Since 2001, 2238 U.S. troops have died while serving in Afghanistan; 4486 U.S. troops died from 2003 to 2012 while serving in Iraq.

The IGTNT (I Got The News Today) series is a reminder that nearly every day, somebody gets the heartbreaking news that a friend, former classmate, or beloved family member will not be coming home from war.

Tonight we remember three soldiers killed in Afghanistan:

Lt. Col. Todd J. Clark, 40, of Evans Mills, New York
Maj. Jaimie E. Leonard, 39, of Warrick, New York
Staff Sgt. Jesse L. Thomas Jr., 31, of Pensacola, Florida

Please take a moment below to remember them,
and all those who have lost their lives in these wars.

The Department of Defense confirmed the death of two upstate New York soldiers in Afghanistan: Lt. Col. Todd Clark and Maj. Jaimie  Leonard died June 8, in Sharana, Afghanistan, after a "green on blue" insider attack.

The veteran soldiers suffered mortal injuries from small arms fire at Zarghun Shahr, Afghanistan. The team was training the Afghan security forces when a soldier in an Afghan National Army uniform opened fire on Americans. Clark and Leonard were assigned to the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, based in Fort Drum, New York.

Three other Ft Drum solders were injured in the shooting attack. Also killed was American Joseph Morabito, a 17 year Army veteran and retired police officer working for a military contractor, the Times Union reports.

Joseph Morabito previously taught policing to Iraqi and Afghanistan forces on three nine-month assignments before deploying with the 10th mountain division. He was a few days short of his 55th birthday. Morabito is survived by his wife and three children, ages 19 to 24. "I am very honored to have been his wife for the past 30 years," his wife said.

Lt. Col. Todd J. Clark, 40, of Evans Mills, New York

Todd Clark had completed three tours of duty in Iraq and was serving in his second tour of Afghanistan. He served as a brigade-level adviser with the 10th Mountain Division.

In 2010, Lt. Col. Clark received a Purple Heart for injuries sustained in a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. His other awards included the three Bronze Stars, the Combat Action Badge, and Parachutist Badge, among other decorations and medals.

Todd Clark graduated from Christian Brothers Academy in 1990 and Texas A&M. At CBA, Clark played trumpet and his enthusiasm helped the school rebuild its band, recalled a former teacher. Friends remained close with Clark, via Facebook, and heard from him a few hours before his death.

"He was a career military guy, a professional take-charge kind of guy," a friend said. "He wasn't a quitter."

Lt. Col Clark was married to wife, Shelley, and they had two children. The family lives in a village called Evans Mill near Fort Drum.

"Another morning waking up to my beautiful husband being gone," Shelley Clark posted on Facebook Monday. "I miss him so much."

Times Union

Among those Lt. Col. Clark leaves behind are his wife and children, and his parents and brother.
Lt. Col. Todd J. Clark is missed. May he rest in peace.

New York Newsday

Times Union

Record Online

Maj. Jaimie E. Leonard, 39, of Warrick, New York

Jaimie Leonard was a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point. She served as an intelligence officer with the 10th Mountain Division. During her Army service, Maj.Leonard was deployed to Korea, Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. She was awarded two Bronze Stars and the Parachutist Badge, among other medals.

Jaime Leonard graduated from Warrick Valley High School, where she played soccer. After attending Marion Military Institute on a merit-based scholarship, Jaimie entered US Military Academy at West Point, commissioning in 1997 as a military intelligence officer.

As a selectee to the highly competitive Joint Chiefs of Staff, Office of the Secretary of Defense Intern Program, Jaimie earned her master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University in 1997, according to obituary in Warwick Advertiser.

Another 1997 West Point graduate, Megan Scanlon, said that out of the 100 or so women in their class, Leonard, was one of only about a dozen who remained in the military. She described Leonard's single-minded focus.

"She really loved serving and loved leading," Scanlon said. "And her field, intelligence, is something that really stimulated her. She worked on Capitol Hill doing intelligence work for the Pentagon."

Scanlon said Leonard's proficiency was widely noticed.

"I've read emails and posts from a couple of people she worked with that said she was the best intelligence officer that they ever served with," she said.

New York Newsday

Among those Maj. Leonard leaves behind are her five siblings, and many nieces and nephews.
Maj. Jaime Leonard is missed. May she rest in peace.

Record Online

The Department of Defense announced the death of a soldier serving in Afghanistan.
Staff Sgt. Jesse L. Thomas Jr., 31, of Pensacola, Florida

Staff Sgt. Thomas Jr. died June 10, in Helmand, Afghanistan, in an incident that is under investigation. He was assigned to the 39th Transportation Battalion, 16th Sustainment Brigade, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, based in Kleber Kaserne, Germany.

Thank you to Sgt. 1st Class Tanya Green for DVIDS:

Staff Sgt. Thomas, a human resources specialist, was described by his company commander as a great mentor, dedicated noncommissioned officer and professional.

“His dedication to duty will never be forgotten,” said Capt. David Cook, commander of the 66th Transportation Company. “Not only did he take care of Soldiers, but he took care of the command team. I will always think of him as a true noncommissioned officer who did his best to take care of everyone.”

Staff Sgt. Justin Mincey agreed, and said Thomas, his roommate, was a very approachable leader.

“He always took the time to talk to Soldiers,” said Mincey. “Staff Sgt. Thomas will be missed by everyone and will not be forgotten.”

Sgt. 1st Class James Wade added that Thomas, his friend of four years, lived by the Army’s values.

“The Army Value that Staff Sgt. Thomas believed in the most was respect,” said Wade. “He embodied the principle of respect. I will truly miss his mentorship. Staff Sgt. Thomas was well loved and he has done so many great things on Earth. I’m sure he’ll do much more in Heaven. All the memories I have of him will forever be cherished.

“Even though he is gone, he will be in our hearts forever—as our brother,” said Cook.

Among those Staff Sgt. Thomas leaves behind are his wife, Michelle, also on active duty in the military; his son, Justin; his stepdaughter, Jamie and his stepson, Jordan.
Staff Sgt. Jesse L. Thomas Jr., is missed. May he rest in peace.

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Thanks to Timroff for our faithfully lighted candle IGTNT logo;
Other Photos by CalNM and linked Sources

Helping our troops: If you wish to assist our military and their families, consider Operation Helmet, or sponsoring a deployed service member at TroopCarePackage.com. Fisher House provides housing for families of injured troops and veterans who are recovering in hospitals, and Guardian angels for soldierspet assists the animal companions of our deployed military.

When our veterans come back home, they can find support at Welcome Back Veterans. Our recently returned veterans need jobs, and Veterans Green Jobs is now hiring for positions and filling training sessions. VGJ corps retrains veterans as leaders in forest and resource conservation, green construction, and energy efficient upgrades of homes in rural areas. Encourage a Veteran, and see if you can help out.

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About the IGTNT series: I Got the News Today is intended to honor, respect, and remember the fallen, and to remind us that each casualty has family and friends who received the terrible news that their loved one has died at war. Diaries about the fallen usually appear two days after their names are officially released, which allows time for the IGTNT team to find and tell their stories. The US Department of Defense news releases are found at defense gov/releases. Icasualties lists the names of those killed, and shows the number of wounded. Published AP photos of the returning war fatalities are found on the Dover AFB page. Click the IGTNT tags below for previous diaries in the series which was begun by i dunno, and which is maintained by monkeybiz, noweasels, blue jersey mom, Chacounne, twilight falling, joyful, roses, SisTwo, a girl in MI, Spam Nunn, JeNoCo, Janos Nation, True Blue Majority, Proud Mom and Grandma, Sandy on Signal, Wide Awake in Kentucky, Ms Wings, maggiejean, JaxDem, theFatLadySings, Ekaterin, Joy of Fishes, and me, CalNM. These diaries are heartbreaking to write, but are an important service to those who have died, and show our community’s respect for our fallen brothers and sisters.
Please bear in mind that these diaries are read by friends and family of the service members chronicled here. May all of our remembrances be full of compassion rather than politics.
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