Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Casey J. Grochowiak, Army, Staff Sergeant -- Rest In Peace

Casey J. Grochowiak, 34
Army, Staff Sergeant
Based: Ft. Carson, Colo.
1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
Supporting: Operation Enduring Freedom
Died: August 30, 2010
Malajat, Afghanistan
Married, 2 children
Gender: Male
Hometown: Carlsbad
High School: Horizon Christian Fellowship Academy (Clairemont)
Burial: Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego
From the North County Times:
A U.S. Army Ranger who grew up in Encinitas and La Costa is one of the latest casualties of the widening war in Afghanistan.
Staff Sgt. Casey J. Grochowiak died Monday when he got out of a vehicle to check a suspicious object that turned out to be a roadside bomb that detonated and killed him instantly, according to his brother, Erik Grochowiak.
"He was apparently in the lead car of a convoy when he noticed it, got out to inspect and took the brunt of the explosion," Grochowiak said. "We were told he died instantly."
[Also killed was First Lt. Mark Noziska, 24, of Papillion, NE.] 
Married and the father of two, Grochowiak, 34, became an elite Army Ranger a few years ago, his brother said Wednesday.
He served a previous tour in Iraq and spent time in Afghanistan during the 2001 invasion of the south-central Asian nation, Erik Grochowiak said.
He left for Afghanistan in early August, a deployment he didn't have to go on because of a back problem.
"He didn't need to, but he told us he wanted to go and to help protect the younger guys," his brother said.
Grochowiak's body was returned Wednesday to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where his father and wife were waiting, his brother said.
The family moved to Encinitas in the mid-1970s and later to La Costa. Casey Grochowiak graduated from Horizon Christian Fellowship Academy in Clairemont and joined the Army in the mid-1990s.
"My brother grew up in an affluent area and could have done whatever he wanted to, but he wanted a career in the military," his brother said. "He was truly the kind of person that makes the military great ---- he took his orders and always gave 110 percent."
The family ---- including his parents, Edward and Barbara Grochowiak, who now live in Bonsall ---- looked at Casey as someone who was "invincible," Erik Grochowiak said.
"My brother was the type of guy who wasn't afraid of anything," he said. "He was always incredibly brave."
He and his wife, Celestina, and their two children made their home in Colorado Springs, Colo.
A funeral ceremony is tentatively planned for Sept. 11 at the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego.
"My family and I can only survive this by believing that he helped save others' lives," his brother said. "We are not a family that will sit and cry and say he is better off in heaven.
"We want to stand up and say what he stood for and how proud of him we are and celebrate his life. Him dying in Afghanistan, which is where the September 11 terror attacks started, and now burying him on that date would mean a lot to us."
Roadside bombs are taking a huge toll on U.S. troops in Afghanistan. As of early Wednesday, 322 U.S. service members have been killed by the crude devices since Jan. 1, making this the deadliest year of the nearly 9-year-old conflict.
Staff Sgt. Casey Grochowiak is shown with his wife, Celestina, and children Deegan, 6, and Matia,14. (Photo courtesy of Erik Grochowiak)

Read more about Army Sergeant Casey J. Grochowiak in the 
LA Times
and at the 1st Battalion 22nd Infantry site.


1st Lieutenant Mark Noziska
Army 1st Lt. Mark Noziska -- Rest In Peace

Mark Noziska’s father, Phil Noziska, said his son had planned to make a career out of the Army and had been in Afganistan less than a month.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Mitchell Arthur Lane, Army, Sergeant -- Rest In Peace

Mitchell A. Lane, 34

Army, Sergeant 1st Class
Based: Ft. Bragg, N.C.
2nd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group
Supporting: Operation Enduring Freedom
Died: August 29, 2003
Dai Chopan (near), Afghanistan
Married, 2 children
Gender: Male
Hometown: Lompoc
High School: Lompoc High (Lompoc)
Burial: Arlington National Cemetery

Lane was awarded a posthumous Purple Heart at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., adding to a long list of medals earned during his 12-year military career.
Lane's passion, adventurous spirit and interest in serving in the military started early, his parents said. The scrapbook he started as an 8 year old includes an Army recruitment advertisement, a U.S. Navy brochure and his application to begin hunter safety training at the age of 13. At 16, he added motorcycles to his list of passions.
He became an excellent marksman and swimmer, and eventually became an instructor in underwater warfare.
The Lanes are grateful for the stories of his generosity, courage, professionalism and fun-loving nature they've received from hundreds of people they've never met from all over the country, glad to add the memories of others to those of their own.
They've learned that their son shared his faith selflessly and used it to comfort others, including the mother of a fellow team member who was killed in action in June 2002.
"Mitch's words were so encouraging it was difficult not to smile and it was easy to love him and his comforting ways," the mother they've never met wrote the Lanes after their son's death.
Laurie Lane said people who knew her son well remember his beautiful heart, radiant smile and sparkling eyes.
Read more about Army Sergeant, First Class, Mitchell A. Lane at 
and visit Sergeant Mitchell Arthur Lane's Guest Book.

Army Sergeant Mitchell A. Lane previously remembered at Boom3 on Sunday, August 29, 2010.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Edgar Edelberto Lopez, Marines, Sergeant -- Rest In Peace

Edgar Edelberto Lopez, 27

Marines, Sergeant
Based: Camp Lejeune, N.C.
1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, II Marine Expeditionary Force
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: August 28, 2004
Babil province, Iraq
Married, 2 children
Gender: Male
Hometown: Los Angeles
Burial: Los Angeles National Cemetery, Westwood

Lopez, a 27-year-old sergeant, was killed in enemy action Aug. 28 in Iraq's Babil province, according to the Defense Department. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune.

Military officials gave his wife few details except that he was killed while trying to help Marines under attack. "The only thing they said was there was an explosion, and he was in one of the first vehicles in his unit," she said. "When he turned back to make sure everyone was OK, he got hit by a second explosion."

Relatives said that Lopez, a Los Angeles native, had been unsure of what to do after he graduated from high school. But one day he came home and told his mother, Ana Fajardo, that he had enlisted in the Marine Corps.

Although friends and family members had always seen a cheerful Lopez, his wife said, when it came to military duty he was businesslike. "I am very proud of him," she said. "He was a dedicated Marine, and he was very proud of that too."
Read the entire LA Times article about Marine Sergeant Edgar Edelberto Lopez here
Find more about Sergent Lopes at the Iraq Page 
Visit Marine Sergeant Edgar Edelberto Lopez's Guest Book.

Sergeant Edgar Edelberto Lopez previously remembered by Boom3 here.

Gutsy Guts

From Don Surber and the Scorekeeper.

Bonus Soetoro gutsiness from Grandpa John:

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Trig Palin With His Dad

Musical Interlude -- Wade in the Water -- Judy Henske

Cherish is a word.

Yes, we love Judy Henske here, and we thank Hip Hop Republican for featuring her on this week's play list for the New York City Hurricane, or as we call Irene in this family, Hurricane Ikie.

Surprised Henske hasn't appeared on Boom3 before, must have posted her over on the FaceBook thing, not here. We know Miss Henske because she appears in every Burke novel by Andrew Vachss, well, every one but one, don't think Burke plays her songs in Terminal. Burke does play Henske's Wade in the Water in Blossom, and that's the only time he also plays Patti LaBelle, with her Bluebelles. What more proof could there be of Burke's flawless taste -- LaBelle and Henske in the 60's.
Prowling around, usually in NYC, on some child-saving mission or another, Burke is always sliding a tape into his car's player, usually a Henske tape. Refined tastes or no, one of the least complicated heroes in literature Burke is not a character we've recommended to many, brutal as Vachss's Burke stories can be. Hey, most of our delicate friends can't take the truth like Burke delivers it. 

We saw Miss Henske at a little coffee house, Java Joes, in Ocean Beach, California, just a few blocks from the OB Muir Street compound, a few years ago, probably 1999, when we still lived at the beach. Perfect night. That was her loving husband accompanying her on the keyboards, Jerry Yester, I think, formerly of The Association. Small world.

Left OB in 2000. What was I thinking?

Men Will Be Men

Can't remember from where I swiped this, but Hat Tip to 'em.

Omead H. Razani, Army, Specialist -- Rest In Peace

Omead H. Razani, 19

Army, Specialist
Based: Camp Greaves, South Korea
1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: August 27, 2004
Habbaniya, Iraq
Gender: Male
Hometown: Los Angeles

For Omead
December 18, 1984 - August 27, 2004

Your presence matters.

Omead's spiritual inclination
On the other hand, I don't want to wallow in vengeance and blame. If only because I don't want to give stupid people in power in the world any more attention or credit. Don't want to reward pettiness and bad judgment.

I just want to meditate on Omead. He was spiritually inclined himself. I wonder what he would have been like here, now. What he would have thought at his own funeral. All those people there.

And I don't want to see him as a victim. Nobody made him join the Army. He really wanted to go. And he wanted the danger. He preferred line medic over anything else. He was fearless, it turns out. Despite all our families sheltering, low risk ways. He would have none of that. Perhaps one way or another, he would have made his exit to a higher plane. And I'm not kidding about that spiritual element. He was very non-attached in a Zen way. We would tease him about reading his "bliss quotes". And he just had that smile.
Read more about Omead H. Razani written by his cousin here, and more here.

Omead H. Razani and Haji AqA (grandfather) on the Merry-go-round in happier days.

We share the sorrow of his family for such a great loss. We pray for the comfort of his soul.
— Ershaghi
May 26, 2008 at 7:56 a.m.
Omead was hilarious. I remember him being quiet, which is what made the crazy things he said even funnier. All of his friends were destroyed by the news and we were all there wishing to hear his voice again.
— Harrison Coltun
December 15, 2008 at 4:27 p.m.
Its so crazy to hear that a Razani has died in the war, someone who I've never met... I am also a Razani and I am deploying to afghanistan. I hope Omead's family has coped with his loss peacefully, and hopefully I will be able to come back in one piece myself.
— Adam
January 10, 2011 at 8:18 p.m.
I went to middle school with Omead - he loved Nirvana, and would play their songs skillfully, including once at our talent show.
It's stunning to think that he is gone forever, because he was always playful, and still young. What a cruel world we live in.
— Amar Rao
June 26, 2011 at 5:11 a.m.

Army Specialist Omead H. Razani previously remembered here on Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday, August 26, 2011

Shabbat Shalom -- Hasidic Ice

Ice Cream House Rules

Rogelio A. Ramirez, Marines, Lance Corporal -- Rest In Peace

Rogelio A. Ramirez, 21

Marines, Lance Corporal
Based: Camp Pendleton
1st Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: August 26, 2007
Saqlawiya, Iraq
Single, 1 child
Gender: Male
Hometown: Pasadena
High School: Pasadena High (Pasadena)
Burial: Mountain View Cemetery, Altadena

This is reposted from Boom3, Saturday, July 3, 2010:

Ramirez's father came to the U.S. from El Salvador. He had been a member of a local militia during the civil war there and tried to talk his son out of enlisting. But Ramirez was determined, working two years to retire debts and even removing a small gang tattoo from his hand with scissors.
--Times obituary
When he walked out that door, he walked out whole. He had himself together. He had purpose. He was determined. I wouldn't have taken that from him.
— Irene Ramirez, mother
Requiescat In Pace.

If you'd like additional information about Lance Corporal Rogelio A. Ramirez,
look here, here or here.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

John L. Hallett, III, Army, Captain -- Rest In Peace

John L. Hallett, III, 30

Army, Captain
Based: Ft. Lewis, Wash.
1st Batallion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division
Supporting: Operation Enduring Freedom
Died: August 25, 2009
southern Afghanistan, Afghanistan
Married, 3 children
Gender: Male
Hometown: Concord
High School: De La Salle High School (Concord)
Burial: Queen of Heaven Cemetery, Lafayette, Calif.
On Aug. 25, Hallett was among four soldiers killed when a roadside bomb exploded near their vehicle in southern Afghanistan. He was 30.

Hallett was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division at Ft. Lewis, Wash.

Also killed were Capt. Cory J. Jenkins, 30, of Mesa, Ariz.; Sgt. 1st Class Ronald W. Sawyer, 38, of Trenton, Mo.; and Pfc. Dennis M. Williams, 24, of Federal Way, Wash.

Hallett's father, John L. Hallett II, said the four men had gone on a mercy mission to a village suffering a cholera outbreak.

"Knowing my son, he volunteered," the elder Hallett said.

Soon after John Hallett III died, the Army released a statement from his wife, Lisa, who lives in DuPont, Wash.:

"Capt. John Louis Hallett III was an amazing father, devoted and joyful husband, thoughtful son, loving brother and inspiring friend. . . . He would always put the needs of others before his own. He was a patient teacher to our children.

"He had the warmest and most genuine smile. John would always make people laugh by his clever ways and kind humor. . . . John's amazing example and memories will live in and guide his three young children."

In addition to his wife, Hallett is survived by two sons, Jackson, who will be 4 on Dec. 31, and Bryce, who turned 2 in early September, the day before his father was buried at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Lafayette, Calif. Hallett also is survived by an infant daughter, Heidi, who was born in August and whom he never got to see.
Do read more about Army Captain John L. Hallett, III and follow links here, here and here.

Capt. Cory J. Jenkins, 30, of Mesa, AZ.
-- Rest In Peace
Sgt. 1st Class Ronald W. Sawyer, 38, of Trenton, MO
-- Rest In Peace
Pfc. Dennis M. Williams, 24, of Federal Way, WA
-- Rest In Peace
Army Captain Cory J. Jenkins and Sgt. 1st Class Ronald W. Sawyer and Private First Class Dennis M. Williams and Captain John L. Hallett, III were previously remembered here.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pablo Manzano Jr., Army, Private 1st Class -- Rest In Peace

Pablo Manzano Jr., 19

Army, Private 1st Class
Based: Bamberg, Germany
B Company, 54th Engineer Battalion, V Corps
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: August 25, 2003
Baghdad (15 mi. south), Iraq
Gender: Male
Hometown: Heber
High School: Southwest High (El Centro)

I had Pablo in class for a year (his senior year) and he was also a student in my husband's class. He was the calmest, friendliest, sweetest kid. He wasn't the type to lean towards violence or anger. He had sooooo many friends in his class and not an enemy in the world. I was devastated when I heard of his death because this loss could have been prevented. I remember sitting around with him after school and trying to get him concert tickets, his cool presentation about medieval medical practices and trying to keep him quiet in class. He'd always say, "But they're talking to me! I can't just ignore them!" I would tell him to try not to be so popular and he would laugh. I can't believe he's gone.
— Carmelle Kuehn
November 18, 2009 at 11:03 a.m.

Army Pfc. Pablo Manzano, 19, of Heber, Calif.; assigned to B Company, 54th Engineer Battalion, V Corps, Bamberg, Germany; died Aug. 25 of a non-combat weapons discharge in Logistical Support Area Dogwood, Iraq.

From the Iraq Page:
The Imperial County Courthouse lowered their flag to half staff to honor Pablo Manzano Jr., a local army serviceman from Heber, California who was killed while serving in Iraq.
Pablo Manzano Jr. is the second serviceman to be killed from the Imperial Valley. Eric Silva, from Holtville, was killed while serving in Iraq earlier this year.
County Board of Supervisors Hank Kuiper, presided over the flag ceremony.
Manzano family members were present to pay tribute to the young man they loved and will miss greatly. They say Manzano was a bright young man who best known for his smile.
Pablo was a graduate from South West high school in El Centro. His family members tell us that he loved to play basketball and guitar.
Kuiper said "In a small town we feel the loss deep in our hearts."
Pablo Manzano Jr., a son, a bother, a friend, one of our own gone at 19.
Memorial services for Pablo Manzano Jr. will be held next week.
A Rosary will be held on Tuesday, September 2, from 6-9 pm at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in El Centro.
Funeral services will held on Wednesday, September 3, at 9am at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church and the burial will immediately follow at Mountain View Cemetery in Calexico.
City unveils Pablo Manzano Jr. Field.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Jason L. Paton, Army, Staff Sergeant -- Rest In Peace

Jason L. Paton, 25

Army, Staff Sergeant
Based: Schofield Barracks, Hawaii
2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: August 22, 2007
Multaka, Iraq
Gender: Male
Hometown: Poway
High School: Poway High (Poway)
Burial: Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego

Paton's mother, Kim Bilbrey of Poway, spoke briefly to her son on Monday and, as usual, he was talking about what he would do when he got home.

“He said he was very excited about getting married,” Bilbrey said.

Her only son was to have been back in Hawaii last month, but that was delayed when ... U.S. deployments were extended ... as part of the troop surge that began early this year.
Paton's decision to enlist in the Army after graduating from Poway High School in 2000 surprised his mother, but his decision to stick with his men did not.
“He was surfing one day at Black's and he just decided to join the Army,” Bilbrey said.
Once in the Army, Paton thrived, graduating from Airborne School and Ranger training and making rank quickly.
“You could see in Jason's personality a sense of duty to country,” said Wayne Branstetter, Paton's high school wrestling coach.
Despite the cachet of elite schools and the combat tours, Paton never changed when he can home to Poway.

“Everyone wanted to be around him. He was just so much fun. His laughter was contagious,” said Liz Reese, 25, who had known Paton since they were both 11.
“I want people to remember his strength, his devotion. How everyone was drawn to him,” Bilbrey said. “He was a happy person. He would do anything for people. He was a tough kid who had done a lot.”
Read more about Army Staff Sergeant Jason L. Paton here and here.

Army Staff Sergeant Jason L. Paton previously remembered by Boom3 on Sunday, August 22, 2010.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Nicanor Angel Alvarez, Marines, Corporal -- Rest In Peace

Marines, Corporal
Based: Camp Pendleton
1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: August 21, 2004
Anbar province, Iraq
Gender: Male
Hometown: San Bernardino
High School: Pacific High (San Bernardino)
Burial: Montecito Memorial Park, Colton, Calif.

Fallen: Nicanor A. Alvarez, Marine Corps corporal
September 25, 2004
Age 22

Nicanor Angel Alvarez planned to go to college and study architecture after he left the Marine Corps.
But the 22-year-old from San Bernardino was killed in action Aug. 21 in Iraq's Anbar province, one of four Marines to die there that day.
Alvarez was a combat engineer assigned to the 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division from Camp Pendleton.
He joined the Corps three years ago after graduating from Pacific High School and died in his second tour in Iraq.

Alvarez met his future wife, Sandra, now 21, four years ago, when they both worked at a shopping mall. They corresponded every day during his first tour in Iraq, she said, and he asked her to marry him in August 2003, when he returned home on leave.

"We talked about starting a family. We talked about the chances of us having twins," she told the Riverside Press-Enterprise.

Alvarez was born in Los Angeles and played soccer in high school in San Bernardino. He worked in a pizza restaurant when he was in school, and his main hobby was rebuilding a Ford Mustang convertible.

He also enjoyed playing practical jokes, the family said.

At a family gathering in Colton last year, his fiancee played a videotape of Alvarez saying he wouldn't return from Iraq for at least another year. Then he said he was hiding outside in the trunk of his car.

Sandra Alvarez said the couple discussed the possibility that he might be killed in Iraq, and he wanted her to finish school no matter what happened.

"He was the friend everyone would like to have," his brother Ismael Gonzalez told the newspaper.

Besides his wife and brother Ismael, Alvarez is survived by another brother, Mauricio Fregoso; and three sisters, Alma Gonzalez, Daisy Gonzalez and Kristel Ponce, all of San Bernardino County.
Read more about Marine Corporal Nicanor Angel Alvarez in the LA Times and at Fallen Heroes.

Marine Corporal Nicanor Angel Alvarez previously remembered on Boom3 Monday, August 23, 2010

Joseph C. Nurre, Army Reserve, Sergeant -- Rest In Peace

Joseph C. Nurre, 22
Army Reserve, Sergeant
Based: Weirton, W.Va.
463rd Engineer Battalion
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: August 21, 2005
Samarra (near), Iraq
Gender: Male
Hometown: Wilton
High School: Elk Grove High (Elk Grove)
Sgt. Joseph C. Nurre, 22, of the Army Reserve's 463rd Engineer Battalion was their only child, and the last thing Charlie and Leigh Nurre of Wilton, a suburb of Sacramento, wanted was to see him go to war.

Last Sunday, two military men came with the news that their son had been killed that day near Samarra, Iraq, when a roadside bomb hit his military vehicle during convoy operations.
"We cried and never stopped crying," said Leigh Nurre, a commercial real estate broker. "We had a son who was so special and so compassionate, and had such a huge heart."

The couple last saw their son July 13, when he left for Iraq for a second time after a two-week visit. "That was a God-given gift," his mother said. "He was so loving."
April 23, 2009
Joe I think about you all the time, I always think about the time we carried that dresser all the way to our barracks. Everybody was jealous especially Lt, your always in my prayers... PS. and the good eats from your dad. ;)~
david burkhart,
wheeling, West Virginia
Joe was a wonderful person. He was a terrific son. He always had a friendly smile and was a great storyteller. We will miss him dearly. — Charlie Nurre, father, about his only son
Visit Sergeant Joseph C.Nurre's Guest Book here and read more about him here
with a link to his MySpace pages here.

Army Reserve, Sergeant Joseph C. Nurre previously remembered here on Saturday August 21, 2010