You, whose forebodings have been all fulfilled,
You who have heard the bell, seen the boy stand
Holding the flimsy message in his hand
While through your heart the fiery question thrilled
"Wounded or killed, which, which?"--and it was "Killed--"
And in a kind of trance have read it, numb
But conscious that the dreaded hour was come,
No dream this dream wherewith your blood was chilled--
Oh brothers in calamity, unknown
Companions in the order of black loss,
Lift up your hearts, for your are not alone.
~ Henry Christopher Bradby
Tonight we remember and mourn three more gallant young men whose lives ended this week in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Maj. Scott A. Hagerty, 41, of Stillwater, Oklahoma
Sgt. Hagerty died June 3 in Zormat, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 451st Civil Affairs Battalion, Pasadena, Texas.
The 24-year veteran was killed this week doing what he loved — serving his country, his family said.
A statement released Thursday by Hagerty's family said, "Scott was very proud of his career in the Army, and we know he died doing what he loved —serving his country.
"When called up for duty, he went willingly and proudly as a duty-bound soldier does."
Hagerty was a Reservist serving as a civil affairs officer with the 451st Civil Affairs Battalion based in Pasadena, Texas.
Hagerty was a 1984 graduate of Stillwater High School and a 1993 graduate of Oklahoma State University, with a bachelor's degree in political science. He was employed by National Standard, an industrial wire manufacturer headquartered in Stillwater.
Hagerty enlisted in the Army in 1983 while in high school through the delayed entry program, which allows recruits to gain rank before basic training.
He served active duty enlistments as an infantryman and an air defense artilleryman, with 12 months in South Korea.
He was commissioned through ROTC at Oklahoma State University and then completed the Field Artillery Officer Basic Course at Fort Sill. He 11 years with the 291st Regiment (Training Support) in Oklahoma before transferring to the U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne) in 2004.
Maj. Hagerty had always dreamed of being a soldier.
Hagerty was born Sept. 1, 1966, in Muskogee, He had lived in Stillwater since 1976 when his family moved to Oklahoma. He graduated from Stillwater High School in 1984 and joined the Army in 1986.
His first deployment was to Iraq from October 2004 to August 2005.
Hagerty earned a bachelor’s degree in 1993 in political science, pre-law and international relations from Oklahoma State University.
He deployed to Afghanistan shortly after being assigned to the 451st Civil Affairs Battalion in February. Prior to that, he had been in Uganda, where his mission was to prevent conflict and promote regional stability.
"I have always dreamed about being a soldier, even as a little boy, so I know I am doing the job that was destined for me," he told the NewsPress via e-mail for a story published in April 2007.
Maj. Hagerty was highly decorated. His military awards included two Meritorious Service Medals, a Joint Service Commendation Medal, two Army Commendation Medals, six Army Achievement Medals, a Good Conduct Medal, three Army Reserve Components Achievement Medals, two National Defense Service Medals, an Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and Service Medals, a Korean Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with "M" (mobilization) device and numeral "2," the Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Combat Action Badge, Driver and Mechanic Badge with Driver-Tracked Vehicle Bar and the Marksmanship Qualification Badge.
Funeral arrangements for Maj. Hagerty are pending. The family is still waiting for his body to be returned home.
Maj. Hagerty is survived by his wife, Daphne, by their sons, Jonathan, 10, and Samuel, 20 months, and by his parents, Don and Shirley, all of Stillwater.
Thank you, Maj. Hagerty. Your mission is done.
Pfc. Derek D. Holland, 20, of Wind Gap, Pennsylvania
Pfc. Holland died June 3 in Zormat, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 228th Brigade Support Battalion, Pennsylvania Army National Guard, Bethlehem, Pa.
Pfc. Holland’s high school principal delivered flowers to Pfc. Holland’s mother after graduation on Thursday night. "You just hope that Derek's commitment to his country helps just a little bit to salve the wound of losing a child," he said.
Not long after Derek Holland committed to the Pennsylvania National Guard, he arrived to his classroom with a buzz cut.
Gone were the bushy, curly locks that drooped near his shoulders and in a yearbook photo framed a stoic and almost saddened face. Gone, too, was the introverted teenager who educators said had yet to find his calling.
"At first he was kind of shy, quiet. He didn't know what he wanted to do," said Andra Goller, Holland's teacher at the Career Institute of Technology, a vocational school in Forks Township where Holland learned Web design and other technology.
"Once he decided what he wanted to do," Groller said, "he blossomed."
Holland arrived in Afghanistan in February and was to return home in December, said his supervisor in the brigade.
Educators remembered Holland as a quiet yet dutiful student who became confident and outgoing once he committed to the military. Fellow soldiers remembered Holland as a hardworking and devoted serviceman whose outlook motivated his brigade.
"He was one of the most dedicated soldiers I have known," said Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Horner, Holland's supervisor with the 228th Brigade. "He just wanted to do his part in serving his country. He wanted to do the job he came in to do.
"We could have something that was not going right on our mission for the day and he would have a positive outlook on things. He was an excellent motivator for the other soldiers," said Horner, who sometimes invited Holland to his Hershey, Pa., home for dinner and time with his family.
Kathy Andreas, Holland's mother, accepted hugs, condolences and a bouquet of green and white flowers Thursday afternoon on the porch of her home in Wind Gap. She said tearfully she was not yet ready to discuss her son.
Joyce Dotta, Holland's English teacher, said Holland was "a very quiet student who was hardworking, diligent and responsible. Having Derek in his senior year, I saw a young man who was maturing and finding himself."
He was enrolled in the information systems technology program at CIT and became an honor roll student interested in artificial intelligence and skilled in making creative uses of technology, said Groller, who taught Holland for two years.
Holland enlisted in the National Guard during his senior year and hoped to use his computer education in the military, Groller said. Once Holland set that goal, Groller said, he became more talkative in class, helping other students with their work.
"When he made his decision, that was that," Groller said. "It was like, wow, he really grew up. He's going to be missed deeply."
Pfc. Holland’s community is in mourning.
Wednesday night Pen Argyl Area High School graduated its class of 2008. Just hours later came word that the district had lost a member of its class of 2006.
"And we had a brief, prayerful moment together in memory of Derek and his family," said Pen Argyl High School Principal John Smith.
His high school principal at Pen Argyl Area remembers Holland as a quiet and reserved young man, looking for a direction in life, a direction the young man found in the Pennsylvania National Guard.
"He was one who was looking to make some kind of contribution with his life somewhere," Smith added.
"We are saddened to hear of his death, obviously. We are proud of what he accomplished in service to his country and our district grieves as a result of this event," said Principal Smith.
Pfc. Holland was a dedicated soldier.
"Derek was an energetic young man who was admired by his fellow Soldiers for his work ethic and devotion to duty," said Maj. Gen. Jessica L. Wright, Pennsylvania adjutant general. "This is a tragic loss and we keep his family in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time."
"He was one of the most dedicated soldiers I have known," said Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Horner, Holland's supervisor with Alpha Company. "He just wanted to do his part in serving his county. He wanted to do the job he came in to do."
Pfc. Holland, the fifth Pennsylvania National Guardsman killed in Afghanistan, will be awarded a Purple Heart and a Combat Action Badge posthumously.
Thank you, Pfc. Holland. Your mission is done.
Pfc. Joshua E. Waltenbaugh, 19, of Ford City, Pennsylvania
Pfc. Waltenbaugh died June 3 in Taji, Iraq, of injuries sustained in a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 4th Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Hood, Texas.
During high school, Pfc. Waltenbaugh had built houses for Habitat for Humanity and had done volunteer work for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. "Anytime you needed something, Josh was there willing to help," said Paul Klukan, Waltenbaugh's Boy Scout leader.
Pvt. Joshua Waltenbaugh, 19, of Kittanning Township, was killed by small-arms fire in Iraq on Tuesday, his family said.
His death in Taji was not combat-related and is under investigation, according to a statement Thursday from the Defense Department.
"All we know at this point is that it was a gunshot wound to the chest and it's under investigation, so ... what little bit we've been told we're not liberty to speak about," Bonnie Waltenbaugh, the soldier's mother, told The Associated Press on Thursday.
"We're leaning on each other. We have good faith," she said. "Josh was proud to be serving his country. ... It was what he wanted to do."
He is the second Lenape student to die in the Iraq war. Army Spc. William Sturgess of South Bend Township was killed by a car bomb in January 2004.
The school plans to create a memorial to its two former students, said Lenape's administrative director Dawn Kocher-Taylor.
"Anytime you needed something, Josh was there willing to help," said Paul Klukan, Waltenbaugh's Boy Scout leader.
Pfc. Waltenbaugh's job was to repair helicopter engines. He also was a member of the Downed Aircraft Recovery Team, his mother said.
He deployed to Iraq on Jan. 30 as part of the 4th Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment.
Pfc. Waltenbaugh married the former Misti Walls last year, his mother said. He and his wife were 2007 graduates of Lenape Area Vocational Technical School in Ford City.
He made straight A's in his field, said Dawn Kocher-Taylor, administrative director of Lenape Tech.
Pfc. Waltenbaugh enlisted in the Army while still in school. He went through boot camp between his junior and senior years at Lenape Tech, his mother said.
Pfc. Waltenbaugh was an avid bowler and worked part-time at King Lanes in Kittanning, about 35 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, before leaving for military duty.
Pfc. Waltenbaugh is survived by his wife, Misti, and his mother, Bonnie. His body will be escorted by the Patriot Guard. Funeral arrangements are not complete.
Thank you, Pfc. Waltenbaugh. Your mission is done.
To date, 4092 members of the United States military have lost their lives in Iraq. The death toll thus far for June is 8. The Department of Defense Press Releases, from which the information at the start of each entry in this diary was drawn, can be seen here. The death toll among Iraqis is unknown, but is at least 100,000. and probably many times that number.
To date, 517 members of the United States military have lost their lives in Afghanistan. The death toll thus far for 2008 is 42. 314 members of the military from other countries have also lost their lives.
Other sites have stories, video, pictures and remembrances, including: Honor the Fallen.
Assisting our military: Supporting our troops is the RIGHT THING to do.
You can donate to Netroots for the Troops here.
All donations will go toward putting together 101 care packages full of needed items for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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You can find other ways to give at anysoldier.com or Fisher House. If you have frequent flyer miles you would like to donate to hospitalized veterans or their families, please see Fisher House’s Hero Miles program.
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And don’t forget them when they get home! Read welcomebackveterans.org to learn what you can do.
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I Got the News Today is a diary series intended to honor, respect and rememeber. Click here to see the series, which was begun by i dunno, and is currently maintained by Sandy on Signal, monkeybiz, MsWings, greenies, blue jersey mom, twilight falling, labwitchy, moneysmith, joyful, roses, SisTwo, SpamNunn, a girl in MI and me, noweasels. New volunteer JeNoCo will be posting her first diary tomorrow. Welcome.
These diaries are heartbreaking to write, but, we believe, an important service to those Americans who have died, and to our community’s respect for and remembrance of them. If you would like to volunteer, even once a month, please contact Sandy on Signal, monkeybiz, or me, noweasels.
As you read this diary, please consider that the families and friends of those profiled here also may read it and that many members of our community have served in Iraq or Afghanistan or have loved ones currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. As the very proud daughter of a Navy pilot, and the granddaughter of a Marine pilot and a submariner, I hope that the comments tonight will demonstrate our respect for the sacrifices of our fallen military and our compassion for their families; please reserve your political comments for appropriate diaries.