Wednesday, June 6, 2012

D-Day



Spotted on Hip Hop Republican June 6, 2011

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Rudolph R. Hizon, Army, Specialist -- Rest In Peace

Army, Specialist
Based: Ft. Polk, La.
2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division
Supporting: Operation Enduring Freedom
Died: February 28, 2011
Logar province, Afghanistan
Single
Gender: Male
Hometown: Los Angeles
Foreign Country of Birth: Philippines
Burial: Forest Lawn Memorial-Park, Glendale

From the Regional Command East:
LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – A Task Force Patriot Soldier from 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division based at Fort Polk, La., died as the result of an enemy attack in Logar Province Feb. 28.

U.S. Army Spc. Rudolph R. Hizon was a 22-year-old Los Angeles native assigned to Company B, 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment’s Task Force Storm when he died during a complex improvised explosive device, small-arms and rocket-propelled grenade attack in the Charkh area of the province.

U.S. Army Spc. Kevin Jones of Aurora, Ill., assigned to Co. B’s TF Storm, said he will always remember Hizon’s smile.

“I will always have you in my thoughts for the rest of my days,” said Jones of Hizon. “I love you man!”

Hizon was a good friend to everyone he knew, said U.S. Army Spc. Joshua Gonzales of Olath, Kan.

“I will always think of him as the happy and cheerful person he was… and I’m going to miss him dearly,” said Gonzales.

U.S. Army Pfc. Clayton Contrall of Piedmont, Ala., also with Co. B, said Hizon always had a “huge smile” on his face – the kind of smile that made everyone around him smile, too.

“You’re a warrior and will always be in my heart,” said Contrall.

Hizon’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghan Campaign Medal with star device, Global War on Terror Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal and Combat Infantryman Badge.
Read more about Army Specialist Rudolph R. Hizon's life and family in the LA Times and visit Specialist Rudolph Hizon's Guest Book.


Army Specialist Rudolph R. Hizon, previously remembered on Boom3 Wednesday, September 15, 2011

Monday, December 26, 2011

Michael G. Mihalakis, Army National Guard Specialist -- Rest In Peace

Michael G. Mihalakis, 18


Army National Guard, Specialist
Based: Fairfield, Calif.
270th Military Police Company, 49th Military Police Battalion, 100th Troop Command
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: December 26, 2003
Baghdad, Iraq
Single
Gender: Male
Hometown: San Jose
High School: Milpitas High (Milpitas)
Burial: Cedar Lawn Memorial Park, Fremont, Calif.

As his assignment in Iraq neared completion, Army National Guard Spc. Michael Mihalakis e-mailed his instructors at Cuesta College near San Luis Obispo and asked them to hold him a place in their spring classes. His unexpected overseas adventures were coming to a close, and he was ready to renew his quest for a business degree.
"He was already planning the next phase of his life," his mother, Diana, said from the family home in San Jose. "He went out to discover himself and to grow and to have experiences. The last time I talked with him, he felt he had done those things."

Read more about Specialist Michael G. Mihalakis here, here and here.

Army National Guard Specialist Michael G. Mihalakis was last remembered at Boom3 on Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Friday, December 16, 2011

Shabbat Shalom -- Jerusalem The Movie


Jerusalem | Filmed in Imax 3D from JerusalemTheMovie on Vimeo.


Big hat tip to Israel Matzav.

Kitchen Cabinet -- Harry and Michelle

Michael D. Anderson Jr., Marines, Corporal -- Rest In Peace

Michael D. Anderson Jr., 21

Marines, Corporal
Based: Camp Pendleton
3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: December 14, 2004
Fallouja, Iraq
Single
Gender: Male
Hometown: Modesto
High School: Peter Johansen High (Modesto)
Burial: Lakewood Memorial Park, Hughson, Calif.
Marine Cpl. Michael D. Anderson Jr., 21, of Modesto withstood the bloody battle for the Iraqi town of Fallouja but was unable to survive its aftermath in violent, house-to-house combat against insurgents.

Anderson, a former member of the Marine Corps' terrorism-fighting team known as Fast Company, retired from the elite squad earlier this year to be closer to his family. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton. He left for Iraq on Sept. 11.

The decorated Marine was killed Tuesday as his squad traveled from house to house on rooftops searching for enemy combatants, said his father, Michael Anderson Sr., who spoke with Marines from his son's squad...

The senior Anderson, who described his son as his best friend, said they last talked on the phone Dec. 11, when his son told him that "things were getting weird."
Read the entire LA Times article about Marine Corporal Michael D. Anderson Jr. here 
and find more about Marine Corporal Michael D. Anderson Jr. here 
and here.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Ian W. Stewart, Marines, Corporal -- Rest In Peace


Marines, Corporal
Based: Camp Pendleton
3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: December 12, 2004
Fallouja, Iraq
Single
Gender: Male
Hometown: Lake Hughes
High School: Quartz Hill High (Quartz Hill)
Burial: Buried in Illinois


Stewart entered the Marines three days after he finished high school, on Father's Day 2001. He completed boot camp the week of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Coincidently, he deployed to Iraq on Sept. 11 of this year.
Last week, Marine Cpl. Ian Wesley Stewart was killed by small-arms fire while his unit was clearing houses in Fallouja. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton.

"We were praying for his safety, but God moved differently. We trust God's judgment, but we don't care much for his time schedule," Stewart's father said. "But we have real peace.... We're confident we'll see him again, and that beautiful smile of his, in heaven."


Read the entire LA Times article about Marine Corporal Ian W. Stewart here
with more about Corporal Stewart at Military Times 
and find messages and remembrances regarding Marine Corporal Ian W. Stewart here.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Mark T. Carter, Navy Seal, Chief Petty Officer -- Rest In Peace

Mark T. Carter , 27

Navy, Chief Petty Officer
Based: East Coast-based Navy SEAL
Navy SEAL
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: December 11, 2007
Balad, Iraq
Single
Gender: Male
Hometown: Fallbrook
High School: Fallbrook High (Fallbrook)
Burial: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va.
[Mark T. Carter] knew exactly what he wanted to do when he joined the Navy after graduating from Fallbrook High School in 1998. He wanted to be a Navy SEAL.
The son of a doctor, Carter graduated from boot camp at Great Lakes, Ill., and then Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training in Coronado, Calif. More than half of SEAL students drop out, but not Carter, a stocky 5-foot-5 and outdoor athlete who loved physical challenges.

Once he was in the SEALs, his rise through the ranks was swift. He deployed during the U.S. campaign to topple the Taliban in Afghanistan and then during the early stages of the U.S. mission in Iraq.

His fellow SEALs gave him the nickname Badger after the small but ferocious animal. The name was bestowed after Carter beat a 6-foot-5 opponent in a wrestling match.


The facts behind his death and earlier service in Afghanistan and Iraq may never be fully known. Like other special forces units, the SEALs keep a tight hold on their identities and the facts behind their missions. His parents, Cindy and Dr. Thomas Carter, now of Council Bluffs, Iowa, have declined to speak to the media.

Although SEALs do multiple tasks, one of Carter's specialties was keeping team members in radio contact during missions. When team members cannot communicate with each other, high-risk missions can go awry.

"Without a good comm guy, you can't complete a mission," said Petty Officer 1st Class Steve Otten, who teaches at the SEALs school and will soon leave active duty. "Next to the officer in charge, the comm guy is probably the most important. Mark was one of the best."

Read the whole LA Times article about Navy Chief Petty Officer Mark T. Carter here 
and find more at the Arlington Cemetary site 
and visit Navy Seal Carter's Guest Book here.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Jhanner A. Tello, Army, Private -- Rest In Peace

Jhanner A. Tello , 29

Army, Private
Based: Ft. Hood, Texas
3rd Aviation Support Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: December 10, 2009
Baghdad, Iraq
Married, 2 children
Gender: Male
Hometown: Los Angeles
Foreign Country of Birth: Colombia

He was a very happy man.
— Lusin Mathews-Gezalyan, ex-wife
Jhanner Tello was a charmer, a sweet-talker and a man who loved to entertain, and when he was around, there was never a dull moment, those close to him say.

In July 2005, he took that energy and joined the Army, which soon posted him overseas.

Pvt. Jhanner A. Tello, 29, was on his second deployment to Iraq on Dec. 10 when he died in Baghdad of injuries suffered in a noncombat-related incident, according to the Department of Defense.

But his relatives said Tello always took pride in his military service and his family. "He wanted to be there for his two boys," Ashley Tello said.
Read the whole LA Times article on Army Private Jhanner A. Tello here
and find more about Army Private Jhanner A. Tello  here.  

Friday, December 9, 2011

Shabbat Shalom -- Early White House Chanukah



Drudge says:

The basic elements of a koshermenorah are eight holders for oil or candles and an additional holder, set apart from the rest, for the shamash ("attendant") candle.
The Menorah
The Chanukah lights can either be candle flames or oil-fueled. Since the miracle of Chanukah happened with olive oil – the little cruse of oil that lasted for eight days – an oil menorah is preferable to a candle one, and olive oil is the ideal fuel. Cotton wicks are preferred because of the smooth flame they produce.
Whenever purchasing a mitzvah article, we try to buy the most beautiful one that is within our means. So, if at all possible, go for the silver menorah. Beautifying a mitzvah is our way of expressing our appreciation to G‑d, and showing how dearly we hold His commandments.
The eight candles of the menorah must be arranged in a straight, even line, not in a zigzag or with some lights higher than others. If it is an oil menorah, the oil cups must hold enough oil to burn for the required time – at least 30 minutes on weeknights, and up to one-and-a-half hours on Friday evening (see Special Shabbat Rules). If it is a candle menorah, the candles should be large enough to burn for the required time.
Electric menorahs are great for display purposes, and are a wonderful medium for publicizing the Chanukah miracle. But the Chanukah lights used to fulfill the mitzvah should be real flames fueled by wax or oil – like the flames in the Holy Temple.
Yep, as Matt Drudge reminds us, "we never need an excuse for a good party." Amein.

Nicholas P. Steinbacher, Army, Specialist -- Rest In Peace


Army, Specialist
Based: Ft. Hood, Texas
2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: December 10, 2006
Baghdad, Iraq
Single
Gender: Male
Hometown: La Crescenta
High School: Crescenta Valley Senior High (La Crescenta)
It was the last parade for Army Spc. Nicholas P. Steinbacher of La Crescenta, an infantryman killed earlier this month by a roadside bomb in Iraq.

On Dec. 20, as his funeral procession slowly traveled from Crippen Mortuary to St. James the Less Catholic Church, thousands of people from his hometown lined the 2 1/2 -mile route.

They included veterans, firefighters, police officers, local merchants, former classmates, high school athletes and friends. Many held American flags. All stood in silence as the motorcade passed.

"It was phenomenal. In the middle of a Wednesday just before the holidays, people with plenty to do turned out to pay their respects," said Steinbacher's father, Paul. "It was a comfort for the family and a tribute to my son."

Steinbacher was killed Dec. 10 when a bomb exploded near his Humvee while he was on a night patrol in Baghdad. Just two days before, he had celebrated his 22nd birthday.


Steinbacher was assigned to Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Calvary Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division at Ft. Hood, Texas. His comrades described him as the spirit of their unit.
Read the entire LA Times article about Army Specialist Nicholas P. Steinbacher here and find more about Steinbacher here, here, here and here.





Thursday, December 8, 2011

Steven H. Bridges, Army, Staff Sergeant -- Rest In Peace

Steven H. Bridges, 33

Army, Staff Sergeant
Based: Ft. Lewis, Wash.
1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: December 8, 2003
Balad (9 km northeast of), Iraq
Married, 4 children
Gender: Male
Hometown: Tracy
Burial: Tahoma National Cemetery, Kent, Wash.
Army Staff Sgt. Steven H. Bridges of Tracy, a father of four who had hoped to become a history teacher when he finished his military career, died Monday on a nighttime patrol north of Baghdad.

Army officials said Bridges, 33, was in one of two Stryker vehicles -- a lightweight, high-tech troop carrier introduced only recently in Iraq -- that plunged into a canal when the dike on which they were driving suddenly collapsed.

Two other soldiers,  Spc. Joseph M. Blickenstaff, 23, and Spc. Christopher J. Rivera Wesley, 26, both of Oregon, also died in the accident.

Bridges graduated from Tracy High in 1988 and, to the surprise of his family, joined the Army in 1991.

He is survived by his wife, Debra; their 5-year-old daughter; and three stepchildren from his wife's earlier marriage.

In a statement read by military authorities in Ft. Lewis, Debra Bridges said of her husband: "He knew that he was going to miss his family and, at times, expected he might not see us again. But he deployed with confidence that he was well-trained and ready. No one could have predicted the accident that suddenly took this man from our lives."

His parents, Sheldon and Loretta Bridges, live in Tracy.
Read the full LA Times article about Army Staff Sergeant Steven H. Bridges here, find messages and remembrances here and Sergeant Bridges' photograph is to be found here.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor Casualty List. There are 2402 names on this list.

USS Arizona
First the sneak attack.

Then some talk -- sans teleprompter.

Later some action.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Kenneth E. Necochea Jr., Army, Corporal -- Rest In Peace

Kenneth E. Necochea Jr., 21

Army, Corporal
Based: Ft. Campbell, Ky.
2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment,
2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)
Supporting: Operation Enduring Freedom
Died: December 12, 2010
Kandahar province, Afghanistan
Single
Gender: Male
Hometown: San Diego
High School: Poway High (Poway)

From the San Diego Union Tribune:
Poway High Grad, Kenneth Necochea Jr., dies in Afghanistan
By Blanca Gonzalez

Tuesday, December 14, 2010 at 6:10 p.m.
Specialist Kenneth Necochea Jr.
As a student at Poway High School, Kenny Necochea was a gentle, quiet kid who developed a passion for history.

As a young man in the Army, he started making plans for the future and considered a career as a fireman or police officer.

He had been in Afghanistan, part of the 101st Airborne Division based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, since early June and was looking forward to a leave in mid-January.

Specialist Kenneth Necochea Jr. was killed Dec. 12 in a suicide attack in Afghanistan. He was 21.

Five other American soldiers were also killed when a vehicle packed with explosives blew up at the entrance of a joint NATO-Afghan base in Kandahar province. Spc. Necochea and his fellow soldiers were assigned to 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team.

Friends said Spc. Necochea was a personable, polite young man with a strong faith, great smile and good sense of humor.

Laura Dossett of Tennessee, met him when he was stationed at Fort Campbell and they quickly became close. “He was so shy (when they first met) but once we got to know each other, he opened up,” Dossett said. “He was such a gentle, sweet soul. He was a strong Christian. He was one of the only boys who ever willingly went to church with me.”

Dossett recalled that he brought her mother flowers the first time he met her. “She wondered ‘What’s he buttering me up for,’ but she learned that was just Kenny being Kenny. My family just loved him.”

David LeMaster, assistant principal at Poway High, remembered Spc. Necochea as a low-key student in his history class. “He was a nice, sweet kid. His classmates liked him and he worked well in groups,” LeMaster said. Although he didn’t participate much in class discussions, “he was great one-on-one,” LeMaster said. “Like many kids, he wasn’t too thrilled about (history) at first but he left the class excited about the subject.”

According to the Department of the Defense, Spc. Necochea was an Infantryman who joined the Army in February 2009 and arrived in Fort Campbell in June of 2009. His awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, and Army Service Medal.
In a June 2010 blog posting, his mother, Donna Wright of San Diego, encouraged friends to send care packages and letters to him. His requests included beef jerky, chocolate chip cookies and hard candy, she wrote. In an Aug. 29 posting she wrote that her son had received a medal. “This medal means ‘He’s been in battle,’ been shot at and has shot at others. I can’t tell you how terrifying it was to hear this news,” she wrote.

Laurie Davidson of Selah, Wash., has known Spc. Necochea since he befriended her son, Spc. Markus Jensen at Fort Campbell. The two formed a special bond and planned on becoming police officers or opening a business together after they got out of the Army, she said.

Everybody who met Spc. Necochea loved him, Davidson said. “He was so easy to talk to … He was the type of person you wanted to spend time with, he always had something good to say.”


A California native, Kenneth E. Necochea Jr. was born March 1, 1989. He graduated from Poway High in 2007.


Survivors include his father, Kenneth E. Necochea of Poway; his mother and stepfather, Donna and Neal Wright of San Diego; and several siblings.
See the comments about Army Corporal Kenneth E. Necochea Jr. at the LA Times, 
visit a FaceBook page honoring Corporal Necochea, 
visit Corproal Kenneth E. Necochea's page at Horizon Christian Fellowship 
and read more about Corporal Necochea at the Fort Campbell Courier here.

Dignified Transfer at Dover AFB
A U.S. Army carry team transfers the remains of Army Spc. Kenneth E. Necochea Jr., of San Diego, Calif., at Dover Air Force Base, Del., Dec. 13, 2010. Necochea was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky. (U.S. Air Force photo/Roland Balik)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Arron R. Clark, Army Specialist -- Rest In Peace

Arron R. Clark, 20

Army, Specialist
Based: Darmstadt, Germany
440th Signal Battalion, 22nd Signal Brigade, V Corps
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: December 5, 2003 
Baghdad (eastern part), Iraq
Single
Gender: Male
Hometown: Chico
High School: Chico High (Chico)
Burial: Glen Oaks Memorial Park, Chico
For several months, Army Spc. Arron R. Clark gave soldiers serving with him in Iraq his two-week passes, which would have allowed him to visit his mother in Northern California.
"Mom, they have babies they have not seen," he explained in letters to his mother, Tamela Lyne Clark, 45, of Chico. "I hope you understand."

The 20-year-old Chico native promised his mother he would come home on his scheduled Jan. 8 return to the United States to attend the Army Ranger School.
But Clark was killed Dec. 5 when an explosive device detonated next to his Humvee in Baghdad.
"He was my only child," his mother said Thursday as she waited in Sacramento for her son's body, which was being escorted home by his cousin, Lisa Herrik, 28, of Chico, who is an Army helicopter pilot stationed at Ft. Bragg, N.C.
Read the entire LA Times article about Army Specialist Arron Ray Clark here and read more here and find messages and remembrances here.

The casket of Army Spc. Arron R. Clark of Chico, Calif., is moved Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2003, from Neighborhood Church to a hearse after a funeral service in Chico, Calif. At right center in the rear is Clark's mother, Lynn Clark. (AP Photo/Chico Enterprise-Record, Ty Barbour)
This photograph is found here.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Vincent W. Ashlock, Army National Guard, Staff Sergeant -- Rest In Peace

Vincent W. Ashlock, 45

Army National Guard, Staff Sergeant
Based: Lucedale, Miss.
890th Engineer Battalion, 168th Engineer Brigade
Supporting: Operation Enduring Freedom
Died: December 4, 2010
Khost province, Afghanistan
Married, 5 children
Gender: Male
Hometown: Seaside
Burial: San Carlos Cemetery, Monterey, Calif.

From the LA Times:
Staff Sgt. Vincent W. Ashlock put in nearly 10 years in the active-duty Army as a young man. After he left, his yearning to get back in uniform never waned. Three years ago, he signed up with the California Army National Guard and found himself, at age 42, staffing dangerous checkpoints south of Baghdad.

"Getting back into the service was his mission in life," said his mother, Margot Stengel. "When he went to Iraq, he said: 'I finally feel like a man.' He just felt good about what he was doing."

Ashlock died Dec. 4, partway through the second tour of duty in his second military life. He was attached to an Army National Guard company, the 890th Engineer Battalion, 168th Engineer Brigade in Lucedale, Miss. He had been serving in eastern Afghanistan's Khowst province, on the Pakistani border. He was 45.

Ashlock appears to have died in his sleep, relatives and military officials said. The cause of death is presumed to be a heart attack, said his wife, Angela.

"He had a strong patriotism," his wife said. "He took the military spirit to heart. He tried to be a man of honor and liberty and honesty."

Ashlock was born in San Jose and reared largely in Merced, then in Montana, his mother said. He joined the Army at 18. After leaving the military in his late 20s, he held a variety of jobs — installing flooring and carpeting and working as a warehouse manager in Sacramento.

"But in his civilian life, it was hard for him to do the everyday work, going to work 9 to 5," his wife said. "He liked the excitement of the military. He wanted to be part of doing great things and helping people and making a difference."

After joining the National Guard in California, he was quickly attached to a Mississippi unit that was ready to deploy to Iraq. There, he helped train security forces from other nations — at one point trading in the rum cakes his mother sent him for a goat, which he cooked as a holiday meal for Ugandan forces.

"I said, 'You did what?' " his mother said. "He said, 'That's what they like. I made sure they got Christmas dinner.' "

After that deployment, Ashlock volunteered for another tour, this one in Afghanistan. Much of it was spent conducting dangerous road-clearing missions. He injured his neck in one roadside explosion.

In November, shortly before he died, Ashlock visited home on leave. His daughter's elementary school asked him to participate in a Veterans Day ceremony.

"They sang songs to them and honored them," his wife said. "It was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. He went up there with my daughter in front of everybody and had tears in his eyes. He was really proud of what he did. It was the last time he was here."

Ashlock was buried in Monterey near his hometown of Seaside, south of Santa Cruz.

In addition to his wife and mother, he is survived by five children, Christopher Romine, Erica Sepanski, Jessee Ashlock, Kali Ashlock and Steven Ashlock; his stepfather, Neil Schweitzer; two brothers, Ryan "Buzz" Schweitzer and Lonnie Everson; a sister, Dawn Doss; his grandmother, Bonnie Ashlock; and two grandchildren.

Read more about Army National Guard Staff Sergeant Vincent W. Ashlock at Military Times and visit Sergeant Ashlock's Guest Book.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Kyle Dayton, Army, Sergeant -- Rest In Peace

Kyle Dayton, 22

Army, Sergeant
Based: Ft. Bragg, N.C.
2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division
Supporting: Operation Enduring Freedom
Died: December 3, 2007
Ashwah, Iraq
Married, 1 child
Gender: Male
Hometown: El Dorado Hills
High School: Oak Ridge High School (El Dorado Hills)
Burial: Green Valley Cemetery, Graton, Calif.
[Sergeant Dayton's wife Nicole] said she will forever have imprinted in her mind the image from the day her husband flew off to Iraq. They had about 15 minutes together and she gave him a hug and a kiss. Standing 6 feet 2 and with his pack on his back, Dayton bent down to kiss her belly, swelling with their unborn son. "I'll see you in a couple months," he said, and then walked away.

"He looked back once, and he smiled at me," Nicole said. "He had that smile on his face that he always has . . . it was a goofy smile, it was that don't-you-dare-cry sort of smile, but his eyes looked kind of sad, and I'd never seen that before.

"I was just about to lose it, I was just about to collapse in tears . . . but it was OK, I really thought it was going to be OK. You know, I'll always have that picture of him in my mind."
Do read the whole LA Times article about Army Sergeant Kyle Dayton here and read more here and here and find pictures and remembrances in his Guest Book here.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Shabbat Shalom -- San Antonio


San Antonio, Texas mayor Julian Castro inserts a note as he stands at Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, during his visit of Jerusalem's Old city, Monday, July 11, 2011. (AP Photos/Dan Balilty)
Photo: Express-News, Dan Balilty / AP

Napoleon Crowns Napoleon

December 2, 1804
Napoleon crowns himself Emperor of the French

Ryan C. Young, Army, Sergeant -- Rest In Peace

Ryan C. Young, 21

Army, Sergeant
Based: Ft. Riley, Kan.
A Company, 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: December 2, 2003
Walter Reed Army Medical Center, USA
Married
Gender: Male
Hometown: Corona
High School: Norco High (Norco)
Burial: Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside

After his hospital stay to treat shrapnel wounds, Army Sgt. Ryan C. Young expected to be released soon and come home to Riverside County.

The 21-year-old soldier from Corona had appeared to be recuperating steadily from the injuries he suffered Nov. 8 when an improvised explosive device detonated and hit his vehicle in Fallujah, Iraq. But he unexpectedly developed a blood clot in his lungs that traveled to his heart, and he died Dec. 2. ...

Young ... met his future wife, neighbor Sarah Smith ... the summer before their sophomore year at Norco High School. "Ever since that day, we were best friends," she said. They were married in a civil ceremony in August 2002.

A month after graduating in 2000 from Norco High, Young joined the Army, just as he had planned since he was 7. His wife said he welcomed his September deployment to Iraq. "He just couldn't wait," she said. "That's what he got trained to do, and he finally got to do it."

Young also is survived by his father, Marvin Young of Iowa; his stepfather, Steve Cutshall; a brother, Brandon Cutshall; two sisters, Jenifer and Nicole Cutshall; his paternal grandparents, Milton Young of Louisiana and Billy Jean Shackleford of Texas; and his maternal grandparents, Walt and Gwen Duran of Oregon.
Read the whole LA Times article about Army Sergeant Ryan C. Young here and visit Sergeant Young's memorial website here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

John A. "JT" Lucente, Marines, Lance Corporal -- Rest In Peace

John A. "JT" Lucente, 19

Marines, Lance Corporal
Based: Camp Pendleton
Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, I Marine Expeditionary Force
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: November 16, 2005
Ubaydi (near Syrian border), Iraq
Single
Gender: Male
Hometown: Grass Valley
High School: Bear River High (Grass Valley)
Burial: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va.


Marine Lance Cpl. John Lucente, 19, Grass Valley; Killed by Hand Grenade

There was something sweetly old-fashioned about Marine Lance Cpl. John Lucente, who was among five Marines killed Nov. 16 in combat in Ubaydi, Iraq, an insurgent stronghold near the Syrian border.

The 19-year-old Grass Valley, Calif., resident went to church regularly, enlisted in the Marine Corps in his junior year in high school, held down a summer job as a dishwasher and never failed to tell his family that he loved them.

In his last e-mail home, Lucente asked for prayers for his safety and that of others in Operation Steel Curtain, which was launched earlier this month with 2,500 Marines, soldiers and sailors, as well as 1,000 Iraqi soldiers.

The assault was said to be the first time that battalion-sized Iraqi units have fought alongside U.S. forces in restive Al Anbar province, stretching west almost from Baghdad to the Syrian border. The province is a stronghold of Sunni-led insurgents fighting the American-backed Iraqi government.

In addition to his mother and stepfather, Lucente is survived by two brothers, Cris, 15, and 2-month-old Jake; and a sister Cassie, 9. Jake was given his name by Lucente, his mother said.
Read the entire LA Times article about Marine Lance Corporal John A. "JT" Lucente here, see the Arlington National Cemetery article about Lance Corporal Lucente here and visit his Guest Book here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Matthew J. Holley, Army, Specialist -- Rest In Peace

Matthew J. Holley, 21

Army, Specialist
Based: Ft. Campbell, Ky.
1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: November 15, 2005
Taji (northwest of Baghdad), Iraq
Engaged
Gender: Male
Hometown: San Diego
Burial: Glen Abbey Memorial Park, Bonita, Calif.
School: Home schooled

Matthew Holley was the son every parent wants: smart, handsome, creative, and filled with purpose. A three-time AAU national karate champion, he was an exceptionally-skilled athlete. He was also a gifted amateur artist. With his talent and his drive, Matthew could have excelled in nearly any profession he chose. He chose to be a Soldier.
When Matthew enlisted in the United States Army in February of 2004, he was following the example of generations of his family. His father and his mother were both Army veterans. Between uncles, cousins, and grandfathers, the Holley family had collectively served more than 150 years in uniform since World War II, and Matthew was ready to do his part. But most importantly, Matthew was excited to be following in his father's footsteps.

The day he graduated from Air Assault School Matthew called home, saying, “I've got my wings, Dad. We can put them with yours.” Matthew put in for assignment to his father's old unit, the 101st Airborne. He got his wish and became a Screaming Eagle, just like his dad before him. He chose his military specialty, Combat Medic, because he wanted to help people, again following the example set by his father, who has been both a paramedic and a professional firefighter.

Read the entire article about 
Army Specialist Matthew J. Holley here.
Visit Matthew J. Holley's Guest Book here
read the San Diego Tribune article here
an article about his final trip home here, 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Shabbat Shalom -- The Jews of Yemen


With a kalashnikov on his side, 19-year-old Yemeni Jew, Yosef Saeed Hamdi (Right), poses for a picture with an unidentified guest on the first day of his traditional wedding party in the village of Raydah in Amran province, 70 kms north of Sanaa, on June 15, 2008. Hamdi is completing his studies in Jerusalem but he came back home to get married to a young woman from his community, according to relatives. A few hundred Jews still live in Yemen, but recent threats by rebels from the Zaidi minority made some leave their homes in the Saada province to the Sanaa region. Jews, like Muslims in tribal areas of Yemen, hold three-day wedding parties for their children who usually marry members of the same community.