain the rank of command sergeant major. “She was a person who did not say ‘no,'” said Lt. Col. Greg Hapgood. “She was the person who, if you had a project that was difficult and you weren’t sure who to give it to, she was the person you would give it to.”

Gabbard was killed Saturday in a Black Hawk helicopter crash northeast of Baghdad, officials said. She was 46. She is believed to be the first woman in the history of the Iowa National Guard to be killed in combat. Military officials said Gabbard’s helicopter might have been shot down, and an investigation is ongoing. She was one of 12 National Guard members from seven states and the U.S. Virgin Islands killed in the crash. Gabbard was the 50th Iowan _ and the 19th member of the Iowa National Guard _ to die while training for or serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Gabbard lived in Polk City with her husband, Edward. She was serving her first deployment in Iraq, leaving Iowa on Dec. 16 to serve as a non-commissioned officer in charge of the National Guard Affairs Team in Baghdad. Gabbard welcomed the challenge, Blodgett said, in part because she took such pride in training her fellow soldiers. “She loved the National Guard. She loved people. She was always looking out for others,” she said. Gabbard was a role model for women, said Blodgett, who credits her steady climb in the Iowa National Guard for easing the way for other women to win promotions.

Marilyn L. Gabbard
Marilyn

Blodgett was one of about 50 people who packed into an auditorium at Joint Forces Headquarters in Johnston for a press conference held to announce Gabbard’s death. Most at the Guard’s headquarters already knew of Gabbard’s death when they filed into the room, filling in seats and standing at the back of the auditorium. “In some ways this was closure,” Hapgood said. “But it’s also causing people to call upon their memories of Marilyn.” Although Hapgood agreed Gabbard was a role model for women, he said it would be a mistake to let her gender classify her, or her influence. “She didn’t take it as a burden,” he said of her gender. “She embraced the fact that she had gone places other people hadn’t gone before. I think she relished having soldiers look up to her.”

Gabbard leaves behind her husband, Edward Gabbard; daughter, Melissa Danielson; mother, Mary Van Cannon; brothers, Mark and Mike Van Cannon; sister, Marla Noren; two grandchildren; five step daughters; and a stepson.

Legacy.com
Gabbard Was A First, In Life And Death (by CBS News with Scott Pelly)

Raul Bravo

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


Marine Lance Cpl. Raul S. Bravo

Died March 3, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

Raul and Sister Rachel
April 17, 2007
Rachel Bravo
In Honor of LCPL Raul “Chato” S. Bravo Jr.

Raul aka Chato which means little or no nose, was killed in Iraq on 3/2/07. He was an essential part of our family, the only boy, youngest of 3 sisters. He loved to drive, dance and make others smile. His favorite meal was Thanksgiving Dinner, my mother would make this for him anytime he requested it. He was the most giving and selfless man I knew. Too young to go so soon. We will always remember the good times my brother. We are with you always.

big-lil-sister
Rachel


MARINE MOM’S MEMORIES

Favorite stories about her son will fill Mother’s Day void

 

By PAUL HARASIM
REVIEW-JOURNAL

Raul Bravo
Raul Bravo

Every time the doctor looked at a new ultrasound of the baby growing inside her belly, he smiled: “Joy, you’re going to have a beautiful baby girl.”
And then, on April 10, 1985, Joy gave birth to a 6-pound, 9-ounce baby boy.

“He’s my gift from God,” the proud mother told her surprised doctor.

On Mother’s Day, Joy Marsico has long delighted in sharing the story that she says proves that medicine is as much art as science.

“It’s such a fun story,” she said Thursday as she stood at a grave site at Palm Mortuary cemetery on Eastern Avenue, near Warm Springs Road.

As she smiled, tears flowed from beneath her sunglasses.

Year after year her son, Raul Bravo, who grew up to be a muscular Marine, good-naturedly laughed along with everyone else as his mother talked about how she had already picked out beautiful new dresses for her new baby to wear.

This Mother’s Day that story, and so many others, will not be told while the family goes down memory lane at dinner. They will be shared with everyone at her son’s grave site.

“I have to tell them,” she said of the stories. “They’re part of this family.”

On March 3, Lance Cpl. Raul S. Bravo, 21, was killed by a roadside bomb, becoming the first Nevadan to die in military action in Iraq in 2007.

“I’m not sure I could get through this Mother’s Day without his buddies,” Marsico said, nodding at Lance Cpls. Joshua Jordan, Jeff Perez and Craig Perez, all Marines who served in Bravo’s unit. “I am so thankful for my daughters, but it is so unnatural to bury a child. I guess you’d have to say my Mother’s Day is always going to be broken from now on. I haven’t slept since my son died.”

The Marines, all of whom refer to Marsico as “Mom,” brought a Bud Light to Bravo’s grave. Small American flags were everywhere.
If the Marines weren’t hugging Marsico or holding her hand or consoling their friend’s father, also named Raul, they were telling two of Bravo’s three sisters who were on hand, Isabelle and Rachel, about their brother’s service in Iraq.

The Marines just returned to the United States last week, leaving their base in California to visit Marsico on this Mother’s Day weekend.
“Mom needs us and we need her right now,” said Jeff Perez, who told Marsico that with her son’s death he now feels like he has “half a heart.”
“It means so much to me right now to have my son’s Marine Corps family here for Mother’s Day,” Marsico said as she touched her son’s dog tags hanging around her neck. “They made a pact with my son to help me if he died. They’re part of him. They want to help me, and I need to help them. Josh said he feels like he lost an arm since my son’s death. And Craig said he’s having a hard time remembering things. We do need each other.”

Bravo’s buddies want to learn more about their friend and his entire family. And Marsico will share all she can.

“My son had so much fun with life,” she said. “And family meant so much to him.”

Marsico will let the Marines know how her son needed a haircut as soon as he was born because his hair covered his eyes. And they’ll learn how his sisters dressed him up as girl and put him in a large can.

They’ll hear how Raul painted his hand as a child, imprinted it onto cloth and gave it to his mother, and how he gave her a ring from a gum ball machine that he made her wear every day.

Turkey and mashed potatoes was his favorite meal. So Thanksgiving dinner, she’ll say, was eaten by Raul several times a year.
Another memory makes her sob almost uncontrollably.

How she loved it, she said, when her son and his Marine Corps friends, on leave from their first stint in the war, slept off a hard night of partying at her house.
Clothes were strewn on chairs, couches and tables. The young men slept on the living room floor.

“Their feet smelled. So did their breath,” Marsico said. “Even as I was cooking breakfast for them, I couldn’t get rid of that smell. And I loved it. I loved that they could have a good time after all they’d been through. God knows they deserved it. I am so proud to be the mother of a young man who lived life to the fullest. I only wish I lived life the same way.”


Rep. Jon Christopher Porter
State NV

Raul Bravo
LCpl Raul S. Bravo, Jr.

Madam Speaker, I rise today to honor the life of LCpl Raul S. Bravo, Jr. who died on Saturday, March 3, 2007, of injuries sustained in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Lance Corporal Bravo, who was on his second tour of duty in Iraq, was killed by a roadside bomb during combat operations in the city of Qaim, Anbar province, Iraq. Lance Corporal Bravo was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, 1st Marine Division, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center.

Lance Corporal Bravo, a 2004 graduate of Elko High School, was a hero whose desire to serve his country will forever make an impact on his family, his community and his country. He joined the United States Marine Corps to serve his country in the global war on terror. He will not only be remembered for his sacrifice and willing service, but for the extraordinary person that he was. His warmth and optimism brightened the lives of his family and friends.

Madam Speaker, I am proud to honor the life of LCpl Raul S. Bravo, Jr. who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country while fighting the war on terror and defending democracy and freedom.