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Thread: In Memoriam

  1. #1516
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    World War II

    Missing World War II Soldiers Identified

    The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of three servicemen, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

    Army Pfc. Lawrence N. Harris, of Elkins, W.V., Cpl. Judge C. Hellums, of Paris, Miss., and Pvt. Donald D. Owens, of Cleveland, will be buried as a group, in a single casket, on July 20 in Arlington National Cemetery. In late September 1944, their unit, the 773rd Tank Battalion, was fighting its way east to France’s eastern border, clearing German forces out of the Parroy Forest near Lunéville. On Oct. 9, 1944, in the final battle for control of the region, Hellums, Harris, Owens and two other soldiers were attacked by enemy fire in their M-10 Tank Destroyer. Two men survived with serious injuries but Harris, Hellums and Owens were reported to have been killed. Evidence at the time indicated the remains of the men had been destroyed in the attack and were neither recovered nor buried near the location.

    In November 1946, a French soldier working in the Parroy Forest found debris associated with an M-10 vehicle and human remains, which were turned over to the American Graves Registration Command. The remains were buried as unknowns in what is now known as the Ardennes American Cemetery in Belgium. A year later the AGRC returned to the Parroy Forest to conduct interviews and search for additional remains. Investigators noted at that time that all remains of U.S. soldiers had reportedly been removed in the last two years and that the crew was likely buried elsewhere as unknowns.

    In 2003, a French citizen exploring the Parroy Forest discovered human remains and an identification bracelet engraved with Hellums’ name, from a site he had probed occasionally since 1998. The information was eventually sent to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC). In April 2006, the man turned over the items to a JPAC team working in Europe. A few months later a second JPAC team returned to the site and recovered more human remains, personal effects and an identification tag for Owens.

    Historians at DPMO and JPAC continued their research on the burials at the Ardennes Cemetery, and drew a correlation to those unknowns removed from the 1944 battle site. In early 2008 JPAC disinterred these remains and began their forensic review.

    Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC used dental comparisons for the men and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA, which matched that of each soldier’s relatives in the identification of their remains.

    At the end of the war, the U.S. government was unable to recover, identify and bury approximately 79,000 Americans. Today, more than 72,000 remain unaccounted-for from the conflict.

  2. #1517
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    15 July 2011

    US Marine Lance Corporal Christopher L. Camero died on 15th July 2011 from wounds suffered on 6th July while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

    The 19-year-old, from Kailia Kona, Hawaii, served with the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division based at Twentynine Palms, California.

    Friends of L-Cpl. Camero posted the news of his death on the Internet, saying he had stepped on a homemade bomb while on a patrol, his legs had to be amputated and that he had been on life support since being wounded.

    L-Cpl. Camero chronicled his deployment to Afghanistan on his Facebook page, posting photos of himself on a plane heading for Germany, then Kyrgyzstan, arriving in Afghanistan on 12th April.

    His unit of about 1,000 Marines patrols Nahr-e-saraj district south of Sangin, where some of the heaviest recent fighting has occurred, and north of Lashkar Gah in Helmand province.

  3. #1518
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    17 July 2011

    US Marine Lance Corporal Jabari N. Thompson, age 22, of Brooklyn, N.Y., died on 17th July 2011 from wounds he received on 13th July while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

    L-Cpl. Thompson, from Brooklyn, New York, served with the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

  4. #1519
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    England

    British Army Corporal Mark Anthony Palin from 1st Battalion The Rifles was killed in action in the Nahr-e-Saraj district of Helmand province on 18th July 2011. He was leading a patrol to clear an enemy explosives cache when a hidden bomb exploded near him.

    32-year-old Corporal Palin was born in Plymouth and joined the Army in 1996. He served in Germany, Northern Ireland and Iraq before deploying to Afghanistan in April this year.

    Lieutenant Colonel James de Labillière DSO MBE, Commanding Officer, 1 RIFLES said: "Corporal Mark Palin was a Battalion personality through and through. He thrived on the friendship of many, and was generous to a fault in the friendship he gave in return. Indeed this was the very essence of the man; always putting others first, and taking huge enjoyment in making others smile and laugh, no matter how difficult the circumstances."

    Corporal Palin leaves behind his wife Carla, young son Lennon, father Paul, brother Matthew and sister Louise.

  5. #1520
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    Another Medal of Honor

    The Military Times brings us word that a third living soldier will receive the Medal of Honor. He is Marine Corporal Dakota Meyer, 22, a scout sniper who left active duty in June 2010, and now resides in Austin, Texas.

    Meyer was on a mission to meet with tribal elders in Afghanistan, in a village close to the Pakistani border, on September 8, 2009. They came under attack from heavily armed insurgents who outnumbered them more than four to one. Frantic pleas for artillery support were refused, leading to letters of reprimand for several of the officers in charge of the operation.

    The officers might have been negligent, but Cpl. Meyer was amazing:

    Meyer, then 21, went into the kill zone on foot after helicopter pilots called on to respond said they could not help retrieve the four missing service members because the fighting on the ground was too fierce, according to a witness statement he provided the military. He found his buddies in a trench where pilots had spotted them.

    “I checked them all for a pulse. There [sic] bodies were already stiff,” Meyer said in a sworn statement he was asked to provide military investigators. “I found SSgt Kenefick facedown in the trench w/ his GPS in his hand. His face appeared as if he were screaming. He had been shot in the head.”

    Meyer was already suffering from shrapnel wounds at the time. He nevertheless assisted in the retrieval of the bodies. All four of the fallen soldiers were subsequently honored with Bronze Stars.

    Two other Marines involved in the battle were awarded the Navy Cross for their heroic actions. Captain Ademola Fabayo threw himself into close-quarters battle with the insurgents, and carried a wounded comrade to safety. Staff Sgt. Juan Rodriguez-Chavez made three trips into the kill zone with a Humvee, while Cpl. Meyer manned its machine gun turret. Meyer went into the zone on foot when they couldn’t find the missing men from the Humvee.

    During the award ceremony for Capt. Fabayo and Staff Sgt. Rodriguez-Chavez, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said their story “doesn’t need any other explanation… whatever words there are, they’re not adequate in adding anything to the actions of that day.”

    True, but words are how we share the incredible treasures of courage our nation has been blessed with. They are how we remember the heroes we have lost, and give thanks for those who made it home. Corporal Dakota Meyer will be the first living Marine to receive the Medal of Honor since Vietnam. Spread the word.

  6. #1521
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    God bless Corporal Dakota Meyer.
    I meant," said Ipslore bitterly, "what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?"
    Death thought about it.
    "Cats," he said eventually. "Cats are nice."

    -- Terry Pratchett, Sourcery

  7. #1522
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    12 July 2011

    US Marine Major Jeremy James Graczyk, age 33, died on 12th July 2011 in a BASE jumping accident in Switzerland.

    Major Graczyk, a decorated war veteran, had deployed more than seven times to Afghanistan, Iraq and Africa. He attended the United States Naval Academy, and received a BSc degree in Systems Engineering in 1999. He was promoted to the rank of major in 2009.

    Major Graczyk holds three Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medals, one Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal, two Combat Action Ribbons, a Presidential Unit Citation, a Meritorious Unit Citation, two National Defense Service Medals, two Afghanistan Campaign Medals, five Iraq Campaign Medals, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and seven Sea Service Deployment Ribbons.

    He is survived by his parents, James and Darlene Graczyk, sister Jennifer, nephews Aidan and Gabe, grandparents Richard and Leora Shoop and several aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins.


  8. #1523
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    18 July 2011

    Pennsylvania TV station WHTM has reported that three soldiers with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard's 131st Transportation Company were killed in Afghanistan on Monday, according to friends and relatives.
    US Army National Guard Staff-Sgt. Kenneth R. VanGiesen, from Kane, Pennsylvania, was killed along with two fellow soldiers on Monday 18th July when his patrol vehicle struck a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. He was serving with the 131st Transportation Company.

    According to a report in Kanerepublican.com, SSgt VanGiesen, a mechanic, was pulled from his "home" base to go to Afghanistan with another National Guard unit that needed someone with his expertise.

    The 30-year-old soldier is the son of Tom and Sue VanGiesen from Kane. He and his longtime girlfriend, Erin Sirianni of Kane, have been living in a house they purchased in Erie where SSgt. VanGiesen had been working with the National Guard.

    SSgt. VanGiesen had previously deployed to Iraq twice.


    US Army Sergeant Brian K. Mowery from Halifax, Pennsylvania, was one of three soldiers killed on 18th July 2011 in Ghazni province, when his patrol vehicle struck a road mine.

    The 49-year-old served with the 131st Transportation Company, 213th Area Support Group, based at Williamstown, Pennsylvania.




    US Army Sergeant Edward W. Koehler, age 47, from Lebanon, Pennsylvania, was one of three soldiers killed on 18th July 2011 in Ghazni province, when his patrol vehicle struck a road mine.

    Sgt. Koehler served with the 131st Transportation Company, 213th Area Support Group, based at Williamstown, Pennsylvania.

    After serving with the Marine Corps from 1982 to 1988, he took a 10-year break from the service. He enlisted in the Pennsylvania National Guard in 1997 as a motor transport operator, serving his entire Guard career in the 131st Transportation Company.

    This was Sgt. Koehler's first tour of duty in Afghanistan. He had also served with the 131st in Kuwait and Iraq from 2003 to 2004.

    His awards include the Combat Action Badge, three Army Reserve Component Achievement Medals, Army Achievement Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and Service Medals, Driver and Mechanic Badge, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon and the Governor's Unit Citation.



  9. #1524
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    18 July 2011


    [B]Nebraska Army National Guard Sergeant Omar A. Jones died on 18th July 2011 at a base in Balkh province from a "non-combat" related injury. The 28-year-old soldier served with the 126th Chemical Battalion, 92nd Troop Command, Nebraska Army National Guard, based at Wahoo, Nebraska.

    The Nebraska National Guard said Sgt. Jones was born in Jackson, Mississippi and enlisted in the Army in 2001 when he was 18. After his active tour duty, he joined the Nebraska National Guard in 2005. He had previously deployed twice to Iraq. This was his first tour of duty in Afghanistan.

    Sgt. Jones, who spent much of his childhood in Colombia, is survived by his wife, Ava L. Jones, his daughter, Airiana G. Jones, son Malachi A. Jones, his father, Dennis D. Jones and his mother, Luz A. Jones.
    Last edited by Grace; 07-23-2011 at 12:34 PM.

  10. #1525
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    19 July 2011

    27-year-old US Army Sergeant Jacob Molina was one of two soldiers killed in Kunar province on 19th July 2011 from the blast of a roadside bomb against their patrol vehicle.

    Sgt. Molina, from Houston, Texas, served in the Hawaiian based 25th Infantry Division with 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment. He enlisted in the Army in February 2007. This was his second overseas combat tour. He had previously served in Iraq.

    His mother, Janie Torre, told a local news channel that Jacob had wanted to be in the military ever since becoming a teenager. She knew it was his destiny, but never expected he wouldn’t come back alive.

    "He’s tough," said Janie, choking back the tears. "And, I’ve always known Jacob to get out of everything, not this time."


    29-year-old US Army Staff Sergeant James M. Christen was one of two soldiers killed in Kunar province on 19th July 2011 from the blast of a roadside bomb against their patrol vehicle.

    Staff-Sgt. Christen, from Loomis, California, served in the Hawaiian based 25th Infantry Division with 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment.

    This was Staff-Sgt. Christen’s third overseas combat deployment. He previously served two tours in Iraq. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart.


  11. #1526
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    21 July 2011

    36-year-old US Army Master Sergeant Benjamin A. Stevenson was killed in action in Paktika province on 21st July 2011 by small arms fire in a contact with enemy forces.

    Master Sgt. Stevenson, from Canyon Lake, Texas, served with the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

  12. #1527
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    23 July 2011


    President Obama marked the passing of a “genuine soldier-statesman” Saturday after it emerged former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. John Shalikashvili had died at 75.

    Shalikashvili led the Joint Chiefs under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1997, succeeding Gen. Colin Powell. He counseled Clinton on the use of troops in Bosnia and other trouble spots.

    Polish-born Shalikashvili fled his homeland in 1944 ahead of the Russian advance and came to the U.S. as a teenager. He survived a stroke in 2004.

    Obama said in a statement: “With the passing of General John M. Shalikashvili, the United States has lost a genuine soldier-statesman whose extraordinary life represented the promise of America and the limitless possibilities that are open to those who choose to serve it. From his arrival in the United States as a 16-year old Polish immigrant after the Second World War, to a young man who learned English from John Wayne movies, to his rise to the highest ranks of our military, Shali’s life was an “only in America” story. By any measure, he made our country a safer and better place.

    “As Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he strengthened our alliances in Europe and in Asia, forged closer defense ties with Russia, and championed the Partnership for Peace with the former Soviet states. At the same time, he oversaw successful military operations in Bosnia and Haiti, and elsewhere. Most of all, he fought tirelessly to improve the quality of life for our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen and their families who serve to keep us safe.

    “Michelle and I extend our heartfelt condolences to General Shalikashvili’s wife Joan and their son Brant.” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who worked with Shalikashvili in the Clinton White House, also paid tribute “with a heavy heart.”

    His statement read: “It is with a heavy heart that I received news of the passing of General John M. Shalikashvili. John was an extraordinary patriot who faithfully defended this country for four decades, rising to the very pinnacle of the military profession. He lived the American dream, arriving from Europe with his family as a teenager after World War II, and he dedicated his life to defending the country that had quickly adopted him and his family.

    “I worked closely with John back in the Clinton administration when he served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and I was the White House Chief of Staff. I came to rely on his wise counsel, his wealth of military expertise, and his candor as we were challenged by foreign policy crises in Haiti, the Balkans, and elsewhere. I will remember John as always being a stalwart advocate for the brave men and women who don the uniform and stand guard over this nation.

    “During my many years of public service, I have had the privilege to serve alongside great leaders. John Shalikashvili was one of this country's finest. My condolences go out to his wife Joan and his son Brant.”

    Current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen said in a statement: “The Joint Chiefs and the more than two million men and women in uniform join me today in mourning the death of retired General John Shalikashvili, our 13th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

    “During his tenure as Chairman, he skillfully shepherded our military through the early years of the post-Cold War era, helping to redefine both U.S. and NATO relationships with former members of the Warsaw Pact, while crafting a vision for our military that vastly improved its joint capabilities and interoperability, efforts that continue to make a difference around the world today.”

  13. #1528
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    Italy

    Italian paratrooper, Caporal Maggiore David Tobini, was killed in action on Monday 25th July 2011 during a gun battle with enemy forces near Bala Murghab. Two other Italian troops were wounded.

    C-Maggiore, age 28, served with the Italian 183rd Parachute Regiment "Nimbus". He lived in Osteria Nuova, Rome, with his mother and brother. His father also lives in Rome. This was his first deployment to Afghanistan.

    E’ il 1° Caporal Maggiore David Tobini, 28 anni, del 183° reggimento paracadutisti “Nembo” di Pistoia, il militare italiano rimasto ucciso oggi nel corso di un’operazione nella parte occidentale dell’Afghanistan.

    Altri due soldati sono rimasti feriti, uno dei quali in modo grave.

    Durante l’operazione congiunta condotta da forze italiane e afgane nella zona a nord ovest della valle di Bala Murghab, l’unità nella quale erano presenti anche i militari italiani e’ stata attaccata.

    Resta in gravi condizioni uno dei due militari rimasti feriti nello scontro a fuoco, mentre il secondo non è in pericolo di vita.

  14. #1529
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    World War II


    Missing World War II Soldiers Indentified

    The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced Monday that the remains 12 U.S. servicemen, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

    They are Army Air Forces

    1st Lt. Jack E. Volz, 21, of Indianapolis;
    2nd Lt. Regis E. Dietz, 28, of Pittsburgh, Pa.;
    2nd Lt. Edward J. Lake, 25, of Brooklyn, N.Y.;
    2nd Lt. Martin P. Murray, 21, of Lowell, Mass.;
    2nd Lt. William J. Shryock, 23, of Gary, Ind.;
    Tech. Sgt. Robert S. Wren, 25, of Seattle, Wash.;
    Tech. Sgt. Hollis R. Smith, 22, of Cove, Ark.;
    Staff Sgt. Berthold A. Chastain, 27, Dalton, Ga.;
    Staff Sgt. Clyde L. Green, 24, Erie, Pa.;
    Staff Sgt. Frederick E. Harris, 23, Medford, Mass.;
    Staff Sgt. Claude A. Ray, 24, Coffeyville, Kan.;
    and Staff Sgt. Claude G. Tyler, 24, Landover, Md.


    The remains representing the entire crew will be buried as a group, in a single casket, Aug. 4 in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. Eight of the airmen were identified and buried as individuals during previous ceremonies. Shryock, Green and Harris were also individually identified and will be interred individually at Arlington on the same day as the group interment.

    These 12 airmen were ordered to carry out a reconnaissance mission in their B-24D Liberator, taking off from an airfield near Port Moresby, New Guinea, on Oct. 27, 1943. Allied plans were being formulated to mount an attack on the Japanese redoubt at Rabaul, New Britain. American strategists considered it critical to take Rabaul in order to support the eventual invasion of the Philippines. The crew’s assigned area of reconnaissance was the nearby shipping lanes in the Bismarck Sea. But during their mission, they were radioed to land at a friendly air strip nearby due to poor weather conditions. The last radio transmission from the crew did not indicate their location, and in the following weeks, multiple searches over land and sea areas did not locate the aircraft.

    Following World War II, the Army Graves Registration Service conducted investigations and searches for 43 missing airmen, including these airmen, in the area but concluded in June 1949 that they were unrecoverable.

    In August 2003, a team from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) received information on a crash site from a citizen in Papua New Guinea while they were investigating another case. He also turned over an identification card from one of the crew members and reported that there were possible human remains at the site of the crash. Twice in 2004 other JPAC teams attempted to visit the site but were unable to do so due to poor weather and hazardous conditions at the helicopter landing site. Another team was able to successfully excavate the site from January to March 2007 where they found several identification tags from the B-24D crew as well as human remains.

    Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA—which matched that of some of the crewmembers’ families—in the identification of their remains

    Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died. At the end of the war, the U.S. government was unable to recover and identify approximately 79,000 Americans. Today, more than 73,000 are unaccounted-for from the conflict.

  15. #1530
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    Interesting to watch and listen to what really happened, and why so many lives were just thrown away.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F67C8yzww_Y


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