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Tonight we honor two young soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Since 2001, 2130 U.S. troops have lost their lives while serving in Afghanistan; since 2003, 4488 U.S. troops have lost their lives while serving in Iraq.

I Got The News Today (IGTNT), which is the oldest continuous series on Daily Kos, provides members of this community a venue to pay their respects to those who have died as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The IGTNT title is a reminder that nearly every day the family of an active duty service member receives the terrible news that their beloved has died.

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                                                                                       ~ Photo Credit Timroff

The Department of Defense has announced the deaths of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

They died Aug. 23 in Haft Asiab, Afghanistan, from wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device during combat operations. Both soldiers were assigned to 2nd Engineer Battalion, 36th Engineer Brigade, White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

Killed were:

Spc. Kenneth Clifford Alvarez, 23, of Santa Maria, CA
Pvt. Jonathon Michael Dean Hostetter, 20, of Humphreys, MO
Commander of White Sands Missile Range, Brig. Gen. Gwen Bingham said:
"Our brave men and women are risking their lives daily in the fulfillment of their mission. Spc. Kenneth Alvarez and PV2 Jonathan Hostetter paid the supreme sacrifice with their lives. We will never forget them and their Families and what they stood for as they dedicated themselves to a life of selfless service and commitment to our Nation. We will continually keep their spouses, Families and the entire 2nd Engineer Battalion uplifted in our thoughts and prayers.”

Please join me tonight for a remembrance of their lives.


Spc. Kenneth Clifford Alvarez

Spc. Alvarez was originally from Santa Maria, California. To nobody's surprise, he was voted as having the best smile of the 2009 graduating class at Delta Continuation High School in Orcutt! Delta High School counselor Tami Contreras remembered him as:

"...very diligent here while he was a student. He worked very hard to get his high school diploma so he could move on and better his life...He had a child and he wanted to do well for his family. He wanted to make them proud and he really wanted to serve his country."
He joined the U.S. Army in November 2011 and was trained as a combat engineer.

Casper Yi wrote this tribute to Spc. Alvarez on Facebook:

"He was my gunner for most of the deployment and one of the platoon ‘clowns.’ One of the best individuals I came across. He rarely complained and always found a way to make people laugh. You made the ultimate sacrifice for your country and you will never be forgotten. You left an indelible impression on us all.

“I will miss your sense of humor, that ridiculous comb-over, and your personality. Words cannot express the sorrow we feel from your loss. You would have done anything for your teammates, no matter the situation. I thank you for looking after me and taking care of your brethren."

Spc. Alvarez is survived by his wife and one child.

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Rest in peace, Spc. Kenneth Clifford Alvarez. You have served with honor.

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Pvt. Jonathon Michael Dean Hostetter

Pvt. Hostetter is originally from Humphreys, MO. His father, Michael Hostetter, is the middle school principal in Milan and his mother Lisa Hostetter teaches in Linn County, Missouri.

He attended Linn County High School in Purdin, where he was known as an excellent basketball player, and graduated in 2011. He joined the Army in September, 2012. Before arriving at White Sands Missile Range, he was stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, MO. He deployed to Afghanistan in April 2013. This was his first deployment.


Jonathon and Tahler Hostetter

A family member said that Hostetter was a newlywed. He is survived by his wife Tahler Hostetter, who is from Gallatin, Missouri.

His parents have flown to Delaware to receive their son's body when it arrives back in the U.S. Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time.

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Rest in peace, Pvt. Jonathon Michael Dean Hostetter. You have served with honor.

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About the IGTNT series:

"I Got the News Today" is a diary series intended to honor, respect, and remind us of the sacrifice of our US troops. Click here to see the series, which was begun by i dunno in 2004 and now is maintained by Sandy on Signal, i dunno, noweasels, blue jersey mom, Chacounne, twilight falling, SisTwo, SpamNunn, TrueBlueMajority, CalNM, Wide Awake in Kentucky, maggiejean, JaxDem, TheFatLadySings, Joy of Fishes, and me, Ekaterin.

These diaries are heartbreaking to write, but are an important service to those who have died, and show our community’s respect for them. 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.

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