Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Army Sgt. Steve Morin, Jr.

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Steve Morin, Jr., 34, of Arlington, Texas.

Sgt Morin died west of Umm Qasr, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated, overturning the HMMWV in which he was riding. He was assigned to the Army National Guard's 111th Engineer Battalion, 36th Infantry Division, Mineral Wells, Texas.

The Dallas Morning News -- Audrey Morin says she'll cherish the final conversation she had with her son Sunday. They talked about family, the sweltering heat in Iraq and the Dallas Cowboys.

"He was fine," said Mrs. Morin of Brownfield, Texas. "He could only talk for 30 minutes."

Sgt. Steve Morin Jr., 34, of Arlington died Wednesday west of Umm Qasr, Iraq, when an explosive device detonated, overturning the Humvee he was riding in. Sgt. Morin had been assigned to the Army National Guard's 111th Engineer Battalion, 36th Infantry Division, in Mineral Wells.

Sgt. Morin was buried with full military honors.

After graduating from Brownfield High School in 1988, Sgt. Morin enlisted in the Navy, serving for 14 years and specializing in aviation electronics.

He attended Texas Tech University, where he earned bachelor's degrees in business and financial economics in 2000.

Sgt. Morin enlisted in the National Guard in October 2003 and was deployed to Iraq on Jan. 6.

His wife, Gwendolyn Morin of Arlington, said she supported her husband's decision to go.

"He felt like that was where he needed to be," she said. "He was doing it out of loyalty for his country."

The couple married on Feb 5, 1999. They had two children, Brianna, 12, and Esteban, 6. She said her husband enjoyed fishing, wrestling and reading to his children.

"He read The New York Times and Newsweek to our son when he was only a year old," Ms. Morin said. "Esteban just sat there and listened to his father's voice."

She said Esteban knew that his father was at war "fighting the bad guys."

"They always talked about it," she said. "They kept that line of communication open."

As a young boy, Sgt. Morin was in the Boy Scouts and received various awards. He played baseball in high school and was an altar boy, said his father, Steve Morin Sr.

"He was very committed to the church and had a firm belief in God," Mr. Morin said.

His mother said her son's strong faith in God sustained him in Iraq.

"He was supposed to come home in 60 days," she said Thursday night. "I will miss him very much, but now he is with God, in peace."

In addition to his parents, wife and children, Sgt. Morin is survived by brother Javier Morin of Lubbock and sister Leticia Morin of Orange, Calif.

Army Sgt. Steve Morin, Jr. was killed in action on 09/28/05.

Army Pfc. Oliver J. Brown

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Army Pfc. Oliver J. Brown, 19, of Athens, Pa.

Pfc Brown was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 109th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division, Pennsylvania Army National Guard, New Milford, Pa.; killed Sept. 28, 2005 when his M2A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle was attacked by enemy forces using indirect fire in Ramadi, Iraq. Also killed were: Staff Sgt. George A. Pugliese; Staff Sgt. Daniel L. Arnold; Sgt. Eric W. Slebodnik, and Spc. Lee A. Wiegand.

Soldier’s death splits ‘brothers’ apart
Associated Press

From kindergarten on, Oliver J. Brown and Brandon Johnson were more like brothers than friends.

They played Little League together, graduated from the same high school in 2004, biked and hunted together, and enlisted together. They planned to be each other’s best man.

Brown, 19, of Carbondale, Pa., was killed Sept. 28 in Ramadi when his vehicle came under attack. He was assigned to New Milford.

The news stunned Johnson. “Physically he is OK,” said Lisa Johnson, Brandon’s mother. “Emotionally he is a wreck. ‘I lost my best friend. I lost my brother,’ he told me.”

Brandon’s father, Robert Johnson, remembers when the two signed up for the National Guard.

“Oliver joined and Brandon said, ‘I want to go with you.’ They joined together because they didn’t want to be alone. They even asked the recruiter to make sure they were placed in the same unit.”

He is survived by his mother, Sue Orchard, and father, Bob Brown.

Before he died, Brown asked his mother to send him his childhood baseball mitt so he and Johnson could play catch. He wanted it to be a surprise.

It was sent before she heard the news.

Army Pfc. Oliver J. Brown was killed in action on 9/28/05

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Army Sgt. Tane T. Baum

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Tane T. Baum, 30, of Pendleton, Oregon.

Sgt Baum died southwest of Deh Chopan, Afghanistan, when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed. He was assigned to the Army National Guard's 113th Aviation Regiment, Pendleton, Oregon.

Two Oregon National Guard soldiers who died this week in Afghanistan both loved aviation but had different ideas about going to war, fellow soldiers and family members said Tuesday.

Both men grew up in the Pendleton area, but Baum was older than Stump, with a wife, Tina, and children, ages 6 and 3. He was less enthusiastic about uprooting himself from Pendleton to take part in the Afghan war, but he didn't hesitate.

"He was doing what he wanted to do, and that was fly helicopters, but he would rather be home than fight in a war," said Roseann Mulkey of Pendleton, his sister-in-law. "He was a brave man. You can't get much braver than flying a helicopter in war."

The two men were assigned to Detachment I, Company D, 113th Aviation Battalion, based in Pendleton.

As flight engineer, Baum was responsible for keeping the passengers safe and for making sure the Chinook's engines were running properly. Walker said Baum always could be counted on to do his job.

"Tane was a lot of fun to be around," added Sgt. John Barnedt of Pendleton, who sometimes hunted pheasants with him a few miles from the National Guard Armory in Pendleton.

Baum was an enthusiastic hunter but sometimes got razzed by other guardsmen because he was so much more skillful with a rifle than a shotgun.

Besides his wife and children, Baum's survivors include his father, Danny Baum of Pendleton, and mother, Brenda Davis of Athena. Stump's survivors include his parents, Jerry and Anne Stump of Pendleton.

Pentagon officials said the crash occurred in a mountainous region while the helicopter was returning to a U.S. base after dropping off troops for an operation near Daychopan in southern Zabul province, about 180 miles southwest of the Afghan capital of Kabul. The Pendleton detachment had mobilized in January for a one-year deployment.

It was still not known Tuesday whether the chopper had taken enemy fire. Three other soldiers also died in the crash.

Most family members of the Pendleton men were in seclusion. Other soldiers in Company D/113th Aviation were taking the deaths hard.

"Soldiers do cry," Cummings said. "It is a small, tightly knit unit. They are very close."

Army Sgt. Tane T. Baum was killed in action on 09/25/05.

Army Warrant Officer Adrian B. Stump

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Army Warrant Officer Adrian B. Stump, 22, of Pendleton, Oregon.

Warrent Officer Stump died southwest of Deh Chopan, Afghanistan, when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed. He was assigned to the Army National Guard's 113th Aviation Regiment, Pendleton, Oregon.

Two Oregon National Guard soldiers who died this week in Afghanistan both loved aviation but had different ideas about going to war, fellow soldiers and family members said Tuesday.

Warrant Officer Adrian B. Stump, 22, was co-pilot, and Sgt. Tane T. Baum, 30, was flight engineer on a military CH-47 Chinook helicopter when it crashed Sunday.

Stump was a newly minted graduate of a helicopter flight school at Fort Rucker, Ala. He joined the Oregon Guard while in high school and didn't want to miss going to Afghanistan, said Oregon Guard Maj. Thomas Lingle, himself a veteran of the Afghan war.

"He obviously loved aviation, loved the organization, loved being around these people," Lingle said.

Shortly before learning to fly, Stump served as a helicopter crew member in a dramatic Oct. 6, 2003, rescue of a fallen civilian climber at 13,000 feet in California's rugged Sierra Nevada mountains. He later told guard members that the rescue was one of his proudest moments.

"He was a perfect candidate for flight school," said Staff Sgt. Scott Doran of Pendleton. "Certain people are cut out for flying. He was."

Stump was "just a go-getter," said Chief Warrant Officer Doug Walker, the Chinook instructor-pilot who flew the rescue mission. "There was nothing bad you could say about the kid."

Adrian Stump was 17 when he joined the National Guard.

The summer between his junior and senior years at Pendleton High School, he attended basic training in South Carolina. Stump graduated from PHS in 2002 and went to flight school to fulfill his dream of piloting the Chinook helicopters he first saw in the sky of his hometown.

Upon his graduation from flight school in 2004, he began lobbying to join his comrades from the Pendleton armory in Afghanistan.

His wish was granted and he arrived in Afghanistan in April.

In a relatively short period of time, Stump had logged more than 300 hours of flying time, played a significant role in a harrowing mountain-top rescue and became a seasoned combat pilot.

“(He) brightened our dusty, long days in Kandahar,” Chief Warrant Officer Dave Long of Pendleton said of his fallen comrade at Stump’s funeral.

Stump was "one of the good ones," said his aunt, Maggie Daly of Portland. "He was just a great kid."

Daly and her family gathered Sunday in Pendleton to honor her father -- Adrian Stump's grandfather -- on his 70th birthday. But after hearing about the crash, Daly said Stump's mother called in her regrets, saying she wanted to wait to see whether more information would emerge

As it turned out, the day brought the worst news for the family.

Stump "wanted to fly helicopters since he was 17," Daly said Monday. "He was doing what he wanted to do."

Army Warrant Officer Adrian B. Stump was killed in action on 09/25/05.

Army Sgt. Shawn A. Graham

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Shawn A. Graham, 34, of Red Oak, Texas.

Sgt Graham died in Balad, Iraq, of injuries sustained earlier that day when the vehicle he was riding in accidentally rolled over. He was assigned to the Army National Guard's 124th Cavalry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division, Fort Worth, Texas.

Sgt. Shawn A. Graham, 34, of Red Oak died Sunday in Balad, Iraq, of injuries he received earlier that day in a vehicle rollover in Baghdad, the Defense Department said Tuesday. He was with the Army National Guard out of Fort Worth.

"He loved his job, he loved the military," said his mother, Kathleen Graham of Grove City, Penn. "He was dedicated. He was good at his job. He thought we should be there, and we were doing the right thing, and they liked us there."

Sgt. Graham was born in Orange, Calif., and lived briefly in Hawaii, before growing up in Grove City, where he graduated from high school.

In 1988, he and his father, Thomas L. Graham, a veteran of the Marines, joined the Pennsylvania National Guard.

In 1990, Shawn Graham went into active duty with the Marine Corps and served for 10 years, his mother said.

Sgt. Graham then moved to Texas to work for MCI in Dallas, his mother said.

The Marines called Sgt. Graham back to active duty for a year in 2002. He then joined the Texas National Guard and was activated in August 2004. He was deployed to Iraq in January.

His father returned from active duty with the Pennsylvania National Guard in Afghanistan eight weeks ago, Mrs. Graham said. Sgt. Graham's brother, Marine Sgt. Nicholas Graham, also served in Iraq this past year, their mother said. Nicholas Graham is now stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

In addition to his parents and brother, Sgt. Graham is survived by his wife, Jeannette Graham of Brazoria, Texas; and a sister, Sheila Berry of Grove City.

Army Sgt. Shawn A. Graham was killed in action on 09/25/05.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Marine 2nd Lt. Ryan Leduc

Remember Our Heroes

Marine 2nd Lt. Ryan Leduc, 28, of Pana, Illinois.

Lt Leduc died as result of a non-combat vehicle accident in Rutbah, Iraq. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Associated Press

PANA, Ill. — A 28-year-old Marine was killed as a result of a non-combat vehicle accident in Rutbah, Iraq, the Department of Defense announced Sept. 25.

Second Lt. Ryan Leduc of Pana was killed Sept. 24 when the Humvee he was riding in crashed, throwing him out and landing on top of him, according to his father, David Leduc.

Ryan Leduc, a graduate of Pana High School and Southern Illinois University, was assigned to the Second Battalion, 10th Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Leduc graduated from Southern Illinois in May 2002 with a degree in aircraft engineering with the intent of pursuing a career in commercial aircraft maintenance, according to his father. However, his goal was stymied by the downturn in the airline industry.

He joined the Marines in January 2003.

David Leduc said his son, who he described as easygoing and always smiling, was not motivated by the Sept. 11 terror attacks to join the Marines, adding it was just an opportunity that presented itself.

“When he became a Marine, he knew that it was what he was looking for,” Leduc said. “He loved his job. He believed in the mission and he knew the risks, and still felt it was the right thing to do.”

Leduc said his son was engaged to be married to a woman he met at Southern Illinois.

In addition to his father, Leduc is survived by his mother, Nola Hector, brothers Dennis Radcliff, Kyle Hector, Matthew Leduc, and sisters Katie Hector and Hannah Leduc.

Marine 2nd Lt. Ryan Leduc was killed in action on 09/24/05.

Army Staff Sgt. Daniel R. Scheile

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Army Staff Sgt. Daniel R. Scheile, 37, of Antioch, California.

Sgt Scheile died of injuries sustained in Baghdad, Iraq, on September 23, 2005 when he was attacked by enemy forces using small arms fire and an improvised explosive device detonated near his M113 armored personnel carrier. He was assigned to the Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 184th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, Oakdale, California.

Sgt. Daniel Scheile, 37, died Saturday from injuries he received late Friday while patrolling in southeastern Baghdad, according to military reports. Scheile was with the Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 184th Infantry.

He is survived by his wife, Jennifer, and two daughters, Kelli, 9 and Marissa, 4.

Scheile, an active-duty guardsmen for 17 years, worked as a concrete mason in Antioch before shipping off to Iraq in August 2004.

"He was a really good family man. He would do anything for anybody," said Scheile's father, Ronald Scheile, who worked as a mason with his son. Scheile's mother lives in Stockton.

He said his son also fought in Kuwait during the Persian Gulf War.

"I didn't agree on this (the Iraq war), but I was proud of him for what he'd done," Ronald Scheile said.

During his stint in Iraq, Scheile reported a number close calls with roadside bombs before Friday's incident, including one about a month ago that left shrapnel in his face. Yet, he never talked about being afraid, he was just doing his job, his duty, Ronald Scheile said.

"He had a Purple Heart," he said. "I couldn't understand why they didn't send him home."

He said Scheile was scheduled to come home in October for both his daughters' birthdays, but during their last conversation a month ago, Scheile told him the Army had pushed back his visit to November.

His sister-in-law, Annie Carroll, said the Antioch native had two passions -- his wife, Jennifer, and the military.

"She talked to him every day through email when he could," Carroll said.

Carroll said Jennifer, her sister, would regularly send Scheile copious bags of candy, which he would hand out to Iraqi children.

"He believed strongly in what he was fighting for," Carroll said. "He was there for peace and believed in rebuilding Iraq."

Scheile had another passion -- fishing, which he shared with his father-in-law, John Beason.

In April, Beason, a member of the North Arkansas Fly Fishers in Mountain Home, Ark., raised money to donate fishing equipment to his son-in-law's unit. Scheile, an angling enthusiast, planned to organize a fishing derby when the gear arrived.

But ever mindful of the dangers of a job that shrouded even the most innocuous pastime, Scheile reminded his father-in-law in an email, "that fishing is a bit less relaxing in the middle of a war."

Scheile got to use the fishing gear once, Carroll said.

Army Staff Sgt. Daniel R. Scheile was killed in action on 09/24/05.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Army Sgt. Andrew J. Derrick

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Andrew J. Derrick, 25, of Columbia, South Carolina.

Sgt Derrick died near Baghdad, Iraq when his dismounted team came under attack by enemy forces using small arms fire. He was assigned to the 411th Military Police Company, 720th Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas.

In his last call home, Andrew J. Derrick said he was hungry for a steak and wanted to go to the South Carolina-Vanderbilt football game.

“He was very tired,” said his stepfather, Carey Shealy. “It was 2 a.m. his time when he called, and he had had just four hours of sleep. He had been working 20-hour days. He said he couldn’t wait to get home to see us.”

Derrick, 25, of Columbia, S.C., was killed Sept. 23 by small-arms fire near Baghdad. He was assigned to Fort Hood and had previously served in Bosnia and South Korea.

“He was just the sweetest,” said his aunt, Barbara Rainey.

“It was always, what can I do for you?”

He was a graduate of Marion Military Institute, lettering in varsity football, baseball and basketball. He was named the class of 1998’s “Best All Round Athlete” and was named to Alabama’s All

Star Baseball Team in 1998. He later attended Francis Marion University.

Derrick had proposed to Sgt. Shaunna Miller, whom he met in an Army infirmary after injuring his leg playing softball in Korea.

He also is survived by his mother, Suzanne Shealy, father, Butch Derrick and stepmother, Deborah Derrick.

Army Sgt. Andrew J. Derrick was killed in action on 09/23/05.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Army Sgt. Travis M. Arndt

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Travis M. Arndt, 23, of Bozeman, Montana.

Sgt Arndt died in Kirkuk, Iraq, as a result of a vehicle accident during convoy operations. He was assigned to the Army National Guard's 163rd Cavalry Troop, 116th Brigade Combat Team, 42nd Infantry Division, Missoula, Montana.

Spec. Travis Arndt, a 23-year-old with an easy smile and a contagious laugh, died Wednesday in Iraq, his family said Friday.

"He was a giving person, and he loved to help his friends," his father, Mark Arndt, said Friday. "And I'm sure he was that way in Iraq, too."

A 2001 graduate of Great Falls High School, Arndt was a member of the 163rd Infantry Battalion, part of about 700 Montanans deployed in the last year as part of the 116th Brigade Combat Team headquartered in Idaho.

The Defense Department, late Friday, said that Arndt died "as a result of a vehicle accident during convoy operations."

"He was working as a gunner on the day that he passed," said his stepbrother, Steve Salazar of Great Falls.

"They were in a convoy," said Salazar. "He was sitting in the netting on top of a Hummer, and he got trapped in the netting when the vehicle rolled."

The cause of the rollover near Kirkuk is under investigation, he said.

Arndt had planned to come home on leave the second weekend in October to surprise his girlfriend, Lindsay Logan, on her birthday Oct. 10.

"I honestly believe he planned to ask her to marry him," said Salazar.

The couple went to high school together in Great Falls and had been dating for about three years, said Logan, who is attending college in Bozeman.

"The last time I talked with him, he said that he wanted to come home and go to school and look into becoming a police officer," Logan said through her tears.

His stepmother, Rita Neill of Great Falls, who was married to Arndt's dad until five years ago, said Arndt "was a beautiful, beautiful child."

"He could light up a room with his smile," she said.

Neill said Arndt wanted to join the police force because he was so concerned about the spread of drugs through Great Falls.

"Before that, he wanted to be a teacher because he loved kids so much," Neill said.

Military personnel visited Arndt's mother on Thursday in Vancouver, Wash., and his father in Sun Prairie on Friday.

Great Falls High football coach Gregg Dart announced Arndt's death at a homecoming pep rally Friday morning.

Arndt played football at Great Falls High and was one of the school's top weightlifters.

He was a linebacker on the junior varsity football team at Great Falls High in 1999, his junior year. He was named scout player of the year at the season-ending awards banquet.

Entering his senior season, Arndt was battling for a varsity spot at outside linebacker. He injured a knee during practice for the Bison's second game, however, and didn't see a lot of action thereafter.

"He was a great kid, really a hard worker," Dart said Friday.

"He was always there, encouraging his teammates and putting the well-being of his team ahead of his own," said Dart.

In early May 2001, in the second annual Bison Lifting Contest, Arndt placed second in both parallel squat and power clean of the senior male division.

Arndt also did some boxing, participating in several bouts at the Northwest Center.

He was among 89 GFH students who received a Heisey Award in April 2001.

Arndt could be very competitive about sports, said his best friend, J.R.. Price, now a supply chain analyst for the Goodrich Corp in Jamestown, N.D.

"Travis loved to lift weights, so we went down to Universal Gym a lot together," he said.

"He was a funny, laid-back guy, but you could always tell when he wanted to be serious," said Price.

He remembers long, hot afternoons diving off the rocks on the Missouri River near the Fly Fisher's Inn.

His father remembers that Arndt loved to drive in the mountains in his Jeep.

"Travis had a contagious laugh," Arndt said. "He could change the mood in a room from somber to joyous."

Arndt, who is a student at MSU-College of Technology in Great Falls, said he and his son had talked about taking classes together down the road.

"He really loved all this state had to offer," Arndt said.

Logan remembers hiking and snowshoeing with Arndt in the Rocky Mountain Front west of Augusta.

"He was a really good kid," said Tina Price, finance officer at Great Falls High and J.R.'s mother.

"He was a happy-go-lucky, smiling-all-the-time kid, a really fun guy to be around," she said.

"He looked a little mischievous at times," she added. "And he always had a joke for everyone."

J.R. Price persuaded Arndt to come out to North Dakota and enroll with him at Jamestown College, where Arndt played football for the Jamestown Jimmies.

But he came back to Montana after a semester, in part because he was too far from his girlfriend, Price said.

"Travis wanted to go to school really bad, but he couldn't afford it," said Price. "He said joining the military was an excellent way to help pay for his college education."

His father said that Arndt was born in Tacoma, Wash., and lived with his mother until coming to Great Falls in 1995 to live with his father and attend Paris Gibson Middle School.

In addition to Salazar, Neill and his parents, Arndt has an older sister in Missoula and a younger half-sister in Sun Prairie, as well as a half-brother and half-sister in Washington.

Army Sgt. Travis M. Arndt was killed in action on 09/21/05.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Army Specialist David H. Ford IV

Remember Our Heroes

Army Specialist David H. Ford IV, 20, of Ironton, Ohio.

Spc Ford died in Baghdad, Iraq when an improvised explosive device detonated near his M1A1 Abrams tank during patrol operations. He was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Georgia.

Associated Press

IRONTON, Ohio — An Ohio soldier who was saving money to study forensic pathology was buried in his hometown Wednesday after he was killed in Iraq.

Ford graduated from Ironton High School in 2003.

Friends recalled Army Spec. David Ford, 20, as a proud soldier who always smiled and treated his friends like family. He was killed Sept. 16, six days after his birthday, when a bomb detonated near his tank.

At his funeral, Brig. Gen. John C. Bartley read a statement from Ford’s commander in Iraq.

“When I saw him, I thought to myself, ‘My goodness, this soldier looks so young,’ but as time went by I saw him mature from a boy into a man,” Bartley said, reading from the letter. “Watching him grow amazed me. As first gunner I could see he was nervous, but before I knew it, he was standing before me grinning from ear to ear.”

Ford, whose father was in the military and whose brother also serves in the Army, was proud to be a soldier, relatives said.

“He paid the ultimate sacrifice for his country,” friend John Dawson, a former Marine, said at visitation Tuesday. “I’m here out of respect for him, to honor him.”

Family and friends gathered at a small cemetery after the funeral Wednesday. Bartley dropped to one knee and presented the flag from Ford’s casket to his mother, Violet.

The Rev. Roger Pierce, who had been Ford’s pastor for about 14 years, said Ford had a smile for everyone.

“He was just a good boy and a quiet kid, never had a whole lot to say, you had to pump him to get conversation out of him. I’ll remember him as that grinning little boy,” Pierce said.

Army Specialist David H. Ford IV was killed in action on 09/16/05.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Army Spc. Jeremy M. Campbell

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Jeremy M. Campbell, 21, of Middlebury, Pa.

Spc Campbell was assigned to the 108th Military Police Company, 503rd Military Police Battalion (Airborne), 16th Military Police Brigade (Airborne), killed Sept. 11, 2005 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee during patrol operations in Baghdad, Iraq.

Slain soldier had dreams of being a state trooper

It’s no wonder Jeremy M. Campbell got A’s in English and journalism. He basically single-handedly put out the high school paper.

“He did just about all the work himself,” said teacher Liz Hoover. “He used to work on the paper during study halls whenever he had time. He just did everything for that newspaper.”

Campbell, 21, of Middlebury, Pa., was killed Sept. 11 by a bomb blast in Baghdad. He graduated high school in 2002 and was assigned to Fort Bragg.

“He was a happy-go-lucky kind of guy, but he got things done,” said Principal Patrick Hewitt.

After his parents died, Campbell was taken in by his step grandfather, Aaron Wilbur, who taught the boy to fish, shoot and hunt, and called in his first wild turkey.

“He called me from Iraq, and he wanted to know if I was still going to go wild boar hunting with him in North Carolina when he got back,” Wilbur said.

Campbell, who worked at the Laurel Lanes bowling alley for two years, had dreams.

“He wanted to be a state trooper and own the bowling lanes. He was very goal-oriented,” said owner Mike Goodwin.

He also is survived by his wife, Maddison.

Army Spc. Jeremy M. Campbell was killed in action on 9/11/05

Saturday, September 10, 2005

U.S. Army National Guard Sgt. Dale M. Hardiman

Remember Our Heroes

U.S. Army National Guard Sgt. Dale M. Hardiman, 39, of Somerset, Pennsylvania.

To those who knew him as a young fireman in Collier, the circumstances behind Dale Hardiman's death were indicative of the kind of man he was.

What might have made it all the more tragic, however, was the timing of what happened Sept. 10 near his home in Friedens, Somerset County: The National Guardsman was back on a short leave from Iraq when he was electrocuted while trying to help a stranded motorist who had hit a utility pole.

"He died doing what he loved the most, helping people," said Doreen Ducsay, of Collier, who had served with Mr. Hardiman at the Rennerdale Volunteer Fire Department. The 1985 Chartiers Valley High School graduate joined Rennerdale as a teenager to get experience with ambulance calls.

Rennerdale Assistant Chief John Kripp, who was the department's chief then, echoed Ducsay's sentiment, saying, "He always had a care for his fellow man."

Mr. Hardiman also was a volunteer with Collier's Presto Volunteer Fire Department, which conducts rescue and fire missions.

Those here who knew Mr. Hardiman remembered him as a practical joker and a clown with a heart of gold.

"He tried to make people laugh no matter how bad the situation," Ducsay recalled.

Mr. Hardiman, 39, was due to return to Iraq on Sept. 13, where he had 45 days remaining in his tour of duty. He was a sergeant with the 876th Engineer Battalion of Johnstown and the 103rd Company C in Philadelphia.

He was employed as a corrections officer at the Camp Hill Corrections Institution but had been in Iraq since December.

Funeral services took place Sept. 14 at the Robert H. Halverson Funeral Home in Somerset. Interment was in Somerset County Memorial Park.

Mr. Hardiman is survived by his wife, Christine, parents Ralph and Virginia Hardiman, brothers Ralph and Shawn Hardiman and sister Pamela Lindberg.

U.S. Army National Guard Sgt. Dale M. Hardiman was killed on 09/10/05.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Army Spc. Jeffrey A. Williams

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Jeffrey A. Williams, 20, of Warrenville, Ill.

Spc. Williams was assigned to the Support Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Carson, Colo., killed Sept. 5, 2005 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his combat patrol in Tal Afar, Iraq.

Music helps soothe soldier's soul
Tunette M. Callis

Army Staff Sgt. Adrian Taylor remembers the Regimental Interment Facility at Tal Afar, Iraq, on that terrible day two years ago.
The air was almost unbearable with the stench of sweat and burnt flesh. The temperature soared to 130 degrees. Dirty and nearly delirious from the heat, he looked for a place to get a drink of water.

As he walked into the camp's headquarters, he heard several radios blasting the same information. It took a second for him to piece the static together, and for his day to get much worse: "Hey, one of your Regional Support Squadron medics just got killed."

That medic was Spc. Jeffrey A. Williams, 20, of Warrenville, Ill., who was killed when a roadside bomb exploded while he was riding in the back of an armored tank Sept. 5, 2005.

Losing his best friend — whom he called Will — was the worst day of his life, said Taylor, 28, who now is stationed at Fort Sam Houston.

Though Taylor had known Williams for only a year — they served together from Fort Carson, Colo., to Iraq — the two drew an instant connection.

"We were as close as two friends can get," Taylor said.

Since then, Taylor has coped with Williams' death the only way he knows how: music.

A longtime fan of rap, Taylor and two high school buddies formed the local rap group 1223 (pronounced twelve-twenty-three). Now, through his music, his friend never is far from his thoughts.

"I didn't know how to cope with it because I don't like talking about my issues," Taylor said. "Rapping has become my form of counseling."

The rap group members will be special guests at 6 p.m. today at Brooke Army Medical Center at the annual convention of Soldiers' Angels — an all-volunteer organization that provides care packages to American troops. They'll entertain wounded soldiers and hand out CDs.

"It's amazing what music can do," said Tina Saari, grief counselor and regional coordinator for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors at Fort Hood. "We use a lot of music therapy to cope with different situations such as song writing."

Taylor, a single father of four, steps into a sound booth and transforms into his rapping alter ego, Mr. Sylk. Beside him is his rapping partner, John "John-John" Kirk, 28, a real estate agent at USAA.

Released in the spring, their first CD is titled "Full Circle." The duo hope it appeals to the average rap/hip-hop fan, and broadens rap's horizons with songs without drugs, sex and violence.

Instead, messages about war and politics run deep throughout the CD.

In the song "Drive On," the two rap about a soldier's duty.

"Freedom has a price, but not enough glory. Imma make sure the whole world knows your story.

Got so much respect for new enlisted troops, done lost a few at war and still you filling in the boots.

Our job ain't to decide if the president's right or wrong. Your battle buddy in the prone, your job's to bring 'em home and drive on."

Now the group is teaming up with Williams' mother, Sandra Williams Smith, to start a combat medic scholarship fund to honor Williams. Three dollars from each $8.99 CD sold will be donated toward the fund.

"These are great guys," said Smith, who now lives in Mansfield and has been promoting 1223's CD through the Dallas area. "I cried when I heard their CD. They have a message on every song."

She's taken their CDs to radio stations in her area. Several of their songs already have received airtime in Dallas and at local radio station 98.5 FM.

"This wasn't for marketing purposes," Kirk said. "We wanted to do the right thing and honor the soldiers."

For now, the music continues its healing power.

The last writing session, a meeting where the duo write and rehearse songs, started out as it always does. Kirk paces around the house listening to the heavy beat of a song they're developing. He waits for the music to talk to him.

Eventually, he plops down on the sofa near Taylor, and Taylor wipes the tears from his face.

Army Spc. Jeffrey A. Williams was killed in action on 9/5/05.

Navy Sailor Osiel Hipolito

Remember Our Heroes

Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Osiel Hipolito, 20, of Compton, California.

Saturday, September 5, 2005, at approximately 6:40 p.m. in a strip mall in East Rancho Dominguez, Osiel Hipolito, a 20-year old sailor on leave from duty in Iraq, was shot several times. Mr. Hipolito was taken to St. Frances Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Petty Officer Hipolito’s pregnant wife was shot in the belly. She, the couple’s premature baby, and the sailor’s 16-year old brother, were all hospitalized with stable vital signs.

The Sailor, who worked as an explorer at the Sheriff’s Compton Station before joining the Navy in 2003, apparently got into a fight with suspected gang members, one of whom started shooting inside the store in the 15200 block of South Atlantic Boulevard.

Petty Officer Hipolito was assigned to the USS Germantown, an amphibious assault ship currently at port at San Diego.

The baby, a girl, was delivered prematurely with a leg wound. Hipolito's wife and brother were in stable condition, Gage said.

Deputies said Hipolito had no gang ties, and that the attack began when a gang member asked where he was from, and he replied: the U.S. Navy.

The shooting, in the middle of a September afternoon, was recorded by security cameras at a Compton-area mall where Hipolito, his wife and his teenage brother had gone to shop. By then, Compton had recorded 51 killings.

Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Hipolito was killed on 09/05/05.

Osiel Hipolito Jr

Lenette Hipolito

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Army Cpl. Jeffrey A. Williams

Remember Our Heroes

Army Cpl. Jeffrey A. Williams, 20, of Warrenville, Illinois.

Cpl. Williams died in Tal Afar, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his combat patrol. He was assigned to the Support Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Carson, Colorado.

Army Cpl. Jeffrey A. Williams, 20, a 2003 graduate of Wheaton Warrenville South High School, died Monday in Tal Afar when an explosive device detonated near his combat patrol, the Defense Department said.

Williams, who his mother said was a combat medic, was assigned to the Support Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, based at Fort Carson.

Williams, the oldest of four boys, enlisted in the Army just days after he graduated from high school, said his mother, Sandra Smith of Mansfield, Texas.

"He was a leader, he wasn't a follower," said Smith, whose family moved to Texas after her son joined the Army. "The boys are really having a hard time. Every last one of the kids is having a hard time because they really looked up to Jeffrey."

Williams was born in Kansas City, Mo., and was raised around military bases in California and Maryland. Smith worked as a civilian nurse at military hospitals and several members of Williams' family were in the military.

In his weekly calls to his mother, Williams, who hoped to become a doctor, swapped stories with Smith on treating injuries - including sharing the time he inserted his first chest tube in a wounded patient.

He had been in Iraq since March and told his mother he was looking forward to returning in February.

"He was tired of it, because at first he said everything was peaceful and then the last four weeks they'd gotten rowdy again," she said.

Army Cpl. Jeffrey A. Williams was killed in action on 09/05/05.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Army Sgt. 1st Class Lonnie J. Parson

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. 1st Class Lonnie J. Parson, 39, of Norcross, Georgia.

Sgt Parson died in Baghdad, Iraq, when his M3A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle was struck by an enemy explosive device. He was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Georgia.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Lonnie J. Parson, a tank commander, was killed Friday in Baghdad when his tank was struck by an explosive, according to the Department of Defense.

Parson, 39, had served in the military for 18 years and was on his third tour in Iraq, family members said.

Born in Mobile, Parson grew up in the White House Fork community just west of Bay Minette, where he lived until about a year after high school, according to his mother, Thelma Lassiter Catrett.

Parson left for Iraq in late July, after being home for two weeks, said his grandmother Dorothy Carpenter. The two spoke on the phone before he left.

"He told me, 'I take care of my men, I look after them,'" Carpenter recalled her grandson as saying. "'And I don't tell them to do anything that I wouldn't do.'"

Parson tried to assure his grandmother that he would return home soon.

"I'll be back Christmas," she said he told her. "And I won't be going back anymore."

Parson served in Operation Desert Storm and previously fought in Iraqi Freedom, his family said.

"He loved what he did," Catrett said. "And he was good at it."

Military officials could not provide details about Parson's service, but his mother said he had been awarded a Silver Star, "for gallantry in action" and a Bronze Star, for "heroic or meritorious achievement."

Both Parson's mother and grandmother said he was proud of his service, and Carpenter added, "He was just a sweet, easygoing person -- real lovable."

He will be buried in the White House Fork Baptist Cemetery, alongside his grandfather, Carpenter said. Funeral arrangements had not been made.

Along with his mother and grandmother, Parson is survived by his wife, Michelle Presley Parson, his son, Lance Parson, 15, his daughter, Paige Parson, 13, his sister, Pamela Sue Higgington, and two brothers, Curtis Mack Gray and Jesse Daniel Gray. Though the two have slightly different last names, family members said Parson also was a nephew of Mobile County School Board member Lonnie Parsons.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Lonnie J. Parson was killed in action on 09/02/05.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Army Staff Sgt. Robert L. Hollar Jr.

Remember Our Heroes

Army Staff Sgt. Robert L. Hollar Jr., 35, of Griffin, Ga.

SSgt. Hollar was assigned to the 108th Cavalry Regiment, 48th Infantry Brigade, Georgia National Guard, Griffin, Ga.; killed Sept. 1 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee during patrol operations in Baghdad.

Sgt. Robert Lee "Bobby" Hollar, Jr. -THOMASTON - Sgt. Robert Lee "Bobby" Hollar, Jr., age 35, died Thursday, September 1, 2005. He was killed in the line of duty in Iraq.

Funeral services will be 2P.M. Sunday, September 11, 2005 at Mountain View Baptist Church, Thomaston. Dr. Edwin L. Cliburn will officiate. Burial will be in Fincher Methodist Cemetery, Meansville.

Mr. Hollar was born April 13, 1970 in Woodstock, Virginia.

He served in the U.S. National Guard Army as a tank commander, served in the 108th Calvary Division in Griffin, GA, served seven years with the 82nd Airborne out of Fort Bragg and Colorado Springs and was also a Military Scout.

He worked with the Postal Service for several years before being deployed to Iraq.

Mr. Hollar attended Vega Baptist Church and was a member of the Pike County Lions Club.

Survivors include his wife, Amanda Whitten Hollar; sons, Brody Lee Hollar and Johnathan Wesley Hollar, all of Thomaston; parents, Timothy and Diane Mobley of Thomaston and Robert and Dot Hollar of Little Mountain, SC; siblings, Joshua Randall Mobley of Hampton, GA, Carl Weston Hollar of Fairfax, VA, Crystal Dawn Smith of Thomaston.

Army Staff Sgt. Robert L. Hollar Jr. was killed in action on 09/01/05.