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Tonight, we light a candle of memory against the darkness of grief and loss. We remember.

This retrospective is a compilation of 2013's "I Got the News Today" (IGTNT) memorial diaries from January through December. They are tributes to the American service members who died as a result of the war in Afghanistan. When you click on the links, you'll find their stories--the details that their teachers and friends remember, the last phone calls home to parents, their Facebook messages to loved ones. These are not numbers or abstractions. They were husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, parents, children, friends, colleagues, brothers and sisters in arms. Their lives mattered.

If you are new to the series, please click on a date and read diaries by Sandy on Signal, JaxDem, SisTwo, Ekaterin, maggiejean, Wide Awake in KY, Chacounne, i dunno, Joy of Fishes, blue jersey mom, TrueBlueMajority, SpamNunn, TheFatLadySings, twilight falling, noweasels, raptavio, and me, CalNM, and learn about a few of these lives. To our supporters: please know how much your presence, witnessing and condolences mean this past year and always. To the team--a special THANK YOU for your constant and compassionate efforts. To the families and friends who may read this--we have not forgotten your loved one.

As is our tradition, we have chosen "We Remember Them," by Rabbis Sylvan Kamens and Jack Riemer, to help us reflect on these losses. Thank you for being here tonight to remember.

In the rising of the sun and in its going down
We remember them.




January
2 Pfc. Markie T. Sims, 20, of Citra, Fla.
18 Sgt. Aaron X. Wittman, 28, of Chester, Va.
19 Sgt. David J. Chambers, 25, of Hampton, Va.
26 Sgt. Mark H. Schoonhoven, 38, of Plainwell, Mich., Sgt. Tyler W. Ziegel, 30, of Washington, Ill., Dr. Peter Linnerooth, 42, of Minneapolis, Minn., and Spc. Karl Kenton Bray, 30, of Irvine, Ky


Dr. Peter Linnerooth was a U.S. Army psychologist who took his own life on January 2 in Mankato, Minnesota, after returning home from war. During his 18-month tour as a psychologist in Iraq, the former Captain and Bronze Star medal recipient assisted in emergency surgeries in a medical unit. Assigned as the only psychologist during his deployment and at home base, Dr. Linnerooth is credited with helping thousands of soldiers cope with post-traumatic stress.

IGTNT: "He will be greatly missed by many."


In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter
We remember them.




February
27 Staff Sgt. Jonathan D. Davis, 34, Kayenta, Ariz.


Staff Sergeant Jonathan Davis was a Purple Heart medal recipient and proud member of the Navajo Nation from Kayenta, Arizona. A 15-year Veteran of the Marines, Staff Sgt. Davis had several combat tours in both Afghanistan and Iraq prior to being killed in action on February 22nd. Staff Sgt. Jonathan Davis is the 14th Navajo Tribal member serving in the US armed forces to die in Afghanistan.

IGTNT: National Pride


In the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring
We remember them.




March
12 Spc. Cody D. Suggs, 22, of West Alexandria, Ohio
14 Tech. Sgt. Larry D. Bunn, 43, of Bossier City, La.
15 Capt. Andrew M. Pedersen-Keel, 28, of South Miami, Fla. and Staff Sgt. Rex L. Schad, 26, of Edmond, Okla.
16 Chief Petty Officer Christian Michael Pike, 31, of Peoria, Ariz and Spc. David T. Proctor, 26, of Greensboro, NC
18 Staff Sgt. Steven P. Blass, 27, of Estherville, Iowa, Chief Warrant Officer Bryan J. Henderson, 27, of Franklin, La., Capt. Sara M. Knutson, 27, of Eldersburg, Md., and Staff Sgt. Marc A. Scialdo, 31, of Naples, Fla. Spc. Zachary L. Shannon, 21, of Dunedin, Fla.
19 Chief Warrant Officer James E. Groves III, 37, of Kettering, Ohio
26 Sgt. 1st Class James F. Grissom, 31, of Hayward, Calif., and Sgt. Tristan M. Wade, 23, of Indianapolis, Ind.
30 Sgt. Michael C. Cable, 26, of Philpot, Ky.


Staff Sgt Marc Scialdo enlisted in the Army following his college graduation in 2002, driven in part by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. A Black Hawk helicopter crew chief, he had served a previous tour in Iraq. Staff Sgt Scialdo was completing his first deployment to Afghanistan when he died with four fellow Army aviators in a March 11th helicopter crash.

IGTNT: Five Remarkable Soldiers Killed in Black Hawk Crash


In the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer
We remember them.




April
6 Chief Warrant Officer Curtis S. Reagan, 43, of Summerville, S.C.
7 Captain James Michael Steel, 29, of Tampa, Fla.
12 Staff Sergeant Christopher M. Ward, 24, of Oak Ridge, Tenn., Specialist Wilbel A. Robles-Santa, 23, of Juncos, Puerto Rico, and Specialist Deflin M. Santos Jr, 24, of San Jose, Calif.
18 Chief Warrant Officer Matthew P. Ruffner, 34, of Tafford, Pa., and Chief Warrant Officer Jarett M. Yoder, 26, of Mohnton, Pa.
25  Pfc. Barrett L. Austin, 20, of Easley, S.C.
28  Capt. Aaron R. Blanchard, 32, of Selah, Wash. and 1st Lt. Robert J. Hess, 26, of Fairfax, Va.
30 Capt. Brandon L. Cyr, 28, of Woodbridge, Va., Capt. Reid K. Nishizuka, 30, of Kailua, Hawaii, Staff Sgt. Richard A. Dickson, 24, of Rancho Cordova, Calif., and Staff Sgt. Daniel N. Fannin, 30, of Morehead, Ky.


Captain Reid Nishizuka was one of four airmen lost in the April 27th crash of an MC-12 Liberty surveillance aircraft. Captain Nishizuka, who was piloting the twin-engine turboprop airplane, had participated in over 200 combat missions. Captain Nishizuka completed three tours to Iraq, and was on his second tour in Afghanistan, making this his fifth deployment to the middle east since his 2005 enlistment.

IGTNT: Four Young Airmen Lost


In the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn
We remember them.




May
5 Staff Sgt. Michael H. Simpson, 30, of San Antonio, Texas, Spc. Trinidad Santiago Jr., 25, of San Diego, Calif., and Pfc. Charles P. McClure, 21, of Stratford, Okla.
7 Capt. Mark T. Voss, 27, of Colorado Springs, Colo., Capt. Victoria A. Pinckney, 27, of Palmdale, Calif., and Tech Sgt. Herman Mackey III, 30, of Bakersfield, Calif.
8 Staff Sgt. Eric D. Christian, 39, of Warwick, N.Y., and Cpl. David M. Sonka, 23, of Parker, Colo., 1stLt. Brandon J. Landrum, 26, of Lawton, Okla., Staff Sgt. Francis G. Phillips IV, 28, of Meridian, N.Y., Spc. Kevin Cardoza, 19, of Mercedes, Texas, Spc. Thomas P. Murach, 22, of Meridian, Idaho, and Spc. Brandon J. Prescott, 24, of Bend, Ore.
19  Sgt. 1st Class Trenton L. Rhea, 33, of Oakley, Kan., Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey C. Baker, 29, of Hesperia, Calif., Spc. Mitchell K. Daehling, 24, of Dalton, Mass., and Spc. William J. Gilbert, 24, of Hacienda Heights, Calif.
23 Sgt. Eugene M Aguon, 23, of Mangilao, Guam; Spc. Dwayne W. Flores, 22, of Sinajana, Guam; Pfc. Cody J. Towse, 21, of Elk Ridge, Utah
30 Spc. Christopher R. Drake, 20, of Tickfaw, La.


Cpl. David Sonka and his military working dog, Flex, were killed along side Staff Sgt. Eric Christian on May 4th when an Afghan soldier turned his weapon on them in a "green on blue" insider attack. Flex reportedly died trying to save the decorated Marines. All three were greeted at Dover AFB when their flag-draped coffins were returned back home to the United States.

IGTNT: Seven American Troops and Military Working Dog killed in Afghanistan


In the beginning of the year and when it ends
We remember them.




June
3 Staff Sgt. Joe A. Nunezrodriguez, 29, of Pasadena, Texas
5 Pfc. Mariano M. Raymundo, 21, of Houston, Texas, Spc. Kyle P. Stoeckli, 21, of Moseley, Va., and Spc. Ray A. Ramirez, 20, of Sacramento, Calif.
6  Warrant Officer Sean W. Mullen, 39, of Dover, Del., Staff Sgt. Job M. Reigoux, 30, of Austin, Texas, 2nd Lt. Justin L. Sisson, 23, of Phoenix, Ariz., Spc. Robert A. Pierce, 20, of Panama, Okla.
15 Lt. Col. Todd J. Clark, 40, of Evans Mills, New York, Maj. Jaimie E. Leonard, 39, of Warrick, New York and Staff Sgt. Jesse L. Thomas Jr., 31, of Pensacola, Fla.
19 Lance Cpl. Jared W. Brown, 20, of Youngstown, Fla.
22 Sgt. Justin R. Johnson, 25, of Hobe Sound, Fla., Spc. Ember M. Alt, 21, of Beech Island, South Carolina, Spc. Robert W. Ellis, 21, of Kennewick, Washington, and Spc. William R. Moody, 30, of Burleson, Texas
28 Spc. Javier Sanchez Jr., 28, of Greenfield, Calif. and Sgt. Corey E. Garver, 26, of Topsham, Maine


Maj. Jamie Leonard was one of two soldiers killed in an "green on blue" insider attack on June 8th. A top graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point, Maj. Leonard served as an intelligence officer with the 10th Mountain Division. During her Army service, she was deployed for tours in Korea, Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Maj. Leonard's awards included two Bronze Star medals.  

IGTNT: "I miss him so much."


When we are weary and in need of strength
We remember them.




July
2  Sgt. DovBer Magy, 42, from St. Louis Park, Minn.
4 Sgt. Justin R. Rogers, 25, of Barton, N.Y.
5 Spc. Hilda I. Clayton, 22, of Augusta, Georgia
6 1st Sgt. Tracy L. Stapley, 44, of Clearfield, Utah; and Leonardo J. Lemos, Jr., 31, San Jose, California
7 Pvt. Errol D.A. Milliard, 18, of Birmingham, Ala.
20 Lance Cpl. Benjamin W. Tuttle, 19, of Gentry, Arkansas, Staff Sgt. Sonny C. Zimmerman, 25, of Waynesfield, Ohio, Sgt. (Ret) Richard Allen Marshall, 37, Muscogee Creek Tribe
26  Sergeant Anthony R. Maddox, 22
27  1st Lt. Jonam Russell, 25, of Cornville, Ariz., Sgt. Stefan M. Smith, 24 of Glennville, Ga., and Spc. Rob L. Nichols, 24, of Colorado Springs, Colo.
31 Sgt. Eric T. Lawson, 30, of Stockbridge, Ga., and Spc. Caryn E. Nouv, 29, of Newport News, Va.


Spc. Hilda Clayton died in an Afghan National Army training exercise on July 2nd, when a mortar system failed and created a “catastrophic explosion” that killed four people and wounded 11. Spc. Clayton served as an Army photographer and combat documentation specialist. Her images have been featured on Department of Defense and Department of the Army websites as well as in print stories read around the world.

IGTNT: An Army photographer who "made a positive difference every day"


When we are lost and sick at heart
We remember them.




August
2 Sgt. Stephen M. New, 29, of Bartlett, Tenn., and Spc. Nicholas B. Burley, 22, of Red Bluff, Calif.
9  Spc. Nickolas S. Welch, 26, of Mill City, Ore.
17 Staff Sgt. Octavio Herrera, 26, of Caldwell, Idaho, Sgt. Jamar A. Hicks, 22, of Little Rock, Ark., and Spc. Keith E. Grace Jr., 26, of Baytown, Texas.
23 1st Lt. Timothy G. Santos Jr., 29, of Helena, Ala. and Master Sgt. George A. Bannar Jr., 37, of Orange, Va.
27 Spc. Kenneth Clifford Alvarez, 23, of Santa Maria, Calif. and Pvt. Jonathon Michael Dean Hostetter, 20, of Humphreys, Missouri


Sgt. Jamar Hicks died on his 22nd birthday alongside two other US soldiers, after they were attacked with indirect fire on August 11th. Sgt. Hicks was on his second tour in Afghanistan assigned as a vehicle driver with the 101st Airborne. A married family-man, Jamar's wife Debra was raising their young son, Jamar, Jr. back home in Chicago.

IGTNT: 3 Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division


When we have joy we crave to share
We remember them.




September
2  Staff Sergeant Michael H. Ollis, 24, of Staten island, New York
3 Staff Sgt Joshua J. Bowden, 28 of Villa Rica, Georgia and 1st Lt. Jason Togi, 24, of Pago Pago, American Samoa
8  Staff Sgt. Todd J. Lobraico Jr., 22, of New Fairfield, Conn.
20  Staff Sergeant Randall R. Lane, 43, of Neoga, Illinois
23 Sergeant William D. Brown III, 44, of Franklin, N.C.
24  Spc. James T. Wickliffchacin, 22, of Edmond, Okla
26 Staff Sgt. Liam J. Nevins, 32, of Denver, Colo., Staff Sgt. Timothy R. McGill, 30, of Ramsey, N.J., Spc. Joshua J. Strickland, 23, of Woodstock, Ga., Lt. Cmdr. Landon L. Jones, 35, of Lompoc, Calif., and Chief Warrant Officer Jonathan S. Gibson, 32, of Aurora, Ore.
29  Staff Sgt. Thomas A. Baysore, Jr., 31, of Milton, Pa.


Spc. Joshua Strickland was a dedicated soldier, husband and father of three children and serving on his first deployment overseas. He joined the Army in 2008 after he graduated from high school and was assigned to the 1st Special Forces Group as a wheeled vehicle mechanic. Spc. Strickland was one of three US troops killed in a September 22nd "green on blue" insider attack by an Afghan security force member.  

IGTNT: Two Tragedies


When we have decisions that are difficult to make
We remember them
.




October
9  Lance Cpl. Jeremiah M. Collins, Jr., 19, of Milwaukee, Wis.
10  1st Lt. Jennifer M. Moreno, 25, of San Diego, Calif., Sgt. Patrick C. Hawkins, 25, of Carlisle, Pa., Sgt. Joseph M. Peters, 24, Pfc. Cody J. Patterson, 24, of Philomath, Ore.
11 Specialist Angel L. Lopez, 27, of Parma, Ohio
17 Staff Sgt. Patrick H. Quinn, 26, of Quarryville, Pa.
21  Sergeant Lyle D. Turnbull, 31, of Norfolk, Va.
27  Lance Cpl. Christopher O. Grant, 20, of Richwood, La.


1st Lt. Jennifer Moreno was one of four Americans killed by a roadside bomb attack on October 6th. 1st Lt. Moreno was on her first tour as a Nurse in a cultural support team assigned to Army Special Operations Command. She had graduated from San Diego High School and the University of San Francisco, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing. 1st Lt. Moreno received the Purple Heart and Bronze Star medals, and Combat Action Badge.

IGTNT: Four Soldiers


When we have achievements that are based on theirs
We remember them.




November
7  Sgt. 1st Class Forrest W. Robertson, 35, of Westmoreland, Kan.
17  Staff Sgt. Richard L. Vazquez, 28, of Seguin, Texas
20  Staff Sgt. Alex A. Viola, 29, of Keller, Texas


Army Staff Sgt. Richard Vazquez was killed in action by an IED detonation during his fifth combat tour. The decorated Green Beret began his military career as an Infantry man, then volunteered for Special Forces, graduating from the rigorous training in December 2010. Staff Sgt. Vazquez had been deployed twice to Iraq, and twice to Afghanistan. He was on his third tour to Afghanistan when he was ambushed during a foot patrol.

IGTNT: Special Forces Green Beret Who Was On His 5th Deployment


As long as we live, they too will live;
For they are now a part of us
As we remember them.




December
14 Lance Cpl. Matthew R. Rodriguez, 19, of Fairhaven, Mass.
19 Petty Officer 1st Class James L. Smith, 38, of Huffman, Texas
22  Chief Warrant Officer 2 Randy L. Billings, 34, of Heavener, Okla.; Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joshua B. Silverman, 35, of Scottsdale, Ariz.; Sgt. Peter C. Bohler, 29, of Willow Spring, N.C.; Sgt. 1st Class Omar W. Forde, 28, of Marietta, Ga.; Staff Sgt. Jesse L. Williams, 30, of Elkhart, Ind.; Spc. Terry K. D. Gordon, 22, of Shubuta, Miss.
27 Sgt. Daniel M. Vasselian, 27, of Abington, Mass.
30 Capt. David I. Lyon, 28, of Sandpoint, Idaho



A year with fewer casualties overall ended tragically with the deadly crash of a Black Hawk helicopter in New Bahar. Chief Warrant Officer 2 Randy Billings, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joshua Silverman, Sgt. Peter Bohler, Sgt. 1st Class Omar Forde, Staff Sgt. Jesse Williams, and Spc. Terry Gordon lost their lives when their Black Hawk UH-60 went down on December 17th.

IGTNT: Six US Soldiers killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan


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