These hearts were woven of human joys and cares,
Washed marvellously with sorrow, swift to mirth.
The years had given them kindness. Dawn was theirs,
And sunset, and the colours of the earth.
These had seen movement, and heard music; known
Slumber and waking; loved; gone proudly friended;
Felt the quick stir of wonder; sat alone;
Touched flowers and furs and cheeks. All this is ended.
There are waters blown by changing winds to laughter
And lit by the rich skies, all day. And after,
Frost, with a gesture, stays the waves that dance
And wandering loveliness. He leaves a white
Unbroken glory, a gathered radiance,
A width, a shining peace, under the night.
~ Rupert Brooke (1887-1915)
Spc. William L. McMillan III, 22, of Lexington, Kentucky
Spc. McMillan died July 8 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his patrol was struck by an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
Elizabeth McMillan, Spc. McMillan’s wife of six months said: "There are no words in the English language that could ever capture the beauty that was him, and it's going to be hard to go on without him."
Spec. William McMillan III was destined for the military, like his father, and loved working in the medical field, like his mother.
An Army medic based at Abu Ghraib, Iraq, he was traveling with his outfit when his vehicle hit a homemade bomb, injuring five and fatally wounding McMillan.
His mother said McMillan seemed almost genetically inclined for his position in the Army.
"It’s almost like this is what he was born to do, you know? It was definitely in his blood."
McMillan’s father, Gen. William McMillan Jr., studied at the Kentucky Military Institute and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., before serving in Vietnam, and his mother is a nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Lexington.
McMillan attended high school at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia, where as a senior he was captain of the wrestling, lacrosse and football teams, winning the school’s Athlete of the Year Award. He loved the water and in his free time enjoyed wakeboarding and boating on Lake Cumberland with his family, Marge McMillan said.
He attended Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va., for a year before deciding to go straight into the Army.
After being stationed for a year in Hawaii, McMillan was deployed to Iraq as a combat medic.
"He brought laughter and light into any room he entered from the day he was born," said his mother.
McMillan was not just a wonderful and loving husband, brother and son, his wife, Elizabeth said, but a hero and friend to everyone who knew him.
"I want everyone to know that he always wanted to help people, and that he was and still is a hero," she said.
"There is a hole that will never be filled," said William McMillan, Specialist McMillan's father.
"He was my best friend. My brother," said (his brother) Brad McMillan.
"He wanted to save lives," said Elizabeth McMillan, William's wife.
Elizabeth and William married last January, and Wednesday would have been their year 1/2 anniversary. She said she did talk to her husband on Monday at a time he always called, and he was happy.
"He was my hero long before any of this happened. The greatest man I will ever know," said Elizabeth.
"There are no words in the English language that could ever capture the beauty that was him, and it's going to be hard to go on without him," said Elizabeth McMillan.
Memorials from the Stryker Brigade
"I just miss him so much. He was the light of everybody's life," Sgt. Brandi Sohn said.
Tears swelled in Sohn's eyes as she remembered her best friend.
"The thing was he was this mister tough guy on the outside, but when you really got to know him he was just a big teddy bear that would do anything for anyone," Sohn said.
The two met while stationed at Schofield Barracks. She was his supervisor, but a friendship quickly formed.
Sohn remembers telling her friend goodbye when he left for war.
"I gave him a hug and told him I would miss him and told him to stay safe, but you never, you know, think it's going to be last time you talk to somebody," she said.
Family members of a decorated Schofield Barracks soldier say they still do not know just how he died in Iraq. But they had warned him to be careful.
"We had told him, 'One Bronze Star is enough, start ducking,'" said Marge McMillan, mother of Spc. William "Bill" McMillan III, a medic with the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment. "He must have really gotten hit hard. He was a really strong kid."
After his first few months in Iraq, Marge McMillan asked her son if the U.S. military should be there.
He told her pulling out now would be wrong, she said.
"He was a good medic," she said. "He got lots of compliments on the stuff that he did."
Indeed, a two-star general recently pinned the Bronze Star on him, Marge McMillan said.
His family did not have the details of what led to the medal during his first tour of Iraq. "I know he had saved some lives," his mother said.
McMillan was due home on leave in September.
Of their last conversation, (his wife) said, "He was happy . . . . They were switching him from night shift to day shift patrol, and he was on day patrol when this incident occurred. About 12 hours later he died. The last thing he told me was he loved me. I'll always have that."
"He had absolutely no regrets," (his wife, Elizabeth, said.) "When he first got there he told me how his heart broke for the people of Iraq, especially the children. He was always smiling, even in Iraq."
McMillan will be buried at Camp Nelson cemetery with full military honors.
On Friday, Gov. Steve Beshear recognized Spc. McMillan.
The governor will order that flags at all state office buildings be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset on the day of interment, for which arrangements are pending.
McMillan is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, a student at the University of Kentucky; his parents, Gen. William McMillan Jr. and Marge McMillan; his sister Lauren; and his brother Brad.
McMillan’s family said he will be buried at Camp Nelson, however, no date or details have been set.
Thank you, Spc. McMillan. Your mission is done.
Sgt. Douglas J. Bull, 29, of Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Sgt. Bull died July 8 at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered in Chow Kay Valley, Afghanistan, when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device during a mounted patrol. He was assigned to the Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.
"Everybody loved him," his mother said.
A Meyers High School graduate died Tuesday from injuries he suffered in a roadside bomb blast while serving in Afghanistan, his mother, Mary Rambus said Thursday.
U.S. Army Sgt. Douglas John Bull, 29, died at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan a few hours after the vehicle he was riding in was struck by improvised explosive device in Chow Kay Valley, Afghanistan, according to Army records.
"He was only over there for maybe two weeks. They were on a routine patrol," his mother said, her voice cracking.
Enlisting after his high school graduation in 1997, he was a career military man with nine years in the Army.
This was his third time to serve overseas. His mother said he previously served in Iraq for one year and three years in Germany.
She said he will be deeply missed.
"Everybody loved him. He was well-known. He had a great personality," she said of her oldest son, who she said enjoyed playing paintball and football with friends.
Even though Bull was not a Pennsylvania National Guard member, those soldiers also felt the loss of a brother in arms, said Sgt.1st Class John Paul Karpovich of 109th Field Artillery of the Pennsylvania National Guard.
Many soldiers from the 109th knew Bull’s father, Chris Bull, who served with the battalion’s service battery.
His father, Chris Bull of Wapwallopen, said the 1997 Meyers High School graduate specialized in removing roadside bombs from the battlefield.
Throughout his years at Meyers High School, Douglas Bull aspired to a military career, loved ones said.
While mourning the 1997 graduate's death, administrators at the school on Thursday flipped through his senior yearbook and his student file.
In eighth grade, he wrote he dreamed of being a "flier in the Air Force." Before senior year, he said he wanted to attend a military college.
The Wilkes-Barre native eventually enlisted in the U.S. Army after graduation, traveled the world and was called to serve in both theaters of the global war on terrorism. He completed a year-long tour of duty in Iraq between 2005 and 2006 and was killed just weeks into his deployment to Afghanistan.
"We're proud of his accomplishments. We're honored to know a Meyers alumnus served our country in such a way," said Meyers Principal Tony Schwab. "It's a sad thing. We'd like to extend our sympathy and condolences to his family."
Teachers remembered Bull as a quiet, strong-willed student who had many friends.
Kevin Welles, one of Bull's English teachers in high school, remembers Bull being among a group of students he spoke to prior to the 1997 graduation.
"I remember speaking to seniors and telling them how many males and females would be crying at graduation. They said, 'No, get out of here. We can't wait to get out of here.' He's someone I remember looking at during graduation and there were tears in his eyes," Welles recalled. "I don't think he thought he'd be as emotional as he was."
Sgt. Bull will be remembered at the memorial service at Fort Hood on Monday.
"Let it be known, that on this day, our country lost an honorable man, a loving husband, a devoted father and an exemplary American soldier," said Capt. Andrea-Bernadette Pratt, a spokeswoman from Fort Hood, Texas, where Sgt. Bull’s unit was based.
A memorial service for Sgt. Bull is scheduled for Monday at 11 a.m. at 1st Cavalry Division Memorial Chapel at Fort Hood. There will also be a memorial service held in Wilkes-Barre at a later date.
Since enlisting in the Army in 1999 at age 19, Sgt. Bull traveled the world, excelled at every rank and was called to serve in both theaters of the global war on terrorism. He completed a yearlong tour of duty in Iraq in 2006.
Sgt. Bull was a combat engineer assigned to the Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, in Fort Hood. In Afghanistan, he was a sapper team leader.
An Editorial about Sgt. Bull appeared in Friday’s Citizens Voice:
Douglas Bull, 29, was killed Tuesday by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.
He was a career military man and his tour of duty in Afghanistan was the second one he served. His first was in Iraq.
"I though he’d be OK because he had driven a heavily armed vehicle," said his father, Chris Bull.
It was not so. We mourn the death of Douglas Bull.
Sgt. Bull is was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. He had previously been honored with more than a dozen medals and awards.
Sgt. Bull is survived by his wife, Tera, and their children, Arianna and Jaden, his parents, Chris Bull and Mary Rambus, a younger brother, Jacob and three step-siblings, John, Erica and Amanda. Plans for a memorial service have not been completed. He will be buried at Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery is in Killeen, Texas.
Thank you, Sgt. Bull. Your mission is done.
Sgt. 1st Class Steven J. Chevalier, 35, of Flint, Michigan
Sgt. 1st Class Chevalier died July 9 in Balad, Iraq, of wounds suffered in Samarra, Iraq, when his patrol vehicle was struck by a grenade. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Steven J. Chevalier was a career soldier and a born leader, family members said.
"He was always concerned (about his men)," said his aunt, Carole Miller of Flint. "He wouldn't expect his men to do anything he wouldn't do."
Chevalier joined the Army in 1991 shortly after he graduated from Powers Catholic High School.
His brother, Brian Chevalier, said Steven could not find work in Flint, so he signed up to be a soldier. He had been stationed all over the world, including Afghanistan, Korea and Fort Benning, Ga.
Despite his time with the Army, family said he didn't talk much about his assignments, especially those overseas.
Family said he especially wanted to protect his daughters, Ashley, 12, and Alishia, 8.
When home, Chevalier spent as much time as possible with the girls, doing everything from roller-skating to shows to attending their dance recitals.
"He was concerned for them and wanted to make sure they did well," Miller said. "He wanted them to go on to college."
Family members spent time with Chevalier about three months ago when he was home on leave.
Miller said she'll always remember him as a very kind man. "He was just normally an easygoing, friendly type of fellow," she said.
Sgt. 1st Class Chevalier had a distinguished military career. His awards and honors include: Meritorious Service Medal; Army Commendation Medal (6 awards); Army Achievement Medal (6 awards); Valorous Unit Award; Meritorious Unit Commendation; Army Good Conduct Medal (4 awards); National Defense Service Medal (2 awards); Korean Defense Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Humanitarian Service Medal; Noncommissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbon (3 awards); Army Service Ribbon; Overseas Ribbon (3 awards); Combat Infantry Badge; Expert Infantry Badge; Parachutist Badge; Driver and Mechanic Badge; and Weapons Qualification, M4, expert.
Sgt. 1st Class Chevalier is survived by his wife, Geneva, and their daughters, Ashley, 12, and Alishia, 8, all of Columbus, Ohio, his mother, Dorothy Carol Chevalier, of Flint, and his brother, Brian, of Flint.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
Thank you, Sgt. 1st Class Chevalier. Your mission is done.
Remember them. Honor their sacrifice.
To date, 4118 members of the United States military have lost their lives in Iraq. The death toll thus far for July is 5. 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 200,000 and possibly many times that number.
To date, 544 members of the United States military have lost their lives in Afghanistan. The death toll thus far for 2008 is 69. 337 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 STILL 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.
You can write letters.
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.
You can help the left-behind animal companions of our troops. See how here.
And don’t forget them when they get home! Read welcomebackveterans.org to learn what you can do.
About the IGTNT series:
(Our beautiful logo was created by kossack Timroff. Thank you, Timroff.)
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, JeNoCo, mediaprof, and me, noweasels.
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 other appropriate diaries.