Monday, February 28, 2011

Emigdio E. Elizarraras, Army, Master Sergeant -- Rest In Peace

Emigdio E. Elizarraras , 37

Army, Master Sergeant
Based: Ft. Bragg, N.C.
3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group
Supporting: Operation Enduring Freedom
Died: February 28, 2006
Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan
Married, 3 children
Gender: Male
Hometown: Pico Rivera
High School: El Rancho High (Pico Rivera)
Burial: Rose Hills Memorial Park, Whittier

Colleagues remember Emigdio E. Elizarraras, a former baseball player at El Rancho High School in Pico Rivera and an Army soldier, as a good-spirited team player.

"He was very well-liked throughout our company and within the battalion," Army Master Sgt. Vince Sepulveda of South Pasadena wrote in an e-mail from Afghanistan. "I am truly grateful to have known him, been his friend and served with him in the Special Forces."

Sepulveda last saw his friend Feb. 28, when a roadside bomb exploded near Elizarraras' Humvee during a reconnaissance mission in Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan, southwest of Kabul. The bomb killed Elizarraras, 37, who served as a Special Forces master sergeant assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group at Ft. Bragg, N.C.

"I really can't remember too much of that day, but I do remember looking into his eyes," Sepulveda wrote, "and [I] knew that he was proud to serve his country and help the people of Afghanistan."

Elizarraras, whose friends called him "EZ," served in the Army for 19 years. "EZ always put his friends first and was a true inspiration for the younger soldiers to follow," Sepulveda wrote.

The family could not be reached for interviews, but in a statement posted on the Army's Special Operations Command news website, they thanked the public for its support. "The Elizarraras family would like to thank friends and members of the Special Operations community for their sincere expressions of sympathy during this very difficult time," the family's posting read. "Your support is appreciated as we mourn the loss of Emigdio, who was a loving husband, a devoted father, a caring son and a selfless soldier."
Read the entire LA Times article about Army Master Sergeant Emigdio E. Elizarraras here, find more at Special Forces, Military Times, and Iraq War Heroes.
Remembrances of Sergeant Elizarraras can be found at Fallen Heroes.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Richard A. Soukenka, Army, Sergeant -- Rest In Peace

Richard A. Soukenka, 30

Army, Sergeant
Based: Ft. Drum, N.Y.
2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry)
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: February 27, 2007
Baghdad (southwest of), Iraq
Gender: Male
Hometown: Oceanside
High School: Oceanside High (Oceanside)
Soukenka spent a part of his childhood homeless. He was eventually adopted by a man who volunteered at an Oceanside soup kitchen near where the child and his mother were living along a riverbed.
Soukenka was among three soldiers killed Feb. 27 when a roadside bomb exploded near their vehicle in Baghdad. They were all assigned to the 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) at Ft. Drum, N.Y.
Also killed in the incident were Cpl. Lorne E. Henry, Jr., 21, of Niagara Falls, N.Y.; and Spc. Jonathan D. Cadavero, 24, of Takoma Park, Md.

Read the entire LA Times article about Army Sergeant Richard A. Soukenka here, find more at Freedom Remembered and at the Iraq Page and visit Sergeant Soukenka's Guest Book.
Sergeant Soukenka previously remembered on Boom3.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Musical Interlude -- Julie London -- Sway

Previous Boom3 Julie London Interlude: Cry Me A River

1993 World Trade Center Bombing -- Religion of Peace Update

February 26, 1993

The 1993 World Trade Center bombing occurred on February 26, 1993, when a truck bomb was detonated below the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. The 1,500 lb (680 kg) urea nitrate–hydrogen gas enhanced device[1] was intended to knock the North Tower (Tower One) into the South Tower (Tower Two), bringing both towers down and killing thousands of people. It failed to do so, but did kill seven people and injured 1,042.

Blind spiritual leader Ass Hat Abdel-Rahman

For your consideration, Willful Blindness:
Andrew C. McCarthy, the prosecutor responsible for leading the investigation of Blind Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and others involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing dissects the miscues between federal agencies that led to that event while laying bare the challenges facing the war on terror today.

Clay P. Farr, Army, Specialist -- Rest In Peace

Clay P. Farr , 21

Army, Specialist
Based: Ft. Drum, N.Y.
1st Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry)
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: February 26, 2006
Baghdad (western part), Iraq
Gender: Male
Hometown: Bakersfield
High School: Centennial High (Bakersfield)
Burial: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va.

Even as a youngster, Clay Farr seemed destined for the military life, his father said. In school, he liked to color everything in camouflage patterns.

"Clay was all Army from the time he was small," his father said, recalling a photograph of his then-4-year-old son wearing a camouflage ball cap at an air show. "That's when the Army got him."

The 21-year-old Bakersfield native enlisted after graduating from Centennial High School in 2003 and asked to go to Iraq.

On Feb. 26, Farr was one of two soldiers killed when a roadside bomb exploded near their Humvee while they were on patrol in Baghdad. Also killed was Army Spc. Joshua U. Humble, 21, of Appleton, Maine. Both were assigned to the 1st Squadron, 71st Cavalry, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division at Ft. Drum, N.Y.

Joining the Army was part of Farr's bigger plan: After the war, he was going to marry his high-school sweetheart and become a Kern County sheriff's deputy, his parents said.

In high school, Farr rode around Bakersfield in boots and camouflage dungarees as he and his friends scouted areas such as the almond orchard across from their high school to play paintball or jump their BMX bikes, said one of his best friends, Jared Russell, 20.

Farr also joined the Explorer Scouts and rode along with sheriff's deputies nearly every weekend, preferring to patrol the city's east side because "that's where the action is," Russell said.
In addition to his parents, Farr is survived by a brother, Chad; his stepmother, Silver Farr; his stepfather, Anthony Alderete; and two stepsisters, Amanda Cope and Taylor Alderete.
Do read the entire LA Times article about Army Specialist Clay P Farr here, find more at Arlington Cemetery, at Military Times and visit Specialist Clay P. Farr's Guest Book for remembrances, messages and photographs.  

A bugler at Arlington National Cemetery plays taps at the burial of Army Specialist Clay P. Farr, who was killed in Baghdad.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Shabbat Shalom -- Arusi Madalya

Cpl. Arusi Madalya
An African-Israeli Hero
The orphaned son of an Israeli man and a Kenyan woman was saved by Israel and is returning the favor. Read the story from IDF News.

Cpl. Arusi Madalya with friends from his unit.

Cherie Lynn Morton, Navy, Petty Officer 1st Class -- Rest In Peace

Cherie Lynn Morton, 40

Navy, Petty Officer 1st Class
Based: Galali, Bahrain
Naval Security Force, Naval Support Activity Bahrain
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: April 20, 2008
Galali, Bahrain
Single, 1 child
Gender: Female
Hometown: Bakersfield
Burial: Cedar Bluff Cemetery, Rockford, Ill.

From the LA Times:
Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Cherie Morton was, among other things, a bingo player. She played it regularly and, as colleague Millie Slamin recalled, seemed to always leave a game with either a cash or door prize.

"We used to tease her," Slamin said. "She was such a lucky person."

Slamin, the public affairs officer for the Naval Support Activity forces in Bahrain, said Morton's outgoing personality served her well in her job, where she helped hundreds of enlisted naval officers with career goals and guidance. "She was very well suited for it," Slamin said.

Morton, 40, was found dead April 20 at her off-base apartment in Galali Muharraq, Bahrain, where she served as a career counselor for the Naval Security Force stationed there. The cause of death is under investigation.

Morton, who was born and raised in Rockford, Ill., had served for several years in the Air Force before signing up for the Navy while she was living in Bakersfield. She had been in the Navy for 15 years at the time of her death, according to the Stars and Stripes newspaper.

After Morton's body was flown to Illinois, the Naval Support Activity held a memorial service for her in the room where she used to play bingo. The room was packed with as many chairs as could be set up, and more people were standing than sitting, Slamin said. "She was well-loved," Slamin said.

Morton is survived by her mother, Mary Hughes, and father, Richard Gary, both of Rockford, Ill.; and a teenage son, Brian Trevor of Los Angeles.
Read more about Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Cherie Lynn Morton in the Rockford Register Star, on the Iraq Page and in Military Times.
This painting of Cherie Lynn Morton can be found at Born to War: Paintings in honor of the American women killed under military assignment to Iraq and Afghanistan. 2003-present

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Juana Navarro Arellano, Marines, Lance Corporal -- Rest In Peace

Juana Navarro Arellano, 24

Marines, Lance Corporal
Based: Okinawa, Japan
9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: April 8, 2006
Taqaddum, Iraq
Gender: Female
Hometown: Ceres
High School: Peter Johansen High (Modesto)
Foreign Country of Birth: Mexico

From Iraq Page:
Lance Cpl. Juana Navarro Arellano, 24, of Ceres, Calif., died from wounds she received while supporting combat operations in Anbar province, Iraq.

According to a Defense Department release, Navarro was assigned to the 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, which is based in Okinawa, Japan.

In June 2005, Cpl. Ramona Valdez and Lance Cpl. Holly Charette, who were assigned to the 2nd Marine Division, were killed by a car bomb in Fallujah. Before NavarroĆ¢€™s death, Valdez and Charette had been the only female Marines killed in Iraq since U.S. forces entered the country in March 2003, a Pentagon spokesman said.
CERES, Calif. - A 24-year-old woman who was inspired to join the Marines after her younger twin brothers enlisted was fatally shot in the head in Iraq over the weekend.

Lance Cpl. Juana Navarro, of Ceres, was killed Saturday while guarding other soldiers during a mission in the Iraqi province of Anbar, said Marine Capt. Donn Puca.

"This was something she always wanted to do," said her older sister, Beatriz Lopez.

She left for duty in May, her family said.

Navarro was born in Michoacan, Mexico, and she and a twin sister became U.S. citizens at age 13. She graduated from Johansen High School in Modesto in 2000, where she volunteered with special education children.

She showered her three nephews with gifts, Lopez said.

"She was like a second mom to my oldest," Lopez said. "When I told him she died, his face, it just shattered into pieces."
Find remembrances and tributes to Marine Lance Corporal Juana Navarro Arellano at Fallen Heroes.
Chief Warrant Officer 3 David Phinney takes a moment in silence to pay tribute to Lance Cpl. Juana “Chica” Navarro-Arellano, a bulk fuel specialist with 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, who died April 8 from wounds received while supporting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq. Phinney is the commander of Bulk Fuel Company, 9th ESB
A memorial service for Lance Cpl. Juana “Chica” Navarro-Arellano was held April 13 at Camp Hansen’s West Chapel.
From Born to War: Paintings in honor of the American women killed under military assignment to Iraq. 2003-present

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Boot Campaign -- Service and Sacrifice -- Dolly Parton Interlude

Country icon Dolly Parton is trading in her sequin gowns and high heels to pose in a pair of sequin cargo pants and combat boots to support America’s troops with grassroots organization The Boot Campaign.

“So many people, regular folks and celebrities, send out love and sincere thanks to you for keeping us safe and fighting for our freedom. Let me add to that loving list. Thank you from the bottom of my country heart. I will always love you,” Parton said in a statement on the organization’s site.

The Boot Girls want Americans to put the boots on to “symbolically walk in the shoes of our military men and women to remember their service and sacrifice.”
Read the story at Fox News.

Iwo Jima, February 23, 1945 -- U.S. Marines raise the flag

Marines raise the flag on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima. February 23, 1945.
Ira Hayes
Franklin Sousley
John Bradley
Harlon Block
Michael Strank
Rene Gagnon

Strank, Block and Sousley would die shortly after the flag raising. Bradley, Hayes and Gagnon became national heroes within weeks.

Rowan D. Walter, Army, Private 1st Class -- Rest In Peace

Rowan D. Walter , 25

Army, Private 1st Class
Based: Ft. Carson, Colo.
1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: February 23, 2007
Ramadi, Iraq
Gender: Male
Hometown: Clovis
High School: Buchanan High (Clovis)
Burial: Clovis Cemetery, Clovis, Calif.

As a student at Buchanan High School in Clovis, Calif., Rowan Dale Walter would attend classes with uncombed hair and out-of-date clothes. But he had a gift for learning foreign languages and excelled in chemistry.

By all accounts, he was a popular student, and among his friends, he was the one everyone gravitated toward.

The 25-year-old Army private first class was the fourth graduate [now seventh] of Buchanan High to be killed in the Iraq war.
He died Feb. 23 of injuries suffered a day earlier when a roadside bomb exploded in an ambush attack in Ramadi, west of Baghdad. He had left his tank to help soldiers in an earlier attack.
Do read the entire LA Times article about Army Private 1st Class Rowan D. Walter here and find more at Spread The Word and Military Times and visit Privat Walter's Guest Book and his FaceBook memorial.

Guillaume Quatravaux -- Le Projet Ginjiro

It's a special day at Boom3, and on special days we like to bring up our Quatravaux.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Karina Sotelo Lau, Army, Private 1st Class -- Rest In Peace

Karina Sotelo Lau , 20
Army, Private 1st Class
Based: Ft. Hood, Texas
16th Signal Battalion
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: November 2, 2003
Fallouja (near), Iraq
Gender: Female
Hometown: Livingston
High School: Livingston High (Livingston)
Burial: Turlock Memorial Park, Turlock, Calif.

Pfc. Lau, 20, died Nov. 2 in Iraq with 15 other soldiers when a transport helicopter, taking them to the Baghdad Airport for home leave in the United States, was struck by a shoulder-fired missile. Lau didn't tell her parents she would be returning home from Iraq on leave; she wanted to surprise them for her 21st birthday.
As the casualties slowly mount in Iraq and the dead trickle home, the impact is beginning to be felt in towns across America. Wednesday was Livingston's turn.

Townspeople -- co-workers of Lau's parents from nearby packing plants, schoolmates who performed with her in the Livingston High marching band, former teachers -- gathered in the church as Father Harvey Fonseca spoke of the young soldier's tragic trip home in a coffin.

Lau's father, Augustin, is ethnically Chinese, and her mother is Mexican. However, both parents were born in Mexico, and Spanish is their first language. West said Karina Lau came into the class speaking mostly Spanish but by the end of the year was registering the highest scores on English tests.

Most of the people in the working-class Merced County town of more than 11,000 have jobs in the nearby Foster Farms chicken-processing plants, the Gallo Winery or the other large food-processing facilities that flank California Highway 99.

The jobs and other agricultural opportunities have attracted one of the state's most diverse populations.

Several churches hold services in Portuguese, catering to that group of immigrants. Mennonites have three congregations surrounding Livingston and a school that goes through the 10th grade. Punjabi Sikhs operate three temples, called gurdwaras, here.

As in many valley towns, Spanish is the dominant language of the streets. About 65% of Livingston's population is Latino. St. Jude's, with attached parochial school, has 8,000 members, most of them Latino.

Looking at the mourners in his church Wednesday, Fonseca, a descendant of Portuguese immigrants, marveled at what he saw as the cohesion of his town compared to the violent chaos that brought down Karina Lau.
Read the entire LA Times article about Army Private 1st Class Karina Sotelo Lau here and find more at Freedom Remembered, Military Times and Fallen Heroes. Visit Private Lau's Guest Book and find her on a FaceBook page dedicated to American Women Veterans.

George Washington, Indispensable Man

No pretender, he.
Born on February 22, 1732, in Westomorland County, Virginia, Wshington shaped this nation by leading our American forces during the fight against the British, by presiding over the writing of our Constitution, by serving as our first president.
H/T American Patriot's Almanac

Monday, February 21, 2011

Thai Vue, Army, Specialist -- Rest In Peace

Thai Vue , 22
Army, Specialist
Based: Hanau, Germany
127th Military Police Company, 709th Military Police Battalion, 18th Military Police Brigade, V Corps
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: June 18, 2004
Baghdad, Iraq
Gender: Male
Hometown: Willows
High School: Willows High (Willows)
Foreign Country of Birth: Thailand
Burial: San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery, Santa Nella, Calif.

Twenty-five years after his parents fled a repressive Communist regime in their homeland of Laos, Thai Vue realized that the American dream they had given him was slipping out of his grasp.

The Willows, Calif., teenager had spent much of his senior year in high school partying and staying out late, and his grades showed it. A few days after his graduation in 2001, he drove to Chico, Calif., and joined the Army in hopes of getting his act together. "He said, 'I don't want to go, but I just need to get my life straight -- and get some money,' " his brother, Alan, recalled.

Thai Vue served his three-year stint in the Army, but military officials extended his service this year so he could serve in Iraq, his family said. He was killed June 18 when a mortar round struck a motor pool in Baghdad, where he was working as a mechanic.

With a new sense of discipline instilled by the Army, Vue, 22, had hoped to leave the military to take advantage of the educational opportunities that had attracted his parents to the United States.

His plan was to join his longtime girlfriend, Nancy Lee, 21, and attend college in Las Vegas. "He was going to come back," Lee said. "And we were going to get married and just live our life."

Vue, the third of six siblings and a member of the Hmong ethnic group, was born in Thailand a few years after his parents, Chou Vue and Chia Thao, fled across the Mekong River.

They were among thousands of Laotians who left to avoid the farming collectives and re- education camps of the communist government that was ascendant in Laos in the mid-1970s. Chou Vue spent much of his teenage years fighting the communists. So did his father and brother, who were killed in the fighting, said Thai Vue's older brother, Thor, 27.

In addition to his parents, Alan and Thor, Vue is survived by two other brothers, Kevin, 8, and Vincent, 6; a sister, Mai Yang, 24; and his grandmothers, Dia Yang and Chue Lee.

A traditional, three-day Hmong funeral was planned to start Saturday at Memorial
Read the entire LA Times article about Army Specialist Thai Vue here and find more at Military Times and from Hmong Today and see remembrances and messeges about Specialist Vue at Fallen Heroes.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Louis G. Kim, Army, Specialist -- Rest In Peace

Louis G. Kim, 19

Army, Specialist
Based: Schweinfurt, Germany
1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: February 20, 2007
Ramadi, Iraq
Gender: Male
Hometown: Hacienda Heights
High School: Los Altos High (Hacienda Heights)
Burial: Los Angeles National Cemetery, Westwood
The 19-year-old Hacienda Heights man was killed by small-arms fire Feb. 20 as he crawled between buildings during a gun battle in Ramadi, Iraq, west of Baghdad.

The military had beckoned to Kim from a young age. When he and [his friend] Manalo jogged to their Irvine grade school to avoid being late, Kim would tell Manalo to pretend that they were training for the Navy SEALs.

When Kim moved to Chicago for a couple of years during high school, he drove to Oklahoma with a group of friends to reenact D-day during a weeklong paintball tournament on the plains. And he loved the graphically realistic World War II movie "Saving Private Ryan."

Kim enlisted as soon as he graduated from Los Altos High School in Hacienda Heights in 2005, and was sent to Iraq last summer from Germany.

He did well in marksmanship and hoped to become an Army Ranger. But he never took himself too seriously.

"He was always the big class clown," Manalo said.

Kim's mother, Bridget Shin, didn't want her son to enlist.

"What parent would want that when there is a war going on?" she said. "But he was insistent."

She said today would have been his 20th birthday.

"He was a good boy," she added, her voice cracking. "He never went to play pool or stay out late or not come home."
Read the entire LA Times article about Army Specialist Louis G. Kim here and find more at Iraq Page and at Stripes and visit Specialist Kim's Guest Book.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saturday Night Tenor -- Mario Lanza

That Midnight Kiss

Illya Kuryakin, Napoleon Solo


Oprah Winfrey Academy -- Death Toll Rises

Because she's one of our favorites (she and Barny Frank),
we like to post the occasional
Oprah "Respect Obama" Winfrey Update.

The body of a newborn baby
was found in a plastic bag
at the Oprah Winfrey
Leadership Academy for Girls
in South Africa, police have confirmed.

H/T Big Hollywood 
Previous Oprah Interlude Sampler:
Education Chicago Style
Copenhagen Chumps
Oprah Doprah
Been A While

Pop Interlude -- Normal Man -- Duff Dugan

Song's not as sad as it seems, not here anyway, not sad here on Boom3.
Just a small tune well used in an episode of NCIS Los Angeles, which I'm screening because I'm assigned so to do -- okay, someone has to do it and I assigned the task to myself, why else be el jefe? -- and which screening I like to do because I get to video roam the home streets of LA with the NCIS folk, not a bad way to earn some bucks while watching Hollywood product and sitting in Arkansas sans palm trees or sandy beaches.
Just saying.
Show's better than anticipated and funnier than hoped for.
Me? Normal is as normal does. Heh.

NCIS Los Angeles Weekly Bonus:

Michael David P. Cardenaz, Army, Staff Sergeant -- Rest In Peace

Michael David P. Cardenaz, 29
Army, Staff Sergeant
Based: Ft. Carson, Colo.
2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
Supporting: Operation Enduring Freedom
Died: February 20, 2010
Kunar, Afghanistan
Married, 5 children
Gender: Male
Hometown: Corona
High School: Corona High (Corona)
Burial: Corona Sunnyslope Cemetery, Corona
Army Sgt. Michael David P. Cardenaz was a larger-than-life figure, those who knew him say.

A bald, bull of a guy, Cardenaz told a Colorado reporter in 2009 that he was an "old-school" soldier.

By then, he said, he had twice been hit by shrapnel, and had survived what he described as dozens of close calls with improvised explosive devices and rocket-propelled grenades. And a fellow soldier had died in his arms, he said.

"He was the bravest man I ever met," said John Maldonado, who served with Cardenaz in Kosovo and Germany.

Cardenaz had served in Kosovo twice, in Iraq twice and was in the middle of an Afghanistan tour when he was killed in Kunar province by a rocket-propelled grenade Feb. 20, about a month before he was to return home.

His family said he had signed a 20-year contract with the Army not long before he died.

"You never knew if he was serious or about to break out into laughter," David Bellavia, a soldier and author who served with Cardenaz, wrote on a page of his website dedicated to "Fallen Heroes." "He would borrow a cigarette off you and then complain about your brand."
Cardenaz was a staff sergeant assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division based at Ft. Carson, Colo. In Iraq, the battalion fought in some of the toughest battles in Ramadi and Baghdad.

In addition to his sister Priscilla, his wife and children, Cardenaz is survived by two other sisters, Monica and Sandra; a brother, Steven; and his parents, Miguel and Rosellen.

Cardenaz was buried at Corona Sunnyslope Cemetery.
Read the entire LA Times article about Army Staff Sergeant Michael David P. Cardenaz here and read the Press-Enterprise article and find more about Sergeant Cardenaz at Military Times and Freedom Remembered.

Requiescat in Pace, Hermano Menor

Grioghal Cridhe / Beloved Gregor

Happy Birthday, Bro.

Rest in Peace.

Gregory Edward Fowler Gordon

Friday, February 18, 2011

Shabbat Shalom -- Navy Files

Picture found at Jews for Sarah Palin

Trig Palin, Sarah Palin -- 1000 Words File

 Pic found here.

Kristofer D.S. Thomas, Army, Private 1st Class -- Rest In Peace

Kristofer D.S. Thomas, 18

Army, Private 1st Class
Based: Ft. Benning, Ga.
3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment
Supporting: Operation Enduring Freedom
Died: February 18, 2007
southeastern Afghanistan, Afghanistan
Gender: Male
Hometown: Roseville
High School: Roseville High (Roseville)
Burial: Newcastle District Cemetery, Newcastle, Calif.

When Kristofer Thomas was 15, he told a recruiter that he wanted to join the Army.

For most kids, it could have been a boyhood whim. But Thomas never wavered from his pledge. He graduated from high school in the Sacramento Valley city of Roseville a semester early so he could enlist a month after his 17th birthday. Within months, he became the youngest-ever member of the Army Rangers, an elite, highly trained special operations unit, and soon was deployed to Afghanistan.

On Feb. 18, the 18-year-old private first class and seven other special operations soldiers were killed when their CH-47 Chinook transport helicopter crashed in Afghanistan's Zabol province, south of Kabul. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Ft. Benning, Ga….

In addition to his mother and brother Nicholes, Thomas is survived by his stepfather, Eddie Getz; his father and stepmother, Rodney and Ramona Thomas; and a younger brother, Mason Thomas of Lincoln, Calif.
Do read the entire LA Times article about Army Private 1st Class Kristofer D.S. Thomas here, and find more at Military Times and the Ranger Lead The Way fund site and visit Private Thomas's Guest Book.

According to a Defense Department release, also killed in the crash were:

* Pfc. Ryan C. Garbs, 20, of Edwardsville, Ill.; B Company, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Ga.

* Spc. Brandon D. Gordon, 21, of Naples, Fla.; B Company, 2nd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), Fort Campbell, Ky.

* Chief Warrant Officer 3 Hershel D. McCants, Jr., 34, of Arizona; B Co., 2nd Battalion, 160th.

* CW3 John A. Quinlan, 26, of New Jersey; B Co., 2nd Battalion, 160th.

* Spc. Travis R. Vaughn, 26, of Reinbeck, Iowa; B Co., 2nd Battalion, 160th.

* Sgt. Adam A. Wilkinson, 23, of Miskayuna, N.Y.; B Co., 2nd Battalion, 160th.

* Air Force Tech Sgt. Scott Duffman, of La Cueva, N.M., was assigned to the 24th Special Tactics Squadron, Pope Air Force Base, N.C.

Pfc. Ryan C. Garbs -- Rest In Peace
Spc. Brandon D. Gordon -- Rest In Peace
Chief Warrant Officer Hershel D. McCants -- Rest In Peace
CW3 John A. Quinlan -- Rest In Peace
Spec. Travis R. Vaughn -- Rest In Peace
Sgt. Adam A. Wilkinson -- Rest In Peace
Air Force Tech Sgt. Scott Duffman -- Rest In Peace

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Blake H. Howey, Marines, Lance Corporal -- Rest In Peace

Blake H. Howey , 20

Marines, Lance Corporal
Based: Twentynine Palms, Calif.
2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: February 18, 2007
Fallouja, Iraq
Gender: Male
Hometown: Glendora
High School: Whitcomb Continuation High School (Glendora)
Burial: Oakdale Memorial Park, Glendora

Here's the whole story about Lance Corporal Blake H. Howey from the LA Times:
To Blake Howey, there was never any doubt about what he wanted to do: become a Marine. He even devised a way to graduate from high school in Glendora early so that he could join his buddies and enlist upon graduation.

"I tried to talk him out of it," his mother, Audrey Nichka, said of her son's insistence on joining the military.

"I'd tell him, 'You're the laziest boy I know. How are you going to get up at 4 in the morning? You can't even mow the lawn.' I even sent him on a trip to Hawaii so my cousins would change his mind. He went on the trip, but didn't tell me that he joined up the day before he left. After the shock of it, I respected his wishes and supported him. I'm so proud of him."

In his senior year at Glendora High School, Howey transferred to Whitcomb High School, a continuation campus, to earn credits more quickly. Tom Paegel, who taught Howey in his science class at Whitcomb, said it was apparent that nothing would prevent the young man from achieving his dream.

"He was very determined," Paegel said. "He wanted to follow his buddies and become a Marine. He did whatever it took." Paegel said Howey was among five Whitcomb seniors in the class of 2005 who enlisted in the military; three joined the Marine Corps and two went into the Navy.

After graduating, Howey immediately joined the Marines. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force in Twentynine Palms, Calif.

Although he expected to go to Okinawa, Japan, the lance corporal was sent to Iraq. Lacey Webb, a lifelong friend, said Howey was so gung-ho that he became his unit's point man.

"He was very proud of himself; he knew how much he would grow up in the Marines," Webb said. "He went in as this goofy kid who wore band T-shirts, and he came out a man."

On Feb. 18, Howey, 20, was killed when a roadside bomb exploded near his Humvee in Iraq's Al Anbar province, west of Baghdad. He had been in Iraq for three weeks.

The small foothills town of Glendora has rallied to support Howey's family and friends. The Police Department escorted his body home after it arrived at Ontario International Airport on Feb. 24, and the Fire Department joined the procession when it reached the city limits.

A candlelight vigil was held at Finkbiner Park, and Glendora High lighted its memorial flame in Howey's memory. Whitcomb High cut short its school day so students and staff could attend a memorial service Wednesday at Glenkirk Presbyterian Church in Glendora.

In addition to his mother, Howey is survived by his father, Greg; his stepfather, Ron Nichka; and a 7-year-old sister, Taylor, all of Glendora.

Howey's mother said she was overwhelmed by the response to her son's death, both from people in the community and from Marines and their families, many of them strangers.

"I'm amazed," she said. "Marines' mothers and friends have come from all over, people I've never met before. I've got people all over the house. I'm amazed at how much people have poured out their hearts. My son was so proud of being a Marine, and I can see why."

She said she was establishing a memorial fund to be used for supplies needed by Marines in her son's unit, whom she called "my boys." "I can't help every Marine, but I can help his platoon," she said.
Read more about Lance Corporal Blake H. Howey in God's Marines and in LA Indymedia and visit Lance Corporal Howey's Guest Book.
Blake Howey's bedroom.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Jason R. Hendrix, Army, Staff Sergeant -- Rest In Peace

Jason R. Hendrix, 28

Army, Staff Sergeant
Based: Camp Hovey, South Korea
1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: February 16, 2005
Ramadi, Iraq
Gender: Male
Hometown: Freedom
Burial: Calvary Cemetery, Tulsa, Okla

Sergeant Hendrix was killed when an explosion occurred while he was conducting combat operations in Ramadi, Iraq.
Remembering Jason Hendrix the bodybuilder, the man who loved to hunt, who cared about his family and loved his country, dominated the comments and the images shared at the slain soldier’s funeral service Saturday.

“He was a wonderful, wonderful boy,” said his aunt, Onetta Webster, as she walked from his grave site. “He loved it around here.”

For a few hours at least, Hendrix’s life mattered more than the circumstances after his death. A final resting place for Hendrix, a California native who was killed while serving in Iraq on Feb. 16, caused a family feud to turn into a court battle. The legal spat between divorced parents was resolved last month.

At Rice Funeral Service in Claremore and at the graveside at Calvary Cemetery in Tulsa, family members talked about the man who grew from a towheaded boy to a muscle-bound staff sergeant in the Army.

“He was a young man to be admired,” said Rosetta Jensen, Hendrix’s great-aunt. “He didn’t die for one person, he died for all of us.”

Hendrix, 28, lived most of his life in California. He spent the last two years of high school living with his father in Claremore. After graduating from Claremore Sequoyah, he joined the Army, serving two tours in South Korea during his 11-year career.

“He loved to go hunting with his father,” Webster said. “They would always get a deer.”

In Claremore, friends and relatives filled the chapel to hear Lt. Col. Greg Borden talk about the difference Jason Hendrix made. Borden, a chaplain stationed at Fort Carson, Colo., spoke of memories and the value of Hendrix’s sacrifice.

“His life made a difference, even to people who never knew him,” Hendrix said. “Because of what he did, Iraqis will experience some freedom that they never would have known.”

After a reading of Hendrix’s awards, which included a Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Meritorious Service Medal, 16 soldiers in attendance paid final respects. One by one, soldiers, most clad in dress uniform, stood up, marched before the casket and saluted.

The nearly 40-vehicle procession that followed Hendrix’s remains on the 31-mile drive to the cemetery stopped traffic along the route.

Hendrix received burial with full military honors, including the playing of “Taps” and a 21-gun salute. A group of about a dozen Vietnam veterans looked on as the serviceman was laid to rest.
Read the entire story about Army Staff Sergeant Jason R. Hendrix in Military Times, find more in the LA Times, at Fallen Heroes and visit Sergeant Hendrix's Guest Book.