Sunday, October 31, 2010

Reagan Handles a Heckler

Remember when we had a real president?

Alex Oceguera, Army, Private 1st Class -- Rest In Peace

Alex Oceguera, 19

Army, Private 1st Class
Based: Ft. Drum, N.Y.
1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry)
Supporting: Operation Enduring Freedom
Died: October 31, 2006
Wygal Valley, Afghanistan
Gender: Male
Hometown: San Bernardino
High School: Montclair High (Montclair)
Burial: Oakdale Memorial Park, Glendora

Visit Army Private 1st Class Alex Oceguera's Memorial Page here.
Read the LA Times article about Army Private 1st Class Alex Oceguera here.
Visit Army Private 1st Class Alex Oceguera's Guest Book here.
Read more about Army Private 1st Class Alex Oceguera at his page here:
Pfc. Alex Oceguera, 19, was an infantryman assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI).

A native of San Bernardino, Calif., Oceguera enlisted in the Army in June 2005 and trained at Fort Benning, Ga., to be an infantryman.

A roadside bomb killed a 19-year-old San Bernardino native on Oct. 31 in Afghanistan.

Oceguera's awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

He is survived by his parents and a sister.

Oceguera was traveling in a vehicle in Wygal Valley when he and another soldier from the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Drum, N.Y., were killed by an improvised explosive device.

The explosion also mortally wounded Sgt. Charles J. McClain, 26, of Fort Riley, Kan., who later died in Asadabad.

Oceguera was born in San Bernardino,and his family moved to Montclair when he was a child.

He graduated from Montclair High School in June 2005.

During his four years there, Oceguera did not make a name for himself through sports or awards. Instead, it was his personality and charm that made a lasting impression...

In the Army, Oceguera's skills as an infantryman shone through.

In less than two years, he won the Army Commendation Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge, according to the Fort Drum press office.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tea Day -- Art Interlude -- Bosch Fawstin

Lukas C. Hopper, Army, Pfc -- Rest In Peace

Lukas C. Hopper, 20

Army, Private 1st Class
Based: Ft. Bragg, N.C.
1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: October 30, 2009
Karadah (southeast of), Iraq
Gender: Male
Hometown: Merced
High School: Golden Valley High (Merced)

From the LA Times:
Though he was raised Mormon, Hopper liked to attend the Jewish services on base because at the end of the service, everyone danced and ate doughnuts and bagels, he told his pals.

"He never conformed to what society or anyone around him wanted him to do, be, or say. He did what he thought was best for him, his family and his friends, whether it was a popular decision or not," said Kevin Pope, a family friend.

"The saddest part of his death is that he was truly coming into his own as an adult. . . . He definitely had a sense of purpose and a sense of direction that he might not have had prior to joining the military, and it was great to see him doing things that he loved."

Hopper, a specialist assigned to Company D, 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division at Ft. Bragg, N.C., died less than two weeks before he was scheduled to return from Iraq.

He had planned to transfer to another brigade to fight in Afghanistan and was interested in going through Ranger school.

The last time he saw Hopper, Alcorn said, his friend was becoming more serious about his future.

"He wanted to go to school after the Army," Alcorn said. "He wanted a family, wanted to grow old together and live simply."
Don't miss the entire LA Times article about Army Private First Class Lukas C. Hopper here and read more from his Merced hometown paper here.

Go here now for a tribute to Lukas Hopper from his friends.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Shabbat Shalom -- Sobchak Files

Shakere T. Guy, Army National Guard, Sergeant -- Rest In Peace

Shakere T. Guy, 23

Army National Guard, Sergeant
Based: Modesto
1st Battalion, 184th Infantry Regiment, 40th Infantry Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: October 29, 2005
Baghdad (southern part), Iraq
Gender: Male
Hometown: Pomona
High School: Pomona Senior High (Pomona)
Foreign Country of Birth: Jamaica
Burial: Riverside National Cemetery

Army National Guard Sgt. Shakere T. Guy was known among his fellow soldiers for his fun-loving sense of humor and his efforts to help the Iraqi people. He used his own money to buy the children toys, soccer balls, clothes and candy.
Born in Jamaica, Guy became a U.S. citizen in July 2004. A few months later, the 23-year-old Pomona resident was dispatched to Iraq as a member of the National Guard's 1st Battalion, 184th Infantry Regiment in Modesto.
Guy was one of two guardsmen killed Oct. 29 when a roadside bomb exploded near the Humvee they were riding in during a combat mission in Baghdad. Also killed was National Guard Capt. Raymond D. Hill II, 39, of Turlock, Calif.

Guy, who was engaged to be married, is survived by his mother, Donna Sanguinette, and a sister, Tracy Ann Smith, both of Pomona.

At an emotional memorial service for Guy and three other soldiers in the same company, including the battalion commander, who were killed within a few days, one friend recalled that Guy was beside him the first time they were attacked with explosives.

"I couldn't have asked for a better soldier by my side," the unidentified soldier said in a eulogy for Guy. "He performed very well at his assigned duties, whether it be as a gunner or driver. He maintained a high level of alertness, and was quick to point out weaknesses to help the team. Guy wore the uniform proudly.

Read more about Army National Guard Sergeant Shakere Taffari Guy here and here.

Previously posted here.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Joseph F. Curreri, Army, Staff Sergeant -- Rest In Peace

Joseph F. Curreri, 27

Army, Staff Sergeant
Based: Ft. Lewis, Wash.
2nd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne)
Supporting: Operation Enduring Freedom
Died: October 27, 2007
Siet Lake, Philippines
Gender: Male
Hometown: Los Angeles
High School: Loyola Blakefield High School (Baltimore)
Burial: Los Angeles National Cemetery, Westwood

Born and reared in the suburbs of Baltimore, Curreri became a Civil War buff at an early age and a record-breaking swimmer. When he was 14, he swam across Chesapeake Bay and also founded the water polo team at his high school, the Jesuit-run Loyola Blakefield.

Coaches from Harvard, Yale, Princeton and elsewhere urged him to join their swim teams, but he fell in love with USC on a recruiting trip, his mother said.

"He was a dedicated Trojan," she said.

His Army buddies, some from competing colleges around the country, recounted how he would devilishly subject them to his singing of the USC fight song.

On the USC swim team, he was a member of a four-man relay team that took first place in the 800-meter freestyle at the U.S. Spring Nationals in 1999.
He qualified for the 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials and was voted captain of the swim team for the first half of his senior year....
In an essay titled "Why I wish to become a Green Beret," Curreri quoted President Kennedy about the few granted the role of defending freedom in the hour of maximum danger.

"When my children ask me what I did to avenge the assault of September 11th, I shall be able to look them in the eye, without a hint of hesitation, and respond that I answered the call of our nation," he wrote.

Curreri joined the Army in 2004 and was assigned as a Special Forces communications sergeant with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Ft. Lewis, Wash.

He was part of a group helping to train Philippine government troops fighting Islamic militants in the nation's southern islands and was due to return to the United States with his group Nov. 8.

In addition to his wife and mother, Curreri is survived by his father, Frank, of Carney, Md.; his stepmother, Tricia; and two sisters, Shannon Trevino of Laguna Beach and Angelina Curreri of Carney, Md.

The family asks that any donations be made to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation --  which provides scholarships and counseling to children of fallen military personnel.

Please read the entire LA Times article about Army Staff Sergeant Joseph F. Curreri hereand read more here, here and here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Coming Up Roses -- Merman Interlude

And here she is singing the same number for, yes, Ronald Reagan.

Billy Gomez, Army, Corporal -- Rest In Peace

Billy Gomez, 25

Army, Corporal
Based: Schofield Barracks, Hawaii
2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry,
3rd Infantry Brigade,
25th Infantry Division
Supporting: Operation Enduring Freedom
Died: October 27, 2004
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany
Gender: Male
Hometown: Perris

Cpl. Billy Gomez of Perris, California died at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, where he was taken after his vehicle struck a homemade bomb Oct. 20 in Naka, Afghanistan. He was a member of the medical corps and enlisted in the Army in August 1997. Originally from Perris, Calif., Gomez was the youngest of triplets. Both of his brothers are also in the Army. Mark is a member of 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, serving on Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan, and Joey is assigned to a unit on Fort Sill, Okla. He was 25.
Headquarters Company
2nd Battalion
27th Infantry Regiment
25th Infantry Division (Light)
Schofield Barracks

Billy Gomez was a true friend of mine..we were stationed at Fort Bragg,NC together. He would always put a smile on your face no matter what the situation was..We both re-enlisted for Hawaii and was stationed there together before we both were deployed..My family had him over for Thanksgiving dinner because neither one of us had family there..I miss you brother!!
— SSG Chris Pettit
May 20, 2010 at 1:05 p.m.
It is hard to think that he is gone forever. But he is only gone physically and still lives within our memories... I miss my brother.
— Debbie Gomez
May 25, 2010 at 3:49 p.m.
sorry i wasnt there to protect u billy...
— Robinson Prieto
May 31, 2010 at 11:17 p.m.

Spc. Visala Tui (see below), a medic with HHC, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf. Rgt., pays his respects following a memorial service for his best friend, Cpl. Billy Gomez Oct. 30 at Forward Operating Base Orgun -E, Afghanistan. Gomez, who was also a medic in HHC, 2-27, died Oct. 27 from injuries he sustained when his vehicle hit an IED Oct. 20 in Afghanistan. US Army photo by Staff Sgt. Bradley Rhen.
Find more pictures of Army Corporal Billy Gomez' memorial here (scroll down once you reach the link):
 Update: Found this at The Bark :

The Loss of a Friend
Wolfhounds of the 2nd Battalion,
27th Infantry Regiment remember a
fallen comrade at a memorial service
held at Orgun-e FOB on 30 October.
CPL William Gomez, 25, of
Perris, California died on 27 October at
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in
Germany of wounds sustained from an
IED attack.
CPL Gomez, a Combat Medic
assigned to HHC 2-27IN, was critically
wounded when an improvised explosive
device destroyed his Humvee while on
patrol in Paktika Province, Afghanistan
on 20 October.
Two other 2-27 soldiers seriously
wounded in the same attack are
CPT Daniel Beard, Headquarters
Company Commander, described CPL
Gomez as a quality soldier and dedicated
“There was nothing CPL Gomez
would not and could not do for the good
of the mission,” CPT Beard said.
Medical Platoon Leader, 1LT
William Curtis, said CPL Gomez was
one of the most competent medics in the
“If I had a platoon of medics like
him I’d have no worries," said 1LT
CPL Gomez entered the United
States Army on 11 August 1997. He
was assigned to Schofield Barracks in
July of 2001. In March 2004 he was
deployed to Afghanistan in support of
Operation Enduring Freedom as part of
the 3rd Brigade Combat Team.
During his combat tour in
Afghanistan, CPL Gomez earned the
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal,
the Global War on Terrorism
Expeditionary Medal, the Combat
Medical Badge, and the Purple Heart.
Previous awards include the Army
Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service
Ribbon, the Army Good Conduct Medal,
the National Defense Service Medal, and
the Expert Field Medical Badge.
PFC Jerry Little said his coworker
was a true friend and type of guy
you could always count on.
“He was a great person. If you
needed something he was there,” PFC
Little said. “He was liked and respected
by everyone who knew him.”
SPC Visala Tui spoke at the
memorial service paying tribute to his
best friend.
“I’m thankful to have had him as
a friend in my life the last three years,”
he said. “I can look back at all the
memories of the good times we had.”
“I will never forget him. He will
always be in my heart now and forever.”
SPC Tui shared how he would
tell his children about CPL Gomez.
“He’s the person who helped
their daddy…the hero who fought for
their freedom,” he said. “They will hear
stories of how great he was, how tough
he was, and how he inspired others to
fight on.”
"Because of CPL Gomez,
America is America today. I will always
miss you, Billy, my friend.”
All soldiers of the 25th Infantry
Division will miss his presence and
friendship both on and off the battlefield.
His dedication to his duty,
professionalism and faith is a model for
all to follow. His love for country,
family and friends is an inspiration to us
CPL Gomez was the youngest of
triplets. He is survived by his two
brothers, Army SGT Mark Gomez who
is currently deployed to Afghanistan
with the 2-35IN, 25th ID(L), and Army
SGT Joey Gomez who is assigned to
Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He is also survived
by his sister Debbie Gomez, and his
mother Maria Rivas.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

David Eliah Metzger, Army, Sergeant 1st Class -- Rest In Peace

David E. Metzger, 32

Army, Sergeant 1st Class
Based: Ft. Bragg, N.C.
3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
Supporting: Operation Enduring Freedom
Died: October 26, 2009
Darreh-ye Bum, Afghanistan
Married, 1 child
Gender: Male
Hometown: San Diego
High School: Mar Vista Senior High (Imperial Beach)
Burial: Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego

Sgt. 1st Class Metzger, 32, was one of seven Army Special Operations Command soldiers [and one of two from Fort Bragg] killed in Afghanistan Oct. 26 when the helicopter carrying them crashed in the western province of Badghis. Also killed were three Drug Enforcement Administration agents. Most of those on board, including U.S. and Afghan personnel, survived the crash.

Metzger was on his third deployment to Afghanistan. Fellow soldiers lauded his dedication and described him as a strapping, affable comrade who paid close attention to detail.

"He was someone you could count on," Master Sgt. Javier F. Martinez, the senior enlisted sergeant on Metzger's team, said by telephone from Afghanistan. "He was someone you'd want there in the heat of battle. You always knew he was watching your back."

Metzger was buried at Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, after several services celebrating his life.

Survivors include Alicia Metzger and the couple's two sons, David Jr., 13, and Grant, 2, of Fort Bragg; and his grandmother Dolores Wallen and parents, David Metzger and Lisandra Holstein, of California.

Read the entire LA Times story on Army Sergeant 1st Class David E. Metzger here, read more here and here and find a story and photographs from NBC San Diego here.
Find one of many articles about Keith R. Bishop here.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Art Interlude -- Potato[e] Party

Raymond D. Hill II, Army National Guard, Captain -- Rest In Peace

Raymond D. Hill II, 39

Army National Guard, Captain
Based: Modesto
1st Battalion, 184th Infantry Regiment, 40th Infantry Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: October 29, 2005
Baghdad (southern area), Iraq
Married, 2 children
Gender: Male
Hometown: Turlock
High School: Ceres High (Ceres)
Burial: Lakewood Memorial Park, Hughson, Calif.
On Oct. 29, [Captain Ramond D. Hill II] and another guardsman were killed when a roadside bomb exploded near their Humvee in southern Baghdad. The blast followed raids earlier that day that netted 39 suspected insurgents in the area, Markert said.

Hill was on his way to deliver educational supplies and humanitarian aid to Iraqis affected by military operations, officials said...

"His passion was his family, and the military," said Ron Hill, Ray's brother. "He loved what he was doing."

Hill's unit did a first Middle East tour in 2001, heading to Kuwait as terrorists struck New York and the Pentagon. He returned to Iraq in January.

He wrote his wife, Dena, soon after arriving. Balancing obligations to his family -- including daughters BreeAnna, 13, and Alyssa, 10 -- and the military wasn't always easy or convenient, he wrote.

"My heart aches for the time I am missing; missing important dates, events and special moments. I know you think I see this as just a big adventure and a carefree event for me.

"I admit I was willing to go. After all, this is what I have trained for, for the past 18 years.... If I did not go, someone else would have to."

Hill's unit operates in a heavily Sunni Muslim area that has been a hotspot of insurgent attacks.

Since mid-September, 11 members of the 184th Regiment have been killed. Three officers were fatally wounded in bomb attacks in a single week, including Hill and a colonel, the highest-ranking commander killed in the war.

Ron Hill said his brother, who e-mailed and spoke with family members two days before he died, never expressed despair over casualties or fear for his own safety.

Instead, he was encouraged by the appreciation he received from Iraqis, especially children, Ron Hill said.

"The gratitude he experienced was 'beyond comprehension.' Those were some of his words."
Read the entire LA Times article about Army National Guard Captain Raymond D. Hill II here and read more here, here and here.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Richard Patrick Slocum, Marines, Lance Corporal -- Rest In Peace

Richard Patrick Slocum, 19

Marines, Lance Corporal
Based: Marine Corps Base Hawaii
1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: October 24, 2004
Baghdad (Abu Ghraib), Iraq
Gender: Male
Hometown: Saugus
High School: Saugus High (Saugus)
Burial: Eternal Valley Memorial Park, Newhall

Here's the LA Times on Richard P. Slocum:
October 31, 2004
Catherine Saillant
Richard P. Slocum joined the Marine Corps right after high school because he wanted to become a man, his father says.

Always a "tough guy," the 19-year-old viewed the military as a way to serve his country while gaining new skills and discipline, his father, Robert, said.

"Ricky felt the Marines would make a man of him," he said. "It definitely did."

The lance corporal was killed Oct. 24 in a noncombat accident when a Humvee he was riding in rolled over near Abu Ghraib, Iraq, his father said.

Slocum was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, military officials said. The Department of Defense did not release details about the accident, saying it is under investigation.

Slocum had been manning a machine gun in the turret when the Humvee swerved to avoid a barrier in the road. He was fatally ejected when the vehicle rolled over, his father said.

He said his son had hoped to attend college after a four-year stint in the military.

Robert Slocum and his wife, Kay, supported their son's decision to join the Marines shortly after his graduation from Saugus High School last year even though no one else in the family had served in the military since the Korean War.

Slocum played football and baseball and enjoyed bodybuilding in high school, his father said. After straying from religion, Slocum began quoting Bible verses in letters home as he approached his duty in Iraq, his father said.

"He had a tough-guy image," Robert Slocum said. "But deep down inside, he had a soft heart and would do anything for family and friends."

In addition to his parents, Slocum is survived by a brother, Robert, 22; a sister, Kimberly, 24; his grandparents, Bob and Shirley Slocum of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., and Hilma Kelley of Lancaster; and a nephew.

Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday at Eternal Valley Mortuary in Newhall.

Services will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Grace Baptist Church in Santa Clarita. Burial will be at Eternal Valley Cemetery in Newhall.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Red Cross. Checks should be made out to ARC-Service to Military Families and sent to 2700 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90057.
Read more about Marine Lance Corporal Richard Patrick Slocum here, and find him mentioned on a C-Span video here and at Military Monday on CCR...


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Saturday Night Video -- Decision Points Interlude

Why? Because on the weekends we're highbrow literateaurs and modern historateaurs here at Boom3. 
Plus we like the trend of video trailers for new books. 
Plus plus, we miss having a real president.

Senatress Babs Rexob -- I Worked So Hard

Call Me Senator from RightChange on Vimeo.

Yeah, I want to post this on FaceBook but my pitiful loser friends would cardiac arrest themselves.
Via The Other McCain.
Update: Also seen on Texas for Sarah Palin.
Update update: just spotted in Israel...

1000 Words -- Sarah Diva Palin and Trig -- 1773

Joseph R. Livingston III, Beirut, Lebanon, 1983 -- Rest In Peace, Corporal

Rest In Peace Marine Corporal Joseph R. Livingston III -- Dad, Husband, Son, Brother, Friend 
-- Killed by that religion of peace
Beirut Lebanon

Pevious posts here and here.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Shabbat Shalom

Today's bonus Hatikva. Because we still like it and haven't heard it in a while:

San Sim, Marines, Lance Corporal -- Rest In Peace

San Sim, 23

Marines, Lance Corporal
Based: Twentynine Palms, Calif.
1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force
Supporting: Operation Enduring Freedom
Died: October 22, 2008 Helmand province, Afghanistan
Married, 1 child
Gender: Male
Hometown: Santa Ana
High School: Valley High (Santa Ana)
Foreign Country of Birth: Philippines
“We came to this country to escape war. And now he’s died in war. Our thoughts, prayers and wishes go out to the troops still out there.”
-- Yasmine Sim
From the LA Times:
Growing up in Santa Ana, San Sim could usually be found with an animal nearby.

He had snakes, dogs, cats, chickens, scorpions, lizards, fish and an ant farm, as well as many other pets, said his sister, Serene Sim.

"When he was in high school, he tried to take his pet rooster for a walk, and a rooster is not really an animal you take for a walk, but that's just what he did," she said.

The only thing he loved more than animals was his family, she said. That love of family eventually led to a military career.

San Sim grew up hearing the story of how his family made it from Southeast Asia to the United States against immeasurable odds.

"My dad would tell him about our family and how the nine of them would run through the jungle for hours each day to escape war in Cambodia, and that really stuck with him," Serene Sim, 25, said.

In the late 1970s, the Sims fled Cambodia, then under the genocidal rule of the Khmer Rouge, for refugee camps in Thailand. In 1985, the family made it to the Philippines, where Sim was born, the last of the family's 11 children.

"To be able to survive that migration is a miracle, and he really understood the sacrifice and the struggle the family went through to get here to have some freedom," Serene Sim said.

It was this family history that gave Sim his appreciation for freedom and life, whether animal or human, she said. "He wanted to be a part of America and contribute and give back to the country that gave us all so much," she said.

But it wasn't until after the Sept. 11 attacks, when Sim was a student at Santa Ana’s Valley High School, that he decided how he wanted to give back to the country.

"He just knew it's what he wanted to do -- we all did, him, my brother and I," said Rossy Morales, Sim's childhood neighbor. "We always talked about it, and how we were going to go fight for our country."

After graduation, he attended Orange Coast College for two semesters and then joined the Marines in 2004.

Morales, 22, said her brother, Jay, enlisted in the Marines on the same day as Sim and fought alongside him in Iraq. She later joined the Army herself and will head to Iraq in December.

Sim's decision to go to war left his family conflicted.

The family had hoped to leave war behind, Serene Sim said, and the Sims are pacifists as a part of their Buddhist faith.

"It was a calling for him regardless and we can't stop him from his journey," said Seng Sim, one of Sim's older brothers.

"The war changed him in a lot of good ways. After the first tour when he came back, he was always saying he loved you. That's not something we grew up a lot with, showing that kind of emotion, but that's something he brought with him and into our family."
Read the entire LA Times story here and read more about Marine Lance Corporal San Sim here and find pictures here in the Orange County Register and here at Chandra Pong.

Marine Cpl. Sal Loera holds Donovan Sim,
the one-year-old son of his friend, Lance Cpl. San Sim.
The two served two tours together.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Kyle A. Coumas, Army, Specialist -- Rest In Peace

Kyle A. Coumas, 22

Army, Specialist
Based: Ft. Lewis, Wash.
1st Batallion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division
Supporting: Operation Enduring Freedom
Died: October 21, 2009
Kandahar province, Afghanistan
Gender: Male
Hometown: Lockeford
High School: St. Mary's High School (Stockton) 

An Army specialist, Coumas, 22, was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division at Ft. Lewis, Wash. On Oct. 21, he was killed when a roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle in southwest Afghanistan's Kandahar province, on the Pakistani border.
Army Specialist Kyle A. Coumas' parents wrote of their beloved son:
“Kyle Coumas was a man who believed that serving his country, being a part of a greater whole and being dedicated to preserving our nation’s freedom was the most honorable job a person could have ... Kyle will always be remembered as a soldier who served with honor, dignity and pride. We are blessed to have been his parents for 22 years and will always love him, our only child, with all our hearts!”
Read their entire letter here.

Read the LA Times article about Army Specialist Kyle A. Coumas here and read more here and here. You will find pictures here and here.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Charles O. Sare, Navy, Hospitalman -- Rest In Peace

Charles O. Sare, 23

Navy, Hospitalman
Based: Port Hueneme, Calif.
Naval Ambulatory Care Center
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: October 23, 2006 Sadah, Iraq
Gender: Male
Hometown: Hemet
High School: Hemet High (Hemet)
Burial: San Jacinto Valley Cemetery, San Jacinto, Calif.

When Navy Hospitalman Charles O. Sare deployed to "the sandbox" Sept. 1, he took with him a teddy bear given to him by his girlfriend of seven months. He told her that he would keep it by his heart, she recounted on Sare's home page on
A medic, Sare was killed when a roadside bomb blew up near his Humvee in Al Anbar province, west of Baghdad, according to the Department of Defense.

He is the fourth graduate of Hemet High School to be killed in Iraq.

His father, Charles "Ed" Sare of Hemet, said Otto entered the service because he wanted to become a paramedic firefighter.

"He was there to do a job and get the experience," his father said. "But he believed in the mission. That's why he wanted to go."

Sare enlisted in 2004 and was stationed at the Naval Ambulatory Care Center in Port Hueneme. His family said that shortly after arriving in Iraq, he helped save the life of a fellow serviceman, an event he spoke of with great pride.

Called "Otter" by everyone, Sare was a happy-go-lucky guy who tried to coax a smile from others, his father said.

He was close to his younger brother, Matt, and spoke of moving to Las Vegas with him once he left the service, according to his MySpace page.

His mother, Vikki Carver, a resident of Nibley, Utah, called her son "my closest friend, even though I had to be a parent too. He never judges, only tries to compliment you."

Sare was buried Nov. 1 in Hemet in a service attended by 600 people. His tricked-out Toyota pickup truck led the procession of mourners to San Jacinto Valley Cemetery.

"There are no words to describe the hurt," his father said.
Read the entire LA Times article about Navy Hospitalman Charles O. Sare here, and read more about Sare here and here and visit his Guest Book here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

October 19, 1774 -- Tea Party Express, Annapolis, Maryland

On this day in mob history:
The Burning of the Peggy Stewart

The Peggy Stewart was a Maryland cargo vessel burned on October 19, 1774, in Annapolis as a punishment for contravening the boycott on tea imports which had been imposed in retaliation for the British treatment of the people of Boston following the Boston Tea Party. This event became known as the "Annapolis Tea Party".

Legacy of the burning 1774 - 2010

After the American Revolutionary War, citizens of Maryland came to view the burning of the Peggy Stewart as an act of heroism, considering the angry crowd who demanded the burning to be devoted patriots for their resistance of the British Tea Act.
On October 19, 1904, the city of Baltimore commemorated the event with The Burning of the Peggy Stewart, a mural by Charles Yardley Turner (1850-1919), painted on the west wall of the Criminal Court Lobby in the Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr. Courthouse.
The incident is also honored by "Peggy Stewart Tea", a blend sold by Eastern Shore Tea Co. [We could not find Peggy Stewart Tea on the Eastern Shore website....we did, however, find Liberty Tea: A full bodied herbal blend of native American plants & herbs at the disposal of the colonial settlers, forsaking the pleasures of China teas for the principles of liberty.]

The burning is honored each year by a ceremony in Annapolis.

The story was recounted in a children's book Ahoy, Peggy Stewart by Maud Esther Dilliard, published by Dutton, 1956. (Not available on Kindle.)

On October 19, 1974, the Bicentennial Council of the 13 Original States created a silver ingot honoring the two-hundredth anniversary of the burning.

Our Patriot Mrs. Todd Palin spoke at the October 18, 2010 Tea Party Express rally in Reno Nevada -- the full speech is seen here at Texas for Sarah Palin. (Photo courtesy of On the Edge. Go there to see more of her good pics of Sarah Palin in Reno.)

Painting by Francis Blackwell Mayer, 1896, depicting the burning of the Peggy Stewart.

Erik T. Garoutte, Marines, Corporal -- Rest In Peace

Erik T. Garoutte, 22

Marines, Corporal
Based: Norfolk, Va.
1st Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team Company, Marine Corps Security Force Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: October 19, 2007
Baghdad, Iraq
Gender: Male
Hometown: Santee
High School: Santana High (Santee)
Burial: Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego

Garoutte, 22, of Santee, Calif., collapsed and died Oct. 19 after working out in Baghdad, where he had been stationed for nearly three months.

He was assigned to the 1st Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team Company, Marine Corps Security Force Battalion, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force in Norfolk, Va.

Garoutte grew up in Santee, a San Diego suburb...The eldest of five children, Garoutte doted on his siblings, buying them gifts and making time to play with all of them. "The kids just loved him," his stepmother said.

Garoutte became more religious as a teenager and joined several church youth groups.

"It was just something he did on his own," his stepmother said. "It started off as a social thing, but he gradually became closer to God."

With his Mom
His father and stepmother are both musicians, and Garoutte began to play the guitar more as he became increasingly active in church.

After graduating from Santana High School in 2004, he worked several jobs and briefly moved to Nashville with a friend ...  After moving back to the San Diego area, Garoutte began considering the military.

With his Dad
"He was floundering, and he didn't know what he wanted to do, but he knew he needed to get his ducks in a row," [his Pastor] Stine said.

Garoutte enlisted in 2005, and his family agreed that the military gave him direction. "He went into boot camp a boy and came out a man," his stepmother said.

In addition to his mother, father and stepmother, Garoutte is survived by his four siblings.

Read the entire LA Times article about Marine Corporal Erik T. Garoutte  here, and with a tribute from his church here along with an article from the San Diego Tribune. Go here for Corporal Garoutte's Guest Book.