Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Joshua Charles Brennan

Ontario, Oregon

October 26, 2007

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
22 Army Sgt

2nd Battalion, 503rd Airborne Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team

Vicenza, Italy

 Died of wounds sustained when they came in contact with enemy forces using RPG, machine gun and small arms fire during combat operations on Oct 25, in Korengal Valley, Afghanistan.

Welcoming Home Our Hero. Click photo below.

November 2, 2007

Vigil Eve for our Hero. Click photo below.

November 2, 2007

For Memorial Service Snapshots, Click photo below.

November 3, 2007

From The Oregonian oregonlive.com 10/28/07:

A thoughtful son dies in Afghanistan
Terror war - Army Sgt. Joshua C. Brennan of Ontario is killed in a firefight with the Taliban
Sunday, October 28, 2007
The Oregonian

A son so thoughtful that while in a combat zone he remembered to send flowers on Mother's Day, Army Sgt. Joshua C. Brennan was killed Friday in Afghanistan.

The 22-year-old grew up in Ontario with his mother and spent summers and holidays in Wisconsin with his father.

According to the U.S. Department of Defense, Brennan died a day after he was wounded in a firefight in the Korengal Valley. He was serving his second tour in Afghanistan with the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Airborne Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Combat Team.

His father, Michael Brennan of McFarland, Wis., told The Associated Press that after Taliban fighters shot his son in the chest, they tried to drag the wounded soldier away, but a medic threw grenades at them before he himself was killed. Spc. Hugo V. Mendoza, 29, of Glendale, Ariz., also died from the firefight.

"If it weren't for that medic, horrific things could have happened to Joshua," said his mother, Janice Gates, a sergeant with the Malheur County Sheriff's Office.

Gates said her son's enlistment was supposed to end in September, but a stop-loss order extended it a year.

"Josh struggled with that for a little while. He certainly wasn't resentful of it," Gates said Saturday. "He truly felt that what brought him to Afghanistan was a worthwhile and just cause, that they needed to be there to preserve independence and freedom in the United States and worldwide."

A 2003 graduate of Ontario High School, Brennan ran the hurdles, played football and hunted elk with his grandfather, uncle and stepfather, Jared Cutler. He was an enthusiastic Green Bay Packers fan, Gates said.

Brennan was close to his family as well as a former girlfriend, Melissa Malstrom. He considered his military company members as extended family. His blended family included six siblings, and he was the eldest.

Brennan returned home on leave in May, and friends and family threw a party and "lavished him with love," his mother said.

"When I was raising Josh, I wasn't financially able to do things like pay for his car insurance, pay for a vehicle, pay for a cell phone, these extra amenities kids get these days," Gates said. Brennan worked a part-time job at a print shop and paid for his own extras while maintaining above-average grades.

"He was just such a responsible young man. I know he would have done absolutely amazing things in his life," she said.

After the military, Brennan intended to attend college and pursue a career in forensic science or criminology, Gates said.

Residents of Ontario, on Oregon's border with Idaho, have begun reaching out to Brennan's family, his mother said. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Brennan was the second soldier with ties to Ontario to die in service since Sept. 11, 2001. Sgt. John B. Ogburn III of the Oregon National Guard died May 22 in Kirkuk, Iraq, when his vehicle overturned.

Brennan was the 114th member of the military with strong ties to Oregon or southwest Washington to die in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Brennan, a Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient, was wounded in the leg in early August.

"Within days of being shot, he was insistent he wanted to be back out with his men," Gates said. "He wanted to make sure they were OK."

Brennan's father told The AP that his son's platoon saw frequent combat. In an interview with a Wisconsin television station last month, the father reported that unit members had been shot at on all but three days in the previous two months. Brennan's mother said his platoon sergeant was killed less than a month ago.

Six weeks ago, he asked his mom to mail him a sturdy Bible with big print and said he was developing a strong relationship with God. The two communicated through Gates' MySpace page, and after Brennan's platoon sergeant died, she posted the song, "Heaven Was Needing a Hero," to comfort her son.

"Never in my wildest dreams," she said, "did I know heaven was needing him, too." 

BC-Afghan-US Toll Capsules-October,1820
U.S. troops who have died while serving in Afghanistan and the Horn
of Africa
Eds: Includes troops since last transmission Oct. 3.
With BC-Iraq-US Toll Capsules-October
By The Associated Press

Army Sgt. Joshua C. Brennan
Joshua C. Brennan and his mother, Janice Gates, communicated
through Gates' MySpace page. After Brennan's platoon sergeant died,
she posted the song, "Heaven Was Needing a Hero," to comfort her
"Never in my wildest dreams did I know heaven was needing him,
too," Gates said.
Brennan, 22, of Ontario, Ore., died Oct. 26 in Asadabad of
injuries suffered from small-arms fire the day before in Korengal
Valley. He was a 2003 high school graduate and was assigned to
Vicenza, Italy. Brennan was on his second tour of duty in
Brennan was wounded in the leg in early August. "Within days of
being shot, he was insistent he wanted to be back out with his
men," Gates said. "He wanted to make sure they were OK."
In high school, Brennan ran the hurdles, played football and
hunted elk. After the military, Brennan intended to attend college
and pursue a career in forensic science or criminology.
He also is survived by his father, Michael Brennan, and
stepfather, Jared Cutler.
"He was just such a responsible young man," she said. "I know
he would have done absolutely amazing things in his life."
Army Sgt. Thomas L. Bruner
Thomas L. Bruner liked Christmas so much that he even decorated
the inside of the garage.
"He had reindeer, he had lights, a snowman, a sled," said
Bruner's wife, Jane Bruner. "We've always had big Christmases."
Bruner, 50, of Owensboro, Ky., died Oct. 28 in Kabul from what
is believed to have been a heart attack. He was on his second
deployment to Afghanistan.
"He was just a soldier doing his job and he loved it," said
his wife.
He was assigned to Owensboro. Bruner was on active duty from
1975 to 1979, followed by 26 years in the Army Reserve beginning in
"He knew his guys," said Patrick Rowe, training coordinator at
the Owensboro Army Reserve Center. Bruner knew his men's attitudes,
where they stood in their careers, their abilities and what they
could handle. "You could ask him anything about anybody."
Brian Sandefur, one of Bruner's two stepsons, said he was never
treated like anything but Bruner's own son. "He was always
there," Sandefur said. "He was a good father, husband and
"He spoiled me rotten. He would do anything for me," Jane
Bruner said. "He was my everything."
Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Mark R. Cannon
Mark R. Cannon, a medic who stood 6-foot-5 and weighed 250
pounds, would take the time to patch up Iraqi kids.
"He was kind of a softie on that," said his father, Tom. "I
mean, as big as he was, he had a real soft, tender side to him, and
he loved kids, and he loved helping people."
Cannon, 31, of Lubbock, Texas, was shot Oct. 2 while giving
medical aid to a wounded Marine in Kunar province. He was a 1994
high school graduate and was assigned to Marine Corps Base Hawaii.
Prior to his tour in Afghanistan, he served in Iraq and
volunteered to tend to sick and wounded Marines in another war
"He was very proud of his time in Iraq. He didn't want to push
papers," said his uncle, Bob Orf.
The Rev. Margaret Austin said he made regular trips to her
church, occasionally to visit his mother's grave. "He'd pop into
my office and give one of those bone-crushing hugs," she said.
"I would tell him all the time, 'It's an honor to know you,"'
said family friend Kelly Whitman.
"He had a hell of a big grin and a big laugh - that's what I'm
going to miss most," Tom Cannon said.
Army Sgt. Joseph F. Curreri
A swimmer since he was a youngster, Joseph F. Curreri broke many
a record while at North Baltimore Aquatic Academy, trained at a
Catholic preparatory school until graduating in 1998, and went on
to captain the University of Southern California's Trojans swim
Brad Schertle, a fellow swimmer, compared Curreri to Olympic
swimmers Mark Spitz and Matt Biondi - two of the greatest swimmers
of all time.
"When it came to swimming, that's who I wanted to follow,"
Brad Schertle.
Curreri, 27, of Los Angeles, drowned Oct. 26 during a training
exercise near Panamao in the southern Philippines. Curreri's family
was told that he had completed an intensive scuba training mission
in Siet Lake, and went back into the water without a tank to look
for something he had dropped. He then became disoriented and
blacked out while trying to resurface.
Curreri was not only fast, "he had this aura about him,"
Schertle said. He had leadership and motivational qualities that
you didn't see in an average 14-, 15-, 16-year-old kid, he added.
"He had the drive of a Fortune 500 CEO."
He is survived by his widow, Athena Wickam.
Army Spc. Hugo V. Mendoza
Friends of Hugo V. Mendoza remember him as a person who loved to
sit around and discuss philosophy.
"He loved religion and trying to find the answers to age-old
questions," said Christi Ramirez, a childhood friend. "He was a
very loving soul."
Mendoza, 29, of Glendale, Ariz., was killed Oct. 25 of
small-arms fire in the Korengal Valley. He was assigned to Vicenza,
"My brother gave his life for another," said his brother,
Jesus Carlos Mendoza Jr. "He was trying to save another gentleman,
Army brother's life."
Born in California, Hugo Mendoza spent most of childhood days in
El Paso, Texas. As a high school junior, he moved to Phoenix 12
years ago. He worked in sheet metal construction after graduating
from high school.
"Once he got money for being in service, he was going to use it
to go to school and follow his dream of being a firefighter," his
brother said.
He also is survived by his father, Jesus Carlos Mendoza Sr., and
his mother, Sara.
"He had an infectious smile," his brother said. "He treated
you the way you wanted to be treated. He was very giving of himself
and his time, especially recently."
Army Sgt. Edward O. Philpot
Edward O. Philpot's sister said she heard from other soldiers in
his unit that he was quick to volunteer for missions and duty.
"When they asked for volunteers, they said his hand was the
first to go up, especially if it meant one of the other soldiers
would have the opportunity to go on leave and see his family,"
said his sister, Renee Crockett.
Philpot, 38, of Latta, S.C., was killed Oct. 23 when his vehicle
rolled over northwest of Kandahar. He was a graduate of Coastal
Carolina University in Conway and was based in Mullins.
In a note to his mom, Edward said he was proud to be part of the
U.S. effort in Afghanistan, where he was working to help train the
Afghan police. He said he was making a difference, especially for
the children, both over there and in the U.S.
"I would like to help the children over here," Edward said in
the note.
"When we asked, he always said he didn't need anything, but he
wanted candy and things for the local Afghan children," said his
He is survived by his wife, Stephanie, and three daughters -
Hollen, 9, Lily, 5, and Ella Grace, 1.
Army Spc. Adam D. Quinn
Adam D. Quinn always stressed the importance of enjoying life
and even had the words "eat, drink and be merry" tattooed on one
wrist and "for tomorrow we may die" on the other.
Quinn, 22, of Orange City, Fla., was killed Oct. 6 near Bagram
when an explosive detonated near his vehicle. He was a 2003 high
school graduate and was assigned to Fort Bragg.
"Adam loved to joke around and just have fun. It didn't seem
like much ever got him down," said Spc. Shawn Dempsey. "If he saw
you down, he knew just what to say to get you back in a good
Quinn, a paratrooper and an automation specialist, is survived
by his wife, Faye. The couple's first child is due in March.
"He had a wonderful sense of humor. He was so funny," Faye
Quinn. "He was really excited, very proud to be a father."
Quinn's 19-year-old brother Asa, said "nobody will ever forget
"He made you laugh," Asa Quinn said. "He was just this goofy
Adam Quinn planned to make a career out of the military, his
brother said. "He loved doing what he was doing - jumping out of
perfectly good airplanes."
Army Sgt. Larry I. Rougle
Larry I. Rougle was on his third tour in Afghanistan. He also
had completed three tours in Iraq. He felt he owed his country
something - his brother said that the military "straightened him
out 180 degrees."
"It was the best thing for him," David Rougle said. "He was
proud to serve. He believed in what he was doing. And he would
debate with anyone who said anything differently."
Larry Rougle, 25, of West Jordan, Utah, was killed Oct. 23 by
small-arms fire in Sawtalo Sar Mountain. He was stationed in Italy.
"My Larry was always pretty happy. He smiled; he was just the
greatest," said his mother, Nancy Rougle.
He also is survived by his former wife, Jackie Rougle and their
daughter, Carmin, 3. "I couldn't ask for a better dad for my
little girl," she said.
"He was a very proud soldier and loved what he did," said
Rougle's aunt, Char Rodriguez. "He was a young man full of dreams
that have now come to a stop."
David Rougle said he had discussed with his brother the
possibility that this tour might end badly. "He knew the stakes,"
David Rougle said. "He just said, if I get waxed, don't let there
be any drama in the family."
Army Sgt. Zachary D. Tellier
Zachary D. Tellier received the Bronze Star with valor for
pulling two comrades from a burning vehicle in April. Despite
burning his hands in the rescue, Tellier jumped in the turret to
return fire, said Army Sgt. Michael Layton.
"Zachary Tellier has to be the biggest hero I've ever known or
heard of, not just because of what he did, but because of his
personality," Layton said.
Tellier, 31, of Charlotte, N.C., died Sept. 29 at Firebase
Wilderness from small-arms fire. He graduated from American
University in 1998 and was assigned to Fort Bragg.
In high school, he worked for Manchester Community Television in
New Hampshire and taught children at the German Language School. In
1993, Tellier was chosen to participate in a student exchange
program in Poland, where students produced documentaries to learn
each other's languages and cultures.
He loved camping, roughhousing, playing "Risk" and laughing
with his brothers, James and Dan, and giving "helicopter rides"
to his youngest brother and sister, Sam and Hannah.
He also is survived by his wife, Sara.
(Copyright 2003-2020 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
AP-NY-11-05-07 0311EST

BC-Iraq-US Toll Capsules-October, 2nd Add,2753
UNDATED: and Liane McCall.
Army Cpt. Timothy I. McGovern
Capt. Tim Hudson said he commanded his company for 20 months,
and when he turned over the unit to Timothy I. McGovern, he knew he
was leaving it in good hands.
"I put my heart and soul into this company," Hudson said.
"And after he took over, Echo Company only got better. They found
more IEDs and they killed more enemy."
McGovern, 28, of Idaville, Ind., was killed Oct. 31 by a
roadside bomb in Mosul. He was a 2001 graduate of Purdue University
and was assigned to Fort Bliss.
"He told me there was no greater honor than leading American
soldiers in combat. I'm going to remember that until the day I hang
up my uniform," said First Lt. Michael Holbrook.
During high school, McGovern loved social studies, history and
economics. He also wreaked havoc on the gridiron and at the discus
and shot put pits. "He was a down and dirty lineman," said Mike
Wright, McGovern's uncle.
As a unit leader, McGovern would have contacted families if
soldiers under his command were killed. But none was. "He was able
to do his job without sending a note or a letter to a mom and dad -
no one was killed," said his uncle.
Army Cpl. Graham M. McMahon
Graham M. McMahon was proud to be called "Doc" by his fellow
soldiers. He was looking forward to returning to school and
furthering his career in medicine.
"He would call me and tell me he was treating gunshot wounds,
staph infections, all this stuff," said Dylan McMahon, Graham's
brother. "It takes a lot of guts to do that, man. I was always so
proud of him."
McMahon, 22, Corvallis, Ore., died Sept. 19 by a non-combat
related illness after returning to base from a patrol. He was a
2003 high school graduate and was assigned to Fort Lewis.
Graham was born in Fort Collins, Colo., and moved to Corvallis
with his family as a child. Snowboarding in the Oregon mountains
was one of his favorite activities.
"He was smart," said Bill McMahon, Graham's father. "He was a
really sharp kid. He was perceptive." Then he added, "He never
got a chance to see what he could do."
Graham's mother, Karen, said he was always looking out toward
the world: first as a child on the front porch swing, then his
first apartment, and then into the Army.
"I remember the next big call came from Kuwait," Karen McMahon
said. "'Tell Mom I'm OK.' I know he's OK still."
Army Cpl. Gilberto A. Meza
Gilberto A. Meza relished life in a uniform, probably because he
loved dressing up - even to get a quart of milk at the corner
"He was very picky about his presentation," said Guadalupe
Sanchez, Meza's stepfather.
Meza, 21, of Oxnard, Calif., was killed Oct. 6 in Baghdad when
an explosive detonated near his unit. He was assigned to Vilseck,
He finished his GED in the Army, which was another reason he
joined the military, said Juan Martinez, his uncle.
Meza wanted to be a drill sergeant, and Iraq was a challenge
that could lead to a promotion, said his brother, Rigo. "He didn't
want to be a follower," he added. "He wanted to be a leader."
Cristina Zavala, a longtime friend, said Meza often talked about
his wishes should he die young. "He always said we shouldn't worry
about him," Zavala said. "He always said he would rather die with
honor on the battlefield than die on a street somewhere here."
He also is survived by his mother, Silvia Martinez.
"He lived life to the fullest," Rigo said. "He accomplished
everything he wanted to do and more."
Army Sgt. Joseph B. Milledge
Joseph B. Milledge was an avid reader, especially about religion
and philosophy. He especially enjoyed learning and reading about
"My brother would always say, 'Don't let schooling get in the
way of education,"' said a sister Mary Cooper. "He never stopped
reading, and he was always a very good person. He doesn't want to
be portrayed just as a soldier because he was much more than
Milledge, 23, of Pointblank, Texas, was killed Oct. 5 by a bomb
blast in Baghdad. He was a 2002 high school graduate and was
assigned to Vilseck, Germany.
"He was a sergeant and a team leader," said his mother, Carla
Milledge. "He was a good soldier for the Army. He eventually
wanted to get into the Special Forces."
Cooper said Milledge tried to return to Iowa every six months to
visit family and maintain his local ties. "No matter where he was,
it was always of the uttermost importance for him to see his
family," Cooper said. "Even though he had nine nieces and
nephews, he would spend quality time with every one of them while
he was here."
He also is survived by a wife, Amanda, and a son, Joseph Jr., 1.
Army Spc. Avealalo Milo
Avealalo Milo and his wife, Jocelyn, met in November 2004 at a
Wal-Mart. She was a cashier; he loaded trucks in the back.
"At first, he was shy," she said.
They started seeing each other and something clicked. "He was
happy. The smallest things that people don't pay attention to are
what meant most to him - like going for a walk down the street,
going to the park, just getting out of the house," she said.
Milo, 23, of Hayward, Calif., was killed Oct. 4 in Baghdad when
insurgents attacked his unit. He was assigned to Vilseck, Germany,
and convinced Jocelyn to sign up, too.
He was born in American Samoa and lived there, and in nearby
independent Samoa, until he moved to Hayward on Aug. 14, 2003,
according to his sister, Veape Milo. He liked playing rugby and
"He went to California to seek a better future," she said.
Jocelyn Milo learned her husband was dead a day before
completing Army basic training and shipping out to an advanced
individual training course.
Her company commander did not think she could participate in her
graduation ceremony, but she decided to walk in honor of her
Army Sgt. 1st Class Justin S. Monschke
Justin S. Monschke was due to return in December from his tour
in Iraq and had an idea of what he'd do first.
"His plan was to go home to Texas and surprise his family,"
said Warrant Officer Josh Montgomery. "He said his Pa-Pa would
really dig all the medals."
Monschke, 28, of Krum, Texas, was killed by a roadside bomb Oct.
14 in Arab Jabour. He was a 1997 high school graduate and was
assigned to Fort Bragg.
In high school, he played baseball and ran for the cross country
team. In junior year, he enlisted and left for boot camp a week
after graduating.
Monschke earned the nickname "Goose" as a high school freshman
because of his unique running style. In 2002, he earned the
legendary Green Beret.
He is survived by his wife, Melissa, his daughter and son,
Ashley, 4, and Ryan, 6, and stepson, Dylan, 10.
When he was home, he spent time with his family, riding dirt
bikes and motorcycles, riding bikes with the children and taking
them fishing. "He liked taking them to the outdoors," said Larry
Monschke, his father. "He liked being a father."
Army Staff Sgt. Donald L. Munn II
Donald L. Munn II's younger sister brought him along to her
recruitment test for moral support. Both were soon in Army green.
"He was always the good one, and I was always the one getting
into trouble," said Courtney Pyles. "I was proud of him, and I
wanted him to be proud of me. I looked up to him more than
Munn, 25, of St. Clair Shores, Mich., was killed Oct. 11 in
Baghdad when an explosive detonated near his unit. He was a 2000
high school graduate and was assigned to Fort Hood.
After graduation, he went to Western Michigan University for a
year, where he was studying criminal law before joining the Army.
He served two tours of duty in Iraq.
Munn enjoyed sports, especially baseball, according to childhood
friend, David Krenzer. He was a fan of the Detroit Tigers and the
Notre Dame football team.
"He was loved by everybody," said Krenzer, who knew Munn since
fourth grade.
He also is survived by his wife, Jennifer and a 17-month-old
daughter, Jordan Lyn. "He's 25 years old and had a whole life
ahead of him," said his grandmother, Dorothy Richards.
Marine Gunnery Sgt. Herman J. Murkerson Jr.
Herman J. Murkerson Jr.'s mother remembers her son as a huge
Alabama fan who went to Tuscaloosa every time he could get a
football ticket, dreamed of his 15-year-old son playing football
for the Crimson Tide and phoned home from Iraq to make sure Auburn
really lost to South Florida.
"He said, 'I wanted to make sure I saw it on the Internet
right,"' Brenda Murkerson said.
Murkerson, 35, of Adger, Ala., died Oct. 1 during combat in
Anbar province. He was a 1990 high school graduate and was assigned
to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point. He was on his third
Murkerson met his wife Windy on the bus going to and from Oak
Grove High School, where he graduated in 1990. He'd swipe roses for
her off his mother's bush.
"I'd say, `Who'd you give it to?' and he'd just grin," she
Murkerson also is survived by his children, Stephen, Daniel and
"Gunny Murkerson was the real deal - an expert in his field, a
leader with vision and a man with tremendous integrity," said Lt.
Col. Mary J. Choate. "He was the guy you would ask for by name for
any challenge, the harder the better."
Army Spc. Samuel F. Pearson
After graduating from high school in 1998, Samuel F. Pearson
went to Otterbein College, where he played football and majored in
"Someone who works hard for their education and then represents
their country - it's just a tragedy," said Otterbein Athletics
Director Dick Reynolds. "Having been in Vietnam myself, I know the
tragedy of this thing. It's kind of hard to express."
Pearson, 28, of Westerville, Ohio, was killed Oct. 10 in Baghdad
of wounds suffered from a rocket attack. He graduated from
Otterbein College in 2003 and was assigned to Wausau.
His senior year in high school, Pearson caught 15 passes for 243
yards and five touchdowns. One of those was a 50-yard catch against
West Carrollton to beat the Pirates 7-5.
"He was a great kid for us," football coach Bill Nees said.
After he signed up in September 2006, Pearson "really took a
sense of pride" that he was serving in the reserve, said his
sister-in-law, Lindsay Pearson. He was a "quiet guy, but a sweet
guy," she said. "He was always there for his family."
He also is survived by his parents, Randi and Carolyn.
Navy Seaman Apprentice Shayna Ann Schnell
Khandis Martindale feels blessed to meet Shayna Ann Schnell at
Master-At-Arms school in Texas.
"We lived and laughed all the time. She never had an enemy,
everyone loved her," Martindale said. "She was beautiful and
kind. I think of her daily and never leave her out of my prayers."
Schnell, 19, of Tell City, Ind., died Oct. 1 as a result of
injuries suffered from a vehicle accident in Dubai on Sept. 24. She
was in a taxi en route to a doctor's office when a tire on the taxi
failed, sending the vehicle into a brick wall.
She was a 2006 high school graduate and was assigned to Naval
Security Force Bahrain. She was later stationed at Lackland Air
Force Base and became a master of arms before being deployed to
She enjoyed baking, being outdoors, horseback riding, arts,
crafts, watching Disney movies and spending time with her family
and friends.
She is survived by her father and stepmother, Doug and Peggy
Schnell, and her mother and stepfather, Karen and Vernon Silacci.
Army Spc. Brandon W. Smitherman
Capt. Tim Hudson remembered handpicking Brandon W. Smitherman to
be his driver because he was such a squared-away young soldier. At
least an hour before any mission, Smitherman would have the
commander's vehicle in top shape and ready to go.
"You need a smart, motivated and disciplined soldier to be the
commander's driver," Hudson said. "He was absolutely the right
guy for the job. He was completely on the ball."
Smitherman, 21, of Conroe, Texas, was killed Oct. 31 when an
explosive detonated near his vehicle in Mosul. He was a 2004 high
school graduate and was assigned to Fort Bliss.
Everyone called Smitherman "Smitty." Sgt. Keith Sangster
recalled the younger soldier as a "kid who never showed his
"He was always happy and smiling and always messing around with
people," Sangster said. "He was also one of the most physically
fit people in our company."
In high school, Smitherman was a third-string defensive end and
also served as a deep snapper. "He was a super kid who was very
polite and worked hard," said football coach John Bolfing.
Smitherman is survived by his mother, Teresa, and father,
Army Pvt. Nathan Z. Thacker
In their last conversation, Nathan Z. Thacker told his mother he
was in a safe zone and not to worry.
"He believed in doing his duty," said his father, Stephen
Thacker. "He was afraid to go over there, but like he said, 'It's
my job now, and I need to do it.' He was very duty-conscious, a
good boy."
Thacker, 18, of Greenbrier, Ark., was killed Oct. 12 in Kirkuk
when an explosive detonated near his vehicle. He was assigned to
Fort Drum.
Thacker participated in the local Future Farmers of America
chapter. "He was just one of those you could count on to be in
class and do his work. He was not disruptive," said David
Westenhover, his former principal. "Citizenship was definitely a
plus for him."
He got his General Educational Development diploma last year.
Westenhover describes a young man that did his best, but also did
everything with a smile. "He was a bit of clown," Westenhover
said, "But only in a good way."
He also is survived by his mother, Darlene.
"Nathan was an excellent man," sister Sabrina Black said. "He
loved me, I loved him, and I'd give anything to have him back."
Army Staff Sgt. Robin L. Towns Sr.
During games between the Washington Redskins and the
Philadelphia Eagles, Robin L. Towns Sr. loved donning his Eagles
jersey and serving guests his signature barbecued chicken and ribs.
Family members and friends said they couldn't stand it when he
rooted for the Eagles, but they loved his barbecue so much they
never complained.
Towns, 52, of Upper Marlboro, Md., was killed Oct. 24 when a
bomb exploded under his Humvee in Beiji. He was assigned to
Washington, D.C.
After graduating from high school in 1973, he joined the Army
and received an honorable discharge in 1989. He worked as a
correctional officer with the Prince George's County government.
Towns had been with the D.C. National Guard since April 2006,
after transferring from the Maryland National Guard. As a
guardsman, Towns worked several natural disasters, including
hurricanes Katrina and Isabel.
He is survived by his wife, Sheila. He had four children from a
previous relationship, and she had two.
"He was the Eagles fan in the family; we would have a ball,"
said his sister-in-law Joyce Wise. "I miss his barbecue. It's too
bad I can't taste it."
Army Spc. Chirasak Vidhyarkorn
As a boy in Thailand, Chirasak Vidhyarkorn served as a cadet in
a group similar to the American Boy Scouts. "He wanted to be in
the military; it was his dream," said his aunt, Saipun Kunatee.
Vidhyarkorn, 32, of New York City, died Sept. 29 in Diwanihay of
injuries from a non-combat incident. He was assigned to Camp
Born in New York, Vidhyarkorn moved with his parents back to
Thailand when he was 2. He studied environmental engineering at a
university there and returned to New York at the age of 24.
After serving his first tour, Vidhyarkorn enrolled at the New
York Institute of Technology, earning a master's degree in
engineering and took a job as an environmental engineer with the
State Department of Environmental Conservation.
"He was a person, he was not a number," said co-worker Beth
Zicca. "And he mattered to people. He was a hero and an American.
He was not just a soldier. We were eagerly waiting for him to come
Andrew Miller, who served in Iraq with Vidhyarkorn in 2003 and
attended his funeral said, "He was a person ready to jump right in
and help do anything."
(Copyright 2003-2020 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
AP-NY-11-05-07 0311EST

BC-Iraq-US Toll Capsules-October, 1st Add,2782
UNDATED: his mother, Kim.
Navy Seaman Genesia M. Gresham
Seaman Jeremiah Lamb said he and others considered Genesia M.
Gresham as more than just another sailor in their unit.
"She was more than a friend. She was more than a shipmate," he
said. "She was family."
Gresham, 19, of Lithonia, Ga., was shot and killed Oct. 23 along
with another female sailor by a fellow serviceman in Bahrain. She
was assigned to U.S. Naval Support Activity Bahrain. Their alleged
killer, Clarence Jackson, apparently shot himself in the head
immediately after the slayings.
Known to her friends and family as Snowflake, Gresham was known
for her wide smile and zest for life. She was on dance team and
could coax a laugh from anyone.
"She was always the first one to crack a joke and make the
class laugh," said Ahmani DoDoo. "She truly touched my life and I
will forever carry the lessons she taught with me."
She is survived by mother, Natalie Gresham, and father, Joseph
"She will be remembered as a light that continues to shine in
all our hearts," wrote Chief Isaac Edwards. "Her smile was
infectious and even on my worst days she quickly brought a smile to
my face."
Army Sgt. Louis A. Griese
Louis A. Griese's mother said she had some concerns about her
son's third time in Iraq.
"I just said to him, 'I just have a bad feeling.' Call it
mother's intuition," Susan Frihart said. "He said, 'Mom,
everything is going to be OK."'
Griese, 30, of Sturgeon Bay, Wis., was killed Oct. 31 when an
explosive detonated near his vehicle in northern Samarra. He was a
1996 high school graduate and was assigned to Fort Campbell.
Griese's father was in the Army and the young man wanted to be
like his father. "He was very proud of what he was doing," said
Frihart, who remembered the day her son signed up for military
service nearly 12 years ago. At the time, she told him: "Just
remember: Mom didn't raise a quitter."
Griese "was a good friend in high school," said Doug Roatch, a
member of the class of '96. "He liked to mess around with cars;
fix 'em, tweak 'em, put in stereo gear."
He is survived by his wife, Stephany, and 4-month-old daughter,
Skylar. "He didn't really want to go this time," said his mother.
"He didn't want to leave that newborn baby, but he left because
that was his duty."
Army Spc. Rachael L. Hugo
Rachael L. Hugo's parents and her little brother remembered her
as a beautiful and intelligent woman who had a passion for caring
for the wounded. In an e-mail to her parents from Iraq, she wrote:
"Being a medic is what I live to do."
Hugo, 24, of Madison, Wis., was killed Oct. 5 by an explosive
and small-arms fire in Bayji. She was a 2001 high school graduate
and was assigned to Jackson, Mich.
"She was always very adamant about volunteering and going out
on missions with her guys," said her father, Kermit Hugo. "She
told us countless times that she needed to be out there with them.
If somebody got hurt or something and they didn't have a medic, she
was beside herself."
The former high school cheerleader was looking forward to coming
home and had even gone on an online shopping spree for new clothes,
said her mother, Ruth Hugo.
Hugo was studying to be a nurse at Viterbo University in La
Crosse when she was called to active duty. She had two years of
school remaining.
"She saw death, destruction, despair - and a lot of good
things, too," said Kermit Hugo. "Despite it all, she always kept
her head held high."
Army Pfc. Kenneth J. Iwasinski
Members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8428 had gotten to like
one of their youngest members - Kenneth J. Iwasinski.
"He was very energetic and full of new ideas," said post
Commander George D. "Archie" Archible Jr.
Iwasinski, 22, of West Springfield, Mass., was killed Oct. 14 in
Baghdad by a roadside bomb. He was assigned to Fort Carson.
His mother, Tracy Taylor, recalled a recent phone call: "Kenny
loved to laugh. He was picking on a buddy standing next to him,
laughing the whole time. What a wonderful memory to have."
He was "nice young man, always a gentleman, recognizing his own
strengths and weaknesses," said high school guidance director
Paula A. Pagos.
"After 9/11 and the way things were going in Iraq, he felt it
was his duty. He enlisted knowing full well that he was going to go
to Iraq," said his father, Dominick Iwasinski. "He was scared,
like everybody else, but he was hoping that what he was doing was
making a difference."
He also is survived by his stepmother, Tawnia Iwasinski, and
stepfather Matthew Taylor.
"He lived a short, shortened life," said his mother. "But he
touched many people."
Army Pfc. Rush M. Jenkins
Rush M. Jenkins' twin brother, Michael woke up on his birthday
and thought of his sibling, off fighting in a faraway place. "I
was waiting for him to give me a call," he said.
Instead he received another call. Rush "Mickey" Jenkins, 22,
of Clarksville, Tenn., was killed Oct. 30 when his patrol was
struck by an explosive and small-arms fire in Salman Pak. He was a
2004 high school graduate and was assigned to Fort Benning.
"That's all I could think of, is why on his birthday?" Michael
Jenkins said.
Jenkins worked for a beer distributor in North Carolina after
graduating from high school. Uninspired, he joined the Army in
March 2006. He played football and wrestled.
"He was ready to get out on his own and be his own man," said
another brother, Sgt. George "Alex" Jenkins.
His father taught him to play guitar when he was about 10, and
they paired up often for jam sessions. "He was my picking buddy,"
Rickey Jenkins said. "We had about a dozen guitars."
Jenkins "was doing what he thought was right," said his
brother George. "He was a really nice guy. He was caring and easy
to get along with."
Army Sgt. 1st Class Randy L. Johnson
Randy L. Johnson worked summer jobs as a swimming pool lifeguard
and played wide receiver on the high school football team. He
wasn't very tall or fast, but he had good hands and remained
"He was a tough-nosed little guy. He had the heart of a
7-footer," Vernon Johnson said, adding that his brother was a
"math whiz" who used to do homework for his little brother.
Johnson, 34, of Washington, D.C., died Sept. 27 in Baghdad of
wounds suffered when an explosive detonated near his vehicle. He
was assigned to Vilseck, Germany, and was on his third tour in
Last year, Johnson was training troops in Washington state when
a desire to be with his unit sent him back to his cavalry regiment
in Germany and then to Iraq.
"He got that gung-ho attitude about his fellow soldiers, and he
wanted to be with them," said his father, Randy Johnson Sr.
As a teenager he preferred watching karate movies to hanging out
on the streets. "He was one of those cats who would never let that
distract what he was. He was a regular guy," said his brother.
He also is survived by his wife, Claudia, and two sons, Devin,
5, and Aaron, 1.
Army Spc. Vincent G. Kamka
Vincent G. Kamka was not the kind of person who called attention
to himself, said Kamka's sister, Yvette Wise.
"If he didn't have to, he wouldn't even wear his military
outfit on the plane, because he didn't want any kind of special
treatment," she said.
Kamka, 23, of Everett, Wash., died Oct. 4 in a non-combat
incident in Beiji. He was a 2003 high school graduate and was
assigned to Fort Bragg. He was on his first tour.
On his MySpace page, Kamka listed his favorite books from
authors including Robert Heinlein, Kurt Vonnegut, Aldous Huxley,
Louis Lamour and Tom Clancy, as well as "I Hope They Serve Beer in
Hell," by Tucker Max.
In December 2006, he made arrangements for the distribution of
presents to children in Iraq for the holiday season. The presents
were wrapped and loaded, but the truck they were on was destroyed
before they could be distributed.
Wise said new collections being taken in Kamka's name will be
used for a similar effort this winter. "His nieces and nephews
want to do that in his name," she said.
He is survived by his parents, Chuck and Brenda.
Army Spc. Jason B. Koutroubas
A friend of Jason B. Koutroubas' said some of his e-mails
provided a glimpse of what life was like in a war zone.
"He was glad he had the night shift because it was cooler and
darker then, and he felt safer," said Michael McClain Jr., a
friend. "He said there were a lot of sandstorms too, and he missed
Koutroubas, 21, of Dunnellon, Fla., died Oct. 14 in Tal Afar of
injuries from a non-combat incident. He was a 2005 high school
graduate and was assigned to Fort Bliss.
Master Sgt. Allen Burlison, an instructor with the Air Force
JROTC program at Dunnellon High, remembered Koutroubas joining in
2004 during his senior year.
"He was a good cadet, did everything we asked him to do, and if
he had been with us longer, I'm sure he would have been in a
leadership role," Burlison said.
"He always made sure our uniform was right," said Alicia Rome.
He was looking forward to going to college and loved heavy
metal, particularly Korn. "He was always a soldier, always
fighting for something and he always wanted to go into the
military," McClain said.
He is survived by a widow and infant daughter.
Army Spc. David E. Lambert
The last time Brittany Lambert saw her uncle, David E. Lambert,
was just a few days before her birthday in September. He bought her
a manicure and make-up set as a present.
"He hugged and kissed me goodbye and I told him that I better
see him again," Brittany Lambert said. "At least I got to tell
him goodbye."
Lambert, 39, of Cedar Bluff, Va., was killed Oct. 26 by an
explosive in Baghdad. He was a 1987 high school graduate and was
assigned to West Point, Va.
"He was a great guy. He was very nice and had a good sense of
humor," said Ronnie Sparks, his former business teacher. "He was
a guy you would trust."
Lambert, who grew up in Virginia and enlisted in the Army in
1988, worked as a corrections officer in a state prison and studied
criminal justice at Southwest Virginia Community College.
"He was a first-class individual and a really outstanding guy.
I've heard nothing but good things about him, and he was
well-respected in anything he was involved in. He was just a decent
guy," said Spc. James Spurlock.
He is survived by his parents, Howard and Mary Sue, and his
fiancee, Heather Spencer.
Army Sgt. Jason M. Lantieri
Charlie Macunas, who was a teacher and principal to Jason M.
Lantieri, said he held a solid "B" average while playing on the
high school's soccer, basketball and baseball teams.
"He worked hard academically, but you could always tell it was
hard for him to sit still. He was a bundle of energy," Macunas
said of Lantieri, who also served on the school's student council
for two years.
Lantieri, 25, of Killingworth, Conn., died Oct. 10 in
Iskandaryah of injuries from an Oct. 9 vehicle accident. He was
assigned to Fort Richardson.
Lantieri graduated high school in 2000 and earned a business
degree from Western New England College in Springfield, Mass.
In a MySpace posting in January, Lantieri described traveling
around Europe during a 15-day break from Iraq. He said Europe was
beautiful, and he raved about the Coliseum, the Louvre and the
He wrote: "Europe is a great place to just live for the day and
for the moment. For now I will say arrivederci, auf wiedersehen and
au revoir to Europe, but the next time around I'll be bringing
Chuck Norris."
He is survived by his parents, Kathleen and Jon.
Army Spc. Vincent A. Madero
Vincent A. Madero met his wife, Ellen, in late 2004 through
mutual friends while stationed at Fort Wainwright. Ellen felt an
immediate connection to the shy soldier.
"He was so quiet, he seemed really mysterious," Ellen said.
"I knew I wanted to get to know him."
Madero, 22, of Port Hueneme, Calif., was killed Oct. 17 in Balad
when an explosive detonated near his vehicle. He was on his second
tour of duty and was assigned to Fort Hood.
"He had a big heart," said his father, Bias Madero. "He
touched a lot of people."
He had enlisted in the Army in 2003 after receiving his GED. He
enjoyed mechanics, camping, photography, art work, and he couldn't
survive without his music.
In Ellen's last conversations with Vincent, he told her to pick
out a dress for a ball the couple planned to attend next year, and
he talked about renewing their vows at a much larger ceremony when
they had saved up the money.
His MySpace page is titled "Ellensloveloveguy." The page plays
a loop of Audrey Hepburn singing "Moon River" from the movie
"Breakfast at Tiffany's."
He also is survived by a stepson, James Housley.
Army Spc. Jason N. Marchand
Jason N. Marchand's mother cherishes the moments she had with
"Even though he was my middle son, we had a special bond. Maybe
it was because we looked so much alike. He could tell me anything
and he knew it wouldn't go any farther," said Debbie Parsons.
Marchand, 26, of Greenwood, W.Va., was killed Oct. 5 by an
explosion in Baghdad. He was a 2000 high school graduate and was
assigned to Vilseck, Germany.
"He was a wonderful son, brother and father," Parsons said.
"He was popular in school, ran track and played football. He had
lots of friends. Everyone loved him."
He also is survived by his father, William Marchand, and
6-year-old daughter, Savannah, who lives with her mother, Jamanda
On Oct. 2, Marchand called Parsons from Iraq. "He said he
didn't like it over there, but felt it was his duty to be there to
protect me and his daughter Savannah," she said. "Plus, he said
his buddies needed him."
"He was a good all-around kid," said Dan McConnell, Marchand's
football coach. "He was a good student, a good human being and he
would do anything you asked of him."
Army 1st Lt. Thomas M. Martin
An Eagle Scout, Thomas M. Martin took on cleaning up an old red
train caboose as a service project.
"He remodeled it to make it where people could go inside. If
you saw it before and looked in it after he was through - it was
daylight and dark," said his former principal, Robert Martin, who
is no relation.
Martin, 27, of Ward, Ark., died Oct. 14 in Al Busayifi of wounds
from small-arms fire. He was assigned to Fort Richardson.
He enlisted in the Army in 1998 after graduating high school and
served in Korea before accepting an appointment to the United
States Military Academy at West Point, graduating in 2005.
"He was very polite and respectful. I can't think of him ever
overreacting; he had a wonderful, good-natured personality," said
Pat Hagge, a family friend. "It's a terrible tragedy; he was a
great young man."
He is survived by his parents, Edmund and Candis.
"Tom was involved in Key Club, German Club and band, making
All-Region Band his sophomore year," said his former principal.
"He was a wonderful young man. Those that knew him knew he was
funny and outgoing."
Army Sgt. Daniel L. McCall
Friends said Daniel L. McCall was an all-around athlete who
brightened up their world.
"He was a great-looking guy who was excellent at soccer," said
Jeanna Kay Woodhall, who knew McCall since both were preschoolers.
"He did all the church functions with us and was a great
all-around person. He wasn't just good at sports. He was good at
everything. And he always thought the Army was the best thing that
ever happened to him."
McCall, 24, of Pace, Fla., was killed Oct. 30 when his patrol
was struck by an explosive and small-arms fire in Salman Pak. He
was a 2001 high school graduate and was assigned to Fort Benning.
McCall also played soccer throughout his life and football
during his senior year. He was chosen to the News Journal All-Area
Track second team in 2001 after finishing second at the Class 3A
state championships in the 400-meters.
"He still has our 400-meter record," said Kent Smith, a track
and football coach at Pace High School. "He had good speed and ran
well. He was a happy-go-lucky kid. And the thing I remember about
him is that he could run forever and run fast."
He was raised by his grandparents, Marvin and Liane McCall.
(Copyright 2003-2020 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
AP-NY-11-05-07 0311EST

BC-Iraq-US Toll Capsules-October, 3 Takes,2601
U.S. troops who have died while serving in Iraq and Kuwait
Eds: Includes troops since last transmission Oct. 3.
With BC-Afghan-US Toll Capsules-October
AP Photos
By The Associated Press
Army Sgt. Robert T. Ayres III
Robert T. Ayres III's mother remembers him at age 5, with blond
hair and blue eyes. He was a child who always had his eyes open,
was constantly smiling, who would ride a bicycle without touching
the handlebars.
"He'd close his eyes just to see what he would run into," said
Michelle Ayres. She worried, but he kept saying: "Don't worry Mom,
I'm made out of rubber."
Ayres, 23, of Los Angeles, was shot dead by a sniper Sept. 29 as
he exited a vehicle in Baghdad. He was a 2003 high school graduate
and was assigned to Vilseck, Germany. Ayres was on his second tour
of duty.
"He was a happy, funny and just a really sweet boy," said his
Well-liked by his superiors and soldiers alike, Ayres loved to
play with children. At unit cookouts, he would go to fellow
soldiers' homes and spend his time playing with the kids, said
Capt. David Dykema.
He lost much of his hearing from training with heavy machine
guns and fellow officers often had to raise their voices to get his
attention - even on patrols requiring stealth.
He also is survived by his father, Robert.
Army Spc. Micheal D. Brown
Not only was Micheal D. Brown willing to serve in Iraq for a
second deployment, he was excited about it.
"Micheal was so excited to go back on his second tour," Edna
Brown, said his sister, adding that in one of the last letters she
received, Brown said it was like "a permanent vacation on a beach
with no water."
"He had a really humorous personality," she said. "Always
funny. He was always cracking jokes and making people laugh."
Brown, 20, of Williamsburg, Kan., died Oct. 16 at the Landstuhl
Regional Medical Center of a non-combat related illness after being
transported from Tikrit. He was assigned to Fort Riley.
As a high school student, Brown was interested in joining the
military, said Robert Allen, his former principal. He graduated in
"He was always interested in aviation and said he was going
into the military," Allen said. Allen, who had served in the Army,
said Brown frequently asked him about the military. "He was very
energetic," Allen said. "He loved to explore new things."
He is survived by his parents, Donna Hollon and Steve Brown.
Marine Lance Cpl. Jeremy W. Burris
In Jeremy W. Burris' blog, he showed a confidence that many
could only wish for.
"The hard things in life, the deserts, are the things that make
you stronger," he wrote. "I will continue to learn to be content
in EVERY situation."
Burris, 22, of Tacoma, Wash., was killed Oct. 8 by a set of
roadside bomb in Anbar province. He was assigned to Camp Pendleton.
Burris survived the initial blast and helped two Marines out of
the vehicle. He returned to get some equipment, and a second bomb
detonated, killing him instantly, his father Brent said.
Burris lived in Liberty, about 40 miles northeast of Houston,
since he was 12. After he finished home-schooling, Burris moved to
Tacoma to participate in a Christian discipleship program. He
attended Lee College in Baytown and a community college in Tacoma.
Burris attended the non-denominational Cornerstone Church in
Liberty, where he led praise and worship sessions for the youth
group and was a guitar player during the main services.
"He was a precious young man who touched many lives," pastor
Mike Glazener said.
He is also survived by his mother, Karla.
Army Frank L. Cady III
Frank L. Cady III was a veritable "kid genius" who could have
been a formidable attorney, his mother said.
But Cady's dreams took him in another direction after seeing the
Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He decided to join the Army after
graduating from high school in 2005, and deployed to Iraq in
"My son died living his dream," said his mother, Billie-Jo
Hull. "How many people could say that, if they died today, they
would be living their dream?"
Cady, 20, of Sacramento, Calif., was killed Oct. 10 of injuries
from a vehicle rollover in Baghdad, where he served as a chemical
operations specialist. He was assigned to Fort Riley.
Friends and family members also described Cady as a talkative
young man who'd do anything for a laugh.
"He was an amazing kid. There was something about him. He had a
sparkle in his eyes - I call it a hint of mischief," said his
friend, former Army Pfc. Tasha Feenan. "He was always there for
you no matter what, even if you didn't want him to be. We lost one
of the few genuine people left in this world the day he died."
He also is survived by his stepfather, John Hull.
Navy Seaman Anamarie S. Camacho
It was Anamarie S. Camacho's decision to join the Navy two years
ago. She knew that getting into college was expensive, so she chose
to join the Navy right after graduating high school. "She always
tried to do things on her own. She was an independent child," said
her mother, Jovy Paulino.
Camacho, 20, of Panama City, Fla., was shot and killed Oct. 23
with another female sailor by a fellow serviceman in Bahrain. She
was assigned to U.S. Naval Support Activity Bahrain. Their alleged
killer, Clarence Jackson, apparently shot himself in the head
immediately after the slayings.
Paulino said she could still remember her daughter's face,
especially the big smile she had. "She always had big smiles. She
was an individual who was filled with so much energy," she said.
Jody Jones remembered picking her up from the airport the night
she arrived in Bahrain. "Even after a 24 hour trip, she still was
her cheerful self. Never did I think that this would happen.
Anamarie was a great person. Just like everyone else said, she
could bring a smile to your face no matter what your life had going
on," Jones wrote.
Army Pvt. Cody M. Carver
Cody M. Carver was trickster who loved teasing his mother.
"He liked to jump out and scare me," Pam Carver said. "He
would put a piece of tape around the handle on the sprayer next to
the kitchen sink, and then aim it so that it would squirt me when I
turned on the water."
Carver, 19, of Haskell, Okla., was killed Oct. 30 when his
patrol was struck by an explosive and small-arms fire in Salman
Pak. He was based at Fort Benning.
"He was really outgoing," said his mother. "Everybody loved
him. You couldn't have asked for a better child."
Carver's father, Darrell Lee Carver, was wounded during the
Vietnam War. That, along with the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, was Cody
Carver's motivation for joining the Army, his mother said.
"He had talked about joining the Army since the ninth grade. I
guess it was about the same time 9/11 happened. That bothered him
so bad, he just wanted to go and make it right," she said.
He was very much a single man. "I asked him at Valentine's Day
if there was anyone he wanted me to send flowers to," said his
mother. "He said 'Mom, that would be too many flowers. You
couldn't afford it."'
Army Pfc. Adam J. Chitjian
Adam J. Chitjian joined the Army four years ago in response to
9/11, said his older brother, Martin. When it came to his country's
defense, "he wanted to act, rather than just talk," said the
elder Chitjian.
Chitjian, 39, of Philadelphia, was killed Oct. 25 in Balad of
injuries suffered from small-arms fire. He was assigned to Fort
A stocky 5-foot-11, Chitjian "appeared bigger than he was,"
Martin said. He was called "Pappy" by the others in his squad
because of his maturity. To his brother, Adam seemed invincible.
"I would have bet my life he would have come back without a
scratch," said Martin. "I don't really believe it happened."
In Texas, he met Shirley, who would become his wife. They
married in the summer of 2006, after he returned from his first
tour of duty in Iraq. The couple have no children.
Martin said his brother had been a commercial painter since
graduating from Northeast Philadelphia's George Washington High
School. He had talked of possibly joining a private security firm
at the end of his duty in Iraq.
His mother, Edith Curcio Chitjian, died in 1998.
Army Staff Sgt. Lillian Clamens
Lillian Clamens had an infectious smile and a bright
personality, said her husband, Raymond. "She could make a friend
for life every single day. She was very friendly, very outgoing and
always had a smile."
Clamens, 35, of Homestead, Fla., died Oct. 10 in Baghdad of
wounds suffered from a rocket attack. She was a 1990 high school
graduate and was assigned to Miami.
She had served in Korea and at Fort Leonard Wood before an
assignment in Germany brought her and her husband together in 1996
- when she handed him some paperwork at an Army base in Vilseck.
She worked as an administrative clerk and loved the job because
she could directly help soldiers by making sure their transitions
from the United States to Iraq and home again went smoothly.
"She really loved taking care of soldiers. That's always been
her job," Raymond Clamens said.
She was known for her love of dancing, music, performing arts
and people. "She would meet you on the street and you'd be best
friends in five minutes," said her husband.
Clamens also is survived by three children: daughters Victoria,
7, and Lana, 8; and son, Ayinde, 14.
Army Cpl. Benjamin C. Dillon
Bob Dunn, Benjamin C. Dillon's basketball coach, recounted an
impromptu slam dunk contest one day at practice.
Dillon convinced a teammate to hunch over. Then the 5-foot-7
player ran and jumped off the other player's back to dunk the ball.
"We celebrated like Ben had just won the NBA dunk contest,"
Dunn said. "That showed the spirit of Ben. He always found a way
to be successful, despite the obstacles before him."
Dillon, 22, of Edinburg, Ohio, was killed Oct. 7 by small-arms
fire. He was a 2004 high school graduate and was assigned to Fort
Benning. He was on his fourth overseas tour.
He also loved golf and baseball, beating his friends at a James
Bond Nintendo game and telling stories by the campfire.
He always wanted to be an Army Ranger. "He could have done
anything in life he wanted to do, and that's what he was doing,"
said Staff Sgt. Fernando Gonzalez.
"One night during his training, he was sleeping outside when a
spider crawled on him," said his mother, Linda. "But he just left
it there. It was so cold that night, he said he needed it for the
body heat."
He also is survived by his father, Terry.
Army Staff Sgt. Eric T. Duckworth
During the last conversation Barbara Duckworth had with her son,
Eric T. Duckworth, he spoke about what he was experiencing.
"Eric told me about the Iraqi interpreter in his unit and how
he was another brother in arms," she said. "He expressed how
grateful the Iraqi people were, in spite of the fanatic element."
Duckworth, 26, of Plano, Texas, was killed Oct. 10 when a
makeshift bomb detonated near his vehicle. He was a 1999 high
school graduate and was assigned to Fort Carson.
Duckworth was sent to Iraq with the first invasion in March
2003, but returned stateside when he sustained a knee injury. He
served in Korea and then left in August 2006 for his current tour
in Iraq.
He loved sports, especially the Dallas Cowboys and NASCAR. "He
made friends easily," his mother said. "He was also very much a
family man."
Duckworth is survived by his wife, Sonya; his stepdaughter,
Kaylynn, 10; daughter Madison, 4; and son Michael, 1.
"I will miss seeing him with his children," said Barbara
Duckworth. "He was such a good daddy. He enjoyed the kids so
Army Staff Sgt. Jarred S. Fontenot
Jarred S. Fontenot's fellow soldiers described him as someone
who took the time to care for others, and as a calm force during
the unit's darkest days in Iraq.
"He was our rock - able to take on the problems of a big
company and never break," Maj. Gen. James Myles said.
Fontenot, 35, of Port Barre, La., was killed Oct. 18 in Baghdad
from an explosive and small-arms fire. He was assigned to Fort
Fontenot, who entered the Army on Christmas Day 1993, worked for
local law enforcement between tours in Iraq. Fontenot also served
in Korea and was killed during his second tour in Iraq.
Fontenot loved to fish and hunt, making it on the high school
football and track teams. "He was one hard-nosed football
player," said William Duplechain, his former principal. "You
couldn't hurt this guy physically at all. He was tough."
Fontenot is survived by his wife, Dana, and four children -
16-year-old Cameron, 7-year-old Logan, 6-year-old Mason and
4-year-old Macy.
"Jarred didn't do it for the glory," said Bett Dedon, his
mother-in-law. "That's what he wanted to do his entire life was
serve his country."
Marine Cpl. Erik T. Garoutte
Erik T. Garoutte enlisted with the Marines in 2005 and was
quickly promoted, gaining the rank of corporal in June, and was
expected to make sergeant in the near future.
"After he graduated from boot camp, I took him to Ruth's Chris
Steak House," said Jeff Stine, his pastor. "I asked him if he
wanted to change clothes before we went out. He said he worked too
hard earning the uniform to take it off."
Garoutte, 22, of Santee, Calif., collapsed and died Oct. 19
after working out in Baghdad. He graduated high school in 2004 and
was assigned to Norfolk.
"He was so full of life and always had a smile on his face,"
said his stepmother, Judith Garoutte. "I regret that he will never
have children because he would've been such a great father."
He briefly moved to Nashville with a friend, where they
attempted to break into the music business. A highlight was being
in the audience during an episode of "Nashville Star."
"It was harder than he thought," his stepmother said. "He
drove for 24 hours to get home, where he could feel the love."
He also is survived by his mother, Donna Stone, and stepmother,
Judith Garoutte.
Army Spc. Wayne M. Geiger
Before deploying, Wayne M. Geiger spoke to his father of his
decision to join the military.
"It's not fair watching our men and women make sacrifices and
me not doing my share. I want to be on the front lines with all the
rest doing the fighting," Randy Geiger recalled his son saying.
Geiger, 23, of Lone Pine, Calif., was killed Oct. 18 when an
explosive detonated near his vehicle in Baghdad. He was a 2003 high
school graduate and was assigned to Vilseck, Germany.
"Those of us who knew Wayne had uniform respect and admiration
for his sense of humor, athletic prowess and dedication to his
duties as a soldier," said Maj. Thomas Rickard.
Geiger was in the Army for just over two years. He was
previously stationed at Fort Lewis and moved to Vilseck in July
Former basketball coaches Matt Kingsley and Scott Kemp, spoke on
the soldier's love for the game at his funeral. Kingsley, as well
as friends and family, all spoke about the young Geiger's sense of
humor that kept them entertained over the years.
He also is survived by his mother, Kim.
(Copyright 2003-2020 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
AP-NY-11-05-07 0311EST

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