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2009 Spec. Brian M. Connelly Hometown: Union Beach, New Jersey, U.S. Age: 26 years old Died: February 26, 2009 in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Unit: Army, 40th Engineer Battalion, Task Force 1-6, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Baumholder, Germany Incident: Died in Adhamiya, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his vehicle was struck by an explosive device. Army Spc. Brian M. Connelly, February 27, 2009 By Vinessa Erminio March 02, 2009, 11:35AM Age: 26 Hometown: Union Beach Circumstances: Killed when his vehicle was struck by an explosive on a Baghdad street. A YOUNG SOLDIER'S DREAM CUT SHORT Union Beach family mourns the loss of a husband and son killed in Iraq By Leslie Kwoh and Joe Ryan/The Star-Ledger, March 1, 2009 During most of their five short months of marriage, Spc. Brian M. Connelly and his wife saw each other only through webcams. Such is the fate of a couple separated by war. So Brian and Kara Connelly made the best of it, booting up computers as often as they could to exchange words and smiles beamed halfway around the globe between Iraq and Monmouth County. Even their engagement came via webcams. "It wasn't really all that romantic," said Kara Connelly, 23. She cherished the moment nonetheless. On Thursday, Kara Connelly gazed at her husband for the last time. Four hours later, he was killed when his vehicle was struck by an explosive on a Baghdad street, the Department of Defense said yesterday. Brian Connelly is at least the 106th member of the armed services with ties to New Jersey to die in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Kara Connelly, her face streaked with tears, stood in the kitchen of her husband's boyhood home yesterday and mourned the fun-loving, blue-eyed soldier she had a crush on since high school. "He was just awesome," she said. "He was good-hearted. He was funny. He was everything." Brian Connelly, 26, grew up in Union Beach, a postage-stamp-size town on the Raritan Bay, about 10 miles south of Perth Amboy. At 2 square miles, it is a place where people can't help but know one another. Brian and Kara Connelly were married by the borough's mayor, Paul Smith. He ordered flags in town yesterday to be lowered to half-staff in Connelly's honor. "He was so young," Smith said. Brian Connelly grew up in a one-story house at the end of a cul-du-sac. Yellow ribbons fluttered on the front porch yesterday. A banner on the house read: "Bring Our Troops Home." Inside, Connelly's mother, Jean Dammann, clung to her husband and wept. She decried Army recruiters who persuaded her son to pull on a uniform. "They shouldn't be able to talk to our kids in high school," said Dammann, 44. Connelly was born Brian Blonske and was the older of two boys. He recently took the name Connelly, his mother's maiden name, she said. The family lives minutes from the Raritan Bay. As a boy, Connelly trolled the waters for fluke and weakfish. "He just loved being on the water," said Mark Dammann, 48, his stepfather. Connelly had little interest in school, his family said. He liked reading about mechanics and philosophy but did not care for textbooks, they said. His brother, Kevin Connelly, recalled him as rowdy and loyal. He loved raucous music, mosh pits and once saved his younger sibling from a rip tide. Another time, Connelly smacked his little brother in mouth with a hockey stick, knocking out his front teeth. After graduating from Red Bank Regional High School in 2000, Connelly enrolled in Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, where he studied computer technology for about 18 months. He joined an electricians union, then was laid off. Unemployed and directionless in 2007, Connelly turned back to the Army recruiters he had met as a teenager, his mother said. "He was having a hard time finding a job," she said Connelly knew his mother did not want him to join the Army. After enlisting, he put off telling her for almost 10 days, she said. His first assignment was in Germany. Shortly after, he and Kara began their long-distance courtship. They had met nearly a decade earlier, and she always admired him. But they remained friends, she said. A year ago, Brian Connelly stared into a webcam and sprung the question. "Yes," she said. Connelly shipped off to Iraq two months later. He was a member of the 40th Engineer Battalion, Task Force 1-6, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division. The couple married in September, while Connelly was home on an 18-day leave. The wedding was at the Keyport Veterans of Foreign Wars Post. She wore a white summery dress. He wore khaki slacks and a white shirt. They honeymooned in Myrtle Beach, S.C. After finishing his Army stint, Connelly hoped to land a construction job to help pay for his wife's college. They talked about moving south, to someplace warm and affordable. And they looked forward to seeing each other without webcams. "All he wanted to do was come home and start a family," Connelly's mother said. Staff writers Sharon Adarlo and Nyier Abdou contributed to this report. Army Cpl. Brian M. Connelly 26, of Union Beach, N.J.; assigned to the 40th Engineer Battalion, Task Force 1-6, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Baumholder, Germany; died Feb. 26 in Baghdad, of wounds sustained when his vehicle was struck by an explosive device. Funeral services held for newlywed N.J. soldier The Associated Press KEYPORT, N.J. — Hundreds of people attend funeral services for a fallen soldier from New Jersey, who was killed in Iraq just five months after being married. Spc. Brian M. Connelly of Union Beach died Feb. 26, after his vehicle was struck by an explosive device. The 26-year-old was assigned to the 40th Engineer Battalion, Task Force 1-6, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division based in Germany. Connelly had married his wife, Kara, last September. While speaking with her via webcam just four hours before he was killed, he told her his tour in Iraq had been shortened by three months and that he would be heading back to Germany in May. At Saturday‘s service, Connelly‘s younger brother, Kevin, said ―it‘s up to all of us to finish what he‘s left undone and to take his lessons with a humble heart.‖ Soldier ‘was everything’ to those who loved him The Associated Press Once, when Brian M. Connelly was mad at his mother, he put itching power all over her clothes. ―He loved practical jokes, anything to keep people laughing and smiling,‖ said his wife, Kara. ―He never tried anything with me. He knew better.‖ Connelly, 26, of Union Beach, N.J., died Feb. 26 in Adhamiya of wounds suffered when his vehicle was struck by an explosive device. He was assigned to Baumholder, Germany. His brother, Kevin Connelly, recalled him as rowdy, loyal and protective. He loved being on the water, raucous music, mosh pits and once saved his younger sibling from a rip tide. After graduating from high school in 2000, Connelly enrolled in Brookdale Community College, where he studied computer technology for about 18 months. He joined an electricians‘ union, then was laid off. After finishing his Army stint, Connelly hoped to land a construction job to help pay for his wife‘s college. They talked about moving south, to someplace warm and affordable, and starting a family. ―He was just awesome,‖ said his wife. ―He was good hearted. He was funny. He was everything.‖ Once, when Brian M. Connelly was mad at his mother, he put itching power all over her clothes. "He loved practical jokes, anything to keep people laughing and smiling," said his wife, Kara. "He never tried anything with me. He knew better." Connelly, 26, of Union Beach, N.J., died Feb. 26 in Adhamiya of wounds suffered when his vehicle was struck by an explosive device. He was assigned to Baumholder, Germany. His brother, Kevin Connelly, recalled him as rowdy, loyal and protective. He loved being on the water, raucous music, mosh pits and once saved his younger sibling from a rip tide. After graduating from high school in 2000, Connelly enrolled in Brookdale Community College, where he studied computer technology for about 18 months. He joined an electricians'' union, then was laid off. After finishing his Army stint, Connelly hoped to land a construction job to help pay for his wife''s college. They talked about moving south, to someplace warm and affordable, and starting a family. "He was just awesome," said his wife. "He was good hearted. He was funny. He was everything." Brian M. Connelly (Asbury Park Press) CORPORAL BRIAN M. CONNELLY UNION BEACH Corporal Brian M. Connelly, Union Beach, a combat engineer with Company A, 40th Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, died Thursday, Feb. 26, 2009, in Adhamiyah, Iraq, from injuries suffered when his vehicle was struck by an explosive device. Corporal Connelly was born Sept. 14, 1982. He graduated from Red Bank Regional High School, Red Bank in 2000, and also attended Brookdale Community College, Lincroft. Among his many interests were salt water fishing, video games and practical jokes. Corporal Connelly joined the Army in 2006. He completed basic and advanced individual training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., in January 2007. He joined the 40th Engineer Battalion, Baumholder, Germany, in January 2007 and deployed with his unit to Iraq in April 2008. His awards and decorations include the Iraqi Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon and the Overseas Service Ribbon. He has been awarded posthumously the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Army Good Conduct Medal, and the Combat Action Badge. He has been posthumously promoted to Corporal. He was predeceased by his grandparents, William and Jean Connelly; his grandmother, Barbara Dammann; and his father-in-law, Robert A. Thomas Jr. He is survived by his wife, Kara Connelly; his mother and father, Jean and Mark Dammann of Union Beach; his brother, Kevin Connelly of Union Beach; his grandfather, Carl Dammann of Holmdel; his mother-in-law, Mary Jo Cittadino of West Long Branch; his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Robert A. Thomas III and Katherine Thomas of Belmar; his aunt and uncle, Linda and Bart Babiak of Colts Neck; his aunt and uncle, Alice and Thomas Connelly of Ohio; his uncle, William Connelly of Union Beach; his cousins, Matthew and Laura Babiak of Colts Neck; his cousin, Thomas Connelly Jr.; and Thomas's daughter, Kailey, Ohio; and his cousins, Lauren and Randy Smith, and Randy's son, Sean of North Carolina. A visitation will be held for Corporal Brian M. Connelly from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, March 6, 2009 at Day Funeral Home, 361 Maple Place, Keyport. A memorial service for family and friends to honor the memory of Corporal Connelly will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 7, 2009 at the funeral home. Corporal Connelly will be buried with full military honors at Forest Green Park Cemetery, 535 Texas Road, Morganville, immediately following the memorial service. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Fisher House Foundation or to Army Emergency Relief. To donate to the Fisher House Foundation, please make checks payable to Fisher House Foundation in memory of Corporal Brian M. Connelly and mail to Fisher House Foundation, Inc., at 111 Rockville Pike, Suite 420, Rockville, MD 20850. You may also call the Fisher House Foundation to donate at 888-294-8560 or donate online at www.fisherhouse.org, again specifying that the donation is being made in memory of Corporal Brian M. Connelly. To donate to Army Emergency Relief, please make checks payable to Army Emergency Relief in memory of Corporal Brian M. Connelly and mail to Army Emergency Relief, 200 Stovall St., Room 5-N-13, Alexandria, VA 22332-0600. You may also donate online at www.aerhq.org, specifying that the donation is being made in memory of Corporal Brian M. Connelly. Sgt. Christian E. Bueno-Galdos Hometown: Paterson, New Jersey, U.S. Age: 25 years old Died: May 11, 2009 in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Unit: Army, 3rd Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 172nd Infantry Brigade, Grafenwoehr, Germany Incident: Died in Camp Liberty, Baghdad, of wounds suffered in a non-combat related incident. Army Sgt. Christian E. Bueno-Galdos, May 11, 2009 By Vinessa Erminio May 13, 2009, 11:39AM Age: 25 Hometown: Paterson Circumstances: One of five soldiers killed in a shooting at Camp Liberty in Iraq. Sgt. Bueno- Galdos was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 172nd Infantry Brigade, Grafenwoehr, Germany. Paterson family mourns soldier killed in Camp Liberty shooting in Iraq By Matt Dowling/The Star-Ledger May 13, 2009, 10:29PM ANDREW MILLS/THE STAR-LEDGER The remains of Army Sgt. Christian E. Bueno-Galdos (foreground) of Paterson are lowered from the cargo hold of a plane at Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Del. Bueno- Galdos, 25, was killed by a fellow U.S. soldier at a military stress center clinic at a base in Baghdad with four others Monday. All five killed arrived here tonight aboard a chartered Boeing 747. Sgt. Christian E. Bueno-Galdos was prepared to fight for his country. No one ever thought he would be gunned down by one of his own. Candles, a blue rosary, and a framed photo of a boyish-looking uniformed soldier with short cropped hair were carefully set up today in the small living room of the Paterson home where Bueno-Galdos grew up, as family and friends gathered to mourn a young man who had made the army his life. "He always told me he was going to be safe," sobbed his mother, Eugenia Galdos. Bueno-Galdos, 25, was killed at a military stress center clinic at a base in Baghdad with four others Monday, in a deadly soldier-on-soldier shooting involving another sergeant. The shooter was nearing the end of his third tour in Iraq. Bueno-Galdos is at least the 107th member of the armed services with ties to New Jersey to die in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. His body arrived, draped in an American flag, aboard a 747 tonight at Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Del. with the four others killed in the incident at Camp Liberty, Iraq. Army officials have released few details of the shooting, calling it only a "non-combat related incident," which remained under investigation. JENNIFER BROWN/THE STAR- LEDGERSgt. Christian E. Bueno-Galdos, 25, was a Paterson resident and one of the victims of the deadly Monday soldier-on-soldier shooting at Camp Liberty in Iraq. His family made a shrine to him at the family home in Paterson. Among those killed were Navy Cmdr. Charles Springle, 52, from Wilmington, N.C., whose specialty was treating soldiers for combat stress; Maj. Matthew Houseal, 54, a psychiatrist from Amarillo, Texas; Pfc. Michael Edward Yates Jr., 19, of Federalsburg, Md.; and Spc. Jacob D. Barton, 20, of Lenox, Mo. Charged in the shooting is 44-year-old Sgt. John M. Russell, who was said to have been deeply angry at the military. Bueno-Galdos' parents said they learned of their son's death on Monday night, when three casualty assistance officers came to the house in Paterson to give them the news. They said they had been given no explanation of what had happened. "We want people to know we're proud of our son's Army, but if my son had died in war we would be able to handle that," said his father, Carlos Bueno. "But not to die in this manner." Married without children, Bueno-Galdos was born in Arrequipa, Peru, and came to this country when he was just seven, the youngest of four -- with two brothers and a sister -- to settle with their parents in a tidy gray house with wide awnings across the street from the Passaic County road department in south Paterson. Today, yellow roses were planted in the patch of soil that served as a front yard, while black ribbon hung from the house. Inside, a picture of the brothers as youngsters, sprawled on a couch in soccer uniforms, was displayed on one wall. A pair of Army boots, veterans of Bueno- Galdos' first tour of duty in Iraq, stood guard in the front porch. The toe of one was partially chewed through by the soldier's dog, a husky named Burro who prowled the back of the house. Bueno-Galdos became a U.S. citizen while in the army, but his father, Carlos Bueno, said "he almost felt as if he was born here." Nicknamed "Chinito," he was quick to learn and spoke more English than Spanish, his father said. "He was a great kid, very studious. Almost everything that he wanted he achieved," said Bueno. " He was not the biggest guy in high school. He didn't do a lot of sports -- not really into a lot of football -- but he did always get very good grades." He went to Passaic County Technical Institute High School, the county's regional vocational school, and then began a pre-university program with the intention to study medicine, his father said, when he instead decided to go into the army. "It was a quick decision," he recalled. He joined the Army Reserves in February 2002, specializing in chemical warfare operations, and then entered active duty two years later at Fort Drum, N.Y. His family said Bueno-Galdos liked army life. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 172nd Infantry Brigade, in Grafenwoehr, Germany. While there, he bought a white 2007 Ford Mustang with blue racing stripes and had it shipped overseas. He later married a woman from Paterson, Greisyn, who was with her husband's family today. Bueno-Galdos' job involved biohazard detection and to conduct airborne chemical analysis on the battlefield, but his father said he did not talk much about what he did. He did, however, bulk up and began smoking. "Physically he changed," said Bueno. "And he had this military voice to him." Still, he would send home part of his paycheck to the family each month. After his first tour of duty in Iraq, he come home in February and told his father he had decided to sign up for another tour. "I love being in the army," he father recounted a conversation with him one morning. As he talked about his son, Bueno frequently broke down. He spoke about working 14-hour days in a clothespin factor near Teterboro Airport to bring his family here from Peru in 1992. "I gave a lot to give them a better life," he said. "I'm thankful to this country and the military which educated my son and his comrades who care for him." But as he prepared to travel to Dover Air Force Base, accompanied by two casualty assistance officers, to meet the flag-draped coffin of his son, the father, dressed in black, said sadly, "I'll never be able to get back my son." Paterson soldier slain at Camp Liberty shooting wanted to study medicine By Katherine Santiago/The Star-Ledger May 13, 2009, 1:44PM The Department of Defense today identified Paterson resident Sgt. Christian E. Bueno-Galdos as one of the five victims of the deadly shooting Monday at Camp Liberty in Iraq. Bueno-Galdos is survived by his wife, Greisyn Bueno, his mother, Eugenia Galdos, his father, Carlos Bueno, two brothers and a sister. "We will never forget him," said his mother. "He was always a very good kid, and we love him a lot." Bueno-Galdos, 25, the second youngest of four children, emigrated from Mollendo, Peru when he was about 7 years old. "He was a great kid, very studious," said Carlos Bueno, his father. "Almost everything that he wanted, he achieved." Bueno-Galdos was considering studying pre-med, but decided to enlist in the U.S. Army Reserves after graduating from high school. "He always told me he was going to be safe," said his mother. JENNIFER BROWN/THE STAR-LEDGER The family of Sgt. Christian E. Bueno-Galdos mourns his in their Paterson home. His brother Carlos Bueno-Galdos, left center, his mother Eugenia Galdos and his father Carlos Bueno, accept condolences from Paterson police officers. Bueno-Galdos was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 172nd Infantry Brigade, Grafenwoehr, Germany; this was his second tour in Iraq. "SSG Bueno-Galdos was an excellent leader," said Bruce Anderson, a spokesman for the U.S. Army, in an e-mail. "His dedication to duty, to his family and to his faith was an inspiration to us all. His love for country and friends were a model for all of us to follow. His presence will be missed by all the soldiers of the Task Force Black Knights." Bueno-Galdos's awards include: Army Commendation Medal (Two Oak Leave Cluster), Army Good Conduct medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraqi Campaign Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, and Overseas Service Ribbon. Camp Liberty, where the deadly shooting took place in Baghdad, is operated by the 55th Medical Company, a Reserve unit headquartered in Indianapolis. The other victims were Navy Cmdr. Charles Springle, Pfc, 52; Michael Edward Yates Jr., 19, of Federalsburg, Md.; Spc. Jacob D. Barton, 20, of Lenox, Mo.; and Maj. Matthew Houseal, 54, a psychiatrist from Amarillo, Texas. Sgt. John Russell, 44, of Sherman, Texas, was taken into custody outside a mental health clinic at Camp Liberty following Monday's shooting and charged with five counts of murder and one of aggravated assault, Maj. Gen. David Perkins said. The case, the deadliest of the war involving soldier-on-soldier violence, has cast a spotlight on combat stress and emotional problems resulting from frequent deployments to battle zones in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Associated Press contributed to this report. Paterson soldier is named as one of victims in deadly Iraq shooting By Paul Cox/The Star-Ledger May 13, 2009, 11:40AM The Department of Defense today identified a Paterson resident as one of the victims of the deadly soldier-on-soldier shooting Monday in in a clinic in Iraq. Sgt. Christian E. Bueno-Galdos, 25, was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 172nd Infantry Brigade, Grafenwoehr, Germany. Sgt. John Russell, 44, of Sherman, Texas, was taken into custody outside a mental health clinic at Camp Liberty following Monday's shooting and charged with five counts of murder and one of aggravated assault, Maj. Gen. David Perkins said. The case, the deadliest of the war involving soldier-on-soldier violence, has cast a spotlight on combat stress and emotional problems resulting from frequent deployments to battle zones in Iraq and Afghanistan. The other victims were Navy Cmdr. Charles Springle, Pfc, 52; Michael Edward Yates Jr., 19, of Federalsburg, Md.; Spc. Jacob D. Barton, 20, of Lenox, Mo.; and Maj. Matthew Houseal, 54, a psychiatrist from Amarillo, Texas. Springle made a career of treating soldiers for combat stress caused by frequent deployments to battle zones. He also tried to fight the stigma that can prevent those who need mental help from seeking it. AP This U.S. Army photo made available via the family shows U.S. Army Sgt. John M. Russell. He was deployed at a U.S. military clinic in Baghdad, Iraq, counseling service members when a sergeant finishing up his third tour of duty allegedly shot and killed him and four other comrades. The deadliest case of the war involving soldier-on-soldier violence starkly shows the struggle Springle and his colleagues face dealing with the emotional problems suffered by some soldiers repeatedly deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Courtesy of U.S. Army Christian E. Bueno-Galdos in an undated photo. "He regarded it as very important work," said Bob Goodale, a friend of Springle's and director of behavioral mental health for the Chapel Hill, N.C.-based Citizen-Soldier Support Program. "We all who work in this know that it is difficult. This is an example of how difficult." A commander since 2002, Springle went by his middle name of "Keith" and had been in the Navy for 21 years. A Navy spokesman at the Pentagon said Springle left behind a wife and two children in Wilmington. Goodale and Springle had worked together on a presentation that outlines potential traumas experienced by service members who have done multiple tours and the barriers that can keep them from being treated. "We have to find better ways to reduce the stigma," Goodale said Tuesday. "To work on the acceptance of combat stress as a real thing. It has been for centuries, and we must persevere." Houseal also treated people with psychological problems in his dozen years with the Texas Panhandle Mental Health and Mental Retardation clinic, said executive director Bud Schertler. "He was dedicated to his patients. He was a family man, very thorough diagnostician. We couldn't ask for a better psychiatrist," Schertler said. Schertler said Houseal's wife confirmed his death. He said Houseal had volunteered to go back to assist in Iraq and was called up for duty. He did not know Houseal's rank or what branch of the service he was in, but said he had six children. Yates' mother, Shawna Machlinski, said two Army representatives came to her home on Maryland's Eastern Shore and said her son was killed by what they called "friendly fire." Machlinski, who last spoke to her son on Mother's Day, said he had talked about the alleged shooter, 44-year-old Sgt. John M. Russell, who Yates said was deeply angry at the military. "He said, 'Man, this guy's got issues,'" said Machlinski. She said her son wasn't more specific about Russell's problems and that he told her he got along with him. The clinic in Baghdad is operated by the 55th Medical Company, a Reserve unit headquartered in Indianapolis. Capt. Adam Jackson, a spokesman for the unit, said Tuesday he could release no information on the clinic shooting or the people involved. Machlinski said Yates, who had a 1-year-old son, was being treated at the clinic because he was having difficulty readjusting to life in Iraq after visiting Maryland for most of April, when he seemed angry and distant. "I think he just had a lot on his mind and had a hard time adjusting to civilian life," she said. Machlinski said that while she was angry at Russell, she was angrier at the military for not doing more to intervene and that she could understand the stress Russell must have been under. "I do have some sympathy and I do know that I can forgive him," Machlinski said. "I kind of blame the Army for not protecting my son. Someone should have helped this sergeant way before he got this bad." -The Associated Press contributed to this report. Christian E. Bueno-Galdos never made a trip to the corner bodega without a group of neighborhood children tailing him, knowing he would buy them candy or a soda. It was the same in Iraq, where he was on his second tour. "We will never forget him," said his mother, Eugenia Galdos. "He was always a very good kid, and we love him a lot." Bueno-Galdos, 25, of Paterson, N.J., was one of five killed May 11 by an Army sergeant at a mental health clinic at Baghdad. He was assigned to Grafenwoehr, Germany. He was 7 when his family emigrated from Mollendo, Peru, for better economic opportunities. The youngest of four children, "Chinito," became a U.S. citizen in high school and joined the Army as soon as he graduated. Bueno-Galdos began a pre-university program with the intention to study medicine, said his father, Carlos Bueno. Then, suddenly, he switched gears and went into the military. He also is survived by his wife, Greisyn. "He was a great kid, very studious. Almost everything that he wanted he achieved," said Bueno. Pvt. Bradley W. Iorio Hometown: Galloway, New Jersey, U.S. Age: 19 years old Died: May 29, 2009 in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Unit: Army, Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Tex. Incident: Died at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany, of injuries suffered from a non-combat related incident in Tallil, Iraq. Galloway man dies while serving in Iraq By Michael Rispoli/The Star-Ledger June 01, 2009, 9:32PM A soldier from southern New Jersey has died of injuries suffered in Iraq, the Department of Defense announced today. Pvt. Bradley W. Iorio, 19, died Friday at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, a U.S. military hospital in Germany. Iorio, a resident of Galloway Township in Atlantic County, had been injured two days earlier in Tallil, Iraq, about 190 miles southeast of Baghdad. The military released little information about the incident, saying only that it was not combat- related. A spokeswoman at Fort Bliss, Texas, where Iorio was based before his deployment, could provide no additional information. Reached at home earlier this evening, Iorio's mother declined to comment. Anthony Librizzi, a family friend who coached Iorio in youth soccer, said the teen joined the Army after graduating from Absegami High School in Galloway as a means of paying for college and pursuing a medical degree. "He was looking for an avenue to become a doctor, and he thought he could serve his country and go into the medical field at the same time," said Librizzi, 56, a retired police detective who broke down in tears as he spoke of Iorio. "This kid was a perfect kid, and I don't know anybody who couldn't say he was a blessing to the world. It's just a tremendous loss." At the high school, Iorio was an active member of the drama club, designing and building sets for productions, said Chip Garrison, a drama teacher and the club's supervisor. "He was quite a leader for our organization," Garrison said. "He was very talented in stage design. I was trying to push him into a career in stage design, but he had plans. He was going to join the military, and he believed that would help him pay for college." Iorio was assigned to a support battalion of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, part of the 1st Armored Division. The Fort Bliss spokeswoman said Iorio had deployed to Iraq in the past two months. Iorio made some reference to his service on his MySpace page. On May 26, a day before his injury, he wrote that he was learning the noncommissioned officers' creed. Librizzi said Iorio would have made a "fine officer" had he chosen to remain with the army. "He was so smart," Librizzi said. Iorio was at least the 108th armed service member with ties to New Jersey to die in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Army Pvt. Bradley W. Iorio is laid to rest with military honors Absegami thespian will forever be the community‘s ‗angel‘ waiting backstage Jun, 10-2009 11:08 am By STEVE PRISAMENT Staff Writer GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP – Vincent Iorio told about 250 people at his brother‘s funeral about going to a Christian music festival last summer with Bradley, who died last week from injuries suffered in the military in Iraq. ―We stood up on stage with all the staff for the candlelight vigil and got to share a view of 75,000 candles lighted over a field,‖ Iorio said at the funeral Monday, June 8 at Trinity Alliance Church. ―We felt like we were on top of the world. Whenever you were with Brad, you felt like you were on top of the world.‖ Iorio, speaking after his other brother, teachers and friends, said it was time to say good night. ―Goodbye just seems too final. Now I have an angel to watch over me, to help me be on top of the world forever.‖ Pvt. Bradley W. Iorio, 19, died May 29 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany, from an injury suffered May 27 that was unrelated to combat. It was just six days after he arrived in Tallil, Iraq. The Army arranged for his parents and brothers to be at his bedside when he passed. Born in Freehold Township, Iorio moved to the Smithville section of Galloway Township in 1996 with his family and graduated from Absegami High School in 2008. He enlisted in August. According to an obituary prepared by the family, he loved Legos, Cub Scouts, video and computer games, which he played with his brother Rick; soccer, hockey, Absegami‘s drama troupe the Emanon Players, his church youth group, camping with Vincent at Creation – the festival where they stood atop the world, ―haunting the Village on Halloween, and one day owning his dream Mustang.‖ With the Emanon Players he traveled to England and Scotland, was named National Honor Thespian, and received the MacGyver Award, the Door Knob Award, the Emanon Players Backstage Award twice, and Absegami‘s Best Thespian award his senior year. ―Quiet by nature, Bradley never sat silently when a friend was in need,‖ the obituary reads. ―He had the ability to lighten a serious moment with his amazing sense of humor.‖ Hundreds passed his casket at viewings Saturday, June 6 and before the services Monday at the Wimberg Funeral Home in Egg Harbor City. Led by a military honor guard and motorcycle-riding veterans followed by about two dozen vehicles and escorted by Galloway Township police, the casket was transported the six miles to the church for an 11 a.m. service. Assistant pastor and youth group leader Jeffrey Conley said it was not a time for tears. ―Brad would want us to celebrate his life,‖ Conley said. He said there were three characteristics he associated with Bradley Iorio. ―First,‖ Conley said, ―Brad had two speeds: 110 percent and sleep.‖ The second characteristic was a propensity for suffering minor injuries. ―He wouldn‘t get hurt climbing or swinging – doing something dangerous,‖ the minister said. ―But he‘d be standing and suddenly his foot hurt.‖ The third, Conley said, was that Iorio was searching for something, and he found the object of his search through religion. Vincent Iorio said Bradley was the best brother anyone could ever ask for. ―I‘m so lucky I got to call him mine. Growing up he was quiet, but his heart had a lot to say. It‘s funny to hear that one of the only places he should have been quiet he was really loud – offstage in the wings, cheering everyone on.‖ His brother touched many in his 19 years, he said. After speaking of the silly faces Bradley would make and how he brought the family together, Iorio closed with some words to his brother. ―Keep watching over us Brad,‖ he said. ―I love you. I know I‘ll see you again someday. You now wait in the wings for us to walk off the stage one last time. But for now, thank you for everything. Rest easy and good night – or as I found out you liked to say, see ya later.‖ Most of those at the funeral walked behind the hearse about a quarter-mile from the church to Germania Cemetery for Iorio‘s burial with military honors following a gun salute. Bradley Iorio is survived by his mother, Laura, of Galloway Township, his father, James (Cheryl), of Middletown, and his brothers Richard (Tish) of Orange, Calif., and Vincent of Galloway Township. He was predeceased by his maternal grandfather David Williams and survived by his grandmother Bernice Williams, Uncle Dave, Aunt Judie and cousins Loren, Ashleigh, Frank and D.J. He was also predeceased by his paternal grandfather Anthony Iorio and survived by his grandmother Claire, Uncle Lenny (Roberta), cousins Liam and Isabella, and extended family members too numerous to name. Donations may be made to Trinity Alliance Church or TAPS, an organization that helps children whose parents have died in this war. Checks can be made payable to TAPS, Note: Bradley Iorio c/o Ellen Lee, Nuance Comm., 23 Christopher Way, Eatontown N.J. 07724. VIGIL HELD AT FALLEN SOLDIER'S ALMA MATER Christina Stolfo ( ) - 6/8/09 10:32 pm Last Updated - 6/9/09 05:11 pm GALLOWAY TWP.--Family and friends gathered tonight in honor of a local soldier who died last month, while serving in Iraq. A candlelight vigil was held tonight at Absegami High School in loving memory of Army Private Brad Iorio. The soldier died May 29th in Germany, after suffering injuries from a non-combat related incident in Iraq. The Galloway Township native graduated from Absegami just last year. Iorio was laid to rest this morning at the age of 19. Bradley W. Iorio IORIO, BRADLEY W. 19 - of Galloway, died on May 29, 2009 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany from a non-combat related injury suffered on May 27, 2009, six days after arriving in Tallil, Iraq. The Army saw to it that his parents and brothers were there with him. Born in Freehold Township, he moved to Smithville in 1996 and graduated from Absegami High School in 2008. PV2 Iorio enlisted in August. Bradley loved his Legos, cub scouts, video and computer games (playing with his brother Rick), soccer, hockey, the Emanon Players, his youth group, camping with his brother Vinnie at Creation, haunting the Village on Halloween, and one day owning his dream Mustang. With the Emanon Players he traveled to England and Scotland, received National Honor Thespian, The McGyver Award, The Door Knob Award, The Emanon Players Backstage Award twice and Absegami's Best Thespian. His Friends and those his life touched, will miss him. Quiet by nature, Brad never sat silently when a Friend was in need. He had the ability to lighten a serious moment with his amazing sense of humor. He is predeceased by his maternal grandfather, David Williams and his paternal grandfather, Anthony Iorio. Bradley is survived by his mother, Laura, his father, James (Cheryl), Middletown and his brothers, Richard (Tish), Orange, CA. and Vincent, Smithville; his maternal grandmother, Bernice Williams, Uncle Dave, Aunt Judie and cousins, Loren, Ashleigh, Frank and DJ; his paternal grandmother, Claire, Uncle Lenny (Roberta) and cousins, Liam and Isabella. Too numerous to name, Brad's extended Family is also grieving his sudden passing. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Trinity Alliance Church or the following organization that helps children whose parents have died in this war. Checks payable to: TAPS Note: Bradley Iorio c/o Ellen Lee, Nuance Comm. 23 Christopher Way, Eatontown N.J. 07724. A public viewing for Friends will be held on Saturday, June 6 from 2:00 to 6:00pm at Wimberg Funeral Home, 400 Liverpool Ave., Egg Harbor City N.J. A private Family viewing will be held on Sunday, June 7 from 3:00 to 7:00pm. A final viewing will take place on Monday, June 8, from 9:00 to 10:30am at the Wimberg Funeral Home with services at Trinity Alliance Church, 101 S. Cologne Ave., Egg Harbor City, N.J. at 11:00am. Interment will immediately follow at the Germania Cemetery on Moss Mill Road and Vienna Avenue, Galloway. Friends are invited to Trinity Alliance Church after the burial. Arrangements have been entrusted to Wimberg Funeral Home, 400 Liverpool Avenue, Egg Harbor City, NJ 609-965-0357. For condolences or directions, please visit wimbergfuneralhome.com Staff Sgt. Andrew T. Lobosco Hometown: Somerville, New Jersey, U.S. Age: 29 years old Died: August 22, 2009 in Operation Enduring Freedom. Unit: Army, 2nd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C. Incident: Died in Yakhchal, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit. Army Staff Sgt. Andrew T. Lobosco, August 22, 2009 By Vinessa Erminio/The Star-Ledger September 04, 2009, 10:40AM Age: 29 Hometown: Somerville Circumstances: Died in the town of Yakhchal, Afghanistan from wounds he suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit. Family, friends mourn soldier from Somerville killed in Afghanistan by Amy Ellis Nutt/The Star-Ledger Tuesday August 25, 2009, 7:55 AM He was the first person to come to your defense, and the last person to leave a job that was not yet finished, his friends said. That was why he joined the military. Army Staff Sgt. Andrew T. Lobosco, 29, of Somerville, died Saturday in Yakhchal, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit. He had been assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, N.C., and was at least the 107th armed services member with ties to New Jersey to die in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Andrew Mills/The Star-LedgerWearing white gloves, an elite U.S. Army "carry team" remove the remains of Army Staff Sgt. Andrew Lobosco of Somerville from an Air Force C-17 aircraft during a transfer ceremony at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. New Jersey's fallen servicemen "It's mind-blowing that this could happen," said Jeff Mosier, 29, a friend of Lobosco's from Immaculata High School in Somerville. "He was a truly special, remarkable human being." Mosier, who lives in New York City and who said he last spoke with Lobosco several months ago, was frequently in touch with him online, through Facebook. He said Lobosco last updated his profile five days ago, with these words: "What you are is what you have been, and what you will be is what you do now." Today, Lobosco's mother, Bonnie Jo, who lives in Pennsylvania, and his twin, Lisa, from Minnesota, were on their way to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware where the remains of their son and brother arrived aboard an Air Force C-17 military jet shortly after 6 p.m. Lisa Lobosco received word of her brother's death about 6 p.m. Sunday, said her fiancée, Jason Safar. They were both on the front lawn when two men from the military approached them with the news. "We knew right away," Safar said. "We were very proud of him. He was somebody everybody looked up to." Safar and Lisa Lobosco were waiting to get married until her brother's return. Lobosco had visited his sister last month, on July 4th, and the two went hiking in the mountains, Safar said. Six days later, he re-deployed to Afghanistan. Safar said it was at least his second or third time overseas. "He wanted to serve his country after 9/11," Safar said. Mosier remembered his friend as someone who could be "light-hearted" and "knew how to have a good time" -- the two friends were both in bands in high school -- but Lobosco was also disciplined, and passionate about helping others. "He was fearless," Mosier said. "He couldn't tell me a lot, but I knew he physically saved people's lives while he was there." News of Lobosco's death also shook Bonnie Jo Lobosco's neighbors in Forks Township, Pa., just outside of Easton. "A mother has to have this possibility in the back of her mind when her son goes to war, said Nancy Kopin, fighting back tears. "But you never think it's going to happen so close to home." Kopin said her neighbor and friend often spoke of her son, describing him as "wonderful" and "happy-go-lucky." "This just never should have happened," she said. "He was a conscientious, but had a sense of humor," said Sister Karen, who taught Lobosco theology his freshman year at Immaculata. She remembered her former student, who graduated in 1998, as an expert in martial arts, and once performed in a school talent show, along with his sister who was a student at Bridgewater-Raritan High School. "They were doing karate with fire," she said. "It was amazing." Jan DeVito, a former art teacher at Immaculata, agreed. "He was just a really nice kid," she said. Lobosco was not currently in a relationship, according to Kopin, but had previously expresssed a desire to get married and have children, because he was the last man in his family to carry on the Lobosco name. "I really believe Andy was there to try and make things better," Mosier said. "He was always the first person to come to your defense if you needed him. He was always in your corner. He was special. ... There was so much brightness. I hope people remember that, and he doesn't just vanish into the numbers." The Express-Times of Easton, Pa., contributed to this report. Memorial services to begin Monday for fallen N.J. soldier By Tomas Dinges August 29, 2009, 6:27PM Memorial services begin Monday for Army Staff Sgt. Andrew T. Lobosco, 29, a native of Somerville and a Special Forces medic who was killed in a firefight in southern Afghanistan on Aug. 22. Visitation hours are from 7 - 9 p.m. on Monday, and from 2 - 4 p.m. and 7 - 9 p.m on Tuesday at Higgins Home for Funerals, 752 Mountain Blvd., Watchung. A funeral mass will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Blessed Sacrament Church, 1890 Washington Valley Road, in the Martinsville section of Bridgewater. Lobosco served with 2nd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) of Fort Bragg, NC, and was in the second month of his second deployment when he was killed. He was last in the United States in July and went on a hiking trip with his sister. Lobosco, who grew up in Bridgewater, was involved in his community and church. When he suggested to his father a couple of months ago that they organize a drive to collect crutches and wheelchairs for the residents of Afghanistan there was a tremendous response. In June a tractor-trailer loaded with more than a thousand of the items left Bridgewater for Fort Bragg, bound eventually for Afghanistan. Lobosco, who grew up in Bridgewater, was involved in his community and church. When he suggested to his father a couple of months ago that they organize a drive to collect crutches and wheelchairs for the residents of Afghanistan there was a tremendous response. In June a tractor-trailer loaded with more than a thousand of the items left Bridgewater for Fort Bragg, bound eventually for Afghanistan. Lobosco wanted the people there to know "Americans care about them," said the Rev. Msgr. Eugene Prus, a pastor who gave him his first communion and who will preside over the funeral mass on Wednesday. For Lobosco "it was more than just fighting a battle," he said. Lobosco's body will be buried in the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia next Wednesday. He was at least the 107th armed services member with ties to New Jersey to die in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Somerville soldier killed in Afghanistan is mourned by family, friends By Katherine Santiago/The Star-Ledger September 02, 2009, 7:36PM BRIDGEWATER -- The sides of the valley in the Nuristan Province in northeast Afghanistan were so steep the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter carrying Staff Sgt. Andrew T. Lobosco and a team of Afghan border police he was leading could place only one wheel on the landing pad, the roof of a home. Lobosco was second off the helicopter, quickly demonstrating to his commanding officers an instinct for action. For the nighttime mission, which involved at least 12 other helicopters, his job was to clear the southeast part of the village of insurgents. "Everywhere you looked, he was there," Chief Warrant Officer Dennis Guy recalled today. Lobosco led searches of homes, provided security, and secured prisoners in that mission. "He was just one of those guys who knew what to do next without being told," Guy said. The story was one of many his fellow soldiers recalled today as funeral services were held for Lobosco, a Bridgewater native and special forces medic who was killed Aug. 22 in a small- arms firefight while on a foot patrol near the town of Yakhchal, in southern Afghanistan. "He was definitely a warrior, and he loved his job,"said Staff Sgt. Jarrett Warr, 25, a communications specialist who served on the special forces team with Lobosco. "He didn't like being on the base, he liked being on missions." Assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, N.C., the 29-year-old Lobosco was in the sixth week of his second deployment when he was was killed. He was at least the 107th armed services member with ties to New Jersey to die in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. His death comes as more and more U.S. soldiers are waging war in Afghanistan on foot patrols. August was the deadliest month for U.S. and NATO forces in the country since the Afghan conflict began in 2001. Lobosco's two-hour funeral ceremony at the Blessed Sacrament Church in the Martinsville section of Bridgewater, was held on a bright, cloudless day. Two large American flags hung over Washington Valley Road as a procession of 36 motorcyclists, police cars and a pipe-and- drum band led the black hearse to the church in mid-morning. Dozens of residents, including several Boy Scouts, came out to pay their respect for the fallen soldier. They stood at attention, some holding flags, as the hearse slowly passed. Hundreds of friends and family filled the pews of the church, where Lobosco made his First Communion and served as an altar boy. Lobosco's fellow soldiers sat in a pew to the right of the casket, which was draped first in an American flag and then in a cream-colored pall. Family members, including Lobosco's mother, father and twin sister, sat to the left. "Andy was one of our boys," said the Rev. Msgr. Eugene Prus, who deliverd the eulogy during the Mass. "He developed a compassion for his fellow human beings that was really a marvel." While home on a visit this past spring, Lobosco organized a succesful drive to collet canes, crutches and wheelchairs to be sent to Afghanistan. Lobosco, he said, "was never one to stand on the sidelines and watch. That was "something that was part of Andy and something he took with him until the day he died." In Afghanistan, Lobosco was the junior of two medics on the 12-team special forces operational detachment. He was responsible for maintaining the health of his team, giving soldiers routine shots, tracking their medical records and treating their wounds. He was the first medic out of the base to treat Afghan civilians wounded by errant mortars aimed at American forces and even treated enemy combatants in battle, said the soldiers who served with him. Lobosco was a sharp shot as rear gunner and developed a passion for weapons that he had hoped to bring home with him. He talked about someday building guns, his fellow soldiers said. He qualified to be a special forces medic in 2007, completing a training course that is the longest and one of the most difficult in special forces. Special Forces soldiers, also known as Green Berets, are an elite part of the Army that historically have gone deep into a combat zone to train and fight with allied local forces. They operate in teams of 12 soldiers and are known for being highly autonomous and self- sufficient. Capt. Marcus Hunter, 33, his commanding officer, said Lobosco was a dedicated medic who also was eager to learn the specialties of other soldiers. "He truly set the example of what it means to be a team member," Hunter said. Staff Sgt. Andrew T. Lobosco Andrew T. Lobosco Staff Sergeant Staff Sgt. Andrew Thomas Lobosco, age 29, of Somerville, NJ was killed in action on Saturday, August 22, 2009 while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. He was born in Somerville and had lived in Bridgewater, NJ. Andrew graduated in 1998 from Immaculata High School in Somerville, NJ. He attended Raritan Valley Community College and received his Associates Degree. He joined the Army in 2003 and was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, NC. He earned the distinction of being a Green Beret in January 2007. Survivors: Parents, Bonnie Kostiuk Lobosco and Robert Lobosco; twin sister, Lisa of MN; grandfather, Joseph M. Kostiuk and his extended family. Services: A funeral Mass will be held on Wednesday, September 2, 2009 at Blessed Sacrament Church in Martinsville, NJ. Visitation will be on Monday from 7-9 and on Tuesday from 2-4 & 7-9. He will receive full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery where he will be interred on September 9th. Contributions: In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Special Forces Association at P.O. Box 4136, Fayetteville, NC 28309-1436 or at www.specialforcesassociation.org/donations.php. To send condolences, please go to www.higginsfuneralhome.com. Published in Morning Call on August 29, 2009 Sgt. Michael P. Scusa Hometown: Villas, New Jersey, U.S. Age: 22 years old Died: October 3, 2009 in Operation Enduring Freedom. Unit: Army, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo. Incident: Died in Kamdesh, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their contingency outpost with small arms, rocket-propelled grenade and indirect fires. Fallen Jersey soldier was known for his military passion By Tomas Dinges/The Star-Ledger October 07, 2009, 12:26PM Instead of the mundane announcements normally read over the intercom at Lower Cape May Regional High School, there was a moment of silence yesterday for a 2005 graduate - someone remembered for his quiet respect and "yes, ma'am" and "no, ma'am" way of addressing teachers. The student, Army Spc. Michael P. Scusa of Villas had died in Afghanistan days earlier. Seven former students, all members of the New Jersey National Guard, had safely returned from their recent deployment to Iraq. Another former student returned missing a limb. But this was the first military death of an alumnus. Scusa, who would have turned 23 on Monday, was killed along with seven other U.S. soldiers on Saturday during a fierce daylong attack by as many as 200 insurgents in a forward operating base deep in the mountains of Afghanistan, according to military officials. He is the 109th service member with ties to New Jersey to have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. "We pay the price with our young men," said Bert Kern, the assistant principal at Lower Cape May Regional. "We all miss him." Scusa was a nice kid who always wanted to go into the military, Kern said, adding "he basically stayed under the radar." As a teenager, Scusa would load up a backpack with bricks and jog through his neighborhood, David Shuhart, a family friend, told the Press of Atlantic City. He was impassioned about joining the Army. "That is all he ever said he wanted to do," said Valerie Davis, his math teacher in the 11th and 12th grades. A month after graduating from high school, he was in basic training. After his first tour of duty, he returned to Davis' class, in uniform, to talk to her students about what his life was like. Scusa entertained questions about the social life and the heat, but also serious ones about the danger. "He made it seem that it wasn't as bad as it was on TV," Davis said. Still, he told his teacher, he would wait until after the holidays to tell his mother he had re-enlisted. Stationed in Fort Carson, Colo., he got married there about 18 months ago, Shuhart said. He and his wife, Alyssa, had a son, Connor. Scusa, who was attached to the 4th Brigade Combat Team, died in a firefight that marked the greatest loss of life for the brigade in a single battle in Iraq or Afghanistan. The mountainous outpost was in the final stages of withdrawing from the position, according to the military officials speaking to the Gazette of Colorado Springs. Scusa's death came days from the eighth anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan by the United States and amid high-level deliberations about military strategy in the region. His body was returned to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware early yesterday morning in a solemn procession with the bodies of five other soldiers and 50 relatives, according to the Associated Press. A single child wailed on the crisp, sunny day. In Fort Carson, on the door of the home where he lived, a wreath and a yellow ribbon hung with Scusa's name. Tomas Dinges may be reached at (973) 392-1544 or email@example.com. Army Sgt. Michael P. Scusa 22, of Villas, N.J.; assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.; died Oct. 3 in Kamdesh, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his contingency outpost with small arms, rocket-propelled grenade and indirect fires. Also killed were Sgt. Justin T. Gallegos, Spc. Christopher T. Griffin, Sgt. Joshua M. Hardt, Sgt. Joshua J. Kirk, Spc. Stephan L. Mace, Staff Sgt. Vernon W. Martin and Pfc. Kevin C. Thomson. Carson honors 15 killed in Afghanistan By Dan Elliott The Associated Press FORT CARSON, Colo. — Fort Carson paid somber tribute Wednesday to 15 of its soldiers killed in Afghanistan last month, the worst single month for combat deaths the post has endured since the Vietnam War. Eight soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division were killed in a single battle on Oct. 3, and seven soldiers from the 4th Engineer Battalion were killed in three separate incidents. The 4th Infantry soldiers were honored at a service in the Soldiers‘ Memorial Chapel at midday. A second service was scheduled later in the day for the others. Chuckles rippled through the nearly full chapel as letters were read from soldiers still in Afghanistan recounting the fallen troops‘ lives and praising their bravery and friendship. ―I would have followed that man straight to hell if he thought it was a good idea,‖ one letter said of Sgt. Joshua T. Kirk, 30, of South Portland, Maine. Maj. Dan Chandler said each of the eight 4th Infantry soldiers enlisted after the terrorist Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. ―They were helping to make a difference when they were taken from us,‖ he said. The others killed in that battle were Staff Sgt. Justin T. Gallegos, 27, of Tucson, Ariz.; Staff Sgt. Vernon W. Martin, 25, Savannah, Ga.; Sgt. Joshua M. Hardt, 24, Applegate, Calif.; Sgt. Michael P. Scusa, 22, Villas, N.J.; Spc. Christopher T. Griffin, 24, Kincheloe, Mich.; Spc. Stephan L. Mace, 21, Lovettsville, Va.; and Pfc. Kevin C. Thomson, 22, Reno, Nev. Across the front of the chapel, each fallen soldier was represented in the Army tradition with his portrait, a pair of boots and an M-4 rifle, standing muzzle-down with a helmet resting atop it and dog tags dangling from the pistol grip. The boots had spurs with black straps, signifying the eight were members of a cavalry regiment. A soldier sobbed quietly at the back of the chapel as Sgt. Major Leslie Frye called the roll, pausing silently after he twice called out the name of each man killed. Outside the chapel, seven riflemen fired three volleys in a 21-gun salute, and a bugle played taps. Army Secretary John McHugh attended the service but didn‘t speak. He was also scheduled to attend the second service and then hold a news conference. The 4th Engineer Battalion soldiers were Staff Sgt. Glen H. Stivison Jr., 34, of Blairsville, Pa.; Spc. Kevin O. Hill, 23, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Spc. Jesus O. Flores, 28, La Mirada, Calif.; Spc. Daniel C. Lawson, 33, of Deerfield Beach, Fla.; Spc. Eric N. Lembke, 25, Tampa, Fla.; Spc. Kimble A. Han, 30, Lehi, Utah; and Pfc. Brandon M. Styer, 19, Lancaster, Pa. Fort Carson says 32 soldiers from the post have been killed in Afghanistan and 255 have been killed in Iraq. Officials said they did not know the exact month and year when the post had more soldiers killed in combat but said it was in Vietnam.
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