Patrick L Lay II
Fletcher, North Carolina
August 11, 2011
Killed in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle.
|Army Spc. Patrick L. Lay II honored in dignified transfer Aug. 13
|Patrick L. Lay II
Specialist Patrick L. Lay II, 21, Bradenton, died August 11, 2011 due to injuries received by an IED in Afghanistan. Patrick was born on January 8, 1990 in Bradenton, Fla. He was part of the first graduating class of Braden River High School 2009, where he played on the football team and was a member of the FFA. Following graduation he enlisted with the U.S. Army and was assigned as an infantryman with the Army's Elite 10th Mountain Division in Ft. Drum, N.Y. Patrick is survived by his, parents Stefenie and Art Hernandez of Bradenton; Patrick Lewis and Taneah Lay of Murfreesboro, Tenn.; siblings Nikki Lay of Bradenton, Colby Schmutz of Port Charlotte, Fla., Braelyn Lay of Murfreesboro, Tenn., and Blakely Lay of Murfreesboro, Tenn.; maternal grandparents Bishop Ben and Carolyn Eason of Bradenton; paternal grandmother Lois Perdue of Bradenton; aunts and uncles Rev. Dale and Patricia Eason of Bradenton; Cindy and Ed Wheadon of Ga.; Beth and Dean Hepper of Tenn.; Pam and Shawn Nunn of Tenn.; fiancé Joann Steiff of Bradenton and many extended family members. Visitation will be Saturday, August 20, 2011 from 5-8p.m. at the Life Covenant Sanctuary, 5428 39th Street East, Bradenton, with funeral services to be held on Sunday, August 21, 2011 at 11a.m. at the church. Committal services with full military honors will follow at the Sarasota National Cemetery. The family request that in lieu of flowers that memorials be made to the U.S. Army 10th Mountain Division Combat Company TF1-32 Infantry, Ft. Drum, N.Y. 13602 or Life Covenant Sanctuary PO Box 20488, Bradenton, FL 34204. Condolences for the family may be made online at www.shannonfuneralhomes.com. Arrangements by Shannon Funeral Home Town Chapel, Bradenton.
Published in The Bradenton Herald on Aug. 19, 2011
|From the Stars & Stripes stripes.com 08/14/11:
DOD identifies five U.S. troops killed in IED blast in Afghanistan
By Laura Rauch
Stars and Stripes
Published: August 14, 2011
COMBAT OUTPOST NALGHAM, Afghanistan — A quiet solemnity has settled in here, and a profound sadness hangs like a fog. The gym that usually blasts with music and clangs with the sound of weights is silent. A painful emptiness pervades the post.
For those in Company C, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Thursday was the worst of days. Five of its soldiers, all from 3rd Platoon’s 1st Squad, were killed when their Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All Terrain Vehicle rolled over an improvised explosive device on a desolate road in southern Kandahar province.
“It’s like your family just got ripped out of your heart,” Pfc. Thadius Deloatch said.
On Sunday, the Department of Defense identified those killed in the explosion: Sgt. Edward J. Frank II, 26, of Yonkers, N.Y.; Spc. Jameel T. Freeman, 26, of Baltimore, Md.; Spc. Patrick L. Lay II, 21, of Fletcher, N.C.; Spc. Jordan M. Morris, 23, of Stillwater, Okla.; Pfc. Rueben J. Lopez, 27, of Williams, Calif.
After the explosion Thursday, the battalion chaplain couldn’t get here soon enough. A line of soldiers needing him waited late into the night, and early the next morning. For many, the tears pushed out in waves. For others, solace came in the form of a quiet stoicism.
“I don’t know what to do right now. My whole squad is gone,” Pfc. Jeremy Urzua said. His squad leader, Frank, was among the soldiers killed in the blast and had given him a rare day off Thursday.
“I didn’t see it at first, but he just saved my life,” said Urzua, who was back at COP when the attack occurred that morning.
According to Company C Commander Capt. Dennis Call, the IED was triggered by a detonator and was buried in a powdery layer of soil soldiers call “moon dust.” From fighting positions nearby, soldiers watched as the catastrophic explosion sent a plume of white smoke nearly 200 feet in the air. When they arrived at the blast site moments later, they found the doors and turret blown from the vehicle.
The extreme nature of the blast, which breached the hull of the armored vehicle and pushed the engine into the cab, remains under investigation, but soldiers here speculate that military-grade explosives were used.
Members of the 1st Squad, who were posted at one of the fighting positions, were on a breakfast run when they drove over the IED planted in the road nicknamed “Montreal bypass.” It was built recently by 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment in an effort to cut off the enemy line of approach and to link Company C to Company A to the west.
“This was probably harder fought for than any of the other territory,” said 1st Lt. Corey Walker about the Montreal bypass. The company, which is pushing south to the Arghandab River, is attacked nearly every day. They’ve suffered multiple IED blasts, and more than 20 soldiers have been injured.
“When you’ve sacrificed lives for a piece of ground, it becomes more than a piece of tactical terrain. The war for us is this 800 meter stretch of road,” Walker said.
Third Platoon knows about sacrifice. Since deploying, all seven of the soldiers the company has lost have come from 3rd Platoon. Along with the five deaths on Thursday, Spc. Preston Dennis was killed in April in an IED strike and Pfc. Corey Johnson was killed in May when his vehicle was ambushed in a recoilless rifle attack.
The soldiers of Company C have forged an alliance known only to the infantry soldier. They share the misery of extreme suffering, the filth and the physical and emotional scars earned together.
Since the attack, soldiers have been remembering the best of those who were killed Thursday.
“They’re what the infantry is all about. They were just willing to do anything for you, for each other,” Urzua said.
Frank, the squad leader, was a family man and the father figure whom so many looked up to. Lay was the athlete and the fast learner who could figure anything out. Morris was a college boy who could take it as well as he could give it, and though he deployed late, he fit right in. Freeman was the martial artist who could do a hilarious Bill Cosby impression. Lopez, the nicest soldier anybody ever met, was always the first to help out. His smile never left his face, soldiers said.
As soldiers look to get on with their mission, they know they have each other but worry about the families back at Fort Drum, N.Y., and wish they could be there for them. Some wonder if they’re becoming part of a forgotten war.
“People back home don’t even know we still got people dying out here,” 3rd Platoon’s Spc. Jordan McDaniel said.
The five soldiers from Company C were among seven NATO servicemembers killed in Afghanistan on Thursday, and their deaths follow the crash of a Chinook helicopter in Wardak province, where 30 U.S. servicemembers were killed.
But Company C is nothing if not resilient.
“It’s terrifying getting back in a vehicle after you’ve seen what can happen,” Eric Gregory, staff sergeant and 3rd Platoon senior squad leader, said. “Everyday we’re faced with a choice to take the hard right over the easy wrong. This platoon will not give up. They’re kicking.”
Insurgent attacks will not force them out, Gregory said.
“They want to crush our hopes. They want to demoralize us. It’s not working. Those are their tactics, but we’re still here, every day. Until we accomplish the mission, we’re not going anywhere.”
|From The Bradenton Herald bradenton.com 12/05/11:
Patrick Lay Memorial Car Show collects $2,000 for scholarships
BY RICHARD DYMOND
December 5, 2011
MANATEE -- A convoy of pickup trucks with American flags flying from their beds didn’t need a judges’ appraisal to score points during the first Patrick L. Lay Memorial Car Show.
The trucks were driven by school friends of Army Spc. 4 Patrick L. Lay II, the former Braden River High School agriculture student who was killed in August while on a combat operation in Afghanistan. Braden River High’s FFA held the car show to launch scholarships in Lay’s honor.
As they made their way into the school’s parking lot Sunday morning for the car show, the trucks made a powerfully patriotic statement.
“When those trucks rolled in with their flags flying, it was so emotional,” said Vanessa Giammanco, who along with fellow Braden River agriculture teachers and FFA advisers Deb Barry and Brett Wheeler organized the show.
Held on a warm and slightly windy day, the event drew 54 classic cars and raised $2,000, all of which will go toward future Patrick Lay scholarships for deserving Braden River High School graduating seniors, Barry said.
The first Lay scholarships will be awarded in May.
“It makes me proud to see how the community came out to support this event,” said Barry, gazing at hundreds of onlookers.
“We wanted to come out because we knew it was a memorial,” said Roger and Judy Morelock, whose Caspian blue 1965 Mustang with 14,000 original miles won a lot of fans at the show.
Brian Marquette’s royal blue 1971 Oldsmobile Cutlass 442-W30, however, claimed the first-ever Lay Memorial Car Show “People’s Choice Award” as the most popular car in the event.
Joann Steiff, 21, Lay’s fiance, handed out 18 awards to winning car owners, who all received wooden plaques hand made by Braden River High School students.
The royal blue Olds
Brian Marquette’s son, Weston Keith Marquette, graduated with Lay in 2008. Weston died from lymphoma two years later, at age 20.
Weston Marquette died on Dec. 6, 2010, just eight months before his friend, Patrick Lay, would die.
Weston got to drive the just-restored royal blue Olds for a short while before he died, Brian Marquette said.
“We got it done in time,” an emotional Marquette said moments after receiving his award Sunday from Steiff.
First Christmas without him
This will be the first Christmas Eve in 21 years that Patrick Lay doesn’t show up in his grandmother’s kitchen to help her cook his favorite meal -- roast, potatoes and green beans -- said grandmother Carolyn Eason, who attended the car show along with Lay’s mother, Stefenie Hernadez.
“We miss him,” Eason said.
Hernandez, who made sugar cookies from scratch with her son every Christmas, expects a rough patch ahead.
“It’s especially hard now, at the holidays, because he should be coming home,” Hernandez said.
Patrick’s truck convoy
The convey of trucks that raised goosebumps for many was the work of Steiff, who now owns Lay’s black Ram truck, and Chris Smith, 20, Brandon Stubbs, 21, Robert Foy, 22, Michael Egloff, 21, and Eric Briggs, 21.
All were members of Lay’s Braden River graduating 2008 class except for Smith and Briggs, who graduated in 2009.
“We knew Patrick would love seeing the American flags flying today,” Briggs said.
“Patrick gave his life defending his country, to make sure we could all be standing here safe,” Stubbs said.
Donations to The Patrick Lay Memorial Scholarship for graduating Braden River High seniors may be sent to Patrick Lay Scholarship, c/o Braden River High School, 6545 State Road 70 E., Bradenton, Fl. 34203.
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