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Jul-12-2009 01:40printcomments

Costly Fighting in Afghanistan Leads to Three More Combat Deaths

A Marine from Florida, a Marine from North Carolina, and a Texas soldier, pay the ultimate price fighting the war in Afghanistan.
Photo by Q Madp

(SALEM, Ore.) - Two Reconnaissance Marines were killed in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan July 8th at 7:26 p.m. local time, when a homemade roadside bomb exploded near their vehicle.

Lance Corporal Roger G. Hager of Gibsonville, North Carolina was 20-years old.

A local newspaper reporter with The Times News, spoke to his mother one day after learning he had been killed in action in Afghanistan. Elaine Hager lost her youngest son that day, and she said she was still trying to make sense of the tragedy.

"He was just a kid," his mother said with tears in her eyes. "He was not old enough to drink. He was just too young."

The Times News reports that Roger Hager was riding as a back-seat passenger in the vehicle that hit the homemade bomb. He had deployed to the combat theater about three months ago.

Another Marine killed that day is someone who was not a kid, but an extremely decorated Marine staff non commissioned officer who had served the Corps for many years. Master Sergeant John E. Hayes, of Middleburg, Florida, who was 36, died July 8th while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

His awards include 2 Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medals, 3 Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medals, 2 Combat Action Ribbons, a Joint Meritorious Unit Award, a Navy Unit Commendation, 2 Navy Meritorious Unit Citations, 5 Marine Corps Good Conduct Medals, 2 National Defense Service Medals, and Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, a Southwest Asia Service Medal, 2 Kosovo Campaign medals, a Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and Armed Forces Service Medal, 2 Humanitarian Service Medals, 6 Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, a Marine Security Guard Ribbon, 2 NATO Medals, and the Kuwait Liberation Medal.

John Hayes deployed to Afghanistan in April. His previous deployments included Kosovo and Albania in 1998, Kuwait in 1991 and Iraq in 2003 and 2007.

Both Marines were assigned to 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Little is written about "Recon" Marines and they were very falsely portrayed in one Clint Eastwood movie called Heartbreak Ridge that is sometimes sarcastically referred to as "the only war movie that was longer than the war it depicted." Reconnaissance Marines are qualified in parachuting and skydiving like Navy SEAL's or Green Beret's, and are trained to extreme levels. They are today and always really were, the "Special Forces" of the Marine Corps.

U.S. Army Specialist Josh Farris of La Grange, Texas, died of wounds suffered from the detonation of an improvised explosive device July 9th in Afghanistan's Wardak Province. He was 22-years old. He was part of another distinguished military unit, the Army's historic 10th Mountain Division.

Photos from his MySpace show Josh with motocross bikes, rock guitars, with friends and at ball games. One person wrote, "RIP You are loved and will be missed... I looked thru all our pics last night, and thought bout the good ole days... and cried. I Love You Lil Farris."

Another friend said, "Josh, words can't explain of how much I'm going to miss you."

Josh Farris was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, New York.

Here are other recent stories on combat casualty losses in Afghanistan and Iraq:

From July 10th 2009: Four More Casualties Reported Overseas - Tim King

From July 8th 2009: Increased War Tempo in Afghanistan Leads to 8 Casualties in Two Days - Tim King

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From May 5th 2009: Two California Soldiers Killed in Iraq - Tim King

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

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

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

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

From April 7th 2009: More Casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq - Tim King

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

From March 24th 2009: More Marines and Soldiers Pay the Ultimate Price in Afghanistan and Iraq - 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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Vic July 13, 2009 9:00 am (Pacific time)

From the Bible (and Wikipedia)..."Live by the sword, die by the sword" is a metaphorical expression meaning that living one's life in a certain way will, in the end, affect one's destiny. The proverb comes from the Book of Matthew, verse 26:52, which describes a follower of Jesus drawing a sword to defend him against Roman soldiers, but is rebuked by Jesus, who tells him to sheath the weapon: Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. —Matthew 26:52, King James Version While the expression strictly-interpreted means “those who live by violence will die by violence”, it is also used for a variety of situations which contain an element of poetic justice. For instance the proverb could be used to describe a person who regularly drives under the influence and is ultimately killed in a vehicle accident caused by their intoxication." Their deaths were the result of their own choices, but sad nonetheless.

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