Operation Enduring Freedom
"Come unto me all ye who are weary and
burdened, and I shall give you rest." (Matt: 11:28).
Spc. Marc A. Anderson, 30, of Brandon, Fla. Anderson, a member of the 1st Battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment, based at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Ga., was one of six U.S. troops killed March 4, 2002 after their helicopter came under intense fire near the Afghan town of Gardez, southeast of Kabul. Anderson left behind a wife and three sons.
Spc. Curtis A. Carter, 25, a scout with Headquarters and Head-quarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment. 1st Cavalry Division soldier who deployed with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team to Kuwait in November, died of a gunshot wound from his weapon. Curtis was married.
Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Ross Chapman, 31, of San Antonio, Texas Chapman was killed Jan. 4, 2002 by hostile, small arms fire in eastern Afghanistan, near the city of Khost. Chapman, a special forces soldier who has spent more than 12 years in the military, was the first U.S. combatant killed by enemy fire.
Sgt. Steven Checo, 22, of Elizabeth, N.J. Checo, a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division, died in surgery at a field hospital on Dec. 21, 2002 after he was shot during a gun battle in the eastern Afghanistan town of Shkhin. An uncle said Checo moved to Elizabeth from New York with his mother and sister about three years ago to "make a better life." A neighbor said Checo has a brother who is also in the military.
Pfc. Matthew A. Commons, 20, of Boulder City, Nev. Commons, a member of the 1st Battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment, based at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Ga., was one of six U.S. troops killed March 4 after their helicopter came under intense fire near the Afghan town of Gardez, southeast of Kabul. His father and grandfather were U.S. Marines.
Staff Sgt. Brian Craig, 27, of Texas Craig was one of four soldiers killed April 15, 2002 in an explosion in Afghanistan. Craig and the other victims were killed when old Chinese-made rockets they were attempting to dismantle exploded. Craig was a member of the 710th Explosive Ordnance Detachment based in San Diego.
Sgt. Bradley S. Crose, 27, of Orange Park, Fla. Crose, a member of the 1st Battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment, based at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Ga., was one of six U.S. troops killed March 4 after their helicopter came under intense fire near the Afghan town of Gardez, southeast of Kabul. Crose was a tae kwon do master who competed on a national level.
Master Sgt. Jefferson Donald Davis, 39, of Watauga, Tenn. Davis was killed with Prosser and Petithory on Dec. 5, 2001 when a U.S. bomb missed its Taliban target north of Kandahar in Afghanistan. He was a Green Beret and former high school athlete who leaves behind a wife and three children in Clarksville, Ky.
Army Spc. Jason A. Disney, 21, of Fallon, Nev. Disney died shortly after a piece of heavy equipment fell on him February 13, 2002
Pvt. James H. Ebbers, 19, Bridgeview, Ill, October 14, 2002, Djibuoti, Africa Pvt. Ebbers was deployed in the U.S. Central Command area of operations overseas, but the location was not released by Fort Campbell. Died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Spc. Jonn J. Edmunds, 20, of Cheyenne, Wyo. Edmunds, who died Oct. 19, 2001 with Stonesifer in the helicopter accident in Pakistan, was planning to make a career out of the military, according to friends and family. "He was just a happy-go-lucky guy," said John Steichen, the father of a close friend of Edmunds. Steichen told The Associated Press that Edmunds wanted to be a Ranger and "wanted to be where the action was."
Sgt. Ryan D. Foraker, 31, Logan, Ohio, Foraker was reported missing from his unit in Guantanamo, Cuba, on Sep. 24. Exhaustive ground, sea, and air searches were conducted in an effort to locate him but were unsuccessful. Foraker was assigned to the 342nd Military Police Company, U.S. Army Reserve, Columbus, Ohio, which was deployed as part of Operation Enduring Freedom to support detainee operations in Guantanamo. He was married with two children.
Sgt. Gregory M. Frampton, 37, of California Frampton, a member of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, was one of four soldiers who died when their Black Hawk helicopter crashed on Jan. 30, 2003, while on a training mission, 7 miles east of Bagram Air Base, in Afghanistan. The U.S. military has said the cause of the crash is unclear, but there was no indication of enemy fire.
Staff Sgt. Justin Galewski, 28, of Kansas Galewski was killed in Afghanistan April 15, 2002 when rockets he was attempting to dismantle exploded. He was a member of the 710th Explosive Ordnance Detachment based in San Diego.
Chief Warrant Officer Thomas J. Gibbons, 31, of Maryland Gibbons, a member of the 106th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, was one of four soldiers who died when their Black Hawk helicopter crashed on Jan. 30, 2003, while on a training mission, 7 miles east of Bagram Air Base, in Afghanistan. The U.S. military has said the cause of the crash is unclear, but there was no indication of enemy fire.
Chief Warrant Officer Stanley L. Harriman, 34, of Wade, N.C. Harriman was killed March 2, 2002 in a ground attack shortly after American forces, joined by Afghan and other allied troops, began an offensive against al Qaeda fighters near the town of Gardez. The father of two children, Harriman was assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, N.C.
Staff Sgt. Daniel L. Kisling Jr., 31, of Neosho, Mo. Kisling, a member of the 106th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, was one of four soldiers who died when his special operations helicopter crashed on Jan. 30, 2003, while on a training mission, 7 miles east of Bagram Air Base, in Afghanistan. The U.S. military has said the cause of the crash is unclear, but there was no indication of enemy fire.
Pvt. Giovanny Maria, 19, of Camden, N.J. Maria, a 10th Mountain Division soldier, died on Nov. 29, 2001 in Uzbekistan from a gunshot wound unrelated to enemy action, according to U.S. officials.
Sgt. Jamie Maugans, 27, of Kansas Maugans was killed April 15, 2002 in Afghanistan when rockets he was attempting to dismantle exploded. He was a member of the 710th Explosive Ordnance Detachment based in San Diego.
Chief Warrant Officer Mark S. O'Steen, 43, of Ozark, Ala. O'Steen, a member of the 106th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, was one of four soldiers who died when the special operations helicopter he piloted crashed on Jan. 30, 2003, while on a training mission 7 miles east of Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. The U.S. military has said the cause of the crash is unclear, but there was no indication of enemy fire. O'Steen followed in his three brothers' footsteps when he joined the Army almost 18 years ago. He had a daughter from a previous marriage.
Spec. Pedro Pena, 35, Fla., November 7, 2002, Kuwait
I could find no other information on this soldier.
Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Petithory, 32, of Cheshire, Mass. One of three special forces soldiers killed Dec. 5, 2001 when a U.S. bomb missed its Taliban target north of Kandahar in southern Afghanistan. He was a member of the Army's 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group, stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky. His brother described him as a practical joker who had always wanted to join the Army.
Staff Sgt. Brian Cody Prosser, 28, of Fraizer Park, Calif. Prosser died with Petithory and a third soldier on Dec. 5, 2001 when a U.S. bomb missed its Taliban target north of Kandahar in southern Afghanistan. They were all members of the Army's 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group, stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky.
Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Romero, 30, of Colorado Romero, of the Colorado Army National Guard, was killed April 15, 2002 in Afghanistan when rockets he was attempting to dismantle exploded. He was a member of the 19th Special Forces Group based in Pueblo, Colo. He is survived by his wife and parents.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher James Speer, 28, of Albuquerque, N.M. Speer was one of five U.S. soldiers injured in an ambush while hunting for al Qaeda and Taliban fighters in eastern Afghanistan on July 27, 2002. He was moved shortly after to a hospital in Germany, where he died Aug. 12, 2002. Speer was based at U.S. Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C.
Pvt. 1st Class Kristofor T. Stonesifer, 28, of Missoula, Mont. Stonesifer grew up in Pennsylvania and went on to attend the ROTC program at the University of Montana. An instructor there recalls that Stonesifer left the program early with a desire to become one of the best soldiers in the U.S. Army. He died Oct. 19, 2001 when his Black Hawk helicopter crashed upon attempting to land in Pakistan.
Sgt. Philip J. Svitak, 31, of Joplin, Mo. Svitak, a flight engineer assigned to 2nd Battalion of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment in Fort Campbell, Ky., was one of six U.S. troops killed March 4, 2002 after their helicopter came under intense fire near the Afghan town of Gardez, southeast of Kabul. His mother recalled him saying, "If they send me over there and anything happens to me, I'm proud to die for my country." Svitak left behind a wife and two sons, ages 2 and 4.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Peter P. Tycz II, 32, of Tonawanda, N.Y. Tycz, assigned to the Army's 3rd Special Forces Group, Fort Bragg, N.C., was killed in the June 12, 2002 crash of an Air Force MC130-H near an airstrip in the Gardez region of Afghanistan.
Gene Arden Vance, a U.S. Special Forces sergeant, was fatally wounded when his unit came under heavy fire while on patrol in eastern Afghanistan on May 19, 2002 and died while waiting to be evacuated. The 38-year-old soldier from Morgantown, W. Va., was recently married and had canceled his honeymoon plans when he was called up to serve in Afghanistan with the 19th Special Forces Unit. He is survived by his wife Lisa and a daughter.
Chief Petty Officer Matthew J. Bourgeois, 35, of Talahassee, Fla. Bourgeois, a Navy SEAL, was killed after stepping on and setting off a land mine March 28, 2002 during a training mission near the U.S. base at Kandahar airport in Afghanistan, officials said.
Machinist's Mate Fireman Apprentice Bryant L. Davis, 20, of Chicago Fell overboard into the Arabian Sea from the USS Kitty Hawk on Nov. 7, 2001, and declared dead by the Defense Department on Nov. 10.
Navy Fireman Apprentice Michael J. Jakes Jr., 20, of New York City Jakes died Dec. 4, 2001 of head injuries sustained in a fall from his bunk on the carrier USS Kitty Hawk in the Arabian Sea.
Petty Officer 1st Class Vincent Parker of Preston, Miss. Parker, 38, was lost at sea Nov. 18, 2001 when the suspicious vessel his security team had boarded sank. Parker joined the Navy after graduating from high school, and was supposed to be on his last tour of duty before his retirement from the military. He had been serving aboard the USS Peterson.
Petty Officer 1st Class Neil C. Roberts, 32, of Woodland, Calif. Roberts was killed March 4, 2002 after falling from his helicopter during fighting near the Afghan town of Gardez, southeast of Kabul. One of 12 children, he also left behind a wife and an 18-month-old son.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Benjamin Johnson of Rochester, N.Y. Johnson drowned Nov. 18, 2001 when a suspicious vessel his security team boarded in the Persian Gulf sank. The 21-year-old had been serving aboard the USS Peterson.
U.S. Air Force
Air Force Master Sgt. Evander Andrews, 36, of Solon, Maine He died Oct. 10, 2001 in a forklift accident while he was helping construct an airstrip in Qatar. Friends and colleagues described Andrews as an ace mechanic and cook. His widow, Judy Andrews, said her husband was devoted to his family and the Air Force.
Tech. Sgt. John A. Chapman, 36, of Waco, Texas. Chapman was one of six U.S. troops killed March 4, 2002 after their helicopter came under intense fire near the Afghan town of Gardez, southeast of Kabul. Chapman, who received two Air Force commendation medals, left behind a wife and two daughters.
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Sean M. Corlew, 37, of Thousand Oaks, Calif. A member of the Air Force's 16th Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, Fla., Corlew was one of three troops killed June 12, 2002 when their Air Force MC130-H crashed near an airstrip in the Gardez region of Afghanistan.
Senior Airman Jason D. Cunningham, 26, of Camarillo, Calif. Cunningham, a pararescueman and combat medic with the 38th Rescue Squadron, stationed at Moody Air Force Base near Valdosta, Ga., was one of six U.S. troops killed March 4, 2002 after their helicopter came under intense fire near the Afghan town of Gardez, southeast of Kabul. He left behind a wife and two daughters, ages 2 and 4.
Air Force Staff Sgt. Anissa A. Shero, 31, of Grafton, W.Va. Shero, of the Air Force's 16th Special Operations Wing, was killed June 12, 2002 when an Air Force MC130-H crashed near an airstrip in the Gardez region of Afghanistan.
U.S. Marine Corps
Capt. Matthew W. Bancroft, 29, of Shasta, Calif. The command pilot of the KC-130 plane that crashed in Pakistan on Jan. 9, 2002 Bancroft had been a Marine since 1994. His parents said he was seven years old when he decided he wanted to be a pilot.
Lance Cpl. Bryan P. Bertrand, 23, of Coos Bay, Ore. Bertrand could have been home a month ago, but volunteered for another tour of duty as flight navigator. He recently wrote his parents that he had saved enough money to buy an electric guitar. He was among the seven who died on the KC-130 that crashed on Jan. 9, 2002 in Pakistan.
Gunnery Sgt. Stephen L. Bryson, 35, of Montgomery, Ala. Bryson had just called his mother on his birthday, to tell his mother he was thinking about her one day before he was killed on Jan. 9, 2002, along with six other Marines when their KC-130 crashed. He joined the Marines straight out of high school in 1983.
Staff Sgt. Walter F. Cohee III, 26, of Wicomico, Md. Cohee joined the Marine Corps Aug. 3, 1993, and was a communications navigations systems technician. Cohee died Jan. 20, 2002 aboard a CH-53E helicopter that crashed south of Kabul, Afghanistan.
Staff Sgt. Scott N. Germosen, 37, of Queens, N.Y. A 19-year-veteran of the Marines, Germosen was the loadmaster on the KC-130 that crashed Jan. 9, 2002 in Pakistan.
Sgt. Nathan P. Hayes, 21, of Lincoln, Wash. In his hometown of Wilbur, Wash., Hayes was remembered as a football player who worked harder than many of the others on his high school team, even if he did not have as much talent as some athletes. He joined the Marines in 1999 and was the flight mechanic on the KC-130 that crashed Jan. 9, 2002 in Pakistan.
Capt. Daniel G. McCollum, 29, of Richland, S.C. McCollum joined the Marines in 1993 and was the co-pilot of the KC-130 that crashed on Jan. 9, 2002.
Arlington National Cemetary website
Sgt. Dwight J. Morgan, 24, of Mendocino, Calif. Morgan joined the Marine Corps August 15, 1998 and was a helicopter mechanic. Morgan died Jan. 20, 2002 aboard a CH-53E helicopter that crashed south of Kabul, Afghanistan.
Lance Cpl. Antonio J. Sledd, 20, Tampa, Fla., October 8, 2002, Kuwait Sledd was assigned to the 11th Expeditionary unit from Camp Pendleton, California. He was killed in a terrorist attack. Gunmen killed Marine Lance Cpl. Antonio Sledd of Hillsbrough, Fla., on Tuesday when they opened fire on a training exercise in Kuwait.
Sgt. Jeannette L. Winters, 25, of Du Page, Ill. A radio operator who joined the Marines in 1997, she was the first U.S. servicewoman to die since the U.S.-led Afghan bombing began in early October. She was on the KC-130 that crashed on Jan. 9, 2002. Her high school track coach remembered her as someone who gave everything she had, even if she was in physical pain, for her team.
CIA officer Johnny "Mike" Spann, 32, of Winfield, Ala. Spann, a former Marine from a small town of 4,500, was questioning Taliban prisoners in a compound near the Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif when they erupted in riot. He was killed on Nov. 25, 2001 on the first day of the three-day riot, making him the first American to be killed in combat in Afghanistan. U.S. officials say he died of a gunshot wound and was not tortured.
CIA officer Helge Boes,32, of Washington Boes, an operations officer assigned to the CIA's Counterterrorism Center was killed on Feb. 5, 2003, when a grenade detonated prematurely during a live-fire training exercise in eastern Afghanistan. He is the second CIA officer to die in the line of duty in Afghanistan. Boes joined the CIA in January, 2001, after working as a private practice attorney. He is survived by his wife, Cindy, and his parents, Roderich and Monika Boes, of Germany.
Operation Enduring Freedom - Philippines
size="1">Crashed at sea in MH-47 aircraft in Philippines February 21, 2002
The following crashed at sea in MH-47 aircraft in Philippines
Spec. Thomas F. Allison, 22, Roy, Washington, February 21, 2002
Staff Sgt. James P. Dorrity, 37, Goldsboro, N.C., February 21, 2002
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jody L. Egnor, 32, Middletown, Ohio, February 21, 2002
Maj. Curtis D. Feistner, 34, White Bear Lake, Minn., February 21, 2002
Sgt. Jeremy D. Foshee, 25, Pisgah, Ala., February 21, 2002
Staff Sgt. Kerry W. Frith, 37, Las Vegas, Nev., February 21, 2002
Capt. Bartt D. Owens, 31, Middletown, Ohio, February 21, 2002
Staff Sgt. Bruce A. Rushforth, Jr., 35, Middleboro, Mass., February 21, 2002
Sgt. 1st Class Mark Wayne Jackson, 40, of Glennie, Mich., Oct. 2, 2002
U.S. Army Special Forces Sgt. 1st Class Mark Jackson was killed by an Abu Sayyaf terrorist bomb.
U.S. Air Force
Crashed at sea in MH-47 aircraft in Philippines February 21, 2002
Master Sgt. William L. McDaniel II, 29, Greenville, Ohio, February 21, 2002
Staff Sgt. Juan M. Ridout, 36, Maple Tree, Wash., February 21, 2002
On honoring those before us and continuing to fight the good fight.
I was honored to be asked to write a few words in remembrance of the fallen who sacrificed everything in defense of God, country and our precious freedoms.
When I sat down to write, I remembered my friend Marshall.
Marshall was tall and skinny, with a bit of acne.
He was nerdy before the word was invented, the kind of kid that lurked in the dim fog of high school anonymity.
Marshall was my best friend. We had the sort of friendship that would beat all odds and not fade somewhere after graduation day, but would last forever.
I remember Marshall telling me about kissing his first girl.
I remember what he wore to the prom.
I remember when we took the van to the lake with Laura Thompson and Becky Jo. I've long forgotten Becky Jo's last name, but I still remember the sweet scent of her perfume, like fresh-cut roses.
I remember the night we discovered it wasn't such a good idea to mix cheap vodka with Gatorade.
I remember that we both once loved the same girl.
I remember how ridiculous Marshall looked the first time I saw him in his ROTC uniform. My longhaired, unkempt jeans, Led Zeppelin T-shirt, grungy-before-the-word-was-invented self mercilessly and relentlessly reminded Marshall how ridiculous he looked in his crew cut and spotless uniform.
Marshall played the dumbest instrument in our high school marching band, the huge bass drum, while I played the trumpet, blowing high notes like the melodious song of a metallic songbird high above the relentless boom-boom-boom of Marshall's drum.
I wonder what Marshall might have done in this war, how far he might have climbed in rank. And I wondered how he would look at my age. Is middle-age girth inevitable or is it the 10,000 Dunkin Donuts and 15 sit-ups over the last score and seven years?
I wondered if our kids would have been friends, but then I realized he probably wouldn't have waited until his fortieth birthday to have them. I wondered what his kids would look like, tall and skinny with a bit of acne, awkward and nerdy and self-conscious in their ROTC uniform, like Marshall the day he left for basic training.
That image is indelibly inscribed in my memory, of a lanky, nerdy, pimply-faced kid, looking so small and out of place in a man's uniform.
I didn't get a chance to see Marshall the day he left for camp, but we talked on the phone the night before. We talked about getting together when he got back and planned a celebration that would put that night with the Gatorade, the cheap vodka and the pretty girls to shame.
Marshall died when his training flight crashed somewhere in the southwest desert. But the memories of our youth and friendship endure undiminished despite the passage of time.
So to honor and remember the valiant dead, I honor and remember my friend Marshall. To me, he represents the very best of us, as do all the valiant boys and men, heroes all who gave everything for God, country and freedom.
When our troops enter the fray in a distant desert, I know that Marshall will be with them. My friend will be there among a vast avenging host of fallen heroes somewhere in the clouds, far above the smoke and thunder of the battlefield, somewhere below heaven, BOOM-BOOM-BOOMING away on his big war drum.
From Lexington, Concord and Valley Forge, Antietam, Cold Harbor, Bellau Wood, Cantigny, Normandy Beach, Iwo Jima, Inchon, Khe Sanh, Kuwait City, Mogadishu and Kabul, their spirits will rise up. From the green grass of Gettysburg to the poppy fields of Flanders, their spirits will awaken to the sound of drums calling them to battle once more.
BOOM-BOOM-BOOMING away, merciless and relentless as a rock.
BOOM-BOOM-BOOMING away from somewhere above a formation of metallic birds, beautiful and terrifying to behold, their guns shrieking like trumpet blasts above the booming thunder of the iron horses far below.
BOOM-BOOM-BOOMING away, relentlessly and mercilessly, to victory and everlasting glory.
Someone joked the other day about how many French soldiers it would take to defend Paris.
Answer? No way to know -- it's never been tried before.
Nobody jokes about the American soldier, though.
For heroism and valor, courage and bravery, our men and women in uniform are second to none. And I do mean second to none.
Take Iraq and the wrangling at the United Nations.
France, China, Germany (you name it) opposed the U.S. going to war. Oh, they all have ulterior reasons.
The French and the Germans have their oil contracts.
The Chinese hate to lose a client.
But, while their motives for opposing us differ, there's an underlying assumption: Each of them know darn well what the outcome of war in Iraq would be -- U.S. Victory. It's why they're dead-set against it.
Think about that for a moment.
Has there ever been a military force so powerful, so overwhelming that the outcome -- defeating the enemy -- was but a foregone conclusion?
But strength in our military isn't just the number of tanks, planes or ships, nor how advance the technology.
It isn't just the number of Tomahawk cruise missiles or smart bombs either.
No, greatness here comes from men -- not metal.
The men and women who put their lives at risk so that we may be free.
As a nation, we can never thank them enough. But that shouldn't stop us from trying.
May God bless every one of them.
And may God bless the United States of America.
My two cents...
Enrique Noval AKA "JohnHuang2"