Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Who are these Americans who stand on the ramparts defending our way of life from those who would do us harm?

“The American spirit wears no political label. In service to others and yes, in sacrifice for our country, there are no Republicans; there are no Democrats; there are only Americans.” -Senator John Kerry

We are a country at war and most people go through their daily lives and never think much about it. I received a message from a friend with a poem that was said to be written by a marine. The poem was a Christmas poem and moving. It made me think about those young men and women and some not some young men and women serving our nation in far away dangerous places. Even those who serve in places that are not volatile are away from family and friends. They are there because they choose to serve. Who are these Americans who stand on the ramparts defending our way of life from those who would do us harm?

They are the black kid from the streets of Brooklyn, N.Y., the Puerto Rican from the Bronx. They are the farm kids from Nebraska, the Italian American from New Jersey, they are the blond surfer kid from San Diego, they are the prom queen from Illinois, and the nursing graduate from Boston. They are the Irish Catholic, the Jew, the Protestant, the Muslim, the Indian, the Chinese American, the Mexican American. They are the young fresh faced kids that graduate from the service academies who give back to the nation five years of service for their education, and they are Americans all.

They are also the fallen, those brave Americans that have paid the ultimate price in the service of their nation and who are remembered by their parents, wives, and children and friends. We honor them all by being vigilant and not allowing our nation to be unworthy of their sacrifice. They deserve of us no less of us than the guardianship of our democracy. We must question and challenge those who represent us as our leaders and demand of them honest stewardship of our government. We owe our brothers and sisters in arms no less.


Honor the Fallen



November 02, 2009


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Army Spc. Jonathon M. Sylvestre, 21, of Colorado Springs, Colo.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Benning, Ga.; died Nov. 2 in Kut, Iraq, of injuries sustained from a noncombat-related incident.

November 04, 2009


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Army Staff Sgt. Amy C. Tirador, 29, of Albany, N.Y.; assigned to the 209th Military Intelligence Company, 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.; died Nov. 4 in Kirkush, Iraq, of injuries sustained from a non-combat-related incident.

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Army Spc. Tony Carrasco Jr., 25, of Berino, N.M.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.; died Nov. 4 in Ad Dawr, Iraq, of a gunshot wound sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit.

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Army Spc. Julian L. Berisford, 25, of Benwood, W.Va.; assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska; died Nov. 4 in Paktika province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fires.

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Sgt. Benjamin W. Sherman, 21, of Plymouth, Mass.; assigned to 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died Nov. 4 in Bala Murghab, Afghanistan, while participating in a resupply mission.

November 05, 2009


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Army Spc. Aaron S. Aamot, 22, of Custer, Wash.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.; died Nov. 5 in Jelewar, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device.

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Army Spc. Gary L. Gooch, 22, of Ocala, Fla.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.; died Nov. 5 in Jelewar, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device.

November 07, 2009


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Marine Sgt. Charles I. Cartwright, 26, of Union Bridge, Md.; assigned to 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; died Nov. 7 while supporting combat operations in Farah province, Afghanistan.

November 08, 2009


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Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Mathew C. Heffelfinger, 29, of Kimberly, Idaho; assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 25th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; died Nov. 8 in Tikrit, Iraq, of injuries sustained when his OH-58D helicopter crashed. Also killed was Chief Warrant Officer 2 Earl R. Scott III.

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Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Earl R. Scott III, 24, of Jacksonville, Fla.; assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 25th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; died Nov. 8 in Tikrit, Iraq, of injuries sustained when his OH-58D helicopter crashed. Also killed was Chief Warrant Officer 2 Mathew C. Heffelfinger.

November 09, 2009


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Marine Staff Sgt. Stephen L. Murphy, 36, of Jaffrey, N.H.; assigned to 2nd Intelligence Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died Nov. 9 as a result of a non-hostile incident in Anbar province, Iraq.

November 10, 2009


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Marine Lance Cpl. Justin J. Swanson, 21, of Anaheim, Calif.; assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; died Nov. 10 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, from injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated.

November 13, 2009


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Marine Lance Cpl. Shawn P. Hefner, 22, of Hico, Texas; assigned to 2nd Amphibious Assault Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died Nov. 13 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

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Army Spc. Christopher J. Coffland, 43, of Baltimore; assigned to the 323rd Military Intelligence Battalion, Fort Meade, Md.; died Nov. 13 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

November 16, 2009


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Staff Sgt. Ryan L. Zorn, 35, of Upton, Wyo.; assigned to 1st Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.; died Nov.16 in Tal Afar, Iraq, of injuries sustained during a vehicle rollover.

November 17, 2009


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Army Spc. Joseph M. Lewis, 26, of Terrell, Texas; assigned to the 8th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.; died Nov. 17 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device.

November 19, 2009


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Navy Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Brian M. Patton, 37, of Freeport, Ill., a member of the Navy Reserve, died Nov. 19 in Kuwait of injuries suffered in a noncombat-related accident.

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Army Sgt. Daniel A. Frazier, 25, of St. Joseph, Mo.; assigned to the 782nd Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died Nov. 19 in Zabul province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when a suicide car-bomber attacked his unit. Also killed was John J. Cleaver.

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Army Staff Sgt. John J. Cleaver, 36, of Marysville, Wash.; assigned to the 782d Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died Nov. 19 in Zabul province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when a suicide car-bomber attacked his unit. Also killed was Daniel A. Frazier.

November 22, 2009


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Army Sgt. Briand T. Williams, 25, of Sparks, Ga.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Benning, Ga.; died Nov. 22 in Numaniyah, Iraq, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit using small-arms fire.

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Army Sgt. James M. Nolen, 25, of Alvin, Texas; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Benning, Ga.; died Nov. 22 in Zabul province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device. Also killed was Pfc. Marcus A. Tynes.

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Army Pfc. Marcus A. Tynes, 19, of Moreno Valley, Calif.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Benning, Ga.; died Nov. 22 in Zabul province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device. Also killed was Sgt. James M. Nolen.

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Marine Lance Cpl. Nicholas J. Hand, 20, of Kansas City, Mo.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died Nov. 22 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, while supporting combat operations.

November 23, 2009


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Army Staff Sgt. Matthew A. Pucino, 34, of Cockeysville, Md.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group of the Maryland Army National Guard, Glen Arm, Md.; died Nov. 23 in Pashay Kala, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

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Army Spc. Jason A. McLeod, 22, of Crystal Lake, Ill.; assigned to the 704th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.; died Nov. 23, west of Pashmul, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with mortar fire.

November 27, 2009


Army Pfc. Michael A. Rogers, 23, of White Sulphur Springs, Mont.; assigned to the 210th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, N.Y.; died Nov. 27, at Forward Operating Base Hammer, east of Baghdad of injuries sustained from a noncombat-related incident.

November 28, 2009


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Navy Engineman 3rd Class David M. Mudge, 22, of Sutherlin, Ore.; died Nov. 28, when he was electrocuted while working in a machinery space aboard the guided missile frigate Rentz while on a port call in Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates.

November 29, 2009


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Army Sgt. Brandon T. Islip, 23, of Richmond, Va.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; went missing Nov. 4 while involved in a resupply mission in Bala Murghab, Afghanistan; he had been listed as Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown. His status was changed Nov. 29 to having died in a noncombat-related incident.


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