Tonight, we honor three Americans killed in Afghanistan. Two were Marines and one was a soldier from the 101st Airborne. Two of the men leave behind children, one never met his infant son. Please take a moment to read about their lives.
Since 2001, there have been 1446 American troops killed in Afghanistan. Since 2003, there have been 4432 American troops killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom and 14 killed in Operation New Dawn. Please take a moment to honor their sacrifice.
Thank you, Twilight Falling, for this beautiful tribute to Sgt. Michael Beckerman.
Sgt. Michael J. Beckerman, 25, of Ste. Genevieve, Mo., died Dec. 31 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to 2nd Brigade Support Troop Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.
"He loved life. He lived it to its fullest."
Sgt. Beckerman enlisted in the National Guard at age 18 after graduating from high school in Ste. Genevieve. He spent two years in the National Guard before enlisting in the Army.
Sgt. Beckerman completed tours of duty in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. He was an explosives ordinance disposal specialist. Family says he loved his work and took great pride in his duties. He was serving with his wife, Spec. Margaretta A. Beckerman.
"He was the type of person that you could look up to and respect. He loved his family. He loved his daughter. He loved his wife," said Rosie Weisbrod, a family friend. "He loved life," added her husband, Dan. "He lived it to its fullest."
Source: KSDK TV
If it was a choice between his life or that of his soldiers, he would have given his life.
Family members remember him as a solider who loved his job and a father, above all.
"He was a good father, he was a good husband. As far as a grandson goes, there was no better," said [his grandmother] Karen Downen.
"Nobody wants to give up their life," his grandmother said, "But if somebody had told him it's me or my boys, my men, he'd probably say me. That's just the kind of guy he was."
Source: WSIL TV
"He was a good Daddy, a very good Daddy."
[Sgt. Beckerman] requested a transfer to Fort Campbell, Ky., last January to be closer to his 2-year-old daughter Brianna.
"He loved that little girl very, very much. He was a good Daddy, a very good Daddy," said [his grandmother] Downen, "It was worth it to him, very much, because he got to see her and play with her and take her places."
Source: WSIL TV
Sadly, Sgt. Beckerman's life ended with the year 2010; he was killed by an IED on New Year's Eve. He is survived by his wife, Spec. Margaretta A. Beckerman; his daughter, Brianna J. Beckerman; his parents, Lisa McGregor and Steve Beckerman; and his grandparents, Howard and Karen Downen.
Rest in peace, Michael Beckerman. May your courageous and loving spirit soar free and be at peace forever, and may your memory be a blessing to all those whose lives you touched so deeply with your beautiful presence.
Lance Cpl. Maung P. Htaik, 20, of Hagerstown, Md., died Jan. 1 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Lance Corporal Mauang P. Htaik, also known as Samuel to his friends, died on New Year's day during combat fighting in Helmand province. He moved with his family from Myanmar to the United States in 2002, in order to be have a better education. Samuel graduated in 2008, and was a distinguished honor roll student at Smithsburg High School.
In February of 2009, he joined the Marines. He was promoted to Lance Cpl. in April of 2010. His brother, Dan Yar, told the Herald-Mail :
"He has never spoken of being afraid of death and was very quiet and calm," Yar wrote in the e-mail. "There are a lot of things, but I just want to say he was brave, real brave.
"From my understanding from talking to him, I see that he was inspired by the Marines to be brave and strong," Dan Yar wrote of his brother Tuesday in an e-mail. "I am more than sure that he did want to serve his country."
Htaik is remembered for being a quiet, studious, and religious young man. He was a devout Christian and a member of Gateway Ministries. He was a natural citizen.
Grace Priest, a registrar at Smithsburg High School, remembered Samuel as:
"He was a quiet young man. A nice young man," Priest said. "He would do anything you asked him to do," she said.
Funeral Services are tomorrow, Saturday, January 8 at Frederick Christian Fellowship Church. Burial will be at Arlington National Cemetery.
Rest in Peace, Lance Corporal Maung "Samuel" Htaik.
Cpl. Jacob A. Tate, 21, of Columbus, Ohio, died Jan. 2 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Cpl. Tate had a strong sense of family, he was adopted as a child, and always wanted the family closeness. His infant son was born three months ago, but he never had the chance to meet him. Cpl. Jacob Tate was killed while serving our country in the Afghanistan war.
He is remembered for being the nicest person you could ever meet. From the Columbus Dispatch elementary school friends describe the kind of person he was:
"He was into hunting with Dad," Frisch said. "Honestly, I don't know of anyone who couldn't get along with him."
and from his teacher, Paul Hartje, at Gahanna Christian Academy:
"I think that he saw the value of the Marines," Hartje said. "He saw the discipline. It gave him a sense of purpose to defend the country. He saw the strength of brotherhood."
As an adopted child, Tate had a "sense of family that was genuine," Hartje said.
A high school baseball and basketball coach, Scott Jemson, said he felt like he had been "punched in the stomach" when he heard the news of Jacob Tate's death.
"Had an infectious smile, kids loved him, teachers loved him. He had these dreadlocks that our school made him tie up in the back because it was not dress code but that was just part of his personality." Says Jemson.
Funeral arrangements are pending. My heart goes out to all who loved him.
Rest in Peace, Cpl. Jacob Tate.
In Flanders Fields
by Lt. Col. John McRae, MD, (1872-1918)
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row
That mark our place, and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved,
and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
I Got the News Today is a diary series intended to honor, respect and remind. Its title is a reminder that almost every day a military family gets the terrible news about a loved one. 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.
All of the U.S. fatalities can be seen here and here. They all had loved ones, families and friends. The DoD news releases are here. I Got the News Today is intended to honor, respect and remind. Click the IGTNT tags below for previous diaries.
Click the IGTNT tags to see the series, which was begun by i dunno, and which is maintained by monkeybiz, noweasels, blue jersey mom, Chacounne, twilight falling, joyful, roses, SisTwo, Spam Nunn, True Blue Majority, CalNM, Wide Awake in Kentucky, Maggie Jean, Jax Dem, Kestrel 9000, racheltracks, csas, and me, Sandy on Signal.
Please bear in mind that these 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.