Good evening, dear ones. Will you please join me and the IGTNT team tonight as we honor the following six soldiers:
Staff Sgt. Adam L. Perkins, 27, of Antelope, California, who died May 17 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
The following five soldiers died May 18 in Kabul, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their convoy with a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device. Let us honor:
Col. John M. McHugh, 46, of New Jersey;
Lt. Col. Paul R. Bartz, 43, of Waterloo, Wisconsin;
Lt. Col. Thomas P. Belkofer, 44, of Perrysburg, Ohio;
Staff Sgt. Richard J. Tieman, 28, of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania; and
Spc. Joshua A. Tomlinson, 24, of Dubberly, Louisiana.
Will you dear Kossacks kindly take a moment to send a warm thought or prayer to the hundreds of thousands of forgotten or unnoticed souls who have suffered, and continue to suffer, from the insanity of war? This is not their diary but still, we all feel and grieve the pain of a broken human spirit.
Blessings and Light to all who share our world.
Staff Sgt. Adam L. Perkins
They say it takes one to know one: Center High School english teacher Paul Frazee, a Army veteran who spent time in Vietnam, said of the 2001 graduate, "We teach our kids to be thoughtful and productive and responsible members of society. Adam took that to heart. He was just a fine young man. He will be missed."
SSgt. Adam Perkins enlisted in the Marine Corps in September 2001. He was an explosive ordnance disposal technician with the 1st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group out of Camp Pendleton. He had completed two previous tours of duty in Iraq in 2006 and 2008. SSgt. Perkins died while dismantling a roadside bomb.
SSgt. Perkin's many military awards and decorations include the Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal with combat "V" distinguishing device for valor; a Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal with combat "V"; a Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal with star; an Iraq Campaign Medal with two service stars; a National Defense Service Medal; a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; a Combat Action Ribbon; a Navy Unit Commendation, second award; and a Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
The magnificent Patriot Guard Riders have SSgt. Perkins on their Watch List, where members are leaving messages of love and support for the Perkins family, including his wife and his nine-month-old son.
Our hearts are with all who knew and loved SSgt. Adam L. Perkins. Please know that we stand beside you at this terrible time of loss.
The following five soldiers died May 18 in Kabul, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their convoy with a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device. U.S. defense officials confirmed the five deaths, and Canadian forces confirmed the death of one of their service members, Col. Geoff Parker, 42, of the Royal Canadian Regiment. Local medical officials said at least 12 Afghani civilians were killed and 48 injured.
The British Foreign Office set the civilian death toll at 19.
NATO's International Security Assistance Force confirmed that five U.S. military vehicles were destroyed along with 13 civilian cars. One of the civilian cars hit was a bus filled with people, a spokesman said.
Col. John M. McHugh
Kevin Morris has the warmest memories of his life-long friend: "John never had an off day. He was always upbeat, always positive. That's what I'm going to miss. He excelled in everything he did since kindergarten. He was always a good student. He was always a good athlete. John was always loyal. John was always hardworking - kind of the prototype of what you'd expect in a West Point cadet."
Col. John McHugh was one of the highest ranking officers to die in the conflict in Afghanistan to date. This married, father of five graduated James Caldwell High School in 1982 and immediately went to West Point, followed by flight school where he earned his helicopter pilot's license. Proving age is no deterrent to learning, Col. McHugh earned a Master's degree in Administration from American Public University in 2006, followed in 2009 by a second Master's in Strategic Studies from the Army's most prestigious academy, the U.S. Army War College in Pennsylvania. Col. McHugh was serving as the Chief of Operations Group A with the Battle Command Training Program when he was killed on Tuesday.
Col. Steven Boylan, a spokesman for the Training Program, said, "There wasn't a day that I saw him that he didn't have a smile for someone or didn't have a good word to say. He always had time to see how everyone was doing, to make sure they had everything they needed."
The magnificent Patriot Guard Riders have Col. McHugh on their Watch List, where members are leaving messages of love and support for the McHugh family, which includes two sons (the youngest is five), three daughters, and a new grandbaby. Col. McHugh's oldest son, Michael, was on a tour of duty in Iraq when he received word that his father has been killed. Michael McHugh met his father in Kuwait, and escorted him home.
Our hearts are with all who knew and loved Col. John M. McHugh. Please know that we stand beside you at this terrible time of loss.
Lt. Col. Paul R. Bartz
Waterloo High School history teacher Richard Jones said of his former student: "When they say these wars have taken the very best and brightest of our country, Paul's a great example of that. A lot of kids in school just haven't found their niche and he was an example of that. I am so impressed with what he accomplished in his life."
The 1985 Waterloo graduate spoke to Mr. Jones' class in 2006, telling them that his first thoughts after graduating high school were to get a car, a job - and then party. Lt. Col. Bartz said those plans changed quickly once his father talked him into going to college. Lt. Col. Bartz graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1989, where he was in the Army ROTC, and started on his path to a successful military career.
Lt. Col. Paul Bartz served as the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-1 (Personnel) with the Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 10th Mountain Division (LI) based at Fort Drum, New York where he had been stationed since June 2009. Brig. Gen. Jeffrey L. Bannister, the division's deputy commanding general for operations, said these deaths were a "heartbreaking loss" for all.
Among Lt. Col. Bartz' many awards was the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, an Army Commendation Medal, a Joint Service Achievement Medal, and an Army Achievement Medal.
The magnificent Patriot Guard Riders have Lt. Col. Bartz on their Watch List, where members are leaving messages of love and support for the Bartz family.
Our hearts are with all who knew and loved Lt. Col. Paul Bartz. Please know that we stand beside you at this terrible time of loss.
Lt. Col. Thomas P. Belkofer
Thomas Belkofer's parents are struggling with the news. "It's like you're in a fog," Mr. Donald Belkofer Jr. said of his son's death, while sitting close to his wife on their living room couch.
"You think you're watching something in a movie. You think...this isn't even real," Mrs. Sharon Belkofer told reporters from their Perrysburg Township home. "Because even though you feared something like this could happen, you don't believe it will happen."
They were not even aware that their son was overseas; they believed he was at home in New York with his wife and two daughters. But Thomas was in Afghanistan for a short two-week training exercise. "We immediately said 'Oh no - you're wrong - he's not there. He's not supposed to go 'til October. You're mistaken - it must be somebody else'."
Thomas Belkofer graduated from Rossford High School in 1983. He received his Bachelor's degree in Architectural and Environmental Design Technology from Bowling Green State University in 1992. That same year he married his college sweetheart, Margaret, who earned her Bachelor's degree in Education. The two joined the Army together, and Mr. Belkofer said his daughter-in-law rose to become a captain before shifting her focus to full-time mothering of their two children.
Lt. Col. Belkofer's best friend, John Miller, said that family, faith and the army were the top priorities to his old friend from high school.
Lt. Col. Thomas Belkofer served as the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-8 (Comptroller) with the Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 10th Mountain Division (LI). He had one previous tour of duty in Afghanistan from January 2005 to February 2006. Lt. Col. Belkofer arrived at Fort Drum in July 2009.
Among his many awards are the Bronze Star Medal, a Meritorious Service Medal, an Army Commendation Medal, an Army Achievement Medal, and an Air Assault Badge and Parachutist Badge.
The magnificent Patriot Guard Riders have Lt. Col. Belkofer on their Watch List, where members are leaving messages of love and support for the Belkofer family.
Our hearts are with all who knew and loved Lt. Col. Thomas Belkofer. Please know that we stand beside you at this terrible time of loss.
Staff Sgt. Richard J. Tieman
"He liked being a soldier. He loved the Army," said Richard Tieman of his son. The younger Richard had a great example: Mr. Tieman is a military veteran.
Richard Tieman enlisted at age 18. This was his third deployment; he served two previous tours of duty in Iraq. Both Staff Sgt. Tieman and his family were nervous about this last one: Tieman's family said he "shared the bad feeling they all had about the third deployment. They said something felt amiss as they traveled to the airport to say goodbye."
A recent newlywed, Staff Sgt. Tieman married a fellow Staff Sgt. after a few years of dating. Paulina and Richard were planning a larger wedding celebration in December. When he was home Richard enjoyed fishing, family bar-b-ques, and playing Guitar Hero with his younger brother, Tyler. Staff Sgt. Tieman was scheduled to return stateside in July where he was looking forward to drill sergeant training in Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Paulina Tieman is stationed in Fort Riley, Kansas.
Staff Sgt. Tieman was assigned to Special Troops Battalion, V Corps in Heidelberg, Germany. He was a combat driver for Headquarters Support Group, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command in Kabul.
Richard's best friend, Toby Ditch, remembers, "We just got together and did crazy stuff! Whenever I think about him, I get a big ol' smile on my face."
The magnificent Patriot Guard Riders have SSgt. Tieman on their Watch List, where members are leaving messages of love and support for the Tieman family.
Our hearts are with all who knew and loved Staff Sgt. Richard Tieman. Please know that we stand beside you at this terrible time of loss.
Spc. Joshua A. Tomlinson
"I'll always remember him as being a hero for what he did," Sp. Joshua Tomlinson's brother Carl shared. "The last time I saw him I said, 'You better come back in one piece.' He gave me a hug and said, 'I will, man. I'll be back, bro.'"
Carl Tomlinson said his younger brother was a talented artist and musician who loved to go fishing with their father. Joshua was married but he and his wife had no children. Tragically, according to family members, their baby died shortly after birth about a year ago.
Army Colonel James Jinnette, who served with Spc. Tomlinson in Kabul, said that Spc. Tomlinson would often speak lovingly of his wife, and of the importance of duty to one's country. "Spc. Tomlinson was an excellent soldier who loved serving his nation as he loved his family. He was a highly skilled leader who represented the best America can offer. He was proud of his service, and we are proud of the way he conducted his profession here in Kabul as he escorted our highest-ranking officers and visitors with utmost discipline. He will be missed in our headquarters here in Kabul."
Spc. Tomlinson had been in Afghanistan for about eight months as a combat driver and an air defense artilleryman for Headquarters Support Group, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command in Kabul. He was assigned to Special Troops Battalion, V Corps in Heidelberg, Germany. This was his first deployment. Spc. Tomlinson was due to return home to Louisiana in July.
The magnificent Patriot Guard Riders have Spc. Tomlinson on their Watch List, where messages of love and support are being left for the Tomlinson family.
Our hearts are with all who knew and loved Spc. Joshua Tomlinson. Please know that we stand beside you at this terrible time of loss.
I can't think of a better way to honor the fallen than to contribute to the well-being of their fellow soldiers still on active duty.
The following fine organizations could sure use your support and your donations: AnySoldier.com, Books for Soldiers, Fisher House, the Military Pets Foster Project, Guardian Angels for Soldier's Pets, Operation Baghdad Pups, Operation Enduring Christmas, an organization that sends holiday presents to the children of our fallen troops, and Helping Udders, an organization that sends cooling vests to the Military Working Dogs stationed with their handlers in Iraq.
I Got the News Today is a diary series intended to honor, respect and remind. Click here to see other IGTNT diaries, a series which was begun by i dunno and which is currently maintained by Sandy on Signal, blue jersey mom, Chacounne, twilight falling, joyful, noweasels, roses, SisTwo, SpamNunn, a girl in MI, TrueBlueMajority, CalNM, and Wide Awake in Kentucky.
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. Fallen soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen and National Guard whose names have been released by the Department of Defense will usually be diaried two days after the official announcement on the DoD website. This allows the IGTNT team to cover each fallen service member more fully, but still in a timely manner
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. I hope that the comments tonight will demonstrate our respect for the sacrifices of our fallen military and our compassion for their families, whatever our personal feelings about the war and occupation happen to be. (Comment credit and my thanks to dear noweasels.)
PEACE AND BLESSINGS.