Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Marine Cpl. Joshua D. Snyder

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Cpl. Joshua D. Snyder, 20, of Hampstead, Md.

Cpl Snyder was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died Nov. 30 of wounds sustained from small-arms fire while conducting combat operations against enemy forces in Fallujah, Iraq.

Associated Press

HAMPSTEAD, Md. — A 20-year-old Marine rifleman was killed in combat in Iraq, the second military casualty within six weeks from his tightly knit rural community.

Cpl. Joshua D. Snyder, of Hampstead, died Wednesday of wounds sustained from small-arms fire while fighting enemy forces in Fallujah, the Department of Defense announced Thursday.

Snyder was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Snyder joined the Marine Corps in December 2002 and joined his unit in June 2003, said Lt. Barry Edwards, a spokesman for the 2nd Marine Division. He served in both Afghanistan and Iraq, Edwards said.

A 2002 graduate of Hereford High School in northern Baltimore County, Snyder was the second alumnus of the school to die in Iraq in five weeks, said Steve Turnbaugh, the football coach at Hereford.

Snyder, who played football, was a teammate of Marine Lance Cpl. Norman Anderson III, of Parkton, who died Oct. 19 from a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations against enemy forces in Karabilah, Iraq. The men had been roommates at boot camp.

“It’s been very tough on the guys that he graduated with. We have a very close-knit football family, and it’s been hard on the football players, both past and present,” Turnbaugh said.

Turnbaugh recalled that Snyder had been injured for most of his senior year on the team and took on the role of a student coach.

“He was always willing to help anybody do anything,” Turnbaugh said.

Marine Cpl. Joshua D. Snyder was killed in action on 11/30/05.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Army Sgt. 1st Class Eric P. Pearrow

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. 1st Class Eric P. Pearrow, 40, of Peoria, Ill.

Sgt Pearrow was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Carson, Colo.; killed Nov. 24 when his M1A2 Abrams tank accidentally rolled over into a canal in Baghdad.

Army Sergeant First Class Eric P. Pearrow, a 40-year-old veteran tank commander who was killed recently in a roll-over accident in Iraq, developed a lifelong fondness for all-terrain vehicles in the fields that surround Peoria.

Pearrow died in Baghdad, Iraq, on November 24t, 2005, Pentagon officials said Monday. He was a tank commander assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, which is based at Fort Carson, Colorado, Army spokeswoman Martha Rudd said. He was an experienced soldier who was qualified to lead an entire tank platoon, she said.

Pearrow was riding in an M1A2 Abrams tank when it accidentally rolled over into a canal, Rudd said.

His cause of death was drowning, said Pearrow's fiancee, Niall Campbell, of Deridder, Louisiana.

Campbell said she and Pearrow postponed their wedding plans after learning he was going to be deployed because "he was a really, really good soldier and he wasn't going to die."

East Peoria resident Don Bell said he and Pearrow became best friends 26 years ago after they discovered that they had many common interests.

"We'd chase girls and go four-wheeling ... that kept us so busy," Bell said.

Bell said he and Pearrow also liked to drive Jeeps off-road, testing their driving abilities by following a creek that led to the Illinois River.

The skills Pearrow honed in Peoria would serve him well in the military, where he was assigned to a tank crew after completing boot camp, Bell said.

"He called me up and said, 'I've got the ultimate, four-wheel-drive vehicle. I'm driving an M1 Abrams tank. This thing goes through everything,"' Bell said.

Pearrow, a Bronze Medal recipient, served with tank units in Operation Desert Storm and Bosnia, Bell said.

Military officials provided little information about the November 24, 2005, accident.

Fort Carson spokesman Lieutenant Colonel David Johnson said it was unclear what Pearrow's unit was doing at the time or where he may have been sitting when the tank turned over.

"He could have been anywhere in the tank, with the exception of driving," Johnson said.

Bell said the other members of Pearrow's tank crew managed to get out of the vehicle after it rolled over.

"He made the ultimate sacrifice for those kids over there. He basically sacrificed his own life to save those kids," Bell said.

Pearrow planned to retire in February, when he was scheduled to return to the U.S., Campbell said.

"We were on leave once for 50 days and never had an argument. He was my perfect other half," she said.

"He loved being a U.S. soldier. He loved the Army," Campbell said. "He was fighting the war because he was an American soldier.

"That was his job. Not because it was a war he believed in. He didn't feel like we needed to be in Iraq. He didn't feel like he was making a difference anymore and that we should have left a long time ago."

Pearrow is survived by two daughters who live in Kentucky, both of whom have enlisted in the military.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Eric P. Pearrow was killed in action on 11/24/05.

Army Spc. Javier A. Villanueva

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Javier A. Villanueva, 25, of Temple, Texas

Spc Villanueva was assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Irwin, Calif.; died Nov. 24, 2005 in Asad, Iraq, of injuries sustained Nov. 23 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his dismounted patrol during combat operations in Hit, Iraq.

SPC Javier "Javi" Villanueva,, 25, of Waco passed away Nov. 24, 2005 while serving his country in Iraq.

SPC Villanueva was born Aug. 22, 1980 to Wilfredo Rivera and Christine Lebron. He was raised in Waco and graduated from La Vega High School in 1998.

After high school he attended TSTC in Waco for 2 years.

SPC Villanueva started work for Albertsons and Taco Bell in Waco and moved to Temple where he worked at Ross clothing store for 2 years and also met his wife.

On May 15, 2003 SPC Javier Villanueva and Felicia Owens were married.

SPC Villanueva joined the Army Sept. 16, 2003, and became a medical specialist stationed at Fort Sill, Okla., Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio and Fort Irwin, Calif. before going to Iraq in Jan. of 2005 and was scheduled to return Dec. 27, 2005.

Survivors are his wife, Felicia Villanueva of Temple; daughter, Taliyah Villanueva of Temple; mother, Christine Lebron of Waco; father, Wilfredo Rivera of Puerto Rico; brothers, David Lebron of Waco, Carlos W. Rivera of Puerto Rico, Wilfredo C. Rivera of Puerto Rico; grandmother, Beatrice Villanueva of Waco; grandparents, Carlos Sr. and Julia Rivera of Puerto Rico; great-grandmother, Carmen Mansolo of Waco.

Army Spc. Javier A. Villanueva was killed in action on 11/24/05.

Army Pfc. Marc A. Delgado

Remember Our Heroes

Army Pfc. Marc A. Delgado, 21, of Lithia, Fla.

Pfc Delgado was assigned to the 170th Military Police Company, 504th Military Police Battalion, 42nd Military Police Brigade, Fort Lewis, Wash.; killed Nov. 24 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee causing it to flip into a canal in Baghdad. Also killed was Staff Sgt. Steven C. Reynolds.

BRANDON - He was the 250-pound football player who smothered his mother with kisses. The respectful soldier who would put superior officers in bear hugs and yell, "Leadership sandwich!"

Stories about Marc Delgado kept a church full of family and friends laughing Tuesday.

But the loss of his young life and the pain of his absence left them in tears.

Pfc. Marc Delgado, 21, was killed Thanksgiving Day in Baghdad when an explosive device flipped his vehicle into a canal.

Delgado had been assigned to the Army's 170th Military Police Company, 504th Military Police Battalion, 42nd Military Police Brigade, based at Fort Lewis, Wash.

A 2003 graduate of Durant High School, Delgado would come to his friends' aid in any crisis, they said at his funeral Tuesday.

"His loyalty as a friend surpasses anyone I've known," childhood buddy John Coggins, 20, told a packed Providence Baptist Church on a dreary, overcast morning.

Coggins, much smaller than his friend, would talk trash as a young boy, but Marc was always there to protect him if he got into trouble, he said.

When another buddy, Steven Ginty, needed help in a school play after two classmates stood him up, Delgado agreed to play both parts. Standing 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds, Delgado played a crazy man and then a queen to a 5-foot-5 king.

"It was quite a sight to see," Coggins said.

Coggins and Ginty would drive up Delgado's driveway every morning during high school to pick him up. Delgado, who insisted that they had to leave his house no later than 7:10, would fly out the door right on time, wearing only his pants, carrying his shirt and shoes.

It seemed like yesterday "when we would dress up like our favorite superheroes and fight imaginary bad guys in the front yard," Coggins said.

But before he knew it, Delgado - known as the "O-line Ogre" to his high school football teammates - was leaving for the service.

His mother, Ellen Delgado, said earlier that she had tried to talk him into going into the Navy, like his brother, Eric, who appeared at the service in his uniform. But he wanted to serve in the Army, like his grandfather.

Army Brig. Gen. Rodney Johnson spoke to the crowd, saying he had wanted to come not out of duty but because he knew Delgado.

Johnson, a commandant at the U.S. Military Police School in Missouri, said Delgado was chatty and friendly during his training, when most of his peers were too intimidated to talk to Johnson beyond, "Yes, sir."

"He joined the military when we were a nation at war," Johnson said.

Delgado knew the danger he was entering but made the sacrifice anyway, he said.

Johnson's daughter was Delgado's platoon leader in Iraq.

She would e-mail her father every few days, and Delgado was often a topic of her correspondence.

"Someone looks like they need a hug today," Delgado would call out to other soldiers before wrapping his huge frame around them, Johnson's daughter told him.

The night before his last mission, he hugged two superior officers in a "leadership sandwich," as Delgado called it, Johnson said.

After his speech, Johnson presented Delgado's family with his Purple Heart, Bronze Star and medal for good conduct.

Delgado was posthumously promoted to specialist.

Delgado had looked forward to coming home this February to see his family and celebrate the 21st birthday he had in November, friends said.

Pastor David Stockard, who presided over the service, said Delgado grew up with his son at Providence Christian School, where Stockard was the administrator.

Delgado was a soldier of God as well as a fighter for the country, Stockard said. He regularly attended church and Bible study and worried about getting right with God before he was baptized in February 2001, Stockard said.

Though a protector of his 16-year-old brother, Bryce, Delgado struggled to find his place in life and the family.

"He was that middle child, always trying to find a niche," Stockard said. "But he found a place in our hearts."

Stockard also presided over Delgado's kindergarten graduation, handing him his diploma in the exact spot on the altar from where he spoke Tuesday behind Delgado's casket.

The kindergarten graduation ceremony was taped. The children were asked what they wanted to do when they got older.

"Marc said, "I want to be a policeman,' " Stockard said. "He died being a policeman."

Army Pfc. Marc A. Delgado was killed in action on 11/24/05.

Army Staff Sgt. Steven C. Reynolds

Remember Our Heroes

Army Staff Sgt. Steven C. Reynolds, 32, of Jordan, N.Y.

SSG Reynolds was assigned to the 170th Military Police Company, 504th Military Police Battalion, 42nd Military Police Brigade, Fort Lewis, Wash.; killed Nov. 24 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee causing it to flip into a canal in Baghdad. Also killed was Pfc. Marc A. Delgado.

Steven Reynolds' family and friends say he was always a man on a mission, whether it was at home or overseas. They say he was always on the go but never too busy to call or e-mail the people close to him, and when he could, pay them a visit.

He spent his two week leave from his second tour of duty in Iraq bouncing around the east coast.

"The reason he put so much quality time in the 15 days he went on leave is because he knew it could be the last time he sees everybody," said his mother, Shirley Reynolds.

That would be the last time Reynolds saw his family and friends. He was killed Thanksgiving Day when an improvised explosive device went off near his vehicle in Baghdad. The vehicle flipped over into a canal.

"He died doing what he loved," Reynolds said. "I know it's a cliche, but he really did. He wouldn't have had it any other way."

Reynolds' parents say he dreamed of joining the Army ever since he was a young boy.

"He went right out of high school and went into training. I think his first hitch to get into police was five years, instead of four because he wanted to be in the military police, and the training was a lot longer. He enjoyed it. He was very patriotic, and it was exactly what he wanted to do," said his father, Norman Reynolds.

Reynolds' family says he was a modest person, who knew of the dangers of fighting in the war, but to him he was just doing his job and wanted no praise. Loved ones say he's a hero who gave so much to so many people.

"He made such an impact on my life, for myself personally because we were friends," said Alex Puyol. "Through some of my issues, he was always a friend to me there. He taught me the value of being who you are because he was who he was."

Army Staff Sgt. Steven C. Reynolds was killed in action on 11/24/05.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Army Sgt. Dominic J. Sacco

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Dominic J. Sacco, 32, of Albany, N.Y.

Sgt Sacco was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 13th Armor Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Fort Riley, Kan.; killed Nov. 20 when his M1A1 Abrams tank was attacked by enemy forces using small arms fire in Taji, Iraq.

Associated Press

FORT RILEY, Kan. — Sgt. Dominic J. Sacco, 32, of Albany, N.Y., was killed Sunday in Taji, Iraq, when he was attacked by enemy forces using small arms fire, Fort Riley officials announced Monday.

Sacco was assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 13th Armor at Fort Riley as a tanker. While in Iraq, he served as tank commander.

He enlisted in March 1996 and came to Fort Riley November 1997.

This was Sacco’s second deployment to Iraq.

Sacco enlisted in the Army in March 1996 and was based in Fort Riley, Kan. It was Sacco's second deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was scheduled to return home next month, said Louisa Testa of Latham, who was married to Sacco between 1996 and 1997.

While Sacco had talked of making the Army a career, Testa said that friends of his told her the birth of a child with his second wife, and seeing a close buddy from his unit killed recently had him looking forward to coming home. "I want to say between the fellow soldier being killed and having a new son, this was too much," said Testa.

While she hadn't spoken with Sacco in a while, she was aware of his doings through mutual friends. They met while high school students -- he at Albany High, she at Mohonasen High. Sacco leaves behind a wife, stepchild and son, as well as a sister, Lisa Sacco, who lives in the Albany area.

She could not be reached late Monday. Sacco graduated from Albany High School in 1991, and Mayor Jerry Jennings knew him from his days as a vice principal at the school. "I just knew him as a student at the high school, he and his sister," said Jennings. "They were nice kids from a nice family." "It's a tragedy and it puts things in perspective. Hopefully people will pray for the family."

Sacco's parents live in Florida, said Testa. She met Sacco through friends while they were in high school, and it was his decision to join the Army that got them married in 1996. A few years out of high school, and not having gone to college, Sacco figured the military could be a career, or it could provide a path to advancement.

Once he joined up and learned he would be stationed in Kansas, the couple decided to get married. Even starting out as a private, Sacco exhibited a willingness to do his job without complaining, said Testa. "He was one of the proudest soldiers," said Testa. "He just kind of got up every day and did what he did."

Army Sgt. Dominic J. Sacco was killed in action on 11/20/05.



Larger Images

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Marine Lance Cpl. Tyler J. Troyer

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Lance Cpl. Tyler J. Troyer, 21, of Tangent, Ore.

Lance Cpl Troyer was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died Nov. 19 of wounds sustained from small-arms fire while he was conducting combat operations against enemy forces near Karmah, Iraq.

Associated Press

ALBANY, Ore. — A Marine who was fatally shot in the head while on patrol in Iraq was remembered in this working-class community for his blazing fastball, his sense of humor and his devotion to family.

More than 300 people gathered at the Linn County Expo Center on Wednesday to say goodbye to Lance Cpl. Tyler Troyer, 21, of Tangent, who died on Nov. 19.

The crowd wore buttons with a picture of Troyer, who was a star left-hander for the West Albany High School baseball team before joining the Marines.

More than a dozen family members and friends told stories of the mischievous boy who sometimes got into trouble as a youngster. They also praised him as being the glue that connected a family split by divorce.

“Tyler was an example of a person with a destiny in his life,” Galen Troyer, the Marine’s uncle, said from a stage adorned with hundreds of flowers. “He had goals and knew what he wanted to do. Tyler cared about people, and he made a difference.”

Troyer’s father, David Troyer, remembered the day when his son told him he needed his signature so he could sign up for the Marines because he wasn’t yet 18.

“I was a bit nervous,” David Troyer recalled. “But I could see it in his eyes that this was something he really wanted to do. I saw a real change in him.”

Photographs of Troyer sat on easels in the hallway and auditorium of the Expo Center. On one, the young man was pictured with the woman he planned to marry, Megan Oswald.

A newspaper announcement of their engagement was centered at the top of the frame. Below were photos of the pair embracing in front of the White House and sitting beneath a freshly decorated Christmas tree in their apartment. Another easel showed photos of Troyer’s military life and his stint in Iraq. He played soccer with young Iraqis and joined in group pictures with his fellow Marines.

Terri Thorpe, Troyer’s mother, was last to speak. She talked about her the fears she had with a son at war and she remembered the 21 years she had with him.

“He will always continue to be in our hearts,” she said. “I ask that you cry with this family and have sorrow for this family.

“But I also ask that you remember that we have guys left in Iraq still,” and they need support, she said.

Marine Lance Cpl. Tyler J. Troyer was killed in action on 11/19/05.

Army Specialist Dominic J. Hinton

Remember Our Heroes

Army Specialist Dominic J. Hinton, 24, of Jacksonville, Texas

Spc Hinton was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky.; killed Nov. 19 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee during combat operations in Bayji, Iraq. Also killed were 1st Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski, Staff Sgt. Edward Karolasz, and Cpl. Jonathan F. Blair

Hinton's daughter, Nicole, is 4 — barely old enough to understand what happened to her father.

"She understands the military, soldiers and stuff, and I told her that he went up to be with God, and he was in God's Army now. So, she understood that, but the thought of him not coming back is what gets her, because she still asks," said Hilton's widow, Crystal.

Hinton, 24, of Jacksonville, Texas, was killed Nov. 19 by a roadside bomb in Beiji.

He was on his second tour and was assigned to Fort Campbell. A 2000 high school graduate, Hinton was working at Western Lithotech when he decided to enlist in 2001. After his service was over, Hinton told his wife he hoped to enter law enforcement.

"He, I think, wanted to become a sheriff — that was his talk. He

wanted to spend time with the kids. That was a big thing for him," Crystal said. He also is survived by a 1-year-old son, Michael.

"He was just very quiet, shy, laid back, very sweet, very polite. Just an overall good kid," said Brother Don Harvey, the Hinton family's pastor. "Just a very solid young man with morals and integrity."

Army Specialist Dominic J. Hinton was killed in action on 11/19/05.

Army 1st Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski

Remember Our Heroes

Army 1st Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski, 23, of Freehold, N.J.

1st Lt. Zilinski was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky.; killed Nov. 19, 2005 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee during combat operations in Bayji, Iraq. Also killed were Staff Sgt. Edward Karolasz, Cpl. Jonathan F. Blair, and Spc. Dominic J. Hinton.

Flags fly at half staff for soldier killed in Iraq
Associated Press

TRENTON, N.J. — Acting Gov. Richard J. Codey ordered flags to be flown at half staff Wednesday in honor of a soldier from Howell who died in Iraq.

Army 1st Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski II was killed Nov. 19 when a bomb detonated near his Humvee during. He was among five 101st Airborne Division soldiers, two of them New Jerseyans, killed during two roadside bombings in Iraq that weekend.

“1st Lt. Zilinski was a courageous soldier fighting for our country’s safety and security,” Codey said. “We honor his life by flying the national and state flags at half-staff.”

Zilinski, 23, the son of a Vietnam veteran, attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he earned several awards in swimming and diving. He was a team captain.

He was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division’s 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, based in Fort Campbell, Ky.

Staff Sgt. Edward Karolasz, 25, of Kearny, also was killed in the bombing.

An order to fly flags at half staff in his honor is expected soon, a Codey spokesman said Wednesday.

Army 1st Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski was killed in action on 11/19/05.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Army Sgt. 1st Class James S. Ochsner

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. 1st Class James S. Ochsner, 36, of Waukegan, Illinois.

Sgt Ochsner died in Orgun-E, Afghanistan, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV during a supply distribution mission. He was assigned to the Army's 2nd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Sgt. 1st Class James Scott Ochsner, a native of Waukegan, was scheduled to arrive home next week from his fourth tour of duty in Afghanistan. But the 18-year veteran of the U.S. Army was killed Tuesday in a roadside bomb attack.

Sgt. Ochsner, 36, who served with the Army's 3rd Special Forces Group, died of head injuries after a bomb exploded near his armored vehicle, which had been traveling as part of a troop patrol in Paktika province near the Pakistani border.

"He was going out to distribute some goods to the local people," said Ochsner's father, Bob Ochsner of Beach Park.

The elder Ochsner and his wife, Sandy, were notified of their son's death late Tuesday afternoon.

"He loved the Afghan people; he really enjoyed them," Bob Ochsner said of his son.

Sgt. Ochsner believed it was his duty to serve in the armed forces, Bob Ochsner said.

Military service is an Ochsner family tradition.

Bob Ochsner served in Army Special Forces in the Vietnam War, earning the rank of captain. Sandy Ochsner is also an Army veteran. A surviving son, Robert L. Ochsner II, 38, is a 20-year Army veteran currently stationed at Fort Knox, Ky.

Sgt. Ochsner's wife is also in the Army, and when the couple were sent to Iraq, the elder Ochsners parented their two grandchildren until their son and daughter-in-law returned two years and two months later.

"He was a soldier through and through," said his wife, Ann. "There was never any doubt in his mind he would be a soldier."

Ann Ochsner said she last heard from her husband Monday via e-mail. "It was the typical stuff — what you've done, the kids," she said.

James S. Ochsner attended Clark Elementary and Andrew Cook Magnet schools in Waukegan before enrolling at St. Joseph High School in Kenosha. He was athletic, excelling in wrestling and football.

"He was devil-may-care, 'the jokester,' a great kid," Bob Ochsner said. "Both my sons were gifted children. Jim had a gifted IQ, but he had a hard time getting C's and B's in school. But in Special Forces in language school, he was first in his class in Arabic."

Sgt. Ochsner was first deployed to the Gulf during Operation Desert Storm in 1991 as an Army specialist.

Members of 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, were first sent to train several battalions of the New Afghan National Army at the Afghan Military Academy in Kabul in May 2002.

An intelligence specialist, Sgt. Ochsner served revolving six-month stints in the region.

His most recent tour began last June. He was scheduled to return early next week to become an instructor at the Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg.

Bob Ochsner said his son was struck by the simplicity of the Afghan people.

"The best thing you could do for them was dig a well," Ochsner said. "We helped them build schools but there was resistance to that. The elder men said they hadn't gone to school."

In addition to his parents, Sgt. Ochsner is survived by his wife and two children, Nick, 16, and Megan, 14, in Fort Bragg, N.C.; his brother Robert; and his sister, Jennifer.

Ochsner, who left in June and was expected to come home in January, had two Bronze Stars, the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Army Commendation Medal for valor. He was assigned to the Army's 2nd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, Fort Bragg. He is one of 203 soldiers who have been killed in Operation Enduring Freedom in and around Afghanistan as of Nov. 16, with about 87 of those deaths occurring this year.

Army Sgt. 1st Class James S. Ochsner was killed in action on 11/17/05.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Marine 2nd Lt. Donald "Ryan" McGlothlin

Remember Our Heroes

Marine 2nd Lt. Donald R. McGlothlin, 26, of Lebanon, Virginia.

Lt McGlothlin died from small arms fire while conducting combat operations against enemy forces during Operation Steel Curtain in Ubaydi, Iraq. His unit was attached to 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward). He was assigned to Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, California.

A memorial featuring photographs of Donald Ryan McGlothlin was displayed in the hallway. Students who were too young to know the young man when he roamed the halls, raced around the track, wrestled and cracked the books there eight years ago could see the face of a former student who died in a small-arms fire exchange as he fought in Operation Steel Curtain in Ubaydi in western Iraq.

McGlothlin's death was particularly tough for students and staff because his mother, Ruth McGlothlin, is a guidance counselor at Lebanon High. His father, Donald McGlothlin Jr., is a former Circuit Court judge who practices law in Lebanon. His grandfather, the late Donald McGlothlin Sr., served as a delegate in the Virginia General Assembly for many years.

Mayor Tony Dodi, who is the principal at the high school, said the school and community will stand with the McGlothlin family as they try to cope with the Marine's death. Dodi said he was not principal when McGlothlin was a student, but he often saw the young man when he was honored by the School Board for his many accomplishments. They also attended the same church.

"He was a very pleasant, goal-oriented young man," Dodi said. "He exceeded at all levels of the academic world."

Sean McGlothlin said Thursday that the family wants to gather and talk about his younger brother's life and accomplishments before publicly discussing his life and death. Friends and neighbors were dropping by the family home with food and condolences, he said.

"We appreciate all the support we have received," he said.

McGlothlin, the valedictorian for the class of 1997, racked up a number of honors, was a respected athlete and active in his church and community. He achieved the rank of Eagle Scout before graduating Phi Beta Kappa from The College of William and Mary. He did post graduate work at Stanford University.

McGlothlin would later set his sights on the Marine Corps. He graduated from officer candidate school at the top of his class. He reached the rank of 2nd lieutenant and asked to be assigned to the infantry division.

Family friend Larry Fuller said McGlothlin had the potential to reach the top in any career or task he chose.

"He was an outstanding young man," Fuller said. "I've known him from the time he was real small. I've never known anyone more disciplined and focused."

Marine 2nd Lt. Donald R. McGlothlin was killed in action on 11/16/05.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Army Specialist Matthew J. Holley

Remember Our Heroes

Army Specialist Matthew J. Holley, 21, of San Diego, California.

Spc Holley died of injuries sustained in Taji, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV during combat operations. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

The 21-year-old was born in Idaho, but grew up in Chula Vista. Holley enlisted into the Army following the footsteps of his parents.

He was remembered as an incredibly bright, talented and patriotic man. Holley was a three-time AAU national champion in karate and a medic with the 101st Airborne with a knack for art.

"(He had an) extremely artistic talent. No one will ever be able to know the extent of to which that talent could've gone. We're very proud of him," said Stacey Holley, Matthew Holley's mother.

"It made me very proud that he actually wanted to be like his dad," said John Holley, Matthew Holley's father.

Both his parents are veterans of the 101st Airborne.

Friday morning, his parents said goodbye to their only child.

Matthew Holley received full military honors, including three medals for his service.

Holley was known as "Doc" his fellow soldiers and was engaged to be married.

Days before he died, he asked his family to send him crayons so he could teach the Iraqi children how to draw.

Army Specialist Matthew J. Holley was killed in action on 11/15/05.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Army Specialist Robert C. Pope II

Remember Our Heroes

Army Specialist Robert C. Pope II, 22, of East Islip, New York.

Spc Pope died in Baghdad, Iraq, when a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated near his dismounted patrol. He was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Carson, Colorado.

Newsday -- Army Spc. Robert Pope was stationed in Iraq, and dreamed of marrying his fiancee in a church. But he had another concern, too: her security.

So he married Lynnea, 24, in June by proxy, his family said.

"God forbid, if anything happened to him, he wanted her and [her 5-year-old son] Dylan to be taken care of," said Pope's father, Robert Sr., of East Islip. "He loved them very much."

Pope, 22, who was scheduled to come home in March, was killed Monday by a roadside bomb in Baghdad.

"I really thought he'd make it home," his mother, Regina, 47, said tearfully. "He was a hero; he didn't have to die, though."

The U.S. Department of Defense told the family Tuesday that Pope was on foot patrol Monday when at 5:15 p.m. Baghdad time a car bomb detonated, the department said.

A specialist assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Fort Carson, Colo., Pope and three other soldiers - ages 19 to 28 - were killed in the attack.

Pope, who graduated from East Islip High School in 2001 and attended Suffolk County Community College, enlisted in the Army in March 2003, motivated by the events of Sept. 11, 2001, his family said.

"It meant a lot to him, what he was doing," said Pope's father, Robert, 47.

"He thought he was doing the right thing over there, but at the same time he was looking to come home and do the right thing by his family."

Regina Pope, an aide at an elementary school, said her oldest child came home one day and told his parents he had joined the military - a decision they supported. "He just felt like he had to do this," she said.

Robert Pope, a millwright, said almost simultaneously: "He felt his country needed it."

Pope became the 14th soldier from Long Island and the second in as many weeks to die in the war in Iraq, the U.S. Department of Defense has said. His death follows the killing of Jared Kremm, 24, of Hauppauge, whose unit was caught in an explosion on Oct. 27.

Two weeks before he was killed, Pope's face was scraped by shrapnel when another roadside bomb exploded nearby, his family said.

"You could tell he was getting scared," Regina said of that incident. Pope wasn't badly hurt, but was even more eager to return home.

Pope regularly sent letters home to his family, which perused them yesterday as pictures of Pope were sprawled across a coffee table in their living room.

"I love you all very much," he wrote in one letter. "Please try not to worry; I'll be fine."

The photos showed Pope as a tight end for the East Islip High School Redmen, of Pope with Lynnea and Dylan, and as a soldier in boot camp.

Pope had just booked a Caribbean cruise, a vacation that would follow a wedding ceremony with his wife at the Huntington Town House in August, Regina Pope said.

At home, Pope doted on his sister, Kaitlyn, 14, who has cerebral palsy, his father said. "He just idolized her, loved her," he said. "She meant everything in the world to him."

Now the Pope family - his parents, sister and two brothers - is awaiting his body. Funeral arrangements will follow.

Mixed in with the sorrow, Robert Pope yesterday recalled watching New York Giants and Jets football games with his son over beers and laughs.

He was a great son," he said with a smile. "He was just terrific in every way."

Army Specialist Robert C. Pope II was killed in action on 11/07/05.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Army Spc. Timothy D. Brown

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Timothy D. Brown, 23, of Cedar Springs, Mich.

Spc Brown was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 125th Infantry Regiment, Michigan Army National Guard, Saginaw, Mich.; killed Nov. 4, 2005 when a land mine detonated near his Humvee during combat operations in Habbaniyah, Iraq.

Spc. Timmy Brown, who grew up around Cedar Springs, always wanted to be a GI.
By Tom Greenwood / The Detroit News

As a child, Tim Brown used to play soldier with his friends in the woods near his home. After the September 11 terrorist attacks, Brown decided to live his dream of becoming a soldier by joining the Michigan Army National Guard, where he served in the infantry.

On Friday, Spc. Brown, 23, was killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb that detonated near the Humvee in which he and four other members of Co. B, 125th Infantry, were riding near the town of Al Taqaddum.

Brown, who was known as Timmy by friends and family in Cedar Springs -- near Grand Rapids -- always wanted to be a soldier, said his aunt, Susan Metzger.

"Ever since he was a little kid, he knew he wanted to be a soldier," Metzger said. When he was a child he would dress up in fatigues and play war with his friends in the woods.

"He was over in Iraq doing his job. He used to e-mail his parents and tell them he was safe and sound because he didn't want them to worry. He told other members of the family about the horror of war, but he kept the bad stuff away from his parents. He's going to get a full military funeral, which he would have loved."

Metzger said Brown felt what he was doing was important.

"He felt that most of the people he saw in Iraq were glad they were there," Metzger said.

"He really loved the kids over there and liked helping them. He used to joke that everyone loved having the kids around because it meant nobody was going to shoot at them."

Brown -- who joined the Michigan Army National Guard in October 2003 after graduating from Cedar Springs High School -- had been scheduled for leave the war in October. But he stepped aside to allow another soldier -- who had a family -- to take his place instead, saying that the other soldier needed a break from the conflict more than he did.

Brown was an outdoorsman who loved hunting and camping, and soccer.

Tim was preceded in death by his grandfathers, Eldon Brown and Darwin L. Metzger. Surviving are his parents, Tim C. and Cindy (Metzger Tate) Brown; a sister, Stevie Brown; a nephew, Nathan Brown; grandparents, Helen Brown, John and Helen Tate all of Cedar Springs; many aunts, uncles and cousins.

Timothy D. Brown, aged 23, was killed while performing his military duties in hostile territory in the province of Abdalluyah, Iraq. Tim's goal in life was to be a professional soldier. When he was a child he would dress up in fatigues and play war with his friends in the woods. In 2003 he joined the National guard and in June of this year he was sent to Iraq. He was a graduate of Cedar Springs high school. Tim enjoyed soccer, hunting and was an outgoing person always funny and enjoyable to be with. He was trustworthy and dependable.

Army Spc. Timothy D. Brown was killed in action on 11/4/05.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Army Capt. Jeffrey P. Toczylowski

Remember Our Heroes

Army Capt. Jeffrey P. Toczylowski, 30, of Upper Moreland, Pennsylvania.

Capt Toczylowski died in Al Anbar Province, Iraq from injuries sustained during combat operations. Toczylowski was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group, Panzer Kaserne, Germany.

(The Philadelphia Inquirer)

This is the last e-mail sent to the family and friends of Jeffery Toczylowski. He died from injuries suffered from a fall from a helicopter in Anbar, Iraq on November 3, 2005. Jeff was a career soldier raised in Montgomery County, PA, and serving as a Special Forces detachment commander assigned to First Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group ~ Airborne in Iraq.

Dear friends and family,

If you are getting this email, it means that I have passed away. No, it's not a sick Toz joke, but a letter I wanted to write in case this happened. Please don't be sad for me. It was an honor to serve my country, and I wouldn't change a thing. It was just my time.

Don't ever think that you are defending me by slamming the Global War on Terrorism or the US goals in that war. As far as I am concerned, we can send guys like me to go after them or we can wait for them to come back to us again. I died doing something I believed in and have no regrets except that I couldn't do more.

This will probably be the longest email most of you have ever received from me. More that one of you complained on multiple occasions about my brief emails.

I have requested to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery and would like you to attend, but I understand if you can't make it.

There will also be a party in Vegas with a 100k to help pay for travel, room, and a party. I want you to be happy for the time we had, not the future we won't.
Never regret not calling, writing enough, keeping in touch, or visiting. I was always away and thought of you all as much, if not more, than you thought of me.

Time keeps rolling and so should my family and friends. The only thing I ask is that you toast me every so often, because you know I'll be watching and wanting to be with you. Don't spend any time crying for me, because I'll bet you I am having a ball right now wherever I am.

I will look in on all of you and help whenever I can. I love you all!

(by permission from Skye

Army Capt. Jeffrey P. Toczylowski was killed in action on 11/03/05.

Army Specialist Darren D. Howe

Remember Our Heroes

Army Specialist Darren D. Howe, 21, of Beatrice, Nebraska.

Spc. Howe was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Benning, Ga.; died Nov. 3 at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, of injuries sustained Oct. 17 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Bradley Fighting Vehicle in Samarra, Iraq.

Sioux City Journal -- LINCOLN (AP) -- An injured soldier Army Infantryman from Beatrice has died from injuries he sustained from a roadside bomb in Iraq.

Spec. Darren Howe died in Texas on Thursday, said Paul Fox, owner of Fox Funeral Home in Beatrice, which is handling arrangements.

Howe, 21, suffered severe burns on Oct. 17 in Iraq when the vehicle he was driving hit a roadside bomb, his stepfather, Greg Klaus, said last week. Howe and five other soldiers were taken first to Germany and then to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, for treatment, Klaus said.

A message left at the home of Howe's family in Beatrice was not immediately returned Friday night.

Last week, Klaus said Howe helped pull soldiers to safety after the bombing. Howe, a married father of two young children, suffered second- and third-degree burns to his face, hands and arms, and smoke inhalation, Klaus said.

Howe graduated from Beatrice High School in 2003 and had a strong desire to pursue a career in the military, said Jason Sutter, the school's principal. Sutter said last he heard, Howe's condition was improving.

"We were very grateful he was OK, and that he was back and safe," he said.

Howe was stationed at Fort Benning, Ga., and was deployed to Iraq in January.

Darren D. Howe was determined to join the Army. So determined, in fact, that he tried unsuccessfully five times to get active duty status after he graduated high school in 2003.

He finally made it after enlisting the help of a state senator.

"I know he had a plan. He was very determined to make a career in the military, and he was very excited about it," said Kelly Meyer, his high school choir teacher.

Howe, 21, of Beatrice, Neb., was killed Nov. 3 of injuries from a roadside bomb Oct. 17 in Samarra. He was assigned to Fort Benning.

Even as a child playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, he always wanted to be a defender of good, said his wife, Nakia. He also is survived by a daughter, Shaye-Maleigh, 3, and a son, Gary-Dean, 1.

He believed his military service was not only a means to provide for his family but a way to make the world they grew up in a better place, his wife said.

"He wanted to give his daughter a life. He wanted to give her things that we couldn't have when we were growing up. He was a loving dad. He gave her everything that she needed. He was the best dad I've ever seen in a young man."

Army Specialist Darren D. Howe died on 11/03/05 from injuries sustained in the line of duty on 10/17/05.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Marine Major Gerald M. Bloomfield II

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Major Gerald M. Bloomfield II, 38, of Ypsilanti, Michigan.

Maj Bloomfield died when his AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter crashed while flying in support of security and stabilization operations near Ar Ramadi, Iraq. He was with the Marine Light-Attack Helicopter Squadron 369, Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, California. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, his unit was attached to 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, II MEF (Forward).

A helicopter crash in Iraq,claims the life of a Marine with roots in mid-Michigan. Major Gerald Bloomfield died on Tuesday while serving in Iraq. The Marine is a Fowlerville High School graduate who died after a crash in his Cobra helicopter.
Bloomfield's family lives in Livingston County.

Kate Kerch, sister: "He was just passionate, passionate about everything."

Passion was something major Gerald Bloomfield had in spades. As a kid in the 80s, he was known around Fowlerville as a daredevil, a free spirit. His sisters remember once how Jerry, or Jer as they called him, got stuck with a friend on a frozen lake.

Kate Kerch: "They were doing donuts and the car went into the lake, and they just sat on the hood and laughed."

But those who knew Jerry, also knew he was smart.

Paula Wallace, sister: "Smart, smart, smart."

At Eastern Michigan University he earned double degrees in math and physics. Before graduating in '89, he joined the Marines. Becoming and officer and eventually a pilot. Y ears later, married and with a son, he was a career military man who believed in the job he was doing in Iraq.

Paula: "By being there, he was protecting us and everything we have here."

And he also believed in the freedom and the future of the country he was fighting in. He wrote about it in email sent home.

Kate: "It's not a 3rd world country. I believe it has hope. He wanted them to experience some of the same freedoms we have here."

And it's his sisters wish that people who knew her brother in Fowlerville understand this, a s well as the people of Iraq and in the country he was so proud to defend. Major Bloomfield will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.

Marine Major Gerald M. Bloomfield II was killed in action on 11/02/05.