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For families and friends who know the loss of a loved one at war, there is an emptiness and lack of joy during the holiday season. Our hearts go out to the Gold Star Families and Friends on Christmas.

The IGTNT (I Got The News Today) series is a reminder that nearly every day, somebody gets the heartbreaking news that a friend, former classmate, or beloved family member will not be coming home from war.

Tonight we remember a young Marine dog-handler, killed in action in Afghanistan:

Lance Cpl. William H. Crouse IV, 22, of Woodruff, South Carolina

Crouse's Military Working Dog partner named "Cane" died alongside him.

Since 2001, there have been 1366 American troops killed while serving in Afghanistan, and since 2003, 4430 American troops killed while serving in Iraq. Please take a moment below to remember them, and all those who have lost their lives in these wars.


Lance Cpl. William H. Crouse IV, 22, of Woodruff, South Carolina

Lance Cpl. Bill Crouse and his K-9 Military Officer, Cane died during combat operations on December 21, 2010 in Helmand province. Together Crouse and Cane made up a K-9 bomb search unit.

Lance Cpl. Crouse was a field artillery cannoneer assigned to 1st Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, based in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. In Afghanistan, Crouse was attached to the Camp Pendleton-based 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward).

"He put himself in harm's way to save others."

Billy Crouse was born in Angola, Indiana, and lived there until eighth grade when his family moved to Fort Wayne. He played football at Northrop High School before moving to South Carolina with his father his sophomore year.

In Woodruff, Billy played fullback at Clinton High School for the Red Devils. He met his girlfriend, Sarah, there in South Carolina. Billy Crouse graduated in 2007 and immediately enlisted in the US Marine Corps, which was no surprise to his family.

Billy's older brother had served in the Navy. Billy always wanted to serve his country, too.

"He wanted to make a difference and this was way his way of doing that," said his sister.

Lance Cpl. Bill Crouse and Cane, his bomb-sniffing dog, had the dangerous mission of searching out hidden bombs. Their K-9 unit was on a patrol with other Marines when they got hit by a roadside improvised explosive device. Lance Cpl. Crouse was treated at the site of the blast before the medical helicopter arrived.

His mother said that her son's dying concern was for his dog.

"My son was alert and coherent for a brief period, and his biggest
concern was 'where is my dog?

Save my dog. Put him in the Medevac with me. Save his life,'" she said.

The dog was put in the helicopter with Crouse but neither survived.

Cane, Military K-9 Officer
Cane was the Marines' fifth bomb-sniffing dog to be killed in combat.

National Geographic video story about K-9 bomb searching units.

This was Lance Cpl. Crouse's first tour of duty and he had been in Afghanistan just six weeks. He kept in touch with loved ones on facebook, where his friends created a memorial in his honor with these photos.

The sad news is still sinking in at home.

"It's not real. You hope you're gonna wake up and and someone's gonna say, "It's a huge mistake, we found something we thought was his and we assume it was him.' But the more things that come in, the more it cements in your mind that this is real and it's time to deal with it," his sister said.

Though it's a sad time, the family is trying to remember to celebrate Crouse's life.

"He constantly had a smile on his face. He wanted to make everybody happy.
He was proud to be a Marine."

Lance Cpl. Crouse, who is predeceased by his father, leaves behind his girlfriend, his sister and brother-in-law, his brother, his brother and sister-in-law, his mother and stepfather, his father's girlfriend and other family and friends, including his fellow Marines and dog-handlers.

Lance Cpl. William Crouse, IV is missed. May He Rest In Peace.

Source  Source  Source Source Source Source Source

RIP Marine (TAPS)
written by Horace Lorenzo Trim

Fading light, dims the sight
And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright
From afar drawing nigh,
Falls the night.

Day is done, gone the sun
From the lakes, from the hills, from the run
All is well, safely rest;
God is nigh.

Then goodnight, peaceful night;
Till the light of the dawn shineth bright.
God is near, do not fear,
Friend, goodnight.

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Photos Uploaded with
Thanks to Timroff for our faithfully lighted candle IGTNT logo.
(Other Photos by CalNM)

Helping our troops:  
If you wish to assist our military and their families, consider Operation Helmet, or sponsoring a deployed service member at
Fisher House provides housing for families of injured troops and veterans who are recovering in hospitals, and Guardian angels for soldierspet assists the animal companions of our deployed military.

When our veterans come back home, they can find support at Welcome Back Veterans.  
Our recently returned veterans need jobs, and Veterans Green Jobs is now hiring for positions and filling training sessions. VGJ corps retrains veterans as leaders in forest and resource conservation, green construction, and energy efficient upgrades of homes in rural areas. Encourage a Veteran, and see if you can help out.

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About the IGTNT series: I Got the News Today is intended to honor, respect, and remember the fallen, and to remind us that each casualty has family and friends who received the terrible news that their loved one has died at war.

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. The US Department of Defense news releases are found at defense gov/releases.  Icasualties lists the names of those killed, and shows the number of wounded. Published AP photos of the returning war fatalities are found on the Dover AFB page.

Click the IGTNT tags below for previous diaries in the series which was begun by i dunno, and which is maintained by monkeybiz, noweasels, blue jersey mom, Chacounne, twilight falling, joyful, roses, SisTwo, a girl in MI, Spam Nunn, JeNoCo, Janos Nation, True Blue Majority, Proud Mom and Grandma, Sandy on Signal, Wide Awake in Kentucky, Ms Wings, maggiejean, racheltracks, ccasas, JaxDem, and me, CalNM. These diaries are heartbreaking to write, but are an important service to those who have died, and show our community’s respect for our fallen brothers and sisters.

Please bear in mind that these memorial diaries are read by friends and family of the service members chronicled here. May all of our remembrances be full of compassion rather than politics.

Originally posted to CalNM on Sat Dec 25, 2010 at 05:23 PM PST.

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