Saturday, December 31, 2011

Army Spc. Pernell J. Herrera

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Pernell J. Herrera, 33, of Espanola, N.M.

Spc. Herrera was assigned to 1st Battalion, 171st Aviation Regiment, New Mexico National Guard, Santa Fe, N.M.; died Dec. 31, 2011 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, after suffering a heart attack during PT.


Spc Herrera died cardiac arrest after physical fitness training.

Spc Herrera went to Espanola High School. He enlisted in the New Mexico National Guard in May 2006. He served as a signal support systems specialist

On his Facebook page, Spc Herrera wrote:

I am a Very Easy Going Dad of one Son, and one Daughter. They are the biggest joys of my Life! I enjoy Spending my free time with my Mom, and Brother, Family and Friends! I am currently in Afghanistan with the United States Army. I have served in the Military for Five years.

A news release says Herrera enlisted in the New Mexico National Guard in May 2006 and served honorably over the last 5 1/2 years.

Army Spc. Pernell J. Herrera passed away on 12/31/11.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Army Spc. Michael H. Bailey II

Remember Our Heroes

Spc Bailey passed away December 29, 2011 in Temple, Texas.


Spc Bailey graduated from Southwestern Academy and later from Mott Community College with an Associate's Degree in Business.

Spc Bailey joined the Army in August 2008. He married his wife, Breanna, in June 2008.

Michael was most comfortable being outdoors. He enjoyed camping, swimming, fishing and traveling to new places. He also loved tattoos, music and his dog, Bentley.

Spc Bailey was laid to rest on January 12 in Great Lakes National Cemetery, in Holly, MI.

Surviving are his wife, Breanna, their son, Trenton and an unborn child; mother-in-law, Ranay.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Army Pfc. Justin M. Whitmire

Remember Our Heroes

Army Pfc. Justin M. Whitmire, 20, of Easley, S.C.

Pfc. Whitmire was assigned to 720th Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas; died Dec. 27, 2011 in Paktya, Afghanistan, of wounds caused by an improvised explosive device. Also killed were Army Sgt. Noah M. Korte and Army Spc. Kurt W. Kern.


Pfc Whitmire was on a patrol mission with two other medics when their jeep ran over an improvised explosive device. He had only been in Afghanistan for 19 days.

Pfc Whitmire graduated from Hillcrest High School in 2010, where he was on the debate team. Pfc Whitmire joined the Army in September 2010. He reported to Fort Hood this September. He volunteered for this deployment.

Grandmother, Lora Whitmire, said that her grandson had always wanted to be in the Army. He had the chance to go to Harvard, but chose the Army instead. She said,

"...He was supposed to be in a safe location. But it appears that it is not safe anywhere over there."

Father, Donnie, said, "Justin was a 20 year old who loved to fish and had big plans for when he returned to Simpsonville. He said when I get back I have money to buy a brand new boat and go fishing all the time."

His father said his son's death shocked him because he thought his son was in a safe zone. "Never in a million years did we think we'd see that car pull up in that driveway," said his father. "You don't know whether to hurt, be mad. It's just a million emotions running through your head right now."

Mother, Jennifer said, "(Justin) was so excited to get to go. That was all he ever wanted to do. He was so smart he could have chosen any college he wanted to go to, but this is the route he wanted to go. Right now, I feel like I'm just in a bad dream and I need to wake up."

Younger sister, Jessica, "He said, 'don't call me a hero, I am just doing my job', but he is a hero. He's everybody's hero and he will always be my hero.

Family said it's never the bad ones that go, only the good ones.The family had just spoken with Justin via Skype on Christmas Eve. On Monday, Justin posted on his Facebook page, “Had a great Christmas talking to the family and the love of my life on Skype. Can't wait to be home with everyone again soon.”

"That made my Christmas. It was the best Christmas present I ever got," said mother, Jennifer Whitmire.

Pfc Whitmire's awards and decorations include:

National Defense Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon

Army Pfc. Justin M. Whitmire was killed in action on 12/27/11.

Army Spc. Kurt W. Kern

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Kurt W. Kern, 24, of McAllen, Texas

Spc. Kern was assigned to 720th Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas; died Dec. 27, 2011 in Paktya, Afghanistan, of wounds caused by an improvised explosive device. Also killed were Army Sgt. Noah M. Korte and Army Pfc. Justin M. Whitmire.


Spc Kern was killed along with Sgt Noah Korte and Pfc Justin Whitmire when a bomb detonated while they were on combat operations in Paktia.

Spc Kern graduated from McAllen Memorial in 2006, where he played football. He joined the Army in September 2009 as a military police officer. He arrived at Fort Hood in September 2011.

Spc Kern volunteered with another unit when his original deployment was cancelled. He had been deployed to Afghanistan for less than a month when he was killed.

Spc Kern loved to cook and studied at the Texas Culinary Academy in Austin.

Older brother, Keith, said his brother was "proud to be a soldier and really loved his job. Ever since he was little, he wanted to be a soldier. He finally went for it and loved it."

Bill Littleton, McAllen Memorial Athletic Director, said, 'I just remember him as a hard working young man who played football for us here at McAllen Memorial and he was a good kid. I'm just sorry that it happened. I'm sure Kurt was doing what he wanted to do and I say that every time a young man loses his life doing what he loved. He tried to make this a better country so you appreciate what he's done.

Spc Kern's awards and decorations include:
National Defense Service Medal
Korean Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon
Overseas Service Ribbon

Spc Kern is survived by his parents and his brother, Keith.

Army Spc. Kurt W. Kern was killed in action on 12/27/11.

Army Sgt. Noah M. Korte

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Noah M. Korte, 29, of Lake Elsinore, Calif.

Sgt. Korte was assigned to 720th Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas; died Dec. 27, 2011 in Paktya, Afghanistan, of wounds caused by an improvised explosive device. Also killed were Army Spc. Kurt W. Kern and Army Pfc. Justin M. Whitmire.


Sgt Korte graduated from California Lutheran High School in Wildomar in the early 2000s, where he played center and nose guard on the 8-man football team.

Sgt Korte joined the Army in 2003. He deployed to Afghanistan early December. This was his fourth deployment, having previously deployed to Iraq three times.

Dave Peter, who was an assistant coach at the time, said, “There was always a big presence among the kids thinking about getting into the military, and I know he for one saw it as a noble occupation."

In one of Korte’s posts on his Facebook page this month, he wrote: “To my beautiful wife and kids, daddy loves you very much, so be good and take care of mommy while I'm away.”

Sgt Korte's awards and decorations include:

Army Commendation Medals (4)
Good Conduct Metals (2)
Army Achievement Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Iraq Campaign Medal with Campaign Star
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal

Sgt Korte is survived by his parents, Terri and Mark; wife, Kristi, whom he wed in 2005, and two young children.

Army Sgt. Noah M. Korte was killed in action on 12/27/11.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Army Staff Sgt. Joseph J. Altmann

Remember Our Heroes

Army Staff Sgt. Joseph J. Altmann, 27, of Marshfield, Wis.

SSgt Altmann was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; died Dec. 25, 2011 in Kunar province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire.


SSgt Altmann graduated from Columbus Catholic High School in 2003, where he was on the football and baseball teams.He attended the University of Wisconsin-Marshfield/Wood County. While there, he met with an Army recruiter and learned that his interests would serve him and his country well as a military medic. He joined the Army in 2005 after one year of college.

SSgt Altmann just re-enlisted in October for another four years. He was expected to return home by March. He had previously been deployed to Iraq twice. He deployed to Afghanistan in April.

“This is what he wanted to do. He had just re-enlisted because he loved his job so much,” said father, John Altmann said.

“He was really good at what he did. We’re so proud of him. He was doing what he enjoyed."

“Joe was a quiet man but had a heart of gold. He was always willing to help out in any way he could,” said Aunt Krisann Mauritz, who added that her nephew was content to hang out with her and his uncle in their home.

“He would just show up on our doorstep and lay on our couch and watch movies with us. It’s times like that I wish I could get back,” Mauritz said.

Sam Klumb, friend of Joe’s since kindergarten, said, "He was quiet, but you knew you could count on him for anything. He was a genuine person that cared about other people.”

When they hung out with friends as teenagers, Klumb said, “Things would get quiet, and Joe was always the guy that could make everyone laugh and kept things going.”

“When he found out he liked [the medical field] and he could combine that with being a medic in the military, he found what he loved to do,” Klumb said.
Wife, Nikki, whom he married last February, said they had started talking about kids, a house and a dog once Joe returned from Afghanistan.

"We were planning it all," Nikki said. "We dreamed together and talked about it. He was my everything. It was crazy, because with him being in Hawaii and me in Texas, there was a lot of miles between us."

Nikki said her husband wanted a military burial and to be buried in Marshfield. "If something happens, he said, 'Take me home. I want you to know that I'm not afraid of dying. It's leaving you behind that scares me most,'" Nikki said.

"But I reassured him that I'm stronger than I look and that I pray to God he would come back. I told him to do what he loved, and I'm proud of him for that.""It's hard," she said. "I feel (his parents') pain because they're burying a son. And they feel mine, because I'm burying the man I love."

SSgt Altmann's wards and decorations include:

Bronze Star
Purple Heart
Army Good Conduct Medal (3)
Army Achievement Medal
Army Commendation Medal
National Defence Service Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
Iraq Campaign Medal with Bronze star
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Noncommissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbon
Army Service Ribbon
Overseas Service Ribbon
Combat Action Badge
Combat Medical Badge
Expert Field Medical Badge Combat
Special Skills Badge
Basice Marksmanship Qualification Badge
NATO Medal


Army Staff Sgt. Joseph J. Altmann was killed in action on 12/25/11.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Army Spc. Mikayla A. Bragg

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Mikayla A. Bragg, 21, of Longview, Wash.

Spc. Bragg was assigned to the 201st Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Knox, Ky.; died Dec. 21, 2011 in Khowst province, Afghanistan, of a gunshot wound.


Spc Bragg was shot and killed while on duty in a guard tower in Khowst province. She was killed days before she was due to return home.

Spc Bragg graduated from Mark Morris High School in 2008. She joined the Army shortly after graduation to earn money for her education.

Friends said she was classified as a sharpshooter with a rifle and was deployed in August as truck driver.

"She's always been a kind-hearted person," said step-mother, Amber Bragg. "She's always gone out of her way to help out other people in whatever way she could."


"She made everybody laugh," Bragg's best friend, Tiffany Holst said. "She was sweet and caring."

Tiffany said Bragg loved "goofy kid movies" like "Finding Nemo" and "The Spongebob SquarePants Movie," would always cry when Bambi's mother died when watching the Disney film.

"She was always like that," Tiffany said. "She loved animals."

Tiffany's mother, Linda Wheeler, said, "You would've had to have met her to know Mikayla," said Wheeler. "We watched her grow up into a mature, wonderful woman. She was a heck of a character, she would always help people smile. And she'd always let you know if you were doing something you weren't supposed to be doing. ... She died a hero in my eyes."

"She definitely had her own style," said Denae Smith, who once worked with Bragg at the Walgreen's drug store along Ocean Beach Highway. "She was the one with the crazy hair and crazy makeup. I wouldn't call her gothed out, but she was definitely wild."

Spc Bragg's awards and decorations include:

Army Commendation Medal
Good Conduct Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
War on Terrorism Service Medal

Army Spc. Mikayla A. Bragg was killed in action on 12/21/11.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Marine Maj. Samuel M. Griffith

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Maj. Samuel M. Griffith, 36, of Virginia Beach, Va.

Major Griffith was assigned to 4th Air-Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, Marine Forces Reserve, West Palm Beach, Fla.; died Dec. 14, 2011 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, while conducting combat operations.


Major Samuel Mark Griffith, US Marine Corps, age 36 and resident of Virginia Beach, VA, was killed in action in Afghanistan on December 14, 2011.

Sam leaves behind a wife, Cassandra, and two sons, Chad and Noah. He is survived by his father, Sam Griffith with his wife Cherie; his mother Kathleen Bischoff with her husband Donnie; two sisters, Renee Nickell and Kelly Griffith; one brother, David Griffith; and grandparents, Erma Griffith and Doris and John Marasco.

Sam was an Eagle Scout, a 1997 alumnus of Penn State University, and a member of Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity.

Sam was commissioned in the Marine Corps in 1997, earned his wings in 2000, flew F/A-18D's with VMFA- 533, instructed Forward Air Controllers (FAC) and was most recently assigned with 4th ANGLICO.

Sam deployed 3 times both flying and as a FAC in support of operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and was 4th ANGLICO's detachment Officer In Charge in Afghanistan.

He loved Mustangs, especially his prize restored 1968 fastback.

Sam was a member of the Robert Burns Lodge No. 464, Harrisburg, PA, and an active member of Vineyard Community Church.

Sam was an honest, decent, hardworking man who loved his family, his God, and the Corps.

Marine Maj. Samuel M. Griffith was killed in action on 12/14/11.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Army Pvt. Jalfred D. Vaquerano

Remember Our Heroes

Army Pvt. Jalfred D. Vaquerano, 20, of Apopka, Fla.

Pvt. Vaquerano was assigned to 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas; died Dec. 13, 2011, in Landstuhl, Germany, of injuries caused by enemy small-arms fire while deployed in Logar province, Afghanistan.


Pvt Vaquerano was critically wounded in Logar Province and transported hosptial in Landstuhl, Germany. His parents and fiancee, Katie Madden, were at his bedside when he passed away. Katie and Jalfred were to be married soon.

Fiancee Katie wrote on Facebook:
"I'll never have a chance to walk down the aisle towards him...I'll never be able to have beautiful green-eyed babies with the love of my life. I'll never be able to grow old with the one person on earth who made me so happy… I've lost everything."

Katie wrote in a note to family and friends, "The last words I said to him were 'I can't wait to be your wife,' and his were 'Me either, I love you.'"
Pvt Vaquerano graduated from Forest Lake Academy in Apopka.

Pvt Vaquerano enlisted in the Army in January, 2011. He served as an infantryman.

His father, Carlos Vaquerano, thanked the scores of well-wishers.

"From His dad Carlos: thank you very much. Jalfred was the sweetest of all. I love you my son and I know I'll be with you soon. Jesus come soon please."

Pvt Vaquerano's awards and decorations include:

National Defense Service Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal with a Campaign Star
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon

Army Pvt. Jalfred D. Vaquerano was killed in action on 12/13/11.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Army Spc. Ronald Wildrick

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Ronald Wildrick, 30, of Blairstown, N.J.

Spc. Wildrick was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; died Dec. 11, 2011 in Kunar province, Afghanistan, of wounds caused by an improvised explosive device. Also killed was Sgt. Christopher L. Muniz.


Spc Wildrick enlisted on June 18, 2008 as an infantryman. He spent two years in the Army's elite Continental Color Guard which is the official escort of the president and participates in military ceremonies across the nation. After leaving the unit, which has a time limit on service, Wildrick re-enlisted in the infantry.

Sister, Christie Berkey, said her brother was particularly proud of those two years adding that her brother was dedicated to serving the nation as part of the armed forces.

"He didn't want to leave," Berkey said. "It is such an honor."

Spc Wildrick deployed to Afghanistan in September.

Berkey said her brother never expressed regrets and believed deeply in what he was doing. She said he never saw his duty as anything heroic.

"He said it isn't something you enjoy being a part of because you're watching them struggle so much trying to learn how to take care of themselves, but he felt proud to be able to do it," Berkey said.

"He said 'this is something I need to do.' It made me so proud."

Berkey said her brother will be remembered for his sense of humor and dedication to his friends and family.

"He'd give you the shirt off his back, anything you needed," she said. "You could call him, and in a heartbeat he'd be there for you."

Ian McDonald, Wildrick's stepfather, frequently corresponded electronically with Wildrick from his home in Australia. Wildrick said his unit helped train Afghan soldiers and police to fight insurgents.

"He couldn't sleep longer than three or four hours because the insurgents would be firing at them again and again," McDonald said.

Family members knew Wildrick as "Uncle Ronnie." They described him as having an infectious personality that immediately drew others to him and made him friends wherever he went.

They said in one instance, a quick trip from a hotel room to find a corkscrew ended up taking an hour and resulted in Wildrick being invited to the wedding of a complete stranger and out to dinner with another.

Spc Wildrick's awards and decorations include:

Bronze Star
Purple Heart
Army Commendation medal
Army Achievement Medal
Army Good Conduct Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Started
Global War on Terrorism medal
Army Service Ribbon
Basic Parachutist Badge
NATO Medal
Combat Infantryman Badge

Funeral service will be held on January 12th.

Spc Wildrick will be laid to rest on Friday, January 13 at Arlington National Cemetery.

Spc Wildrick is survived by his mother, Sandra Osborne McDonald of Australia and stepfather, Ian; wife, Stephanie, daughters, Kaylee and Leah; maternal grandmother, Barbara; siblings, Christie, MSgt Joseph M. Osborne USAF, Debra and Susan. He was preceded in death by his father, Ronald H. Wildrick Sr.

Army Spc. Ronald Wildrick was killed in action on 12/11/11.

Army Sgt. Christopher L. Muniz

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Christopher L. Muniz, 24, of New Cuyama, Calif.

Sgt Muniz was assigned to 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; died Dec. 11, 2011 in Kunar province, Afghanistan, of wounds caused by an improvised explosive device. Also killed was Spc. Ronald H. Wildrick Jr.


Sgt Muniz graduated from Cayuma Valley High School in 2006, where he played football. He attended Hancock College were he played football as well.

Sgt Muniz joined the Army in November 2008. He served as a signal intelligence analyst. This was his first deployment.

High school football coach, Bill Charlton, said Christopher "Was like a son to me. I don't know how you could say anything as good as he actually was."

He recalled Christopher as being one of the strongest players he had and who would often help other youths in the gym and make them believe they were equally strong.

"He was just an all-around wonderful kid. He was a true leader," Charlton said.

Hancock College coach, Kris Dutra, recalled Muniz as being "a very, very physical type of guy", he's a good, solid linebacker.

Calling Christopher a "loyal, hardworing and a good athlete," Dutra added, "He was a good soldier in every sense of the word."

Sgt Muniz's awards and decorations include:

Bronze Star
Purple heart
Army Commendation Medal
Army Achievement Medal
Army Good conduct Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star
Global War on Terrorism Medal
Army Service Ribbon
NATO Medal
Combat Action Badge

Sgt Muniz's brother, Joe, who also serves in the Army, escorted his brother home.

Sgt Muniz is survived by his mother, Barbara; father, Joseph; wife, Lindsay; brother, Joe and two other brothers.

Army Sgt. Christopher L. Muniz was killed in action on 12/11/11.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Marine Lance Cpl. Christopher P.J. Levy

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Lance Cpl. Christopher P.J. Levy, 21, of Ramseur, N.C.

LCpl Levy was assigned to 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died Dec. 10, 2011 of wounds sustained Dec. 7 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.


Lcpl Levy was shot in the head by a sniper while conducting an unpartnered patrol in the Kajaji district in Afghanistan. After being stabilized by emergency neurosurgery in Kandahar, he was transported to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany where his parents later made the difficult decision to take their son off life support.

Family pastor, Rev. Michael Barret said the attack happened in a region that has not been known for heavy combat. He said Levy was wearing a new protective helmet and goggles when he was shot.

Lcpl Levy, known as Jacob to his family and friends, is the oldest of three boys. He graduated from Eastern Randolph High School in 2009, where he ran cross-country for three years and was on the wrestling team for one year. He was an ROTC student from seventh through 12th grades.

Principal Stephanie Bridges said the marine was a popular student and well-liked.

Lcpl Levy joined the Marines in 2009, shortly after graduation. This was his second deployment, which he volunteered for. He served an infantry rifleman and machine gunner.

One of his former classmates described him as "everything you think of when you think of a Marine."

Lcpl Levy is a member of the Lumbee tribe of American Indians and was active in the Guilford Native American Association. He also participated in the Guilford One Spirit Native American dance group.

Levy's cousin, Tabitha Polanco, said Levy was proud of his Lumbee Indian heritage and had a fighter's spirit from birth.

"He was born a warrior," Polanco said. "He fought with his mom for about 36 hours while she was in labor. And he came out fighting and continued to do so. He was always a protector."

Characteristic of his spirit and reputation, Polanco says Levy earned the highest possible honor for a Native American: the Eagle Feather.

Father, Chris Levy said of his son, "He was a marine on Earth protecting our borders, and now he's a marine at the gates of Heaven. He knew the first time he went he could lose his life. He knew when he signed up that he could lose his life. And that didn't stop him."......

"I got to lay my hand on his chest, and I got to feel his heart beat," Chris said.

Even though Jacob physically didn't pull through, his father said Jacob's spirit will go on not only in his own heart but also, quite literally, in someone else's.

Lcpl Levy's parents honored their son's wishes to be an organ donor, "allowing his life and energy to rise as a Phoenix from the ashes to bring healing and remove pain from other suffering lives."

Lcpl Levy is survived by his mother, Amanda; father, Chris; siblings, Thunder, Payne, Elijah, Amanda, Joshua and Jade; paternal grandparents, Floyd Levy and Carol and Tony Goss; maternal grandparents, Gearlene and Harda Callicut and Nancy Sheek.

Marine Lance Cpl. Christopher P.J. Levy was killed in action on 12/10/11.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Army Spc. Jeffrey C. Bobon

Remember Our Heroes

Jeffrey C. Bobon of Marion passed away December 9, 2011 in El Paso, Texas. He was 20.


He was born October 27, 1991 in Cadillac, to Jeffery S. Bobon and Donna Sylvester. Jeffery married Cecy Lopez October 5, 2011 in El Paso, Texas.

SPC Jeffrey Bobon was serving in the US Army Echo Company 47 BSB 2nd BCT at Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas.

He enjoyed fast cars, snowboarding, motorcycles and adored his family and friends.

Jeffrey is survived by his wife Cecy Lopez, his mother Donna (Pete Ashby) Sylvester of Marion, father Jeffery S. Bobon of Summit County Colorado, sister Alyssa Shay (Jason) Jordan of Keesler Air Base, Mississippi, Brother Alex Bobon, of Marion, Sister Jamie Lee Sylvester of Marion, Justynn Bobon of Midland , grandparents , Bill and Ellen Scott of Sandwich , Mass, Ben and Rhonda Woods of Lin den MI, Pete and Betty Bobon of Marion, great grandparents, Roberta Desvoyaux of Middleboro, Mass, Jeffrey was preceded in death by his great grandfather Albert Desvoyaux, grandmother Barbara Woods.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Army Sgt. Tyler N. Holtz

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Tyler N. Holtz, 22, of Dana Point, Calif.

Sgt Holtz was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; died Sept. 24, 2011 in Wardak province of wounds caused by small-arms fire.


Sgt Holtz graduated from Mater Dei High School, a Catholic school in Santa Ana, Calif, where he played football for four years. He joined the Army in October 2007.

He graduated from the Army's Ranger program in 2008. He arrived at Lewis-McChord in July 2008, where he served as a rifleman and a Ranger Team Leader. This was his fourth deployment to Afghanistan. He died while leading his men in combat.

Sgt Holtz "was a courageous and incredibly talented Ranger who died while leading his men against determined insurgents," said Lt. Col. David Hodne, commander of the Lewis-McChord-based Ranger battalion. "Tyler Holtz personified the Ranger Creed to the final moments of his life and his actions inspire us to do the same."

Holtz "had the stuff from which legends are made and possessed the character which makes up the foundations that our Army and nation are built on," said Col. Mark Odom, commander of the 75th Ranger Regiment.

Sgt Holtz's awards and decorations include:
Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart
Army Commendation Medal
Army Good Conduct Medal
National Defence Service Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon
Overseas Service Ribbon
Joint Service Achievement Medal Meritorious Service Medal
Ranger Tab
Expert Infantryman Badge
Combat Infantrymans Badge
Parachutist Badge
U.S. Army Expert Rifle Marksmanship Qualification Badge

Sgt Holtz is survived by his mother, Karen; father, Andrew; brothers, Luke, Hayden and Michael.

Army Sgt. Tyler N. Holtz was killed in action on 9/24/11.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Army Spc. Thomas J. Mayberry

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Thomas J. Mayberry, 21, of Springville, Calif.

Spc. Mayberry was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, Fort Bliss, Texas; died Dec. 3, 2011 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. Also killed were Sgt. 1st Class Clark A. Corley Jr., 35, and Spc. Ryan M. Lumley, 21.


Mayberry was posthumously promoted to the rank of Specialist.

All three soldiers were killed when an IED exploded directly beneath the mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle they were in.

Members of 2nd Platoon rescued the platoon medic and the interpreter and pulled Mayberry from the gunner’s hatch. The soldiers attempted many times to extinguish the fire that started and to rescue Corley and Lumley.

"Our nation lost three heroes," Capt. Eddie Rogers said. "The legacies of these men are certain: service to the nation, to the unit and to each other."

Chaplain Hartenberg, during memorial service for the three soldiers, said, "Once again, we are reminded that our soldiers deserve to be honored with the highest, utmost respect," he said. "It is this honor that we give them that helps us in our mourning process. We will miss them and they will be lost and remembered forever."

Spc Mayberry attended school in Clovis, CA from the 6th grade up until the middle of his sophomore year. He transferred to Porterville High School, then graduated from Citrus High in November 2008.

Spc Mayberry joined the Army in January 2009. He was described as "a great warrior who loved being a soldier." He served as an infantryman. After serving a year in Korea, he was reassigned to 2nd Bn, becoming a machine gunner.

Staff Sgt. Steven Rossler, the second platoon weapon's squad leader, said, "Specialist Mayberry…he was one of the hardest working [Soldiers] out in the field, but one of the biggest pains in garrison."

"When he showed up to our company, right away I knew this kid was something special. His motivation and drive to be the best in weapons squad showed every time we had a field problem or just were out back in the motor pool doing crew drills. This world is a lesser place without him in our lives," Rossler said

Aunt Julie Sierker said, "He wasn't going to let anything in his past hold him back," recalling his parents losing custody of him and his brother and that in his early years in Clovis and Porterville, her nephew bounced from one continuation school to the next.

"He came from a rough road. The boys were having a rough time with just Grandma raising them," said Siefker.

His aunt said that what changed him was the Army.

"He wanted to be deployed. He wanted to go fight for his country. He made something of himself and he was so proud of it. He is my hero. Absolutely my hero," said Siefker.

Spc Mayberry's awards and decorations include:

National Defense Service Medal
Korea Defense Service Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal with a Campaign Star
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon

Army Spc. Thomas J. Mayberry was killed in action on 12/03/11.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Clark A. Corley

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. 1st Class Clark A. Corley, 35, of Oxnard, Calif.

SFC Corley was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, Fort Bliss, Texas; died Dec. 3, 2011 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. Also killed were Spc. Ryan M. Lumley, 21 and Spc. Thomas J. Mayberry, 21.


All three soldiers were killed when an IED exploded directly beneath the mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle they were in.

Members of 2nd Platoon rescued the platoon medic and the interpreter and pulled Mayberry from the gunner’s hatch. The soldiers attempted many times to extinguish the fire that started and rescue Corley and Lumley.

"Our nation lost three heroes," Capt. Eddie Rogers said. "The legacies of these men are certain: service to the nation, to the unit and to each other."

SFC Corley was remembered as a mentor who always inspired troops to be the best. "He shared his motivation with everyone he knew," Staff Sgt. Daniel Archbell said.

SFC Corley joined Army December 1995. He served as an infantryman.

1st Lt Brian Page, platoon leader for 2nd Platoon, said, “Sergeant First Class Corley was the first soldier I met when I came in as a platoon leader. I leaned on him a lot in the beginning… his opinions were invaluable. He shared a lot about how much he loved and cared for his son and he shared great wisdom about what deployment would be like, the challenges and adjustments I would encounter when I would return home."

“Prior to deployment, Corley ensured all the guys were taken care of as a soldier along with their families," said Page. "While deployed, Corley was a constant mentor to me and always had the guys straight and aware.”

SFC Corley's awards and decorations include:

Army Commendation Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters
Army Achievement Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters
Army Good conduct Medal (4)
National Defense Service Medal
Korea Defense Service Medal
Iraqi Campaign Medal with campaign star
Global War on Terrorism Service medal
Army Service Ribbon
Overseas Service Ribbon
Combat Infantryman Badge
Expert Infantryman Badge

Army Sgt. 1st Class Clark A. Corley was killed in action on 12/03/11.

Army Sgt. Ryan Sharp

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Ryan Sharp, 28, of Idaho Falls, Idaho

Sgt Sharp was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.; died Dec. 3, 2011 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Landstuhl, Germany, of wounds suffered Nov. 21 at Kandahar province, when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.


IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -- After arriving in Idaho via charted aircraft on Sunday, the body of U.S. Army Sgt. Ryan David Sharp was laid to rest at Rose Hill Cemetery in Idaho Falls on Monday afternoon.

Sharp died Dec. 3 from injuries sustained in an I.E.D. attack during his third tour of duty in Afghanistan.

At Monday's service, Sharp's sister Michelle Harrison delivered his "Life Sketch." She spoke of a boy who grew up loving childhood.

Harrison spoke of her brother's close relationship with their grandmother, who would often call him, "My Ryan."

Army officials also spoke at the service. Brigadier General Alan Gayhart said Sharp was helping a fellow soldier, Sgt. First Class Murray, when an improvised explosive device detonated Nov. 21.

"Everyone knew Cpl. Sharp," said Gayhart during the service.

Sharp's rank was upgraded from corporal to sergeant after his death.

Graveside, Idaho Governor Butch Otter paid his respects. Flags were presented to Sharp's two young daughters, 8-year-old Sarah and 6-year-old Mia.

The other soldier's in Sharp's company returned home to the U.S. this week. Harrison said the timing was bittersweet, but that Sharp's family is glad his brothers are coming home safely.


Sharp planned to be honorably discharged in May 2012

by Associated Press
KTVB.COM

IDAHO FALLS -- Roughly 200 people gathered at the Idaho Falls Airport to honor the return of a fallen soldier.

Army Sgt. Ryan D. Sharp's body was returned to his family in a ceremonial transfer on Sunday. Family spokeswoman and Sharp's sister-in-law, Karen Sharp, said the family was impressed and overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the community and the Army.

Sharp was serving in Afghanistan when he was injured by an improvised explosive device on Nov. 21. Doctors put him in a medical coma and transferred him to a hospital in Germany for treatment, but he did not survive his wounds. Funeral services were scheduled to begin Monday morning.

Army Spc. Ryan M. Lumley

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Ryan M. Lumley, 21, of Lakeland, Fla.

Spc. Lumley was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, Fort Bliss, Texas; died Dec. 3, 2011 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. Also killed were Sgt 1st Class Clark A. Corley Jr. and Spc. Thomas J. Mayberry.


All three soldiers were killed when the vehicle they were riding in ran over an IED in the Wardak Province.

"Our nation lost three heroes," Capt. Eddie Rogers said. "The legacies of these men are certain: service to the nation, to the unit and to each other."

Spc Lumley was born in Greensboro, N.C., and grew up in Cedar Key in Levy County. He moved to Lakeland, Florida a few years ago.

Spc Lumley graduated from Cedar Key High School in 2008, where he still holds the school shot put record. He joined the Army in 2009 and served as an infantryman.

Family and friends described Spc Lumley as "a big guy with a big heart," easy-going, a volunteer by nature and a loving husband and son who always smiled no matter what.

He enjoyed the outdoors, fishing and building forts in the woods.

"He was a good kid … just a good kid," said Lumley's father, Mike Lumley. "He enjoyed helping others."

Chaplain Hartenberg, during memorial service for the three soldiers, said, "Once again, we are reminded that our soldiers deserve to be honored with the highest, utmost respect," he said. "It is this honor that we give them that helps us in our mourning process. We will miss them and they will be lost and remembered forever."

Spc Lumley's awards and decorations include:

Bronze Star
Purple Heart
National Defense Service Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal with a Campaign Star
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Combat and Special Skill Badge Basic Marksmanship Qualification Badge
Bar Weapon: Rifle (Inscription Rifle) Expert
Army Service Ribbon

Spc Lumley is survived by his mother, Jodi; father, Mike and stepmother, Kari; wife, Kimber; siblings, Joshua, Ethan, Camryn.

Army Spc. Ryan M. Lumley was killed in action on 12/3/11.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Marine Staff Sgt. Vincent J. Bell

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Staff Sgt. Vincent J. Bell, 28, of Detroit

SSgt Bell was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 11th Marines, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; died Nov. 30, 2011 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, while conducting combat operations.


SSgt Bell graduated from Crockett Technical High School. He joined Marines in 2001. He served as an artilleryman. This was his second deployment, having previously deployed to Iraq.

Family last saw him when he came home on leave during the first week of October.

Sister, London, described her brother as a Marine warrior with the spirit of a little boy, someone who would order ice cream with sprinkles and someone who loved animals. His best friend was a sweet-natured pit bull named Nala, and he used to sing to her as a puppy.

“We’re all so hurt, and we just felt like this wasn’t supposed to happen,” said London. “It’s been very painful for all of us, we’re just feeling a little lost right now."

"He had a light in him that he drew people to him,” his sister said. “I feel like I’ve lost one of my soul mates.”

SSgt Bell's awards and decorations include:

Purple Heart
Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with gold star device
Combat Action Ribbon
National Defense Service Medal
Good Conduct Medal with two gold star devices
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with four bronze star devices

SSgt Bell is survived by his mother, Pamela; father, James; sisters, London and Andrea.

Marine Staff Sgt. Vincent J. Bell was killed in action on 11/30/11.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Marine Cpl. Adam J. Buyes

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Cpl. Adam J. Buyes, 21, of Salem, Ore.

Cpl. Buyes was assigned to 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa, Japan; died Nov. 26, 2011 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, while conducting combat operations.


Cpl Buyes, a field radio operator, was killed while on foot patrol. He was the 31st from Oregon to die in Afghanistan.

Cpl Buyes graduated from McKay High School in 2008, where he participated football and track and field, and also was a member of the bowling club.

Cpl Buyes joined the Marines in January 2009. He deplyed in May. This was his first deployment. He was due to return to Okinawa the following week and, according to his father, had purchased an airline ticket to fly home Dec. 22.

Brother, Joshua, who is also in the Marines, returned from deployment to Afghanistan three weeks prior.

Father, Mike Buyes, last spoke to his son was on Thanksgiving. "He really wanted to be with us," his dad said.

Teacher, Cathy Sparks, had Buyes in her French class as a freshman. “I remember he tried super hard and had fun, but French really wasn’t his thing."

Sparks also had Buyes for three years in her advisory class. She said he stood out in that class, which a lot of students find a way to skip, because “he always came.”

“He was kind of quiet, but outgoing with people he knew,” Sparks said. “He was probably different on the football team.”

McKay High School football coach, Jay Minyard, last saw Adam this past spring when Adam spent a day at his alma mater while on military leave, having lunch with his former coach and hanging out in the weight room, where his name is etched on the record boards. Buyes is among the all-time leaders in the 300-pound bench press and the 275-pound incline.

“He was in here working out with some of the kids, showing them some things he’s learned in the Marine Corps,” Minyard said. “He was definitely in really good shape. It was kind of one of those deals where he really missed us and kind of felt compelled to give back a little bit.”

“He was proud to be a Marine and to serve his country,” Minyard said. “And we were all really proud of him. He was one of McKay’s finest.”

"Cpl. Adam Buyes was a truly dedicated professional who cared for his Marines as if they were brothers from the beginning," said battalion 1st Sgt. Daniel J. Wilson.

"He was often emulated and adored by many of the Marines he came in contact with. Cpl. Buyes was just one of those Marines that made being in Okinawa, Japan, or deployed to Afghanistan better and more enjoyable for everyone."

Cpl Buyes' awards and decorations include:

Combat Action Ribbon
National Defense Service Medal
Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Korean Defense Service Medal

Cpl Buyes is survived by his parents, Carla and Michael; siblings, Rachel, Anthony, Joshua and Tyler; grandparents Murry and Carol Newton.

Marine Cpl. Adam J. Buyes was killed in action on 11/26/11.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Army Sgt. 1st Class Dennis R. Murray

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. 1st Class Dennis R. Murray, 38, of Red Boiling Springs, Tenn.

SFC Murray was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.; died Nov. 21, 2011 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds caused by an improvised explosive device.

SFC Murray graduated from Hermitage Springs School in 1991. He joined the Army in September 1991. He reported to Fort Riley in February this year and deployed in April. He served as an armored crew member.

Mother, Wanda, said, "He was always good to people and he was a very loving, caring father to his children. He was a good son, and I am very proud of him. He will be missed by all of us… I miss him all of the time."

SFC Murray's awards and decorations include:

Army Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Army Achievement Medal with four oak leaf clusters
Korea Defense Service Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two Campaign Stars
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
NATO Medal
Combat Action Badge

Services were held on December 5. Patriot Guard Riders escorted.

SFC Murray is survived by mother, Wanda; wife, Shelee; son, Sebastion; daughter, Savannah; stepson, Christopher Cooley; stepdaughter, Samantha Barnes

Army Sgt. 1st Class Dennis R. Murray was killed in action on 11/21/11.

Marine Cpl. Zachary C. Reiff

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Cpl. Zachary C. Reiff, 22, of Preston, Iowa

Cpl Reiff was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, Calif.; died Nov. 21, 2011 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered Nov. 18, 2011 while conducting combat operations.


Cpl Reiff was wounded while on foot patrol when he stepped on an IED. He died three days later in Germany with his parents at his bedside.

Cpl Reiff graduated from Preston High School in 2007, where he wrestled, ran track and played drums in the band.

Cpl Reiff enlisted in the Marines in December 2008. This was his second deployment to Afghanistan. He was injured by an IED on his first deployment, recovering from his injuries with rehabilitation. He volunteered for this deployment. He deployed in September.

On November 17, he was given “NCO of the Quarter” and placed on Meritorious Service Board for Seargent.

Preston High School principal, Dave Miller, said, “He was a well-built young man who kept himself in good condition. He was a good person who did his own thing and never caused anybody trouble.”

Friend, Tara recalled a pair of Preston track sweat pants Reiff loaned her and how she would never be able to return them.

“I wish there was a way you could see how loved you are, but apart of me knows you already know. It’s times like these that make me remember to always leave someone you love and care about with loving words. You never know when it will be your last good bye.”

Cpl Reiff's awards and decorations include:

Purple Heart (2)
Combat Action Ribbon
National Defense Service Medal
Good Conduct Medal
Global War on Terrorism Medal
Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with bronze star device

Cpl Reiff is survived by his parents, Marcia and Matt; brother, Kolby and sister, Emily; maternal grandmother, Lucille.

Marine Cpl. Zachary C. Reiff was killed in action on 11/21/11.

Army Pfc. Jackie L. Diener II

Remember Our Heroes

Army Pfc. Jackie L. Diener II, 20, of Boyne City, Mich.

Pfc. Diener assigned to 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.; died Nov. 21, 2011 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds caused by enemy small-arms fire.


*Was posthumously promoted from private to private first class.

Pfc Diener graduated from Boyne City High School in 2009, where he participated in football, baseball and wrestling. In his junior year, he was an exchange student in Denmark.

Pfc Diener joined the Army in March 2011, arriving at Fort Drum in July. He deployed to Afghanistan in September. He served as a cavalry scout.

"He was a sweetheart. Very quiet and a good kid," said grandmother, Donna Diener. She said her grandson was eager to join the military. "This is something he chose. He wanted to do it. He wanted to serve his country."

Principal, Karen Jarema, said, " Jack was a very independent student and had strong desires. He was able to be successful at anything he wished to be."

Wrestling coach Don Nohel said he was proud of Diener's growth both as an athlete and a student.

"He was not afraid to work for something he set his mind to," Nohel said. "As a wrestler, I saw him overcome many difficult moments and bounce back and put himself out there again."

"Jack was a unique individual, not really caught up in what other people did, but more interested in making his own way and mark in the world. It is sad that Jack's adventure ended so soon. We will miss him," Nohel said.

Pfc Diener's awards and decorations include:
Purple Heart
National Defense Service Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
Army Service Ribbon
Overseas Service Ribbon
NATO Medal
Army Combat Action Badge

Pfc Diener is survived by his parents, Val and Jack; sister, Marcie and grandmother, Donna.

Army Pfc. Jackie L. Diener II was killed in actin on 11/21/11.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua D. Corral

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua D. Corral, 19, of Danville, Calif.

LCpl Corral was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, Calif.; died Nov. 18, 2011 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, while conducting combat operations.


Lcpl Corral, aka "Chachi", the second oldest of four boys, graduated from San Ramon Valley High School in 2010, where he played football his freshman year. His nickname came about due to his baby brother who had trouble pronouncing his older brother's first name.

Lcpl Corral joined the Marines in July 2010. He graduated first in his Marine Corps class and served as his squad's sweeper, he would go in front of the squad to sweep the area for improvised explosive devices. This was his first deployment.

Lcpl Corral had been active in the Danville Little League from Tee Ball through Big League. His father, Arnie, had been an active member of the league for many years and is currently serving on the Board of Directors.

Friend, Brock Marcotte, said, "It's not how big he lived his life, but how rich and meaninful his life actually was. He always saw the bigger picture that tomorrow is not today. He was always leading and never follwoing because he chose his own path."

"He loved being in the Marines. Being in the Marines fit him perfectly. He loved working hard. He was super tough. There are Marines and then there are Marines you want to be like. And he was definitely one of those Marines. He set the bar to excel," said Brock.

"Just a great kid. Friends with everyone. He had anyone's back," said family friend, Christine Mahoney. "When he joined after graduating, 10 of his friends joined the Marines too. That's who he was. He just wanted to serve his country. He wanted to make a difference."

Lcpl Corral's awardsand decorations include:

Purple Heart
Combat Action Ribbon
National Defense Service Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Sea Service Deployment Ribbon

Cpl Corral is survived by his mother, Denise; father, Arnie; brothers, Zach, Jordan and Christian.

Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua D. Corral was killed in action on 11/18/11.

Army Pfc. Adam E. Dobereiner

Remember Our Heroes

Army Pfc. Adam E. Dobereiner, 21, of Moline, Ill.

Pfc. Dobereiner was assigned to 8th Engineer Battalion, 36th Engineer Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas.; died Nov. 18, 2011 at Kandahar province, Afghanistan of wounds caused by an improvised explosive device.


Pfc Dobereiner was killed three days before his 22nd birthday. He was on a vital mission to free two villages from Taliban control when the vehicle he was driving in encountered an IED. Two other soldiers were injured by the blast.

Pfc Dobereiner graduated from Moline High School in 2008, where he wrestled and played on the football team. He joined the Army in January 2011, reported to Fort Hood in May and deployed to Afghanistan in June. He served as a combat engineer. His brother, Christopher, also served in Army and sister, Ann Marie, who is serving as well.

He was engaged to Jenna Schmidt and was to be married on January 3, 2012

“He was a great kid,” Moline wrestling coach James Ealy. “I coached him my first two years there, his junior and senior year. He was an extremely hard worker, and what he lacked in athletic ability, he made up for in guts, hard work and determination. His senior year, he missed a good part of the season with a concussion. He never backed up. He just kept moving forward, always fighting to the bitter end.“

"They say everybody dies, but not everybody lives. At 21 years Adam Dobereiner got a lot of life in. I'm going to do my part to make sure people remember him and what he did," said Ealy.

“You always hear that question about the guy you’d want in a foxhole,” Ealy said. “It would be Adam Dobereiner.“

Pfc Dobereiner's awards and decorations include:
National Defense Service Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal with campaign star
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon
Overseas Service Ribbon

Pfc Dobereiner was laid to rest in Rock Island National Cemetery, Rock Island, IL.

Pfc Dobereiner is survived by his parents, Lee Ann and Christopher; siblings, Christopher, Helen, Ann Marie; fiancee, Jenna.

Army Pfc. Adam E. Dobereiner was killed in action on 11/18/11.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Army Spc. Sean M. Walsh

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Sean M. Walsh, 21, of San Jose, Calif.

Spc. Walsh was assigned to 185th Military Police Battalion, 49th Military Police Brigade, California National Guard, Pittsburg, Calif.; died Nov. 16, 2011 in Khowst province, Afghanistan, of injuries caused by indirect fire.


Spc Walsh deployed to Afghanistan in December 2010. He had just a week left on his year-long tour. He was due home the following Friday.

Spc Walsh was an avid skater and surfer and was involved with the Santa Clara Police Department Explorer Program while attending Prospect High.

Spc Walsh joined the California National Guard in 2008. He served as a Military Police Officer.

Mother, Cheryl, recalled the day her only child told her he wanted to join the California National Guard. He was 17 and dreamed of becoming a police officer some day. Serving as a military police officer first, she said, would be his stepping stone to the profession.

"I was terrified and I was trying to talk him out of that," she said. Going back three generations, she said, several family members had served in the armed forces and fought in combat, including an uncle who died in Korea. "I knew, and I was worried," she said.

A photo taken just 13 days before he was killed showed him holding a sign that read, "I Love Mom."

Friends and family say he was a loving son, a dedicated soldier and a goofball friend.

"I'll be fine grandma, I'll be fine. That's what he'd always say. I'll be fine grandma, I'll be fine," Sean's grandma Shirley Quigley.

Grandmother Shirley said her grandson always had a way of making people laugh when they were down, lifting them back up.

"He'd leave silly messages…I've saved every one of them. Not because...It was just until he came home. I wasn't going to erase any of them," Shirley continued.

Uncle Tim Morgan said he remembered his nephew as a person who could make anyone smile and was filled with compassion and a sense of duty. "He became an MP because he wanted to be a policeman, he wanted to protect and serve.

This has been one of the worst nightmares to hit us, we just didn't expect it to happen." "He was just a few days away from coming home," he said. "He was actually supposed to come up here next month and we were all going to go to the city for New Year's."

"I didn't know Specialist Walsh, but spending time with his mother, Cheryl, you realize the sacrifices involved. That he's a human being and not just a number," said First Lieutenant Will Martin, a spokesman for the CA National Guard. "It brings it home."

Army Spc. Sean M. Walsh was killed in action on 11/16/11.

Army Pfc. Matthew C. Colin

Remember Our Heroes

Army Pfc. Matthew C. Colin, 22, of Navarre, Fla.

Pfc Colin was assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Wainwright, Alaska; died Nov. 16, 2011 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds caused by an improvised explosive device. Also killed was Army Spc. James R. Burnett Jr.

Pfc Colin graduated from 2007 Navarre High School in 2007. He joined the Army in February 2010, following in the footsteps of his father who served in the Army from 1978-85.

This was Pfc Colin's first deplyment. He was scheduled to come home in January for a two-week break from his year-long deployment.

Pfc Colin is described as soft spoken, a great athlete, a class act.

"This is a very difficult situation," said Diane Borgsteede, friend and neighbor of the family. "It has knocked the breath out of many of us, obviously his parents the most."

Father, Kenneth, wrote on his Facebook page that 19 members of his son's unit have been killed in action since April.

Dottie Thomas, branch director of the Pullum Family YMCA, where Kenneth works, said Kenneth's greatest fear was something tragic happening to his son in Afghanistan.

"They are right on the front lines," Thomas said. "They are ground forces in the worst part of Afghanistan."

Matthew worked as a fitness specialist at the YMCA one summer.

"Matt was kind of quiet but extremely friendly," she said. "He was a great help to people here at the Y. He was well-liked. You would call him a refreshing young man."

Amanda Bishop, Mattew's former teacher at Navarre High said, "He was just a very genuine, sincere, kind of guy. He was very honorable. His parents raised him right. He had a strong sense of values and morals."

"I imagine that being the genuine and honorable kid he was in school, I can only imagine the honorable, courageous young man that he has become serving his country."

Family friend, Mike McHenry, said "This is a tragic loss." He described Colin as an exceptional athlete in high school who likely was going to make a career of his military service.

“He loved every minute of it,” he said. “He thought he was making a difference.”

Pfc Colin's awards and decorations include:
Bronze Star
Purple Heart
Army Good Conduct Medal
Combat Infantry Badge
NATO Medal

Pfc Colin is survived by his parents, Kathy and Kenneth; brother, Michael.

Army Pfc. Matthew C. Colin was killed in action on 11/16/11.

Army Spc. James R. Burnett Jr.

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. James R. Burnett Jr., 21, of Wichita, Kan.

Spc. Burnett was assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Wainwright, Alaska; died Nov. 16, 2011 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds caused by an improvised explosive device. Also killed was Army Pfc. Matthew C. Colin.

Spc Burnett graduated from Clearwater High School in 2009. He joined the Army Reserves between his junior and senior year of high school and went to full active duty shortly after graduation. He deployed to Afghanistan in April.

Family said Spc Burnett loved to hunt, play video games, play pranks and spend time with his large family. He loved his three dogs, Sundae, Angel and Cocoa and taking them on rabbit runs in the neighborhood.

Spc Burnett came home on his two-week leave in July, spending one week in Brownwood with his father and stepmother, and the other in Wichita with his mother and stepfather. He got engaged during that week in Kansas. He celebrated his 21st birthday in September.

He always went out of his way for everybody," his mother, Rebecca Metcalf. "When anyone needed anything he was there for them."

"Everybody that he met loved him," said father, James Burnett Sr. "We have heard from friends from everywhere. He will be missed."

"He was proud to serve in the army. We are all so proud of him," his father said.

"He loved it," said his stepmother, Cheri Burnett. "You could almost hear tears in his voice when he first went in, he loved it so much."

Family said the deployment was going well until couple months ago when he said “I’m in a bad place. Pray for me.”
James Sr. said the last time he spoke to his son was about a week before he was killed, "He said he was scared the fighting was getting bad. He said they were losing a lot of good men out there."

Cheri said Burnett was the oldest of seven sisters and a brother. It was a younger sibling who told her father, "Daddy, there are two men in suits here."

Cherie said when her husband heard those words, "He knew. He knew."

"They are going to miss him. The two littlest ones won't even know him. We'll just have to tell them stories and show them pictures and keep his memory alive."

Spc Burnett's awards and decorations include:
Bronze Star Purple Heart
Army Good Conduct Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Army Service RibbonOverseas Service Ribbon
NATO Medal
Combat Infantry Badge
Combat and Special Skill Badge
Basic Marksmanship Qualification Badge

Army Spc. James R. Burnett Jr. was killed in action on 11/15/11.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Army Spc. David E. Hickman

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. David E. Hickman, 23, of Greensboro, N.C.

Spc. Hickman was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died Nov. 14, 2011 in Baghdad of injuries caused by an improvised explosive device.

Spc Hickman became the last American soldier to die in Iraq. The war officially ended on December 15, 2011.

Spc Hickman graduated from Northeast Guilford High School in 2006 where he participated in football and track. He was an all conference outside linebacker for the football team and served as team captain.

Spc Hickman was an accomplished black belt in the art of Taekwondo, training for several years at the Greensboro Black Belt Academy.

Spc Hickman joined Army in November 2009. He deployed to Iraq end of May this year. This was his first deployment. He was due home this month.

His father, David, had hoped his son would follow in his foot steps and join the Air Force, but his son enlisted in the Army and went Airborne instead.

Mike King, owner of Greensboro Black Belt Academy, said, "You hear a lot of times people were genuine but I mean truly, just, if he asked you how you were doing, he want to know how you were doing," said King. "There are certain people we teach and we train that over time you somewhat let them slip out of your mind but David is just one of those people that you always have a good thought about."

Friend, Olivia Pegram said, “Of all the people that served, we just thought there was no way he wouldn’t come back." She called him Superman, but he was just as much like Clark Kent. She said Hickman got in a fight once, but that he ended up becoming friends with the guy.

“He was the most genuine and loyal person you’d ever meet,” Pegram said. “He had the most infectious laugh that I’d give the world to hear again.”

“That was his personality,” she said. 'He says one thing funny and you want to hang around with him.”

Lt Col David Doyl, his battalion commander, said he was a physical specimen who excelled at being a soldier. Despite Hichman's young age, he had earned the coveted Expert Infantrymand's Badge. Only about 30% of soldiers who try for that award earn it.

"He stood out," Doyle said, "He proved himself."

Spc Hickman's awards and decorations include:
Bronze Star
Purple Heart
National Defense Service Medal
Iraqi Campaign Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon
Army Good Conduct Medal
Expert Infantry Badge
Parachutist Badge

Spc Hickman is survived by parents, Veronica and David; wife, Cali; brother, Devon; maternal grandparents, Veronica W. and Reginald M.

Army Spc. David E. Hickman was killed in action on 11/14/11.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Army Sgt. 1st Class Johnathan B. McCain

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. 1st Class Johnathan B. McCain, 38, of Apache Junction, Ariz.

SFC McCain was assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Wainwright, Alaska; died Nov. 13, 2011 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of injuries caused by an improvised explosive device.


SFC McCain graduated from Chandler High School. He was an avid bow hunter and a talented artist. He and wife, LeAnne, had just celebrated their 19th wedding anniversary.

SFC McCain enlisted in the Army in 1992. He served in Kaiserlautern, Germany, Fort Hood, TX and Fort Brag, NC before arriving in Alaska in 2000. He had previously been deployed to Iraq twice, where in one deployment, he had been injured in a mortar attack. He served as a platoon sergeant.

SFC McCain was eligible for full military retirement in 18 months. He was planning on teaching college level military classes and already had an offer from Idaho State University.

Father, Bob McCain said his son was a talented artist. His work was featured in a 2009 military publication with a photo showing him autographing a print he drew for fellow soldiers in Iraq. He also took widely recognized photos of mosques in the towns of Baqubah and Khan Bani Sa’ed as well as military vehicles and helicopters.

"It just killed me he had to deploy a third time. He was totally 100% in love with the military and his country. He felt what he was doing was needed."

To My Dearest Son
I will miss you so much. Your strong personality, true convictions and your incredible patriotism but your smile and your infectious laugh will stay with me forever. You have been such a wonderful blessing and inspiration to me in your short time here. Thank you so much for being our son, an incredible soldier and an awesome husband and father. You will be sorely missed but we will join you someday in our Godly heavens! Thank you son for being my hero!!~ Sharon Gainey, Florence, South Carolina

Army Sgt. 1st Class Johnathan B. McCain was killed in action on 11/12/11.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Army Spc. Calvin M. Pereda

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Calvin M. Pereda, 21, of Fayetteville, N.C.

Spc Pereda was assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Wainwright, Alaska; died Nov. 12, 2011 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of injuries caused by an improvised explosive device.

‘He was a wonderful son’
By Arvin Temkar
(Hagatna, Guam) Pacific Daily News

TIYAN, Guam — Rosario “Rose” Pereda’s anguished cry broke the silence as soldiers carried in the casket holding the body of her son.

“Oh my God, my boy’s gone!” she wailed.

Hundreds gathered at an air cargo building in Tiyan on Nov. 26 to pay respects to Army Spc. Calvin Matthew Pereda, who died in Afghanistan on Nov. 12.

Rose Pereda, who had waited quietly in the air cargo building, couldn’t contain her emotions when the men appeared with the casket, which was draped with an American flag.

“Oh, my boy,” the grief-stricken mother moaned, her sobs muffled by her sons and family huddled around her.

“It’s OK to cry,” said Gov. Eddie Calvo, in a short speech following the recital of a prayer.

He offered his condolences on behalf of the entire island.

“This island cares for you, and is praying for you,” Calvo said.

Earlier that afternoon, Rose Pereda, dressed in black, sat in the living room of her mother’s house. Although there were several people in the room, it was silent, except for when she spoke. There was no Thanksgiving at the Pereda household this year. In place of the traditional feast, there was a rosary.

She told the story of her son — a quiet, caring man, dedicated to his job and his country.

Calvin Pereda, 21, enlisted in the Army in March 2010, determined to be an infantryman. He was sent to Afghanistan earlier this year, and was injured in September after an explosion sent shrapnel into his knee and shoulder.

Calvin Pereda bounced back, and soon after was promoted. He received a Purple Heart, was chosen as soldier of the month and signed up for Ranger school. Two weeks after sharing his good news with his mother, he was dead, killed by an improvised explosive device.

After his injury, “he wanted to hurry up and heal and go back out,” Rose Pereda said.

Before what would be his final mission, Calvin Pereda called home, as he often did. The mother and son made plans for Thanksgiving, and Rose Pereda promised him a barbecue. He was to return to Texas, where his family lives, on Nov. 18.

“He came home, but not the way we want him to,” Rose Pereda said.

The day after the conversation, Rose Pereda’s son Clifford Pereda yelled for her — “my sons never holler at me” — and came to her room, crying. She went to the living room and saw two officers, dressed in their uniforms, waiting to deliver a message.

“I didn’t want to believe it was my son,” she said. “I said, ‘No, it’s not him, because I just spoke to him yesterday.’ ”

In December, Rose Pereda will return to Texas, and her two youngest boys will go back to school. Her other two sons are in the Army, stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. But now they want to leave the military, she said.

“They don’t want to put their brothers and myself through what we went through,” she said.

Then begins the process of coping, healing. She has a strong support group, she said, including family at home on Guam.

“I’m just going to miss him,” she said. “It’s not going to be the same Christmas or the same New Year’s.”

She dabbed her face with tissues.

“He was a wonderful son,” she said.

Army Spc. Calvin M. Pereda was killed in action on 11/12/11.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Army Pfc. Theodore B. Rushing

Remember Our Heroes

Army Pfc. Theodore B. Rushing, 25, of Longwood, Fla.

Pfc. Rushign was assigned to 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment; 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light), Fort Drum, N.Y., died Nov. 11, in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, of wounds caused by an improvised explosive device.


Pfc Rushing was killed in action on Veterans Day, after heavy fighting in Afghanistan. He was on foot patrol when his unit encountered an IED.

Pfc Rushing joined Army in March 2011. He went through basic training at Ft Benning, GA, trained at the Cavalry Scout School at Fort Knox, Ky and arrived Ft Drum in July 2011. He deployed August. He served as a Forward Scout.

After graduating high school, he received his associate's degree at Seminole State College.

Pfc Rushing preferred to be outdoors, he loved to ride his BMX bike or surf the waves at Cocoa Beach.

Growing up in Orlando, Theodore "Teddy" Rushing was always something of a daredevil, said his father, Rick Rushing. "He was one of those kids who'd be bungee-jumping, skateboarding or jumping off the roof."

Pfc Rushing was going to follow his father, Rick's footsteps, who is a police officer with the Orlando Police Department, but once he joined the army, he told his dad that he'd found a new career.

"He told me, 'Dad, this is it.' This is what he wanted to do. He loved being a scout, being the first one out in front of everybody else to make sure it's safe. He liked the fact that he was able to give back to his country that had given so much back to him. He liked the fact that he was a Calvary scout, out front paving the way for everybody else," said Rushing's father.

"The last time I talked with him, he wouldn't share much about what was going on, but he said it was very dangerous, heavy fighting," his dad said. "He was the only casualty that day, which tells me that he was out front doing his job and he didn't let anyone get close enough to get hurt. We're so very proud."

Johnette Barton, assistant director of the school, said that during a senior trip to the mountains, Teddy attempted to ride down a mountain slope on his skateboard, Barton said. Despite being injured, he was still eager to go whitewater rafting and bungee jumping.

"Teddy was enthusiastic about life. He never knew a stranger. Everybody loved him. He was the life of the party," said Barton.

Pfc Rushing's awards and decorations include:
Purple Heart
National Defense Service Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
Army Service Ribbon
Overseas Service Ribbon
NATO Medal
Army Combat Action Badge
Combat and special skill badge, weapons expert and overseas service bar

Pfc Rushing was laid to rest on November 28 at Arlington National Cemetery.

He is survived by his parents, Ann and Rick; sister, Stacy; maternal grandmother, Marcheta; maternal grandfather, William.

Army Pfc. Theodore B. Rushing was killed in action on 11/11/11.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Army Pfc. Cody R. Norris

Remember Our Heroes

Army Pfc. Cody R. Norris, 20, of Houston, Texas

Pfc Norris was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.,died Nov. 9, 2011 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds caused by enemy small-arms fire.


Pfc Norris graduated from La Porte High School in 2010, where he was in ROTC and was a member of the Color Guard, Rifle Team and was a member of the Military Museum.

Following in his brother's footsteps, Pfc Norris joined the Army in 2010. He won the expert marksman badge during basic training. This was his first deployment.

Family and friends described him as someone who made everyone smile and just being silly. He was bubbly, happy, energetic, light hearted.

"He loved what he was doing," said Pastor Jim Bob Benton, who gave the eulogy at Norris' funeral. "It was like he was made to do what he was doing, and he loved his family, and those two things came together to bring him where he was."

He quoted Norris' own words on his Facebook page: "I love what I do as my job and my dream in life and no one can take that way from me. I am trained by the best, and I will be the best as I can. Wanna do all I can for the ones I love and my country. To keep all of us free!!! Even if it means death."

Pfc Norris enjoyed paintball, deer hunting, playing video games, Hibachi food, and working on his 1952 M37 Army Truck that he had convinced his stepfather to let him buy. He drove it to and from classes.

"It wasn't a fast ride," Benton said. "It took an hour, hour and a half, every day, back and forth," but the slow commute didn't bother Norris.

Pfc Norris briefly returned home from Afghanistan on leave last month to celebrate his 20th birthday with family and friends, but was eager to get back.

Benton said, "He knew he needed to go back. He had buddies he wanted to protect and one of the things he told everybody was, 'Look, I'm not afraid to die.'"

To have known Norris was a gift from God, the pastor said. "That's not something that can be taken away. He's with us. He'll be with us always, forever young."

Pfc Norris' awards and decorations include:
Army Commendation Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two campaign stars
NATO Medal
Combat Infantryman Badge

Pfc Norris was laid to rest on November 21 at Grand View Memorial Park, Pasadena, TX. The Patriot Guard escorted.

Pfc Norris is survived by his mother, Terri, and stepfather, Kenneth; father, Reese Norris; brother, Michael Norris,a cadet at West Point; grandparents, Robert and Patricia Vegil, and Geneva Pynes.

Army Pfc. Cody R. Norris was killed in action on 11/09/11.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Marine Lance Cpl. Nickolas A. Daniels

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Lance Cpl. Nickolas A. Daniels, 25, of Elmwood Park, Ill.

LCpl Daniels was assigned to 3rd Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, Calif.; died Nov. 5, 2011 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, while conducting combat operations.


Lcpl Daniels graduated from Saint Patrick High School in 2004, where he played football, and later coached football for his alma mater.

Lcpl Daniels joined the Marines in January 2010. He reported on September 3 and left for his first tour of duty in Afghanistan 16 days later. He had only been in Afghanistan for six weeks when he was killed. He served as a combat engineer.

Oldest of four children, Lcpl Daniels aspired to become a police officer. Family and friends described Nick as a very happy, fun loving young man, who was very driven, dedicated, and goal oriented. He planned to marry his fiancee, Katie, when he returned home.

"Everybody always thinks it's not going to happen to their family but it's real and it happens," said family friend Joe Pullia.

His sister, Kati, said that L-Cpl Daniels had joined the Marine Corps less than two years ago and was trained in bomb disposal.

"I just didn't believe it because he was only there for a month and a half and he just got an award for digging up a bomb, and then this happened. And I didn't want to believe it when (the Marines) came to our house," she said.

"We're going to be here in the back for the procession and then when he walks out, we're all going to take a knee to remember Nick and how he was our coach," said Ryan Tentler, co-captain of the football team.

"It hit us pretty hard just because he was a shamrock. Most of us knew him because we all played football. He was a great coach," said Zeck Jankeiwicz, football team co-captain.

Lonny Daniels says his big brother was always up for a challenge and loved competition. Lonny says he will always remember Nick as cool guy who watched out for his younger siblings.

"I always aspired to be like him. He was always fast, athletic, the girls loved him," Lonny said. "He's really funny, probably one of the funniest guys. He had a really good attitude with everybody. Everybody loved him."

Master Sergeant Rick Hernandez, who led the honor guard, said, "We're going to do for Nick what I know Nick would do for me. That's what I'm going to do for Nick today."

"For me personally, it's very difficult to wrap my mind around. But it's so much more about him and what a special person he was," said Timothy Woods, friend and co-worker.

Lcpl Daniels' awards and decorations include:
Purple Heart
Combat Action Ribbon
National Defense Service Metal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Sea Service Deployment Ribbon

Lcpl Daniels was laid to rest on November 13 at Elmwood Cemetery in River Grove.

Nick Daniels is survived by his mother and stepdad, Eva and Roger; father and stepmom, Gregory and Debi; siblings Kati, Lonny, Olivi; stepbrothers, Billy and Jacob; grandparents Susie Daniels and Lottie Kamien; fiancee, Katie.

Marine Lance Cpl. Nickolas A. Daniels was killed in action on 11/05/11.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Army 1st Lt. Dustin D. Vincent

Remember Our Heroes

Army 1st Lt. Dustin D. Vincent, 25, of Mesquite, Texas

1st Lt. Vincent was assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.; died Nov. 3, 2011 in Kirkuk province, Iraq, of wounds caused by enemy small-arms fire.


Lt Vincent graduated from Mesquite High School and attended University of Texas in Arlington, where he studied engineering.

He joined the Army in 2009 and served as an artillery officer.This was his first deployment.

Lt Vincent married wife two days before deployed and had adopted her daughter.

Step-sister, Chandra Usry, described Lt Vincent as loving, selfless and kind, stating that he took her right in when they were brought together by marriage a few years ago.

Lt Vincent's awards and decorations include:

Army Commendation Medal
Army Achievement Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Iraq Campaign Medal with one Campaign Star
Global War on Terror Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon

I didn't know him but attended his memorial here in Iraq today. His soldiers loved him and his commanders thought very highly of him. Funny thing, they teased him about always looking forward to "taco day" in the dining facility. He said he loved tacos because he was from Texas and it reminded him of home.~Kevin M.

Army 1st Lt. Dustin D. Vincent was killed in action on 11/03/11.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Army Pfc. Sarina N. Butcher

Remember Our Heroes

Army Pfc. Sarina N. Butcher, 19, of Checotah, Okla.

Pfc. Butcher was assigned to 700th Brigade Support Battalion, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Oklahoma National Guard, Tulsa, Okla.; died Nov. 1, 2011 in Paktya province, Afghanistan, of wounds caused by an improvised explosive device. Also killed was Army Spc. Christopher D. Gailey.


“Spc. Sarina Butcher left her friends, family and a young child to help defend our nation,” Maj. Gen. Myles Deering, adjutant general for Oklahoma, said in a statement. “She was a brave young woman who selflessly gave all she had for her country and the other soldiers that served alongside her.”

Following in her grandfather's and brother's footsteps, Spc Butcher joined the National Guard to help finance and pursue her career dreams of becoming a nurse while also helping to support her daughter, Zoey.

Spc Butcher joined the Guard in April 2010 and served as an automated logistical specialist. She deployed in June.

Her grandmother, Martha Wills, described her as a much-loved daughter, sister, granddaughter and mother.

She was really outgoing and there was no one that wasn't her friend," said mother Dana Bailey.

“She was barely 5 foot 2, and her heart was bigger than she was,” grandfather, James Clayton Mills said.

"I tried to instill in her, good traditions and things about the military. She always looked up to me as her hero, but today, she's my hero," her grandfather said.

Mills says Sarina's spirit lives on through her daughter. "Sarina used to sit and talk, throw her hand on her hip. Zoey does the same thing at two and half years old. So she's going to up and be another Sarina."

Spc Butcher's awards and decorations include:

Bronze Star
Purple Heart
National Defense Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon
Oklahoma Good Conduct Medal

Spc Butcher is survived by her mother, Dana and step-father, Howard.; father, James and step-mother, Cheryl; daughter, Zoey; brother, Anthony; and grandparents, Clayton and Martha Mills and Betty Terrell.

Army Pfc. Sarina N. Butcher was killed in action on 11/01/11.