Dustin Derga

Dustin A. Derga—December 2005 Shipment Honoree

Marine Cpl., 24, of Columbus, Ohio; assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve, Columbus, Ohio; attached to 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward); killed May 8, 2005 by enemy small-arms fire while conducting combat operations in Ubaydi, Iraq.

Pickerington Marine Dustin Derga killed Sunday in Iraq

Source: Mackenzie Fry, This Week, May 12, 2005

A Pickerington Marine who wrote recently in a Web site posting that he was “so ready to come home” was killed Sunday in Iraq. Cpl. Dustin A. Derga, 24, died in Ubaydi as the result of enemy fire, the Department of Defense reported Monday.

Derga, a 1999 graduate of Pickerington High School, was assigned to Marine Forces Reserves 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division. He was a member of the Columbus-based Lima Company.

Brandon Harmon, who is dating Derga’s sister, Kristin, answered the phone at the family’s home Tuesday. Harmon described Derga as a “very outgoing, positive person. Fun to be around.” He said Derga would “do anything for you.” Harmon said Derga’s family, including parents Stephanie and Robert, was handling the news as “good as it can be expected.”

Derga was due to return home next month, Harmon said. He said Derga had aspirations of becoming a firefighter and had made other plans, including possibly opening a bar with a friend and moving in with his girlfriend. “You feel like your world crumbles, you know?” Harmon said.

“He was a good kid,” said Ken Schneider, who was Derga’s teacher in the high school’s construction and engineering technology preparation program in 1998 and 1999. “He worked hard.”

In a posting May 3 on the “Reach a Marine” Web site, Derga said his unit had just returned from a week-long mission and was leaving for another, which he said would “be even longer,” right away. He described an “unusual” hailstorm that had hit the night before. “I am so ready to come home,” he wrote.

According to a biography of Derga on the Web site, he worked at ISG Columbus Processing before he was deployed. He also attended Columbus State University, where he majored in EMS and Fire Science, and had served as an EMT and firefighter in Baltimore, Ohio, for three years.

In Death, Lima Company Family Forges a Tragic Bond

Source: Pauline Arrillaga, the Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Their son was the first to die. On Mother’s Day, he led a team of Marines to a house near the Iraqi-Syrian border. Cpl. Dustin Derga, the practical joker who wanted to be a fireman, tried kicking in the door. He was met with a spray of armor-piercing bullets from insurgents tucked in a crawl space beneath the floor.

That night, in Uniontown, Ohio, the men in uniform came to Bob and Marla Derga’s door. Even in their own grief, they worried for Dustin’s comrades back in Iraq — the 160 or so men of Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th Regiment — and all the other parents, wives and children at home. They had become, simply, “The Lima Family.”

“We are in this together, good and bad, to the very end,” Bob wrote days later in an e-mail sent to other Lima Company families. “We are a team and none of us is going to falter.”

Three days after 24-year-old Dustin was killed, three more Lima Company Marines perished when an explosive detonated near their armored transport vehicle. Two weeks after that, another Lima Marine was gunned down. Two months later, two others were gone.

Then last week, utter devastation.

Lima mom Anne Ritchie heard it on the radio driving to work: Fourteen Marines killed in a roadside bombing. She started screaming: “It cannot be Lima! We just had two. It cannot be Lima Company.”

But nine of the 14 were.

War brings misery home, but this war has brought this place, this company, these families far more than their fair share.

The Columbus-based unit once was known as “Lucky Lima,” having suffered no fatalities and few injuries after arriving in Iraq in March. But the infantry company quickly became a workhorse of the war, cropping up in news stories about critical missions designed to rid a remote desert region of followers of Iraq’s most-wanted terrorist.

“We are arguably the ‘salty dogs,’ traveling from hotspot to hotspot …” Lance Cpl. Christopher Lyons wrote in a May column for his hometown paper.

Really, they are just everyday guys — not career servicemen but reservists who live and work in the cities and suburbs of Ohio. Students, police officers, firefighters. Newlyweds, new fathers and fathers-to-be. Lyons, 24, sold ads for the newspaper. His baby daughter, Ella, was born a few months after he deployed, though he will never hold her. He was killed July 28.

When their Marines shipped out, the families of Lima Company barely knew each other’s names. They were the parents of this lance corporal, or the wife of that one. They snapped pictures for one another at the deployment ceremony, knowing little about the person who stood on the other side of the camera.

They stand together now, swapping stories at their once-monthly “family days,” exchanging e-mails with good news or bad from the front, wrapping their arms around each other at each funeral.

“I only met them the other day,” Ritchie said outside Schoedinger Hilltop Chapel last week after paying respects to the parents of Cpl. Andre Williams, 23, who died alongside Lyons last month. Ritchie’s son, Jason, serves in Williams’ platoon and remains in Iraq.

“I told them ‘My son’s in Lima Company.’ That’s all it takes.”

Moments later, the Dergas arrived and eased their way past Williams’ flag-covered coffin. When they came to his mother, Mary, they embraced. Then Mary looked into Bob’s eyes.

They drove two hours to Columbus to be at Williams’ service. They planned to head Monday to Ashland, Ohio, for Cpl. Lyons’ funeral.

“I couldn’t sit at home and not go there and not hug that mom and that dad and be able to look into their eyes and say, ‘I don’t know everything you’re feeling, but you’re not alone in this,'” said Marla Dergas, Dustin’s stepmother.

The members of Landstuhl Hospital Care Project were honored to remember Dustin during the month of December 2005 with our shipments to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, and U.S. military hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Our thoughts and prayers remain with Dustin’s family and friends today and in the years to come.

Nicholas Wilt

Nicholas Wilt—November 2005 Shipment Honoree

Marine Lance Cpl., 23, of Tampa, Fla.; assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif.; killed Sept. 3, 2004 by enemy action in Anbar province, Iraq.

Mother, Wife Remember Marine as Quiet Hero Ready for Duty

Source: Michael Van Sickler, St. Petersburg Times, September 7, 2004

In a cigar box she stores in a living room cabinet, Rebecca Wilt keeps dozens of letters her son, Nicholas, wrote while serving in Iraq. Her favorite was written April 21, 2003, after Baghdad seemed under control and friendly Iraqis embraced the American troops.

“Looking at their faces was the most amazing experience in my life so far,” he printed carefully in black ink. “I once doubted joining the Marine Corps, and I used to think it was the worst decision I’ve ever made, but now I’d do it all over again.”

In his second tour of duty in Iraq, 23-year-old Lance Cpl. Nicholas Wilt was killed Friday when a bomb exploded near the Syrian border. “He was such a great human being,” said Rebecca Wilt as she thumbed through his letters. “It was an honor being his mother.”

Inspired after 9/11 to enlist, Wilt was an enthusiastic supporter of the Iraq war. But he left much behind at home, including plans of starting a family with his new wife, Mercedes.

As he sat in his kitchen Monday, Wilt’s father-in-law wondered why men like Wilt keep returning to the war. “He was one of the first ones in Iraq, why does he have to go back?” said Richard Maestrelli. “He already faced down danger once. I don’t think it’s right he’s forced to do it a second time.”

He was ready to go back a third time if needed, said Mercedes Wilt. Doing more than others was something Wilt always did, she said. He wanted to serve his country. And after he finished his four-year hitch, he told her, he would dedicate his life to making her happy.

A graduate of Tampa Catholic High School, Wilt met Mercedes in the spring of 2001 at a friend’s party. “The world just melted away and we talked for hours that night,” Mercedes Wilt said. They weren’t dating long before the terrorist attacks of 9/11. After that, Wilt talked about joining the Marines. “The night I told him I loved him was the same night he told me he was a Marine,” she said. “I was petrified. I realized the man I was in love with was going to fight a war.”

Wilt was among the first U.S. troops to invade Iraq. He called once on a reporter’s cell phone to tell Mercedes about one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces. He marveled at the mammoth pools and the gold toilet seats.

A machine gunner on a Hummer that scouted for tanks, Wilt captured much of what he saw in letters to family and friends. In April 2003, he wrote about seeing a Marine shoot an Iraqi who had been shooting at them.

“But in the process, another Iraqi was standing near the incident and was accidentally shot twice,” Wilt wrote. “While the Marines were securing the street, the innocent man that was shot came up to the Marine who shot him and told him, “Thank you for killing that man and thank you for everything you’ve done.’ Then he said, “now I go to hospital.’ Can you imagine that?”

Mercedes Wilt keeps his letters in a binder notebook. “I’d get a letter just about every day,” she said.

When Wilt finished his first tour of duty in October 2003, he and Mercedes had a wedding with all of their friends and family. They had their honeymoon in Mexico, then moved to a base in California. By the end of August, Wilt was deployed again. This time, Mercedes Wilt said, she was filled with dread. “The whole week before he left, I was a baby,” she said.

On their last night, they ate a home cooked lasagna dinner and listened to a CD of love songs. “We just talked and cried,” Mercedes Wilt said. As they hugged goodbye the next morning, Wilt told her she meant everything to him. “I’m glad we at least got an official goodbye,” she said. “I at least have that.”

In the next few days, Mercedes said she expects to get his final letter, which he wrote during the plane ride to Kuwait. He called on Thursday, asking if she was okay. She said she was feeling blue and he wanted to cheer her up.

Now, she said she doesn’t know what to feel. “I’m hurt, I’m numb, I’m just outraged,” she said. “They robbed me of my life with him, my soul mate, the man I wanted to have children with. I pray to God every night hoping I’m pregnant so I can see his face again.”

The members of Landstuhl Hospital Care Project were honored to remember Nicholas during the month of November 2005 with our shipments to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, and U.S. military hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Our thoughts and prayers remain with Nicholas’s family and friends today and in the years to come.

DeForest Talbert

DeForest  L. Talbert—October 2005 Shipment Honoree

Army Sgt., 24, of Charleston, W.Va.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 150th Armor Regiment, West Virginia Army National Guard, Beckley, W.Va.; killed July 27, 2004 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle in Baladruc, Iraq.

A Life Redeemed, Then Cut Short
Soldier Killed in Iraq Had Become Role Model After Troubled Teen Years in Alexandria

Source: S. Mitra Kalita, Washington Post (July 30, 2004)

DeForest L. Talbert entered the alternative education program at T.C. Williams High School the way a lot of students do—full of resentment. He was raised by a single mother in a public housing complex in north Old Town Alexandria. He spent much of his freshman year skipping class and talking back to teachers. He was bright, athletic and good-looking—and he knew it, recalled Carolyn Lewis, principal of the Secondary Training and Education Program, which supports students who aren’t doing as well as they could. “He was really in trouble in the streets,” Lewis said.

Talbert was supposed to try the program for a year—and stayed for three, thriving. By senior year, he was a star running back on the football team, known to teammates and fans as “Touchdown Talbert.” He became a mentor to children from low-income families at a nearby preschool. Then he went to West Virginia State College on a military scholarship and joined the Army National Guard, dividing his time between service and school.

On Tuesday, Talbert, 22, was killed in Baladruc, Iraq, when a bomb exploded near his vehicle during a routine patrol with other members of the Guard’s 1st Battalion, 150th Armor Regiment, based in Dunbar, West Virginia. Department of Defense officials said yesterday that the incident is under investigation.

Years after he left Alexandria, teachers, police officers and children on the streets still marveled at the transformation of “Dee,” as he was called, from a tough-talking, troubled teenager to football star, responsible father and Army sergeant.

“Here’s this kid who went through so many hurdles growing up in the inner city,” said Jill Lingle, a George Washington Middle School resource police officer who knows Talbert’s family. “Even the younger boys I know at the school would talk about him. They’d say, ‘Did you see what Dee did?’ Everyone knew he’d gone on to college. He was definitely a role model for these young kids growing up in the same way.”

Friends, former teachers and mentors have crowded the Alexandria home of his mother, Gloria Nesbitt, this week to offer condolences and support.

Talbert’s girlfriend, Frances Hamilett, 22, said she had spent much of Monday at the home she shared with him in Charleston, West Virginia, trading instant messages with him over the Internet. As always, he asked about their son, Deontae, who turned 3 last week.

“We were having regular conversation,” she said. “He didn’t want to go on patrol. He kept saying he loved us and we would see him in August. I think he felt something might happen. He kept saying, ‘Don’t get off the computer.’ It was like he knew something was going to happen.”

On Wednesday, two Army officers arrived at Hamilett’s home and told her Talbert was dead. She said she fell to her knees crying.

They were talking about marriage, she said, but no wedding date was set. They had had a hard time in recent years, both emotionally and financially. They were college freshmen when Hamilett became pregnant, and they feared that one or both of them might have to drop out of school. Hamilett wants to be a social worker; Talbert was studying communications.

“It was a struggle, but we overcame it,” Hamilett said. “While I was in class, he would watch our son, and we went back and forth like that.”

Deployed in February, Talbert kept in frequent touch with his family, complaining of Iraq’s intense heat and promising his son that he would be home to watch the next Dallas Cowboys game. Hamilett said Talbert was not particularly patriotic or political but had enrolled in the Army so they could stay in school and he could provide for Deontae.

“He wanted to make sure he had money for our son,” Hamilett said. “The reason he signed up was to have money to pay for school. It was a job. I don’t think he ever thought he was going to war.”

During the last year, T.C. Williams students sent Talbert letters and care packages, and Talbert wrote them back thanking them for their thoughts—and for making him the envy of his fellow soldiers.

“He said he was the only one who got a lot of mail because we always wrote to him,” Lewis said.

Lewis said Talbert never forgot his friends in Alexandria and reached out to them often through the computer and telephone. His messages, she said, were filled with humor and gratitude. “We are a smaller learning community rather than a mainstream school,” Lewis said. “We were his family.”

Lewis said she received an e-mail from Talbert on Tuesday and regrets deeply that she didn’t save it. “Just want you to know that I’m fine,” it said. “It’s still hot.”

The members of Landstuhl Hospital Care Project were honored to remember DeForest during the month of October 2005 with our shipments to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, and U.S. military hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Our thoughts and prayers remain with DeForest’s family and friends today and in the years to come.

LRMC Volunteer Mothers Sick Soldier

Spc. Todd Goodman
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center


Karen and Nick
Karen and Nick

Having a tube stuck down one’s throat and hernia surgery will tend to do that to a person – especially a 20-year-old.

“I told her I was here for hernia surgery and that I had no one around here that I knew,” he said. “No family, no nothing.”

“He told me it would be a lot better if his dad could be here with him,” said Grimord. “But his dad couldn’t make it over for the surgery.”

That’s when she offered to step in as a surrogate parent and meet him at the emergency room entrance, follow him to the operating room and sit with him prior to and after his surgery. He took her up on the offer and the two saw one another several times prior to the big day.

“We sort of became friends along the way, just talking and shooting the breeze,” he said.

On the day of surgery Grimord was right where she said she’d be. The patient, however, wasn’t. He had overslept and was late to both the ER and the OR.

His anxiety level rose and he said he figured he’d have to brave the surgery alone. Little did he know that she was running around the hospital trying to find a way to get in touch with him. Several minutes after he made it to the OR, she showed up for him. Soon, he got his anesthesia and was feeling more confident.

“All I saw from the back of the gurney (as he was being wheeled to surgery) was a big thumbs up and I knew he was feeling all right,” she said.

She sat in his room and waited for him to come out of his haze after surgery and when he did, the first person he saw was his surrogate mother.

“He looked at me and his eyes were a little crossed from the medication,” she said. “The first thing he said was, ‘I know you!’ It made my heart swell bigger than my chest.”

To get that heart swell, she bought a plane ticket and left her family in Virginia to come to LRMC and volunteer for 45 days. She has been gathering and donating supplies to both downrange and LRMC for the past year-and-a-half. She said she knew there was something more she could do.

“I get so fed up with the news,” she said. “All you hear is negative. But you come here and talk to the servicemembers and it’s 98 percent positive. I knew when I left the states that was the truth, but being over here has reinforced that feeling for me.”

This isn’t her first stint with volunteer work, but she said it has been her most rewarding. Oct. 19 was her last day at the LRMC Chaplain’s Office. It’s a place she said she wasn’t quite ready to leave.

“This is something everyone should do,” she said. “They are giving me my freedom and I should give something back. This isn’t being nice, it’s giving back. And I’ll be coming back.”

But I Really Do Love You


It is late, but I wanted to check in and let everyone know that the young man  I sat with before his surgery and afterwards is doing fine. He is 20 and was JUST A LITTLE BIT WORRIED about his surgery. He was shaking so bad when I met him, that it felt like an earthquake on the bench. Anyways, he is good. He has 2 weeks recovery here and I do not know if he will go back to the States or back down range. Total recovery time is 6 to 8 weeks, so I’m hoping he goes back to the States. His unit leaves Iraq in Dec anyway, so no big loss if he is not there. He wanted Burger King today and I brought it up for lunch for him.

It will be a sad day on Thursday when I fly from here. I have met some of the most wonderful and caring people you could ever meet. This has been very rewarding and THE best volunteer work I have EVER done and I have done a lot through the years. Thanks to all of you that have supported the effort while I have been here. When I get home I will start right away on getting everything shipped to OUR guys.



I went by and visited a site where out-patients are billeted. It was interesting to see how they are taken care of there and the support we can provide that area.



I want to tell you about Nick. I met Nick Friday the week before I left. He was at the bus stop and was pale and his hand was shaking. I went and sat next to him and asked if everything was ok. Mind you, Nick looked all of 20 and I found out later he was only 20. He told me in a slight southern drawl that the doctors were going to put a tube down his throat and cut him open and put wire mesh in him. Well, I knew something was not right about the wire mesh part, but I told him everything was going to be ok. I told him that he was at a good hospital and he would be just fine and not to worry. I normally did not ask what was wrong, but I asked him what type of surgery he was having and learned he had a rather bad hernia that had to be fixed ASAP. I also knew that he was not having wire mesh put in. He told me that first they were going to send him back to the States, but it needed to be fixed now and his dad was going to try to come here but that money was an issue. He would just feel better if he had family with him. After talking to him for about ten more minutes, I told him that if he liked, I would meet him before surgery and sit with him. I would also wait for him to come out so that he would have someone there that he knew. He looked up from the ground and said, “You would do that?” I told him that I would and we made arrangements to meet at the ER entrance at 0715 Monday morning. He was not there at 0715 or 0730 or 0745. I got worried that he had jumped on an aircraft back to the States since he was talking about that on Friday to have his surgery stateside. I left ER to find a friend to help me track him down. I went back to ER just in time to get a phone call from pre-op that Nick was up stairs waiting for me. He had taken pain meds the night before and over slept. He had taken a taxi and gotten to the ER when I left to track him down.

When I got upstairs, the nurse that walked me to his room told me that he really thought a lot about me being there for him and was scared that I had left ER and would not be there. When I walked in the room, this young man had a smile of relief on his face. We talked about his family, the weather, the hospital, the war, and the surgery. I told him the best thing was to relax. I told him that when I have surgery, I sing to myself and I have had more than one doctor tell me that I have entertained them in the OR singing the Yellow Submarine or the Itsy Bitsy Polka Dot Bikini. Nick thought that was funny, but I told him to just think of a song he liked and it will relax him. About five minutes later, they came in to take Nick and gave him a large shot of something to relax him. As they took him down the hall, I got the thumbs up over every one’s head.

While he was in surgery, which was to take an hour, I went to the clothing closet and got him a bag of clothes and spent some time down there waiting on other patients. I went up to Nick’s ward about the time he was to be out, but he did not come out of surgery for another 1 ½ hours.

When he did come to the ward, he was still asleep. The nurse said that he was difficult to wake up, so I started talking to him asking him why he was being so difficult, that I had been there waiting on him just as I had said, so he had better open those eyes of his. He opened them and with VERY glassy eyes looked at me and said, “YOU ARE HERE.”  I talked to him for about a minute more, then I asked the OR nurses how it went and they said that he was very entertaining.  She said that he was singing Mr. Bo Jangles. I just had to laugh. Nick kind of rolled his head toward me and pointed his finger at me and said it was all my fault. The nurse said that he was very relaxed and surgery went well.

After we got him moved to his bed and they got all his vitals and left, I told Nick that I had put up all his clothes and got him new clothing from the clothing closet. I showed him where I had put everything in his closet and he just looked at me and said, “I LOVE YOU.” I had to laugh a little because his eyes were so glassy still. I said, “I love you too Nick, now listen, your wallet is on this shelf.” And he said, “OK, but I really do love you.” I just gave up on telling him were his stuff was and went about calling his parents and his girl friend. It took about 20 minutes to get through to them, but with calls finished, I told Nick bye and said I would stop in to see him before I left for the day. When I went back at the end of the day, he was still sleeping off the surgery and pain meds.

I saw Nick twice a day until I left Germany. He was in lots of pain and was due to stay in Germany for two weeks and then to return to Iraq, even tho his recovery time is six to eight weeks and his unit is due to leave Iraq in early Dec.

The Colonel at the Chaplain’s office heard about Nick and me and called Public Affairs. They called the Stars and Stripes and AFN and both came in to do a news release about us the last day I was in Germany. I was asked WHY a lot. Why did I go with him? Why did I come to Germany? Why did I work 8+ hours a day? I don’t know the answer to that. But I do know that out of all the volunteer work that I have done, this has been the most personally gratifying to me. Someone told me that they thought that it was because I got to see the wounded and be with them. I’m not sure that is it. I think it is because the smallest things mean the most to these troops. I put a pair of socks and shoes on a young man whose feet were very bad. I was being very careful not to hurt them. When I looked up he had tears in his eyes. I told him I was very sorry for hurting him and what could I do to help him. He told me he was not in pain. He said that he could not believe that I put socks and shoes on his f****** nasty feet for him and he thanked me. HE THANKED ME!!! He got those feet defending MY freedom and giving the Iraqi people freedom that they have never had before and HE thanked me. Does anyone see something wrong with that picture?

Karen Grimord

P.S. I have more pictures for the web page as soon as I get caught up around here.

Socks and Back Scratch

10-7 2005

Judy, You know what it is, it is being vested. Not for pay but for the fact they are a human being, they are someone’s son, daughter, father, brother, or sister.

There was another young man in today and he was quite badly chewed up from shrapnel from a tank mine that ripped through his humvee. I first put a pair of footy socks on him and he said, “MMM, you just don’t know what a good pair of socks feels like.” His feet were bad, but those socks must have felt really good. He had just the hospital gown on and I asked him if he would like some pants and he said that he could not wear them due to his leg being so heavily bandaged. I went to the store room and brought back some break-away pants. I asked him if he had anything on under the hospital gown. He said yes and I started to unsnap the one side of the break a way pants and he untied his robe and there he stood in his boxers. I have to admit I was expecting a little more than boxers but he was so excited about those break-away pants, it did not seem to bother him. I had to do most of the clothing since he only had half of one arm to work with.  When he left, he had socks, shoes, some boxers for later and SOMEONE else to help with, break-away pants, and a zip up hoody. He said he was a new human being! He was having some kind of reaction to the drugs and he was itchy. He kept trying to scratch his back on everything. I gave him a good back scratch and he said he would be back down tomorrow after they give him his pain shot, because the walls just don’t scratch like that. My son usef to like my back scratches. He goes back into surgery Friday to remove more shrapnel from his eye, arm, and leg. Please keep him and all these kids in your thoughts and prayers.

I was speaking with a guy who works with patients coming from down range. His patients stay at Ramstein. These are patients that come straight through on the aircraft or that stay at Ramstein for a few days. He got wind of me and our project. They are kind of the forgotten ones and could use our help. They make trips to LRMC for whatever supplies, sweats, shampoo, pj’s, boxers, etc. that LRMC has to give them. We might also be getting a request from a small hospital in the field that does not seem to be getting any or much support.




Sue, I give these guys hugs all the time. I always ask first if it is ok to give them a hug and I have never been told no. When I hug them, I tell them thank you for everything they have done for me and my country and I support them. So I will give the next guy a hug for you.

We have a FOB that needs help now! They are under fire all the time. They get very little if no packages (last package was received 5 weeks ago). I can’t tell you where they are, but they are requesting just about everything. We need trial size shampoo, shaving cream and lotion (not hotel size), candy lets get someone in the group to take charge to do something special for Thanksgiving and Christmas that we can send ASAP. No SINGLE blade razors. I know they are more expensive but the other stuff is crap and the guys hate them. We need letters of support maybe from a school or scout troop.(DO NOT SEAL THE ENVELOPES) We need BEEF jerky, disposable cameras. Let’s get talking so that we know what each other is sending so that we don’t end up with all the same item.




Friday was a slower day. Most of it was sorting in the stock room. I did speak with the nurse from down range and she will be going back down on Monday or Tuesday.

I find it amazing what some people will send to the hospital!!! Some of it we just can not use and must give to Goodwill.

I spoke with the Mr. T, he does the ordering for the clothing closet. What a job he has! He has such a terrible time getting supplies in. What we can order and get labels on and get to him in 3-4 weeks takes him months. I have given him some of my contacts for ordering from Lands End so maybe that will help the process.

I met a young man who will lose his leg once he gets back to the states. He has nerve damage that can not be repaired and they will have to take it off. His liaison came down Thursday to get clothing for this young man’s roommate. I had given her (the liaison) black break-aways, white long sleeve t-shirt, a black hood sweat shirt and black knit hat. The liaison said that the kid who was being dressed and the kid who will lose his leg were going on and on about how sharp he looked in his new duds. She was asked to come back down Friday and get the second kid the same outfit. Well, I did not have a second black hoody but I had a medium grey one so I gave her that.

She asked me if I could take the clothing up to give it to him. OF COURSE !!!! I did not know what to expect, but when I walked into the room there was a young man of about 23. He had a few incisions on his face, but looked great. We talked for about 15 minutes. He told me that he was going to lose his leg when he got back to the States and will get a super human leg. He had such a positive outlook. He was glad to be alive because his buddies did not make it that day. I gave him my card for honoree information for a shipment. He left Saturday for his flight back to the States.

Some of you may know and some of you may not. Last March, I convinced the liquidation company for The Athlete’s Foot Store to give us all the shoes they had left over from their court ordered bankruptcy. One of the conditions was that I had to take EVERYTHING that was left in the store. Well, we had baby shoes, hundreds of shoe laces, sports cleats, reflective safety vests, red and blue footies and gel shoe insoles. I gave the sports cleats to the local schools, some of the shoe laces went to K-2 graders for crafts, the baby shoes went to the Woodbridge American Legion children’s project, and the safety vests went to a Boy Scout Troop that does parking for arenas in AL.

It was the last two items that had me for a loop since I did not want to throw them out but knew no one that wanted them. The guys in the field do not like the gel insoles for their boots and these were mostly woman’s sizes. WELL, I was talking to the Chaplain who works on the mental health ward and he said those guys are forgotten a lot and they only had the hospital slip on slippers. I told him about the little footies I had and asked if they could use them. He checked with the ward and IT IS A GO. Brian has mailed them to me and I will take them in tomorrow.

The gel insoles are also here and will be given to the hospital staff. So, that means that all the items given to us from the Athlete’s Foot Store found good homes and none of it was taken to the dump.


They Are Not Watching


Today was much slower with patients than yesterday, but I was very busy packing, unpacking, and sorting boxes.

Yesterday I helped a young man who was in a wheelchair. I’m not sure what his injuries were, but I’m guessing they were private in nature. He came to the hospital with only a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. The weather here has turned cold and rainy, so I knew when he came in he had to be cold. His liaison was talking with another volunteer on the other side of the clothes rack. The young man was just sitting there shaking from the cold.  I asked him if he wanted to put on the sweats pants and the zip up hood right then. He looked around and said he did not think he could. I smiled at him and whispered, “OH, they’re not watching, we can do this.” The zip up hood sweat shirt was easy, but the pants were another issue. We had to do both ankles at the same time then up his legs very slowly, but we got it! When we went around the clothes rack and he was dressed, everyone was shocked. I asked him about his shoe size and thank God we had his size. He could only wear one shoe at the time, but we slipped the other next to him in the chair. He had the biggest smile on his face. I was asked today why and what I got out of doing this? It was the smile on that kid’s face, just makes your heart ten times bigger.

I also realized today the number of our young men wearing hearing aids. It hit me after seeing about four of them come in back to back. I talked to one young man last week, but it was today I realized that we have a lot of them wearing hearing aids.

A patient I spoke with put a twist on the care packages they are receiving down range. I was explaining about the huge amount of toiletries that we have and he laughed and said they have several connex full at his camp. He said that the American people are very generous, but they have so much of it they can not give the stuff away to others in the field. He comes from a camp with a very small exchange. (For non-military here that means they have a very small store). He also explained that people give as if they were the only ones giving to a group, not realizing that there might be 200 or more other people that give to the same group of 100 deployed people. He asked me if I knew what 140 to 160 degrees inside a connex did to deodorant, shaving cream, or shampoo. He said that they have sent thank you letters to people thanking them for their support, and try to nicely say thanks but no thanks, but it still comes. He also explained that if the storage of those items was the only issue, then they could handle it a little easier, but all those boxes cause more convoys. Then he said with convoys come the risk of losing our buddies or our own lives for more of the same stuff that we don’t need. WOW, did that open my eyes a lot!! He was not the only one in the clothing closet and they were all in agreement with the amount of stuff they have at their camps, especially toiletries. One of the guys said if there was a group in the field that did not have any, WHICH HE DOUBTS, (He was at a FOB) he would rather see it go from site to site in the field then have resources wasted the way they are now.

I have done a lot of hmmmm’s since I have been here. Views from the hospital staff, liaisons, the drivers that transport the patients every day, the chaplains, the other Red Cross volunteers, and seeing how we all interact with the patients differently and the patients themselves. WHAT AN EXPERIENCE!!!




Judy, I have a problem with releasing an address to 1,000’s or even 100’s of people. It puts her son in greater risk.

Chaplains are upset that their address is out there on as many sites as it is with incorrect needs of the clothing closet.

I know that a couple of the guys have come in complaining about a site that I know some of you use. They said at first they thought it was a good idea, but then once the address was out there, they could not turn the shipments off even tho their address was not being listed anymore. One marine said this morning that his group came into the field and “adopted” 3 connex full of stuff left from the previous group. They took it all out and destroyed it. They are giving stuff to the Iraq communities because they don’t have a need for it or it has gone bad in the heat.

We also discovered that Iraq seems to get more attention than Afghanistan. But there are places even there that have more than enough stuff. A Major this morning said they are receiving swiffer wet mops. He said, “what are we going to do with those, we don’t have floors.” The captain from Iraq said they did not need another package of baby wipes. From what I can figure out people are taking items from different lists or guessing and just filling boxes.

William, who is a member of this Yahoo group, spent his birthday in Iraq. I sent him 1 package for his birthday. I tried to make it items that I knew he would like and items he could share and enjoy with his friends. I don’t think receiving 2 or 3 thousand birthday cards so he would have to worry about anthrax would have been the way to go. I know that my space in my tent in Bosnia was VERY small (5×8). That space had my cot and had to hold all my gear; I sure would not have wanted two or three thousand cards in it. I can’t imagine how William did it at Christmas playing Santa for us.

I just know that unless I’m told exactly what a group needs; item 1, item 2, and item 3, we are not sending it. I’m not saying don’t give, we just have to do it smart.




This was the busiest day since I have been here. I got hit hard this morning with patients, sometimes up to eight or nine at the same time. I almost broke down and cried today with a patient but I managed to hold it and talk him through the pain spasm he was having, thank God! Just thinking about him brings tears to my eyes.

I am usually the only volunteer working in the morning; sometimes the only one working all day, which is usually not a problem, but this morning was difficult. I had a lot of patients in the clothing closet that I had been helping when this young man (28-32) came in and I knew right away I had to help him fast. I asked him to sit in the chair and I got him shoes. I was on one knee in front of him, when the pain hit bad, he leaned forward and put his forehead on my shoulder.  I whispered in his ear to breath slow and relax. I just kept talking him through the breathing. It took 3 or 4 minutes before we could get the second shoe on. He whispered in my ear, “I hate pain, I can’t take this.” I just wanted to take it for him. The only thing I could think of to whisper back was, “I know hun; it will get better trust me.”

I asked him if he needed a wheelchair back to the room and he said no they (the doctors) told him that he had to start walking. I told him that might be true but he did not have to do it all at once. We waited about a minute more and I helped him up and got him back to his liaison, but it took me a minute before I could turn around and go back into the clothing closet to help the rest of the guys. It was much quieter when I turned around and looked at everyone. I guess they might have been watching us.

In the afternoon, it let up a little bit. Then while I was waiting for the bus to come home, one of the liaisons had a patient whose humvee was hit with an IED. He needed clothing, but the chaplains had left for the day and I did not have the keys anymore. I sat and talked with him while they were trying to find out if they could find his bags from down range. His hands were badly burned and his face was slightly burned as well. He will be transported out very soon to the burn center. We sat and talked for about half an hour. He is from XXXXX and his family does not support what he is fighting for. He believes that this is something that we had to do for the people of Iraq and he HATES CNN. He said that was the worst thing when they came into the country.


Eric P. Woods

Eric P. Woods—September 2005 Shipment Honoree

Army Spc., 26, of Omaha, Neb.; assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Carson, Colo.; killed July 9, 2005 when his Humvee struck an improvised explosive device, causing it to overturn, in Tal Afar, Iraq. Woods was in the area to evacuate another soldier who had been wounded.

Fallen medic from Urbandale ‘went above and beyond’

Source: Elizabeth Owens, (11 July 2005)

In life, U.S. Army medic Pfc. Eric Paul Woods cared for others, his family said Sunday.

The 26-year-old private first class from Omaha was killed Saturday about 6:20 a.m. Iraq time while traveling to help a wounded soldier. He was the 31st Iowan to be killed in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Lt. Col. Gregory Hapgood, the Iowa National Guard’s public affairs officer, said Woods was near Tal Afar, Iraq, when an explosive device detonated under his vehicle. The vehicle flipped and Woods was killed. No information was available on whether there were others in the vehicle.

Woods grew up in Urbandale, where his parents, Chuck and Jan Woods, still live. Jan Woods talked to her son on Friday, about 15 hours before he died. She said he told her he was doing OK and he talked about coming home in September. But later that day, Jan Woods got the feeling that something was wrong.

Jan Woods said that they tried to send a letter and at least one package to their son each week. At his request, the packages contained toys, candy and soccer balls for the children in Iraq. The couple also sent items that Eric said would help other soldiers: foot powder, moist towelettes and lip balm. “As a medic he would hand that out,” Chuck Woods said. “He went above and beyond.”

Woods joined the Army in April 2004 and was sent to Iraq in March. His parents said that he and his wife, Jamie, were concerned about the war, but they made the decision together. His family said he planned to become a physician’s assistant. “He had a lot of things left to do in life,” Jan Woods said.

Bob Stouffer, superintendent at Des Moines Christian School, was principal at Urbandale High School when Eric Woods graduated in 1997. “It doesn’t surprise me that his death comes as he was serving his country and helping someone else,” Stouffer said.

Woods is survived by his wife, Jamie; his 3-year-old son, his parents and three siblings. His parents have set up an e-mail address, [email protected], for people who want to support their son’s squadron. Woods belonged to the G Troop, 2nd Squadron of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, based out of Fort Carson, Colo.

The members of Landstuhl Hospital Care Project were honored to remember Eric during the month of September 2005 with our shipments to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, and U.S. military hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Our thoughts and prayers remain with Eric’s family and friends today and in the years to come.

Why Is Your Name On My Boxers?


I labeled and packed 120 candy welcome bags with music DVD’s (there are no movie DVD’s) phone cards and candy (that we shipped, that was a nice feeling).

1 box of Nathan’s shipment of jackets arrived today; maybe the other will arrive tomorrow. We had to unpack them at the post office since the box was too large for the car. Then one of the chaplains’ assistants helped us get them into the hospital. The reaction from the office was “WOW, you guys buy NICE stuff.” Don’t you know I was proud as could be? I gave them an address to a GySgt in the Balkans who has 300 marines looking for items that we have available; so that shipment will go out very soon.




Someone asked me a long time ago, “Why don’t we pack ready made backpacks or gym bags?” So if you ever want to know why we don’t pack our backpacks or gym bags ready to go with little shampoos, toothpaste, toothbrushes, boxers, t-shirts etc., it is because I just spent the entire afternoon unpacking these items from groups that spent their time packing this way. The reason we don’t pack this way is that the troops come in looking for just shampoo or just boxers, or the group will pack med briefs with an x-large tee, so it all gets unpacked here. Some of the guys are going back down range and don’t have the room for all the extras in these prepared bags. OK just had to get that out of my system.

I meet some very wonderful guys today. One particular young man happened to receive a package of boxers that we shipped. When he saw the tag he said something about it and I said that was a group that I was part of in the States. After he realized that we honor Fallen Heroes, he asked if we could honor two friends of his, SPC Carter and SGT Ruth of Eco. 1-15 INF BN 3 BD 3ID. I have no other information as of now, but I’m sure we can find them on the net. He was in need of sweats, guess what – the shirt was ours!! He began to tear up. He said that he had come back to the States during a mid-tour break and had been spit at. He thought that there would be more of a welcome than there was. He was surprised at the support that this group gave. (I believe the shirt was from Kathy’s family and the boxers were from Sherry’s family). He told me that he wished there were more like me that supported the troops in the States and I told him, “Honey, there are!!” and I gave him a hug. After clothing this young man from head to toe and making sure to take into account his injuries, we said goodbye.  He asked if he could come back tomorrow to maybe pick out some books. The reply is, “Of course.” So my request to you now is to show this young man that he is truly supported. If you send me a PRIVATE email I will give it to him if he does come back tomorrow or next week. His name is XXXX. Please do not mention injuries or the incident on his mid-tour break, just that we support him 100%.

Other items of interest. Please forgive me I don’t remember names; but I saw sponsors from IN, CA, and KY go out today. I do know that these sponsors went out to day also:  Kathy, Dad, Sherry, Lehn, Stafford American Legion, and Civitan Club. They have some of our sweats from our Jan shipment that are just now going out.

They are in need of WOMENS SMALL sweats.

I’m really tired right now and can’t think of anything else to let you know.




Today (Saturday) I had not planned on going into the hospital to work, but after getting an email from the office that they were very busy, I jumped in the shower and went right over. Our sweat suits may have not all gone out last winter, but they sure are going out now.  I don’t even look at the sponsor labels any more, because most of them on the shelves are ours.

I do have to tell you a funny situation that happened today. We had about 3 guys in the clothing closet and they were picking out their items. One of the guys kept looking at me and looking at the package of boxers in his hands. I went and asked him if he needed help. Some of them are on some strong meds and get a little distracted. He said, “No, but why is your name on my boxers.” It took me a minute to realize he had one of our packages and I was the sponsor and he was looking at my Red Cross name tag. So I told him about our project. Both of us thought that was very cool.

The weather here is cool but sunny, but these girls and guys are freezing when they come in. So I’m glad we sent the jackets when we did and there is another group that sent wind breakers that some of the guys are taking. They are red and not going over so well, but soon it will be too cold for them and they will have to be stored anyways.

I’m still not sleeping through the night. That is it for now.




I meet a man today who received the Purple Heart. He joined the U.S. Army because his friend died on Sept 11 at the towers. He is giving 6 years of his life to honor his friend. He told me about the friends that he has made and lost in this war. He has my email address if he wishes for us to honor any of them.

I meet a young man who was wheelchair bound. It is amazing the determination to overcome these young people have. After being in a chair after my foot surgery, I know how difficult it can be to maneuver on the ground, but he would not allow us to help him.

For the American Legion people here, I met two gentlemen from American Legion Post 1. They had come in to help pack boxes, but just as with anyone, they have to go through the Red Cross Orientation, Training, Occupation Health Check, and I forget what the other office was called.  Then you get to start.

For those of you that are local to my area and have seen my POW/MIA jacket, WOW, I have never had so many comments about a jacket before. I will be walking down the sidewalk and get this hand gesture from someone I have seen earlier in the day. You know the one that says TURN AROUND so they can show whoever they are walking with the back of my jacket. But I’m very proud to wear that jacket and very proud to be able to help these great people here.

My time here is going way too fast. It is a magnet that pulls me every morning and it is difficult to leave at night. I can’t even think about leaving in Oct; my heart goes to my throat each time I think about leaving here.

Well, starting to get sappy and it is late so I will close.


P.S. Thanks, Sue, that is one very thankful military member on this side. I had one young man that came in today that was very amazed at all the things he received. He said that he did not think anyone back home cared any more.

P.P.S. We are looking for any information about groups (Church groups, Civic Groups, Schools, Scouts, etc) that you might hear about that are sending items to the hospital. If you could provide an email address, web site, or phone number to me about these groups we would appreciate it very much. We are going to try to curtail the items that we don’t need and have them send the items that we do need. We need all the help we can receive in this effort. THANKS!!!


Please Stop!


I have arrived here in Germany and other than being tired and on the wrong time zone, all is well.  I start Red Cross training Monday and then other in-processing after that.



I’ve had to have shots because the military lost my records in the big military database in the sky and the paper shot records I had were not up to date enough. I can not start working until my shots are up to date on official records.



They are in urgent need of AT & T or MCI 120 minute (no more than that) phone cards. They also said to spread the word that they DO NOT WANT TOILETRIES. They have been sending their stuff into the field and even the field locations are saying PLEASE STOP!!! I have a Red Cross training class in about an hour so I have to go. More later.




I went to the Chaplain’s Clothing Closet today and I found the last two pairs of shoes that we sent back in Feb or Mar on the shelf – still with the sponsor labels on them. The volunteer there said that most of the shoes we sent were gone in less than a month. I don’t remember the exact number, but I think it was close to 200 pairs or was it 300?

I also saw the book that everyone signed from the benefit at the Lorton American Legion on a table in the Chaplain’s office. It is with boxes of candy and the pastries that Bernie sent.

I bagged some candy today for the welcome bags and went through custom forms to be entered into a data base for thank you letters. It was strange seeing my name and our project come through on the other end. If and when they need more bags, they have to be half gallon size, snack size is too small to fit movies in them. However, right now, there are no movies and we have more than enough bags.

There was a young man in the clothing closet when I was there talking with Jennifer, the volunteer and chaplain’s staff. The chaplain’s staff was telling the volunteer about our project and the young man came up and said to tell each of you “THANKS.”  He said that you truly did not know what this meant to him. He said that it was over 100 degrees in Iraq when he left and even though to us this was sweater weather, he had his long johns on and was wearing two sweat shirts. He is coming back to the States on Friday.


Hoby Bradfield

Hoby F. Bradfield, Jr.—August 2005 Shipment Honoree

Army Spc., 22, of The Woodlands, Texas; assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Carson, Colo.; killed July 9, 2005 while he was conducting a dismounted cordon search in Tal Afar, Iraq.

Source: Diana Wallace, [Chicago] Daily Herald

Soldier’s Fight a Mother’s Heartbreak

Hoby Bradfield Kloe at MemorialHoby Bradfield Jr. watched the World Trade Center fall from his home in New Jersey and decided that very day he would enlist in the Army.

“The day the towers fell, he called a recruiter,” said his mother, Dianne Sterling, who now lives in Wheaton. “I said, ‘Hoby, please, just think about it for a few days.’ But he had his mind made up.”

From that point on, Bradfield’s resolve and loyalty to his country never wavered.

Not when he was sent to Iraq the following year, and not when the Army specialist voluntarily signed up for a second tour of duty “because he wasn’t going to let the boys he fought with go back without him,” his mother said.

Bradfield, 22, was killed July 9 in Tal Afar, Iraq. His stepfather, Kenneth Sterling, said Bradfield was injured during a house-to-house search for insurgents. Then the ambulance he was in struck a roadside bomb, killing him and the ambulance driver.

His family will never know if he might have survived the initial injury. They choose not to dwell on what-ifs.

“His mom and I choose not to dwell on that potential,” Kenneth Sterling said. “We’re mostly angry about the fact that (the insurgents) bomb children and ambulances.”

Bradfield’s mother also chose to focus on the positives: “He had confidence in getting the job done, of bringing peace and freedom. He was under no illusions. He knew that was his job, and he knew what he stood for. And he made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Bradfield was raised mainly in New Jersey and Virginia. But his wife, Crystin, who’s due to deliver their first child this fall, was from Chicago’s South Side. His mother and stepfather, a Chicago native, moved to Wheaton last year, and had hoped Bradfield and his young family might someday choose to live in the Chicago area.

“They got married, set plans to have a baby, and then he went back to Iraq,” Kenneth Sterling said. “They didn’t really didn’t have a lot of time together. Now she’s widowed with an unborn child.

“This is so tragic,” he said. “So much of it was the potential of what could have been.”

Dianne Sterling described her son as generally quiet but with a dry sense of humor. He loved children, and, while growing up, often helped out elderly neighbors without being asked.

She has made a point to contact the widow of Eric Woods of Omaha, the ambulance driver who was killed along with her son that day. She told his widow how grateful she was that Woods had tried to help her son.

Bradfield’s funeral will take place Monday in Virginia Beach, Va., where his father, Hoby Bradfield, Sr., and stepmother live. He’ll be buried at Arlington National Cemetery Tuesday.

“I don’t want him to be remembered as just another coalition tragedy,” Dianne Sterling said. “I want people to know he was a kind, loving, caring young man who was fiercely loyal and patriotic.

“He’s not just a casualty,” she said. “He was a person. He was my son.”

Twenty-Two, Forever—Specialist Hoby Frank Bradfield, Jr.

Source: Black Five

“Day by day, fix your eyes upon the greatness of Athens, until you become filled with the love of her; and when you are impressed by the spectacle of her glory, reflect that this empire has been acquired by men who knew their duty and had the courage to do it.” – Thucydides, The Funeral Speech for Pericles


Hoby Bradfield, Jr. graduated from high school in 2001 in Virginia Beach, VA. Immediately after witnessing the World Trade Center towers fall from his home in New Jersey, he called a recruiter and enlisted in the US Army. A member of the warrior caste, Bradfield’s father was a retired Navy veteran, his older brother an Army Cavalry Scout and his younger brother is now a Marine.

Hoby left his home and entered the Army on August 20th, 2002. He trained to be a Cavalry Scout and was assigned to the Sabre Squadron of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment at Fort Carson, Colorado. In a few short months, Bradfield went from raw recruit to leader among his peers.

Not long after joining the famed regiment, the 3rd ACR was sent to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom I. There, Hoby Bradfield earned a reputation for being a fierce Scout. As a Private First Class he was awarded the ARMCOM with V device for valor in combat and had been recommended for two Bronze Stars.

After returning from OIF, Hoby met a girl, Crystin, fell in love and got married. He also trained to be a Combat Life Saver. Crystin became pregnant and Hoby was thrilled.

“…not even subzero temperatures at downrange Fort Carson can keep the smile from a man’s face when he tells his best friends he’s going to be a father,” said 1st Lt. Brian Oman, Bradfield’s Troop platoon leader.

He knew the day would come when the regiment would go back to Iraq. Even though Crystin was pregnant, Bradfield volunteered to go back to Iraq.

On July 9th, 2005, Grim Troop of the 2nd Squadron moved into a neighborhood in Tal Afar to destroy a terrorist bombing cell. During the cordon and search, one of Bradfield’s team was hit and, as one of the Combat Life Savers, he raced to perform first aid. Then, Specialist Bradfield was shot. Medics were called to the battle. They stabilized Hoby, put him on the ambulance, and raced to the hospital. Terrorists were watching. They detonated an IED and destroyed the ambulance instantly killing Hoby and the medic that was saving his life, PFC Eric Woods.

“There are troopers in the regiment who most definitely owe their lives to him,” LTC Christopher Hickey, Commander, 2nd Squadron, 3rd ACR said about Hoby in the memorial service held in Iraq where over 200 Cav Troopers attended.

On July 26th, 2005, Specialist Hoby Frank Bradfield Jr. was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. Eric Woods’ family attended the memorial in Virginia and the burial at Arlington.

On September 3rd, Crystin Bradfield gave birth to Kloe Adell Bradfield who is the spittin’ image of her dad.

My thoughts and prayers are with Hoby’s family. Today would have been Hoby’s twenty-third birthday.

Posted by Blackfive | November 07, 2005 in Fallen But Never Forgotten

July 2006 Update:

SPC Bradfield Awarded Second Bronze Star with Valor:


The following recognition of Spc. Hoby F. Bradfield’s courage and selflessness were sent to his wife with the awarding of the Bronze Star Medal with Valor:

Hoby was a true hero in every sense of the word. Since his passing, many of our soldiers have done great justice to his memory by attempting to replicate the professionalism, enthusiasm, and bravery that Hoby displayed on a daily basis over here. Many times we fall short of his example, but his legacy in this squadron is truly a lasting one.

Enclosed is a Bronze Star Medal with Valor, which Hoby was awarded for actions two weeks prior to his passing. On June 25 2005 his squad was on a dismounted patrol in Tal’Afar, Iraq when they came under enemy fire. One of the soldiers in the squad was shot and lay separated from the rest of the team by enemy fire. Hoby, with no regard to his own safety exposed himself to the continuous enemy fire in order to reach his wounded friend, drag him to safety and provide first aid. After giving assistance to the wounded Soldier, Hoby again exposed himself to enemy fire as he went for a stretcher, then again as he helped to evacuate the soldier. His Valor and Heroism were supremely evident that day, as well as every time he was on a mission. Hoby’s action on June 25 2005 saved the life of Sergeant Jeremy Wolfsteller. Hoby always put the well-being of his fellow Soldiers above his own, and he exemplified all the values expected of such a dedicated and professional Soldier.

Jennifer writes:

For August’s shipment I would like to honor Army SPC Hoby Frank Bradfield, Jr of The Woodlands, Texas.  He was killed on July 9, 2005 in Tal Afar, Iraq due to enemy fire while conducting a dismounted cordon search.  He was 22 years of age.  I learned of this young man due to another yahoo group that I am a part of, Operation Baby Blanket.  His wife, Crystin, is currently pregnant with their first child and is due in September.  This link goes to his memorial video that I encourage you all to watch.  It definitely brought tears to my eyes.  With Jason (my husband) being his age, due with our first child in October, and Jason leaving to Iraq in Dec or Jan this definitely touched home.


View Obituary and Video Tribute

(original link –

Excerpt from The Mounted Rifleman – July 2005

Wounded Soldier’s Story About Hoby

9-03-05   Kloe was born at 2:01am Sat. weighting in at 7lbs 3oz and 19″ long.  Crystin says she looks just like Hoby’s baby photo except she has brown curly hair.   She and Crystin are doing fine.  She was born at Evans Army Hospital on post at Colorado Springs, CO.


The members of Landstuhl Hospital Care Project were honored to remember Hoby during the month of August 2005 with our shipments to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, and U.S. military hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Our thoughts and prayers remain with Hoby’s family and friends today and in the years to come.

In honor of Hoby, on Aug 12, 2005 we shipped 110 calendars, 4 dress shirts, 22 boxes of snack bags, 10 pounds of candy and 9 pairs of boxers .

Nathan Clemons

Nathan B. Clemons—July 2005 Shipment Honoree

Marine Corps Pfc., 20, of Winchester, Tenn.; assigned to the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; killed June 14, 2005 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle while conducting combat operations near Rutbah, Iraq.

Source: Legacy and the Florida Times-Union

Nathan B. Clemons was active in his church– he was a drummer in the youth praise band and the guy who dropped the church’s new digital camera in a bucket of paint.

“Life to him was to be celebrated and have a good time,” said Pastor Mike Jackson.

Clemons, 20, of Jacksonville, Fla., was killed June 14 when an explosive detonated near his vehicle near Rutbah. He was based at Camp Lejeune.

Known as “Nate Dog” to his friends, he was straight-talking and eager for a good time like when he hit golf balls down the street and busted the light in front of his house.

“As my buddy, he was invincible,” said his best friend, Kenny Anderson. “He was tough and fun, and full of life like everybody says.”

He joined the military after graduating from high school and is survived by his parents. In a letter home, he told his father that if he didn’t make it through the day, he was OK with that. “I have my faith; my spirituality is in order,” he said.

The members of Landstuhl Hospital Care Project were honored to remember Nathan during the month of July 2005 with our shipments to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, and U.S. military hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Our thoughts and prayers remain with Nathan’s family and friends today and in the years to come.

LeRoy Alexander

LeRoy E. Alexander—June 2005 Shipment Honoree

Army Staff Sgt., 27, of Dale City, Va.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, Fort Bragg, N.C.; killed June 3, 2005 when his convoy vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device at Forward Operating Base Orgun-E, Afghanistan. Also killed was Capt. Charles D. Robinson.

Services Held for Fallen Soldier

Source: by David Stegon, Potomac News, Tuesday, June 21, 2005 and Arlington National Cemetery Website


The words bounced off the church walls as the crowd came to its feet, ready to send Roy Boy home. A medley of LeRoy Alexander’s favorite songs rang through First Baptist Church in Manassas as the crowd of about 500 sang and prayed and remembered their fallen friend, both celebrating his life and mourning his death in a “Going Home Ceremony.”

Later Monday afternoon, the mood changed, as Alexander was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery, two weeks after an improvised bomb killed him and another soldier as they were riding in a convoy in southeast Afghanistan on June 3, 2005. “LeRoy is now with the Lord,” said the Rev. John Blackmon. “We must thank Jesus for the time we had LeRoy, but know that he is home, serving the Lord.”

Alexander, 27, was born in North Carolina, but lived in Dale City as a teenager, where he met his future wife Marissa. He graduated from C.D. Hylton High School in 1997 and joined the Army, following his father Ronald, who served as a Marine in the Vietnam War.

Alexander served in Kosovo and Haiti before his death in Afghanistan. He was scheduled to leave Afghanistan in nine days and then serve eight months in Colombia, before hopefully leaving the military to raise his family. His wife Marissa is pregnant with twins.

Alexander enlisted as a technical engineer specialist, but later graduated from Special Forces Qualification Course and became a Special Forces engineer Sergeant.

An estimated 500 friends and family attended Monday’s service, sharing stories about Alexander, who most people called Lee, except his grandfather, who called him Roy Boy.

“Lee taught me so many things during my life,” said Alexander’s mother, Felicia, “but the last one, and perhaps the most important, was that it’s better to die for something than to live for nothing.”

Family mourns fallen soldier

Felicia Alexander remembered other stories from her son’s life, like when he begged her to let him play the trumpet and she could not afford it, or the first time he brought Marissa home to meet her. At the end of her tribute, Felicia Alexander presented Marissa with a flower arrangement, as her son liked to do.

Elder Georgia Walker remembered running into Alexander at a restaurant in Fort Bragg, N.C., and him lifting her spirits, giving her the warm welcome she needed.

“In the military it’s unheard of for an enlisted person to salute another enlisted person,” Walker said, “but LeRoy has been promoted to a captain in the army of the Lord.” Walker then saluted Alexander, as the crowd came to its feet applauding.

Dustin Hanover, a friend from Fort Bragg, told a story of when Alexander and his wife followed them home from the hospital during a snowstorm to make sure they got home safely following the birth of Hanover’s first child.

“[Lee] was the first person outside my family to hold my baby,” Hanover said, fighting back tears. “He always joked he was going to drop her, but he never did.” Hanover then said he plans to name his next child in honor of Alexander.

The service then moved to Arlington, where Alexander’s body was laid to rest. His wife and father were presented with flags as most of the crowd from the morning’s ceremony watched on. A bugler played Taps from across a field while a firing party fired three shots in his honor.

His awards and decorations include: the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Army Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Parachutist Badge, and Air Assault Badge. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal.

Alexander is survived by his wife, Marissa; and parents, Ronald and Felicia Alexander of Manassas, Va.

The members of Landstuhl Hospital Care Project were honored to remember LeRoy during the month of June with our shipments to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, and U.S. military hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Our thoughts and prayers remain with LeRoy’s family and friends today and in the years to come.

Charles Robinson

Charles D. Robinson—June 2005 Shipment Honoree

Army Capt., 29, of Haddon Heights, N.J.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, Fort Bragg, N.C.; killed June 3, 2005 when his convoy vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device at Forward Operating Base Orgun-E, Afghanistan. Also killed was Staff Sgt. Leroy E. Alexander.

Army Capt. Charles D. Robinson’s Life Spanned the Globe

Source:  Groups 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne)

A resident of Haddon Heights, N.J., Robinson was commissioned in the Army immediately following graduation from Cedarville College in Ohio May 1998, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in foreign trade. His first military assignment was with the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C. Robinson graduated from the Special Forces Qualification Course and was assigned to 7th SFG in December 2003. Robinson deployed to Afghanistan in January 2005 in support of the Global War on Terrorism.

Army Capt. Charles D. Robinson’s life spanned the globe. The son of missionaries based in Haddon Heights, Robinson spent much of his life in Paraguay, where he developed a love of languages and a bond with other Americans stationed overseas. At Baptist Regional School in Haddon Heights, Robinson played soccer and kept in touch with friends after his family resumed their travels. And after the Special Forces sent him to Afghanistan in January as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, Robinson asked his family to mail him care packages of candy. He planned to give them to children in villages he was helping rebuild.

Robinson, 29, was one of two Special Forces soldiers killed Friday when a bomb exploded near the ground mobility vehicle he was traveling in during operations near Orgun-e, in the southeastern region of Afghanistan. He had been assigned to the First Battalion, Seventh Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, N.C.

“He put his heart and soul into everything he did,” said his maternal grandmother, Doris Anderson of Woodstown. “He was outgoing in a quiet sort of way.”

During Robinson’s childhood, his parents, Charles and Janet, were missionaries based at Haddon Heights Baptist Church. Robinson and his brother and sister were home-schooled by their mother in Paraguay, his grandmother said. During one family furlough, Robinson spent his freshman and sophomore years at Baptist High School, which is affiliated with the church, head administrator Lynn Conahan said.

“He was easygoing, friendly, outgoing, and he could take a joke,” said Conahan, whose son, P.J., was a friend of Robinson’s. After Robinson’s family returned to Paraguay, he continued to write letters to P.J., Conahan said.

Robinson later graduated from Asuncion Christian Academy in Paraguay, said his brother, Jeffrey. In Paraguay, Robinson and his family developed a kinship with American military officials and other Americans living abroad, his grandmother said.

He later majored in international studies and global economics at Cedarville University in Ohio, graduating in 1998, according to university spokesman Roger Overturf. That was where he met his wife, Laura, a native of Iowa, said Overturf, who remembered the couple. Several of Robinson’s and his wife’s relatives attended the tight-knit, 3,000-student university, Overturf said. “We’re all pretty devastated here.”

Robinson became involved in ROTC in college, which led him into the Army after graduation. He was first assigned to the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division, based at Fort Bragg. But “he wanted more than that,” Anderson said. Robinson completed a rigorous training program over more than two years and joined the elite Special Forces in December 2003.

He lived with his wife in Fayetteville, N.C., and they were hoping to start a family soon, Anderson said. The family was hoping Robinson would return in August. Laura Robinson said yesterday she did not want to comment. Robinson’s parents, who live in Pemberton Township, could not be reached yesterday.

Maj. Robert Gowan, a spokesman for the Army’s Special Forces Command, said Robinson had been riding in a ground mobility vehicle. “It is a modified humvee,” Gowan said, and was “heavily armored.” Also killed in the explosion was another member of Robinson’s group, Staff Sgt. Leroy E. Alexander, 27, a Special Forces engineer sergeant from Dale City, Va.

Captain Robinson is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Robinson is survived by his wife, Laura; and parents, Charles and Janet Robinson of Brown Mills, N.J.

His awards and decorations include: the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Parachutist Badge, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Expert Infantryman Badge, the Special Forces Tab and Ranger Tab. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal.

The members of Landstuhl Hospital Care Project were honored to remember Charles during the month of June 2005 with our shipments to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, and U.S. military hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Our thoughts and prayers remain with Charles’s family and friends today and in the years to come.

Justin Carter

Justin B. Carter—April 2005 Shipment Honoree

Army Spc. Justin B. Carter, 21, of Mansfield, Mo., died February 16, 2005 in Forward Operating Base McKenzie, Iraq, from non-combat related injuries. Carter was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3d Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized), Fort Benning, GA

Source: FRG News and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Specialist Justin B. Carter was born on 26 October 1982 in Witchia, Kansas. He entered active Federal Service in October 2002 where he attended Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training in Fort Leanordwood, Missouri. Following AIT, SPC Carter was assigned to A Co, 2nd Engineers, Camp Castle, Korea where he served as a Unit Armorer until February 2004.  SPC Carter returned to the United States and was assigned to Fort Benning March 2004. At the time of his death, SPC Carter had served 11 months in Echo Company as a Combat Engineer and as the Unit Armorer at Fort Benning, Georgia.

SPC Carter’s awards include the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, and the Overseas Service Ribbon.

SPC Carter’s survivors include, his mother and her husband, Becky and Brett Misemer and his father William Carter.

Justin Carter had a truck that locals had nicknamed the “Red Blur.” “Everybody in town knew Justin and his truck,” said Carter’s stepfather and deer-hunting buddy, Brett Misemer. Carter was in a rush to live life, but he always kept track of details about friends and made time to speak to each person at family gatherings. He once invited a handful of friends from his barracks to his home for the Thanksgiving holidays. On Valentine’s Day, he remembered to e-mail his mother, Becky, and send his love. “I thank God every day for giving me the chance to be raised by the best mother on earth!” he wrote just days before his death. Before he graduated from high school in Mansfield and enlisted in the Army, Carter was involved with the Future Farmers of America. His cousin, Rebecca Denney, remembered the adventures they had during high school, such as the prom they never quite made it to. He was the life of the party wherever he went, she said.

The members of Landstuhl Hospital Care Project were honored to remember Justin during the month of April 2005 with our shipments to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, and U.S. military hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Our thoughts and prayers remain with Justin’s family and friends today and in the years to come.