Thursday, September 30, 2010

Keicia M. Hines, Army, Sergeant -- Rest In Peace

Keicia M. Hines, 27

Army, Sergeant
Based: Ft. Bragg, N.C.
108th Military Police, Combat Support Company
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: January 14, 2004
Mosul, Iraq
Gender: Female
Hometown: Citrus Heights
High School: Florin High (Sacramento)
Burial: St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery, Sacramento

When Army Sgt. Keicia M. Hines was buried last week in Sacramento, she left a particularly painful void in the lives of her mother, Beverly Coleman, and her family.
The 27-year-old soldier was Coleman's only child. And because Coleman's two sisters do not have children, Hines also was an only niece and an only grandchild and great-grandchild on her mother's side of the family.
Hines was killed Jan. 14 when she was accidentally struck by a vehicle at Mosul Airfield in Iraq, military officials said.
"She was the baby," her mother said last week before a motorcade of Sacramento police officers and military officials escorted Hines' body from the airport to the mortuary. "I'm extremely proud of her. The loss is tremendous, but she was doing what she wanted to do. She was just so honorable."

Hines, who was assigned to the 108th Military Police, Combat Support Company at Ft. Bragg, N.C., was buried Thursday in the veterans' section of St. Mary's Cemetery.

In addition to her mother and husband, Hines also is survived by her father, Rudolph Dixon of Chicago; her maternal grandparents, Robert and Mary Coleman of West Sacramento; and a great-grandmother, Ida Wheeler of West Sacramento.
Read the entire LA Times article here and read more about Army Sergeant Keicia M. Hines here and visit her Guest Book here.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tyler Clementi, College Freshman

Dead Child, Tyler Clementi

2 Rutgers Freshmen  Soon-To-Be-Prison-Punks Charged For Secretly Making And Streaming Sex Tape Of Another Student, Who Then Committed Suicide

Jersey Assholes Who Thought They Were Clever
NEW JERSEY (WPIX) — NYPD harbor units have recovered the body of an individual believed to be Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers freshman who jumped to his death after two other students secretly filmed him during a sexual encounter with another man, PIX 11 News has learned.

Sources say there was no wallet and no identification on the body.

Clementi was spotted on the walkway of the George Washington Bridge on the night of Sept 22. Earlier in the evening, the 18-year-old freshman had posted a chilling goodbye message on his Facebook page.

"Jumping off the gw bridge sorry," Clementi wrote on Facebook before jumping to his death. Sources tell PIX 11 News, Clementi's car was later discovered along the New Jersey border with both his cell phone and computer inside.

Fellow freshmen students Dharun Ravi, 18, of Plainsboro and Molly Wei, 18, of Princeton have since been charged with invasion of privacy for allegedly placing a camera in Clementi's room.

Ravi and Wei were charged with two counts each of invasion of privacy for using a camera to view and transmit a live image of the teen during the sexual encounter on Sept. 19.

Ravi, who was Clementi's roommate, [but clearly no friend] was additionally charged with two more counts of invasion of privacy for trying to use the hidden camera to view the same student during another sexual encounter just three days later on Sept. 21.
Read the story here and here.
"If the charges are true, these actions gravely violate the university's standards of decency and humanity."
-- Rutgers University President Richard McCormick 
Ya think?

Here's hoping you learned some technique, Dharun Ravi. You're gonna need it in prison.

Michael A. Monsoor, Navy, Petty Officer 2nd Class -- Rest In Peace

Michael A. Monsoor, 25

Navy, Petty Officer 2nd Class
Based: Coronado, Calif.
SEAL assigned to a West-Coast based command
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: September 29, 2006
Ramadi, Iraq
Gender: Male
Hometown: Garden Grove
High School: Garden Grove High (Garden Grove)
Burial: Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego
One of the survivors puts it this way, 'Mikey looked death in the face that day and said, 'You cannot take my brothers, I will go in their stead.'
— President Bush, Medal of Honor ceremony
On the last day of his life, on a rooftop in Ramadi, Monsoor was assigned to protect three SEAL snipers. When a grenade lobbed from the street bounced off his chest, he yelled, "Grenade!" and pounced on it even though he had a clear path of escape.

Read about Medal of Honor awardee Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class -- Navy SEAL -- Michael A. Monsoor here, here and here.

Robert "Bobby" T. Ayres III, Army, Sergeant -- Rest In Peace

Robert "Bobby" T. Ayres III, 23

Army, Sergeant
Based: Vilseck, Germany
3rd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: September 29, 2007
Baghdad (southern part), Iraq
Gender: Male
Hometown: Los Angeles
High School: Malibu High (Malibu)
Burial: Los Angeles National Cemetery, Westwood

He was a volunteer gardener at the Los Angeles National Cemetery in Westwood, where he is now buried.
Patriotism was important to him, and his decision to enlist set him apart from many of his classmates, his sister said.
"It's not a very popular thing to do in the Malibu area," she said.
She and her father say the war that Ayres told them about was drastically different from the war being described by what they call a biased media. Ayres relayed stories of a country where U.S. troops are building schools and Iraqis are receiving improved medical care.

He grew to admire the Iraqis.
Stationed in Mosul during the first of two tours in Iraq, Ayres reported that the streets were growing so safe that he could go out and play with the neighborhood children. His father began sending him cartons of stuffed toys and dolls for the children, along with DVDs and beef jerky for his son. The children nicknamed him "Soldier Bobby."

Ayres' mother, Michelle Ayres of Los Osos, Calif., said he inspired her to join the California Army National Guard. She was sworn in a few weeks after he died and wants to serve in Iraq as a psychiatric nurse.

She wonders if her son enlisted in part because he was a twin: "He was always compared to his twin, and it doesn't matter if you're in different classes, and look totally different. In the Army, Robert was his own person."
After Ayres' death, his sister received an e-mail from Chris Sanders, one of her brother's friends who also is serving in Iraq.

"I did talk to some of the guys who were there when he was hit," Sanders wrote. "When they started taking heavy fire, he pushed his men into the doorway of a house and spun around to return fire, to cover his troops as they moved.

"That's when he was hit. He died protecting the men he led. That's the way any real infantryman can hope to die. To me, that wasn't abnormal for Bob. He put his men's life before his own, all the time."

In addition to his parents and sister Dorothy, Ayres is survived by his twin brother, Jackson Ayres of Atascadero, Calif.; a brother, Aaron Mizrahi, 19, of Los Angeles; and a sister, Mimi Mizrahi, 17, of Los Osos.

Do read the whole LA Times article here. And read more about Army Sergeant Robert "Bobby" T. Ayres III here and here.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Merideth L. Howard, Army Reserve, Sergeant 1st Class -- Rest In Peace

Merideth L. Howard, 52

Army Reserve, Sergeant 1st Class
Based: Ft. Bragg, N.C.
405th Civil Affairs Battalion
Supporting: Operation Enduring Freedom
Died: September 8, 2006
Kabul, Afghanistan
Gender: Female
Hometown: Alameda
High School: King High School (Corpus Christi, Texas)
Burial: Cremated

Howard, 52, was the oldest female casualty of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. An 18-year veteran of the Army Reserve, she was killed Sept. 8 when a car bomb exploded near the armored Humvee carrying Howard and 15 others in the capital city of Kabul. Another Army reservist also was killed.

A sergeant first class, Howard was assigned to the 364th Civil Affairs Brigade, helping to rebuild roads and water systems, and acting as a liaison between the Afghan people and the military.

Born in Corpus Christi in 1954, Howard, an only child, spent her childhood crabbing and fishing in sensitive ocean habitat at Laguna Madre, a channel along the Texas coast.

"For her 16th birthday, she wanted a fishing rod, and her parents bought it for her," said Hvolboll, 46. She also liked water skiing and duck hunting.

After graduating from King High School in 1973, she earned bachelor's and master's degrees in marine resource management from Texas A&M University.

"But she got seasick every time they went out on a survey," Hvolboll said, adding that she chose to work as a firefighter instead.

In 1978, she became the first female firefighter in the Bryan City Fire Department in Texas.

Howard is survived by both her husband, Hugh K. Hvolboll, and her cousin, Melissa K. Lanier.
Read the entire LA Times article here and read more about Army Reserve Sergeant 1st Class Merideth L. Howard here, here and here.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Joselito O. Villanueva, Army, Sergeant 1st Class -- Rest In Peace

Joselito O. Villanueva, 36

Army, Sergeant 1st Class
Based: Schweinfurt, Germany
9th Engineer Battalion, 1st Infantry Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: September 27, 2004
Balad, Iraq
Gender: Male
Hometown: Los Angeles
Foreign Country of Birth: Philippines
Burial: Forest Lawn Memorial-Park, Hollywood Hills

Villanueva, a former Los Angeles resident, was killed by a sniper Monday during an ambush in Balad, Iraq. He was posthumously awarded a second Purple Heart and a Bronze Star to add to his other commendations, including two National Defense medals, four good conduct medals and four Army achievement medals.

[1st Sgt. David L.] Morgan said the officer known as "Sgt. V" was part of another convoy conducting a routine patrol about 8:30 a.m. when an Iraqi national was erratically driving his truck, which rolled over. When Villanueva and others stopped to assist, they were fired upon. Only Villanueva was hit.
In a telephone interview from the battalion's home base in Schweinfurt, Germany, Morgan said news of Villanueva's death was difficult to take.
"I kind of treat them all like my sons. You get a bond, a friendship, a trust. When you lose one of your own, it hits you very hard," said Morgan, who is wrapping up a two-week leave before shipping out Monday morning for a return trip to Iraq. "I had to go out walking for a couple of hours. I had to cool off."
Villanueva, 36, was a combat engineer whose job involved working with an armored division to defuse explosives, set up mine fields and use munitions to tear down obstacles to troop advancement. Villanueva joined the Army in April 1993 and began his Iraq tour in February.
"He was well-trained and believed deeply in what he was doing," said Sgt. Michael Anderson of Ft. Schweinfurt, who once served under Villanueva. "He was always there for his solders and his friends."
Morgan said a "ramp ceremony" was staged last week by those in Villanueva's platoon -- half a dozen carried his casket into a transport plane while other members saluted or presented arms. A formal ceremony, with full military honors, will be held on base Thursday, he said.

Villanueva, who was not married, will be buried in Southern California. He is survived by his parents, Edito and Pilarita Villanueva of Van Nuys.
Read the entire LA Times article about Army Sergeant 1st Class Joselito O. Villanueva here and read more here and here.
U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Joselito O. Villanueva, 36, of Los Angeles, in this undated photo, died Monday,Sept. 27, 2004, when he was shot by a sniper in Balad, Iraq. He was assigned to 9th Engineer Battalion, 1st Infantry Division, Schweinfurt, Germany. (AP Photo/Los Angeles Times)

The above photograph can be found here.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Why I Keep Skipping Church

Look, I'm high church, for sure, give me incense and robes and Latin if you got it, and go ahead, call me old fashioned, or oldish, set in my ways, but I'm not looking for transubstantiation when I'm at a jazz club and I don't want scat, heh, when I'm at Mass.
What's next? Liturgical dance? Feh.

Mathew D. Taylor, Army, Specialist -- Rest In Peace

Mathew D. Taylor, 21

Army, Specialist
Based: Vicenza, Italy
1st Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team
Supporting: Operation Enduring Freedom
Died: September 26, 2007
Sarobi district, Afghanistan
Gender: Male
Hometown: Cameron Park
High School: Ponderosa High (Shingle Springs)

From the LA Times:
Taylor, 21, a private first class and .50-caliber machine gunner, died Sept. 26 at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio of wounds suffered two months earlier when a roadside bomb exploded near his Humvee in Afghanistan's Sarobi district, east of Kabul. He had been the only survivor of the July 23 blast in which four other soldiers were killed.
Deployed to Afghanistan in May and often on missions in remote parts of the country, Taylor tried hard to stay in touch with his family and friends. He e-mailed and called, or communicated via Sometimes he was too tired, and the missions were too frequent to allow much more than a brief greeting, his family said.
And from Fallen Heroes:
He suffered burns to more than 75 percent of his body and had both legs amputated.

Family and friends said he had been alert and appeared to be doing well, but his condition took a turn for the worse a few days ago.

"Everyone is just stunned," said Jean Carey, a neighbor and longtime family friend. "We really thought he was going to make it."

On the phone from San Antonio, Patty Taylor is taking a break from her wounded son's bedside at Brooke Army Medical Center.

"I didn't want him to go," says Taylor, 52, a widow who lives in Cameron Park. "Being my only son, he didn't have to go to the front lines. I didn't want him doing that."

But Mathew Taylor did, because he wanted to honor his late father, Richard, an Army veteran who died in a car accident in 2003, the year before he graduated from Ponderosa High School.

This is how it happens, one soldier at a time, across the country.
Read the whole article about Army Specialist Mathew D. Taylor at Fallen Heroes and read more here and visit a guest book tribute here.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Signage We Like -- HGH

Eliu A. Mier, Army, Sergeant -- Rest In Peace

Eliu A. Mier, 27

Army, Sergeant
Based: Ft. Hood, Texas
A Company, 4th Forward Support Battalion, 4th Infantry Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: January 31, 2004
Kirkuk (25 mi. southwest of), Iraq
Married, 1 child
Gender: Male
Hometown: San Clemente
High School: San Clemente High (San Clemente)
Foreign Country of Birth: Mexico
Burial: Riverside National Cemetery

The family of Army Sgt. Eliu A. Mier remembers him as a young man devoted to his family, especially his wife and son.

"As soon as I touch American soil, I want to see all my family," the 27-year-old soldier recently told his sister, Ruth Vallejo, as they talked about his return home from Iraq within a few weeks.

But Mier was killed Jan. 31 when an improvised explosive device hit his convoy in the northern city of Kirkuk. A mechanic assigned to Company A, 4th Forward Support Battalion, 4th Infantry Division at Ft. Hood, Texas, he was deployed to Iraq in April.

Two other soldiers -- Cpl. Juan C. Cabralbanuelos, 25, of Emporia, Kan.; and Pfc. Holly J. McGeogh, 19, of Taylor, Mich. -- also were killed in the attack.

Mier, who was born in Durango, Mexico, moved with his parents, Pascual and Esthela Mier, to San Clemente when he was 3, his sister said.

He was a quiet young man who played soccer and basketball, and the saxophone in San Clemente High School's marching band. His family said he took seriously his role as the older brother of two sisters -- Vallejo and Betsy Ebarra, now 22 and 26, respectively.

… to fulfill a wish he expressed to his wife, his family said he will be buried at Riverside National Cemetery. Mier also is survived by his paternal grandparents, Jesus and Maria Teresa Mier of Guadalajara, and maternal grandfather, Julio Sandoval, who lives in the Mexican state of Michoacan.
Please read the whole article about Army Sergeant Eliu A. Mier here and visit his guest book here.

Friday, September 24, 2010

More Taking Out The Trash

Via The Other McCain

Via Tammy

Mam Boxer

Except for family I don't miss much about California.
I could list what I miss, but that's another post.
Wait. I'll mention one thing.
I miss good haircuts.
A good cut and a straight-razor shave by Felix Omar.
But other than that, the list is smallish.
I do regret missing the blessed opportunity to vote against Mam Boxer.
And for Sarah Palin-supported Ms. Fiorina.
And for Meg Whitman.
And for Merlin Froyd.
At least I get to vote against Blanche. That's a Southern blessing.
Let's go to video:

Via Brietbart

Shabbat Shalom

This pic was found at
Memoirs and other alternative sources for Jewish genealogists and students of Jewish history and culture

Aaron Boyles, Marines, Lance Corporal -- Rest In Peace

Aaron Boyles, 24

Marines, Lance Corporal
Based: Twentynine Palms, Calif.
Headquarters & Service Company, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: September 24, 2004
Anbar province, Iraq
Married, 2 children
Gender: Male
Hometown: Alameda
High School: Newark Memorial High (Newark)
Burial: Golden Gate National Cemetery, San Bruno, Calif.
I love you dad. Thank you for keeping my country safe... I will always miss you.
— Derik Flora-Boyles
August 26, 2011 at 10:27 p.m.
Boyles, who would have turned 25 this week, had been looking forward to seeing his wife and new child on a two-week leave beginning Oct. 19.

Military officials, however, suddenly canceled the leave, his wife said. "All he said was they had a special mission and couldn't come home this time," she said.

Boyles couldn't stop talking in phone calls and wrote letters home about the impending birth of his son, whom the couple had already named Brandon.

"He was excited about it all the time," his wife said. "He wanted to teach him to play football and basketball and to play catch. He wanted to be a good dad."
"When he joined the Marine Corps, he found his place," his sister said. "It totally changed him. He became a man, with bigger responsibilities than he had ever had."

Boyles and his wife were married July 4, 2003. "He chose that day because it's patriotic," she said. "He always put the flag out and talked about how he loved this country."

In addition to his wife and sister, Boyles is survived by his mother, Wanda Kealaiki, and stepfather, Alex Gallardo, of Newark, Calif.; another sister, Angel Boyles; two brothers, Ademir Gallardo and Andrew Gallardo; and a 5-year-old son, Derrick Boyles, from another relationship.
Read the whole LA Times article about Lance Corporal Aaron Boyles here with more here; find memories and messages here and here.

From left, Prabha Boyles, wife of Marine Lance Cpl. Aaron Robert Boyles, Wanda Keilaki, Boyles' mother, wearing purple lei, and Alex Gallardo, stepfather, say their last goodbyes at the gravesite of Boyles Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2004, during funeral services at Golden Gate National Cemeterey in San Bruno, Calif. Prabha Boyles is pregnant expecting the couples' first child.
(AP Photo/Ben Margot)

The above picture of the family of Lance Corporal Aaron Boyles was found here.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Governor Christie Punks Punk Ed Buck -- West Hollywood Files

Speaking truth to hysterics.
Why can't we all have Governors like Chris Christie?
Ed Buck, heh.

Via Daniel Foster at The Corner.
Frugal likes this too.

Brian Enrique Dunlap, Marine Reserve, Sergeant -- Rest In Peace

Brian E. Dunlap, 34

Marine Reserve, Sergeant
Based: Los Alamitos
2nd Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: September 24, 2005
Taqaddum (near), Iraq
Gender: Male
Hometown: Carmichael
High School: Del Campo High (Fair Oaks)
Burial: Calvary Catholic Cemetery, Sacramento

The above video is found here.

A patriot, an avid reader and a political conservative who wrote on his Internet blog that he wanted to talk to all open-minded people, even "libs," Marine Corps Reserve Sgt. Brian Dunlap, 34, was killed Sept. 24 by a roadside bomb near Baghdad.

Dunlap joined the Marines twice: once as a 20-year-old trying to grow up, his parents said, and again in his 30s as a reservist attached to the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Marine Corps Reserve in Los Alamitos.

In between, he worked for the California Department of Forestry as a firefighter, and later joined a firefighting company serving the Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton.

He loved the Marines, and got back in partly because he figured that, being single, he should do his part rather than let his friends who had wives and children take all the risk, said his father, Dexter Dunlap of Carmichael, Calif.

Brian Dunlap was deployed on Father's Day last June, and hit the ground in Iraq in August. In the Marine Corps, he worked as a weapons specialist. He had been helping to train members of the Iraqi army, and hoped that his work would enable U.S. soldiers to come home sooner. "He joined the Marines and, basically, that was his life from then on," his father said.

Dunlap was born in 1971 in Fort Madison, Iowa. The family moved around when he and his brother, Patrick, were children, living for a time in the Netherlands and in Boston before settling in the Sacramento-area city of Carmichael when Brian was 13. His father was an engineer in the oil business.

In a lot of ways, he was like his Dad: they shared a blog, they both loved history and they traded books. He was the kind of guy who made friends for a lifetime, his mother said. He loved music, from Mozart to Iron Maiden, and he learned to surf while living near Oceanside and San Diego.
Read the entire article about Marine Reserve Sergeant Brian E. Dunlap here and find Brian Enrique Dunlap's Blog here.

Read more about Sergeant Dunlap here, here, here and here.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Richard Loy Etchberger: Thank You

One of our most faithful readers
asked us yesterday to post a
We are pleased to be asked
and humbled and honored so to do.
Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Etchberger was killed in Laos in 1968.

Military Times notes that because U.S. military combat personnel were prohibited from serving in Laos at the time of this action, Chief Master Sergeant Etchberger was officially in "civilian status" when Lima Site 85 was attacked. After his death he was reinstated to active duty status, awarded the Air Force Cross and Purple heart, and classified as Killed in Action. His is one of the few ground combat actions to result in award of the Air Force Cross. In 2007 Congressional action moved forward in an on-going effort to get his Air Force Cross upgraded to the Medal of Honor.

Chief Master Sergeant Richard L. Etchberger
On 11 March 1968, Chief Master Sergeant Richard L. Etchberger was manning a defensive position when the base was overrun by an enemy ground force.

The enemy was able to deliver sustained and withering fire directly upon this position from higher ground.

His entire crew dead or wounded, Chief Etchberger continued to return the enemy's fire thus denying them access to the position.

During this entire period, Chief Etchberger continued to direct air strikes and call for air rescue on his emergency radio, thereby enabling the air evacuation force to locate the surrounded friendly element.

When air rescue arrived, Chief Etchberger deliberately exposed himself to enemy fire in order to place his three surviving wounded comrades in the rescue slings permitting them to be airlifted to safety.

As Chief Etchberger was finally being rescued, he was fatally wounded, by enemy ground fire. His fierce defense which culminated in the supreme sacrifice of his life, saved not only the lives of his three comrades but provided for the successful evacuation of the remaining survivors of the base.
You may see and read more about Chief Master Sergeant Etchberger here and here.

The patch of the 1st AACS Mobile Communications Group present at Lima Site 85.
First In, Last Out
Though he is a reluctant Commander in Chief, U.S. President B. H. Obama gave the Medal of Honor to Etchberger's sons Steven Wilson and Cory and Richard Etchberger -- which was awarded to Chief Master Sergeant Richard L. Etchberger, U.S. Air Force, for conspicuous gallantry.

The long overdue ceremony honoring Chief Master Sergeant Richard L. Etchberger was held in the East Room of the White House in Washington on September 21, 2010.
Etchberger was killed in Laos in 1968, when Lyndon Baines Johnson was Commander in Chief.
Rest In Peace, Chief Master Sergeant Richard L. Etchberger.

Palin, TX4SP, Searchlight, Contento

This Governor Palin video has been all over the place in the last 24 hours, including the recently returned Another Black Conservative and Contentions. But we saw it first at Texas For Sarah Palin.
It wouldn't be too much to say that everything Sarah Palin is pretty much found first at the essential TX4SP.

Now, we're posting it too. A day later.
Yes, we're posting it because though he turned his face away from the intrusive cameras all day long, and declined interviews with the idiot press who bugged those in the front row all day long, if you know what to look for, Contento is in there.
Yeah, the first ad for Palin 2012 and Contento's in it.
That's just how we roll here at Boom3.

Okay, okay. This is the second ad for Palin 2012. Mama Grizzlies was the first. We're in good company.

And as we said in a post about the Palins after Searchlight last April:
As I observed Mr. and Mrs. Palin in Searchlight last Saturday it was impossible to discern what they are up to. I don't distrust them. Heck no. Or, au contraire. But I sensed some design in action. Their game plan? Dunno.
They're up to something.
Hope is for chumps but if I were a hoping man I'd hope it's world domination that they're up to.
'Nuff said.

Mike T. Sonoda Jr., Army National Guard, Sergeant -- Rest In Peace

Mike T. Sonoda Jr., 34

Army National Guard, Sergeant
Based: Fullerton
1st Battalion, 184th Infantry Regiment, 40th Infantry Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: September 22, 2005
Baghdad (military hospital), Iraq
Gender: Male
Hometown: Fallbrook
High School: Fallbrook High (Fallbrook)
Burial: Eternal Hills Memorial Park, Oceanside

The 34-year-old Fallbrook resident died Sept. 22 in the Iraqi capital after a homemade bomb detonated near his armored personnel carrier. Sonoda was the only soldier killed in the explosion.

"He was my big brother and my hero.... Our entire family is so proud of his service," said Sonoda's sister, Irene, describing her brother in a statement as "very caring and generous, inquisitive and dedicated."

It was the third military assignment for Sonoda, who joined the Army in 1995 and served until late 1997 as a parachute rigger in the 325th Airborne in Vicenza, Italy.

He later served in the California Army National Guard, joining up two days before terrorists flew airliners into the Pentagon and New York City's World Trade Center. He served in Kuwait until March 2002.

His first deployment to Iraq began in January, and he was due to rotate back to the United States early next year.

Sonoda, who was described by his military buddies as a "computer geek," worked as a hazardous materials inspector for the U.S. Postal Service.

In an Internet tribute to Sonoda, his comrades in arms said he loved three things: "to smoke, sometimes like a train; read sci-fi books; and he loved Japanese cartoons."

"He didn't deserve to die," the tribute added, "and he especially didn't deserve to die like this."

Sonoda is survived by his parents, Mike Sr. and Emiko, and his sister.
Read the entire LA Times article about Army National Guard Sergeant Mike T. Sonoda Jr. here and read about the award of the Hawaii Medal of Honor here.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Daniel Ronald Scheile, Army National Guard, Staff Sergeant -- Rest In Peace

Daniel Ronald Scheile, 37

Army National Guard, Staff Sergeant
Based: Oakdale, Calif.
1st Battalion, 184th Infantry Regiment, 40th Infantry Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: September 24, 2005
Baghdad (military hospital), Iraq
Married, 2 children
Gender: Male
Hometown: Antioch
High School: Antioch High (Antioch)

Scheile was the center of a "huggy, kissy family," his sister said, doting on his nieces, devoted to his in-laws and never too busy to help friends and neighbors....

A resident of Antioch in Northern California, Scheile was a 17-year veteran of the National Guard whose career reflected his itch for action.

He patrolled Los Angeles' volatile streets during the 1992 riots. He was sent to Kuwait on Sept. 12, 2001, the day after the World Trade Center attacks. His deployment to Iraq began in August 2004 and -- after being extended twice -- was due to end next month.

Scheile was a front-line combat leader, and among soldiers who served with him his death hit especially hard. "He really took care of his soldiers, and not just on a military level," said Thomas Feemster, a former guardsman who spent six months in Kuwait with Scheile.

"He always made sure your gear and everything was just right ... to make sure you were safe. He got to know every guy on his squad. He'd check and see if everything was OK with your family, sit and talk about your problems. He was always willing to teach somebody what he knew, and he knew a lot."

Just three months before he died, Scheile was awarded a Purple Heart for injuries he suffered last spring in a roadside bombing. He returned to duty with shrapnel still lodged in his face.

His commanders considered him a "get-it-done kind of guy," said Maj. Daniel Markert of Scheile's home base in Oakdale. "He made the system work, or he worked the system -- whatever it took to make sure his soldiers had their needs met."

Scheile's sister said he never complained about being sent to war. "He'd say, 'This is what I've trained for all my life.' He was proud to serve his country. He took the military very seriously," she said.
Read the whole LA Times story here.
His sister-in-law, Annie Carroll, said the Antioch native had two passions -- his wife, Jennifer, and the military.

"She talked to him every day through email when he could," Carroll said.

Carroll said Jennifer, her sister, would regularly send Scheile copious bags of candy, which he would hand out to Iraqi children.

"He believed strongly in what he was fighting for," Carroll said. "He was there for peace and believed in rebuilding Iraq."

Scheile had another passion -- fishing, which he shared with his father-in-law, John Beason.

In April, Beason, a member of the North Arkansas Fly Fishers in Mountain Home, Ark., raised money to donate fishing equipment to his son-in-law's unit. Scheile, an angling enthusiast, planned to organize a fishing derby when the gear arrived.

But ever mindful of the dangers of a job that shrouded even the most innocuous pastime, Scheile reminded his father-in-law in an email, "that fishing is a bit less relaxing in the middle of a war."

Scheile got to use the fishing gear once, Carroll said.
From the ContraCosts Times via Iraq.Pigstyle, where you can read the whole thing.

Read more about Army National Guard Staff Sergeant Daniel Ronald Scheile here and here and here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bruno G. De Solenni, Army National Guard, Captain -- Rest In Peace

Bruno G. De Solenni, 32

See an update at the bottom of this post.

Army National Guard, Captain
Joint Forces Headquarters, Element Training Team
Supporting: Operation Enduring Freedom
Died: September 20, 2008
Kandahar, Afghanistan
Gender: Male
Hometown: Crescent City
High School: Del Norte High (Crescent City)
Burial: Saint Joseph's Catholic Cemetery

Kathren Jean Lopez wrote of Bruno B. De Solenni in 2008 in The Corner, at National Review:
Capt. Bruno de Solenni, R.I.P.
September 23, 2008 2:41 P.M.
By Kathryn Jean Lopez    
A brother of a friend of mine (Pia) was killed by an IED in Afghanistan this weekend, along with two Afghan interpreters. A fellow soldier was injured. I was just reading a letter Bruno’s hometown paper published before he died; what he has to say and who he was and what he sacrificed and the grief his family suffers are reminders of the tremendous burden so few of us bear for freedom:

The bad days are when you put your buddy in a body bag and you don’t even recognize him because his limbs are missing and there holes in him everywhere. The miracles are when his last words are, “tell my wife and kids I love them,” before he dies in his best friend’s arms after struggling for several agonizing minutes to get the words out because there is a fist-size hole in his head.

And last but not least, the best days are when an Afghan comes up to you thanking you for everything that you have done to help them and for making their (home) a better place now that the Taliban are gone.

If anything, this is probably the biggest reason why I proudly enjoy being over here. I can’t explain it to anyone and there is no description of what it feels like, but it was the same feeling I got when I was in Iraq as well. And I am sure it’s the same feeling that generations of American soldiers before me have gotten as they fought and sacrificed their lives for the freedoms that we enjoy today.
Do read the entire letter here.
A friend of his who survived the blast writes: “What do you say about Bruno? He was everything in a person I wish I was. Smart, kind and steel core that made him the best Officer on our team. He loved the Afghans and in combat never was there a better Operator or Leader. The man was absolutely fearless.”
In addition to his parents and twin, he is survived by another brother, Gino; and a sister, Pia Conway.
See comments about Army National Guard Captain Bruno G. De Solenni here and read more about him here, here and here.

Captain De Solenni with Rufus

Captain de Solenni's sister, Pia de Solenni, wrote of her brother, and of media coverage or our soldiers, here:
Soldiers’ Voices
September 20, 2010 1:34 P.M. By Pia de Solenni

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pray-Prey -- Signage We Like

Matthew W. Bancroft, Marines, Captain -- Rest In Peace

Matthew W. Bancroft, 29

Marines, Captain
Based: Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif.
Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352
Supporting: Operation Enduring Freedom
Died: January 9, 2002
Mountain near Shamsi, Pakistan
Married, 3 children
Gender: Male
Hometown: Burney
High School: Burney Junior-Senior High (Burney)
Burial: Monterey City Cemetery, Monterey, Calif.

Bob and Beverly Bancroft sank into a living room couch Thursday, a day after the news came. Matt's sister, 26-year-old Sarah, listened, forlornly holding her baby.

Despite the temptation, they refused to call their son a hero. They will leave that to others.

"That was Matt--tall, straight and proud," his father said between sobs. "That was our son. That's the way he went down."

The 29-year-old Marine was one of seven Marines killed when the plane Bancroft was piloting crashed into a mountain in Pakistan.

At his home base, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, he left his wife of two years, MaryEllen, their 9-month-old daughter, Maddie, and her two sons, Sean, 13, and Christian, 12.
Despite his love of the Marines, Bancroft had begun thinking last fall about starting a new chapter and leaving the service.

But the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks derailed any plans he had of mustering out, his parents said. The subsequent decline in air travel and resulting layoffs squelched any easy move into commercial aviation. And he wanted to join the fight with his comrades.

"He wanted to go," Bob Bancroft said. "That's his job. He wanted to be part of the team."

Bancroft left for Afghanistan in December. He promised his family all would be OK, that he was safe. And they took him at his word.
Read the entire LA Times article about Marine Captain Matthew W. Bancroft here, and read more here, here and here.
Visit Captain Bancroft's Guest Book here.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

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

Nicholas P. Olson, 22

Army, Specialist
Based: Ft. Lewis, Wash.
2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: September 18, 2007
Muqdadiya, Iraq
Married, 1 child
Gender: Male
Hometown: Novato
High School: Novato High (Novato)

A 22-year-old Army specialist from Novato was one of three soldiers killed by a bomb in Muqdadiyah, Iraq, the Pentagon said today.

Spc. Nicholas P. Olson died Tuesday after an improvised explosive device detonated near his unit during combat operations, the Defense Department said. No additional details about the incident were released.

He is survived by his wife and 10-month-old child, said assistant principal Dan Curtaz of Novato High School, which Olson attended when he lived in Marin.

Olson graduated from San Marin High School, a continuation school, after attending Novato High, Curtaz said. Curtaz taught physical education at the time and remembered Olson as a "good kid."

Olson enlisted in the Army in October 2004 and was assigned to the 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, known as the Stryker Brigade Combat team, out of Fort Lewis, Wash.

He was decorated with the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon.

Also killed in the explosion were Spc. Joseph N. Landry III, 23, of Pensacola, Fla., and Spc. Donald E. Valentine III, 21, of Orange Park, Fla.
-- From the San Francisco Chronicle
Read more about Army Specialist Nicholas P. Olson here, here and here.

Nicholas P. Olson's father, Paul Olson (IJ photo/Jeff Vendsel)

Nicholas P. Olson's mother, Anita Moran, stands in her front yard Thursday in Cobb. (Lake County Record-Bee/Mandy Feder)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Shabbat Shalom -- כָּל נִדְרֵי -- Kol Nidrei

Kol Nidrei
Moroccan Kol Nidrei

Stjepan Hauser Kol Nidrei

Perry Como Kol Nidrei

Jason D. Cunningham, Air Force, Senior Airman -- Rest In Peace

Jason D. Cunningham, 26

Air Force, Senior Airman
Based: Moody Air Force Base, Ga.
38th Rescue Squadron
Supporting: Operation Enduring Freedom
Died: March 4, 2002
Gardez (near), Afghanistan
Married, 2 children
Gender: Male
Hometown: Camarillo
High School: Farmington High School (Farmington, N.M.)
Burial: Arlington National Cemetery
Cunningham was part of a quick-reaction force sent to rescue a group of soldiers pinned down by heavy machine-gun and rocket fire on a mountain slope. One helicopter had already been shot down when Cunningham's unit flew in aboard another.

"They went in under heavy machine-gun fire. The helicopter was hit by a rocket and crash-landed," Savino told the hushed church. "The pilot and co-pilot were wounded. Some of the Rangers on board had been shot."

Cunningham, a paramedic, opened his rucksack and began treating the wounded. But the flames and smoke from the burning MH-47 helicopter forced him and another rescuer to move the wounded soldiers outside. As they maneuvered over the rocky terrain, gunfire and mortar shells rained down from entrenched Al Qaeda and Taliban positions above.

"Jason said they had to get these guys out of there. He ran across a direct line of fire to move the wounded men to another location," Savino said.

He helped move the wounded three times to shield them from enemy fire.

"Jason was going back and forth treating his wounded comrades when he was shot," Savino said. "He was shot but he continued to treat 10 wounded patients. They owe him their lives. The only reason they came home was because of Jason Cunningham. It doesn't make it easier saying he died doing what he loved or that he was a hero, but that's what he was."

Another Californian, U.S. Navy SEAL Neil Roberts of Woodland, also died in the fight.
Cunningham is survived by his wife, Theresa, his parents in New Mexico and his daughters--2-year-old Hannah and 4-year-old Kyla.
There is much to read about Air Force Senior Airman Jason D. Cunningham. You can read more here, here, here and here. Information about the Battle of Takur Ghar is here.