Documents
Resources
Learning Center
Upload
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out

2005

VIEWS: 45 PAGES: 126

									                                        2005
                                 Specialist Jeff LeBrun




                          Hometown: Buffalo, New York
                                 Age: 21 years old
                Died: January 1, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
 Unit: Army-2nd Battalion-15th Field Artillery Regiment-10th Mountain Division
                      (Light Infantry)-Fort Drum-New York
      Incident: Killed when his vehicle struck a makeshift bomb in Baghdad.

Jeff LeBrun traveled under the World Trade Center on the subway on his way to school
each day. When the twin towers toppled, LeBrun decided that he would rise to the
defense of his country. "The reason why he and me joined was because of 9-11," said his
brother Stanley LeBrun, who is also in the military. LeBrun, 21, of Buffalo, N.Y., was
killed Jan. 1 by an explosive in Baghdad.

He was based at Fort Drum. LeBrun quit his computer studies to join the Army. He
wanted to ease the financial strain on his parents, who are Haitian immigrants. His father
Joseph, a painter, has a bad back after years of work as a welder, and his mother Daniela
makes sandwiches at the Orlando Sentinel cafeteria. LeBrun was a science-fiction fan
who friends remembered as funny and vibrant. "He was a really, really, really sweet,
sweet young man," his mother said. "I am lost now."


                         Private 1st Class Kenneth G. Vonronn




                       Hometown: Bloomingburg, New York
                                 Age: 20 years old
                 Died: January 6, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
   Unit: Army National Guard-Headquarters and Headquarters Company-1st
 Battalion- 69th Infantry Regiment-42nd Infantry Division-Army National Guard-
                                    New York
  Incident: Killed when a roadside bomb exploded under their Bradley Fighting
                               Vehicle in Baghdad.

Skinny but strong, Kenneth VonRonn shrugged off pain. When shrapnel hit him during
fighting last year, he joked that the action figure he regularly stuck in his flak jacket was
the one who got hurt. "Batman took it for me," he said. VonRonn, 20, of Bloomingburg,
N.Y., died Jan. 6 in a roadside bomb blast outside the village of Awad al-Hussein, north
of Baghdad.

He was based in New York and is survived by his wife, Kira. A strong-willed joker,
VonRonn's childhood was filled with hiking, shooting, model making and practical jokes.
He joined the National Guard after graduating from high school in 2003, at first hiding
his enlistment from Kira, his sweetheart since sixth grade. He became a medic with an
eye toward becoming a registered nurse, then a pediatrician. "He wanted to finish school,
settle down and have a normal life that didn't involve war," said his best friend, Dan
Boen. On the day he died, VonRonn spoke to his wife but cut the conversation short. "He
said, 'I have to go on a mission. It will last only eight hours and then I will call you,'" she
said. "It was only supposed to be eight hours."

Sgt. Kenneth VonRonn
Sgt. Kenneth VonRonn of Walker Valley and Bloomingburg, NY, a SGT in the Army,
Company D, 101 St. Calvary, Newburgh, NY and a lifetime resident of the area, died
January 6, 2005 in Iraq. He was 20.

The son of Raymond VonRonn and Debra Jackson VonRonn, he was born September 29,
1984 in West Palm Beach, FL. He was a member of the Trinity Lutheran Church,
Walden, NY. He was a 2003 graduate of Pine Bush Central High School. He was the
husband of Kira Conklin VonRonn.

Survivors include his beloved wife at home; his loving parents, Raymond of Australia
and Debra of Walker Valley; his loving sisters, Gina, Courtney and Samantha of Walker
Valley; his loving grandmother, Maria VonRonn of Walker Valley, many aunts, uncles,
cousins and friends.

Visitation will be on Thursday, January 13, and Friday, January 14 from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9
p.m. at William M. Gagan Funeral Home, 1525 Burlingham Rd., Pine Bush, NY.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, January 15 at 11 a.m. at the William M. Gagan
Funeral Home. The Rev. Raymond Cummings will officiate. Burial, with full military
honors, will be in Sullivan County Veterans Cemetery, Liberty, NY.

Memorial contributions may be made to USO World Headquarters, Department W.S.
P.O. Box 96860, Washington D.C. 20090-96860. Arrangements were made by the
William M. Gagan Funeral Home, Inc., 1525 Burlingham Rd., Pine Bush, NY. For
directions go to www.wmgaganfuneralhome.com

Published in the Times Herald-Record on 1/13/2005.


                            Sergeant Nathaniel T. Swindell




                          Hometown: Bronx, New York
                                 Age: 24 years old
               Died: January 15, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
     Unit: Army-1st Battalion-24th Infantry Regiment-Fort Lewis-Washington
             Incident: Died of a non-combat related injury in Mosul.

Sgt. Nathaniel T. Swindell, 24, of Bronx, N.Y., a member of the Stryker Brigade, died
Jan. 15 in Mosul when an Iraqi National Guardsman accidentally fired a bullet into his
back. Swindell joined the Army shortly after graduating from Samuel Gompers
Vocational and Technical School in 2000. Swindell went to Iraq shortly after marrying in
September, without time for a honeymoon. "I miss waking up to you in the morning and
kissing your forehead to wake you up," Swindell's widow said he told her in their final
conversation.

SGT Nathaniel T. Swindell
Jan-18-2005 » Filed Under: 1/25 SBCT
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting
Operation Iraqi Freedom.SGT Nathaniel T. Swindell, 24, of Bronx, NY, died Jan. 15 in
Mosul, Iraq, from a non-combat related injury. SGT Swindell was assigned to the 1st
Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, Fort Lewis, WA. Our thoughts and prayers are with
the loved ones he leaves behind. We will add any subsequent articles we find to this
entry.

Army Sgt. Nathaniel Swindell: Swindell had been married for just a few months when
he called his wife from Iraq to tell her he missed her. "'I miss waking up to you in the
morning and kissing your forehead to wake you up,'" his wife Sabrina remembers him
saying Jan. 14. He died the next day.
Swindell, 24, of New York, was accidentally shot by an Iraqi National Guardsman in
Mosul, his family said. He was based at Fort Lewis. "He was great," his 19-year-old
widow said. "He was perfect. We never fought once."

Swindell had joined the Army shortly after graduating from high school. He loved hip-
hop and making people laugh, and he made Sabrina his wife just eight months after
meeting her at a dance club. "We were driving in the car and he said, 'You know what? I
would like you to marry me and I am not going to give up until you do,'" Sabrina
Swindell said. "He always took care of me." The couple was married in August, two
months before Swindell returned to Iraq for his second tour of duty.


                          Provate 1st Class Francis C. Obaji




                    Hometown: U.S. Queens Village, New York
                                  Age: 21 years old
                Died: January 17, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
  Unit: Army National Guard-Army National Guard-1st Battalion-69th Infantry
                                 Regiment- New York
Incident: Died in the 86th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad after being injured
                           in a vehicle accident on Jan. 16.




        NEWS RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense
                                   No. 051-05
                           IMMEDIATE RELEASE
                                January 18, 2005
  Media Contact: Army Public Affairs - (703) 692-2000 Public/Industry Contact:
                                 (703) 428-0711
                        DoD Identifies Army Casualties
   The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were
                       supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Dead are:
Private First Class Francis C. Obaji, 21, of Queens Village, New York, died January 17,
2005, in the 86th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad, Iraq, after he was involved in a
motor vehicle accident January 16, 2005, in Baghdad, Iraq. Obaji was assigned to the
Army National Guard‘s 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment, New York, New York.

BY WIL CRUZ
Courtesy of New York Newsday
January 21, 2005

Funerals for two city soldiers killed recently in Iraq have been set up for next week.
Services for Army Private First Class Francis Obaji, who was 21 when he was killed in a
vehicle accident Monday in Baghdad, are set for Thursday, his family said.
Cyril Obaji, the soldier's father, said the funeral would be at St. Gabriel's Episcopal
Church at 196-12 Jamaica Ave. in Hollis. A viewing of Francis Obaji, who lived in
Queens Village, is set for 11 a.m. Thursday. At 2 p.m. there will be a church service
followed by a wake at 4 p.m., Cyril Obaji said. Burial will be Friday in Arlington
National Cemetery.

Family cries for latest hero soldier
 BY CELESTE KATZ
Courtesy of the New York Daily News
28 January 2005

Private First Class Francis Obaji's long journey is almost over. It began in his boyhood
home of Nigeria and took him to New York, where the horrors he witnessed on 9/11
drove him to join the Army and go to Iraq. At age 21, he met his death there.
Yesterday, Obaji was mourned amid wails of anguish at a Queens church.
And today, his body will be buried among his fallen comrades at Arlington National
Cemetery.

The hundreds who came to bid farewell to Obaji at St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church in
Hollis remembered his trademark smile, his belief in the importance of peace, and the
way he deferred his dream of becoming a doctor to serve with the famed Fighting 69th
Infantry Regiment of the Army National Guard.

"He wanted to give back to the country he so loved," said his uncle, Kingsley Obaji.
Francis Obaji came to the U.S. with his family in 1994. He was a track star at Erasmus
Hall High School in Brooklyn and went on to study microbiology at the College of Staten
Island. He applied for U.S. citizenship three years ago.
Last Sunday, he died in Baghdad.

Obaji's parents said military officials told them their son's vehicle came under attack,
burst into flames and tumbled into a ditch.

Dressed in black, mourners knelt and wept at the open casket before the service, crossing
themselves as they gazed at the body of the young man in the crisp Army uniform.
Obaji's grieving parents, Cyril and Violet Obaji, bowed their heads in prayer at the front
of the church as the martial strains of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" cut through a
sweet-smelling haze of incense.

Another of the soldier's uncles, Sam Obaji, who traveled from Nigeria for the funeral,
reminded the mourners that his nephew's middle name, Chinomso, means "God is with
us."

"Our God is always with us, no matter what happens," he said. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-
Queens) presented the Obaji family with a flag once flown over the U.S. Capitol, and
political and church leaders, including the Rev. Orris Walker Jr., bishop of Long Island,
offered words of faith and solace. "I want you to know your son is a hero, because
freedom is not free," Meeks told the soldier's parents.

Cries swelled again as members of the Fighting 69th carried Obaji's flag-draped coffin
out into the unforgiving cold. The mourners raised their hands in valediction.
"Goodbye, Francis!" they called through their tears. "You will never be forgotten!"

Soldier Defended Adopted Home
Nigerian Immigrant Killed in Iraq Witnessed 9/11 Attacks
By Brigid Schulte
Courtesy of the Washington Post
Saturday, January 29, 2005
Francis Obaji was born in Nigeria and raised in New York. And when he watched the
World Trade Center towers collapse September 11, 2001, as he waited for the Staten
Island Ferry, he decided he had to become a soldier.
He died in Iraq.




       The coffin of Army Pfc. Francis C. Obaji of New York is lowered into the ground
                               at Arlington National Cemetery.

And on a bright and bitter January day, as family and friends clutched each other and
wept, Private First Class Francis Obaji was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Obaji, 21, had wanted to be a doctor. He was supposed to have been home by the end of
March.

As Obaji's flag-draped silver coffin glistened in the wan winter sun yesterday, two priests
conducted the funeral in both English and his native language of Ibo, with rituals and
hymns from Nigeria and from St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church, his church in Queens
Village, New York.

The Rev. William Willard of St. Gabriel's, who traveled to Arlington with Obaji's family,
praised God and asked that He "make us aware of the shortness and uncertainty of human
life." A mourner withdrew from the crowd and mopped his eyes behind a newly planted
tree. A child dangled a yellow doll and looked off into the clouds.

Obaji, a college student and the oldest of five children -- his youngest sibling is 4 -- had
shipped out for Iraq in September as part of the New York National Guard's famed
Fighting 69th. Irish immigrants formed the unit during the Civil War, at the height of
anti-Irish immigrant fervor, when no other units wanted them. Now, the 69th is made up
of America's newest immigrants, including Obaji and Alain L. Kamolvathin, also 21, a
Thai immigrant who died with him.

The two were out on patrol, military officials said, riding in a Humvee in Baghdad on
Jan. 16, when the vehicle rolled over into a ditch. Kamolvathin died that day. Obaji died
the next day at a military hospital in Baghdad.

Obaji's father, Cyril, a limousine driver in Queens who had come to the United States to
work for 15 years before bringing his family over in 1994, told New York newspapers
that perhaps his son had come under enemy fire or had swerved to avoid one of myriad
improvised explosive devices that have cost the lives of so many in Iraq. Pentagon
officials, however, said the deaths were classified "non-hostile." An investigation
continues.

At Arlington, the six-soldier honor guard carefully folded an American flag. A co-
celebrant began to chant in Ibo, calling Obaji "my hero." The flag was presented to
Obaji's aunt, Maggie Obaji, as were Obaji's Good Conduct Medal, Bronze Star and
Purple Heart.

Family members told New York newspapers that Obaji, who called home frequently,
didn't agree with the reasoning for the war but wasn't afraid of dying. In recent days, his
mother, Violet, has been so heavy with grief that she could not rise from the couch,
crying out in Ibo "Francis is gone! He took me with him." A distraught Cyril Obaji
lamented in the New York Daily News that although his son was "a brave soldier," he
was lost in a "useless war."

Obaji was the 112th soldier killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom to be buried at Arlington.
The small white gravestones now take up three of the most recently filled rows on a wide,
grassy field patched with snow. "We know we're going to have more," said Arlington
historian Tom Sherlock. As a sole bugler played a mournful taps, a large yellow backhoe
rumbled by.

ELECTION PROVES OUR GI SON DIED FOR GOOD CAUSE
Tuesday, 1 February 2005
By ANDREA PEYSER
Courtesy of the New York Post

He died too soon. On the eve of Iraq's historic free election, Francis Obaji was laid to rest
in the frigid ground of Arlington National Cemetery. Ten days earlier, on January 19,
2005, Francis was killed in an enemy ambush in Baghdad. Ten days.
Had he lived just two weeks longer, Francis would have seen yesterday's culmination of
everything for which he sacrificed, fought, prayed and died. He was 21.
Don't dare call it a waste. At the mere suggestion that his son's passing might be for
naught, Francis' heartbroken father, Cyril, did something extraordinary. He looked up
from his tears. And he laughed. "Not at all," he said with a smile.

"He died for freedom," Francis' uncle, Kingsley Obaji, told me unwaveringly.
"He died doing what he believed in," said Kingsley.
"He was one of thousands of men and women who collectively made a difference in Iraq.
There is no doubt in my mind. "He died fighting for freedom. He believed in freedom."
What's more, Francis died knowing that he made a difference, his father said, and for a
moment, pride overtook his sorrow. That knowledge means everything to Cyril Obaji.
Calling home on the telephone from Iraq, Francis would describe the tough job he and his
comrades performed in often-hostile conditions. He faced the danger with eyes open.
Said his dad: "They were equal to the task."

"They knew at last freedom will prevail over there and democracy will reign," said Cyril.
"I do believe very strongly that one day the people over there will breathe the air of
peace, freedom and unity. "In the end, he's going to be an integral part of democracy."
I met the Obaji family at a Nigerian-style wake held in Francis' memory at the
gymnasium of Roy Wilkins Park, down the road from their Queens Village home.
Hundreds of family, friends and neighbors gathered to tell stories about Francis.
"Everyone loved Francis," Cyril explained. "Let's get together and say thanks to God,
instead of crying. Let's celebrate the life of Francis."

Throughout, Francis' mother, Violet, sat silently amid the crush of well wishers, the
weight of her son's loss visible in her downcast eyes. She seemed alone.
Francis Obaji was the eldest of five siblings. His sister, Marilyn, sat silently during the
ceremony, and wept. She is 19, and extremely close to her big brother. There also is
Stanley, 15, and Helen, 6. Climbing on his parents' laps was little Brian, who is 4, and
doesn't seem to understand completely that Francis, his hero, is not coming back.

Born in Nigeria, Francis' father, a limousine company owner, brought the family to
America a decade ago, settling first in Brooklyn before moving to Queens.
"He was just an American boy," said his uncle. "He loved this country, and he wanted to
give back." Francis was studying microbiology at Staten Island University, with an eye
toward entering medical school, when 9/11 changed him.

On that awful morning, he was waiting for the ferry in lower Manhattan, and had a front-
row view of the carnage. He walked nearly all the way through Brooklyn, before finding
a ride back to Queens. In that time, everything he thought he lived for took a turn.
All of a sudden, life was no longer just about him.

At his graveside in Arlington, surrounded by more than 300 friends and relatives who
traveled by bus, plane, car from New York and the Carolinas, Francis' uncle, Chief Sam
Obaji, told mourners how the terror attacks drove Francis to change his life's path.
He had no choice.

"He suffered very much on 9/11, like so many others. He knew he was lucky he didn't
die," his uncle told them. "He had to help humanity. To stop terrorism worldwide."
"He wanted to help create security and peace, not only to the people of the United States,
but to the people of Iraq and all over the world," his dad told me.

Francis joined the National Guard in 2003, after the United States invaded Iraq. He did
not tell his family, for he was certain they would object to him interrupting his studies.
But he was determined to go to Iraq. Four months ago, he shipped out to Baghdad with
the "Fighting 69th," a unit that has suffered more than its share of losses.
Yesterday, Francis Obaji's relatives gathered in the family's Queens Village home. Cyril
Obaji watched the Iraqi elections on TV nervously. Then he turned the set off. Then on
again.

"We pray and hope the election will come out a success," Cyril told me.
"Then, Francis' death will not have been in vain."
When he last spoke to his parents, Francis Obaji said he expected to be home by
Easter.

                                Now he is home.
                                   Too soon.
                              OBAJI, FRANCIS C
                                SPC US ARMY
                           DATE OF BIRTH: 05/05/1983
                          DATE OF DEATH: 01/17/2005
                        BURIED AT: SECTION 60 SITE 8093
                       ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
                          Private 1st Class Michael A. Arciola




                         Hometown: Elmsford, New York
                                 Age: 20 years old
              Died: February 15, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
  Unit: Army-1st Battalion-503rd Infantry Regiment-2nd Infantry Division-Camp
                               Casey- South Korea
                  Incident: Killed by small arms fire in Ramadi.

Michael Arciola had long planned to join the Army upon graduation from high school,
and remained steadfast even after his up-close exposure to the horrors of war. "He said he
had been dodging bullets and saw people in his unit die," said Carl Sartori, who played
baseball with Arciola in high school. "He didn't sound scared. He was proud to serve."
Arciola, 20, of Elmsford, N.Y., died Feb. 15 in Ramadi, Iraq, from small-arms fire.

He was based at Camp Casey, Korea. A family friend, Alan Miller, said that although he
is 75, he and Arciola enjoyed swapping Army stories, especially since both had served in
Korea. "He was the best, the very best," Miller said. "My heart's broken." When Arciola
was home on leave in January, his high school baseball and soccer coach, Kevin
Budzynski, invited him for dinner. "He talked about going to college," Budzynski said.
"He was considering studying to become a physician assistant or a teacher." Arciola is
survived by his parents.

NEWS RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense
No. 176-05
IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb 18, 2005
Media Contact: Army Public Affairs - (703) 692-2000 Public/Industry Contact:
(703)428-0711
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting
Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Private First Class Michael A. Arciola, 20, of Elmsford, New York, died February 15,
2005, in Al Ramadi, Iraq, from injuries sustained from enemy small arms fire. Arciola
was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 503d Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, Camp
Casey, Korea.
For further information related to this release, contact Army Public Affairs at (703) 692-
2000.
Elmsford soldier's body returns home
By JOSEPH AX
Courtesy of the Journal News
24 February 2005

ELMSFORD, New York — As grieving residents watched mutely, a gray hearse carrying
the body of 20-year-old Army Private First Class Michael Arciola slowly made its way
down Main Street to a funeral home yesterday evening. Firefighters in formal uniform
bore the flag-draped coffin into the McElroy-Flynn Funeral Home just after 6 p.m.,
bringing full circle a lifelong journey that began in Elmsford with Arciola's childhood
dreams of joining the military and ended in western Iraq last week when he was felled by
enemy gunfire. Friends stood on both sides of the street, hugging each for comfort, as
well as for warmth, in the stiff wintry wind.

As the procession passed through two rows of saluting firefighters into the home, only
muffled sobs and the distant whirring of a news helicopter's rotors high above broke the
somber silence of the scene. "He shouldn't have come home this way," Joan Jones, a
neighbor and longtime family friend, said as tears ran down her cheeks.

The sight of the casket was difficult to bear, some said. But they also said the solemn
ceremony of the moment served to remind them that Arciola was killed in service to his
country, a hero's death that deserves full honor. "It's been the worst week of my life," said
Frank Longo, 19, who grew up with Arciola in the same neighborhood. "It's really hard to
watch. But it's a beautiful thing to see how this whole community came together." "When
I heard he died, part of me died, too," said Marques Younger, 19, another childhood
friend. "It's really hard to take."

Teresa Arciola, Michael's mother, left the village yesterday morning with Mayor Robert
Williams, a number of other village officials, an Army representative and a contingent of
police and fire vehicles to drive to an Air Force base in Dover, Delaware, where her son's
body arrived last Thursday. The hearse followed the emergency vehicles all the way back
to Elmsford, their lights flashing the entire journey, Williams said.

The first of three wake services will be held tonight at the funeral home from 7 to 9 p.m.
Additional wakes are scheduled for tomorrow from 3 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.
Williams said the village would shut down the two center lanes of Main Street, or Route
119, for parking.

The funeral will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church on
East Main Street. The length of Main Street from Knollwood Road to Route 9A will be
closed to traffic, said Williams, who added that he expects thousands to attend.
Next week, Arciola will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

Services:
Wake: 7 to 9 tonight; 3 to 5 p.m., 7 to 9 p.m. tomorrow at the McElroy-Flynn Funeral
Home, 72 E. Main St., 914-592-6300.
Funeral: 11 a.m. Saturday at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, 59 E. Main St., 914-
592-7575.


Elmsford soldier buried at Arlington
By JOSEPH AX
Courtesy of the Journal News
March 19, 2005

Under a virtually cloudless sky, with row upon row of unadorned, white granite
headstones casting shadows across Arlington National Cemetery, Army Private First
Class Michael Arciola was laid to rest yesterday afternoon among a quarter-million other
fallen soldiers.

As 100 mourners looked on, the honor guard solemnly folded the American flag that had
draped the 20-year-old Elmsford resident's coffin and presented it, along with his Purple
Heart and Bronze Star, to his mother, Teresa, who accepted it with tearful thanks.
"He deserved to be there," said Arciola's childhood friend and classmate Stephen Jones.
"It's amazing to know that he's there — I guess you could say a comfort. He died a
soldier. He died a hero."

"Michael's now with brave heroes of American history," said Kevin Budzynski, a family
friend and Arciola's former baseball coach. "He's there with heroes big and small."
Arciola, who graduated from Alexander Hamilton High School in 2003, was killed by
enemy gunfire on Feb. 15 in Ramadi in western Iraq, the fourth Westchester County
soldier to die in Iraq or Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry
Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, based in South Korea.
The burial came on the first anniversary of the death of 26-year-old Army Staff Sgt.
Anthony S. Lagman of Yonkers, who perished in a firefight with insurgents in
Afghanistan. Since Arciola's death, the small community of Elmsford has lauded the
young man for his dedication to military service, his sunny disposition and his infectious
sense of humor.

Dozens of friends and family members joined village officials, firefighters, police
officers, teachers and other residents who made the 260-mile trek to Arlington, where
almost 290,000 people, mostly veterans, are buried at the 624-acre cemetery.
"The thing that amazed me the most was how many people came down here just for
Mikey," Jones said. "It just showed how much he meant to everybody."

The day began with a somber Catholic funeral service at the Old Post Chapel at Fort
Myer on the edge of the cemetery. Inside the modest white church, grieving friends
bowed their heads as Jesus Navarrete, an Army chaplain, asked God to watch over
Arciola in heaven.

Robert Arciola spoke briefly and movingly about his younger brother.
"I could probably stand up here for hours telling you about him," he said, his voice
quavering with emotion. "We all have our own memories, and we all have to be strong
and let this make us better people. He loved everybody who's here in their own special
way."

The easygoing Arciola, who friends say was immensely popular in the community, had
spoken of joining the military since childhood, a desire that was only solidified after the
terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

The funeral procession, which included nearly 50 vehicles, wound its way from the
chapel through the cemetery to Section 60, where Arciola was buried underneath
headstone No. 8105. Arciola is the 123rd soldier killed in Afghanistan or Iraq to be
interred at Arlington. All but one soldier, who is buried near his father elsewhere in the
cemetery, are buried side by side in Section 60.

The endless rows of headstones bespeak an enormous grief, Budzynski said, but they also
serve as a reminder of honor and sacrifice. "As sad as it is, they're heroes," he said.
"Those are the Americans we need to honor."

Navarrete led another prayer at the grave, where the Arciolas — father Robert, mother
Teresa, brother Robert and sisters Casey and Amanda — sat in silence in front of the
gathering. A firing party standing at attention 200 feet away fired three volleys of shots
into the air, and a bugler played taps as the echoes faded into the air. After she received
the flag and medals, Teresa Arciola stood and quietly kissed the top of the coffin.

After the service, the mourners waited in line to say their final goodbyes, some speaking
softly with a hand on the casket while others bent and touched their lips to the coffin.
"The Arciola family should be proud of their son Michael," said Elmsford Trustee
William Zimkin, who attended the burial. "And I am very proud of the Elmsford
community, the way they supported the Arciola family."

Small N.Y. Town Buries a Favorite Son at Arlington
Young Soldier Who Wore No. 13 as an Athlete Is Remembered as a Leader
By Lila de Tantillo
Courtesy of the Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 19, 2005

On February 15, 2005, Army Private First Class Michael Anthony Arciola, 20, of
Elmsford, New York, was shot and killed by insurgents in Al Ramadi, Iraq.
Within hours of his death, the village of Elmsford -- one-mile square and home to 4,600
residents -- went into mourning as news spread that it had lost a native son. The soldier's
face was on the front page of local papers for several days running; the mayor, Robert
Williams, paid a visit to the Arciola family.
 Pallbearers carry the coffin of Michael Anthony Arciola, who was killed February 15 by small-
  arms fire in Iraq. He was the 123rd soldier killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom to be buried at
                                           Arlington.




           Robert Arciola, father of Michael Arciola embraces the flag that was on his son's
        casket during funeral services, Friday, March 18, 2005 at Arlington National Cemetery

When Arciola's body was returned to Dover Air Force Base, a procession of police and
fire department cars brought him home to Elmsford. At his wake, firefighters served as an
honor guard. Ladder trucks raised a U.S. flag across Main Street on the day of the
memorial service, which was attended by nearly 1,000 people. Those who couldn't fit
into the main sanctuary at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church watched it on video from
other parts of the building. Still more tuned in to the live broadcast on the cable channel.
Yesterday, more than 200 friends and loved ones gathered as Arciola, who was awarded
the Purple Heart and Bronze Star, was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.

He was the 123rd member of the armed forces killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom to be
buried at Arlington. During a Catholic service at Fort Myer Chapel, mourners wiped
away tears as the Rev. Jesus Naverrete assured them that they would one day be reunited
with Michael. At the gravesite, a gentle wind ruffled the edges of the flag draping
Arciola's coffin as it was folded. Major General Keith Dayton presented the flag to
Arciola's mother, Teresa. His father, Robert Arciola, received a second flag, which he
held tightly to his chest.
After the service ended, Arciola's older brother Robert kissed the casket as he and sisters
Casey and Amanda bid their final farewells. Arciola lettered in varsity basketball, soccer
and baseball at Alexander Hamilton High School and was recognized as an all-league
player. He was captain of the baseball team his junior and senior years and continued to
inspire the team, which included several freshmen, when its record sank to 0-21 his
senior year.

"He told them to keep their heads up," said Kevin Budzynski, who coached Arciola in
soccer and baseball and was also his history teacher. "He let them know when they did
something wrong and praised them when they did something right." Arciola led by
example -- he was often the first player out of the locker room and into the weight room,
his coach said. He played his best in any position, whether pitcher or catcher. He resolved
tense situations with his razor-sharp humor or the deft use of a movie quotation. When a
slower player was lapped by teammates, Arciola ran an extra lap just to keep him
company, Budzynski recalled.

Arciola always wore jersey 13 -- regardless of the sport -- and according to his former
coach, his old baseball team now closes out daily practice by huddling together and
calling out, "Thirteen!"

Arciola enlisted in the Army while still in high school and left for boot camp just a few
weeks after graduation. He spent about a year in Korea before being sent to Iraq. He was
assigned to the 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division.
Mayor Williams, who has known the Arciola family since before Michael was born, said
that even as a youngster, Arciola displayed the same qualities he would exhibit when he
died.

"When he set his goals, he went after it," Williams said. "There were a lot of times he
would get hurt on the field and keep playing. He wanted to go into the service and serve
his country, and he did."

24 September 2005:
Robert Arciola wants to honor his son's sacrifice in Iraq closer to home — about 10 feet
behind his Greenburgh house, to be exact. Arciola is building a backyard monument to
his youngest child, Michael, and other young men from Westchester County who were
killed in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2003. Arciola wants to dedicate the monument — a
bronze plaque with the names of those killed attached to a 4-foot-high rock — at a public
ceremony on Veterans Day, November 11, 2005. "I thought that was the best day," he
said. Michael Arciola was a machine-gunner assigned to the 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry
Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, when he was killed by enemy gunfire Feb.
15 in Ramadi.

Michael Arciola was awarded the Bronze Star for heroism and buried in Arlington
National Cemetery. But his father, an amputee who is blind in one eye, cannot travel to
Virginia to visit his son's grave. "I needed a place to go," he said. "I'll share it. I don't
mind." Arciola said he wants families of the other soldiers and Marines who were killed
in action to feel free to visit the monument anytime at the Rumbrook Road home he
shares with his mother, Josephine.

He said they could place flowers at the site or other mementos around the stone, which
will sit next to a 20-foot flagpole already installed. "Why not? It's only grass," he said.

Arciola, 52, wants to invite local, state and federal officials to the Veterans Day
dedication at his home. Elmsford Mayor Robert Williams said he would help Arciola
send invitations to the public officials.

"I've known him a long, long time," Williams said. The two met in 1982, when Williams
joined the Greenburgh Auxiliary Police. Arciola said the backyard monument will
resemble the veterans' monument near Elmsford Village Hall, where his son's name is
listed under the "War on Terror." Williams said he was surprised when Arciola told him
about his plans for the monument, but that he understood his friend's wish. "His other
family members can drive by Village Hall and see the monument here. He can't get
around," Williams said.

Donald Materi, who lives near Arciola on Rumbrook Road, welcomed the monument to
the neighborhood. "I think it's very nice," he said. "He's paying tribute to his son and
others." The monument shouldn't be a problem with the town Building Department,
either. Francis Sheehan, a member of the Greenburgh Zoning Board of Appeals, said
Arciola could legally install the monument on his property.
       Monsignor Keith Dayton gives Teresa Arciola the flag that covered the coffin of her
   son Michael Arciola during his funeral at Arlington National Cemetery on March 18, 2005.
            Her children Amanda, Casey and Robert Arciola are seated beside her.




   Robert Arciola, second from right, looks at military medals with Oscar Olguin, a wounded
      soldier who served with his son in Iraq, during Michael Arciola's funeral at Arlington
    National Cemetery on March 18, 2005. Fallen soldier Michael Arciola received a Purple
Heart, a Bronze Star, a Good Conduct Medal and a Combat Infantry Award.
Robert Arciola, the brother of the deceased, and his fiance, Allie Kovach, are pictured to the left.
Robert Arciola of Elmsford picks up a handful of earth that he then placed on the
 coffin of his brother Michael Arciola during his funeral at Arlington National
                         Cemetery on March 18, 2005




    A bugler plays taps during the funeral of fallen soldier Michael Arciola,
   formerly of Elmsford, at Arlington National Cemetery on March 18, 2005
From left, the family of fallen soldier Michael Arciola, including his mother, Teresa, his sisters,
Amanda and Casey, his brother, Robert, his brother's fiance, Allie Kovach, and his father, Robert
 Arciola, sit beside the coffin during the funeral at Arlington National Cemetery on March 18,
  2005. Casey Arciola smiled at her brother when he returned to his seat after saying his final
                              farewell and placing earth on the coffin




    From front left, Amanda and Casey Arciola say farewell to their brother, fallen soldier
    Michael Arciola, during his funeral at Arlington National Cemetery on March 18, 2005.

                           Slain soldier stays on dad's mind
                                   By LIZ SADLER
                            Courtesy of the Journal News
                                      27 June 2005
ELMSFORD, NEW YORK — It was 4:30 a.m. when the telephone rang in Robert
Arciola's room at the Hebrew Hospital Home. A groggy Arciola, who was recovering at
the Valhalla nursing home from surgery to amputate his left leg, picked up the receiver.
A nurse told him his daughter, Casey, was downstairs. She wasn't alone.

"As soon as she walked into the room, I saw the two guys in the uniform, I just start
crying because I knew what was up," Arciola said last week. "In fact, I wouldn't even let
the kid read the message that they read to you. I said, 'Son, you know, with all due
respect, I love my country, I'm for the war and everything you guys stand for, but please
don't read that to me. I don't want to hear it.' "
That was the dark February morning when Arciola learned that his youngest child,
Michael, had been killed by enemy gunfire in Iraq. Michael, 20, was a machine-gunner
assigned to the 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry
Division when he died Feb. 15 in the western city of Ramadi.
"I kept saying, 'Maybe it's somebody else,' until we saw his body," Arciola said Thursday
in the Elmsford house he shares with his 86-year-old mother, Josephine. Robert Arciola
spoke publicly for the first time last week about losing Michael and how the small
community of Elmsford came together to support him in the wake of his son's death.

Sitting on a day bed in the basement den of his house on Rumbrook Road, his new
prosthetic leg detached because it was hurting him, Arciola's voice occasionally cracked
with emotion as he spoke. His left eye, blind for two years because of diabetes, watered
as he pondered why Michael always was interested in the Army — from the camouflage
T-shirts he coveted as a boy to the $75 Army sleeping bag that was a Christmas gift one
year.

"I was a right-winger, very much so. Everything was, 'Bomb 'em, bomb 'em, get rid of
'em,' " he said. "My mouth was bigger than anything else, so he always listened to that, I
guess, and sometimes I wonder if I was the cause of his death. If I hadn't talked like that,
maybe he wouldn't have joined the Army. I don't know." Robert Arciola learned about 10
years ago that he had diabetes. His poor health left him unable to work. His illness meant
he was often home during Michael's childhood, so the two grew close.

"Like any other good father and son, they enjoyed doing things together," said Elmsford
Mayor Robert Williams, who met Robert Arciola in the early 1980s, when they both
belonged to the Greenburgh Auxiliary Police. Arciola and his son used to fish together,
the mayor recalled. And for a time, the pair delivered pizzas, with the elder Arciola
driving and Michael running the pizzas to the doors.

As a boy, Michael surprised his father and mother, Teresa, with his athletic prowess. He
excelled at all kinds of sports, and his enormous drive distinguished him on the playing
field. As a Little League player, Michael once walked away from a losing game because
his teammates had given up and stopped trying. "He said, 'Why am I the only one who's
supposed to hit the balls and score all the runs? They're not trying,' " Robert Arciola
recalled. "So he gathered up his stuff and walked out."

Always determined to be a soldier, Michael joined the Army in 2003 after graduating
from Alexander Hamilton High School. He spent a year in North Korea's demilitarized
zone before being deployed to Iraq. "He came home the beginning of last June and he
said, 'Guess where I'm going?' and I said, 'I knew it,' " Robert Arciola said. "It was no
surprise."

On leave in January, Michael visited his father at the nursing home but spoke little of the
war. That was the last time Robert Arciola saw his son alive. "He said, 'don‘t worry about
me, Dad. You know us Arciolas. We always bounce back,'" his father recalled.

After returning to Iraq, Michael had two more days off when a Marine unit needed two
machine-gunners for a mission and he volunteered. Even after he was shot, Michael
stayed behind his machine gun, killing 22 insurgents before he fell, his father said.
"It's nothing really to be proud of, but I'm proud of him," Arciola said, breaking into soft
sobs. "It's wrong, I know it's wrong to want somebody dead. You don't know which way
to go. You want to be a good person, you want to live a good life, and you teach your
kids all your life to be good and help people, and maybe we did it too much. I don't
know."

Arciola, 52, is not as conservative as he once was. His political views have softened, and
he spends much of the day lying on the day bed watching CNN. Sometimes he talks to
Michael, who was buried in March at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia after
being awarded the Bronze Star for heroism. "He always wanted to be and he went down
as a hero," Robert Arciola said. "Those medals really mean nothing to you, you know. I
mean, I'm proud of him, but I'm giving everything to my son, Robert."

The one memento that Arciola plans to keep is the folded American flag he received as a
gift from Maj. Robert McWilliams, who was assigned to help the Arciolas through the
grieving process. McWilliams, whom Arciola calls "his angel," wanted to do something
to consecrate the flag. "So, he took that flag upstairs, and my son was in the ice box for
about two weeks before we buried him, so he put it in his arms hugging it for two weeks,
so it would mean something to me and it really did," Arciola said, starting to cry. "It
really made a big difference, so that one I'm keeping."


November 2005:
Robert Arciola is virtually blind and has lost one leg to diabetes, so he has found it nearly
impossible to visit his son's grave at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
Listen as Robert Arciola explains the tribute to his son, with images by Journal News
staff photographer Matthew Brown.

His solution: build his own backyard memorial, a granite monument and flag display
paying tribute to his son and all other Westchester service members who have died in
Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003. The 53-year-old town resident, whose son, Michael,
was killed by sniper fire in February in Iraq, now is finished with the project and has
invited a host of dignitaries and relatives of fallen soldiers to his home for the official
unveiling today, Veterans Day.

"You know the saying, 'if you build it, they will come?' " He said, in reference to the
movie "Field of Dreams." "I felt if I built this monument for all of our sons, their souls
would come here." He calls it the Freedom Stone. The 4-foot-tall granite marker
surrounded by flowers and standing beside a flagpole, lists the names of his son and other
Westchester soldiers who died in action.

After months of hard work, everyone from the Elmsford mayor to Rep. Nita Lowey, D-
Harrison, is expected to come to Arciola's backyard at 28 Rumbrook Road to remember
the young men who sacrificed their lives fighting overseas in the aftermath of
September11, 2001. For Robert Arciola, this began with a personal struggle. Last winter,
he was left devastated, physically and emotionally, by diabetes. Doctors amputated his
left leg.
His son, Michael, came to visit him at Phelps Memorial Hospital in Sleepy Hollow; a
photograph of the son smiling at his father's bedside now takes a treasured place in
Arciola's living room.

It was days after the photo was taken that Pfc. Michael Anthony Arciola — a 20-year-old
former high school baseball star — was sent to Iraq. A few weeks later, on February 15,
the Army machine-gunner was shot dead. Arciola, a former painting contractor who is
disabled and lives with his elderly mother, had to be driven to the funeral in Arlington by
a friend. While he was proud to see his son take his place among heroes of past wars, he
hasn't returned. The trip is just too burdensome.

Still, he has found other ways to keep his son's memory alive. Pictures of his son, from
childhood through graduation and into the armed forces, adorn walls and tables in his
house. He also wears his son's white Nikes and every day sits down at his Casio keyboard
to play "My Girl," The Temptations hit that was his son's favorite song. He thinks back to
the times he'd play this and other Motown classics during family road trips.

"I want to talk to my son and visit my son, and I need a place to go," he said of his
backyard memorial. "My son Michael was my hero. He's a patriot, and he belongs in
Arlington, buried with the greatest in this country. But I know his spirit will be here. I
had a dream right after he died, and he said he would never leave me."

But he didn't do it just for his son. The stone lists four other Westchester service members
who died — Bernard Gooden Jr., Anthony Lagman, Kevin Cuming and David Ayala. He
also will add the names of other local soldiers who died since the monument's brass
plates were cast. "I figured everyone's in the same boat I'm in, with their sons buried far
away," he said. "Their pain is my pain. I feel like I'm bringing them home to the county
where they grew up."

The flag flying from the pole was donated by a friend over the summer, and the granite
slab was placed earlier this week. Arciola has paid more than $4,000 for the project.
"I feel as though my son's home again," he said, walking beside the monument with the
aid of a cane Wednesday. "Now I could come outside and say 'Hey, Mike, how you doing
today? How you doing, fellows?"

Some in Arciola's family won't attend the ceremony; his ex-wife is going to Arlington for
a service. And a few residents privately question the backyard tribute, considering it sad
and strange. But many others say they will support Arciola in his grief. "This is a healing
process for him," said Elmsford Mayor Robert Williams, today's master of ceremonies.
"People want to be there to support him and the family."


Arciola said today's dedication at 2 p.m. is just the beginning. He's inviting the public to
come anytime, and he is installing lights so people can visit at night.
He's hoping it will remind people of the sacrifices service members are making in the
"War on Terror." While he supports the war in Iraq, he said the monument is not about
politics. "It's about the loss of our children," he said. "It's something you really can't
explain until it happens to you."

                          Elmsford to name field for fallen soldier
                             By REBECCA BAKER ERWIN
                         COURTESY OF THE JOURNAL NEWS
                                       31 March 2006
Michael Arciola was the catcher of his Little League team, spending countless hours
practicing and playing on the baseball diamond at West Rumbrook Park in Elmsford.
Tomorrow morning, that field will be dedicated to Arciola, a 20-year-old who was killed
last year by sniper fire in western Iraq.

The Elmsford Little League will host the ceremony immediately after its annual opening
day parade, which starts at 10 a.m. The ceremony will also feature "Mike's Team," whose
players are being sponsored by the Arciola family. Arciola's father, Robert, choked back
tears when he learned of the Little League dedication this week. "That's amazing," the
Greenburgh resident said. I'm overwhelmed. What can I say? It's a great honor."

Arciola was a machine-gunner assigned to the 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd
Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, when he was killed by enemy gunfire Feb. 15 in Ramadi.
He was awarded the Bronze Star for heroism and buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Since then, Elmsford has renamed the playing field at Alexander Hamilton High School
in his honor and created the Michael Arciola History Award for seniors and the Michael
Arciola Memorial Scholarship for a senior athlete who shows leadership.

The Elmsford Little League already has installed a bronze plaque in Arciola's memory
and retired his Little League number, 4. The sign naming the Little League field went up
Saturday, but the dedication was delayed to coincide with the parade, league secretary
Steve Booth said.

 "He was a star in the Elmsford Little League," Booth said of Arciola.
Booth said the members of "Mike's Team" would wear red uniforms at the request of the
soldier's mother, Josephine Arciola. They also will wear ball caps bearing a large "A"
surrounded by a halo.

The haloed "A" is the logo of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Booth said, adding
that it also fits the former player it honors.
August 8, 2007:
A wake will be held today for Robert Arciola Sr., a disabled Elmsford resident whose 20-
year-old son, Michael, was killed in Iraq two years ago.
Arciola, 54, died over the weekend from complications from surgery at Phelps Memorial
Hospital, according to a written notice sent by the village. Arciola publicly shared his
grief over the loss of his youngest child, who was killed by enemy gunfire Feb. 15, 2005
in Ramadi. Michael Arciola was awarded the Bronze Star for heroism and buried in
Arlington National Cemetery.

Robert Arciola Sr. publicly shared his grief over the loss of his youngest son, and built a
backyard memorial to honor Michael's sacrifice. Calling hours will be from 2 to 4 p.m.
and 7 to 9 p.m. today at McElroy Funeral Home, 72 E. Main St. in Elmsford.
The funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Church, 59 E. Main St., in Elmsford.

                         ARCIOLA, MICHAEL ANTHONY
                                SPC US ARMY
                           DATE OF BIRTH: 01/05/1985
                           DATE OF DEATH: 02/15/2005
                        BURIED AT: SECTION 60 SITE 8105
                       ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY




                           Sergeant Christopher M. Pusateri




                       Hometown: Corning, New York
                               Age: 21 years old
             Died: February 16, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
   Unit: Army-2nd Battalion-325th Airborne Infantry Regiment-82nd Airborne
                     Division- Fort Bragg-North Carolina
                  Incident: Killed by enemy forces in Mosul.
Christopher Pusateri fell in love with his wife and his work at a young age. He was just a
teenager when he met his wife, Christine, while attending high school. The two married
on Valentine's Day two years ago, a month before he was sent overseas to do the work he
loved in Iraq. Pusateri, 21, of Corning, N.Y., was killed by small-arms fire in Mosul, Iraq,
on Feb. 16. He was based at Fort Bragg. His mother, Brenda West, said Pusateri was due
home from his second tour in Iraq in about a month. "He was a good soldier," West said.
"It didn't bother him to go over there and do what he had to do.

He never acted like he was afraid." Pusateri, the oldest of five children, was born on the
Fourth of July and was determined to work hard and achieve the American dream of a
better life. "When he grew up, we didn't have a lot of money," West said. "He went
without a lot of things other kids had. I think that was one of the things that made him
drive to better himself."

Corning family mourns son, husband who was expected home next month
By RAY FINGER
Star-Gazette Corning Bureau
CORNING — Born on the Fourth of July, Sgt. Christopher Pusateri was proud to serve
in the Army for a second tour of duty in Iraq — a tour that ended in a volley of bullets.
Pusateri, 21, of Corning, was killed Wednesday by enemy fire, said his mother, Brenda West, 39, of
Corning. She does not know details of what happened.
―I know that he was shot and taken to the hospital in Mosul, and that‘s where he passed
away,‖ she said.

A 2002 graduate of Corning West High School, Pusateri served with the Army‘s 82nd
Airborne Division as a mechanic who took care of an armored Humvee, said his
stepfather, Chester West, 34. He was on a mission when he was killed, he said.
Pusateri is the second Corning area resident to be killed in the war in Iraq. Marine Corps
Gunnery Sgt. Shawn Allen Lane was killed July 28 in a mortar attack. He was a 1989
graduate of Corning East High School.

Pusateri was first in Iraq from March 2003 to January 2004. He had just re-enlisted
before returning to Iraq in December and had become a sergeant in January, his mother
said. ―He said, the last time I talked to him a couple of weeks ago, that as long as
everything went well — so far, it had been going well — that he should be home in about
a month or so,‖ she said. ―He didn‘t expect to be over there that long. The first time, he
was over there for 10 months. He didn‘t expect to be maybe three or four months this
time.‖

Pusateri thought the situation was starting to wind down in Iraq, Chester West said. ―He
figured it was going to be all over since the voting was getting done, the war was actually
over,‖ he said. ―Then something went wrong.‖ Those left behind at Corning West are
mourning Pusateri‘s passing. ―What a terrible loss,‖ said Pat Barnes, a teacher who
worked very closely with him. Barnes recalled his sense of humor and polite manner.
―Chris was a very nice kid.‖ Barnes said the military was Pusateri‘s dream, and he was
not surprised that he became a sergeant. ―He was goal-oriented, very motivated,‖ he said.
―He knew exactly what he wanted to do, and he pursued it.‖
Pusateri signed up for the Army as a high school senior through the delayed enlistment
program, his mother said. ―He was so proud of the fact that he signed up right after Sept.
11th,‖ said Ellen Robinson, Corning-Painted Post assistant superintendent for instruction.
He had struggled through high school, but that changed after he decided to join the Army,
she said. Pusateri made the school‘s honor roll several times during his senior year. ―As
soon as he made that decision, he really was able to pull things together with the rest of
his high school career because he had a goal and he was focused,‖ Robinson said.
―All of West High was pleased that he had gone into the service, and he had really been
so successful.‖

Pusateri was eager to start his military career. ―He went immediately after he graduated.
He didn‘t take any time off,‖ Brenda West said. ―After graduation, I think he was home
for a week and went right in the day before his birthday.‖

He shipped out July 3, 2002, for boot camp in Fort Benning, Ga., she said. ―We were
kind of bummed that he wasn‘t home for his birthday before he went.‖ He married his
high school sweetheart Christine, Brenda West said. She attended Corning East High
School when they were married and finished her senior year in North Carolina. Their
second anniversary was Monday — Valentine‘s Day, his mother said.
After basic training, Pusateri was stationed in Fort Bragg. Before he went on his second
tour of Iraq, he had put in a request to transfer to Fort Drum, N.Y., Brenda West said.
―He was looking forward to moving up here,‖ she said, noting his family did not get a
chance very often to spend time with him. ―We were hoping if he got transferred, we‘d be
able to see him on weekends.‖

Arrangements are still being made to return Pusateri‘s body from Iraq, his mother said.
Funeral arrangements had not been completed Friday, she said.
Survivors include brothers and sisters Heather Pusateri, 19; Richard Pusateri, 18; Ashley
Iannarilli, 11; and Lorenzo Iannarilli, 5. Brenda West said her son had no problem going
back to Iraq. ―He wasn‘t concerned at all,‖ she said. ―He said, ‗I‘m going to do my time
and come home.‘ ‖

SGT Christopher M. Pusateri
Feb-19-2005 » Filed Under: TF Freedom
The Department of Defense has announced the death of a soldier who was supporting
Operation Iraqi Freedom. SGT Christopher M. Pusateri, 21, of Corning, NY, died Feb.16
in Mosul, Iraq, of injuries sustained from enemy forces using small arms fire. SGT
Pusateri was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 82nd
Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, NC. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family and
loved ones.
DoD Press Release West High grad killed while serving in Iraq – The Leader
Fort Bragg soldier killed in Iraq - Associated Press
New York soldier dies in Iraq - WSTM News
Soldier From Upstate New York Killed in Second Iraq Tour of Duty -The New York Times
Slain soldier had looked forward to tour - FortBraggNC.com
Hundreds mourn native fallen soldier - The Leader
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/12/AR2005051202002_4.html -
Washington Post
Fallen soldier laid to rest - The Leader

Soldier From Upstate New York Killed in Second Iraq Tour of Duty
By PEG GALLAGHER
Published: February 20, 2005


Army Sgt. Christopher M. Pusateri, 21, who dreamed of a life in the military from the
time he was a teenager, was born on the Fourth of July. Proud to have served his country,
he was nearing the end of his second tour of duty in Iraq when his life ended Wednesday
in a fusillade of gunfire on a mission in Mosul.

His wife, Christine, 20, said she learned of his death that evening when two men in
uniform came to their home near Fort Bragg, N.C. "As soon as I saw them I knew what
happened," she said. "I didn't know what to do or say." She said the soldiers told her that
Sergeant Pusateri had been shot in the jaw and died at a hospital in Mosul.

"He loved the Army. He loved his job and he was a very good leader," she said. "In the
back of my mind you know it could happen, but I never thought it would. I'm sure it
hasn't hit me yet. So far I'm O.K."

Sergeant Pusateri's mother, Brenda West, 39, of Corning, in upstate New York, said that
his family had been eagerly awaiting his return, which he thought would be sometime in
April. He had planned to join his wife in North Carolina, then visit his relatives in
Corning.

The couple had been high school sweethearts and were married on Valentine's Day two
years ago. Sergeant Pusateri was sent overseas a month later.

A 2002 graduate of Corning-Painted Post West High School, Sergeant Pusateri was a
mechanic in the 82nd Airborne Division, according to his stepfather, Chester West, 34. A
spokesman for the division said additional information about Sergeant Pusateri's death
was not available.

Ms. West remembered her son as "a sensitive, caring person who was concerned about
helping others and wanted everyone to be proud of him." And, she said, they were. "Just
thinking of what he had accomplished made me want to cry," she said. She added that
Christopher struggled as a student at first, but eventually made the honor roll several
times. As the eldest of five children, he felt he had to set an example, she said. As a
teenager, he played Dungeons and Dragons and read books like "The Lord of the Rings"
trilogy.

He also loved to hunt and spend time in the woods, his family said. But his goal was
always to be a soldier. "It's all he ever talked about," Ms. West said. "I had hoped that he
would join the military, but when he signed the papers I was kind of upset."
Yet she knew it was his life's dream. "He was a good soldier.," Ms. West said. "It didn't
bother him to go over there and do what he had to do. He never acted like he was afraid.
He was more worried in the first tour than the last because he had close ties with a friend
who was killed." Mr. West said his stepson's plan was to put in enough years to retire.
"He was die-hard military," he said. "He loved it." Sergeant Pusateri is the second
Corning area resident to die in Iraq. The first was Marine Gunnery Sgt. Shawn Allen
Lane, who was killed in a mortar attack last July.


                                   Specialist Azhar Ali




                        Hometown: Flushing, New York
                                Age: 27 years old
               Died: March 2, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
 Unit: Army National Guard-1st Battalion-69th Infantry Regiment-Army National
                               Guard- New York
             Incident: Killed by a roadside bomb blast in Baghdad.

By JAMES BARRON and KIRK SEMPLE
Published: March 5, 2005
They were both from Queens - one a Muslim, the other a Buddhist. They became friends
while they were reservists in training, before they were sent to Iraq as part of the
deployment of New York's most storied National Guard unit, the First Battalion, 69th
Infantry Regiment of Manhattan.

Specialist Azhar Ali, 27, of Flushing, and Specialist Wai Phyo Lwin, 27, of Douglaston,
were members of the battalion's cadre of scouts, which undertook daring reconnaissance
missions, often at night. The group was young, high-strung, idiosyncratic and tightly knit.
The battalion's commander, Lt. Col. Geoffrey J. Slack, liked to refer to them as "the
Madhatters."

The last mission of Specialists Ali and Lwin was relatively routine: a vehicle patrol of the
troubled highway that runs between the airport and the Green Zone, a fortified area of
government buildings.

On Wednesday, a roadside bomb went off as their Humvee was turning onto a bridge that
crosses the airport road, destroying the vehicle and killing the two men instantly, Colonel
Slack said in a telephone interview from Baghdad yesterday.
"They never knew what hit them," he said.
A third soldier in the Humvee, Sgt. Daniel P. Maiella, 30, of Brooklyn, was seriously
wounded and was airlifted to a military hospital in Germany. "He got away by the grace
of God," Colonel Slack said.

Neither Specialist Ali nor Specialist Lwin was married or had children, military officials
said. Colonel Slack said an interdenominational memorial service planned for Monday at
a military base in Baghdad would include a Buddhist priest and an Islamic cleric.
The deaths brought to 12 the number of soldiers who have died in Task Force
Wolfhound, a group of nearly 600 National Guardsmen from the battalion and other
National Guard units who were deployed in October under the command of Colonel
Slack.

Specialist Lwin's father, Thein Z. Lwin, said his son's death was the second loss the
family had faced in recent weeks. Specialist Lwin's grandfather died in Myanmar,
formerly Burma, and Specialist Lwin's mother, May Thi Kah, had just returned from the
funeral when word came of Specialist Lwin's death.

"It's like a double tragedy for her," said Mr. Lwin, who had stayed in Myanmar on
business but returned home when he learned that his son had been killed. "I don't know
how to soothe her."

Mr. Lwin said that his son, who had attended Benjamin Cardozo High School in Queens,
had wanted to be a soldier since he was a child. "He kept asking us to let him go into the
military," Mr. Lwin said. He said that when his tour in Iraq was over, his son had planned
to leave the military and go to college.

Until the news came, Mr. Lwin had been looking forward to seeing his son at the end of
the month, when Specialist Lwin planned to visit New York on leave. Yesterday, Mr.
Lwin was left with memories - memories of singing, of playing the guitar. Specialist
Lwin's favorite song was "Stuck on You," by Lionel Richie.

"It's an oldie, but he loved it," said Specialist Lwin's brother, Khant P. Lwin.
Specialist Ali's brothers in Flushing - his parents returned to their native Pakistan some
years ago - reacted with disbelief to the knock at their door from military personnel
whose mission was to tell them their brother was dead. The brothers had spoken with him
by cell-phone only hours before he died.

His brother Mazhar, 23, said Specialist Ali had asked for video games. Mazhar Ali said
he had planned to send him some new titles, along with contact lenses. The Alis said
their dealings with the military since learning of their brother's death on Wednesday
evening had been problematic. Another brother, Zulfiqak Ali, 33, said the family wanted
Specialist Ali's body sent to Pakistan for burial there.

They said that although they gave the soldiers at the door their father's telephone number
in Karachi, he heard nothing official until yesterday. Zulfiqak Ali said there had been a
series of phone calls between military officials and the family in Queens, who reiterated
that under their tradition, Specialist Ali should be buried within 24 hours of his death.
He said that late Friday in Karachi, someone called and told his father to go to the United
States Embassy to fill out papers. But the caller also told Mr. Ali that the embassy was
closing for the weekend and suggested that he go there on Monday.

A telephone call to the Army's public affairs office was not returned last night.
The family said Specialist Ali, the second youngest of nine children, went to New York
when he was 14. He graduated from John Bowne High School in Flushing and joined the
69th about six years ago. After 9/11, they said, he patrolled Grand Central Terminal and
was sent to Korea.

A cousin, Sunny Sharif, said Specialist Ali was a quiet, dedicated soldier. If a call came
for an assignment, Mr. Sharif said: "He never said no. He pulled on his pants and he was
out." Mazhar Ali said that after leaving the military, his brother hoped to become a New
York City police officer.

Specialists Ali and Lwin were the first task force soldiers to die since the battalion began
patrolling the airport road in early February, an assignment that had elicited the scorn of
Colonel Slack, who felt it was tedious and not challenging enough for his battalion.
In interviews last week, he said the new mission was boring and he mocked the
highway's reputation as the most dangerous road in Iraq.

Yesterday, though, he was humbled. "I'm going to have to eat my words," he said.
Colonel Slack said the attackers had presumably planted the bomb during a brief interval
between two passing patrols. "It was what we call, 'drop and pop': They drove up,
dropped the I.E.D.," he said, using the abbreviation for improvised explosive device. "It
could've happened to anybody at any time, anywhere."

"The battalion is bummed out," he added, "but we've had so many casualties that we're
staring to get..." The colonel paused, searching for the right word. "I guess 'hardened.'
They suffer, they grieve, they're unhappy and they know this is the cost of doing business
over here."

The battalion spent its first three months in Iraq providing security in Taji, a region
northwest of Baghdad, where it met stiff enemy resistance and suffered most of its
casualties. Its relocation to Baghdad and its new assignment - to safeguard an eight-
kilometer stretch of the airport road, known among American officials as Route Irish -
came as a relief to the soldiers, even if the road was infamous for ambushes, bombings
and kidnappings.

Before Wednesday, a battalion patrol had been hit by at least one other roadside bomb in
Baghdad but had suffered no casualties. Several other bombs had been discovered before
they could do any harm.
Stacy Albin contributed reporting for this article.
                                 Specialist Wai P. Lwin




                        Hometown: Queens, New York
                                Age: 27 years old
               Died: March 2, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
 Unit: Army National Guard-1st Battalion-69th Infantry Regiment-Army National
                                Guard-New York
             Incident: Killed by a roadside bomb blast in Baghdad.

See related article Re: Azur Ali
On March 4, Governor George Pataki said in a statement: ―All New Yorkers join in
mourning the losses of Spc. Azhar Ali and Spc. Wai Lwin, who were killed in action
while serving in Iraq. These two courageous Soldiers were immigrants who came to New
York to embrace freedom and opportunity here. Ali emigrated from Pakistan
to make Flushing his home, and Lwin‘s family emigrated from Burma to settle in
Queens. Ali and Lwin not only embraced freedom, they were willing to put their lives on
the line to defend it. Their bravery and selfless service to our State and our nation are in
keeping with the finest traditions of the National Guard, and they will always be
remembered.‖

―On behalf of all New Yorkers, we extend our deepest sympathy to their families, their
friends and their fellow Soldiers of the Fighting 69th during this difficult time,‖
concluded the Governor. Lwin's parents, Thein and May Lwin and his brother,
Khant Phylo, and his sister, YuYu Wai, survive him. He was buried at Long Island
National Cemetery with full military honors. ―We have given our son to the military, and
our son did his duty and gave his life to the military. Whatever memories we have of him,
we wanted him to be near us, in our hometown,‖ said Lwin‘s father, who continued his
reflection saying his son died doing what he loved the most.

Lwin‘s medals include the Purple Heart Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Combat Infantry
Badge, Good Conduct Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Global War on Terrorism
Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Army Service Medal,
National Defense Service Medal, N.Y. Medal of Valor and the N.Y. Distinguished
Medal of Service. Lwin was posthumously awarded citizenship to the United
States. Ali was a resident of Flushing. He attended John Bowne high school before
joining the 69th Infantry Regiment in 1998. He is buried at a Muslim cemetery in Long
Island.

By Spc. Brian Schroeder
Task Force Baghdad
Maj. Cathy Sweeney
Guard Times Staff
JOINT FORCES HEADQUARTERS, Latham—
Soldiers gathered here March 8 to celebrate the life of two fallen brothers in arms. Spc.
Wai Lwin and Spc. Azhar Ali, 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment Headquarters
Company scouts gave their lives in support of bringing democracy and peace to Iraq.
Lwin and Ali were both immigrants to the United States. Lwin, a Buddhist from Burma
and Ali, a Muslim from Pakistan both loved being Soldiers and both felt that
serving in the Army was the best way they could show they were Americans, said Capt.
Christopher Daniels commander, 69th Headquarters Company. ―They knew what the
absence of freedom was like because of the lack of freedom from their childhoods,‖ said
Daniels.

Lwin, 27, and Ali, 27, were killed by an improvised explosive device that detonated close
to their Humvee while on patrol. Other members of their platoon said the Soldiers were
inseparable, always seen together, whether they were eating, relaxing or preparing for
their next mission. ―These guys were best friends,‖ said Sgt. Jason Olmo, squad leader.
―You could not separate them.‖ Lt. Col. Geoffrey Slack, commander, 69th Infantry
Regiment, said Lwin and Ali‘s bravery and courage exemplified the tradition of the
Fighting 69th.

In Baghdad, on March 8, Slack read the Rouge Bouquet; a poem written by Joyce Kilmer
after the 69th suffered its first, multiple combat deaths during World War I:

                      Comrades true, borne anew, peace to you!
                       Your souls shall be where the heroes are
                    And your memory shines like the morning star.
                                   Brave and dear,
                                   Shield us here.
                                      Farewell!


                              Specialist Matthew A. Koch




                       Hometown: West Henrietta, New York
                                   Age: 23 years old
                 Died: March 9, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
               Unit: Army-70th Engineer Battalion-Fort Riley-Kansas
                     Incident: Killed by a roadside bomb in Taji.
Jim Vinup, who retired two years ago after 34 years of teaching high school shop, said
Matthew A. Koch was such a pleasure to teach that if all students were like him, "I would
still be teaching today." "I'm proud to say that I knew him," Vinup said. "I can't say
enough about him." Koch, 23, of West Henrietta, N.Y., died March 9 when his vehicle hit
a bomb in Taji. A 1999 high school graduate, Koch was based at Fort Riley. "He was
dedicated to the fact that people over there needed help. He was always concerned about
other people. He loved children. He was a nice, softhearted kid," said Koch's stepfather,
James J. Worman. Koch loved hunting and fishing so much that artificial lures were
placed in his casket. His father, Dale Koch, said the military had given his son direction.
He was surprised at the changes he saw when he last saw him at Thanksgiving. "The kid
who skipped school all the time" had matured, said Koch. "He found himself." He also is
survived by his mother, Diane Worman.

NAME: Matthew A. Koch
AGE: 23
HOMETOWN: West Henrietta, N.Y. (graduate of Parkland High School)
BRANCH OF SERVICE: Army
RANK: specialist
UNIT: 70th Engineer Battalion, 1st Infantry Division based at Fort Riley, Kan.
DATE OF DEATH: March 9, 2005
CAUSE: Died in Taji, Iraq, from injuries sustained when a roadside bomb detonated near
his vehicle

PLACE OF BURIAL: Cedar Hill Memorial Park, Hanover Township, Lehigh County
RELATED STORIES:
• March 12, 2005: Parkland graduate killed in Iraq
• March 19, 2005: Family buries Parkland grad killed in Iraq
Parkland graduate killed in Iraq
Serviceman dedicated to helping Iraqis is first
from Lehigh County to die in the war
By Randy Kraft | Of The Morning Call
March 12, 2005
Spc. Matthew A. Koch, a 1999 Parkland High School graduate who re- enlisted in the
Army because he wanted to help the people of Iraq, was killed Wednesday in a Baghdad
suburb when a roadside bomb detonated near his armored vehicle.

Koch, 23, became the first serviceman from Lehigh County and the ninth with ties to the
Lehigh Valley and surrounding area to die in the Iraq war. Born and raised in Allentown,
he moved to South Whitehall Township and then to West Henrietta, N.Y. He served in
the 70th Engineer Battalion, out of Fort Riley, Kan.

"He was driving his armored vehicle and hit a road bomb," said his stepfather, James
Worman. "Whether someone was with him or injured, we don't know, and they don't give
that information out." The Defense Department said Koch was killed near Taji, 20 miles
north of Baghdad. He will have a military funeral next week in Allentown.

"He was a brave soldier who made the greatest sacrifice anyone could make for everyone
else's freedom," Diane Worman, Koch's mother, said through tears. "He realized that by
being over there, he was going to make a difference in the lives of those people."

James Worman said his stepson enlisted in the Army soon after the Sept. 11 terrorist
attacks and was in his second tour in Iraq after re-enlisting. He had only been there for a
couple of weeks when he was killed.

"He really loved the service and went back," he said. "He had no problem. He was
dedicated to the fact that people over there needed help. He was always concerned about
other people. He loved children. He was a nice, soft-hearted kid."

Diane Worman said her son once unsuccessfully sought green cards for an Iraqi family
that had been threatened for helping Americans.

Koch's former shop teacher remembers him as "always quite the gentleman." Jim Vinup,
who retired two years ago after 34 years of teaching, said if all the students were like
Koch, "I would still be teaching today. I'm proud to say that I knew him. I can't say
enough about him."

Vinup said Koch was in his wood and plastic shop at Troxell Junior High School and
worked for his screen-printing business through high school. "He stayed in touch,"
Vinup said. "He stopped in here over Christmas vacation to say hi and that he was
heading back to Iraq. He was truly interested in how everybody was. He would always
say, "How are you doing, how's the family?' He was an all-around nice kid, as nice as
nice could be."

Diane Worman, an Allentown native now living in West Henrietta, near Rochester, said
she wants people to remember her son as well as the other military men and women who
are trying to give citizens of troubled countries "the same kind of lives we have."

Koch's father, Dale Koch, also is from Allentown and lives in Gilbert, Ariz. His
grandmother, Rita Fenstermaker, lives in Allentown. James Worman said his stepson
loved the outdoors. The two of them often went hunting and fishing together.

Before joining the Army, Koch worked as an electrician for local contractors. He had
been a vo-tech student at Parkland. Family members said they plan to establish a
scholarship in Koch's memory for Parkland vo-tech students. O'Donnell Funeral Home in
Allentown is handling funeral arrangements.

Koch's aunt, Donna Schall of Whitehall Township, said her nephew's first tour in Iraq
lasted nearly a year. She said he came back last April and shipped out again for the
Mideast in January. "I don't think he had plans to be a lifer, but doing this was his plan,"
Schall said. "It was his duty."
Family buries Parkland grad killed in Iraq
'His life counted for good,' chaplain says of Allentown native who joined Army.
By Romy Varghese | Of The Morning Call
March 19, 2005
A few months after graduating from Parkland High School in 1999, Matthew A. Koch
headed to upstate New York, unsure of what he wanted to do with his life. But galvanized
by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, he found his purpose in the military.

On Friday, family and friends honored Koch's dedication to his country at his funeral in
east Allentown. The 23-year-old Army specialist with the 70th Engineer Battalion was
two weeks into his second tour in Iraq when he was killed by a roadside bomb in a
Baghdad suburb March 9.

"Matt, I stand here next to you, awed by your selfless service to the cause of freedom,"
said his stepbrother, Marine Lt. Col. John G. Worman, standing by the casket and wiping
away tears during a brief service at O'Donnell Funeral Home.

Army Chaplain Richard Pace noted how much the Allentown native believed in what he
was doing. A month after the terrorist attacks, Pace said, "Matt raised his hand and took
an oath to this great nation." For those who struggle to find something good in the sorrow
of Koch's death, Pace urged that they remember, "His life counted for good."

The service began after an hour-long viewing of Koch's open casket, draped with an
American flag. Two collages with pictures from his childhood rested on easels nearby, as
well as framed photographs of Koch in Iraq. About 150 people filled seats and stood
outside the room.

Afterward, dozens of cars made their way to Cedar Hill Memorial Park in Hanover
Township, Lehigh County. Two Vietnam War veterans on motorcycles, dressed in black
leather jackets with black leather chaps over their blue jeans, took up the rear of the
motorcade.

At the cemetery, soldiers in crisp olive green uniforms carried Koch's casket from the
gray hearse to a caisson, a horse-drawn carriage. Slowly, as the sound of hooves
resounded on the path, the caisson moved to Koch's gravesite. The soldiers walked
alongside, and his family trailed the carriage.

Ironton Livery and Coach donated the caisson because Koch's death moved the owners,
said funeral home director Kevin O'Donnell. After Pace offered prayers, the soldiers
raised their rifles and fired three volleys in salute. They folded the flag on the casket and
presented it to Koch's mother, Diane Worman, who held it close and stroked it. Koch's
father, Dale Koch, also received a flag. After the funeral, family and friends gathered at
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 13 in Allentown.

Koch's stepfather, James J. Worman of West Henrietta, N.Y., near Rochester, recounted
how much Koch loved hunting and fishing. In his casket are artificial lures they used for
fishing, he said. Dale Koch, an Allentown native who was last in the area for his son's
1999 graduation, said the military had given the former vo- tech student direction.

He was surprised at the change he saw in Matt when he last saw him at Thanksgiving.
"The kid who skipped school all the time" had matured, said Koch, who now lives in
Gilbert, Ariz. "He found himself. He knew where he was going."

Lt. Col. Worman said that after working for some Allentown electrical companies, his
stepbrother came to Rochester and worked for his manufacturing company. Worman, a
Marine reservist, said he encouraged Koch to consider the military, and Koch decided on
the Army.

He was in Baghdad for almost a year after the war started, then returned to Fort Riley,
Kan. About two weeks after he went back to Iraq, he was riding in an armored vehicle
near Taji, 20 miles north of Baghdad, when a bomb exploded.

Worman said he had no regrets about recommending his stepbrother join the military. "It
really has value for a young person," he said. Koch was the first person from Lehigh
County and the ninth with ties to the Lehigh Valley and surrounding area to die in the
Iraq war. As of Friday, the fighting had claimed the lives of 1,521 U.S. troops. Koch's
family has set up a scholarship fund in his name for Parkland's vo-tech students.


                           Petty Officer 1st Class Alec Mazur




                          Hometown: Vernon, New York
                                 Age: 35 years old
                Died: March 9, 2005 in Operation Enduring Freedom.
                                     Unit: Navy

Alec was assigned to Underwater Construction Team One (UCT-1), under operational
control of Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.

"I've been to this site many times in the past year. Every time I want to write something,
but it is very hard. I miss you more than anyone will know. Dylan is trying his best to
cope with the lost of you. When you left you told him he was the man of the house and
that is what he is doing. Our daughter who you only saw for the first few months of her
life. She is beautiful and just like you. I'm very proud of you, you loved your job and did
it well. Alec you are a good father, loving husband and loyal friend. On March 9, 2005
our lives changed forever but our love for you will always remain." (Dawn Mazur of
Rome NY)

Petty Officer First Class Alec Mazur, 35, of Vernon, N.Y., died March 9, in a non-
combat related incident in the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility. Mazur was
assigned to Underwater Construction Team One (UCT-1), under operational control of
Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.


                         Staff Sergeant Christopher W. Dill




                        Hometown: Tonawanda, New York
                                 Age: 32 years old
                 Died: April 4, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
  Unit: Army Reserves-2nd Battalion-390th Infantry Regiment-2nd Brigade-98th
                 Division-U.S. Army Reserve-Buffalo-New York
          Incident: Killed during an attack on their patrol in Balad Ruz.

Christopher W. Dill
April 4, 2005, beloved husband of Dawn M. (nee Derion) Dill; dear son of William E.
and Marsha M. (nee Varecka) Dill; dear brother of Dawn E. (Kevin) Farrell and Merrilee
M. Dill; son-in-law of Jan and Dorothy (nee Grundner) Derion; grandson of Shirley R.
and the late William Dill and Mary F. Varecka; uncle of Grayson, Zachary, Jonathan,
David, Brandon, Kelsey, Joshua, Ethan and Ryan; also survived by many aunts, uncles
and cousins. The family will be present to receive friends Wednesday and Thursday 2-4
and 7-9 PM at the (Tonawanda Chapel) AMIGONE FUNERAL HOME INC., 2600
Sheridan Dr., (at Parker Blvd.), where Funeral Services will be held Friday 9:00 AM and
at St. Edmund's Church at 10:00 AM. Christopher was a member of the Buffalo Fire
Dept., Local 282, and the 98th Division, U.S. Army Reserves. Flowers gratefully
declined. In lieu of flowers, contributions to the Christopher W. Dill Fellowship Fund,
c/o Buffalo Fire Dept., 195 Court St., Buffalo, NY 14203. On-line register book at
www.Amigone.com.




              Published in the Buffalo News from 4/12/2005 - 4/14/2005.
Christopher Dill was a soldier and a firefighter, but he was a hero to his wife in other
ways. Before he left for Iraq, he ordered her an early birthday cake so they could
celebrate, and he had a dozen roses delivered on the big day. "He was a firefighter and he
was a soldier, but he was my day-to-day, goofy, caring husband, and he was everybody's
best friend," Dawn Dill said. Christopher Dill, 32, of Tonawanda, N.Y., was killed April
4 by small-arms fire while training security forces in Iraq. He was based in Buffalo, N.Y.,
where he was a firefighter. Dill joined the Reserve after serving in Desert Storm. A drill
sergeant, he could have gone to Missouri to train soldiers, but chose to go to Iraq. "He
told me he wanted to go back and finish what he started so that our future children and
everyone else's children wouldn't have to go there," his wife said. She was consoled by
the memory of what he told her on their wedding day, as they rode around in a limousine
after the ceremony. "I'm so happy that if I were to die tomorrow, I'd be the happiest man,"
he told her.


                                Corporal Sascha Struble




                        Hometown: Philadelphia, New York
                                   Age: 20 years old
                 Died: April 6, 2005 in Operation Enduring Freedom.
                                      Unit: Army

Sascha Struble
CORPORAL SASCHA STRUBLE Age 20, of Hanna, IN, was killed in action
Wednesday, April 6, 2005 in Afghanistan. He was born in Bad Bruckenau, Germany on
June 19, 1984 to Michael J. and Heidi (Knoben) Struble. Survivors: father, Michael J.
(Teresa A.) Struble of Hanna, IN; mother, Heidi (Jeff) Deshazo of Erin, TN; brothers:
Michael D. Struble, Erin, TN, Tony Doms, Hanna, IN, Nick Doms, Ft. Sill, OK; sisters:
Courtney Struble, Hanna, IN, Jessica Doms, Hanna, IN; grandparents: Tony & Marcy
Finch, Lorida, FL, Don & Betty Struble, Joliet, IL, Renate Knoben, Germany, Bobbie
Johnson, Hanna, IN; numerous loving aunts and uncles. Proceeded in death by his
grandfathers, Heinz Knoben and Gunnar Johnson, and one aunt, Simone Knoben. He was
a soldier with the U.S. Army. He graduated from Indian River High School in
Philadelphia, NY in 2002. A funeral service will be held at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, April
20, 2005, full military honors will be conducted at the Cutler Funeral Home, 2900
Monroe St., LaPorte, IN and the Hanna Cemetery, Rev. Merlin Bray & Rev. James
Beversdorf, officiating. Interment Hanna Cemetery, Hanna, IN. Visitation Tuesday, April
19th from 4-8 p.m. and on Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. (time of service).
Memorials may be made to the Sascha Struble Scholarship Fund, in care of Cutler
Funeral Home, 2900 Monroe St., LaPorte, IN 46350. Family and friends may leave
condolences and sign register book at: www.cutlerfuneral.com CORPORAL SASCHA
STRUBLE Age 20, of Hanna, IN, was killed in action Wednesday, April 6, 2005 in
Afghanistan. He was born in Bad Bruckenau, Germany on June 19, 1984 to Michael J.
and Heidi (Knoben) Struble. Survivors: father, Michael J. (Teresa A.) Struble of Hanna,
IN; mother, Heidi (Jeff) Deshazo of Erin, TN; brothers: Michael D. Struble, Erin, TN,
Tony Doms, Hanna, IN, Nick Doms, Ft. Sill, OK; sisters: Courtney Struble, Hanna, IN,
Jessica Doms, Hanna, IN; grandparents: Tony & Marcy Finch, Lorida, FL, Don & Betty
Struble, Joliet, IL, Renate Knoben, Germany, Bobbie Johnson, Hanna, IN; numerous
loving aunts and uncles. Preceded in death by his grandfathers, Heinz Knoben and
Gunnar Johnson, and one aunt, Simone Knoben. He was a soldier with the U.S. Army.
He graduated from Indian River High School in Philadelphia, NY in 2002.

A funeral service will be held at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, April 20, 2005, full military
honors will be conducted at the Cutler Funeral Home, 2900 Monroe St., LaPorte, IN and
the Hanna Cemetery, Rev. Merlin Bray & Rev. James Beversdorf, officiating. Interment
Hanna Cemetery, Hanna, IN. Visitation Tuesday, April 19th from 4-8 p.m. and on
Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. (time of service). Memorials may be made to the
Sascha Struble Scholarship Fund, in care of Cutler Funeral Home, 2900 Monroe St.,
LaPorte, IN 46350. Family and friends may leave condolences and sign register book at:
www.cutlerfuneral.com Published in the Post-Tribune on 4/17/2005.

Corporal Sascha Struble: 19 June 1984-6 April 2005
By Sergeant First Class Steven Day
Chief Paralegal, USASETAF
Vicenza, Italy

"We cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave
men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor
power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here,
but it can never forget what they did here."
--President Abraham Lincoln

On 6 April 2005, a CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed with eighteen Americans on
board. On that day and in that crash, the Judge Advocate General's Corps lost an
outstanding young Soldier--Corporal (CPL) Sascha Struble. Corporal Struble was
following in his family's tradition of service to this nation by serving with the U.S. Army
in the Global War on Terror. On that day, CPL Struble gave his life in the defense of
freedom and in the effort to bring hope and democracy to the people of Afghanistan.

Corporal Struble boarded one of two Chinook helicopters at the Forward Operating Base
(FOB) Orgun-E, where he was the battalion paralegal specialist for the Red Devils of the
1st Battalion (Airborne), 508th Infantry. After leaving Orgun-E, a severe sandstorm
limited aircraft visibility. In order to land, the pilots attempted to maneuver to a nearby
base, FOB Ghazni. The bad weather "may have caused a fatal pilot error or technical
problem," which resulted in a crash.

All eighteen Americans on board perished. Corporal Sascha Struble was only twenty
years old when he gave his life for his country. Yet, during the short time I knew
Corporal Struble, he left an indelible mark on me. Corporal Struble was that rare
individual who could bring you to smile at any moment in the day. Corporal Struble was
also a professional, a paratrooper. His devotion to the Army, his job, and his country are
without question.

--Staff Sergeant Ariel Cohen
Noncommissioned Officer in Charge, Criminal Law
U.S. Army Southern European Task Force (USASETAF)
Corporal Struble was born on 19 June 1984, in Bad Bruckeau, Germany. Patriotism runs
in his family. Corporal Struble was the son of a career military Soldier. His father,
Michael Struble, retired from the Army as a master sergeant. One of CPL Struble's
brothers, Nick Doms, is currently in the U.S. Army, and another of his brothers, Michael
Struble, recently enlisted in the U.S. Air Force.

Corporal Struble is also survived by his mother, Heidi Deshazo; step-mother Teresa A.
Struble; step-father, Jeff Deshazo; brother, Tony Doms; and sisters, Courtney Struble and
Jessica Doms. Corporal Struble graduated in 2002 from Indian River High School in
Philadelphia, New York, where he was a star athlete and an avid photography student. He
considered playing minor league baseball, but instead opted to follow in his father's
footsteps. "Sascha Struble took his dad with him when he enlisted in the Army in 2002,
during his senior year in high school."

His first assignment was as a paralegal specialist for the 2/72d Armor Battalion, Camp
Casey, South Korea, located just south of the heavily armed demilitarized zone. As a
young Soldier, CPL Struble grabbed every opportunity that presented itself and was
determined to leave Korea with Air Assault wings. Twice in successive months he
completed all of the eligibility requirements, including the twelve-mile road march, for
Air Assault School. He later graduated and earned his wings.

Corporal Struble volunteered to go to the field whenever possible and thrived in the field
environment, seeking out training on battle tracking in the unit's tactical operations center
and joining the infantrymen on opposing force (OPFOR) missions after hours. While in
Korea, CPL Struble volunteered for and completed the "Manchu" march, an overnight
twenty-five-mile tactical foot march with full combat gear. Corporal Struble talked about
his year in Korea as one of the best in his life and always reminisced about his Army
experiences there with a huge smile on his face.

He had just gotten off shift about an hour before and should have been getting ready for
sleep. I asked him what he was doing, and he said that the infantry guys said he could go
on an OPFOR mission with them. He was sweating, standing in mud almost to the top of
his boots, had a full ruck, his weapon, and was grinning ear to ear. That is the type of
Soldier he was.

--Staff Sergeant Allen J. Foster
Noncommissioned Officer, 2d Infantry Division
After finishing his tour in Korea, CPL Struble again requested an overseas assignment--
1st Battalion (Airborne), 508th Infantry, Vicenza, Italy,--in hopes of earning his Airborne
wings and of getting deployed. He accomplished both of these tasks in addition to
handling all the military justice actions out of his battalion. Corporal Struble was
extremely motivated and always eager to share the workload of the other paralegals. He
never called it a day before his noncommissioned officers and always made sure the
judge advocates were "good-to-go" before leaving.

BY ELIZABETH HOLMES
eholmes@nwitimes.com
219.462.5151 | Saturday, April 16, 2005
HANNA | Sascha Struble took his dad with him when he enlisted in the Army in 2002,
during his senior year in high school. After growing up hearing stories of his father, who
also was in the Army, jumping out of helicopters and repelling off of cliffs, Struble was
wary of certain positions in the military. So when the recruitment counselor asked what
job he wanted, Struble pointed to his dad and said, "Whatever he didn't do." That didn't
last long.

"Within the first year, he's calling me and saying, 'Dad, I'm going to air-assault school.'
He was so proud," Mike Struble recalled. "I said to him, 'You're sure doing a lot of crazy
stuff for someone who didn't want to do crazy stuff.'"

Struble, a 20-year-old man whose family lives in LaPorte County, died on April 6 in a
military helicopter crash near Ghazni, 80 miles south of the Afghan capital of Kabul.
With 18 lives lost, it was the deadliest crash for Americans since the fall of the Taliban in
2001.

Struble, who held the rank of Army specialist, enlisted in the spring of 2002. He shipped
out in November of that year and spent his entire time overseas stationed in Italy.
Although he was nervous at first, Struble fell in love with military life, his family said.
"He was excited about everything," Teresa, Struble's mother said. "Every time he called it
was, 'Mom, guess what.'" In addition to being airborne and air-assault qualified, Struble
also was a paralegal for the Army. He was taking online courses, with the intention of
going to college full-time at some point.

Being in the military runs in Struble's family. Along with his father's military career, his
brother, 22-year-old Nick Doms, has spent a year in Iraq and now is stationed in
Oklahoma. His younger brother, Michael Struble, recently signed up for the Air Force.

"I always tried really hard never to push the military on any of the kids," Struble's father
said. "I certainly encouraged it, but I never pushed it. Let them make their own calls, their
own decisions."

As they sat on the couch of their home in Hanna, a small community in southern LaPorte
County, the family held hands and hugged while sharing memories of Struble, the young
man with the contagious smile and a love for life.

Struble, one of six children, went to elementary school in LaPorte for three years.
Growing up, the biggest punishment for Struble was being sent to his room. "You put that
boy in his room, he was miserable," his father said.

Most recently, he lived in Philadelphia, N.Y. His former high school there is starting a
scholarship fund in his honor. Struble played the guitar and loved photography, often
taking pictures of the places he was sent and e-mailing them to his family. He also was an
avid sports fan, known for wearing basketball shorts with socks pulled up to his knees.
"He was always making us laugh," his sister, Courtney, 14, said. For his younger brother,
Michael, Struble's death is especially difficult.

"He was the best friend I ever had," he said. "He was always there to pick me up
whenever I was down. If anything ever happened he would always give me a call, help
me out, give me advice."

Although they were an ocean apart, Struble and Michael kept in touch by e-mail almost
every day. The most exciting piece of news of late was Michael's recent enlistment in the
Air Force. "He wrote me right before he got on the helicopter," Michael said. "He told
me, whatever goes on in my life, stick to what I want, what makes me happy and that he's
really proud of me for joining the Air Force."

Although his parents are leery of letting him pursue a career in the military given
Sascha's death, Michael remains committed to joining the Air Force if for no other reason
than honoring his late brother's memory. "I'm just gonna kick butt even harder for him,"
he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Pay your respects: The visitation for Army Spc. Sascha Struble is set for 4 to 8 p.m.
Tuesday at Cutler Funeral Home in LaPorte. The funeral is 10 a.m. Wednesday. Full
arrangements are pending at Cutler Funeral Home.
                        Chief Warrant Officer David Ayala




                        Hometown: New York, New York
                                 Age: 24 years old
               Died: April 6, 2005 in Operation Enduring Freedom.
    Unit: Army-5th Battalion-159th Aviation Regiment-12th Aviation Brigade-
                               Giebelstadt- Germany
    Incident: Killed when a CH-47 helicopter crashed in Ghazni, Afghanistan.

Embry-Riddle Awards Posthumous Degree to Chief Warrant Officer David Ayala




Daytona Beach, Fla., Oct. 17, 2005 -- Army Chief Warrant Officer David Ayala of New
Rochelle, N.Y., will be posthumously awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in
Professional Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University on Tuesday, Oct.
25, at 5:30 p.m. in a ceremony at New Rochelle High School. The degree will be
presented to David Ayala‘s mother, Ms. Sonia Rodriguez, by Dr. Thomas Sieland, dean
of the College of Career Education.

Ayala, 24, died April 6, 2005, along with 17 others when an Army CH-47 Chinook
helicopter went down in a heavy sandstorm in Afghanistan. Ayala had flown 50 hours of
combat time in just one month while stationed at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. He
was a member of Troop F, 159th Aviation Regiment.

As a student at Embry-Riddle‘s Extended Campus center in Giebelstadt, Germany, Ayala
had maintained a 3.5 grade point average. ―David was an awesome student. He was
always on the dean‘s list,‖ said Jerry Deese, director of Embry-Riddle‘s Giebelstadt
center. ―And he was fun to be around.‖ Ayala entered the Army upon completion of high
school. He met his wife, Athena, in Bronx, N.Y. The couple married in 2002 while David
was attending flight school at Ft. Rucker, Ala.
―He accomplished every one of his dreams, although his time was short,‖ said Athena
Ayala. ―He said everything he had to say. He did everything he had to do. He didn‘t
waste a moment of his life.‖

The degree presentation is scheduled for 5:30 p.m., Oct. 25, in the Small Theater at New
Rochelle High School, 265 Clove Road, New Rochelle, N.Y. Visitors should check in
through the security desk at the Teacher‘s Entrance. Ayala‘s mother, Ms. Sonia
Rodriguez, would like to invite all students at the school to the presentation.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world‘s largest, fully accredited university
specializing in aviation and aerospace, offers more than 30 degree programs in its
colleges of Arts and Sciences, Aviation, Business, and Engineering. Embry-Riddle
educates more than 30,000 students annually in undergraduate and graduate programs at
residential campuses in Prescott, Ariz., and Daytona Beach, Fla., through the Extended
Campus at more than 130 centers in the United States, Canada, Europe, and the Middle
East, and through distance learning.

Profiles of the fallen
Chief Warrant Officer 2 David Ayala, 24, was born in South Carolina and enlisted in
the Army after graduating from high school. He married his wife, Athena, while
attending flight school at Fort Rucker, Ala., in 2002. Ayala served in Kosovo and
Afghanistan, logging 50 hours of combat time in one month. Awards include the Army
Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal and the Bronze Star, which was
awarded posthumously.

Maj. Craig Wilhelm, Ayala‘s company commander, praised his ―ability to make sure we
always kept things in the proper perspective.‖ Chief Warrant Officer 2 Ed Maynard
attended flight school with Ayala and recalled his friend‘s love of wine and cooking and
desire to find ―just the right house‖ for his wife to live in.

Friends at Giebelstadt mourn Chinook crew
By Steve Liewer Stars and Stripes
European edition, Friday, April 15, 2005




                                   Raymond T. Conway / S&S
   Capt. Kenneth Wilson pays respect to five fallen soldiers from F Company, 159th Aviation
           Regiment at a memorial ceremony in Giebelstadt, Germany, on Thursday.




                                    Raymond T. Conway / S&S
    Sgt. Maggie Navarro, left, and Sgt. 1st Class Richard Roll honor the fallen at a memorial
                      ceremony in Giebelstadt, Germany, on Thursday.




                                      Michael Abrams / S&S
    Service members say goodbye to the five soldiers of Company F, 159th Aviation
              Regiment following the memorial service held for them at
                         Bagram Air Base Wednesday night.
GIEBELSTADT, Germany — Five helmets. Five rifles. Five empty pairs of boots.
Only these icons of grief, and a raft of memories, remained Thursday for the Giebelstadt
military community to remember the five CH-47 crewmen from Company F of the 159th
Aviation Regiment (known as ―Big Windy‖), lost April 6, along with 13 passengers,
when their Chinook crashed in Afghanistan.

At least 500 mourners packed the brick chapel at Giebelstadt. A trickle of tears that began
when the soloist sang a mournful ―America the Beautiful‖ turned into a flood as Sgt. Maj.
Leeford Cain called out the names of each fallen soldier three times: Chief Warrant
Officer 2 Clint Prather, Chief Warrant Officer 2 David Ayala, Staff Sgt. Charles R.
Sanders Jr., Spc. Michael Spivey and Spc. Pendelton L. Sykes II.

Capt. Adam Kauffmann remembered Prather, 32, as a man who loved a joke more than
anything except his family and flying. A former enlisted medic, he had come to
Giebelstadt in December 2001 after training as a Chinook pilot. He had racked up 100
combat hours during his first month in Afghanistan on top of 240 earned during Big
Windy‘s 2003-04 tour in Iraq.
―Clint was half of what I would come to think of as the ‗Big Windy Comedy Team,‘‖
Kauffmann said. ―In every picture of Clint, everyone around him is smiling. He had that
way about him.‖ Friends recalled Ayala, 24, as a devoted pilot and a gifted musician who
composed his own songs after teaching himself to play the guitar. He had served as an
OH-58 helicopter mechanic before becoming a Chinook pilot in 2003.

―Dave Ayala was the most creative person I‘ve ever met in my life,‖ said Staff Sgt. Chris
Weeks, 32, a good friend. ―If there was a choice between eating, sleeping or flying, he‘d
choose flying.‖

Sanders, 29, was aboard the fatal trip as its flight engineer, the man who made sure the
Chinook was always ready to fly. He‘d joined the unit just six months earlier and already
had earned a reputation as a tip-top mechanic. He loved to fish and had served two tours
in Alaska because he loved the outdoors.

Weeks‘ voice broke as he read tributes describing Sanders as a ―quiet professional‖ who
―always got the mission done.‖ ―He was the man who showed up early and stayed late,‖
Weeks said. Spivey, 21, the flight‘s crew chief, grew up with the military life. He was the
son of an active-duty Army master sergeant who called Fort Bragg, N.C., home. His
appearance — thin and serious-looking, with glasses — disguised a jokester who lived
for the nightlife.

―He loved going out with friends and having a good time,‖ said Pfc. Lakeshia Teel, 20, a
close friend whose comments were read at the ceremony. ―He was truly a kid at heart.
But when it was time to do the job, he did the job.‖

Sykes, the 25-year-old door gunner, was a bodybuilder who liked working on his car as
much as fixing a gourmet meal. He kept his room impeccably neat and was quick to help
friends in a pinch. ―He had arms of steel, and a hug that could melt your heart,‖ Teel said.

As the ceremony concluded, the mourners lined up to salute the shrines and touch the lost
soldiers‘ dogtags. ―We have taken a blow in Giebelstadt, 12th Aviation [Brigade], Big
Windy,‖ said Chaplain (Col.) Jay Breland. ―We will recover — and never, never forget
our soldiers.‖


Lost to War but Not Forgotten
Published: March 26, 2006
David Ayala first began courting Athena Ricanor when he sat behind her in 11th-grade
health class at New Rochelle High School. He persisted in telling her corny jokes, even
though she kept turning around at her desk to ask him to stop. By the time her birthday
rolled around in the spring, David presented Athena with a bunch of balloons and told her
it was his birthday, too.
"I thought it was one of his pickup lines," recalled Athena, now Mrs. Ayala, "but he
took out his license and showed me — April 17, 1980. He said we were totally born for
each other."
Long before he was a boyfriend and then a husband, David Ayala was a boy who
dreamed of flying. He was once taken for a ride in a single-engine plane, and pretended
he was the co-pilot for the entire flight, his mother told The Journal News.
In high school he was a creative student who enjoyed art classes. He painted, made
sculptures and wrote poetry. He was also musical: In the Latin club he played bongos.
When he started dating Athena and discovered her brothers had a band, he would arrive
at her house with a guitar and jam with them, eventually writing his own songs.

He graduated from high school in 1998 and joined the Army three months later. The
reason, Mrs. Ayala said: "He wanted to fly." He hoped first to train as a military pilot and
ultimately to work as a commercial pilot. He told Athena that he wanted to wait until he
became an officer to marry her. When the couple married in 2003, he had achieved the
rank of chief warrant officer. He was assigned to a battalion in Giebelstadt, Germany,
whose rich cultural history the couple enjoyed.

"It was so beautiful there, and my husband fell in love with this painting," Mrs. Ayala
said. "But he looked at the price — it was 82,000 euros — and he said: 'You know what,
Babe? I can do this, too.' "

That day the two shopped for art supplies, and he set to work on his own paintings. Mrs.
Ayala described herself as her husband's biggest critic and biggest fan.
Officer Ayala was learning to fly Chinook helicopters. He was also attending school
through a distance-learning program at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in
Daytona Beach, Fla., where he was working toward his Bachelor of Science degree in
aeronautics.

When his unit was deployed to Afghanistan, he was known for his desire for order and
neatness. When soldiers were assigned to their huts, most just threw their gear onto a cot,
but Officer Ayala told his wife he needed to clean the space before he could move into it.
"David would call me up and say, 'Babe, can you please send me one of those
humidifiers?' " Mrs. Ayala said. "When I asked him why, he'd say: 'I need to vent the air.
There are too many guys in this hut.' David could pull that off because people respected
that he was trying to make it like home."

David Ayala died on April 6, 2005, in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan that killed 15
American soldiers and three civilian contractors. Mrs. Ayala says she takes comfort in the
fact that her husband died doing what he loved, as well as in their shared faith in God.
Sonia Rodriguez, Officer Ayala's mother, was presented with her son's college diploma,
awarded posthumously, at a ceremony at New Rochelle High School in October 2005.
                               Specialist Jacob M. Pfister




                           Hometown: Buffalo, New York
                                  Age: 27 years old
                 Died: April 19, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
    Unit: Army-3rd Battalion-7th Infantry Regiment-3rd Infantry Division-Fort
                                  Stewart-Georgia
            Incident: Killed by a car bomb while on patrol in Baghdad.

Jacob Pfister joined the Army after the Sept. 11 attacks to give "some payback" to the
terrorists. Even though he lost 25 percent of his hearing in a bombing in 2003, he decided
to make a career out of the Army. Still, he had his questions about what war had done to
him. "I'm afraid of going back home again," he told The Associated Press from Iraq in
2003. "I don't want to bring the mentality I have here back to my mother and little
brothers." Pfister, 27, of Buffalo, N.Y., was killed April 19 in Baghdad when a car bomb
detonated near his patrol. He was based at Fort Stewart.

He is survived by his wife, who is expecting their first child in June. Pfister quit Buffalo
State College and joined the Army infantry after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
His mother, Amy MacGregor, described her son as a serious man who loved his family.
"The way he put it to me is, `Mom, who would you rather have over there defending you,
me or some other joker?'" she said.

Jacob Pfister
Of North Evans, NY. Suddenly, while serving his country, April 19, 2005. Beloved
husband of Ashleigh (Rosenberg) Pfister; loving father-to-be of Maddison Pfister; dearest
son of Amy MacGregor (David Morrisey) and the late Dennis G. Pfister; heroic brother
of Ian, Rachel, Marshall and Monica Morrisey, Joshua and Kaylee Cirritor and Andrea
Pfister; dear grandson of Hugh and Edith MacGregor, Norman (late Eleanor) (late
Geraldine) Pfister and Robert and Elaine Jamieson; survived and admired by a large
loving family and many dear friends.

Family will be present to receive friends Wednesday and Thursday from 3-8 PM at the
(Blasdell/Lackawanna Chapel) JOHN J. KACZOR FUNERAL HOME INC., 3450 South
Park Ave. A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered Friday morning at 10:00 AM at St.
Vincent de Paul Church, North Evans, NY. (Please assemble at church). In lieu of
flowers, donations may be made to the Maddison Pfister Fund, c/o J.P. Morgan Chase,
2300 Main Place Tower, Buffalo, NY 14202.


               Published in the Buffalo News from 4/27/2005 - 4/28/2005.
                             Corporal Kelly M. Cannan




                          Hometown: Lowville, New York
                                 Age: 21 years old
                Died: April 20, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
 Unit: Marines-1st Battalion-5th Marine Regiment-1st Marine Division-1st Marine
                Expeditionary Force-Camp Pendleton-California
                Incident: Killed by a makeshift bomb in Ramadi.

See Related Article Under Spec. James D. Gudridge

Kelly Matthew Cannan volunteered for a third tour in Iraq so fellow Marines with wives
and children wouldn't have to go. "He was always thinking of someone else," said Frank
J. Archer, a maintenance worker at the courthouse where Cannan worked part-time
before enlisting in the Marine Corps in September 2001. Cannan, 21, of Lowville, N.Y.,
was killed April 20 when a bomb exploded near his Humvee in Ramadi.

He was based at Camp Pendleton. The 2001 high school graduate also graduated from
Howard G. Sackett Technical Center in carpentry. "Matt wasn't just a co-worker; Matt
was a friend. He always gave 110 percent, no matter what he did. Matt liked everybody,
and everybody like Matt," Archer said. He is survived by his mother, Dianne E. Smith.


                              Specialist Robert Defazio




                     Hometown: U.S. West Babylon, New York
                                 Age: 21 years old
               Died: April 24, 2005 in Operation Enduring Freedom.
              Unit: Army-23rd Ordnance Company-Miesau-Germany
      Incident: Died of non-combat related injuries in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Robert William DeFazio
DeFAZIO-SPC Robert William, on April 24, 2005, of West Babylon, in the line of duty
in Afghanistan. Beloved son of Jeanine and Michael. Loving brother of Jennifer,
Michael, and Thomas. Dear grandson of Geraldine Conlin, and Anthony and Reva
DeFazio. Loving Uncle and Godfather of Alexander. Also cherished by many Aunts and
Uncles. Friends may visit at the Claude R. BoydSpencer Funeral Home, 448 West Main
Street, Babylon Village, Monday and Tuesday, 2-4:30 and 7-9:30 PM. Funeral Mass on
Wednesday, 10 AM, at Our Lady of Grace R.C. Church, West Babylon. Interment, Long
Island National Cemetery at Pinelawn.
Published in Newsday on 5/1/2005.


                            Corporal Joseph S. Tremblay




                      Hometown: New Windsor, New York
                                 Age: 23 years old
                Died: April 27, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
 Unit: Marine Reserves-3rd Battalion-25th Marine Regiment-4th Marine Division-
               Marine Corps Reserves-Moundsville-West Virginia
                        Incident: Killed by a mine in Hit.

Corporal Joseph Steven Tremblay 1981 - 2005
Corporal Joseph Steven Tremblay died heroically in the line of duty on April 26, 205 in
Iraq. Joseph was born on November 13, 1981 in Ridgewood, NJ to Lawrence J. Tremblay
Sr, and Tina Marie Remo. Joseph was a 1999 Graduate of Newburgh Free Academy and
was currently attending Orange County Community College. Joseph put his degree on
hold in 2003 to re list in the United States Marine Corp and was currently on Active Duty
in Iraq. During his tour of duty he served in Hawaii, Japan and Australia, Survivors
include his loving father Lawrence J. Sr of New Windsor, Loving Mother Tina Marie and
her husband Martin Kaminsky of Corbin, KY, His loving fiancée Jennifer Coloni
(Tremblay) Dear brother Lawrence J. and his wife Siobhan of Washingtonville, Dear
sister Stacy and her husband Daniel Messer of Corbin Kentucky. His paternal
Grandmother Helen Tremblay of Mahwah, NJ, Maternal Grandmother Janet
Wannamaker +of Washingtonville and Suffern, Nieces Lawrence J. III, Eibhlin Ann,
Rachael, Christopher and Elizabeth Messer. Numerous Aunts and Uncles and Cousins
also survive him. The Family will be present to receive friends on Monday May 2, 2005
from 7-9pm and Tuesday May 3, 2005 from 4-9pm at Coloni Funeral Home 3001 Route
9W New Windsor, A Mass of Christian burial will be held on Wednesday May 4,2 005 at
11am at Sacred Heart Church Newburgh. Interment to follow in Orange County Veterans
Memorial Cemetery, Goshen, NY.
Corporal Joseph Steven Tremblay
Corporal Joseph Steven Tremblay died heroically in the line of duty on April 26, 2005 in
Iraq. Joseph was born on November 13, 1981 in Ridgewood, N.J., to Lawrence J.
Tremblay Sr. and Tina Marie Remo. Joseph was a 1999 graduate of Newburgh Free
Academy and was currently attending Orange County Community College. Joseph put
his degree on hold in 2003 to re-enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps and was currently on
active duty in Iraq. During his tour of duty he served in Hawaii, Japan and Australia.

The family will be present to receive friends on Monday, May 2 from 7-9 PM and
Tuesday, May 3 from 4-9 PM at Coloni Funeral Home, 3001 Route 9W, New Windsor.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday May 4, 2005 at 11:00 AM
in Sacred Heart Church, Newburgh. Interment will follow in Orange County Veterans
Memorial Cemetery in Goshen.

Memorial donations may be made to Joseph Tremblay Memorial Fund, c/o Larry
Tremblay, 310 Temple Hill Rd., New Windsor, NY 12553.

Published in the Times Herald-Record on 5/1/2005.


                            Private Charles S. Cooper Jr.




                         Hometown: Jamestown, New York
                                   Age: 19 years old
                  Died: April 29, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
                                     Unit: Army

Pvt. Charles S. Cooper, Jr., 19, of Jamestown, New York. Cooper joined the Army in
July 2004. He attended basic and advanced individual training at Fort Benning, Georgia
from July to November 2004, when he was assigned to the 10th Mountain Division at
Fort Drum. Cooper's awards and decorations included the Purple Heart, which he
received for wounds sustained during an IED attack in the Baghdad neighborhood of Abu
Ghraib. (DoD Photo).
                           Lance Corporal Michael V. Postal




                        Hometown: Glen Oaks, New York
                                Age: 21 years old
                 Died: May 7, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
    Unit: Marines-3rd Battalion-8th Marine Regiment-2nd Marine Division-2nd
           Marine Expeditionary Force-Camp Lejeune-North Carolina
     Incident: Killed while conducting combat operations in Anbar Province.

Michael Postal devoured books on military strategy as a boy and shed 50 pounds to be in
tiptop shape before leaving for basic training. There was a joke in the family about
sneaking him to Canada to avoid the war. Michael was not amused, telling his
grandmother: "Nan, that's not what I'm all about." Postal, 21, of Glen Oaks, N.Y., was
killed by enemy fire May 7 while serving in Anbar province. He was based at Camp
Lejeune. Postal joined the Marines after graduating from high school.

He had worked part time at New York police headquarters as part of a police education
program, and aspired to join the force. "The whole world loved Michael," said his
grandmother, Sandi Postal. "He was that kind of boy from the time he was a baby. He
liked everybody." He was idolized by his 6-year-old sister, Samantha. "She loved him
like you wouldn't believe," said their father, John Rajeh. "She used to pretend to speak to
him on the phone when she was playing." Postal is also survived by his stepmother. His
mother died five years ago.


                        Lieutenant Colonel Terrence K. Crowe




                       Hometown: New York, New York
                               Age: 44 years old
                Died: June 7, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
 Unit: Army Reserves10th Battalion-98th Regiment-4th Brigade-98th Division-U.S.
                        Army Reserve-Lodi-New Jersey
 Incident: Killed during a rocket-propelled grenade and small-arms fire attack on
                                his unit in Tal Afar.

Fields Named, Soccer Team Recognized - 2005




Lt. Martin Prast     Cpl. Robert B. Luther   Lt. Col. Terrence Crowe

By Joelle Logue
Monday, November 7, 2005 . . . Little League diamonds were officially named Monday
for three men who served in the Armed Forces, two of whom made the supreme sacrifice
in the defense of this nation. Field #2 will be re-titled honoring the memory of Lt. Martin
Prast, Field 3 will honor Cpl. Robert B. Luther and Field #4 will honor Lt. Col. Terrence
Crowe.

Lt. Prast had already earned the Purple Heart twice when he was severely injured and
permanent disabled by a booby trap on January 30th, 1970. His death on January 30,
1998 was the direct result of his heroic actions in the service.

Pfc. Robert B. Luther was 21 years old when he was killed at Khe Go Bridge, Vietnam
on Mother's Day, May 10, 1970.

Lt. Col. Crowe lost his life on June 7, 2005 while serving as an Army Reserve officer in
the war in Iraq.

Nancy Sandford, sister of Robert Luther, thanked the Town Board for recognizing these
men in this way. Also attending the meeting was Robert‘s mother, Shirley Luther.
The Girls Varsity Soccer Team was honored with a proclamation that cited its
outstanding season and 6th appearance at the Section VI Championships, next Saturday
in Rochester that could set up a possible 4th trip to the Final Four. The team posted 26-0
scores in the last four play-off games and boasts a 21-1 record.

Army Lt. Col. Terrence K. Crowe
44, of New York, N.Y.; assigned to the 10th Battalion, 98th Regiment, 4th Brigade, 98th
Division, Army Reserve, Lodi, N.J.; killed June 7 when his unit was attacked by enemy
forces using rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire in Tal Afar, Iraq.


Army officer from N.Y. killed in Iraq
By Carolyn Thompson
Associated Press
BUFFALO, N.Y. — A lieutenant colonel with the Army Reserves from western New
York was killed by hostile fire while training Iraqi security forces near the Syrian border,
military officials said Wednesday.

Lt. Col. Terrence Crowe, 44, of Grand Island, was one of four U.S. soldiers killed in
three separate attacks Tuesday. He is the fourth member of the Rochester-based 98th
Division to die in Iraq.

―This is a sad day,‖ said Tom Arida, Crowe‘s former boss at ABest, a North Tonawanda
construction firm where Crowe worked as a carpenter until about three years ago.
Arida called Crowe ―an artist‖ whose work was unique in the industry.

―He always wanted to make a difference, give people something more than they were
asking for,‖ an emotional Arida said. ―He was that way here and it was the same in the
military. He wanted to give something back.‖

Crowe, a father of two whose Army career spanned 17 years, including 10 years on
active duty, left the construction company to become an assistant professor of military
science at Canisius College in Buffalo, training ROTC cadets.

A colleague there remembered Crowe as a fine instructor, whose cadets performed above
the national average. ―He was a very dynamic personality,‖ said Lt. Col. Jim Bagwell,
commander of the college‘s ROTC detachment, ―very outspoken, very passionate about
doing things in the best way possible.‖

Crowe attended the college‘s commissioning ceremony while on leave a few weeks ago,
Bagwell said. ―He told a couple of war stories but the gist of it was he was impressed that
people, knowing the danger they were in, would do what they had to do anyway,‖
Bagwell said, ―knowing they were going out into a risky situation.‖

Bagwell said Crowe‘s daughter is graduating high school this year, and his son is a
couple years older. A call to Crowe‘s sister was not immediately returned Wednesday.
A spokesman for the 98th Division could not say whether other soldiers had been killed
or wounded in Tuesday‘s attack in the northern town of Tal Afar. Maj. James Lincoln
said Crowe had been part of a military transition team mentoring Iraqi troops.

―They were in Tal Afar looking for insurgents when the attack took place,‖ Lincoln said.
―He was there as a trainer, an adviser.‖ Three of the 98th Division‘s four casualties have
died while training Iraqi security forces, Lincoln said. Besides Crowe, they are Staff Sgt.
Christopher Dill, a 32-year-old Buffalo firefighter, who was fatally shot in April, and Sgt.
1st Class Paul Karpowich, 30, of Bridgeport, Pa., who died Dec. 21 in the mess tent
suicide bombing in Mosul.

Sgt. Lawrence Roukey, 33, of Westbrook, Maine, was killed in an April explosion.
More than 1,000 troops from the unit are currently mobilized. Crowe had been in Iraq
since last October. Besides his children, he is survived by his parents.
                              Captain Phillip T. Esposito




                           Hometown: Suffern, New York
                                  Age: 30 years old
                  Died: June 8, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
   Unit: Army National Guard-Headquarters and Headquarters Company-42nd
             Infantry Division-Army National Guard-Troy-New York
    Incident: Died of injuries sustained on June 7 during an explosion in Tikrit.

A Wall Street broker and West Point graduate, Phillip T. Esposito was a stickler for detail
who made it his job to get to know his men. He kept a notebook in which he noted
" which guy (under his command) was allergic to bee stings, which guy had a
GED, which guy played video games, & quot; said Maj. John Schurtz. & quot; He spent
many hours trying to figure out how to salvage common sense from chaos."
Esposito, 30, of Suffern, N.Y., was killed June 8 in an explosion in Tikrit. Esposito was
married to his high school sweetheart, Siobhan, and the couple had a 19-month-old
daughter, Madeline Rose. Esposito went to space camp as a boy and might have been an
astronaut if not for his less-than-perfect eyesight. He graduated from West Point in 1997
and left active duty in 2000. He worked at the Salomon Smith Barney investment firm in
New York City and his unit was stationed in Troy, N.Y.

Captain Phillip T. Esposito
Captain Phillip T. Esposito, 30, of Suffern, N.Y., was killed June 8, 2005 in Tikrit, Iraq
serving dutifully the country he loved. He was born in Bronxville, N.Y. on June 24, 1974
to Joan and Thomas Esposito. Phillip was a graduate of St. Anthony's School of Nanuet,
N.Y. He was an Eagle Scout. Phillip graduated from Albertus Magnus High School,
where he ran track and was co-captain of the Cross Country team. Phillip was his senior
class Vice-President.

He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he served as a
Cadet First Sergeant and Company Commander, reflecting his personal commitment and
leadership abilities. He graduated from West Point in May 1997, entering active Army
service as a 2nd Lieutenant in Armor Branch. Upon graduation, Phillip attended training
at Fort Knox, Ky., followed by assignment to his first tank battalion at Fort Hood, Texas.
He served with distinction in several leadership positions in the 3rd Battalion, 66th
Armor before leaving active duty in 2000.

Phillip was employed as Project Manager of Solomon Smith Barney prior to 9/11. He
was called up to active duty to support the National Guard efforts in New York City.
Following this activation, he was transferred to the storied 42nd Infantry Division
(Rainbow Division) at Fort Drum, N.Y., where he served as a company commander in
the 101st Cavalry, N.Y. National Guard. In November 2004, Phillip deployed as the
Rainbow Division Headquarters Company Commander, stationed at Forward Operating
Base Danger in Tikrit, Iraq.

Phillip is survived by his wife, Siobhan Esposito (nee McMahon); and 19-month old
daughter, Madeline Rose Esposito, the pride and joy of his world.

Phillip leaves behind his parents, Joan and Thomas Esposito of Pearl River, N.Y.; and his
father and mother-in-law, Andrew and Margaret McMahon of Bardonia, N.Y.; his sister,
Alyssa Craparo; and maternal grandmother, Carmela Pestone. He also leaves behind
numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

"Phillip was a devoted husband, father, son and brother, who will be severely missed and
remembered as a true American Hero, who loved his country, family and friends
immensely."

The family will receive friends on Tuesday June 14, 2005 from 1-4 and 7-9 PM at
Michael H. Higgins Funeral Home, 321 S. Main St., New City, N.Y.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday, June 15 at 11:00 AM in St.
Anthony's Church, 36 West Nyack Rd., Nanuet, N.Y. Interment will follow at St.
Anthony's Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations be made to their daughter's
Madeline Rose Esposito Scholarship Fund at P.O. Box 9284, Bardonia, NY 10954.

Published in the Times Herald-Record on 6/14/2005.


                             Corporal Ramona M. Valdez




                          Hometown: Bronx, New York
                                 Age: 20 years old
                 Died: June 23, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
     Unit: Marines-Headquarters Battalion-2nd Marine Division-2nd Marine
               Expeditionary Force-Camp Lejeune-North Carolina
     Incident: Killed when her convoy was attacked by a carbomb in Fallujah.
Ramona M. Valdez accomplished things ahead of her time. She graduated from high
school at 15. She joined the U.S. Marine Corps when she was 17 - with her mom co-
signing the papers. She married at 18, finding love in a fellow Marine, Cpl. Armando
Guzman. And when she died, she was only three days from her 21st birthday. Valdez, 20,
of New York City, died June 23 when a car bomb hit her convoy in Fallujah. She was
stationed at Camp Lejeune. Her mother, Elida Nunez, had raised her two daughters on
her own after moving to New York from the Dominican Republic.

"She always used to tell me she was really proud of me," Nunez said. "I would say, 'No,
I'm really proud of you.'" Once her enlistment was up next year, Ramona Valdez planned
to move to Pennsylvania to be with her family, where she had hoped to work for the state
highway patrol and enroll at a four-year college. "We had just gone to mail a box of
candies and her birthday card and to send her SAT books," said her sister, Fiorela. "I'm
really, really, really proud of her."


                       Chief Warrant Officer Keith R. Mariotti




                        Hometown: Plattsburg, New York
                                 Age: 39 years old
                 Died: June 27, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Unit: Army-3rd Battalion-3rd Aviation Regiment-3rd Infantry Division-Fort Bragg-
                                  North Carolina
      Incident: Killed when his AH-64D Apache helicopter crashed near Taji.

Associated Press
ELKTON, Md. — A soldier who grew up in Cecil County and his co-pilot were killed
when their helicopter crashed in Iraq, according to family members. Keith Mariotti, 39,
died after the Apache AH-64 attack helicopter crashed in Mishahda, about 20 miles north
of Baghdad, according to his mother, Nancy Mariotti of Elkton. ―He died doing what he
loved to do,‖ she said. ―Ever since he was old enough to play with a toy airplane, he
always wanted to fly. He ate, slept and breathed airplanes,‖ she told the Cecil Whig.
Officials from Aberdeen Proving Ground went to Nancy Mariotti‘s home Monday to tell
her of her son‘s death, but she had heard about it earlier that day from her daughter-in-
law, Denise Adomines, formerly of Rising Sun. Army officials from Fort Bragg, N.C.,
went to Adomines‘ home near the military base to tell her that her husband had been
killed in combat.
Keith Mariotti attended Rising Sun Elementary School and Good Shepherd School in
Perryville before graduating from West Nottingham Academy in Colora in 1984.
Mariotti joined the Civil Air Patrol of Delaware, and after high school he joined the
Delaware National Guard, where he became a crew chief and learned to fly helicopters.
His passion for flying led him to Arizona, where a National Guard unit there sought
experienced helicopter pilots, and he landed a job performing logistics in the air transport
industry. His job took him to Oregon and later to Galveston, Texas, where he flew
employees by helicopter to oil and gas rigs.
Mariotti joined the Army for Apache helicopter flight training and career opportunities. A
witness to the crash, Mohammad Naji, told Associated Press Television News he saw two
helicopters flying toward Mishahda when ―a rocket hit one of them and destroyed it
completely in the air.‖


                          Lieutenant Michael M. McGreevy Jr.




                           Hometown: Portville, New York
                                   Age: 30 years old
                 Died: June 28, 2005 in Operation Enduring Freedom.
                                      Unit: Navy

Lieutenant McGreevy, who was the Naval Academy class of 1997's secretary, not only
was popular, but also displayed scholarly aptitude, friends said. While in high school in
Portville, New York, Lieutenant McGreevy wanted to take state Regents exam in German
- only his school didn't offer the language. He bought German books and taught himself
so well, he passed the exam. Gary Swetland, Lieutenant McGreevy's former high school
track coach, recalled the young man as one of the most determined people he ever met.

He said Lieutenant McGreevy would run more than 3 miles to school each morning, to be
there by 6 a.m. so that he could get in a session of strength building before classes started.
"He grew from a thin-as-a-rail, somewhat awkward teen, to an absolute physical stud of a
man," said Mr. Swetland, who kept in touch with McGreevy and attended his graduation
from the Naval Academy. "You felt compelled to stand and salute" when he entered a
room, Mr. Swetland said.

Military friends of McGreevy described him as the embodiment of American ideals.
"Hold him up as high as you can - he was a great American and a great person," said
Marine Captain Aaron Shelley of San Diego, California, McGreevy's friend and freshman
year roommate at the academy. "He did well in everything I saw him do - at the same
time, he was very, very humble about it and was always ready to help others."
McGreevy finished first in his SEAL class.

He had been in Afghanistan since early April and is survived by his wife, Laura, and 14-
month-old daughter, Molly, his mother Patricia Mackin and father Michael McGreevy Sr.
"He died doing what he always wanted to do," said former Marine Captain. Thomas
Wagner, McGreevy's classmate at the academy and the president of the Class of 1997.
A memorial service for all of the SEALs who died in the crash will be held at 10 a.m.
Friday at the Naval Amphibious Base in Little Creek, Virginia, a Navy spokesman said.
A private funeral for McGreevy is tentatively scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Saturday at St.
John the Apostle Church in Virginia Beach.

Navy Lieutenant Michael M. McGreevy Jr., 30, of Portville, New York; assigned to
SEAL Team 10, Virginia Beach, Virginia; died June 28, 2005, when an MH-47 Chinook
helicopter crashed while ferrying personnel to a battle against militants in eastern
Afghanistan.

NOTE: Lieutenant McGreevy is scheduled to be laid to rest with full military honors in
Arlington National Cemetery on 20 October 2005.


                              Sergeant Manny Hornedo




                         Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
                                 Age: 27 years old
                 Died: June 28, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
   Unit: Army National Guard-1569th Transportation Company- Army National
                                 Guard-New York
       Incident: Killed when a carbomb exploded near his Humvee in Tikrit.

Sergeant Manny Hornedo with the Army National Guard, 1569th Transportation
Company, was killed June 28, 2005, when a suicide bomber attacked his convoy near
Tikrit. Prior to his deployment to Iraq, Hornedo was the loss prevention manager at Gap‘s
flagship store at 34th and Broadway in New York City.
The 27-year-old leaves behind a wife and two small children, 6-year-old Manny Jr. and
4-year-old Marcus, as well as an extended family at Gap. ―He had a smile that just lit up a
room. To know Manny was to absolutely love him,‖ said Jennifer Morata, Gap‘s senior
manager of flagship operations in New York. ―He made an impact on so many people.
He was just a great, caring person.‖

Keith White, senior vice president of loss prevention and corporate administration, added,
―Manny was a true hero and an incredible loss prevention professional.‖
A trust fund has been set up for Hornedo‘s children at Washington Mutual bank #7375,
5323 Fifth Avenue in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, NY 11220.


                            Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy




                        Hometown: Patchogue, New York
                                 Age: 29 years old
               Died: June 28, 2005 in Operation Enduring Freedom.
        Unit: Navy-SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One-Pearl Harbor-Hawaii
                Incident: Killed in an ambush in Kunar Province.

Related Links:
Medal of Honor Is Awarded Posthumously To Navy Seal (Washington Post, Oct.
23, 2007)
President Bush Presents Medal of Honor to Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, U.S.
Navy (White House, Oct. 22, 2007)
Lt. Michael P. Murphy USN (Navy.mil Memorial Site)
Born to Serve: The Michael Murphy Story (Newsday.com Special Report)
Fallen Navy SEAL Inducted into Pentagon's Hall of Heroes (DefenseLink, Oct. 23,
2007)

Medal of Honor Is Awarded Posthumously To Navy Seal
Highest Award Given for Heroism in Afghanistan
By AnnScott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 23, 2007; Page A04
Navy Seal Lt. Michael P. Murphy nicknamed "Murph" and known as an intense and
empathetic young man, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor yesterday "for
conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life" while outnumbered by
Taliban fighters in a June 2005 battle high in the mountains of Afghanistan.
The 29-year-old Seal team leader and former lifeguard from Patchogue, N.Y., is the first
service member to receive the Medal of Honor for heroism in the war in Afghanistan and
the first sailor since Vietnam to be awarded the medal, the nation's highest military
decoration.

At a ceremony in the White House‘s East Room, President Bush presented the medal to
Murphy's parents, Daniel and Maureen Murphy. "This brave officer gave his life in
defense of his fellow Navy Seals," Bush said, adding that Murphy acted "with complete
disregard for his own life."

Maureen Murphy said she felt "overwhelmed," while Daniel Murphy called the moment
"bittersweet . . . extremely proud and sad." A Vietnam veteran, he said he wished his son
could have walked into the East Room to take the medal himself, but he also voiced
conviction that Michael believed in what he was fighting for.




 Daniel and Maureen Murphy, parents of Lt. Michael P. Murphy, receive the honor from
            President Bush. (By Richard A. Lipski -- The Washington Post)

Murphy, who graduated with honors from Penn State in 1998, was accepted to several
law schools but decided instead to try out to become a Navy Seal. Although of slight
build, he passed the grueling training and in 2002 earned his Seal trident, deploying to
Jordan, Qatar, Djibouti and then, in early 2005, to Afghanistan.

"He and his team knew they were going to the land of those who planned, plotted and
attacked New York City, " Daniel said after the ceremony. "It was payback time as far as
he was concerned. This was something that they were looking forward to, this was
protecting our nation," he said.

Wearing a New York firehouse patch on his uniform, Murphy was the leader of a four-
man Seal reconnaissance team inserted "deep behind enemy lines" in the Hindu Kush
mountains in Afghanistan's Konar province on June 27, 2005, in pursuit of a militia
leader aligned with the Taliban, according to an official narrative.

Three goat herders, who were initially detained but later released, soon spotted the
commandos. They are believed to have given away the team's location to Taliban
fighters, it said. A contingent of more than 50 fighters attacked from three sides, forcing
the Seal team to begin bounding down a mountainside into a ravine. After more than 45
minutes of heavy fighting, with his radioman wounded, Murphy realized that the only
way he could contact his headquarters for reinforcements would be to move into exposed
terrain to get a signal.

"In the face of almost certain death, he fought his way into open terrain to gain a better
position to transmit a call. This deliberate, heroic act deprived him of cover, exposing
him to direct enemy fire," the medal citation reads.

As Taliban fighters shot at him, Murphy made the call and "calmly provided his unit's
location and the size of the enemy force" while requesting urgent support. At one point,
he was shot in the back and dropped the transmitter, but picked it back up to finish the
call, the official account said.

Murphy continued to shoot back at the Taliban fighters but was severely wounded. His
team was running out of ammunition. By the end of the brutal, two-hour firefight, in
which an estimated 35 enemy fighters were killed, Murphy and two members of his team
were dead. A fourth team member managed to escape and was later rescued.

The loss of most of the team was compounded when a Chinook rescue helicopter coming
to their aid was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade and crashed, killing all 16 men aboard.
In all, the incident resulted in the worst death toll for U.S. forces on a single day since the
war in Afghanistan began in 2001.

President Bush Presents Medal of Honor to Lieutenant
Michael P. Murphy, U.S. Navy
2:24 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, and welcome to the White House. The Medal of
Honor is the highest military decoration that a President can bestow. It recognizes
gallantry that goes above and beyond the call of duty in the face of an enemy attack. The
tradition of awarding this honor began during the Civil War. And many of those who
have received the medal have given their lives in the action that earned it.

Today, we add Lieutenant Michael Murphy's
name to the list of recipients who have made the
ultimate sacrifice. Deep in the mountains of
Afghanistan, this brave officer gave his life in
defense of his fellow Navy SEALs. Two years
later, the story of his sacrifice humbles and
inspires all who hear it. And by presenting
Michael Murphy's family with the Medal of
Honor that he earned, a grateful nation
remembers the courage of this proud Navy
SEAL.
I welcome the Vice President; Senator Ted Stevens; Senator Chuck Schumer, from
Lieutenant Murphy's home state. I appreciate very much the fact that Congressman Tim
Bishop, from Lieutenant Murphy's district, is with us today. Welcome. Thank you all for
coming.

I appreciate the fact that Deputy Secretary Gordon England has joined us; Secretary Pete
Geren of the Army; Secretary Don Winter of the Navy; Secretary Mike Wynne of the Air
Force; Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs; Admiral Gary Roughead,
Chief of Naval Operations; and all who wear the nation's uniform. Welcome. I appreciate
the fact that we've got Barney Barnum, Tom Kelley, Tommy Norris, and Mike Thornton,
Medal of Honor recipients, with us today.

We do welcome Dan Murphy and Maureen Murphy, father and mother of Michael
Murphy; John Murphy, his brother; and other family members that are with us today.
It's my honor to welcome all the friends and comrades of Lieutenant Michael Murphy to
the White House. And I want to thank Chaplain Bob Burt, Chief of Chaplains, for his
opening prayer.

Looking back on his childhood in Patchogue, New York, you might say that Michael
Murphy was born to be a Navy SEAL. SEALs get their name from operating by sea, air,
and land -- and even as a toddler, Michael could find his way through any obstacle. When
he was just 18 months old, he darted across a neighbor's yard, and dove into the
swimming pool. By the time his frantic parents reached him, Michael had swum to the
other side with a big smile on his face. As he grew older, Michael learned to swim from
one side of a nearby lake to the other -- and he developed into a talented all-around
athlete.

But beyond his physical strength, Michael Murphy was blessed with a powerful sense of
right and wrong. This sense came from devoted parents who taught him to love his
neighbor -- and defend those who could not defend themselves. Well, Michael took these
lessons to heart. One day in school, he got into a scuffle sticking up for a student with a
disability. It's the only time his parents ever got a phone call from the principal -- and
they couldn't have been prouder. Michael's passion for helping others led him to become
a caring brother, a tutor, a lifeguard, and eventually, a member of the United States
Armed Forces.

Michael's decision to join the military wasn't an
easy one for his family. As a Purple Heart
recipient during Vietnam, Michael's father
understood the sacrifices that accompany a life of
service. He also understood that his son was
prepared to make these sacrifices. After
graduating from Penn State with honors, Michael
accepted a commission in the Navy -- and later,
set off for SEAL training. Fewer than a third of
those who begin this intense training program
graduate to become Navy SEALs. Yet there was little doubt about the determined
lieutenant from New York. And in 2002, Michael earned his Navy SEAL Trident.

Michael also earned the respect of his men. They remember a wise-cracking friend who
went by "Mikey" or "Murph." They remember a patriot who wore a New York City
firehouse patch on his uniform in honor of the heroes of 9/11. And they remember an
officer who respected their opinions, and led them with an understated, yet unmistakable,
sense of command. Together, Michael and his fellow SEALs deployed multiple times
around the world in the war against the extremists and radicals. And while their missions
were often carried out in secrecy, their love of country and devotion to each other was
always clear.

On June 28th, 2005, Michael would give his life for these ideals. While conducting
surveillance on a mountain ridge in Afghanistan, he and three fellow SEALs were
surrounded by a much larger enemy force. Their only escape was down the side of a
mountain -- and the SEALs launched a valiant counterattack while cascading from cliff to
cliff. But as the enemy closed in, Michael recognized that the survival of his men
depended on calling back to the base for reinforcements. With complete disregard for his
own life, he moved into a clearing where his phone would get reception. He made the
call, and Michael then fell under heavy fire. Yet his grace and upbringing never deserted
him. Though severely wounded, he said "thank you" before hanging up, and returned to
the fight -- before losing his life.

Unfortunately, the helicopter carrying the reinforcements never reached the scene. It
crashed after being struck by a rocket-propelled grenade. And in the end, more
Americans died in Afghanistan on June 28th, 2005 than on any other day since the
beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom. This day of tragedy also has the sad
distinction of being the deadliest for Navy Special Warfare forces since World War II.
One of Michael's fellow SEALs did make it off the mountain ridge -- he was one of
Michael's closest friends. Petty Officer Marcus Luttrell of Texas, author of a riveting
book called "Lone Survivor," put it this way: "Mikey was the best officer I ever knew, an
iron-souled warrior of colossal and almost unbelievable courage in the face of the
enemy."

For his courage, we award Lieutenant Michael Murphy the first Medal of Honor for
combat in Afghanistan. And with this medal, we acknowledge a debt that will not
diminish with time -- and can never be repaid.

Our nation is blessed to have volunteers like Michael who risk their lives for our
freedom. We're blessed to have mothers and fathers like Maureen and Dan Murphy who
raise sons of such courage and character. And we're blessed with the mercy of a loving
God who comforts all those who grieve. And now I ask Michael's parents to join on
stage, and the Military Aide will read the citation.

MILITARY AIDE: The President of the United States of America, in the name of
Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor to Lieutenant Michael P.
Murphy, United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his
life, above and beyond the call of duty, as the leader of a special reconnaissance element
with Naval Special Warfare Task Unit Afghanistan on 27 and 28 June 2005.

While leading a mission to locate a high-level anti-coalition militia leader, Lieutenant
Murphy demonstrated extraordinary heroism in the face of grave danger in the vicinity of
Asadabad, Konar Province, Afghanistan. On 28 June 2005, operating in an extremely
rugged, enemy-controlled area, Lieutenant Murphy's team was discovered by anti-
coalition militia sympathizers who revealed their position to Taliban fighters. As a result,
between 30 and 40 enemy fighters besieged his four-member team.

Demonstrating exceptional resolve, Lieutenant Murphy valiantly led his men in engaging
the large enemy force. The ensuing fierce firefight resulted in numerous enemy
casualties, as well as the wounding of all four members of his team. Ignoring his own
wounds and demonstrating exceptional composure, Lieutenant Murphy continued to lead
and encourage his men. When the primary communicator fell mortally wounded,
Lieutenant Murphy repeatedly attempted to call for assistance for his beleaguered
teammates. Realizing the impossibility of communicating in the extreme terrain and in
the face of almost certain death, he fought his way into an open terrain to gain a better
position to transmit a call. This deliberate heroic act deprived him of cover, exposing him
to direct enemy fire. Finally achieving contact with his headquarters, Lieutenant Murphy
maintained his exposed position while he provided his location and requested immediate
support for his team.

In his final act of bravery, he continued to engage the enemy until he was mortally
wounded, gallantly giving his life for his country and for the cause of freedom. By his
selfless leadership, courageous actions, and extraordinary devotion to duty, Lieutenant
Murphy reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the
United States Naval Service.
http://www.navy.mil/moh/mpmurphy/index.html
http://www.newsday.com/news/specials/ny-murphy-seal-
sg,0,6675676.storygallery




Fallen Navy SEAL Inducted into Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes
By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 23, 2007 – Fallen Navy SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy was
inducted today into the Pentagon‘s Hall of Heroes during a ceremony that honored the
lone Medal of Honor recipient from the war in Afghanistan.
       Maureen and Daniel Murphy stand next to a framed picture and Medal of Honor
   citation during a ceremony where their son, Navy Lt. Michael P. Murphy was inducted
      into the Hall of Heroes at the Pentagon, Oct. 23, 2007. Photo by Petty Officer 2nd
                                  Class Molly A. Burgess, USN


Unveiled today, Murphy‘s is the only name in a space reserved for those who have
received the highest military decoration for combat valor in Operation Enduring
Freedom. At the White House yesterday, President Bush presented the lieutenant‘s Medal
of Honor to Murphy‘s parents, Maureen and Dan Murphy.

Upon seeing his son‘s name today -- surrounded by the names of 3,444 Medal of Honor
recipients honored in the hall -- Dan Murphy kissed his hand and pressed it to the letters.
―This is a little overwhelming,‖ Murphy, choking back tears, told the audience that
packed the hall and spilled into the adjacent Pentagon corridor.

―While we are here today to deal with individual acts of courage by Michael,‖ Murphy
said, ―Michael was in fact a team player, and there were 10 other SEALs and eight Army
special operations (soldiers) that were lost on that day.‖

The fateful day Dan Murphy referred to is June 28, 2005. In the Hindu Kush Mountains,
as his son led a four-man SEAL team in search of a key terrorist commander that day, the
unit came under attack by some 50 Taliban fighters. The lieutenant is credited with
risking his own life to save the lives of his teammates, according to a summary of action
published by the Navy.

Despite intense combat around him, Michael Murphy -- already wounded in the firefight
-- moved into the open, where he could gain a better transmission signal and request
backup from headquarters. At one point, Murphy was shot in the back, causing him to
drop the transmitter. The lieutenant picked it back up, completed the call and continued
firing at the enemy as they closed in.

By the time the two-hour gunfight had concluded, Murphy and two others SEALs had
been killed. An estimated 35 Taliban died in the fighting.

As a somber postscript to Murphy‘s bravery, the helicopter that he requested crashed
after being struck by a rocket- propelled grenade, killing everyone on board. That day
was the deadliest for Navy Special Warfare forces since World War II.
Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England called Murphy a ―rare hero‖ who sacrificed
his life for others. He added that the lieutenant devoted himself to preserving the
American way of life for future generations.

―As a nation, we are willing to sacrifice our blood and our treasure for our founding
belief, and that founding belief is our freedom,‖ England said. ―Michael was securing
those very freedoms for Americans and for the people of Afghanistan when he made the
ultimate sacrifice.‖

Navy Secretary Donald C. Winter read an excerpt from the SEAL creed, an ethos with
which most Americans are unfamiliar, he said.

―I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity,‖ Winter said, reciting the doctrine.
―I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to
accomplish our mission. I am never out of the fight.‖

―Lieutenant Murphy lived that creed,‖ Winter added. ―He looked within himself and
chose the path of honor.‖

Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations, said Murphy distinguished himself
above and beyond the call of duty.

―On behalf of all who wear the uniform of the United States Navy, today and for all years
to come, I extend our gratitude and our profound admiration for Michael Murphy‘s
service, for his example, for his leadership and for his uncommon valor,‖ he said.

Aside from those in Navy dress, Murphy‘s memory today was honored by men and
women in other uniforms. Some 60 members of the New York City fire department
arrived by bus and car to attend the ceremony.

On his SEAL uniform, Murphy wore a New York City firehouse patch to honor
firefighters killed during the Sept., 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center,
which occurred about 60 miles from his hometown Patchogue, N.Y. Firefighters like
Daniel Swift, stationed at Ladder 43 in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York City,
now wear Murphy‘s patch on their fire coats.

Swift, who was wounded in Baghdad in 2004 while serving as an Army specialist, said
he and his fellow firefighters share an indelible bond with servicemembers. After Murphy
died, Swift and the other Ladder 43 firemen hosted the SEALs from Murphy‘s unit for a
few days at the firehouse, loading them onto engines during calls.

―There were no second thoughts,‖ Swift said about his Ladder‘s decision to attend
today‘s ceremony. ―Not many people could understand the bond between the SEALs and
the fire department there, but it exists very powerfully.‖
Michael Patrick Murphy
MURPHY-Lt. Michael Patrick, U.S. Navy, SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One, Pearl
Harbor, HI, of Patchogue, NY on July 4, 2005 in Afghanistan. Devoted son of Maureen
T. (nee Jones) and Daniel J. Murphy. Dear brother of John. Loving fiance of Heather L.
Duggan. Cherished grandson of Kathleen (nee McElhone) and Frank Jones and the late
James P. and Elinor Murphy. Reposing at Clayton Funeral Home, Inc., 25 Meadow Road
(corner of Indian Head Rd.), Kings Park, N.Y. A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered
11 AM, Wednesday, at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel R.C. Church, 495 N. Ocean Avenue,
Patchogue, N.Y. Interment to follow at Calverton National Cemetery, Calverton, N.Y.
Visiting hours Monday and Tuesday, 2-5 and 7-9 PM. In lieu of flowers, donations to
Michael P. Murphy Scholarship Fund, c/o Clayton Funeral Home.
Published in Newsday on 7/11/2005.

Navy SEAL Lt. Murphy was the leader of a SEAL team on the ground in the mountains
along the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. He and 2 other members of his team were killed
when they came under hostile fire with Taliban insurgents.

A rescue team of 8 SEAL team members and 8 Army special forces soldiers was
dispatched to rescue Lt. Murphy and his team; they were also killed in this mission when
a rifle-propelled grenade shot down their transport Chinook helicopter.

Lt. Murphy was awarded the nation's highest combat award, The Medal of Honor, on
October 22 2007 by President Bush for his heroic actions resulting in his death during
Operation Redwing. The actions of Lt. Murphy and his SEAL team are detailed in a book
called "Lone Survivor" by Marcus Luttrell, the only member of Lt. Murphy's SEAL team
to survive the battle.




                                  Michael P. Murphy
                          Lance Corporal Efrain Sanchez Jr.




                         Hometown: Port Chester, New York
                                  Age: 26 years old
                  Died: July 17, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
      Unit: Marines-Headquarters Battalion-2nd Marine Division-2nd Marine
                Expeditionary Force-Camp Lejeune-North Carolina
     Incident: Died in a non-hostiel incident at Camp Blue Diamond in Ramadi.

Lance Cpl. Efrain Sanchez Jr. lived in Port Chester before joining the Marines in
February 2004. He grew up in Brooklyn and also lived for a time in the Bronx. He had an
identical twin brother, Nicholas, and a sister, Jennifer. He was married to Janice Sanchez,
and they had a baby daughter, Selena.

Corporal Sanchez was assigned to a Marine division in Camp Lejeune; his unit was
deployed to Iraq in stages, in February and March 2005. He died on July 17, 2005, at
Camp Blue Diamond, in Ramadi. According to a memorial Web site, his death was a
suicide.

An initial Department of Defense report described the corporal's death as a "result of a
non-hostile incident." A subsequent official investigation is complete, but the military did
not respond to a Freedom of Information Act request for the report in time for this article.
Corporal Sanchez's family declined to talk about him. Sonia LaSanta, his mother, said
she did not feel up to it.


                         Sraff Sergeant James D. McNaughton




                     Hometown: Middle Village, New York
                               Age: 27 years old
               Died: August 2, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Unit: Army Reserves-306th Military Police Battalion-800th Military Police Brigade-
                   U.S. Army Reserves-Uniondale-New York
Incident: Killed when he was struck by sniper fire while he was in a guard tower in
                                    Baghdad.

James D. McNaughton took on two dangerous vocations _ as a cop and as a military
policeman. "Most people don't know what the word samurai means. It means to serve,"
said William McNaughton, his father. "He's been serving his whole life. He's been
carrying a gun since he was 18." James McNaughton, 27, of Middle Village, N.Y., was
killed Aug. 2 by sniper fire in Baghdad. He was based at Uniondale. McNaughton
graduated high school in 1996 and joined the police in July 2001.

He patrolled the city's subways on the midnight to 8 a.m. shift. "In the transit bureau he
was a front-line protector of this city, patrolling stations alone, after midnight," said
Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly. "He volunteered for the worst assignments, at
the worst times." Friends said he lived to serve others. "He would take the bullet for you.
He would literally stand in front of you and take that bullet," said Sgt. Berford Rivera.
McNaughton was living out a family tradition when he joined the police force. His father
is a retired police officer. His stepmother, Michele, is a transit bureau officer. He also
was engaged to a policewoman, Liliana Paredes.

Sniper Kills New York Police Officer in Iraq

By Kareem Fahim
Published: August 4, 2005
Among the tens of thousands of American soldiers serving in Iraq are more than 200
New York police officers on leave from the city's precincts to work a more perilous beat.
On Tuesday, one of them, a transit officer and Army reservist from Queens, was killed by
a sniper's bullet at an American base on the outskirts of Baghdad.

The soldier, James D. McNaughton, a 27-year-old staff sergeant serving in a military
police battalion, is the first New York police officer killed in Iraq, city officials said
yesterday. He became engaged to another police officer last month while he was home on
a 15-day leave, his family said.

His father, William McNaughton, who recently retired as a transit officer, called his son a
hero who "did his job without question." "It's been a rough day," he said yesterday,
standing next to his wife, Michele McNaughton, who is also a police officer, in front of
their split-level home in Centereach, on Long Island. Mr. McNaughton described the
arrival of soldiers the day before, in a white car, to inform him of his son's death.
"I'm proud of my son, and proud of what he did," he said.

Sergeant McNaughton's death came amid an upsurge in the number of American soldiers
dying in Iraq. On Monday, six Marine snipers were killed in an ambush in Haditha,
according to American commanders. And yesterday, 14 marines died there when their
troop carrier struck a roadside bomb. It was one of the deadliest attacks on United States
troops since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
Sergeant McNaughton was described as a quiet baby-faced man who devoted his life to
public service. A member of the so-called 9/11 class of police recruits, Sergeant
McNaughton entered the police academy on July 2, 2001, and was assigned to a transit
bureau in Lower Manhattan. The Army called him up for duty on October 4, 2002, the
police said.

Relatives said Sergeant McNaughton's career path was no surprise, given his pedigree.
He grew up surrounded by relatives who became police officers, and his father and uncle
also served in the military.

Everyone remembered his sense of humor. "He'd walk in a room, he'd smile, and there
would be some little prank," said his uncle, Ed McNaughton. "He loved being a cop. He
loved being in the Army."

Sergeant McNaughton had worked to restore a 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle, his uncle said.
Now, he said, it will just sit in the yard. Sergeant McNaughton was standing guard over
prisoners in a tower at Camp Victory, a base near Baghdad International Airport, when he
was hit by a sniper's bullet, the police said.

Last year, Christian Engeldrum, a New York City firefighter and a New York National
Guardsman, became the first city employee to die in Iraq when a roadside bomb exploded
under his convoy.

At Transit District 2, on Lispenard Street and West Broadway, police officers expressed
shock at the news of their fellow officer's death. "He gave his all; he literally gave his
all," said Officer Edward Looney. Another, Officer Michael Percy, said that he was not
sure whether Sergeant McNaughton had traveled to Iraq out of obligation or dedication.
Whatever his reasons, Officer Percy said, his decision was not driven by politics.

"He volunteered," he said. "He didn't have to go. But his guys were there. He wanted to
support his unit."

In July, when Sergeant McNaughton was home on leave, he and his father went to a
friend's jewelry store, where they shopped for an engagement ring, his father said.
Sergeant McNaughton was planning to marry Liliana Paredes, 25, an officer he had met
at the police academy.
Outside the row house in Middle Village, Queens, where the couple lived in a second-
floor apartment, a downstairs neighbor hung an American flag yesterday. Officer Paredes
told a reporter that she was too upset to talk about her fiancé.

Neighbors said that the couple had recently moved to the neighborhood, and that
Sergeant McNaughton could often be seen walking their dogs, Tyler and Shane.
"They had just moved in, and he had to go," said Yvette Carcana, one of the neighbors,
said of the couple. "When he came home on leave, she was so happy. She would say,
'One more week, one more week, one more week.' " "That's sad," Ms. Carcana said. "She
was so happy."

Ann Farmer and Janon Fisher contributed reporting for this article.


                            Specialist Anthony N. Kalladeen




                         Hometown: Purchase, New York
                                 Age: 26 years old
                 Died: August 8, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
 Unit: Army National Guard 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment, 256th Brigade
               Combat Team, Army National Guard, New York, N.Y.
 Incident: Killed when two makeshift bombs and enemy fire in Baghdad struck his
                                     Humvee.

See related article on Private First Class Hernando Rios

Anthony N. Kalladeen and his older brother, Chad Pillai, were put up for foster care
when they were just 9 and 10 after their mother suffered a nervous breakdown. But
Kalladeen, at age 17, came looking for her and his brother to reunite the family. "He
showed us what true love was," said his cousin Ana Rodriguez, 46. "He showed no
animosity toward his mother." Kalladeen, 26, of Purchase, N.Y., died Aug. 8 when his
vehicle was ambushed. He was assigned to New York City and was on his second tour.
Kalladeen, a former Marine with four years of service, was attending Purchase College
before he was sent to Iraq. "He was like a big teddy bear," said Krystina Orellano, 19, a
junior. "When he gave us a hug, he took all the air out of you." Pillai, himself a captain in
the Army, flew in from Germany for the funeral. "There's been a lot of heartache over the
years, but finding each other again was the best part of my life," said Pillai. He then
tucked his own dog tags into Kalladeen's hands just before the coffin was closed. "He'll
always have my tags," Pillai said. "He always can find me."
2 Local Guardsmen Killed in Baghdad

By Jennifer Lee
Published: August 13, 2005
Two members of an Army National Guard regiment based in Manhattan were killed on
Sunday, and three others injured, when their Humvee was attacked by two explosive
devices and gunfire in Baghdad, the Army announced yesterday.

The soldiers who were killed were identified as Spec. Anthony N. Kalladeen, 26, of
Purchase, N.Y., and Pvt. Hernando Rios, 29, of Queens. They were assigned to the
Guard's First Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment, 256th Brigade Combat Team.
Specialist Kalladeen served in the Marines for four years before he joined the National
Guard, said his mother, Maria Vidal, of Reading, Pa. He worked with underprivileged
children in part because he himself had been in the foster care system.

Specialist Kalladeen used to reassure his worried mother through e-mail messages. "He
used to tell me he was O.K., that he wasn't anywhere near where there were bombs," said
Ms. Vidal.

Private Rios, who was born in New York, worked as a maintenance supervisor in
Manhattan, according to his wife, Liliana Rios, 30. He left for Iraq less than a month after
his second daughter, Gabriella, was born. "He was crying," Mrs. Rios said. "He told me:
'No Lily, I come back. My baby. I want to spend more time with my baby.' " He told their
other daughter, Marlene, that he would be back.

Mr. Rios joined the National Guard a year ago, she said. "He said, 'Liliana, this is good
for you and the family,' "Mrs. Rios said last night in a telephone interview. "Those are
good benefits."


                            Private 1st Class Hernando Rios




                         Hometown: Queens, New York
                               Age: 29 years old
               Died: August 8, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
 Unit: Army National Guard-1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment-256th Brigade
 Combat Team-Army National Guard-New York-New York State Department of
Law Incident: Killed when two makeshift bombs and enemy fire in Baghdad struck
                                 his Humvee.
Private First Class Hernando Rios
NEWS RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense
No. 834-05
IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 12, 2005
Media Contact: Army Public Affairs - (703) 692-2000 Public/Industry Contact:
(703)428-0711
DoD Identifies Army Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were
supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

They died on August 8, 2005, in Baghdad, Iraq from injuries sustained on August 7,
2005, when their HMMWV was struck by two improvised explosive devices and they
received small arms fire. The soldiers were assigned to the Army National Guard's 1st
Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment, 256th Brigade Combat Team, New York, New York.

Killed were:
Specialist Anthony N. Kalladeen, 26, of Purchase, New York
Private First Class Hernando Rios, 29, of Queens, New York
For further information related to this release, contact Army Public Affairs at (703) 692-
2000.

Monday, August 15 2005:
A Queens National Guardsman who was serving the last weeks of his regiment's yearlong
tour in Iraq was among the latest U.S. soldiers to be killed by insurgents.
Private First Class Hernando Rios, 29, who was described by family and friends as a
happy-go-lucky father of three young daughters, was killed Monday while on patrol in
Baghdad. He was a member of "The Fighting 69th," a Manhattan-based Army National
Guard regiment that has lost 10 soldiers in the Iraq war.

"He was very alive, even when he was a child," said his sister Carmen Depompeis, 40, of
Peekskill. When she found out he had died, she said, "It was like someone punched me in
the stomach." Depompeis said she tried to talk Rios out of joining the Army. "I really
didn't want him to go. I said, 'You should stay here, for the girls.' He said it would be
worth it to die for his country." Rios, who lived with his mother, Marlene, wife, Liliana,
and two of his daughters in Woodside, spoke with and e-mailed family regularly. He sent
home photographs of Baghdad cityscapes and of his comrades at arms swimming at the
pool, trying to escape 110-degree heat. "I was anxious for him to come back," Depompeis
said. "He said he was coming soon but would have to patrol until his last day."
That last day came one month too soon.

While patrolling the streets of Baghdad last week, Rios' Humvee was hit by two bombs
and a flurry of gunfire, according to the Department of Defense. Rios and Specialist
Anthony N. Kalladeen, 26, of Purchase, were killed. Three men were wounded.
"He was always a jokester," said Jeffrey Santiago, 26, who met Rios two decades ago
while growing up in the same Woodside apartment building. "He was very well known in
the neighborhood. If he saw someone getting picked on, he would stand up for him."
After neighbors learned of Rios' death, they streamed into the apartment building to share
their grief and visit the makeshift memorial of photos erected at the entrance, Santiago
said.

"It's kind of hard to swallow," he said. "I didn't want to believe it. But now I have to
accept it," he said, his voice faltering. Friends and neighbors said that they hope to pay
tribute to Rios by naming the street where he lived in his honor. "We're really trying to
make it happen," said Chris Voity, who grew up one floor away from Rios on 49th Street.
"He deserves it."

Family members plan to hold Rios' funeral in Woodside early this week.
Among those attending will be Rios' younger half-brother, Raymond Hermosen, a police
officer from Virginia. Hermosen recently joined the Army and was scheduled to begin
training. Instead, he will be returning to Queens to serve as a pallbearer.
"He wants to carry his brother," Depompeis said. "It's so hard. We're still waiting for the
body. We just want him to rest in peace."

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 18, 2005
STATEMENT FROM GOVERNOR GEORGE E. PATAKI
"The people of New York are deeply saddened by the loss of Specialist Anthony N.
Kalladeen and Private First Class Hernando Rios, both members of the 1st Battalion, 69th
Infantry Regiment, 'the Fighting 69th, New York Army National Guard, who were
recently killed in action while serving in Iraq.
"Like so many brave citizen-Soldiers, Specialist Kalladeen and Private Rios, bravely
answered the call to duty in Iraq, risking their lives to spread the cause of freedom and to
protect us from threats of terror.

"On behalf of all New Yorkers, we extend our deepest sympathy to the families of
Specialist Kalladeen and Private First Class Rios during this difficult time."

 21 August 2005:
Wrapped in the arms of her mother, 8-year-old Marlene Rios whimpered softly yesterday
as the flag-draped coffin carrying her father, Private First Class Hernando Rios, arrived at
his funeral. Just a few weeks ago, Marlene had been looking forward to hugging her
father again. The 29-year-old Queens National Guardsman was nearing the end of his
regiment's yearlong tour in Iraq when he was killed August 8, 2005.

"Your memory will live in our hearts and minds because of who you were," Rios'
longtime friend Jose Peña, 33, said during the funeral, speaking directly to his pal.
Peña described his slain friend as a "prankster, the loyal friend and loving father."
Rios, described by friends and family as a father of three "who would do anything for
anybody," was killed while on patrol when his vehicle hit two roadside bombs in
Baghdad. He was a member of The Fighting 69th, a Manhattan-based regiment that has
lost 10 soldiers in Iraq.

"He was always looking out for people, always trying to defend the people that can't
defend themselves," said Rios' brother Pfc. Ramon Germosen.
Along with Marlene, Rios left behind two other daughters, 10-month-old Alyssa and 5-
month-old Gabriela, who have different mothers.

After the funeral service, Washington Hago, 29, a Golden Gloves-winning boxer,
lingered outside the church and remembered his childhood friend.
"He believed in me like a brother," Hago said.

19 August 2005:
 By NANCY DILLON
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Daily News reporter Nancy Dillon and photographer Debbie Egan-Chin are in Iraq with
New York's famed Fighting 69th.




As its armored Humvees rumbled west along Route Mets in northern Baghdad, the ill-
fated convoy sensed something was wrong. "I remember we all mentioned there were no
Iraqi police out. We were like, 'Oh man, that's never a good sign,'" said Daniel Barr, 33, a
sergeant with New York's Fighting 69th. "It was still an hour and a half before curfew. It
seemed like the neighborhood knew something." The soldiers were in the same meat
market a week earlier, buying watermelon from a local vendor. But now it was 10:45
p.m., and the darkness was compounded by the start of a nasty sandstorm that would later
shut down Baghdad. Nobody saw the powerful platter charge hidden in a bag and tucked
beside a vending stall. In a horrifying flash, the bomb exploded just 16 feet from the
convoy's lead Humvee. Molten chunks of steel and copper ripped through the vehicle's
turret and right rear passenger door.

The driver, Specialist Brian Lopez of Queens, took a hail of shrapnel in his neck and arm
and struggled to control the burning vehicle as it tore through several meat stands and
slammed into a building at 30 mph.

The Brooklyn-born gunner, Sergeant Anthony Kalladeen, 26, and backseat rider Private
First Class Hernando Rios, 29, of Woodside, Queens, died instantly.
It was August 7, 2005, a month before the group was scheduled to return home from a
yearlong tour.
"I remember Kalladeen and Rios, there wasn't a sound out of them," recalled Barr, who
was sitting in the front passenger seat and temporarily knocked unconscious by the blast.
"Lopez was wandering around the vehicle in pain. I know I was in pain. ... The next thing
I know I'm running down the road trying to load Kalladeen into a vehicle, but the door
wouldn't close." "It was rough," he said with vacant eyes trained on the dusty earth. "I
know I knew they were gone." And still, the devastating blast was only the beginning.
A 30-minute firefight erupted moments later, with insurgency fire raining down from a
position four stories up in a building.

Sergeant Richard Smoot of upstate Watertown driving behind raced through the smoke
and wreckage to provide up-front security. Sergeant Wing Har of Jamaica, Queens, who'd
been riding in the third Humvee of the four-vehicle convoy, also joined the fight, as
medic Bryan Johnson tried in vain to get Kalladeen's heart pumping again. "I called for a
body bag for Kalladeen but then I thought I felt a pulse so I tried CPR and rescue
breathing. But it didn't work. It didn't work. He was gone," Johnson, 27, said with
dismay.

As an evacuation helicopter tried but failed to land because of the sandstorm, Johnson set
to work on the other wounded. He fit Lopez with an IV and oxygen mask, and then
inadvertently stuck his own index finger with a morphine shot in the chaos.
Meanwhile up front, Har felt a sharp, burning sensation on his back and later learned he
had been hit with gunfire and probably would have died if not for the ceramic rifle plate
in his bulletproof vest. Sergeant Smoot estimates he went through eight magazines of 30
rounds each fending off the attack. As they sat under a giant desert oak tree on Camp
Stryker on Wednesday, six members of the tragic convoy lit up with smiles and inside
jokes when they talked about the fallen soldiers who had become their brothers.

They said Kalladeen, who was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Yonkers, was a talented
wrestler, always the first to report for patrols and quick to spend his own money on
photographs and other gifts for Iraqi families. They remembered their Queens buddy Rios
as an avid reader and father of three who loved to eat and once got himself stuck trying
on the life preserver at Camp Liberty's pool.

Johnson reflected on their loss. "I'm hurt, upset, mad," he said. "It's a bad feeling to make
it [11 months] and then take losses like this. It's frustrating." Since it arrived in Iraq last
October, New York's Fighting 69th has lost 19 men under its command. The area in
northwestern Baghdad where Kalladeen and Rios were killed recently has seen an uptick
in violence. "In the last few weeks we've identified two new terror cells in our area," said
Lieutenant Ronnie Maloney, 34.

"When we came here, we all knew there was the possibility something bad could happen.
Still it's upsetting," said Sgt. Walter Nichols, 42, a police officer in Niagara Falls who
was in the Aug. 7 patrol. "You prepare, plan and know it's possible. But you never expect
it to happen to you."
Private First Class Rios is scheduled to be laid to rest with full military honors in
Arlington National Cemetery on 12 October 2005.


                                       Specialist Jose L. Ruiz




                          Hometown: Brentwood, New York
                                   Age: 28 years old
                   Died: August 15, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
                                      Unit: Army

Last December, Jose Ruiz called his mother, Juliana, to say a "big, big present" was on its
way. A few minutes later, the doorbell rang. Ruiz was at the door, grinning. "Here's your
present," he said, wrapping his mother in a hug. Ruiz, 28, of Brentwood, N.Y., was killed
Aug. 15 by small-arms fire in Mosul. He was based at Fort Lewis. Ruiz attended the New
York Institute of Technology and had worked as computer network engineer in New
York but was inspired to join the military after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

He is survived by his wife, Alexa, and their 9-month-old daughter, Liana, who met her
father for the first and only time last Christmas. "When he first met her, it was glory,"
said his stepfather, Eduardo King. "He never let her go." Ruiz was looking forward to
coming home in six weeks, and had bought a house in Washington state. "I was confident
every second of the day that he was going to come home to me," his wife said. "But I
thank God for giving me the time he gave me with him and for giving me a baby with
him. That's his mark on the world."


Another LI Soldier Lost
Private Killed in Iraq was to Rejoin Family
Rachel Leifer | Newsday Staff Writer
August 18, 2005
Pfc. Jose Ruiz called his mom in Brentwood last December to tell her that a "big, big
present" was on its way.

When Juliana King answered her door a few minutes later, her 28- year-old son was
standing there grinning. "Here's your present," he said, wrapping her in a hug.

But that memory's sweetness was of little comfort yesterday. Ruiz was killed Monday
when he was hit by small arms fire from a civilian vehicle while conducting a security
operation in Mosul, Iraq, three weeks before he was to return home to begin a tour on a
U.S. Army base in Tacoma, Wash. He is the fourth Brentwood High School graduate to
fall as a soldier in combat since 2003.

Yesterday, Ruiz's adoptive father remembered Ruiz as disciplined and smart, but also
selfless and loving. "He was a sweet, sweet son," said Eduardo King, who raised Ruiz
since he was 2 years old. "He was my partner."

Ruiz's wife, Alexa, 28, who lives in Manhattan, had already shipped their furniture to
Washington State and had taken the couple's 9-month-old daughter, Liana - who met her
father for the first and only time last Christmas - to stay with her parents in the
Washington Heights section of the city until Ruiz came home.

"He didn't want me to be alone," she said in an interview yesterday, her voice cracking. "I
was going to sign our lease and get our new keys on Monday." Ruiz was instantly
enamored of his daughter, said Eduardo King. "When he first met her, it was glory," he
said. "He never let her go."

The couple met in 1997 while attending the New York Institute of Technology campus in
Manhattan, and married a year later. Ruiz worked as a computer network engineer at the
now-defunct online convenience store Kozmo.com in Manhattan before joining the
military, his father said.

The Kings had hoped their son would abandon a lifelong yen to become a soldier after he
got married. But the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, inspired him to serve his country,
his father said, and Ruiz joined the Army in 2003.

A year later, he was sent to Iraq with the 21st Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 25th
Infantry Division, which is based at Fort Lewis in Washington State. Ruiz called home
almost every day, and always seemed worried his parents were disappointed in him,
Juliana King said.

"He would always say ... 'This is where I'm meant to be, Mom,'" she said. "'I know you
want me behind a desk, but I need to defend my country.'" His father said he struggled to
convince Ruiz that he had overcome his initial disappointment in his choice.

"He would always ask his mom, 'Is Daddy proud of me?'" he said. "At first, I didn't want
my son engaged in a profession where he might have to hurt people. But I always told
him, 'You are this family's hero.'" Ruiz's body was scheduled for return to his family last
night, and funeral arrangements have yet to be finalized, his father said.

Including Ruiz, 13 soldiers from Long Island have been killed in Iraq, and five have died
in Afghanistan. American casualties in Iraq reached 1,858 yesterday, while 224 have
been killed in Afghanistan, according to Department of Defense statistics.

As the death toll climbs in Iraq and Afghanistan, the pain of individual casualties reaches
beyond the homes of grieving families.
Brentwood High School teacher and former Marine corporal Chris Chamberlin said that,
though he is proud of his students who join the military, the mounting death toll was
increasingly painful for a school he described as intimate and personal.

"To have another one die, it's just going to keep making things harder," said Chamberlin,
38, who has taught English at Brentwood since 1996, two years after Ruiz graduated.
"This year alone I helped three or four of my students join the military, and now they're
in harm's way, and I put them there."

Brentwood's fallen

Including Pfc. Jose Ruiz, 13 Long Islanders have died in Iraq and five have been killed in
Afghanistan. So far, 1,858 Americans have fallen in Iraq, while casualties in Afghanistan
have reached 224.

Ruiz is the fourth graduate of Brentwood High School to die a soldier in the wars since
2003. Here are profiles of his fellow servicemen who once called Brentwood home.

Cpl. Raheen Tyson Heighter,

22, who grew up in Bay Shore and graduated from Brentwood High School in 2000,
became the first Long Islander to die in the Iraq fighting when his unit was ambushed on
July 24, 2003. He belonged to the 2/320th Field Artillery Unit of the Army's 101st
Airborne Division, based in Fort Campbell, Ky.

Marine Lance Cpl. Ramon Mateo, 20, was killed on Sept. 20, 2004, while helping to
provide security for a convoy west of Baghdad. A 2002 graduate of Brentwood High
School, Mateo, married and on his second duty tour in Iraq, was attached to the 7th
Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division of the I Marine Expeditionary Force.

Sgt. Michael J. Esposito Jr., 22, of Brentwood, was killed by enemy fire on March 18,
2004, while patrolling in the Hindu Kush Mountains in Afghanistan - a region marked by
a Taliban resurgence. Esposito belonged to the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment of
the Army's 10th Mountain Division, based in upstate Fort Drum.

From Newsday
In grief, families of LI's fallen soldiers find support
At vigil for LI's fallen soldiers, loved ones say pain lingers, but find strength from others in
mourning
BY CYNTHIA DANIELS, STAFF WRITER
December 31, 2005

A candlelight vigil Friday honoring Long Island military personnel who have died in both
Iraq and Afghanistan wasn't fancy - no one sang a solo, political speeches were nil and
names weren't called.
Still, 16 Long Islanders were present to make sure their loved ones are kept alive in
others' hearts and minds.

"It helps to know that people care," said Jeanin Urbina, 18, whose older brother, Army
Spc. Wilfredo F. Urbina, 29, was killed in Iraq last November. "It doesn't matter how
long it's been, people still continue to care ... yeah, life goes on, but you can't forget the
memory of the fallen."

Inside the Huntington Townhouse on Jericho Turnpike, candles flickered brightly in a
dimmed entrance to a small upstairs ballroom adorned with a large American flag.

The short ceremony, followed by lunch, was planned to "bring a little bit of happiness
into a sad situation" said Rhona Silver, owner of the Townhouse.

Tears fell as mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and nieces quietly remembered not only
their fallen but also the latest reported death: Spc. Lance S. Sage, 26, from Lakeview,
who was killed Tuesday in Baghdad - the 16th Long Island service fatality.

"My heart broke for that family," said Dorine Kenney, whose only son, Army Spc. Jacob
S. Fletcher, 28, was killed in Iraq in November 2003. "For that knock at the door, for that
devastation and a shattered family."

The families agreed that pain is constant, but strength is found in events like these.

"Whenever I'm with this group, it's like a support group," said Terri Strippoli, whose
brother, Air Force Master Sgt. Michael Maltz, 42, a Wheatley Heights native, died in
Afghanistan in March 2003. "Because other people don't want to deal with it."

Her cousin, Michele Vais, said, "It's OK to get emotional here."

For Juliana King, the day brought much emotion. King, of Brentwood, lost her son Pfc.
Jose Ruiz, 28, in August when he was hit by small-arms fire from a civilian vehicle
during a security operation in Mosul, Iraq.

King said this Christmas was full of memories of her oldest son, who always made it
home on the holiday. Last year, King said, her son surprised her on Christmas Day,
arriving at her sliding back door when he was supposed to be in Iraq.

Though King had a long list of things to do on Friday - visit her 84-year-old mother in
New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens in Flushing, console a friend who had a
sudden death in the family and celebrate her son Alexander's 17th birthday - she said the
vigil took priority.

"I'm representing him," King said of her son through tears. "If he was here, he would
want me to be here. I said, 'I'll go to the ceremony, then take care of everyone else.'"
                            Staff Sergeant Regilio E. Nelom




                          Hometown: Queens, New York
                                Age: 45 years old
              Died: September 17, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
  Unit: Army-249th Quartermaster Company-1st Corps Support Command-Fort
                              Bragg-North Carolina
  Incident: Killed when a makeshift bomb detonated near his Humvee during an
                            escort mission near Asad.

After Regilio E. Nelom imigrated from Suriname in the 1980s, he delivered newspapers,
flipped burgers and delivered mail. Something was missing. "My husband was not
somebody who could work a 9-to-5 job and be happy," said his wife, Cynthia Nelom.
"Before the Army, he was doing odd jobs, but he was not very satisfied. I had never seen
my husband this happy doing anything else." Nelom, 45, of New York City, was killed
Sept. 17 near Asad by a roadside bomb. He was based at Fort Bragg. Nelom came to the
U.S. in 1987. He had served in the army in Suriname and tried for years to join the U.S.
military, finally enlisting in 1994.

While in New York, he worked at McDonald's, delivered mail inside an office building,
and delivered newspaper, which required him to wake before dawn. "He was so tired,"
his wife said. "We couldn't afford a car. But he said he was doing it for his family." His
daughters Megan, 14, and Briane, 11, also survive him. "He is a hero to me," Cynthia
Nelom said. "I tell my children, 'your daddy died doing something he loved.' He loved
this country, his new country. He was trying for the American dream."


                             1st Lieutenant Mark H. Dooley




                           Hometown: Walkill, New York
                                 Age: 27 years old
                Died: September 19, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
 Unit: Army National Guard-3rd Battalion-172nd Infantry Regiment (Mountain)-
         42nd Infantry Division-Army National Guard-Jericho-Vermont
 Incident: Killed when a makeshift bomb exploded near his vehicle in Ar Ramadi.

U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Release
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 954-05
September 21, 2005
DoD Identifies Army Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the death of three soldiers who were
supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died in Ar Ramadi, Iraq, on September
19, 2005, when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle during
patrol operations.
Killed were:
First Lieutenant Mark H. Dooley, 27, of Wallkill, New York. Dooley was assigned to the
Army National Guard's 3rd Battalion, 172nd Infantry Regiment (Mountain), 42nd
Infantry Division, Jericho, Vermont.

Sergeant Michael Egan, 36, of Philadelphia, Pennsyvlania. Egan was assigned to the
Army National Guard's 1st Squadron, 104th Cavalry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Specialist William V. Fernandez, 37, of Reading, Pennsylvania. Fernandez was assigned
to the Army National Guard's 1st Squadron, 104th Cavalry Regiment, 28th Infantry
Division, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

June 28, 2007
One of the fallen soldiers killed in the Iraq war will be the first with Vermont ties to be
buried at Arlington National Cemetery. First Lieutenant Mark Dooley, 27, died in combat
in western Iraq in September 2005. But there's another Vermont connection.




The thousands of marble head stones that line Arlington National Cemetery are quarried
and inscribed in Vermont. There are too many to count without resorting to extensive
historical records. Linda Beaudin, who stencils gravestones for Granite Industries of
Vermont, said, "I don't know how many thousands we've done for Arlington National
Cemetery. And we did the only stone that went to Arlington national cemetery that was a
Medal of Honor -- for Paul Ray Smith."

Paul Ray Smith is the only Iraq casualty who received the Medal of Honor to be buried at
Arlington. Linda Beaudin did the stenciling work for him and countless others, from
which the inscriptions are made. "I've been doing it for 21 years," she explained, "and I'm
proud of what I do. And it's kind of exciting sometimes, but sometimes it's really sad."
The stones go through a process beginning with huge slabs that are cut into the form of
headstones. "They're put on the big diamond saws and they're cut in slabs," she said.
"And then they're put on the line. The boys will put glue on, they'll stick the stencil on
and it goes through an automatic sand blast. There's a hand sand blast at the end that they
touch up anything to make sure the depth of the letters are good."

Granite Industries of Vermont produces 80 to 90 headstones on any given day. Most go
to Arlington or other national cemeteries. Some are private, some commissioned by the
government for its soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen who gave up their lives for the
country.

Next month, Linda Beaudin will attend a burial ceremony for a fallen Vermonter who
will be laid to rest at Arlington. That's where Lieutenant Dooley will be buried, with full
military honors, on July 13, 2007.

21 September 2005:
A Vermont Army National Guard soldier and Wilmington police officer, described as a
dedicated young man with a promising future in the military and law enforcement, was
killed Monday by a roadside bomb in Iraq.

Mark Dooley, a 27-year-old First Lieutenant, was investigating reports of suspicious
activity in Ramadi with about 30 other soldiers when the bomb detonated. Although
Dooley was wearing sophisticated body armor and riding in an armored vehicle, the blast
killed him instantly, Vermont Guard commander Major General Martha Rainville said
Tuesday.

"It's a loss of a friend and a fellow soldier, and it's a loss of a talented individual,"
Rainville said during a news conference at Camp Johnson in Colchester. "He will be
deeply missed."

The explosion killed two other U.S. service members from units outside Vermont,
Rainville said. The bomb blast occurred at about 7 p.m. in Iraq, or 11 a.m. Eastern
Daylight Time.

Dooley's parents, Peter and Marion Dooley, were notified of their son's death at about
11:30 p.m. Monday at their home in Wallkill, NewYork, where Dooley grew up,
Rainville said. Through the Guard, the family declined to comment.
The Wilmington Police Department hired Dooley as a patrol officer in mid-November,
just two months before his Guard unit -- the 3rd Battalion of the 172nd Mountain Infantry
Regiment -- left Vermont. He immediately impressed his co-workers and members of his
new community, Chief Joseph Szarejko said.

"He thought he could make a difference, and I'm sure he would have," Szarejko said in a
phone interview, emotion apparent in his voice. "You don't meet many people like Mark
Dooley in a lifetime. I was looking forward to him coming back." The department's
officers wrapped black bands around their badges.

With his death Dooley became the 19th serviceman with Vermont ties to be killed in
combat in Iraq since the war began in March 2003. A 20th soldier, Vermont Army
National Guard Sergerant William Normandy, died of natural causes in Kuwait.
Dooley is the fifth member of the Vermont National Guard and the second from Task
Force Saber to be killed in combat. Saber, whose 375 members left Vermont in January
for training and arrived in Iraq in July, lost Master Sergeant Chris Chapin, 39, of Proctor
to a sniper's bullet Aug. 23 in a Ramadi suburb.

The yearlong mission was Dooley's first deployment. The young officer had "super things
to come" in the Guard, chief of staff Col. Jonathan Farnham said.
"A bright future, no doubt," he said.

21 September 2005:
Vermont National Guard Lieutenant Mark H. Dooley, was riding in an armored Humvee
as part of a patrol sent out to investigate suspicious activity when he was killed by a
bomb, guard officials said.

Even though he was in the vehicle and wearing all his protective gear, he was killed
instantly by the improvised explosive device in the Iraqi city of Ramadi, said guard
commander Major General Martha Rainville.

 Two other American service members were killed in the same attack, which took place
at about 11 a.m. Eastern Time on Monday. Rainville did not say where the other soldiers
were from.

"He was very well respected by his peers and his commanders," said Rainville. "He will
be deeply missed." Dooley, 27, of Wilmington was a member of the town's police
department for three months before his unit, the 3rd Battalion of the 172 Mountain
Infantry Regiment, was called to active duty last January. He arrived in Iraq in July.
The Army listed his home of record as Wallkill, New York, where his parents, Peter and
Marion Dooley, live.

Dooley's death brings to 17 the number of American military service members with ties
to Vermont who have died in Iraq since the war began. An 18th Vermonter died of
natural causes in Kuwait while training to go to Iraq.
And Dooley was the second member of his unit, the 400-member Task Force Saber
which arrived in Iraq in July, killed in Iraq. Sergeant First Class Chris Chapin, 39, of
Proctor was killed by a sniper August 23, also in Ramadi.

Task Force Saber is a part of the 2nd Brigade Combat team of the 28th Division led by
the Pennsylvania National Guard. Since the brigade arrived in Iraq in July 11 soldiers
have been killed, Vermont Guard officials said.

The U.S. military said Tuesday that four U.S. soldiers died Monday in two roadside
bombings near Ramadi and a fifth died in a blast north of Baghdad, pushing the toll of
American forces killed in Iraq past 1,900.

Ramadi is a volatile city 70 miles west of Baghdad. It has been the scene of intense but
sporadic fighting since the insurgency gained strength and began its offensive against
U.S. forces in the summer of 2003.

Rainville and Chief of Staff Colonel Jonathan Farnham said insurgents fighting U.S. and
coalition forces in Iraq were developing more powerful weapons.

"The uparmored humvees have protected a lot of soldiers," Rainville said. The death of
Dooley and the others "indicates the strength of the explosive used."

She said the Iraqi insurgents were adapting their tactics and increasing the lethality of
their weapons to counter U.S. advantages, Rainville said.

"We cannot underestimate the enemy," Rainville said. "As they try tactics and methods
they see what works and what doesn't work." She said the U.S. military was doing the
same thing. "There is not a perfect protection for a soldier or an airman," Rainville said.
"Given time (the insurgents) will find a weakness." Rainville and Farnham, Dooley's
commander in Vermont, appeared grim-faced at the Tuesday afternoon news conference.
"We all have a job to do," Rainville said. "This is a piece of that job that we take very
seriously."

They both said Dooley had a bright future in the National Guard.
Dooley joined the Wilmington Police Department last November and worked there until
his deployment. In 2002 and 2003 he worked for the Windham County sheriff's office.
Wilmington, a ski town, is located in southern Vermont west of Brattleboro. His parents
and a brother survive Dooley.

Governor James Douglas said Tuesday in a statement that he had contacted Dooley's
family and "expressed our most sincere condolences." Congressman Bernard Sanders
also expressed his sadness. "My thoughts are with his family at this difficult time and I
join all Vermonters in offering my deepest condolences for their loss," Sanders said.
As of Tuesday, 1,904 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the
war in 2003, according to an Associated Press count. At least 1,483 died from hostile
action, according to the military. The figures include five military civilians.
1 October 2005:
The remains of Army First Lieutenant Mark H. Dooley lay in a flag-draped coffin
yesterday, but his own words reverberated through the crowd gathered in his honor.
The words came from a letter Dooley wrote on his way to war and gave to his father,
Peter, for safekeeping, only to be opened if he did not return.

"I knew right away what it was. I am going to read it to you," Peter Dooley told the
crowd at Christ the King Roman Catholic Church. "It's unusually hard to put down how
you want people to remember you," Mark wrote in his farewell letter. "The finest
moments in my life were when I realized that everything Dad had tried to help me avoid
had come true. I always tried to think how you would have handled something," Dooley
read.

To his mother, Marion, he wrote that he hadn't joined the battle out of some misguided
allegiance, "but for our sacred honor." "Don't be angry or let sadness dominate your
heart," the son wrote. "Be proud."

Mark had advice for a younger sibling, also named Peter: "Remember, time is a gift."
That was typical of Mark, his younger brother said. "He was always looking out for other
people. Despite his great strength, his strongest muscle was his heart."

More than 500 people, including 300 military and police, gathered yesterday to pay their
respects to young soldier. He died in Ramadhi, Iraq, September 19 in an insurgent bomb
attack. The Plattekill native, a 1997 graduate of Wallkill High School in Ulster County,
was 27. He is the 11th soldier from the mid-Hudson to die in connection with the Iraq
conflict and the third from Ulster County.

Mark Dooley felt a duty to serve his country. That's why he left his new job at the
Wilmington, Vermont, Police Department, police Chief Joseph Szarejko said.
"He said he wanted to be there. That was what he had trained to do," Szarejko said. "I
told him to keep his head down. He said, 'I'll come back, chief.'"

When he left for Iraq, Mark put two photos on his desk, one of himself in his military
uniform and one in his police uniform. He left a note, too. "This is the desk of Patrolman
Mark H. Dooley," it said. The last line in the note: "All people deserve freedom."

Hundreds of Vermont National Guardsmen filled an entire side of the church. Bright
rows of ribbons spanned their uniforms, just above their hearts. Mark Dooley was one of
theirs, a member of the Vermont National Guard, a highly trained Army Ranger.

"He was an amazing and gifted officer," said Lieutenant Colonel Jack Mosher,
commander of the infantry to which Mark's unit belonged. "The streets and alleyways of
Ramadhi were Mark's natural habitat. His time was now, and he knew it. He was ready."
At a poolside celebration before he went to Iraq, Mosher quoted the young soldier: "I am
not afraid to go, sir. I have people who love me." "From the turnout here today, you can
see that is true," Mosher said. One of those friends is Lieutenant Ryan Anderson, who
wondered what Mark would have advised him about his eulogy. "I think he would have
said, 'Suck it up and drive on.' He would have said, 'Follow me. I've got your back.'"
"Well," Anderson said, looking down at his friend's coffin. "You have defended your
position with honor. You are relieved. Now follow me. I've got your back

30 May 2006:
President Bush, delivering a Memorial Day message surrounded by the graves of
thousands of military dead, said the United States must continue fighting the war on
terror in the names of those who already have given their lives in the cause.
"The best way to pay respect is to value why a sacrifice was made," Bush said Monday,
quoting from a letter that Lieutenant Mark Dooley wrote to his parents before he was
killed last September in Ramadi, Iraq.

Noting that some 270 fighting men and women of the nearly 2,500 who have fallen since
the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, are buried at Arlington National Cemetery,
Bush said: "We have seen the costs in the war on terror that we fight today.

"I am in awe of the men and women who sacrifice for the freedom of the United States of
America," the president said, drawing a long standing ovation from the troops, families of
the fallen and others gathered at the cemetery's 5,000-seat white marble amphitheater.
"Here in the presence of veterans they fought with and loved ones whose pictures they
carried, the fallen give silent witness to the price of liberty, and our nation honors them
this day and every day," he said.

The nation can best honor the dead by "defeating the terrorists . . . and by laying the
foundation for a generation of peace," Bush said.

Friday, June 29, 2007
First Lieutenant Mark Dooley had a way of honoring the people he respected by hanging
photographs on the wall of his bedroom in Wallkill, New York.
In one corner, there are pictures of his family who served their country, going back to his
great-great-great-great grandfather who fought in the Civil War.

Across the room hangs a photograph from Mogadishu, Somalia, of the American
servicemen who died when their helicopter was shot down in October 1993.
Dooley understood sacrifice and did not want those memories to ever fade away.
Next month, Dooley's name will be forever engraved in the country's memory when he is
buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

Dooley, who was a member of the Wilmington Police Department and the Windham
County Sheriff's Department, was killed west of Ramadi, Iraq, on September 19, 2005,
when the scout platoon he was leading was ambushed. Dooley's body was cremated and
for the past year-and-a-half his family did not want to let him go, his mother Marion said
Thursday.

All of the photographs still hang in his bedroom, and his mother said it is time.
On July 13, two days before what would have been his 29th birthday, at 2:30 p.m., a
caisson will carry Dooley's remains to his final resting place at Arlington National
Cemetery, outside the nation's capital.

"I feel like it is the culmination of everything," Marion Dooley said. "Mark has been with
us and we couldn't stand to part with him. Now he is going to a place where we know
they will care for him forever."

It took a while for the family to decide to send Mark's remains to Arlington, Virginia.
On Memorial Day 2006, President George W. Bush quoted Mark in a speech at
Arlington.

"Before he left for his tour, he gave his parents a last letter, just in case," Bush told the
crowd. "He wrote, "Remember that my leaving was in the service of something that we
loved, and be proud. The best way to pay respect is to value why a sacrifice was made.'"
On that day, Marion said, they decided that Mark should be buried at Arlington.
"He would really be proud," she said. "Mark understood what it meant to honor
someone."

Mark Dooley graduated from Norwich University and also graduated from the Army's
Ranger School. He was a member of the 3rd Battalion, 172nd Mountain Infantry.
In July, busloads of Vermonters plan to travel down to Arlington for the ceremony.
His mother said that Mark used to joke that he was never allowed to go to the zoo and so
she said she is going to take his ashes to the National Zoo before letting them go.

Letting Go, Nearly 2 Years After Loss
By Mark Berman
Courtesy of the Washington Post
Saturday, July 14, 2007

Before First Lieutenant Mark H. Dooley left for Iraq, he gave his father a letter for his
family to open if he didn't come home. "The best way to pay respect is to value why a
sacrifice was made," he wrote. "Remember that my leaving was in the service of
something that we loved."
 Lieutenant Colonel Peter Dooley, father of First Lieutenant Mark H. Dooley, who was
 killed in 2005 by a makeshift bomb in Ramadi, Iraq, accepts a funeral flag at Arlington
     National Cemetery yesterday. Mark Dooley's mother, Marion, is at bottom right.

Yesterday, more than 100 mourners gathered at Arlington National Cemetery to pay
tribute to Dooley nearly two years after he died. On September 19, 2005, Dooley, 27, of
Wallkill, New York, was killed in Ramadi, Iraq, when a makeshift bomb exploded near
his patrol vehicle, according to the Defense Department.

The crowd followed a horse-drawn caisson as it carried Dooley's cremated remains to his
grave, where they were placed in front of two framed collages tracing his life. One
collage focused on Dooley in his youth; the other showcased him as a young adult.
Dooley's letter, which was posted online, was quoted by President Bush when he spoke at
Arlington Cemetery on Memorial Day 2006. Now Dooley was being laid to rest at the
same cemetery where the president had invoked his name, becoming the 349th member
of the military killed in Iraq to be buried there.

Although Dooley was killed nearly two years ago, his family did not want to let him go,
his mother, Marion, told the Brattleboro (Vermont) Reformer. "Mark has been with us,
and we couldn't stand to part with him," she said. "Now he is going to a place where we
know they will take care of him forever." She told the newspaper that the day Bush
referred to Dooley, family members decided he should be buried at Arlington. They took
him there two days shy of what would have been his 29th birthday.

Dooley was a member of the Vermont Army National Guard's 3rd Battalion, 172nd
Infantry Regiment (Mountain), 42nd Infantry Division, based at Jericho, Vt. Two soldiers
from another infantry division were killed alongside Dooley. They were Sergeant
Michael Egan, 36, of Philadelphia and Specialist William V. Fernandez, 37, of Reading,
Pennsylvania.

In Dooley's letter to his family, he praised his father's example and apologized to his
mother for his absence, telling them that "time will ease pain." He wrote that he didn't
leave them in the service of something abstract, such as a flag or a foreign government's
success, but for "our sacred honor."
Dooley graduated from Wallkill Senior High School and Norwich University, a Vermont
military college. He was a law enforcement officer in Vermont, first with the Windham
County Sheriff's Department, then with the Wilmington Police Department.

"The guy always had a smile on his face," Wilmington Police Chief Joseph Szarejko said.
"He was very capable, confident in his abilities, was great around the office. Everybody
liked him."

Dooley had let the police department know that he could be called up, because he was a
"stand-up kind of guy," Szarejko said. "Mark was the kind of guy who was worth waiting
for."




The caisson carrying the remains of Army First Lieutenant Mark Harold Dooley arrives at
a grave site during funeral services at Arlington National Cemetery Friday, July 13, 2007




   The remains of Army First Lieutenant Mark Harold Dooley arrive at a grave site at
                  Arlington National Cemetery Friday, July 13, 2007
Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Peter Dooley holds a folded American Flag during a
graveside service for his son, Army First Lieutenant Mark Harold Dooley, Friday, July
13,2007at Arlington National Cemetery. Dooley's mother Marion, is seated at right


                          Sergeant 1st Class Casey E. Howe




                       Hometown: Philadelphia, New York
                                 Age: 32 years old
              Died: September 26, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
    Unit: Army-3rd Battalion-314th Field Artillery Regiment-2nd Brigade-78th
                          Division- Fort Drum-New York
    Incident: Died from injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device
    detonated near his Humvee during combat operations near Ar Rustimayah.

When his mother asked him what he wanted for Christmas this year, Casey E. Howe's
reply was simple. "Mom, all I want to do is come home and see you guys for Christmas,"
said Howe. "I have everything I want now." Howe, 32, of Philadelphia, N.Y., was killed
Sept. 26 by a bomb blast in Rustimayah. He was assigned to Fort Drum and was on his
third tour of Iraq. Howe joined the Army 14 years ago after attending Soumi College.

He enjoyed camping, playing horseshoes and teasing his mother by calling her "foxy
momma." In high school, Howe was a member of the wrestling team and was team
captain during his senior year in 1991. He also was runner-up in the league's 130-pound
weight class his junior year. "He'd give everything he had when he walked out onto the
mat," former coach Donald Markel said. "There were often times when I would put him
into situations where we knew he would have a tough match, but he accepted those kinds
of challenges where some kids would shy away." He is survived by his wife, Angie;
children Jaymie, 9, and Brittney, 7; and stepchildren Abby Fox, 9, and Megan Fox, 5.

Thursday, September 29 2005 @ 08:12 AM EDT
Contributed by: tomw
Detroit Free Press-- DEFORD, Mich. (AP) -- A native of Michigan's Thumb who was on
his second tour of duty in Iraq with the U.S. Army was killed while on patrol, military
officials say.

Sgt. 1st Class Casey E. Howe, a 32-year-old native of Deford, was part of a convoy
headed to join an Iraqi contingent when his patrol hit an improvised explosive device
Monday, military officials said. Another soldier, Master Sgt. Tulsa Tuliau, 33, of
Watertown, N.Y., also was killed in the blast near Rustimayah.

Howe and Tuliau were members of the 3rd Battalion, 314th Field Artillery Regiment,
2nd Brigade, 78th Division, based at Fort Drum, N.Y.

In his last conversation with his father, Howe talked of looking forward to spending his
retirement in the Upper Peninsula fishing and hunting.

"He had six more years (in the Army) and we were going to get a cottage and go fishing
and hunting," Richard Howe of Smiths Creek, who chatted with his son for about 20
minutes on Friday, told The Detroit News.

Donald Markel, who was Howe's wrestling coach at Cass City High School, said Howe
was a team player with strong leadership skills and a good sense of humor. "He was the
type of person you could really enjoy being around," Markel told The Saginaw News.
"He wasn't a jokester, but he had a unique perspective on things that would absolutely
bring a smile to people's faces."

Howe was member of the school's wrestling team for four years and was team captain
during his senior year. "He'd give everything he had when he walked out onto the mat,"
Markel said. "There were often times when I would put him into situations where we
knew he would have a tough match, but he accepted those kinds of challenges where
some kids would shy away. He would do whatever it took to help the team."

Howe joined the Army 14 years ago after attending Soumi College and was on his second
tour in Iraq, his father said. The Army suited his energetic personality, said Andrea
Neilson, a close family friend. "He was high-strung and thought he could take on the
world," Neilson told the Detroit Free Press.

The elder Howe said his son questioned why he was sent back to Iraq the second time.
"He said he wasn't needed there," the father said. "They had enough people."
But he said his son loved being in the military. "He wanted to live it," the father said.
Howe is survived by his wife, four children and parents, all of Smiths Creek, Army
officials said. Howe was the 60th member of the U.S. armed forces with known Michigan
ties to be killed in Iraq.

Sgt. 1st Class Casey E. Howe
Sgt. 1st Class Casey E. Howe, 32, was an artillery non-commissioned officer assigned to
3rd Battalion, 314th Regiment of the Army Reserve‘s 78th Division (Training Support)
based at Fort Drum, N.Y. Howe enlisted in the Army in 1992 and completed his basic
and advanced individual training at Fort Sill, Okla., to be an artillery Soldier.

After completing his initial training, Howe was assigned to 1st Battalion, 82nd Field
Artillery Regiment at Fort Hood, Texas. He was reassigned to the 2nd Battalion, 11th
Field Artillery Regiment, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, in 1996 where he served as a fire
direction specialist. In 1998, he was assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery
Regiment, Fort Riley, Ks. and was reassigned to 1st Battalion, 6th Field Artillery
Regiment, Warner Barracks, Germany from 2000 to 2002. He returned to Fort Riley in
2002 until he was reassigned to Fort Drum in March 2005.

While assigned to Germany, he deployed to Kosovo and while assigned to Ft. Riley, Ks.
He deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Howe‘s military education
includes the Equal Opportunity Leaders Course, Basic Non-commissioned Officers
Course, Primary Leadership Development Course, Air Assault Course and the Combat
Lifesaver Course.

His awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement
Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Kosovo Campaign
Medal, Non-commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service
Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on
Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Air Assault
Badge the and the Driver Badge. He is survived by his wife and four children and his
parents, of Smiths Creek, Mich.


                           Master Sergeant Tulsa T. Tuliau




                      Hometown: Watertown, New York
                               Age: 33 years old
            Died: September 26, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
   Unit: Army-3rd Battalion, 314th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 78th
                           Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.
   Incident: Died in Baghdad after a makeshift bomb exploded near his Humvee
                   during combat operations in Ar Rustimayah.

Related Links:
2 Soldiers Who Died In Combat Are Buried (Washington Post, Aug. 5, 2006)
ARLINGTON CEMETERY
2 Soldiers Who Died In Combat Are Buried
Sergeants Wounded In Afghanistan, Iraq
By Arianne Aryanpur
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 5, 2006; Page B03

Army 1st Sgt. Christopher Rafferty was set to retire from the military in a few years. He
was thinking about buying a boat to indulge his interest in sailing. He was ready to watch
his two daughters grow into young women.

Rafferty, 37, died July 21 in Sharana, Afghanistan, of injuries he suffered the day before
when his unit encountered small-arms fire during combat. Yesterday, he was laid to rest
in Arlington National Cemetery.

Rafferty, who was assigned to the 37th Engineer Battalion at Fort Bragg, N.C., was the
38th person supporting Operation Enduring Freedom to be buried at Arlington.
A strong breeze swayed the branches as Rafferty's coffin was carried from the black
hearse to Grave 8,333. Many uniformed soldiers paid their respects. Friends said Rafferty
was the consummate soldier and lived the seven Army values: loyalty, duty, respect,
selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage.




 Sandy Rafferty Hustava, right, grieves with family and friends for her son, 1st Sgt. Christopher
         Rafferty, at Arlington. (Photos By Lucian Perkins -- The Washington Post)

"He always did the right thing," said Capt. Richard Ojeda, a friend in his battalion. "He
was the top 10 percent." When Rafferty's unit came under attack during combat
operations, he made sure every man was in the bunker before he was. By that time, it was
too late to save himself. "He put his men well in front of his own safety. That's the reason
he died," Ojeda said.

Many of the soldiers in Rafferty's unit cried when they heard of his death, Ojeda said.
"It's sort of like losing a father figure," he added. "The bonds that are built between
soldiers supercede those that are built on the playground." Survivors include his
daughters, ages 13 and 11, and his wife, Wendy, who was presented with a U.S. flag
during the ceremony yesterday.

Master Sgt. Tulsa T. Tuliau, a soldier whose 14-year career took him to Bosnia,
Afghanistan and two tours in Iraq, also was laid to rest at Arlington yesterday.
He was the 256th person killed supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom to be buried there.
Tuliau, 33, of Watertown, N.Y., was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 314th Field Artillery
Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 78th Division at Fort Drum, N.Y.
He was killed Sept. 26, when an explosive device detonated near his Humvee near
Rustimayah, Iraq. Also killed in the explosion was Sgt. 1st Class Casey E. Howe, 32, of
Philadelphia, N.Y. Tuliau's wife, Katharine, said her husband's interment at Arlington
came nearly a year after his death because she wanted to honor him as close as possible
to his birthday. He would have turned 34 four days ago.

Tuliau was raised in American Samoa and joined the military in 1992. In 1998, he met
his future wife in Bosnia, where both were stationed. "It was love at first sight for both of
us," she said. Family members remembered the 6-foot-5-inch, 250-pound Tuliau as a
"gentle giant." He was a "jokester," "shy" and "always smiling." An expert volleyball
player, Tuliau downplayed his ability at family picnics, his wife said. "He was an
incredible spiker, but around the family, he'd beach volleyball it across the net. He was
very humble."
Tuliau phoned home from Iraq every day. Occasionally, he talked about how scary it
was, but mostly he talked about the Iraqi children: how he gave them candy and how they
reminded him of his daughters, Vanessa, 12, and Sophia, 4. The girls and their mother led
the procession yesterday to Grave 8,412, where an awning was placed to shield mourners
from the sun. Uniformed troops held Tuliau's cremated remains.

The crowd, which included U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England, stood
somberly as a chaplain officiated. As the wind picked up, England paid his condolences
to the family. Then, the guests slowly walked across the grass back to their cars.
Master Sgt. Tulsa T. Tuliau, 33, was an artillery non-commissioned officer assigned to
3rd Battalion, 314th Regiment of the Army Reserve‘s 78th Division (Training Support)
based at Fort Drum, N.Y.

Tuliau was born in San Francisco and grew up in America Samoa. He enlisted in the
Army in March 1992 and trained at Fort Sill, Okla., to be an Artilleryman.
He was assigned to Fort Drum in 1999 and served with the 10th Mountain Division‘s 15th
Field Artillery Regiment until he was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 314th Regiment in
January 2004.While stationed at Fort Drum, Tuliau deployed with Alpha Battery 2-15 FA
to both Afghanistan and Iraq. He previously served with 4th Battalion, 82nd Filed
Artillery, Fort Polk, La., from 1993 to 1996 and the 11th Field Artillery at Schofield
Barracks, Hawaii, from 1996 to 1999.
Tuliau‘s military education includes the First Sergeant‘s Course, Advanced Non-
commissioned Officers Course, Basic Airborne Course, Basic Non-commissioned
Officers Course, Air Assault Course, Primary Leadership Development Course and the
Combat Lifesavers Course.

His awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation
Medal, Army Achievement, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service
Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Non-commissioned Officer Professional
Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal,
Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Parachutist Badge, Air
Assault Badge, Combat Action Badge and the Driver Badge. He is survived by his wife
and two children, of Watertown, and his mother, of Pago-Pago, American Samoa.


                         Sergeant 1st Class Moses E. Armstead




                         Hometown: Rochester, New York
                                 Age: 44 years old
              Died: October 6, 2005 in Operation Enduring Freedom.
    Unit: Army-16th Ordnance Battalion-Aberdeen Proving Ground-Maryland
    Incident: Died of a non-combat related illness identified on Oct. 5 as he was
returning from leave status and preparing to redeploy to Afghanistan at Landstuhl
                 Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany.

Armstead died at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany, on Oct. 6,
of a non-combat related illness identified on Oct. 5, as he was returning from leave status
and preparing to redeploy to Afghanistan.

Sgt. Moses Armstead dies at 44 in Germany
Madison graduate was bound for redeployment in Afghanistan
Meaghan M. McDermott
Staff writer

(October 13, 2005) — Friends and family say Sgt. Moses E. Armstead was the kind of
man who made friends easily, reached out to others and always put those he loved first.

"I met him when we lived on post at Fort Knox. All the kids there loved him," said friend
Lessie Grace of Tennessee. "When he'd pull up in the parking lot, all the neighborhood
kids would come out and surround him. They all went to him when their bikes were
broken."
Sgt. Armstead, with the Army's 16th Ordnance Battalion, died Oct. 6 of a heart attack at
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. He was 44. He had just returned from
leave and was preparing to redeploy to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring
Freedom.

Sgt. Armstead was the youngest of eight children born to Ella Mae and William
Armstead in Bartow, Fla. The family moved to Rochester when Sgt. Armstead was a
youngster.

He graduated from James Madison High School in 1978 and joined the Army in 1985. He
met his wife, Tonya, while both served at the National Guard Armory on Culver Road.

"He was really loving and adventurous," said Tonya Armstead of Aberdeen, Md.
The couple married on Nov. 21, 1988, and had three children.

After basic training in 1985, Sgt. Armstead became an Army machinist, serving at Fort
Knox, Ky.; in the Republic of Korea; and at Fort Campbell, Ky. In July 1999, he was
assigned to Aberdeen Proving Ground in Aberdeen, Md., where he served as an
instructor/writer, annex chief and test control officer, Grace said. He was deployed to
Afghanistan in July 2005.

"He was a builder. He was brilliant and could fix anything," said his wife, adding that
since her husband's death, she's been learning daily of the many quiet ways he touched
the lives of others. "A man just came to my door and told me Moses gave him a car and a
computer."

But family always came first. Tonya Armstead said they'd vacation at least three times a
year, letting their children pick places from a map to visit.

Sgt. Armstead is predeceased by his father, William Armstead of Rochester. In addition
to his wife, he is survived by five sisters and two brothers; sons Jaspen, Daylin and
Llandyn of Maryland and Moses Armstead Jr. of Tennessee; and daughter Dominique
Armstead of Rochester. Calling hours will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday at the D.M.
Williams Funeral Home, 785 Elmgrove Road. A service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at
Faith Deliverance Christian Fellowship, 94 Central Park.


                         Lieutenant Colonel Leon G. James II
                      Hometown: Sackets Harbor, New York
                                 Age: 46 years old
                Died: October 10, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
    Unit: Army-3rd Battalion-314th Field Artillery Regiment-2nd Brigade-78th
                          Division-Fort Drum-New York
   Incident: Died at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. of
 injuries sustained on Sep. 26, when a makeshift bomb exploded near his Humvee
                      during combat operations in Baghdad.

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting
Operation Iraqi Freedom. Lieutenant Colonel Leon G. James II, 46, of Sackets Harbor,
New York, died at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., on October
10, 2005, of injuries sustained in Baghdad, Iraq, on September 26, 2005, when an
improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV during combat operations.
James was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 314th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade,
78th Division, Fort Drum, New York. For further information related to this release,
contact Army Public Affairs at (703) 692-2000.

A Fort Drum officer who passed up retirement to continue serving in the Army died
Monday of injuries he suffered in an explosion in Iraq, his family said. The Defense
Department said Tuesday that Lieutenant Colonel Leon James II, 46, of Sackets Harbor,
died at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. He was injured in a road
attack in Baghdad September 26, 2005, that claimed the lives of two other soldiers,
Sergeant First Class Casey Howe of Philadelphia, New York, and Master Sergeant Tulsa
Tuliau of Watertown.

They were assigned to Fort Drum‘s 3rd Battalion, 314th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd
Brigade, 78th Division. James‘ mother-in-law, Ursula Hicks of Fayetteville, North
Carolina, said the men were riding in a Humvee when they swerved to avoid a suspicious
vehicle, which then exploded. Hicks recalled how her son-in-law loved spending time
outdoors. ―He was talking about retiring when he got back to go hunting and fishing with
my husband,‖ she said.

He leaves behind his wife, Sylvia, and three daughters: Maria, 16, Rachael, 11, and
Kathryn, 5. James met his wife while stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Hicks said
he declined to retire five years ago.

The family lived in Sackets Harbor, along Lake Ontario 19 miles west of the base, and
James was an elder at United Presbyterian Church.
―When he left here he told us he would come back, and he did come back,‖ Hicks said.
―He came back so we could make closure and for the girls to see him one more time.‖

Memorial held for fallen soldier
16 October 2005
Family and friends gathered at the Sackets Harbor Central School Saturday morning to
pay their respects to a fallen soldier. Lieutenant Colonel Leon G. James II, died on
October 10, 2005, from injuries he suffered when a roadside bomb exploded near his
vehicle in Baghdad, Iraq. That bomb also claimed the lives of two other soldiers,
Sergeant First Class Casey Howe and Master Sergeant Tulsa Tuliau. James and his
family lived in Sackets Harbor for seven years, where he was an elder at the United
Presbyterian Church. His burial will take place at Arlington National Cemetery.

Iraq victim Springfield native
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
In his e-mails to his mother, Army Lieutenant Colonel Leon G. James II reminded her to
keep safe. But it was James, a Springfield native deployed six months ago to Iraq, who
was in harm's way. James, a married father of three, died October 10, 2005, after being
wounded in a bomb blast on an Iraqi roadway. He was 46. "We always thought this
wouldn't come to us," said Emma Jean James, the soldier's mother, who lives in
Longmeadow. "But it has." Emma Jean James was writing an obituary and arranging for
a gathering yesterday to be held at her home this weekend to honor the son many knew as
Buster. Leon James will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery October 25, 2005.
James was the 10th soldier with Western Massachusetts ties who died as a result of the
U.S. war in Iraq.

He was a member of the 3rd Battalion, 314th Field Artillery Regiment of the 2nd Brigade
78th Division at Fort Drum in New York where he lived.
"Lots of people say they (the Army) owe me a (national burial)," said Emma Jean James.
"I just feel honored." Colonel James grew up with two brothers and three sisters in
Springfield. His mother said he and his siblings were jokingly referred to as the James
Gang.

Lieutenant Colonel Leon Gifford James II of Sackets Harbor, New York, was wounded
September 26, 2005, in Baghdad when an explosive device detonated near his Humvee.
He died October 10, 2005, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. James, 46, was
assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 314th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 78th Division,
based at Fort Drum, New York.

Friends said that James, who served as an elder at United Presbyterian Church in Sackets
Harbor and helped manage its finances, had been eligible to retire from the service. But
he decided to stay to fight for a cause he believed in. He kept in excellent shape -- even
outrunning men two decades his junior in training drills, his friends said.

For James's full-honors funeral, a team of dark horses led the procession from the Old
Post Chapel. A military band played "Amazing Grace" as the flag-draped coffin --
covered with a clear plastic sheath to protect it from the rain -- was brought to the
gravesite. Major General Wayne Erck presented the flag to James's wife, Silvia, who was
accompanied by their children, Maria, Rachael and Kathryn.
Hay, James and Adams were the 181st, 182nd and 183rd service members killed in the
Iraq conflict to be buried at the cemetery.




   Posted: 17 October 2005 Updated: 18 October 2005 Updated: 26 October 2005 Updated: 2
                                       January 2006


                       Petty Officer 3rd Class Fabricio Moreno




                         Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
                                 Age: 26 years old
              Died: October 14, 2005 in Operation Enduring Freedom.
                                    Unit: Navy

Governor Schwarzenegger Issues Statement on Death of Port Hueneme Sailor:
Petty Officer 3rd Class Fabricio Moreno
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today released the following statement regarding the
death of Petty Officer 3rd Class Fabricio Moreno of Brooklyn, NY:
"Petty Officer 3rd Class Moreno carried with him the highest ideals of our country and
we are greatly indebted to him for his service. Maria and I send our thoughts and prayers
to Fabricio's family as they mourn a cherished loved one."
Moreno, 26, died Oct. 14 in a single-vehicle accident in Manda Bay, Kenya. He was
assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 3, Port Hueneme, CA. He was deployed
as part of a Combined Joint Task Force, Horn of Africa construction Team.
In honor of Moreno, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.
21 Gun Salute
U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Steven Jacobs and rifle team members render a 21-gun salute
during a memorial ceremony for Petty Officer 3rd Class Fabricio Moreno at Camp
Lemonier, Djibouti, Oct. 23, 2005. Moreno, assigned to the Navy Mobile Construction
Battalion 3, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, died Oct. 14, 2005, as a result of
a single vehicle accident. U.S. Air Force photo by Stacy L. Pearsall




CRASH KILLS SAILOR
By Hugh Son
Thursday, October 20th 2005, 6:46AM
A BROOKLYN sailor was killed in a car crash in Kenya, where he was serving with a
construction battalion, military officials said yesterday. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class
Fabricio Moreno, 26, was killed Oct. 14 in a single-vehicle accident in Manda Bay,
Kenya, the Department of Defense said.

"He was a very good kid, intelligent," said Steve Hernandez, who grew up with Moreno
in Sunset Park. "He was always happy, always smiling. I'm a little stunned right now."
Moreno graduated from the Telecommunications Arts and Technology High School.
Hernandez said Moreno, the youngest of three brothers, was single and had no children.
Moreno's sister-in-law Jeannine Moreno of Brooklyn said her family had no comment,
citing an ongoing investigation into the accident.

Military officials said Moreno was assigned to the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 3
in Port Hueneme, Calif. His unit was deployed to Kenya this year as part of the
Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa construction team.


                              Corporal Seamus M. Davey




                           Hometown: Lewis, New York
                                  Age: 25 years old
                 Died: October 21, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
  Unit: Marines-4th Force Reconnaissance Battalion-4th Marine Division-Marine
                           Corps Reserve-Reno-Nevada
 Incident: Killed by a makeshift bomb while conducting combat operations against
                     enemy forces in the vicinity of Haqlaniyah.

Three days before the body of Seamus M. Davey was returned from Iraq, his family
celebrated what would have been his 26th birthday with a cake, while neighbors poured
in and out of the house.

"I think Seamus' mom said it best," said Davey's cousin, Brigham Davey. "'He was our
son, but once he went into the Marine Corps, he became everyone's son.'"
Davey, 25, of Lowville, N.Y., was killed Oct. 21 when he came under fire near
Haqlaniyah. He was assigned to Reno.

At a memorial service, a statement from fellow Marine Derek Lee's father was read. "I
wasn't there, but my son has told me over and over that Davey saved his life," he said.
The father's account said the Marines entered a home and met armed insurgents. Lee
went down first, but Davey "stood his ground, drawing the attention off my son."
Davey graduated high school in 1998 - where he played lacrosse, football and basketball
- and attended Grossmont College in El Cajon, Calf., while living in San Diego.
He is survived by his parents, Derek and Lorene.


                     Sergeant 1st Class Ramon A. Acevedoaponte




                        Hometown: Watertown, New York
                                 Age: 51 years old
                Died: October 26, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Unit: Army-3rd Forward Support Battalion-Division Support Brigade-3rd Infantry
                          Division-Fort Stewart-Georgia
Incident: Killed when a makeshift bomb exploded near his Humvee in Rustamiyah.

Soldier’s remains returned to his native Puerto Rico
Associated Press
SAN JUAN — The remains of a soldier killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq last month
have been returned to his native Puerto Rico for burial.

The family of Army Sgt. 1st Class Ramon Acevedo Aponte, 51, planned a wake for him
Monday in his hometown of Penuelas. He was to be buried the following day.
Acevedo Aponte, who had nine brothers, and another soldier were killed Oct. 26 when a
bomb exploded near their Humvee in Rustamiyah, Iraq, the Department of Defense said
Both soldiers were assigned to the Army‘s 3rd Forward Support Battalion, Division
Support Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.


                           Lance Corporal Jared J. Kremm




                        Hometown: Hauppage, New York
                                Age: 24 years old
               Died: October 27, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
    Unit: Marines-2nd Battalion-6th Marine Regiment-2nd Marine Division-2nd
           Marine Expeditionary Force-Camp Lejeune-North Carolina
           Incident: Killed by an indirect fire explosion in Saqlawiyah.

As the bus taking him back to base pulled away, Jared J. Kremm stuck his fingers
through the window, making fun of how his sister had jammed her finger in a car door
when she was a kid. She said she can still see him smiling behind the window. "I just
want to hear him laughing again," said his sister, Jacquelynn. "I want to hear him
laughing so bad." Kremm, 24, of Hauppauge, N.Y., was killed Oct. 27 by an explosion in
Saqlawiyah. He was assigned to Camp Lejeune.

He took classes at Suffolk County Community College in Selden and joined the Marines
in 2001. From Iraq, Kremm sent Jacquelynn letters about watching his laundry dry on a
string, missing Burger King and wishing he could play X-Box with his brother-in-law.
He even sent handwritten "certificates" to his niece and nephew promising to spend time
together if they behaved while he was away. He also is survived by his wife, Brook. Cpl.
Jose Soto said his comrade had been a sparkplug, energizing the troops whenever there
was a lull. "If a job needed to be done," Soto said, "he would motivate the whole platoon
to get it done."

                                Monday, October 31, 2005
                                   Contributed by: tomw
   NewsDay---When Jared Kremm was a child, his grandfather told him stories about
fighting in a foxhole. He saw photographs of his uncle and his grandfather taken 50 years
                         apart at boot camp in Parris Island, S.C.
   And he held his mother's hand and watched veterans in pressed uniforms march in
                parades, and listened to people cheer for them madly.




"Jared knew all about the Marines, long before he went in," said his grandmother, Hazel
Fabrizio, 74, of Islip Terrace. "The tradition, the pride, the honor. He was gung ho from
the start."

When he became a man, Kremm followed his grandfather and uncle into the Marines. He
enlisted after Sept. 11, 2001, and was shipped out to Iraq last year.

Last month, he began his second tour in Iraq, where he was killed on Thursday. Details
about his death have been scarce. The military has said only that Kremm, a lance corporal
in the 2nd Marine Division, died during a firefight in Saqlawiyah.

"He kept telling me this was what he was born to do," his mother, Nancy Young Kremm,
50, of Hauppauge, said yesterday.

That pride was evident in dozens of letters Kremm, 25, sent from Iraq. He touched on the
weather, bad food, missing home and wanting to become a police officer when he got
back, but never about the danger.

"Dear Ma," one recent letter began. "What's going on? Nothing much here. It is silent ... I
will hopefully get promoted next month ... Sounds pretty cool. My title will be Corporal
Kremm."

It was Kremm's grandfather, Herbert Young, now deceased, who enlisted in 1938 and
began a family tradition of Marine service.

Kremm's uncle, Donald Young, 40, who now lives in Palm Coast, Fla., served six years
as a Marine reservist in the 1980s.

As a kid, Kremm moved with his mother and older sister Jacquelynn into his uncle's
house in Bay Shore after his parents divorced.

Kremm later moved to Hauppauge and graduated from high school there. He took classes
at Suffolk County Community College in Selden, then joined the Marines in 2001.

He first shipped out to the Philippines, but later returned to the United States. He married
a woman named Brook Walden.
They lived in Jacksonville, N.C., 10 miles from where Jacquelynn, 31, and her husband,
Chris Soldano, a Marine sergeant, were stationed.

As Kremm prepared to return to Iraq last month, his sister spent hours at his house. "We
talked about 9/11," she said. "He told me, 'This is all going to make a difference so that
that won't ever happen again.'"

Mostly, Kremm mollified her anxiety with jokes. As he sat on the bus leaving
Jacksonville, Kremm stuck his fingers through the window, making fun of how his sister
had jammed her finger in a car door when she was a kid. She said she can still see him
smiling behind the glass as the bus pulled away. "I just want to hear him laughing again,"
she said. "I want to hear him laughing so bad."

From Iraq, Kremm sent Jacquelynn letters about watching his laundry dry on a string,
missing Burger King and wishing he could play X-Box with his brother-in-law. He even
sent handwritten "certificates" to his niece, Falynn, 11, and nephew, Christopher, 7,
promising to spend time together if they behaved while he was away. "This certificate
entitles one Falynn Soldano to a whole day with her uncle Jared so long as mommy tells
me that she has been good while he was gone," one of them read.

In his final letter from Iraq, Kremm told his mother not to be afraid. "You have to be
strong for me, just as I have to be strong for you. There is nothing to worry about ... I will
be home soon enough. I better get going. I love you and I miss you…..Jared."

On May 8th 2006 Chief of Department Ray Woods led a contingent of firefighters from
Hauppauge Fire Department and Bayshore Fire Department in attending the Dedication
of Lincoln Boulevard by Hauppauge High School in the memory of Marine CPL Jared
Kremm. Hauppauge & Bay Shore Ladders sent up commerative arch displaying the
Colors. Numerous Public Officials Including State Senator Steve Israel & Three Islip
Town Council members as well as a number of School District Officials and a Contingent
from the United States Marines were also present. In the audience were School
Employees, Veterans Of Foreign Wars and members of the community. The Guest's of
Honor were of course relatives of the Marine Corporal Being Honored.
LI Marine killed in Iraq
At Hauppauge home of his mom, Pentagon tells her that her son and a fellow
Marine died in an explosion
BY SAMUEL BRUCHEY
STAFF WRITER
Published October 29 2005
Nancy Young Kremm came home from work Thursday and wanted to write a letter to her
son in Iraq.

She said she wanted to tell Jared, a lance corporal in the Marines, that everything was
great, that he'd be home very shortly, and how happy she'd been to receive his letter one
day earlier.

But before she could heat up her tea and sit down at her kitchen table, two Marines
knocked on her door.

A U.S. Department of Defense news release said Jared Kremm, 24, of Hauppauge, and a
soldier from Cleveland, were killed Thursday "from an indirect fire explosion" in
Saqlawiyah, Iraq.

Kremm was in the 2nd Marine Division, assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine
Regiment. He was the 13th soldier from Long Island killed in Iraq.

Kremm's mother said she had not been told the details of her son's death. "They told me
that I didn't want to hear it," she said, "that he had extensive damage to his head and the
rest of his body. And they tried even though they could see it was hopeless." Kremm died
at the scene, the military said.

Kremm graduated from Hauppauge High School, where he played football and lacrosse.
He then attended Suffolk County Community College and enlisted after 9/11. He trained
at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and shipped out a year ago. Kremm returned in March, was on
leave in April, then shipped out again last month, his mother said.

"He believed in everything he did," said Kremm's mother. "He told me that it was
something that was necessary. He joined to make a difference." Kremm said her son was
a crew leader in the special forces. Their mission was to train Iraqi police officers, she
said. Other than that, Jared told her little about his life in Iraq.

In a letter she received from him this week, he told her he loved and missed her, and that
the mission was going well. "He candy-coated everything for me," she said. "He tried to
make me feel that he was in a resort."
                               Specialist Robert C. Pope II




                        Hometown: East Islip, New York
                               Age: 22 years old
               Died: November 7, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Unit: Army-3rd Squadron-3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment-Fort Carson-Colorado
 Incident: Killed when a makeshift bomb exploded near his dismounted patrol in
                                    Baghdad.

Spc. Robert Pope
BY WIL CRUZ | STAFF WRITER
November 10, 2005

Army Spc. Robert Pope was stationed in Iraq, and dreamed of marrying his fiancee in a
church. But he had another concern, too: her security. So he married Lynnea, 24, in June
by proxy, his family said.

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

Pope, 22, who was scheduled to come home in March, was killed Monday by a roadside
bomb in Baghdad. "I really thought he'd make it home," his mother, Regina, 47, said
tearfully. "He was a hero; he didn't have to die, though." The U.S. Department of Defense
told the family Tuesday that Pope was on foot patrol Monday when at 5:15 p.m. Baghdad
time a car bomb detonated, the department said.

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

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

"It meant a lot to him, what he was doing," said Pope's father, Robert, 47. "He thought he
was doing the right thing over there, but at the same time he was looking to come home
and do the right thing by his family." Regina Pope, an aide at an elementary school, said
her oldest child came home one day and told his parents he had joined the military - a
decision they supported. "He just felt like he had to do this," she said.
Robert Pope, a millwright, said almost simultaneously: "He felt his country needed it."
Pope became the 14th soldier from Long Island and the second in as many weeks to die
in the war in Iraq, the U.S. Department of Defense has said. His death follows the killing
of Jared Kremm, 24, of Hauppauge, whose unit was caught in an explosion on Oct. 27.

Two weeks before he was killed, Pope's face was scraped by shrapnel when another
roadside bomb exploded nearby, his family said. "You could tell he was getting scared,"
Regina said of that incident. Pope wasn't badly hurt, but was even more eager to return
home. Pope regularly sent letters home to his family, which perused them yesterday as
pictures of Pope were sprawled across a coffee table in their living room.

"I love you all very much," he wrote in one letter. "Please try not to worry; I'll be fine."
The photos showed Pope as a tight end for the East Islip High School Redmen, of Pope
with Lynnea and Dylan, and as a soldier in boot camp. Pope had just booked a Caribbean
cruise, a vacation that would follow a wedding ceremony with his wife at the Huntington
Town House in August, Regina Pope said.

At home, Pope doted on his sister, Kaitlyn, 14, who has cerebral palsy, his father said.
"He just idolized her, loved her," he said. "She meant everything in the world to him."
Now the Pope family - his parents, sister and two brothers - is awaiting his body. Funeral
arrangements will follow. Mixed in with the sorrow, Robert Pope yesterday recalled
watching New York Giants and Jets football games with his son over beers and laughs.

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

Copyright © 2008, Newsday Inc.


                                 Sergeant Dominic J. Sacco




                          Hometown: Albany, New York
                                Age: 32 years old
               Died: November 20, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
  Unit: Army-1st Battalion-13th Armor Regiment-3rd Brigade Combat Team-1st
                       Armored Division-Fort Riley-Kansas
 Incident: Killed when his Abrams tank was attacked by enemy forces using small
                                arms fire in Taji.
Dominic Joseph Sacco
FT. RILEY, Kan. Sgt. Dominic (Nick) Joseph Sacco, 32, Ft. Riley, was killed Sunday,
November 20, 2005 in Taji, Iraq. Nick was born November 26, 1972 in Albany, N.Y., the
son of William and Diane Ramandi Sacco. He graduated from Albany High School in
1991. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on March 14, 1996. Nick was currently serving his
second tour of duty in Iraq. He was a member of Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 13th
Armor Regiment at Ft. Riley.

He enjoyed baseball and basketball but most of all, spending time with his family. Nick
married Brandy Starin on March 27, 2003. She survives. Other survivors include a son,
Anthony William Sacco; step-daughter, Elyssa Armstrong, both of the home; his parents,
William and Diane Sacco, Leesburg, Fla.; and a sister, Lisa Livingston, Scotia, N.Y. A
funeral service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, December 2, 2005 at Penwell-Gabel
Mid Town Chapel.

Burial will be in Penwell-Gabel's Memorial Park Cemetery. Sgt. Sacco will lie in state at
the funeral home after 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 1, 2005. Visitation will be from
4-8 p.m. Memorial contributions may be made to the Anthony Sacco Memorial Fund,
C/O Capital Federal Savings, 700 S. Kansas, Topeka, KS 66603. A special message for
the family can be left online at: www.PenwellGabel.com
Published in the Albany Times Union on 11/27/2005.

Dominic Joseph (Nick) Sacco
Joseph Sacco, age 32, Ft. Riley, was killed Sunday, November 20, 2005 in Taji, Iraq.
Nick was born November 26, 1972 in Albany, NY, the son of William and Diane
Ramandi Sacco. He graduated from Albany High School in 1991. He enlisted in the U.S.
Army on March 14, 1996. Nick was currently serving his second tour of duty in Iraq. He
was a member of Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 13th Armor Regiment at Ft. Riley. He
enjoyed baseball and basketball, but most of all, spending time with his family.

Nick married Brandy Starin in March 27, 2003. She survives. Other survivors include a
son, Anthony William Sacco; stepdaughter, Elyssa Armstrong, both of the home; his
parents, William and Diane Sacco, Leesburg, FL; and a sister, Lisa Livingston, Scotia,
NY. A funeral service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, December 2, 2005 at Penwell-
Gabel Mid Town Chapel. Burial will be in Penwell-Gabels Memorial Park Cemetery.

Sgt. Sacco will lie in state at the funeral home after 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 1,
2005. Visitation will be from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. Memorial contributions may be made to
the Anthony Sacco Memorial Fund, c/o Capitol Federal Savings, 700 S. Kansas, Topeka
66603. A special message for the family can be left online at www.PenwellGabel.com
Sgt. Dominic J. Sacco
Published in the Topeka Capital-Journal on 11/27/2005.
                              Staff Sergeant Aram J. Bass




                       Hometown: Niagara Falls, New York
                                  Age: 25 years old
               Died: November 23, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
 Unit: Army-2nd Battalion-502nd Infantry Regiment-2nd Brigade Combat Team-
                 101st Airborne Division-Fort Campbell-Kentucky
 Incident: Killed when his unit came under direct fire during combat operations in
                                     Baghdad.

Staff Sergeant Aram J. Bass
NEWS RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense
No. 1232-05
IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November28, 2005
Media Contact: Army Public Affairs - (703) 692-2000 Public/Industry Contact:
(703)428-0711
DoD Identifies Army Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were
supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died in Baghdad, Iraq on November 23, 2005,
when their unit came under direct fire during combat operations. Both soldiers were
assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team,
101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Kentucky

Killed were:
Staff Sergeant Aram J. Bass, 25, of Niagara Falls, New York
Sergeant William B. Meeuwsen, 24, of Kingwood, Texas
The circumstances of the soldiers' deaths are under investigation as a potential friendly-
fire incident. For further information related to this release, contact Army Public Affairs
at (703) 692-2000.

Body of soldier returns to Falls
Former Marine killed in firefight in Baghdad
By THOMAS J. PROHASKA
Courtesy of the Buffalo News
5 December 2005
Staff Sergeant Aram Bass wanted to go to Iraq.
NIAGARA FALLS, NEW YORK - The body of Staff Sergeant Aram J. Bass, an ex-
Marine who joined the Army so he could serve in the Iraq War, was returned to Western
New York on Sunday.

An honor guard of Bass' fellow soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division in Fort
Campbell, Kentucky, provided full military honors, as the casket was unloaded at Buffalo
Niagara International Airport in the presence of his family.

Bass, 25, of Niagara Falls, was killed in a firefight in Baghdad on November 23, 2005. At
first, the Army said he was killed when a firebomb exploded while he was aiding
wounded comrades. However, the following week, the Army said the death was under
investigation as a possible friendly fire incident.

"They're not giving us any indication of what happened," said his widow, Breanne C.
Sterner-Bass of Youngstown. "It takes as long as two months to complete an
investigation."

Bass, a Niagara Falls native, had served four years in the Marine Corps after graduating
from Niagara Catholic High School in 1999. He reached the rank of Sergeant and had
been stationed at Parris Island, South Carolina, Seattle, Hawaii, Okinawa and the
Philippines.

"We had met right after he got out of the Marines," Sterner-Bass said. "He went to school
for a semester [at Niagara County Community College], but it wasn't for him."
Bass told his then-girlfriend he wanted to serve in Iraq, because he felt he was trained to
help.

"I said, "I'm not going to be the one to stop you,' " Sterner-Bass recalled.
He joined the Army in April 2004 and left for Fort Campbell two months later.
The couple married December 28, 2004, when Bass was home on a leave he had taken
after finding out Breanne had been diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma.

His wife, 22, underwent treatment and received a clean bill of health three weeks ago.
In early October, Bass left for a one-year tour of duty in Iraq. They spoke by telephone
every few days. On November 20, 2005, three days before he died, they talked for the last
time.

"He told me he was exhausted. He'd been up for two days," said Sterner-Bass. Her
husband wasn't allowed to give her any details of exactly where he was or what kind of
operations he had been involved in, but they spoke every couple of days.

"The last time I talked to him, he said, "If I never get the chance to tell you, I want you to
know how amazing you are.' He said that twice," Sterner-Bass remembered. "That's
something I hold with me now. I wonder if he knew he wasn't going to talk to me again."
Sterner-Bass said she didn't have any such premonitions. "I guess I never wanted to think
that, but as soon as I saw the men get out of the car, I knew," she said.
She received the news of her husband's death the same day he died, on the night before
Thanksgiving.

Bass, who was 6 feet, 5 inches tall, loved sports and played varsity basketball and
football for Niagara Catholic. A wide receiver in football, he made second team all-
league in the Monsignor Martin Athletic Association "A" League in 1997 and 1998. He
also enjoyed weightlifting and going to the firing range.

Bass, a Niagara Falls native, also is survived by his parents, William I and Deborah L.
Johnson; his stepmother, Cheryl; and his stepfather, Kirby Johnson, all of Niagara Falls.
Other survivors include two brothers, William II of Amherst and Cameron Weingartner
of Niagara Falls; five sisters, Nicole, Rafikka and Jodi, all of Niagara Falls, Katina May
of Youngstown and Kenya Harrigan of Amherst; his grandparents, Richard Case of
Warren, Pennsylvania, and Susanne H. Case and Will, both of Niagara Falls; and two
lifelong friends from Niagara Falls, First Lieutenant Shawn Carbone, who also is serving
in Iraq, and Robert Kendzia.

A service will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday in St. John de LaSalle Catholic Church, 8469
Buffalo Ave., Niagara Falls. Nine soldiers of the 101st Airborne will serve as pallbearers,
and some Marines also will take part in military honors for Bass.
He will be buried later this month in Arlington National Cemetery.


                           Staff Sergeant Steven C. Reynolds




                          Hometown: Jordan, New York
                                  Age: 32 years old
               Died: November 24, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
 Unit: Army-170th Military Police Company-504th Military Police Battalion-42nd
                  Military Police Brigade-Fort Lewis-Washington
Incident: Killed when a makeshift bomb exploded near his Humvee causing it to flip
                              into a canal in Baghdad.

Staff Sergeant Steven C. Reynolds
was remembered as an admirable, multifaceted man by his family, his high school
classmates, his teachers, his Boy Scout leaders and U.S. Army buddies. They gathered
Wednesday night for a memorial service at the Jordan United Methodist Church.
Reynolds died in Iraq Thanksgiving Day when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive
device and flipped over into a canal.

―I've never known a man with such empathy,‖ said Alex Puyol, an Army buddy who
traveled from Chicopee, Massachusetts, to attend the memorial service. ―There's not
enough good said about him. I feel robbed of his presence.‖

Reynolds was assigned to the 170th Military Police Company, 504th Military Police
Battalion, 42nd Military Police Brigade, which is based in Fort Lewis, Washington.
Puyol served with Reynolds in Germany in the 272nd company for three years.

Reynolds, ―a borderline genius,‖ had a widespread interest in philosophy, politics, history
and film, Puyol said. The two traveled together to historic sites in Germany.
He was a soldier because he wanted to protect the society he believed in, Puyol said.
―He was not a self-righteous kind of soldier, but a conscience kind of righteousness,‖ he
said.

―It's a cliché, but he died doing what he loved doing,‖ said Reynolds' mother, Shirley.
Shirley and her husband, Norman, now live in Newport, N.C. Shirley Reynolds said her
son had wanted to be a soldier before he even entered school.

People sang hymns and watched a DVD of pictures from Reynolds' time in Iraq:
Reynolds grilling on a barbecue, in portrait shots with smiling Iraqi citizens or with his
head poking out of a tank.

Reynolds graduated from Jordan-Elbridge High School in 1992. Later that year, he
enlisted in the Army. He served two tours in Iraq. The first, one-year stint began in April
2003, and he was deployed on the second tour February 4, 2005, where he was assisting
with the construction of Iraqi police stations and the training of Iraqi police.
Reynolds' former high school principal, Noel Hotchkiss, said a conversation he had with
Reynolds before his last tour in Iraq showed him Reynolds knew his purpose in serving
in the Middle East war.

―Steven understood what he doing. He understood history. He read the Old Testament,‖
Hotchkiss said. ―If you don't understand how evil we are: some of us are self-serving and
petty; some of us are diabolically evil. That's human nature.‖

Hotchkiss, an Army, National Guard and Army Reserve veteran, said Reynolds told him
his own military experience was an influence in his decision to join the military.
The Rev. Jill S. Magnuson, the church's pastor, advised mourners to take heart in
Reynolds' smiles in life to deal with their grief. ―You can cry and close your eyes and
turn your back or do what he would want you to do: smile, open your eyes and go on,‖
she said in her sermon.

Many of the memorial service attendees followed her advice by sharing droll stories
about Reynolds. Reynolds always had a smile on his face, had incessant energy and never
stopped talking, one after another said. ―You never knew what he was going to say or
ask, but for some reason (his parents) kept on bringing him to church,‖ said Richard
Platten, the chair of the church's council and a former Scoutmaster when Reynolds was in
Boy Scouts, eliciting laughs from attendees.

Reynolds' funeral service will be held December 12, 205, in North Carolina and a burial
service will be held December 15, 2005, in Arlington National Cemetery.
One of Reynolds' commanders came to honor the strength his comrade in arms gave to
him.

―The tears we will cry will be lost to us forever as we try to make it through this tragic
endeavor,‖ read Captain Neftali Velez, of Brooklyn, from a poem written by fellow
sergeant Terri Eury in honor of Reynolds. Velez was Reynolds' commander for his first
tour in Iraq and for half of his second tour in Iraq. Velez followed the poem recitation
with the song, ―You Raise Me Up.‖ The captain looked up himself each time he sang the
line, ―I am strong when I am on your shoulders.‖

8 December 2005:
Steven Reynolds' family and friends say he was always a man on a mission, whether it
was at home or overseas. They say he was always on the go but never too busy to call or
e-mail the people close to him, and when he could, pay them a visit.
He spent his two-week leave from his second tour of duty in Iraq bouncing around the
east coast.

A memorial service was held last night to remember a Central New York solider killed
on Thanksgiving Day in Iraq. "The reason he put so much quality time in the 15 days he
went on leave is because he knew it could be the last time he sees everybody," said his
mother, Shirley Reynolds. That would be the last time Reynolds saw his family and
friends. He was killed Thanksgiving Day when an improvised explosive device went off
near his vehicle in Baghdad. The vehicle flipped over into a canal. "He died doing what
he loved," Reynolds said. "I know it's a cliche, but he really did. He wouldn't have had it
any other way."

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

Reynolds' family says he was a modest person, who knew of the dangers of fighting in
the war, but to him he was just doing his job and wanted no praise. Loved ones say he's a
hero who gave so much to so many people. "He made such an impact on my life, for
myself personally because we were friends," said Alex Puyol. "Through some of my
issues, he was always a friend to me there. He taught me the value of being who you are
because he was who he was." Reynolds will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery
December 15, 2005.
 At Arlington, Mourning a Stilled Voice
Army Sergeant, Killed in Iraq, Is Laid to Rest
By Lila de Tantillo
Courtesy of the Washington Post
Friday, December 16, 2005
Staff Sergeant Steven C. Reynolds could talk a mile a minute and always had something
interesting to say. His familiar voice is being missed in his hometown of Jordan, New
York, after his death in Baghdad on Thanksgiving Day. Reynolds, 32, was part of a group
responding to reports of casualties in an Iraqi suburb when an improvised explosive
device went off near the Humvee he was traveling in. The vehicle flipped over into a
canal, killing him and Private First Class Marc A. Delgado, 21, of Lithia, Florida.




   Brigadier General Rodney L. Johnson presents a flag to Norman and Shirley Reynolds, the
         parents of Army Staff Sergeant Steven C. Reynolds, 32, of Jordan, New York

They were assigned to the Army's 170th Military Police Company, 504th Military Police
Battalion, 42nd Military Police Brigade, based at Fort Lewis, Washington.
Reynolds was the 100th New York resident to die serving with the military in Iraq.
Yesterday, he became the 205th person killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom to be buried at
Arlington National Cemetery.

After a memorial at the Old Post Chapel, dozens of mourners huddled together in the cold
as wet snow fell on the graves around them. Many brought white flowers to the gravesite;
a wreath decorated with red, white and blue ribbons was placed nearby. Stepping together
in perfect rhythm, an honor guard carried Reynolds's flag-draped wooden coffin beneath
a temporary shelter and carefully removed the tarp protecting the American flag.
Reynolds's survivors include his parents, Norman and Shirley Reynolds, and sister
Kimberly Russell.

"He believed in what he was doing," said Noel Hotchkiss, who was Reynolds's principal
at Jordan-Elbridge High School and often talked with the teenager about his own service
in the Army and National Guard. "He was a good-hearted, straightforward and honest
individual, very full of energy -- and he really liked to talk."

Hotchkiss, who is now retired, lost track of Reynolds after his graduation in 1992, but
they ran into each other at the school when Reynolds was home on leave about a month
ago. Reynolds told his former mentor about his second tour of duty in Iraq and how his
unit had pitched in money to help an orphaned Iraqi boy.

"He indicated he thought things were improving in Iraq. He thought things were going to
turn out to everyone's benefit," Hotchkiss said. "Basically, he didn't change. He was the
same very friendly, outgoing person I knew." Jordan Mayor Richard Platten, who had
known Reynolds since the young man was about 10, described him as a "live wire."
"You wouldn't call him docile. . . . He could be a handful," said Platten, who as
Reynolds's Boy Scout leader watched him mature over the years into a responsible
member of the troop. "He started out as one of the squirrelly little scouts," said Platten,
who was especially proud when Reynolds attained the rank of Eagle Scout. "But he was
always thinking. . . . His mind was always going as fast as his mouth."

Platten, who was also Reynolds's high school math teacher, said the youth was always
ready with questions and ideas. He was frequently heard asking, "What if we do it this
way?" Reynolds was a history buff, overflowing with trivia, and an avid outdoorsman
who loved fishing. Growing up, he was active at Jordan United Methodist Church, where
he attended Sunday school and served as an acolyte. "It really hits home when someone
from our own congregation is killed," said the Rev. Jill Magnuson, senior pastor at the
church. "He was very, very well-liked." Reynolds was just a few weeks shy of his return
to the United States when he was killed.

                          REYNOLDS, STEVEN CHARLES
                                 SSG US ARMY
                            DATE OF BIRTH: 03/26/1973
                           DATE OF DEATH: 11/24/2005
                         BURIED AT: SECTION 60 SITE 8302
                        ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY


                                Specialist Lance S. Sage




                         Hometown: Hempstead, New York
                                Age: 26 years old
                Died: December 27, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
 Unit: Army-2nd Battalion-8th Infantry Regiment-2nd Brigade Combat Team-4th
                       Infantry Division-Fort Hood-Texas
 Incident: Killed when a makeshift bomb exploded near his dismounted patrol in
                                    Baghdad.

Lance S. Sage
SAGE-Lance S.,Spc. US Army in Bagdad, Iraq on December 27, 2005. Beloved son of
Alice F. Jones and Calvin T. Sage. Loving nephew of Anna Shelton, Mary Abbott and
William Ralph Shouse. Also survived by many nieces, nephews and friends. Cremation
was private. Memorial Service Thursday 5 PM at the Hempstead Funeral Home, 89
Peninsula Blvd. (cor Front St., SS Pkwy Exit 19N-1mile) Hempstead.
Published in Newsday on 1/4/2006.

Two Soldiers Killed by IED Blast in Baghdad

Two members of the 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team,
4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas died in Baghdad, Iraq, on December 27, when an
improvised explosive device detonated near their dismounted patrol. Killed were:
Spc. Lance S. Sage, 26, of Hempstead, New York.
Pvt. Joshua M. Morberg, 20, of Sparks, Nevada.

From Newsday
Local Dead Include a Mix of Races, Backgrounds and Hometowns
Seventy area members of the military have lost their lives while serving in the war
in Iraq, three of whom were women. They hailed from small towns on the East End,
from suburban developments in Nassau, from cramped apartments in Corona,
Queens, and three-story walkups in the Bronx.
BY MELANIE LEFKOWITZ, GRAHAM RAYMAN AND TOM MCGINTY | Newsday Staff Writers
December 27, 2006

Lance Sage was a whiz with computers, but his skills never translated to a career. He was
physically imposing, but he didn't like sports. He earned decent grades, but he didn't
apply to college. At the age of 23, after several years of trying to find his way in life,
Sage joined the Army and wound up in an infantry unit on his way to Iraq.

"He figured it was a way to upgrade himself," said his mother, Alice Jones. "He enjoyed
it. He loved to talk about what he was doing." Three years after enlisting, on Dec. 27,
2005, Sage was killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb. Now, a year after his death, his mother
still keeps a memorial urn containing his ashes on a shelf in her West Hempstead home.
In Remembrance of Long Island Fallen Soldiers

"I have three years to place him at Calverton [National Cemetery], and you know what? I
kind of like having him around," said Jones, 68. "Sometimes, I hear myself saying, 'stop
that,' because that's what I would say to him when he was young. Sometimes I forget that
he's not here."

Sage is just one of the 70 Long Island and New York city members of the military --
three of them women -- who have lost their lives while serving in the war in Iraq. They
hailed from small towns on the East End, from suburban developments in Nassau, from
cramped apartments in Corona, Queens, and three-story walkups in the Bronx.

Some were looking for better lives, for futures with promise, while others left behind
established mid-career jobs. Some were moved to enlist by the horror of Sept. 11; others,
by the lure of a subsidized college education. Some wanted a military career; others just
hoped to give something back to their country.

And this can be said of all of them: They wanted to serve.

In many ways, Sage was like the others from Long Island and New York City who have
died in the Iraq theater of operations. (An additional seven have died in operations tied to
Afghanistan). Along with another 45 of those lost in Iraq, Sage enlisted in the Army. He
was 26, exactly in the middle of the age range of slain service members from the region.
The national median is 24. And he was black, like 26 percent of the area's dead soldiers.

Local demographics

According to a Newsday analysis of U.S. Defense Department data, 59 percent of area
fatalities were black or Hispanic, although they account for only 21 percent of the war's
national death toll. Nationally, 74 percent of those who gave their lives were white.
Locally, whites account for only 33 percent of those killed. A higher percentage of blacks
and Hispanics from New York City and Long Island were killed in Iraq than their
representation in the area, where black and Hispanics in the age range of 18-64 account
for just 22 percent of New York City and Long Island's population.

Thirty-three percent of our dead soldiers were Hispanic -- nearly three times higher than
the national figure of 12 percent. Though sociologists and demographers cautioned that
these numbers are too small to consider statistically significant, the data paints a portrait
of the local war dead.

Asked about the disparity, Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington), a member of the House
Armed Services committee, said, "It's a reflection of demography, and I think it's also
exacerbated by the 9/11 attacks. It's because many of them acted on patriotic impulses to
defend our country."

David Segal, director of the Center for Research on Military Organizations at the
University of Maryland, said that because blacks and Latinos tend to join the Army and
Marines over the other branches, they often serve on the ground in Iraq. "Because of what
they're doing, they're the ones that are doing the patrolling ... and they're in the vehicles
that are being hit by IEDs, and IEDs are the major cause of fatalities as well as tragic
amputations," he said.

Causes of death

Like Sage, 24 other local service members were killed by roadside bombs -- the No. 1
cause of death to Americans in Iraq. For both regional military members and U.S. forces
as a whole, the so-called "improvised explosive devices" have caused 36 percent of the
deaths. The second-biggest cause of death is hostile gunfire, which claimed the lives of
18 local soldiers. Eight others, or 11 percent, died in non-hostile vehicle accidents, the
third most common cause of local deaths in Iraq. The cause-of-death data was compiled
by icasualties.org, a privately operated Web site that closely tracks injuries and deaths in
the war.

The oldest soldier nationally to die was 59-year old William David Chaney, of
Schaumburg, Ill. Chaney, an Army National Guardsman, was a Vietnam War veteran. He
suffered a heart attack after surgery for an intestinal infection.

The oldest of our soldiers to die was 47-year old Julian Melo of Brooklyn who was killed
Dec. 21, 2004. The Panama-born Melo fled the regime of Manuel Noriega and joined the
U.S. Army. He was among 14 GIs who died in a suicide bombing in the Iraqi city of
Mosul. Melo had more in common with the area's dead: he was foreign born, as were 17
others. Wai Phyo Lwin, 27, a national guardsman from Queens, was born in Burma. He
was killed in Baghdad in 2005 by a roadside bomb.

The youngest local soldier to die was 19-year-old Luis Moreno of Morris Heights.
Moreno was an immigrant from the Dominican Republic who dreamed of becoming a
police officer. He was fatally shot in the Iraqi city of Tikrit in January 2004. Moreno was
one of about 75 dead members of the military since 2001 that have received posthumous
citizenship.
"He was such a nice son to my mother and my father," said his sister, Michelle Moreno,
in 2004. "I will miss playing cards with him, playing dominos, hanging out at the club
and listening to music."
Service members lost in war were also parents

Thirty-four of our 70 lost soldiers were married. In total, they were parents of 57
children. Among them is 2-year-old Liana Ruiz, the daughter of Jose Ruiz of Brentwood,
who was killed in a drive by shooting in 2005. Liana met her father once, as an infant.
She lives with her mother, Alexa, who acts as both parents, while working full time at a
Bronx hospital.

"She recognizes him in the pictures as Daddy," Alexa Ruiz said of their daughter. "I was
expecting Jose to come home, so I felt bewildered at first. It took a long time to accept
the reality of it."

Military enlistment -- and sacrifice -- span all racial, ethnic, educational, income and
demographic boundaries.

Francis Obaji, 21, of Queens Village, the son of Nigerian immigrants, was studying
microbiology at the College of Staten Island when, inspired by patriotism after Sept. 11,
he enlisted. He was killed after his vehicle rolled into a ditch in January 2005.

"This was our first son, our hope, our expectation," said Obaji's father, Cyril Obaji. "He
went into the Army happy, hoping that he would come back. But he never came back."

Obaji kept his enlistment hidden from his parents. On many nights, he told his parents
that he was studying late at school, when in fact, he was drilling with the Guard.

"He kept it from us because he felt that if he let us know about it, we would make him
withdraw," Cyril said. "When I learned, I did not give my approval. I could allow
anything else, but not the military. But he insisted. That was what he wanted."

Joseph Behnke of Park Slope, who died in December 2004, was white and 45 years old,
owner of a construction business with four grown children, one of who was an Army
reservist himself. Behnke actually re-enlisted in the Army National Guard when his son
returned from the combat theater. Behnke died when his Humvee hit a barricade in a
convoy south of Baghdad.

Reflecting the growing role of women in the military, three female soldiers are among the
local dead. Linda Jimenez, 39, of Bensonhurst died in an accidental fall. Ramona Valdez,
20, of the Bronx was killed by a car bomb. And Denise Lanneman, 46, of Bayside died in
an unspecified non-combat incident. In the entire Vietnam War, just eight women -- all of
them nurses -- died.

Even though New York remains the nation's third-most populous state, its share of war
dead has actually declined. In World War II, 10 percent of the dead were from New York
-- the highest of any state. In Vietnam, the figure declined to 7 percent, and it is now 5
percent in the Iraq conflict.
Meanwhile, California and Texas have seen their share of the war dead increase.
California's share has grown from 6 percent in World War II to 10 percent in Vietnam
and 11 percent in the Iraq war, the most of any state. Texas' share has grown from 5
percent to 9 percent. The change mirrors the overall population growth of California and
Texas over the past 60 years.

Peruvian immigrants' son signed up after 9/11

When all is said and done, a recruit enlists for his or her own reasons, regardless of
national trends. Wilfredo Urbina, 29, of Baldwin, was killed when a bomb exploded near
his Humvee in Baghdad two years ago. He was the son of Peruvian immigrants who grew
up in the Bronx, said his sister, Jeanin.

He spent four years in the Air Force, and later worked for a telecommunications company
in New York City and volunteered for the Baldwin Fire Department. After losing friends
on 9/11 and spending three days searching for survivors at Ground Zero, he signed up for
the National Guard. "I remember him saying, 'They are going to ship the kids off to war
right out of high school,'" said Jeanin, 19. "'I have the experience so I should be there,
too.'"


                         Private 1st Class Jason D. Hasenauer




                          Hometown: Hilton, New York
                                Age: 21 years old
            Died: December 28, 2005 in Operation Enduring Freedom.
   Unit: Army-2nd Battalion-504th Parachute Infantry Regiment-82nd Airborne
                      Division- Fort Bragg-North Carolina
 Incident: Died when his Humvee accidentally rolled over during patrol operations
                                 near Kandahar.

Rochester Gold Star moms cope with loss

May 11, 2008
Rochester Gold Star moms cope with loss
James Hawver--Staff writer

This is a club to which no mother wanted to belong. Members often avoid the news. They
can't bear to hear another has joined. "I don't want to know," said Mary Ellen Schramm,
sitting in her Greece home, her voice weak, her face flush, her eyes wet. "I can't do
anything about it. It's heartbreak for me. I cry. I can't imagine another family going
through what we've gone through." Schramm became a Gold Star mother in October
2004. Since then, nearly 3,000 more American mothers have suffered through the same.
To be given a gold star means a son or daughter has been taken away.

And while most mothers today will receive a card, a phone call, maybe flowers or a visit,
those like Schramm, whose children have died during military service, can only cling to
memories. "Holidays are tough," said Schramm, who will spend her fourth Mother's Day
without her eldest son, Marine Lance Cpl. Brian Schramm, who died at age 22 in a
mortar attack in Iraq.

'Can't wake up'

This is a club of weak eyes and strong bonds. "Our bond is loss," said Georgian Davis,
sitting at Schramm's kitchen table on a recent Saturday afternoon. "Our bond is grief. Our
bond is that I met someone who knows my feeling, who knows what I'm going through."

Davis, president of the South Buffalo Chapter of the Gold Star Mothers of America, and
fellow member Shirley Weaver traveled along the Thruway to induct the first five local
mothers into the organization as charter members of the Rochester Area Chapter.

The mothers — Schramm, Nancy Cometa-Fontana of Greece, Rita Hasenauer of Hilton
and Marcia Lyons and Cathy Pernaselli, both of Brighton — plucked tissues from a box
in the middle of the table as they listened to Davis talk about her son. On April 19, 1989,
off the coast of Puerto Rico, an explosion aboard the USS Iowa killed 47 sailors,
including Nathaniel C. Jones Jr. "I always think," said Davis, crying, "would he have
gotten married?"

Each told similar stories of young men who went off to war and never came home.

Anthony Cometa was 21 when he died.

Jason Hasenauer was 21.

James Lyons was 28.

Michael Pernaselli was 27.

Brian Schramm was 22.

"We have the right to cry for them and ourselves whenever we feel like it," Davis said.
The five mothers grabbed more tissues, made their way to the back porch, raised their
right hands and took the organization's oath.

They returned to the kitchen table and signed their names to the back of their charter,
officially forming the Rochester Area Chapter of the Gold Star Mothers of America. The
mother of a Rochester man who died during World War I founded the pioneering chapter
of the national organization in 1919.

The five mothers, along with others in the area, have been getting together nearly every
month for the past couple of years. Although they were the first to officially sign up, they
expect more mothers who have lost a child will join their chapter. Their bond is still the
same, they say, just now official.

"We're an organization that understands immediately, immediately, what you're going
through the minute that casualty officer comes to your door," said Davis, wearing the
official Gold Star Mothers white cap with gold lettering and trim.

After the intimate ceremony, Cathy Pernaselli and Nancy Cometa-Fontana slipped out the
front door. They took cover from the drizzling rain under a maple tree, crossed their arms
and held onto their cigarettes. "There's nobody else that can really help us besides each
other," Cometa-Fontana said. Today marks the third Mother's Day she will be without her
son, and the fifth for Pernaselli.

Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Pernaselli was killed April 24, 2004, during an
attack on an oil terminal in Basra, Iraq. Before he died, he wrote a Mother's Day card but
hadn't sent it. One of his buddies found the card and passed it along until it finally
reached home.

"It took me so long to be able to say that Michael was dead," said Cathy Pernaselli, who
raises her son's two daughters, 8-year-old Dominique and 7-year-old Nicole. Army
National Guard Spc. Anthony Cometa didn't have children. "That's what I'm going to
miss," his mother said. "I'm never going to have grandchildren from him."

The two mothers finished their cigarettes and headed back into the house. "It's like a bad
dream," Cometa-Fontana said. Pernaselli cut in: "And you can't wake up."

-Not again-

This is a club Rita Hasenauer has joined once; she doesn't want to join again. On a
Tuesday morning early last month, she sat with her husband, Daniel, and her youngest
son, 15-year-old Eric, in the back of a gray waiting room at the Hancock Air National
Guard Base in Syracuse. She waited for her two middle sons. Jeremy, 18, was taking a
physical in preparation for entering the Air Force this summer after graduating from
Hilton High School. Danny, 21, was filling out paperwork in preparation for entering the
Army National Guard that afternoon.

She had visited the building just a month before, to witness the dedication of the Jason D.
Hasenauer Ceremony Room, named after her eldest son, who died at the age of 21 when
his Humvee rolled over Dec. 27, 2005, in Afghanistan. Twenty-two days after his death,
Jason's fiancée, Collette Kopp, gave birth to their only child, Kayla. On Feb. 29, the day
of the dedication, Danny became the first soldier to take an oath of military service in the
room.

"I'm getting empty-nest syndrome already," said Rita Hasenauer, a 47-year-old software
engineer. Danny turned angry after Jason died, his parents said. His temper grew short.
He snapped easily. He wanted to sign up for the service right away. But the thought of his
mother worrying for his safety held him back. "I said I better hold off," Danny recalled
when he returned to the waiting room after completing the day's first round of paperwork.
"Thank you," Rita said, with a sigh.

Danny's call to military service rekindled last summer at a Fourth of July ceremony at the
First Bible Baptist Church in Greece honoring local fallen soldiers, including his big
brother. As the family waited at the Syracuse air base, they periodically glanced at the
television in the front of the room tuned to CNN Headline News. "Four U.S. soldiers died
in Baghdad yesterday," the anchor said, and went on to talk about Gen. David Petraeus'
testimony to Congress that day.

The news, Rita said, doesn't bother her as much as patriotic country songs. They get to
her. She flips off the radio quickly before they make her cry. After a couple of hours of
waiting, an officer called them into the ceremony room. Outside, Rita made sure Jeremy
tucked in the brown, button-up shirt that she had brought for him. Rita snapped photos
from the corner of the room as her two sons raised their right hands as Jeremy was sworn
into the U.S. Air Force.

After the ceremony, the half-dozen officers in the room clapped, and the Hasenauers
posed for pictures next to a photograph of Jason and some of his medals hanging on the
wooden wall."I can't think of a more American family right now," Air Force Capt. John
Valezaquez said.

A half-hour later, Danny was gone, off to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio,
Texas, for at least six months of basic training. If he reaches his goal and is accepted into
the military police, it will be more.

"I want them to do what they want to do," Rita said. "Everybody's got to find their own
way, and if that's part of their life, we've got to back them — with lots of instruction to be
careful."

She has given her sons one specific demand. One of their walls at their home is a
memorial to Jason, filled with photographs and keepsakes. "They have orders not to add
to the wall."

Helping others-

This is a club where mothers who have lost sons gain new ones. "I'm worried about
Danny Hasenauer," Mary Ellen Schramm said a few weeks after he left for boot camp.
The Hasenauers have since heard a rumor that Danny's unit will be deployed to
Afghanistan in a year. Schramm realizes that her two other sons, 19-year-old Kyle and
17-year-old Mike, are that much closer to signing up for the armed services themselves.

Kyle, a freshman at Monroe Community College, has been talking about joining the
Coast Guard. Mike, a junior at Greece Olympia High School, has been talking about
joining the Marines, like his brother, through the Reserve Officers' Training Corps.

"He wanted to go into the Marines because it's the hardest," Mary Ellen said of Brian,
who hoped to be a sheriff's deputy or state trooper after leaving the service. "It was in
him." She said she cried every day for three years after he died. Over the 43 months since
he has been gone, Brian's scent has been lost from his clothes. Mary Ellen often sits on
his bed and buries her face in his old sweatshirts, longing for a piece of her son. Now, she
and other Gold Star mothers have dedicated themselves to helping others, raising money
for organizations like the Veterans Outreach Center.

"We couldn't help Brian, but if we can help other kids coming back, that's our goal," she
said. "This is our cause now." They help each other. Nancy Cometa-Fontana, who calls
Schramm for support, calls her Greece neighbor her "lifeline." And they help new
members, going together to the funerals of other local fallen soldiers. "If we have to
belong to this, at least we're together," Schramm said. "We're family."

Like Schramm says, holidays are tough on Gold Star mothers. After what they've been
through, after what they've lost, they make sure to appreciate every moment with their
remaining children — no matter how small or how short. Like, today, when Danny
Hasenauer makes his weekly five-minute phone call home from boot camp.

Gold Star mothers now make sure their last words in each conversation are always "I love
you." "I think it's a privilege to be a mother," Schramm said. "I think it's something that
God chose for all of us to be in some way, and it's a gift that shouldn't be taken for
granted."

JHAWVER@DemocratandChronicle.com

								
To top