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Aug-09-2009 23:42printcomments

15 Casualties Reported Over 14 Days in Afghanistan and Iraq

The average age among the fallen is 25.

KIA: James D. Argentine, Travis T. Babine, Christian A. Guzman Rivera, Jay M. Hoskins, Anthony C. Garcia, Keiffer P. Wilhelm, Ronald G. Luce Jr., Alejandro Granado, Severin W. Summers III, Jonathan M. Walls, Richard K. Jones, Patrick S. Fitzgibbon,  Johnn
James D. Argentine, Travis T. Babine, Christian A. Guzman Rivera, Jay M. Hoskins, Anthony C. Garcia, Keiffer P. Wilhelm, Ronald G. Luce Jr., Alejandro Granado, Severin W. Summers III, Jonathan M. Walls, Richard K. Jones, Patrick S. Fitzgibbon, Johnny R. Polk and Alexander J. Miller.

(SALEM, Ore.) - Reports of American casualties in Afghanistan are frequent in recent days. In this dispatch we learn that nine U.S. Army soldiers, five Marines and one U.S. Navy sailor were killed between July 25 and August 7, 2009.

Thirteen of the deaths occurred during combat operations in Afghanistan. One soldier died from injuries suffered during an anti-tank grenade in Iraq, and one soldier in Iraq died from non-combat related circumstances.

Of the fallen, Florida, Texas, Mississippi and North Carolina paid the highest price with two residents among each of those states listed here. Other states these members of the U.S. military hailed from include Georgia, New York, Hawaii, Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

Casualties

Marine Captain Matthew C. Freeman, 29, of Richmond Hill, Georgia, died August 7th while supporting combat operations in Kapisa province, Afghanistan.

Matthew Freeman’s father, Gary, told Savannah Morning News that his son was a proud Marine and patriot. Matthew Freeman graduated from Richmond Hill High School and the U.S. Naval Academy.

He was assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa, Japan.

Farah province, Afghanistan

Lance Corporal James D. Argentine, 22, of Farmingdale, New York died August 6th during combat operations in the Farah province of Afghanistan.

He joined the Marine Corps in October 2006 and was based in Hawaii by January 2007, according to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. James was previously deployed from January to August 2008, the Star-Bulletin reported.

His friend Omid Ghaffarian of Hicksville told reporters, "He was one of my best friends". The two graduated together. "He was one of the most sincere, generous people I ever met," Ghaffarian added.

Lance Corporal Argentine was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, based out of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay.

Lance Corporal Travis T. Babine, 20, of San Antonio, Texas was also killed during combat in Afghanistan's Farah province on August 6th.

His mother, Alice Babine, told reporters in a shaky voice "that her strong faith was helping carry her through the death of her son."

"That's how you get through these things," she said from Texas, adding that she is "confident that Travis is with God now and I'm confident that I'll see him again. God doesn't owe me an explanation, and I don't demand one. But one day, I'll understand."

Lance Corporal Babine was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, based out of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay.

Corporal Christian A. Guzman Rivera of Homestead, Florida was 21-years old when he died August 6th while fighting in the Farah province of Afghanistan.

WPLG Local 10 in South Florida, quotes Christian's mother Velma Torres saying, "My heart is broken - I'm not going to have him anymore." They report that on Friday night, "surrounded by family and friends, his mother wore his hefty ring from boot camp around her neck. Rivera was big. And strong."

His uncle, Cristobal Rivera, said, "He was in great shape." Felix Torres, Velma's husband, told reporters Christian, "... was always outgoing and fun and competing. Always competing."

Christian Rivera's siblings looked up to him, according to WPLG. He had just been promoted to Corporal last week. He was assigned to the 3rd Combat Assault Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa, Japan.

Sergeant Jay M. Hoskins, 24, of Paris, Texas was another Marine killed August 6th in the Farah province of Afghanistan.

Jay Hoskins graduated from North Lamar High School in Paris, Texas in 2003. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in August 2003 and was stationed in Hawaii in January.

He is one of the three riflemen assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, based out of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, killed August 6th in the Farah Province.

He was one of around 1,000 Hawaii Marines with the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment who arrived in Farah provinces in late May as part of a surge of 21,000 U.S. troops sent by President Obama.

Sergeant Hoskins was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, based out of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay.

The Department of Defense announced the death of a sailor who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Navy Bids Farewell to One

Petty Officer 3rd Class Anthony C. Garcia, 21, of Tyndall, Flaorida died August 5th while supporting combat operations in Farah Province, Afghanistan.

Anthony Garcia described his addictions as "working out ... being a beach bum and hittin' the waves up, always a sucker for beautiful women, family time is a must and on top of it all music is my life." He attended the University of Maryland and after his three-year tour was up planned to go to medical school at the University of Miami.

His awards include the Purple Heart medal, National Defense Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

U.S. Army Private Keiffer P. Wilhelm, of Plymouth, Ohio, died August 4th in Maysan province, Iraq, at the age of 19, of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident.

The 19-year-old infantryman had been in Iraq for about a month. 

The circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation, but sources report that his death was a result of a shooting. His stepmother Shelly Wilhelm said, "We’re all beside ourselves," adding, “I loved the boy.”

 The military releases very little information in cases like this. I learned in Iraq last year that shootings between American combat troops are not unheard of.

Kieffer Wilhelm graduated from Willard High School in May 2008. 

 His father, Adrian “Shane” Wilhelm, said he last heard from his son via text message in late July. The last time they saw him was May 7 at his brother’s wedding in Arizona. Wilhelm Kieffer was the best man.

He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 13th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas.

Three Killed in Qole Gerdsar

Three soldiers died from wounds suffered when insurgents attacked their vehicle with an improvised explosive device August 2nd in Qole Gerdsar, Afghanistan.

Captain Ronald G. Luce Jr., 27, of Fayetteville, North Carolina died in the explosion on August 2, 2009.

In his education Ron Luce earned a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Biology from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. He also attended Ranger School, Airborne School, the Infantry Officer’s Basic Course and the Infantry Captain’s Career Course.

His awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal and the Army Service Ribbon. Ron Luce also earned the Parachutist Badge, and Ranger and Special Forces Tabs.

He was attached to the Mississippi Army National Guard, and assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Jackson, Mississippi.

Sergeant 1st Class Alejandro Granado, 42, of Fairfax, Virginia was killed in the IED explosion August 2nd in Qole Gerdsar, Afghanistan.

Alejandro Granado was born in Ciudad Acuna, Mexico, and enlisted in January 1988 as a 13B, Cannon Crewmember. He later attended the Special Forces Qualification Course, graduating in 2002. He is a veteran of Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield and also deployed in support of both Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom.

His awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Valorous Unit Award, Army Good Conduct Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Southwest Asia Medal, Liberation of Kuwait Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, NATO Medal, Non Commissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Driver and Mechanic Ribbon, Mississippi War Medal. He also earned the Combat Infantry Badge, Air Assault Badge, Parachutist Badge, and the Special Forces Tab.

He was attached to the Mississippi Army National Guard, and assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Jackson, Mississippi.

Sergeant 1st Class Severin W. Summers III, 43, of Bentonia, Mississippi was killed with the other two soldiers in the explosion August 2, 2009.

He enlisted in 1989 as an 11B, Infantryman. He later graduated from the Special Forces Qualification Course. After graduating US Army Ranger School successfully, he was assigned to ODA 2065, the SCUBA team. He then volunteered for the Special Operations Combat Diver Course in Key West, Florida.

Severin Summer received his Bachelors of Science from Louisiana State University. His awards and decorations include Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War On Terrorism Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, and Armed Forces Medal. He also earned Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, Pathfinder Badge, Scuba Diver Badge, and Military Free Fall Badge and the Ranger and Special Forces tabs.

He was a member of the Mississippi Army National Guard, and assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Jackson, Mississippi.

Army Loses Three August 1st in Mushan Village

Corporal Jonathan M. Walls, 27, of West Lawn, Pennsylvania was killed in Mushan Village, Afghanistan August 1st, when the combat patrol he was part of was attacked.

He comes from a Navy family, but his father says Jonathan decided to join the Army, where he quickly found himself living out his video-game dreams. Steven Walls said his son, "loved it" while explaining that Jonathan was initially assigned to drive the heavily armored Stryker vehicle. He said to Steven Walls, "Dad, it's just like the video games."

His dad says Jonathan was interested in more than just action; he says his son had a good heart and always wanted to help others. "If you asked him to do anything for you he would," he said. "He really wanted to make an impact." Jonathan had two daughters with his wife, Meghan, and adopted her son from a previous relationship, Steven said.

He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colorado.

Private first-class Richard K. Jones, 21, of Roxboro, North Caroloina, was killed in the attack Northeast of Kabul August 1st when his patrol was ambushed with explosive devices and rocket-propelled grenades.

According to the Roxboro Courier Times -- Franceen Jones said that those who knew her son Richie, "knew him as a very caring and loving person".

He cared about his family, his friends, his country. And, it was in proud service to his country that Richard Jones of Roxboro, died in Afghanistan after insurgents attacked his patrol.

He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colorado.

The attack August 1st in Mushan Village, Afghanistan also claimed the life of Private Patrick S. Fitzgibbon, 19, of Knoxville, Tennessee.

Private Patrick Fitzgibbon was a student just months ago, and now his school will remember the 19-year old for his decision to serve his county and lay down his life. It is reported that only about 1% of JROTC students enlist, and First Sergeant Calvin Hartwell says he never thought Patrick Fitzgibbon would be among them.

He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colorado.

Specialist Alexander J. Miller, 21, of Clermont, Florida, died July 31st in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan, from wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire.

Fort Drum officials say Alexander Miller joined the U.S. Army in January 2007. After completing training at Fort Benning, Georgia, Miller came to Fort Drum in June 2007. His awards and citations include the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal and the Combat Infantryman's Badge.

“He was a great kid and we are going to miss him,” said BJ Gomez. Both Gomez and Alexander attended South Lake High in Clermont. Alexander Miller was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum. New York.

Staff Sergeant Johnny R. Polk, 39, of Gulfport, Mississippi, died July 25 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Landstuhl, Germany, of wounds suffered when his vehicle was struck by an anti-tank grenade on July 23rd in Kirkuk, Iraq.

He leaves behind a daughter, Mary, and a son, Antoine, who his family said also serves in the military. He will be escorted by the Patriot Guard upon his return home.

Among his awards and decorations are: the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon and Overseas Service Ribbon.

He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, at Fort Hood, Texas, and died supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

Special thanks to Afghan Pigstye for information in this report. Also visit IraqWarHeroes.org.

Recent stories on Americans who paid the ultimate price fighting in the wars overseas:

From August 1, 2009: Marine Casualties Heighten in Afghanistan

From July 24, 2009: Minnesota Pays Heavy Price in Latest War Casualty Reports - Tim King Salem-News.com

From July 18, 2009: Oregon Marine Among Casualties From Afghanistan - Tim King Salem-News.com

From July 12, 2009: Costly Fighting in Afghanistan Leads to Three More Combat Deaths - Tim King Salem-News.com

From July 6th 2009: Two Soldiers and One Marine Killed Fighting in Afghanistan - Salem-News.com

From July 2nd 2009: Almost 50 U.S. Casualties in Iraq & Afghanistan Reported in June - Tim King Salem-News.com

From June 21st 2009: IED's Blamed in at Least Half of Latest Iraq and Afghanistan War Casualties - Tim King Salem-News.com

From June 7th 2009: Rate of American Casualties in Iraq & Afghanistan Accelerates - Tim King Salem-News.com

From June 2nd 2009: War Casualties Mounting in Iraq & Afghanistan - Tim King Salem-News.com

From May 24th 2009: Average Age Among 11 Recent War Casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan is 32 - Tim King Salem-News.com

From May 11th 2009: Five Americans Killed in Baghdad by Fellow U.S. Army Soldier - Salem-News.com

From May 5th 2009: Two California Soldiers Killed in Iraq - Tim King Salem-News.com

From May 4th 2009: Two Soldiers Killed and One Missing in Action in Afghanistan - Salem-News.com

From April 20th 2009: The Faces of Four Americans Killed in Iraq and Afghanistan - Salem-News.com

From May 2nd 2009: Deaths in Iraq Jump: 6 Americans Killed in Recent Days - Tim King Salem-News.com

From April 12th 2009: Five Soldiers Killed by VBIED in Iraq Among Latest Casualties - Tim King Salem-News.com

From April 7th 2009: More Casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq - Tim King Salem-News.com

From March 29th 2009: Two U.S. Navy Officers Killed by Insurgent Posing as Afghan Soldier - Tim King Salem-News.com

From March 24th 2009: More Marines and Soldiers Pay the Ultimate Price in Afghanistan and Iraq - Tim King Salem-News.com

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Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor.
Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines. Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), the first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several other awards including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website, affiliated with Google News and several other major search engines and news aggregators.
You can send Tim an email at this address: newsroom@salem-news.com




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Gladys July 17, 2012 5:23 pm (Pacific time)

I have been trying to find more inroomatifn on my grandfather and came across your website regarding compiling a list for your RNZN Communicators Honours List. Maybe my grandfather's BEM may be of interest. Unfortunately the letter from Captain M L Hardie, Naval Officer in Charge only stated for your service in HMNZS Dockyard, Auckland. , however I believe Jack,(as he was known) had something to do with the refuelling/bunkering during the 2nd World War and until his retirement.He was possibly on the Nucula' in the late 1920 s??Details are:Charles Stanley YATES retired from HMNZ Dockyard Auckland in 1953Awarded British Empire Medal (Civil Division), New Year's Honours List 1954 Presented by Her Majesty The Queen at an Investiture in Wellington 12 January, 1954.


Anonymous August 11, 2009 2:26 pm (Pacific time)

grrrr...sorry, forgot the link http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090622/bauer


Anonymous August 11, 2009 2:22 pm (Pacific time)

Tim: was visiting the statesman journal website (sorry, have to see what the sheeple are up to now and then)... but I found an AP article about the 3 that were captured on the Iran border. Well, I dont trust AP, so I always research further. The AP article named those captured. One name was Shane Bauer, a freelance journalist. I found an article he wrote at the link below. You should check it out, I really think you would relate. Interesting to say the least. Told ya you should hire me :-)

Thanks!  I will check it out right now.


Anonymous August 11, 2009 1:39 pm (Pacific time)

Vic: there was a draft. Those in power just found loopholes for their kids. Which is exactly what would happen again. I strongly urge you to reconsider your support. By the way. Afghanistan has more greenery, where Iraq was more tan and sand. Uniforms sent to those fighting in Afghanistan were tan. The soldiers tried dyeing the uniforms, but they came out a torquoise color. I just googled "afghanistan soldiers sent wrong camo" and found a world of info.


Vic August 11, 2009 12:01 pm (Pacific time)

Man...I'm 52, and most of these guys just look like kids to me...How G-Damn sad..Being a parent, I cant imagine the sadness and bone-crushing grief that must come with this kind of loss. This is why I am for a draft. If a war is valid enough and important enough to be fought by anybody, it should be valid and important enough to be fought by everybody..and everybody's kids. But, there should be no exeptions..no rich-kid-going-to college deferments, no exceptions other than extreme physical or mental complications. I bet then, our wars would be chosen more carefully and would be shorter.


Anonymous August 11, 2009 7:37 am (Pacific time)

skipper: the same thing I am doing now. Advocating against it. I had hoped that Obama would change the policies, but all he has done is expand them. When he campaigned, I had a glimmer of hope, but now, feeling the same as millions of other Americans. We were bamboozled, yet again. I have come to the conclusion that the president is not the decision maker, but just does as he is told. From bush sr. to clinton to bush jr and now obama, it sure seems the main agenda never changes. Bigger government, less Constitution, more wars, more printing of money out of thin air, complete federal government control over our lives etc. No, you cant turn around a ship instantly, but obama isnt even at the steering wheel and going full speed ahead. People know, in their hearts, something is wrong, but too many people dont want to admit they made a mistake. I admit it, I made a mistake by thinking obama would change things. Shake it off and move on.


"Skipper" Osborne August 10, 2009 11:23 pm (Pacific time)

Are you one of the 'Anonymouse' of the 'Anonymouses'? World domination, oil pipelines, opium fields to finance their missions. STARTED IN THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION! Where were you during that 8 year period my friend?


Anonymous August 10, 2009 9:38 pm (Pacific time)

For oil pipelines, world domination, and opium fields to finance their missions. I believe in a higher power, and one of these days, the people using our children for cannon fodder for their greed and lust for power, are going to pay. In the mean time, my prayers go to all the military and their families. And these are not just words, I do pray for them. But its time to wake up, turn off the corporate/government owned tv, and learn. They all lie, obama included. Not liking obamas "change" seems more of the same but worse, and I am tired of our children being dead because they want world domination, oil fields, and opium to pay for it, then arrest those who partake of it and put them into privately owned prisons...more money, more money..while YOUR kids die. Wake up, turn off the tv, learn and stop the killing.


Scott August 10, 2009 12:00 pm (Pacific time)

Staggering news. Thanks for the report.

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