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Jul-08-2009 20:06printcomments

Increased War Tempo in Afghanistan Leads to 8 Casualties in Two Days

The number #1 killer of Americans in this country, not surprisingly, is the IED, the improvised explosive device or roadside bomb.
Photos: MySpace, U.S. government

(SALEM, Ore.) - As the United States raises the stakes in Afghanistan, the government sends word of numerous casualties there. Extremely cold in the winter and baking hot in the summer, Afghanistan is a country with steep mountains and generally rough terrain.

It isn't an easy place to wage a war, the Soviets learned that during their invasion that lasted from 1979 to 1989. There are many caves, more landmines than any other place in the world, and in the current situation, enemy fighters often flee into Pakistan after striking U.S. military forces.

The number #1 killer of Americans in this country, not surprisingly, is the IED, the improvised explosive device or roadside bomb.

Many wars have been fought here over the years, but none like the current one. U.S. forces are tasked with removing and eliminating threats posed by the religiously overzealous Taliban and other anti-Coalition militia groups which are a hazard to members of the general population.

Many people in Afghanistan will tell you that the abusive and murderous Taliban are a very bad interpretation of Islam, if they are one at all.

Unlike the Soviet Presence in the 80's, most people in Afghanistan - those who have not lost family members in collateral damage or worse, generally support the mission of the Coalition. This seems very noteworthy as the United States finally begins waging war here with increased numbers.

Combat Deaths

Specialist Christopher M. Talbert, 24, of Galesburg, Illinois, died July 7th in Shindad, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.

On his MySpace site, his significant other wrote, "I love you and miss you, baby. I'm really not quite sure how to handle myself. I just keep expecting to hear from you. You're gone and you're not supposed to be. You promised you'd come home walking. I love you so much. I miss you."

His sister Suzie wrote, "I cant believe that you are gone big bro. I just talked to you the other day. I'm promising you that i will take care of your mom. You guys have always been there for me. I just want some sign that you will be watching over maddy while you're up there. I miss you more than you can imagine."

Chris Talbert was an Army medic was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment, Marion, Illinois.

Private first-class Nicolas H. J. Gideon, 20, of Murrieta, California, died July 6th at Forward Operating Base Salerno, Afghanistan.

Nick Gideon died from injuries suffered earlier that day in Paktya, Afghanistan, when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fires.

He was an avid off-road motorcyclist and several photos of him performing trick stunts are on his MySpace page.

He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska.

Four soldiers died when a roadside bomb detonated near their vehicle July 6th in Konduz, Afghanistan.

2nd Lieutenant Derwin I. Williams, 41, of Glenwood, Illinois was killed in the attack. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 106th Cavalry Regiment in Dixon, Illinois.

Derwin Williams was a correctional officer with the Cook County Sheriff's office in Illinois. He was leading a five-vehicle convoy with the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team when the improvised explosive device exploded.

His wife, Felicia Williams, told the Chicage Tribune that her husband's job in Afghanistan involved guarding a nearby base, and training a group of soldiers to take over the role of his unit, when they returned home in August.

She said her husband's unit deployed to Afghanistan last September, and that he had been with the Illinois National Guard since 1993. Prior to this deployment, Derwin had spent a year in Iraq in 2004.

Sergeant Brock H. Chavers, 25, of Bulloch, Georgia was also killed in the IED attack at Konduz, Afghanistan July 6th.

Maj. Gen. William T. Nesbitt, Georgia’s Adjutant General, said, "The deaths of Sgt. Brock Henry Chavers Sr. and Spc. Isaac Lee Johnson Jr. are a devastating loss for the nation, the state, the Georgia Guard and most of all, the families of these fine men."

Department of Defense figures state that at least 647 members of the U.S. military have died in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan, since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan was launched in late 2001.

Brock Chavers was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment, Americus, Georgia.

Specialist Chester W. Hosford, 35, of Hastings, Minnesota. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 106th Cavalry Regiment, Dixon, Illinois.

Chester Hosford joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1993 and in 2006, began serving as a cavalry scout in the Minnesota Army National Guard. He transferred to the Illinois Army National Guard in April 2008 as part of the Illinois Training Site Detachment in Marseilles.

Chester was living in Ottawa just a few months before being deployed to Afghanistan in August 2008 as part of the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team.

to provide police mentor teams to train and mentor the Afghan National Police. It was one of the approximate 30 units with the 33rd IBCT and two units from the 404th Chemical Brigade that deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to form Task Force Phoenix VIII.

Specialist Issac L. Johnson, 24, of Columbus, Georgia lost his life July 6th when the roadside bomb detonated in Konduz, Afghanistan.

Maj. Gen. William T. Nesbitt, Georgia’s Adjutant General, made this statement after learning of the death of Isaac Johnson, "They gave their lives in defense of freedom. The entire Georgia National Guard family grieves with the Chavers and Johnson families at this tragic news."

Isaac Johnson was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 108th Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition Squadron, Rome, Georgia.

Captain Mark A. Garner, 30, of North Carolina, died July 6th in Argandab District, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.

Mark Garner was graduated from West Point in 2002 as a 2nd Lieutenant, a West Point spokeswoman said.

An article in the Winston-Salem Journal, included words from one of Mark Garner's football coaches, Perry Lloyd, who called the fallen soldier "outstanding" both on the sports field and in the classroom. His academics earned his appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.

"He always wanted to be a soldier," Lloyd said. "He was very committed. I don't think America could have a better soldier."

Captain Mark Garner was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, Joint Multinational Readiness Center, Hohenfels, Germany.

Petty Officer Second Class Tony Michael Randolph, 22, of Henryetta, Oklahoma. died July 6th in an improvised explosive device attack on his convoy in northern Afghanistan.

Tulsa World reported that Tony was a 2005 graduate of Henryetta High School who deployed to Afghanistan in the spring from a naval base in Virginia.

Tony Randolph was assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit Eight, Sigonella, Italy, and was deployed with his platoon to Joint Task Force South conducting counter-improvised explosive device operations in support of Task Force Zabul in Afghanistan.

The people the Coalition is fighting, are the factions that heavily subjugate women while denying school to girls and eliminating their place in society as equals.

This is not theory, it is a hard fact. Those dying in this war are fighting a mostly foreign population of radical religious fighters. A large percentage of Taliban are Pashtun. Many years ago, the world drew a national border between Pakistan and Afghanistan in a very bad place, essentially dividing this ancient culture in half.

Pashtuns live by a specific code called Pashtunwali. This is an unwritten law and ideology of the Pashtun society inherited from their forefathers, and a dominant force of Pashtun culture and identity. Key words are Badal (revenge), Soolah (truce) and Nanawati (protection). Under their system even an enemy can be granted refuge if they say the right words.

Even if their ranks swell with Pashtuns, the Taliban live by no such code as the administrators of violence that they have become in recent years. I have a friend whose two-year old girl was shot and killed by Taliban in a passing pick-up truck in 2004. Most people in Kabul hate the Taliban.

Unlike the Taliban, the vast majority of the Islamic people of Afghanistan, are peaceful. It is important to remember that the Afghan National Army and Police work and fight with Americans every day and have experienced large numbers of casualties while trying to rid the country of the Taliban, along with Canadian and British and French forces, and those of other nations.

In the end it seems possible, sometimes at least, that the western forces have the ability and capacity to help Afghanistan regain an air of peace. It is true that many males here who are not Taliban, expect females to wear the burqa and oblige the established system. This society has lived in fear for a very long time - all of them.

Old people here, of which in reality there are comparatively few, recall the days before the Soviet invasion when this actually was a peaceful country. They know about women having rights, and they remember when boys and girls attended school together. Strangely, that was under a Communist system. It was the desire to shed that system that powered the Afghan Mujahideen to defeat the Soviets. The wake of that victory was the time for the U.S. and other nations to move in and help establish a legitimate infrastructure. The West's lackadaisical approach allowed all of today's problems there to take form.

If you want to know more, then you need to watch the movie Charlie Wilson's War with Tom Hanks, and your understanding will be raised by several notches. Note that this movie is apolitical if anything. It is about Republicans and Democrats, Israeli's and Pakistani's, all coming together to help defeat the Soviets. (see: One Billion Dollars Allowed Afghan Rebels to Defeat the Soviets - Political Commentary by Tim King


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'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, 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:

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Casey Hults - Columbus, GA July 13, 2009 9:40 pm (Pacific time)

I knew Issac as Ike and as a wonderful friend. I had the pleasure of knowing what a fine man he was, and he will forever be in my heart. To his family and other friends may peace be with you always, Ike has gone home and he is watching over us. He would not want us to cry, but celebrate.. celebrate his wonderful life. I love and miss you babe.

jason khalaf July 10, 2009 4:45 pm (Pacific time)

RIP NICK G. you will b missed buddy

Daniel Johnson July 9, 2009 5:45 pm (Pacific time)

This may turn out to be an unpopular comment, but I am going to make it anyway. I remember a psychedelic poster from the late 1960s that said: "What if they gave a war and nobody came?" The wars are still being given (Bush and Co, having given the last few). It's the hundreds of thousands of soldiers, sailors and marines who are turning up. What if they said, instead, --I'll stand up to fight for my country, but not pointless foreign wars under false pretences.

Matt July 9, 2009 10:03 am (Pacific time)

“This administration is a FAILURE.” EPIC fail coming!

Vic July 9, 2009 9:12 am (Pacific time)

It isnt easy or cheap trying to police and subjugate the world...I wonder how much longer we can do it? Sure the Taliban suck, but so do a lot of other regimes...who appointed us MP of the world? The US military/industrial complex is NOT in the humanitarian business...they never have been. It isnt their job. These attempts to paint this invasion and the resulting slaughter as such are confusing to me. Actually quite a few invasions throughout history have been packaged as "liberations"..(think Poland).I agree with and appreciate Tims first hand assessments of Afghanistan, I just dont see where it is any of our business. For those who still believe that a ragtag bunch of cave-dwellers were responsible for 9-11, killing more Afgans probably has purpose still. I still say war is about MONEY..every time a cruise missile blows up a mud hut, United Technologies or whoever the supplier is, makes 1.5 million dollars. Caspian Sea pipeline or not, war is big bucks. It is theft and murder diguised as a necessary evil or a humanitarian need...and we take the bait every time.

imdfonz July 9, 2009 6:48 am (Pacific time)

RIP Nick. I knew you at a young age.

World Citizen July 9, 2009 2:12 am (Pacific time)

Really sorry to hear about this group of soldiers being killed. I hope in the end that it is somehow worth it.

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