Your Hero

gregory andrade - chicago, illinois

Branch: Army | Location: vietnam |

earned bronz star

1st Sgt. Randy Ford - DadNNikki2-1-564x767.JPGVisalia, California

Branch: Army - Reserve | Location: Afghanistan |

My father, my soldier, my friend. He is shown with my daughter, his granddaughter, at the USO inside McCarren Internation Airport on January 29, 2012. The families of the 32 deploying soldiers of Civil Affairs Delta Company 405th (affectionately known as the Vegas Desert Rats) were allowed to say goodbye to their soldiers in a family gathering there. This is his 3rd tour for Operation Enduring Freedom. He has earned a Bronze Star during his last tour in 2006-2007 and has been in the Army off and on since 1974. He has been National Guard, Reserves, and when 9/11 occurred it was in his nature to join up again. We worry about him being overseas, and we miss him dearly, but we are so proud of what he does and who he is. He will always be my hero and I couldn't ask for a better role model for my children to grow up with! He has spent his life in the military and in his civilian life he is in law enforcement. He lives to protect and serve, whether it is his country or his city. He has taught me to have the utmost respect for those in uniform and I can't imagine anyone else for my father. He is my father, my soldier, and my hero.

Military Working Dogs - Copyofwardogmem2-1-1536x2048.JPG

Branch: All Branches | Location: World Wide |

I'd like to recognize all the Military Working Dog teams past and present. Being an old handler out of Vietnam ('67-'68) the contribution these four legged soldiers have, until recently, gone unnoticed. The effectiveness of the teams in Vietnam saved an estimated 10,000 lives. The number of lives saved since then is unknown but their effectiveness remains the same. Fourtyfive years have come and gone and there is hardly a day that passes that I don't think about my two K-9 soldier partners Fritz M254 and King M315 I served along side of. The photo is of the War Dog Memorial at March Air Field, Riverside Ca. dedicated February 2000 "Courage isn't something you're born with - - - and it can't be given to you. Courage is a decision you make.It doesn't come from something you are. It's something you do." Lt Col USMC (Ret) Oliver North

Jordan Blake Emrick - Jordan1221114-1-800x560Hoyleton, Illinois

Branch: Staff Sgt. Marines | Location: Helmand Province Afganistan |

Jordan was always a free spirit. Happy, liked to make everyone laugh. Very intelligent. He only looked at 1 college. He wanted to go to St. Louis College of Pharmacy. Then he started his senior year, 9/11 happened and he wanted to join the Marines. He asked us if we would be upset if he didn't go to St. Louis of Pharmacy. It scared us when he told us that he wanted to be a Marine. He was adament about it. He had renenlisted twice. He was in his 9th year. An EOD tech. He loved his job. He lived life to the fullest everyday. He loved skydiving, skiing. He was so excited when he got to ski in Dubai. We went to CA to see him before his last deployment. He knew it would be dangerous. He told us that it was possible that he would not make it back home. This was the first time Jordan had ever said anything about a deployment. He would always say I'll be fine, don't worry. He told his dad and I what his wishes were if he did not come home. This was the hardest conversation I have ever had with my son. He told me that if he does not come home then it means that it was his time and that I should know that he died doing what he loved to do. It was his job. He also said"Mom if I don't come home don't go to the White House and protest this war. This is what I want to do." He never shed a tear when he talked to us about this. Terry and I both had a bad feeling that this deployment was not going to go well. We met so many of his friends and so many people that loved him as much as we do.

1SG DONNIE HODGE - 1SGHODGE-1-800x560ROANOKE, VIRGINIA

Branch: ARMY | Location: |

1ST DONNIE HODGE A SOLDIER KNOWN TO BE "SOLDIER OF SOLDIERS". WHETHER IN ARIZONA MOUNTAINS FOR MEXICO BORDER MISSION OR OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM - HE HAS TRULY FLOWN MIGHTER THAN THE FLAG AT THE CAPITAL ROTUNDA IN WASHINGTON, D.C. TRULY RESPECTED AND LOVE BY ALL HIS TROOPS. HIS FAMOUS WORDS: "YOU HAVE TO ALWAYS KNOW YOUR TROOPS - WHO THEY ARE AND WHERE THEY COME FROM...AND YOU WILL HAVE SUCCESS IN THE MILITARY."

Kenneth Iwasinski - Belchertown, MA.

Branch: Army | Location: Aldora |

He was a peace maker, a friend to all he met. I as his father, had never heard him pick on someone, or laugh at another's pain. On the contrary he would side with the one being made fun of, or intervene if he had seen someone fighting to try and bring peace. I am not seeing things through rose colored glasses. He was actually in trouble in school for being amongst a fight that he was trying to break up. His heart was pure and wanted nothing but the best for his fellow man. I found this to be more than I knew, when the men he served with would say that he would help them with there work when he was off duty. He also comforted a worried mother who was afraid for her sons safety. I know my son was not a perfect human being but the world was a much better place when he was still in it.

Orlando "Bill" Hadin Allin, Jr. - DragemOot1944DadsC-47-1-386x480.jpgSeattle, WA

Branch: US Army Air Corps | Location: Normandy, France and Dover, England |

My father was First Lieutenant Bill Allin, the pilot of a C-47 of the 87th Squadron of the 438th Troop Carrier Group in the European Theater of Operations, World War II. Shortly after D-Day he was evacuating wounded from an advance base in France back to England. The weather turned very bad and all but one base was socked in. The base was a short and narrow grass-strip lined with RAF Spitfires perched atop the sheer Dover cliffs overlooking the English Channel. Fighting fierce crosswinds, driving rain, running low on fuel, and refusing to return to France when the critically wounded needed immediate aid, he lowered the plane onto the slick runway. Quickly approaching the edge of the runway that ended at the cliff drop-off, he jammed the starboard brakes with his feet, wheeling the aircraft around and applied full-throttle to the two engines to bring the aircraft to rest. The wounded were quickly evacuated to the nearest hospital. Waving aside the incredible flying skills he used to bring his crew and wounded safely down, Dad would joke that he almost became an enemy ace that day as several fighter planes stationed at the ready along the runway were narrowly avoided during the landing. In the attached jpg file Dad is on the far left of the group photo of the crew and aircraft he flew. By the way, this aircraft, "Drag 'em Oot!", is still flying in England and France after be restored in 2006 by an Englishman, Paddy Green.

David M. Beshears - david-beshears

Branch: Army | Location: Afghanistan |

On Friday, October 12, 2007 at 10:00 AM, I received a phone call from a Captain Anderson from the US Army. Our son, Sergeant First Class David Michael Beshears, had been severely injured in Afghanistan. David was medivacked to Bagram, Afghanistan, then to Germany, and finally to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, DC. He lost consciousness somewhere en route to Bagram. Due to the concussive blast, he had suffered severe traumatic brain injury, major spinal and internal injuries. Read more

Stephen Coty Sockalosky - 180603_188495874516787_100000691276791_515937_6505811_n-1-507x623.jpgCordele, Georgia

Branch: Marine Corps | Location: Marjah, Afghanistan |

Cpl. Coty Sockalosky was born on Febuary 12,1989. Coty joined the Marine Corps right out of high school in June 2007. He was assigned to 2/9 Golf Company as a machine gunner. He was deployed to Iraq from September 2008 until April 2009. My brother left for his second deployment to Afghanistan in July 2010. On October 3,2010 my brother stepped on an IED while on patrol in Helmand Province. He passed away three days later from injuries in Germany. Even though my brother was younger than most of his fellow marines, they all looked up to the way he was. He was a leader and an outstanding marine and he greatly loved and missed.

Spc. Dale Justin Kridlo - Dale-Kridlo-1-222x275.jpgHughestown, PA

Branch: Army | Location: Fort Bragg |

Spec. Dale J. Kridlo, Hughestown, PA is a graduate of Pittston Area High School. Dale was an avid fan of the Philadelphia Eagles, Phillies and the Flyers. He loved to hunt and fish in his leisure. Dale was a true Patriot in every sense. He loved his family; he loved his country and he loved his flag. His life was cut short on November 7, 2010 in Kunar province, Afghanistan from wounds suffered by insurgents attacks on his unit with small arms fire. Dale was assigned to the 27th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade, 18th Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg NC.

Michael David Martino - 2005-10-13-MikeAlQaimIraq_Portrait2-1-200x140Irvine, CA

Branch: USMC | Location: Camp Pendleton, CA |

Michael David Martino was born on January 31, 1973, on the island of Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands (a U.S. Trust Territory), and in 1980 his family moved to Irvine, California. In 1996, Mike graduated from the University of California San Diego with a B.A. in Economics’ and then pursued his dream to be a Helicopter Pilot with the Marine Corps. From Feb-Sept 2004 the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. During this tour, “Oprah” served not in the air, but on the ground as a Forward Air Controller (FAC) and was responsible for calling in air strikes on enemy positions. During this tour he earned the Combat Action Ribbon and the Bronze Star with Valor for his heroic actions which resulted in the saving of many American lives and in the deaths of numerous insurgents. In December 2004 after returning from Iraq, Michael (new call sign “Martini”) got his wish and joined the World Famous Gunfighters HMLA-369 squadron out of Camp Pendleton, CA, and flew AH-1 W Super Cobra helicopters. In August 2005, HMLA-369 was deployed to Iraq’s Anbar Province, one of the most dangerous places in Iraq. On 2 November 2005, while flying in support of security operations near Ar Ramadi, Michael’s helicopter was shot down by a surface-to-air missile (SA 16), and he was killed. Capt. Martino was soon thereafter posthumously promoted to Major. In addition to a Purple Heart, Michael earned an Air Medal for Valor for heroic actions on previous missions during this second tour. Maj. Martino is buried in Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery. “Oprah” is mentioned in a book entitled, "No True Glory" written by Bing West and based on a frontline account of the battle in Fallujah. In addition, the book “Iraq in Transition”, authored by Peter Munson, a close friend and fellow Marine, was dedicated to Michael in the author’s hopes that some day all those who served and died there be honored by a stable and peaceful Iraq. Michael Martino displayed courage and dedication most fully, his family said, in his career as a Marine Corps helicopter pilot. He was a true patriot. He loved his country, the Marine Corps and flying. He believed fully in what the American military were doing in Iraq, and he was proud to be a part of it. We were blessed to have had him as a son and brother.

Chad A. Colon - Henderson, NV

Branch: US ARMY | Location: Afghanistan |

My son Chad Colon was born 1989 in Brooklyn NY. We moved to Henderson NV in 2003.His teenage years in NV were hard and challenging. He gave me all types of headaches and I thought he would never graduate High School. He did. He then decided to go to community college and I was really excited that he finally was headed in the right direction securing his future. After 1 year he then decided to join the Army. In the middle of a war!!! I tried for 2 months for him not to join. I begged and pleaded because I did not want to be that mother to bury her son!! No way. I kept asking him why the Military?? Stay in school please the military doesnt pay. They will never give you the MOS you want they are going to lie to you just for you to join. Don't do it. Of course he did not listen to me and joined anyway. He is now a E4 specialist in the US army reenlisted for another 4 years and tells me every day how much he loves serving his country and how him being in Afghanistan has made him realize how great America is even with all of its faults. He feels he found his true calling in the US Army and even though he can't guarantee his future like us here, he feels he can at least give American children a safer country for thier future. Now how can a mother argue with that? Love you Son, thank you for keeping me safe. Isn't that the meaning of a hero. And yes I proudly sport my Bluestar mom sticker on my car.

Robert Franklin - Aurora, Illinois

Branch: Army | Location: Europe 1944 |

My Dad was an MP in WWII and was at Normandy. He was part of the Red Ball Express and a lot of other activity . He received two Bronz Stars and never told us about any of it. I have read about his unit and their involvement in the war effort and have so much more respect and admiration for my father than ever before. He is now in his final resting place among brothers at Kings Cemitary in Wisconsin. May God Bless him and Hold him Ever More!

LANCE ADRIAN WHITE - MURPHYS, CALIFORNIA

Branch: MARINES | Location: 29 PALMS |

LANCE IS A "BIG BROTHER" WHO FEELS HE SHOULD BE A GOOD ROLE MODEL.MANY JOBS IN OUR RURAL COMMUNITY LIMIT HOW FAR ONE CAN GO LONGTERM. LANCE CHALLENGES HIMSELF DAILY TO DO & BE BETTER THAN THE DAY BEFORE. HE PUTS HIS "ALL" IN EVERYTHING HE DOES.OUR COMMUNITY KNOW HIM WELL. AS HIS MOM, WHENEVER I GO OUT IN PUBLIC..THE FIRST THING I AM ASKED IS HOW IS "OUR BOY", NOT HOW ARE YOU. LANCE HAS EXCELLED IN HIS CAREER & FAMILY LIFE HERE. HE IS HUMBLED BY PAST MARINES & THE HONOR THEY HAVE PASSED ON TO A NEW GENERATION OF MARINES. LANCE JOKES TO HIS BUDDIES "I AM MARRIED TO THE MARINES". THAT COMMENT RINGS SO TRUE. I WOULD NOT BE SURPRISED IF SOMEONE ELSE HAS ADDED LANCE WHITE'S NAME TO THIS LIST BEFORE ME..

Cpl Marc Anthony Madding - CplMarcMaddingReceivesBronzeStar-1-500x350Brick, NJ

Branch: Marines | Location: Kaneohe, HI |

A 2003 Brick Township Memorial High School graduate, enlisted in the Marine Corps in January 2005. He did two combat tours in Iraq (Mar 2006 – Oct 2006 & Aug 2007 – Mar 2008) and his third combat tour in the volatile Korengal Valley, Afghanistan from November 2008 through September 2009. He was recently awarded the Bronze Star Medal with the Combat Distinguishing V Device for valor for actions on December 23, 2008. It’s the 4th highest award given for valor. The citation reads: For heroic achievement in connection with combat operations against the enemy as an Embedded Advisor, Embedded Training Team 5-4, 201st Corps, Afghanistan National Army, on 23 December 2008, in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. While on a combined patrol with the Afghanistan National Army, Embedded Training Team and elements of Viper Company, 1/26, US Army, Corporal Madding selflessly exposed himself to intense enemy fire to assist a U.S. Army element that sustained three casualties. As the over-watch position came under fire, three US Army soldiers received gunshot wounds. Corporal Madding and another Embedded Training Team member ran 500 meters uphill, across open terrain through heavy enemy fire and established security around the wounded soldiers. Corporal Madding then assessed the casualties and began to administer aid to the most serious casualty who received a gunshot wound to his back. After administering aid to the soldier, he then conducted a call for fire (split mission), which suppressed two enemy fighting positions. Then Corporal Madding requested an urgent MEDEVAC for the three "Urgent Surgical" casualties. With the help of another Embedded Training Team, Corporal Madding continued to hold security until the MEDEVAC helicopter arrived and hoisted all three soldiers to safety. Once the soldiers were evacuated, Corporal Madding and his fellow Embedded Training Team linked up with their patrol and continued with their mission. Corporal Madding's total effectiveness, forceful leadership, and loyal devotion to duty reflected great credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service. The Combat Distinguishing Device is authorized.

JAMES RAY LAYTON - RIVERBANK, CA

Branch: NAVY (MEDIC) | Location: AFGHANISTAN |

JAMES RAY WAS A VERY GOOD HEARTED LOVING SON WHO REALLY WANTED TO HELP PEOPLE AND THE PROFESSION THAT HE CHOOSE I THINK REFLECTS THAT, NAVEL PETTY OFFICER 3RD CLASS, BEAUTIFUL SON WONDERFUL BROTHER, AND MY BEST FRIEND I LOVE YOU JAMES AND MISS YOU SO VERY MUCH I LOST A PIECE OF MY HEART WHEN I LOST YOU. BUT AS A MOTHER I COULD NOT BE PROUDER, YOU ARE THE BEST SON A MOTHER COULD ASK FOR I LOVE YOU ALWAYS

Sarun Sar - timthumb.php-1-420x315.jpgUS, Hawii

Branch: Assigned To Special Forces Command-Pacific At Camp Smitt, Hawii | Location: Hawii |

he was Native Cambodian the to good U.S army and have good vision for peace, and love his own country (Cambodia), i appreciated him and supported him to protected all country in the world for peace.

Justin Richard Mayfield - justinrmayfield-1-600x450.jpgCorvallis , Oregon

Branch: Marines | Location: San Luis Obispo County, California |

Justin Mayfield Joined the Marines right out of high school. He was upset about what happened during 9/11 and wanted to do something about it. He was stationed in Camp Pendleton California. He was with 2/1 Fox Company. He deployed twice, once to Iraq and the next to Japan for a year. He received the Bronze Star for his actions during Operation Steal Curtain. He is such a great person and I am so very proud of his accomplishments.

Jason Andrew Baldwin - Jan_27_2006_0281_00-1-2560x1920.jpgHenderson, Nevada

Branch: U. S. Army | Location: Vicenza, Italy |

The following is an article from Military Times: Specialist Jason A. Baldwin Army For service as set forth in the following: CITATION: The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Specialist Jason A. Baldwin, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving as Mortar Gunner with Company C, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Parachute Infantry Regiment, 173d Airborne Brigade Combat Team, in action at Ranch House in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan, on 22 August 2007. Specialist Baldwin's gallant actions and dedicated devotion to duty, without regard for his own life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army. See Military Times for complete article

DANIEL AVILA - EL PASO, TX

Branch: NAVY MEDIC | Location: FALLUJAH, IRAQ |

MY SPINE TINGLED WHEN I READ YOUR ARTICLE ON DR. RICHARD JADICK WHO WAS AWARDED THE BRONZE STAR WITH VALOR FOR BEING INSTRUMENTAL IN SAVING MANY MARINES LIVES IN FALLUJAH, IRAQ. THERE IS A PICTURE OF DR. JADICK IN THE "NEWSWEEK" MAGAZINE, MARCH 20, 2006, WHERE HE IS STANDING NEXT TO THE MEDICS THAT WORKED WITH HIM. MY NEPHEW, DANIEL AVILA, IS STANDING NEXT TO HIM. HE WAS 20 YRS. OLD AT THE TIME. THAT LITTLE GUY MADE TWO TOURS TO IRAQ AND WAS ON HIS THIRD, BEING TRAINED WITH SOME NAVY SEALS. HE DIDN'T GO THE 3RD TIME. HE IS A HERO TO HIS FAMILY IN EL PASO, TX...THANK YOU FOR ACKNOWLEDGING THIS SPECIAL GROUP OF YOUNG MEN WHO, WITH DR. JADICK, BRAVELY FOUGHT TO SAVE OUR MEN. HUAAAHHHH!!

Ian Deutch - IanDeutch-1-719x403.jpgPahrump, NV

Branch: US Army | Location: Pahrump NV |

Ian was a husband and father, who served Country and his community. Ian was a member of the 72nd MP Company of the Nevada Army National Guard. He returned from Afghanistan in March 2010 and returned to work with the Nye County Sheriff's Office. On 04/26/2010 after only 2 days back on the job with the Sheriff's Office, he was gunned down and killed in the line of duty. http://www.lvrj.com/news/gunman-killed--deputy-wounded-in-pahrump-shootout-92143529.html

Kenneth James iwasinski - Belchertown, Ma

Branch: Army | Location: Aldora |

He gave until he could not give any more. When he would come in from a mission he would go to the motor pool on his free time to help them work on their humvee. His favorite thing to say while he was in country was "I got this". He never asked for help but was always the first to offer it. Kenny was my son but from all I had hear from the soldiers he served with he fought and died with honor.

Chief Warrant Officer Jasper Button - p12317s1100916_31-1-2592x3888.jpgPahrump, Nevada

Branch: Navy | Location: Washngton State |

Enlisted in the Navy in 1989---Basic Training in San Diego, California---USS Towers--USS Blue Ridge---USS Fife all in Japan---He was advanced to class Petty Officer---In 1996 to Port Ops in Subase Bangor--During his tour he qualfied for Chief Engineer Tug Boats Master Mechanic---In 1999 he was directed to Welding School in Chicago, Il.---Than to the USS Curtis Wilber in Japan---Where he earned his Enlistment Surface Warfare Device---Advanced to Petty Officer First Class---2004 he reported to USS Cowpens---In 2007 Chief Button reported to his current position in Hull Repair division Leading Chief Petty Officer at IMF-PSNS in Pacific Northwest---In 2009 he is now Chief Warrant Officer Jasper Button

Captain David Kuamo'o - Page226_1-1-2100x2720.jpgHilo, Hawaii

Branch: U.S. Army | Location: Vietnam |

David was known in our Kuamo'o Family or Ohana as the "Audie Murphy from Hawaii during the Vietnam War," & was a great-great-great-grandson of our Kuamo'o family's proud warrior lineage of King Kamehameha I, the Conqueror, of Hawaii. He enlisted in the Army right out of Hilo High School in 1966. Only 17, he lied about his age. David served five consecutive one-year combat tours in Vietnam, and earned every combat medal for valor except the Congressional Medal of Honor, and he was recommended for that twice. His CMOH nominations were downgraded to the 2nd highest award for valor, the Distinguished Service Cross and one of the two Silver Stars he was awarded. He also earned two Bronze Stars and four Purple Hearts. He passed up a chance to go to West Point and was assigned to federal law enforcement with the Army Military Police after returning from combat during the Vietnam War in 1973 as a U.S. Army SFC E-7 Platoon Sergeant. While in Vietnam, David served with the 173rd Airborne Brigade as a LURP (Long-Range Reconnaisance Patrol aka LRP aka LRRP) team leader of 5-6 member LURP Ranger teams operating 30-50 miles behind enemy lines on 3-5 day intelligence-gathering missions. Subsequent assignments as in infantryman, MP, Ranger and Special Forces Green Beret resulted in his ultimate promotion to a Army Infantry Green Beret Captain prior to his retirement in the 1990s. His patriotic service reflected great credit on himself, his family and the U.S. Army, which we are all proud of.

Jarad Eldridge - Las Vegas, NV

Branch: US Army Special Forces | Location: Third Special Forces Group, Ft. Bragg |

Jarad is a true hero of this generation. He has earned 3 Bronze Stars and a Silver Star. He has multiple Purple Hearts, and many other awards. All this while he completed his primary duties as an SF Medic. He has been on 5 overseas tours of duty. In addition, he has been to language school and he speaks Pashto. His mother is a critical care nurse in Las Vegas, NV. He is the most unassuming young man I have ever met. The 2 1/2 page single spaced citation for his Silver Star is amazing to read.

GORDON ROGERS DIAS - DAD-ARMY1-1-681x955.jpgHONOKAA, HAWAII

Branch: DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY | Location: VIETNAM |

My Dad Gordon R. Dias, Born on July 11, 1948 in Paauilo Hawaii, Married to Sandra Branco, 2 daughters Gordlynn and Ashlynn 4 grandchildren. Now resides in Honokaa Hawaii. My Dad Gordon enlisted in the Hawaii National Guard on April 16, 1968 with Co-c 2nd BW 299th 29th BDE. He was activated to the Army on May 22, 1968. He went to Vietnam in February of 1969 until November of 1969. He was assigned to the 25th division ALPHA first of the fifth MECH BOBCATS Vietnam; he was spec 4 tank commander. My dad received lots of medals/awards. He was awarded while serving in Vietnam; are: NDSM, GCMDL (THIS WAS 1ST AWARD), VSM, CIB, ARCOM W/V DVC, PH (PURPLE HEART), BSM W/V DVC, RVNCM W/60 DVC, 1 O/S BAR. He also received the BRONZE STAR MEDAL for HEROISM IN GROUND COMBAT on June 13 1969 in Vietnam. My Dad risked his life to rescue a helicopter pilot and another soldier while the helicopter was shot down and on fire; exploding, my dad ran INTO the line of fire to rescue the pilot and several other soldiers! He was a Private First Class at the time. Here is what the bronze award stated: He served with Company A, 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry in the Republic of Vietnam. While on a night ambush patrol, elements of Company A came in contact with a large enemy force. During the initial contact, several casualties were sustained. Immediately, Private Dias began to place devastating fire on the hostile force. When the evacuation helicopter began to land it was downed by the intense hostile fire. With complete disregard for his own safety, Private Dias exposed himself to the hail of fire as he evacuated several of his comrades to a secure location. His valorous actions contributed immeasurably to the success of the mission. Private Dias' bravery, aggressiveness, and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, the 25th Infantry Division, and the United States Army. By the direction of the President under the provisions of Executive order 11046, 24th August 1962, AR 672-5-1, and USARV Reg 672-1. I am so proud of my Father; he truly is a hero to all his family!!! I have more pics to send, but could only include one...thank you

Christopher James Coffland - IMG_0153-2-2304x3072eBaltimore, Md

Branch: U.S. Army Reserve | Location: Wardak Afghanistan |

Spc.Coffland enlisted short of his cutoff date at 41 years old.When deployed he volunteered to take the place of a married man with children. Sent to Cop Tangi as a Military Intelligence Specialist he was working with a private contractor introducing new methods to expose IED's.Coffland volunteered to go on patrol to help find a reported IED. After exposing a dummy IED, a 2nd IEd was triggered and killed Spc. Coffland and the civilian contractor. He was awarded the Bronze Star.

David Hector Gutierrez - Gilroy, CA

Branch: ARMY | Location: Afganistan |

Army Staff Sgt. David H. Gutierrez, a 35-year-old husband and father of three young sons, was killed in Afghanistan by a hidden roadside bomb on Christmas Day while on patrol. Sgt. Gutierrez was deployed from Alpha Company 2-1 5th Brigade Stryker Unit of Fort Lewis. He was on dismounted patrol in Howz-e Madad when he was killed by an improvised explosive device, according to the Department of Defense. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment of the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. http://www.morganhilltimes.com/news/262155-large-crowd-family-ushers-fallen-soldier-into-gilroy

SSG Jonathan Kilian Dozier - dozier-1-100x149.jpgChesapeake , Virginia

Branch: US ARMY | Location: ARLINGOTON NATIONAL CEMETERY |

Died January 9, 2008, in Sinsil, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated during combat operations. They were assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Division, Vilseck, Germany. Killed were: Specialist Todd E. Davis, 22, of Raymore, Missouri Staff Sergeant Jonathan K. Dozier, 30, of Chesapeake, Virginia taff Sergeant Sean M. Gaul, 29, of Reno, Nevada Sergeant Zachary W. McBride, 20, of Bend, Oregon Sergeant First Class Matthew I. Pionk, 30, of Superior, Wisconsin Sergeant Christopher A. Sanders, 22, of Roswell, New Mexico Jon had earned his Parachute Jump Badge, received CIB, Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

Sargent 1st Class Grady Parris - CIMG0825-1-3648x2432.JPGSpring Hill, Florida

Branch: Army | Location: Tampa Bay Recruiting Battalion, Tampa FL |

Grady Parris was the Security Driver for LTG William Wallace (OEF and OIF) and Later on LTG Ricardo Sanchez (OIF), Both Generals were the Commanding General of 5th Corp, He was awarded the Bronze Star, because of a 72 hr firefight that happened. They were ambushed by the Fedayein (Saddam's Special Forces), just south of the Karbala Gap, 3rd Infantry Division was in front of his group which was called the Assault Command Post. They were on top of a bridge when all Hell broke loose, they could not continue to travel forward and could not turn back, a Sand Storm had them pinned down with 0 visibility. Grady’s job was to ensure the safety of the V Corp Commanding General. After making sure he was out of harms way, He ran ammo and rations to the men who had set up hasty fighting positions. After about 72 hours of gunfire exchange, they called in a close air strike from the Air Force, 3 A-10's came in over them from the South and totally devastated the enemy. ("They brought the rain"). He was also involved in two separate road side bomb attacks on their command group motorcade, after they had established the headquarters at Camp Victory Baghdad. The first roadside bomb completely took off the right side of the Hmmwv, scared a little, the second one really got him mad... Both attacks happened on Route Irish, the most dangerous stretch of road in Baghdad, This road runs from the Formerly named Saddam International Airport to the Green Zone. The second Hmmwv was brand new and had air conditioning. His Motor Sergeant hated to see him come into the motor pool. After the two roadside bomb attacks He was awarded the "V" Device (For Valor).

LCpl Richard A. Perez Jr. - IRAQ059-1-1600x1200.jpgLas Vegas, Nevada

Branch: United States Marine Corps | Location: Al Asad, Iraq |

Perez saved a convoy that was being shot upon in a situation where the tires were about to fall off a truck. The Convoy stopped and no one made a move as gunfire erupted all over the Marines between Fallujah and Ramadi. Then Perez made his move exiting the truck and going out against the will of his marine brothers, tied down the tires with gunfire all around. As his pal LCpl Holiday described it..."We never understood how he wasn't hit that night, but he saved the convoy." Over 80 Marines were saved that Christmas night 2004 as the Convoy carried on and LCpl Perez was a hero that night. Unfortunately LCpl Richard A. Perez was killed on the night of 2/10/05 as he was ground guiding and another Marine accidentally caught Perez Jr between two large supply trucks as he accidentally hit the gas instead of the brake, with only one week upon his return to Las Vegas. LCpl Richard A. Perez received the state of Hawaii's coveted Medal of Honor by the State Senate in May 2007. Perez was born in Hollywood, Ca, also during his life resided in Rancho Cucamonga, CA., Aiea, Hawaii, Henderson, Nevada, Michigan City,Indiana and Broomfield, Colorado. Perez spent exactly 1.5 years in the Corps. Drove over 110,000 miles, moved 11 tons of supplies and made 54 supply missions as Transport Driver. The Marine Corps has named a building after LCpl Richard Perez Jr at the Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps base simulator. Perez Jr also has a street named after him behind his high school, Coronado, in Henderson, Nevada in his honor-"Rich Perez Jr Dr."

Leroy Henry Farmer - DSC00018-1-2272x1704.JPGFort Smith, AR

Branch: US Army | Location: Ad' Dujayl Iraq |

ON 02 JULY 2003, SERGEANT FARMER, ACCOMPANIED BY SERGEANT FIRST CLASS GENEREAU AND STAFF SERGEANT DEEB, FOLLOWED A RESIDENT OF AD' DUJAYL IRAQ TO A LOCATION REPORTED BY THE RESIDENT TO BE AN UNEXPLODED ORDNANCE SITE. UPON ARRIVAL SERGEANT FARMER OBSERVED SEVERAL HUNDRED UNEXPLODED ORDNANCE ROUNDS AND USED HIS GLOBAL POSITIONING SYSTEM TO OBTAIN AN ACCURATE GRID LOCATION. DURING THE MISSION, HE NOTICED ONE OF THE LARGE ARTILLERY MUNITIONS BEGAN TO EMITING SMOKE. SERGEANT FARMER ORDERED EVERYONE TO DROP TO THE GROUND IMMEDIATELY. WHEN THE ROUND DID NOT DETONATE AT ONCE, HE ORDERED EVERYONE TO RUN AWAY FROM THE POTENTIAL BLAST AREA TO A BURM LOCATED 150 METERS AWAY. WHILE RUNNING TO A PLACE OF COVER, SERGEANT FARMER TURNED TO INSURE THAT EVERYONE WAS RUNNING FOR COVER WHEN HE NOTICED A CHILD WHO HAD NOT RUN AWAY OR TAKEN COVER. SERGEANT FARMER IMMEDIATELY TURNED AROUND AND RAN BACK WITHIN THREE METERS OF THE SMOKING ORDNANCE THAT WAS ABOUT TO EXPLODE TO RESCUE THE CHILD AND CARRIED HIM TO A SAFE LOCATION. SERGEANT FARMER USED HIS OWN BODY TO SHIELD THE CHILD FROM HARM AS HE PICKED HIM UP AND CARRIED HIM TO SAFETY. SERGEANT FARMER'S ACTIONS CLEARLY WENT BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY BY RISKING HIS LIFE IN ORDER TO SAVE ANOTHER.

Phillip Strosahl - pj-1-2592x1944.jpgMoline, Illinois

Branch: Army | Location: Fort Hood, TX |

Phillip Strosahl is our hero because he served a year in Iraq. While overseas him and his unit recieved several awards.He returned to his family in October 2009 to be married. Shortly after returning home he survived the Fort Hood, Texas shooting. He remained calm during that time even though they couldn't let their families know unless they could text. He has made his entire family proud.

SSG Mathew Shane Brown - KGpass10-11032-1-2576x1932.jpgDurant, OK

Branch: United States Army | Location: Afghanistan |

Bronze Star Narrative For Staff Sergeant Matthew S. Brown For exceptionally meritorious service while deployed with Task Force Phoenix in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from 13 May 2006 to 12 May 2007. SSG Matthew S. Brown served as the 3rd Kandak, 1st Brigade, 203rd Corps Embedded Training Team (ETT) weapons company mentor in Gardez, Afghanistan for the Afghan National Army (ANA). SSG Brown was instrumental in developing the first ANA recon platoon in the 203rd Corp which was an essential asset during the execution of combat operations with elements of the 10th Mountain Brigade during OPERATION MOUNTAIN FURY and OPERATION MOUNTAIN EAGLE. He also initiated a strong relationship with Special Forces group ODA 396 which provided essential personnel and equipment support during combat operations. SSG Brown’s efforts were instrumental in helping secure the Khowst/Gardez (KG) pass, which was subject to numerous enemy ambushes and improvised explosive devices (IED) incidents. SSG Brown was key in assisting in the start up of one of the first cooperative training program between the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police. SSG Brown led or participated in over 300 combat missions as a member of an embedded training team. He was personally involved in an ambush in KG pass in which he engaged the enemy with his crew served weapon and despite a malfunction and his proximity to danger he was able to transition to his personal weapon and continue the fight and protect his ANA soldiers as they maneuvered to flank the enemy. As an embedded trainer in a combat environment, SSG Matthew S. Brown was crucial to the success of Task Force Phoenix V and their mission in Afghanistan. His performance of duty reflects credit upon himself, the State of Oklahoma and the United States Army.

Carl Richard Huttula - Carls-Portrait-Original-1-420x315.jpgElma, WA

Branch: Army | Location: Vietnam, near Moc Hoa |

Our Hero is our brother and son, Carl R. Huttula. He was killed on May 16, 1968 in VietNam. Carl was awarded the Silver Star, posthumously. He earned this award - in the words of Carl's citation: For gallantry in action in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force: Specialist Four Huttula distinguished himself while serving as an observer on an OH-6A Scout helicopter. His mission was an aerial reconnaissance near Moc Hoa, Republic of Vietnam, to pinpoint enemy locations. The scout team located a possible enemy stronghold and a special infantry force was airlifted into the area for a search and destroy operation. The infantry became pinned down by intense automatic weapons fire from three sides of their position. An American advisor was seriously wounded and in need of immediate medical evacuation. An OH-6A was sent to evacuate him and as the helicopter was about to take off, it came under intense ground fire and crashed. Specialist Four Huttula's aircraft landed near the downed helicopter. Despite the enemy automatic weapons fire, he leaped from his aircraft and ran across the field to help the injured crew. While assisting the injured crew back to his aircraft, Specialist Huttula was mortally wounded. Through his courage and personal bravery, he was directly responsible for saving the lives of the downed crew. His actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army. Read more

Sargeant Andrew C. Perkins - Amarillo, Texas

Branch: United States Army Company C 2d Battalion 505th PIR 3d Brigade Combat Team 82d Airborne Division | Location: Samarra, Iraq |

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Sergeant Andrew C. Perkins, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving with Company C, 2d Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3d Brigade Combat Team, 82d Airborne Division, during combat operations in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, on 5 March 2007, near Samarra, Iraq. Sergeant Perkins' instinctual actions and personal courage undoubtedly prevented a future attack on Coalition Forces, Iraqi Security Forces or innocent civilians at the cost of his own grievous injuries. His actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of military heroism and reflects distinct credit upon him, Task Force 2-505 PIR, Task Force Lightning, and the United States Army. NARRATIVE FOR AWARD: Sergeant Andrew Perkins distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Rifle Team Leader in 1st Platoon, Charlie Company, 2d Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division, during a complex improvised explosive device attack in the city of Samarra, Iraq, on 5 March 2007 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. On 4 March 2007, 1st Platoon, Charlie Company was tasked with conducting reconnaissance of the berm on the eastern side of the volatile city of Samarra in order to prevent the flow of insurgent forces into the city. As the patrol moved towards a reported hole in the berm, the lead vehicle of the patrol was catastrophically struck by a large subsurface IED that engulfed it in flames, sending flying debris cart wheeling into the air. Five Paratroopers were injured in the blast, two of whom were thrown from the truck; they were still alive, but were on fire and among the burning debris. Watching helplessly as several of his closest comrades in the platoon were severely injured, Sergeant Perkins, although he was the Platoon Leader's driver and could have stayed with his vehicle, grabbed the fire extinguisher from inside his vehicle and sprinted through the flames and secondary explosions from the destroyed vehicle in an attempt to suppress the fire and provide first aid to the burning Paratroopers. With complete disregard for his own personal safety, and with ammunition from the destroyed vehicle exploding all around him, Sergeant Perkins stood in the intense heat of the inferno, expending all the contents of the fire extinguisher in a desperate attempt to douse the fire. Once the fire extinguisher was expended, Sergeant Perkins charged back to the third vehicle to retrieve a fire blanket to continue to fight the flames. By this time the flames were so intense that his equipment was melting from the heat. Nevertheless, Sergeant Perkins was willing to be burned himself and brave the threat of further attacks or explosions if it meant he could put out the fire that was threatening the lives of his comrades. After putting out the flames for a third time, to continue to assist his comrades, Sergeant Perkins disappeared into the cloud of smoke as a large secondary IED detonated directly underneath his feet, killing him instantly. Despite the great risk to his life from exploding ammunition, intense flames, and the threat of a secondary IED which ultimately cost him his life, Sergeant Perkins made the ultimate sacrifice in an attempt to save the lives of his fellow Paratroopers. In an ultimate act of bravery and selfless service to his fellow Paratroopers in which he gave his own life, Sergeant Perkins attempted to save the lives of five of his comrades. By his undaunted courage, intrepid fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty, Sergeant Perkins gallantly gave his life for his country, upholding the highest traditions of military heroism and reflecting distinct credit upon himself, Task Force Two Panther, Task Force Lightning, and the United States Army. Service: Army

SFC Stephen Nielson - edited-013-1-450x600Riverside, CA

Branch: Army | Location: Vilsek Germany |

Served 2 tours in Iraq. One as a Bradley Fighting Vehicle commander and one as a Stryker commander. Received 2 Bronze stars, 1 Army Accomendation and 1 with Valor. Graduated as a Army Pathfinder. Preparing to deploy to Afganastan as a Stryker commander with the 3rd ACR. While in Iraq, Sgt Nielson conducted over 220 combat patrols as a scout leader. His troop was attacked by hand grenades resulting in 7 friendly wounded. Sgt Nielson quickly re-established a security perimeter and drove off the attackers. His actions prevented any further attacks. His further actions resulted in the capture of over 200 individuals during combat operations.

Eric Brien Rust - edited-Ericdeparting-1-480x360Dewey, Oklahoma

Branch: Navy/Marines | Location: Iraq |

Eric was also in the farmhouse ambush that took place on Nov. 16,2005. He was a Medic with Operation Steel Curtain. When the ambush took place, Eric could not hang back and let them bring the wounded to him, so he went in. He pulled 2 soldiers out - 1 deceased, 1 living and took them to the safehouse. Went in for another, knelt down to feel a pulse and a shrapnel grenade exploded next to him. Metal piercing his legs, arms and groin area. As they were placing him in the medevac helicopter they had to hold him down, he wanted to get up and still try to rescue soldiers. He said they were his "brothers".

Colte Andrew James - Petal, Mississippi

Branch: U.S. Marine Corps | Location: Afganistan |

He's a us marine, just got back from afgan around the Helmands Providdence. Him and his team recieved multiple awards.

staff serg robert fisher - carlisle, ar

Branch: Arkansas Army National Guard | Location: |

bronze star medalist led his platoon down streets of badgdad, many squirmishes with the insurgents. too numberists to tell. but are written up

David W. Zeoli - edited-TheBallhog-1-231x355Kailua Kona, HI

Branch: US Army | Location: An Najaf, Iraq |

On the hot and sunny day of 2 April 2003, Bravo Company 3rd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (AASLT), was moving on a search and attack mission through the city of An Najaf, Iraq. The company's mission was to locate and destroy any pocket of enemy resistance within their sector. While the lead elements of Bravo Company were crossing an open area, they came under intense enemy fire from a platoon size enemy force shooting from buildings to their front and sniper fire to their left flank. As the Squad leader for the lead element, SSG Zeoli's squad received enemy fire. Suddenly automatic weapons fire grazed just feet in front of his point man as distance and direction of the enemy was called out by his lead fire team leader. Immediately, SSG Zeoli maneuvered his squad under heavy fire to covered positions and laid down suppressive fire gaining fire superiority. SSG Zeoli observed multiple enemy targets ranging throughout a 5 builing block with one automatic weapon in tripod mode positioned in the left most building. Enemy personnel included three to four man elements spread throughout the remainder of the buildings all carrying small arms weapons, a two man sniper team in the window of the last building, as well as armed para-military personnel moving behind civillians. SSG Zeoli and his alpha team leader, without hesitation, moved to and exposed themselves into a position where they could see the two snipers. Both SSG Zeoli and SGT Goddard were armed with AT-4's and volley fired them at the wall concealing the enemy snipers. The impact of the AT4's destroyed the enemy snipers saving the remaining personnel in the platoon and follow-on elements of the company. SSG Zeoli's actions enabled Bravo Company to totally eliminate the enemy threat, which resulted in Bravo Company successfully completing its mission without sustaining a single friendly casualty. For his actions SSG David W. Zeoli received the Bronze Star Medal for Valor. His citation reads: For Valorous Achievement during combat operations as a squad leader on 2 April 2003 in An Najaf, Iraq. While under intense enemy fire, Staff Sergeant Zeoli was able to maneuver his squad to a position to lay down suppressive fire, thus gaining fire superiority. Upon elimination of the threat, Staff Sergeant Zeoli, without hesitation, exposed his position to detroy two concealed enemy snipers. His actions enabled Bravo Company to completely eliminate the enemy threat which resulted which resulted in Bravo Company successfully Completing its mission without sustaining a single friendly casualty. Staff Sergeant Zeoli's Heroism, Professionalism, and selfless servicereflect great credit upon him, the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and the United States Army. SSG Zeoli, has since retired and now lives in Kailua Kona, HI.

Louis Bell - , New Hampshire

Branch: Fourth New Hampshire Volunteers | Location: Fort Fisher, North Carolina |

Louis Bell was killed leading his men into battle in one of the last battles of the Civil War, the drive to conquer Fort Fisher, North Carolina, the last open port of the Confederacy. An acting Brigadier General at the time of his death, he was an attorney by profession. Twentyseven years old, married with two children, he became a military officer by outfitting a regiment at his own expense. He had written his wife, "If I die, do not forget, my own precious wife, that I die in defense of our country. Teach our children, darling Mollie, that liberty and freedom are first freedom for all, and that for it was are bound to lay down our lives."

John Aday Bradford - Damascus, Arkansas

Branch: Army | Location: WWII |

My Uncle John Aday was a POW during WWII. I wasn't very old when he came home. he got a ride from Little Rock to Clinton, AR then someone gave him a ride from Clinton and let him out about 1/4 mile down the road from the house at a crossroad and he walked the rest of the way home. For a long time he wanted to be alone. He turns 91 years old this year.

Nehamon Lyons - Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Branch: Navy | Location: Washington |

Nehamon Lyons, was killed September 11, 2001 at Washington D.C. after the attack at the Pentagon.Nehamon died doing what he loved. Since he was very small he have always talked about working at the Pentagon.After graduation he attended the University of South Alabama for three years pursuing a degree in medicine. On November 14,1996 Nehamon enlisted in the United States Navy at the Military Entrance and Processing Stations,Montgomery, Alabama. On Dec 5th 1996, Nehamon reported for recruit training at the Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes Illinois. Upon completion of recruit training, he reported to the Fleet Combat Training Center, Dam Neck, Virginia where he attended Operations Specialist "A" School. In May 1997, Nehamon reported aboard the USS GETTYSBURG (CG64), one of the Navy's most advanced warships. In October 2000, he transferred to the Pentagon in Washington,DC where he served as a member of the Navy Command Support Team until his death.While in the Navy, Nehamon was awarded the Purple Heart(posthumously),the Navy and Marine Corps, Commendations Medal(posthumously),the Navy and Marine Corps, Achievement Medal, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, the Navy "E" Ribbon. the Good Conduct Medal, and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon. Nehamon would always have a smile on his face and he wanted to do his best and to succeed in life. He was only 30 when he passed but he had lived a full life.And I believed that on that awful day Nehamon would not had wanted to be any other place than the Pentagon. I know that his time was short here on earth but it helps me to know that God has bigger plans for him in heaven.........

SSG Robert James Miller - buzkashi-1-2232x2157.jpgWheaton, IL

Branch: U.S. Army | Location: Kunar Province, Afghanistan |

Rob enlisted in the Army in August 2003, completed basic training at Ft. Benning, GA, and earned the Green Beret in March 2005. After completing training to be a Special Forces weapons sergeant, he was deployed to Afghanistan in August 2006. During that deployment, Rob earned two Army Commendation Medals with Valor device for courage under fire. In between deployments, Rob earned the Ranger tab. He deployed again to Afghanistan in October 2007. In the early morning hours of January 25, 2008, Rob's combined unit of SF and Afghan National Army soldiers walked into an up-close, intense ambush. Rob was walking point and advising the ANA soldiers. He immediately laid down a withering base of accurate fire with his SAW, while at the same time calling out locations of the insurgents to the rest of the team, and giving direction in Pashto to the more inexperienced and confused Afghan soldiers. When the team captain was critically wounded, Rob advanced into an exposed position, drawing fire on himself, and allowing the captain and the rest of the soldiers to reach safety. Even after receiving a mortal wound, Rob continued to employ his SAW and handgrenades until he could no longer do so. The battle continued for some time, with Rob's teammates and Afgan soldiers risking their own lives to bring his body back. There were no other fatalities on our side. Rob's final valor award is still pending.

MSG Aaron W. Carter - AaronKuwait2003-1-1166x933.JPGBartlesville, Oklahoma

Branch: US Army | Location: Ft Stewart, GA |

He was a Staff Sergeant at the time this took place. SSG Aaron Carter 13F, Combat Observation Lasing Team (COLT) Platoon Sergeant, 1-41 FA, 3d ID. SSG Carter demonstrated valor and courage in combat as part of C Troop, 1st Cavalry (Brigade Reconnaissance Troop) SSG Carter's actions ensured the successful seizure of the bridge at Objective Jenkins north of An Najaf, Iraq. He led a COLT with scouts and air defense artillery assets through heavy small arms fire and RPG attacks while continuously providing fire support in order to seize the objective. Upon reaching the objective, SSG Carter continued to suppress the enemy with small arms and indirect fires while ensuring the safety of the bridge. Upon securing the bridge, SSG Carter demonstrated his bravery and dedication by choosing not to return across the bridge to relative safety--instead opting to remain in place to continue calling for fires. SSG Carter also helped defend the bridge by establishing final protective fires and a strong defensive position, resulting in the destruction of enemy patrols around the objective. He was instrumental in the seizure and defense of the bridge resulting in the success of the operation. SSG Carter was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with "V" Device for valor for his actions in combat during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was awarded another Bronze Star in 2006 for his actions in securing fires during an ambush on a convoy in Iraq. Aaron is currently getting ready to leave for Iraq for his 4th tour over there in December 2009.

Staff Sgt. Joseph Thomas White - IVswedding028-1-3264x2448.JPGScott Depot, WV

Branch: U.S. Army | Location: Fort Bragg, NC |

Joseph joined the Army in July 2005 after graduating high school. After completing basic at Ft. Benning, GA, he came to Ft. Bragg, NC to continue his trainging to pursue his goal of joining Special Forces. In July 2007 Joseph graduated the Q-course as a Weapons Seargent and joined his team in the 3rd Special Force Group. In October \'07 he deployed to Afganistan for 8 months. Just a few weeks before returning home, Joseph\'s team left for their last mission out. That day, May 1, 2008, he was shot once in the helmet and once in the arm. We thank God\'s good grace that those helmets work! Joseph received a Broze star with Valor and a Purple Heart for his actions that day. He deployed again to Iraq March - July 2009 and continues to serve among the great soldiers of 3rd Special Forces Group.

One of our KIA's - FOBFiddlersGreenShura019-1-2832x2128.jpganytown USA

Branch: Army Or Marine | Location: Helmand Province, Afghanistan |

Kandahar, Afghanistan. They call it a “Dignified Transfer,” which is Pentagon-ese for bringing home the body of one of our young men. A few days ago I flew here from Camp Bastion on a cargo flight. The plane was virtually empty; five passengers and me, the small Air Force crew, and covered by an American flag, the remains of a serviceman killed in Helmand Province. The military’s goal is to bring our dead back home within 48 hours, and this was the first leg of such a journey. While I know his identity and how he died, those details, and whether he is Marine or Army, is immaterial here. I didn’t know him personally , but after 10 embeds, I’ve met hundreds of young men like him; under 25, proud of his unit, usually a couple of tattoo’s, enthusiastic, friendly, will share his last bottle of water with you, and wants me to tell the American public that ‘we’re doing some good things here.” Usually flights into Kandahar or Bagram are lively as the troops and private contractors are heading home; people are reading paperbacks, listening to their IPods, or trying to talk. But not today; the only sound was that of the plane’s engines as most of our group had their heads down as I watched one of the Air Force crew adjust the flag over the young man. I couldn’t take my eyes off the flag. Unlike 99% of the media who cover the war, I’m not a detached observer; my son is active-service, with multiple deployments under his belt and another coming up, and I know too many Marines in this age group not to be affected by this young man’s sad trip home.I imagined my son or one of his friends coming home the same way, and I wondered, as do many of us parents of deployed sons, how I’d react if they came and knocked on my front door. After we landed, our plane came to a halt in a corner of the airfield, away from the daily bustle of troops, contractors, and cargo pallets, and the rear of the plane opened to reveal a small honor guard of Marines- Army – Air Force assembled to ready him for his final flight home. As our small group prepared to walk off the plane through a forward hatch, a Marine Chief Warrant Officer and I lagged behind to pay our respects to the young man; the Gunner removing his Kevlar and me, a non-practicing Roman Catholic, doing a sign of the cross before the Air Force crew gently pushed us to depart. I wanted to stay and watch the ceremony, but with one of the crew shaking his head, I grabbed my bag and hurried to catch up to our group. Walking to the terminal all I could think about was how fiercely proud I hope his family is of him. Oh, young man, you’ll be missed. Semper Fi

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