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I Got The News Today (IGTNT) , which began in April of 2004, making it one of the oldest continuous series on Daily Kos,  provides members of this community a venue to pay their respects to those who have died as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.   The IGTNT  title is a reminder that nearly every day the family of an active duty service member receives the terrible news that their beloved has died.

~ Image Credit to llbear with gratitude
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Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of Heaven,
Blossom the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels.

  ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow  in Evangeline
Honoring and Remembering:
Sgt Jose M. Caraballo Pietri
Sgt Vorasack T. Xaysana

Since 2003 we have suffered the loss of 4447 American lives and a total of 4765 Coalition Forces in Iraq.

Since 2001 we have suffered the loss of 1531 American lives and a total of 2402 Coalition Forces in Afghanistan.

He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother
   ~ The Hollies
The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows where
But I'm strong
Strong enough to carry him
He ain't heavy, he's my brother
So on we go
His welfare is of my concern
No burden is he to bear
We'll get there
For I know
He would not encumber me
He ain't heavy, he's my brother

If I'm laden, at all
I'm laden, with sadness
That everyone's heart
Isn't filled with the gladness
Of love for one another

It's a long, long road
From which there is no return
While we're on the way to there
Why not share
And the load
Doesn't weigh me down at all
He ain't heavy he's my brother
He's my brother
He ain't heavy, he's my brother

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Sgt. Jose M. Caraballo Pietri, 32 of Yauco, Puerto Rico

Sgt. Jose M. Caraballo Pietri, 32, of Yauco, Puerto Rico, died April 10 in Badghis province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire.  He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 84th Field Artillery Regiment, 170th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Baumholder, Germany.  ~ DoD News Release

Jose attended the official school of Yauco Mayor Abel Nazario and enlisted in the Army three years ago.  He deployed to Afghanistan on February 22nd.

Sgt Jose Caraballo Pietri's mother, Alicia Pietri described her son as an exceptional child, an excellent human being and a true friend.

Abner Caraballo, Jose's brother said:

From here I had the best battalion, that of God.

Caraballo’s death was the third for the brigade, which deployed to Afghanistan in February for a 12-month tour.

Lt. Col. Steven Fandrich, rear detachment commander for the brigade said this:

Three casualties in a week is hard on any unit.  And these are the first casualties of the brigade for the deployment.

The following comments were left on the Stars and Stripes page:

He was my team leader in Iraq on our last deployment togeather, he will be truly missed.

Hell of an NCO. Even better person. He will be missed.

He was definately a hero God Bless him

Peco was not only a hero but a good friend

I served in Bamberg Germany with Jose, I will miss him very much Dios te Bendiga Jose

Thomas Montanez, of Fort Buchanan Mortuaries Services said the sergeant will be promoted posthumously, will receive the Bronze Star and Purple Heart medal.

Sgt Pietro is survived by a wife in New York, his parents and a brother in Puerto Rico.

Sgt. Jose m. Caraballo Pietri was our brother and he will be missed.

 ~ Source   ~ Source  
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Sgt Vorasack Xaysana
Sgt. Vorasack T. Xaysana, 30 of Westminister, Colorado

Sgt. Vorasack T. Xaysana, 30, of Westminster, Colo., died April 10 in Kirkuk, Iraq, of injuries sustained April 9 in a non-combat related incident.  He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, Fort Hood, Texas.    ~ DoD News Release

Sgt. Xaysana joined the military in September 2005 as an indirect fire infantryman.  He reported to Fort Hood in September of 2010.

Vorasack deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from August 2007 to October 2008 and deployed in support of Operation New Dawn in September 2010.

Circumstances surrounding his death are under investigation.

A few comments from friends were posted on Gabberface:

goodbye SGT Xaysana you were are good man and a damn good NCO the world is a lesser place without you

Today we morn another friend Tommy Xaysana you will be missed with all my heart

Sgt. Xaysana's awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, two Army Achievement Medals, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with campaign star, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, three Overseas Service Ribbons and Combat Infantry Badge.

Sadly, there was very little information on Sgt. Vorasack T. "Tommy" Xaysana, but he was our brother and he will be missed.

 ~ Source   ~ Source
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About the IGTNT series:

"I Got the News Today" is a diary series intended to honor, respect, and remind us of the sacrifice of our US troops. Click here to see the series, which was begun by i dunno, and which is maintained by Sandy on Signal, noweasels,  monkeybiz, blue jersey mom, Chacounne, twilight falling, joyful, roses, SisTwo, SpamNunn, TrueBlueMajority, CalNM, Wide Awake in Kentucky, maggiejean, racheltracks, Kestrel9000 and me, JaxDem. These diaries are heartbreaking to write, but are an important service to those who have died, and show our community’s respect for them.

Fallen service members whose names have been released by the US Department of Defense will usually be diarized two days after the official announcement on the DoD website. This allows the IGTNT team to cover each person more fully, but still in a timely manner.


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POW/MIA: Afghanistan & Iraq

Two U.S. soldiers are currently listed as captured or Duty Status -- Whereabouts Unknown as of December 1, 2009.

Spc. Ahmed K. Altaie 41
and
Pfc. Bowe R. Bergdahl 23

Never forgotten - please keep good thoughts and prayers for these two men.

On December 8th new photos were published of Pfc Bowe R. Bergdahl in captivity.  The article and images can be seen  here.

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Helping Our Troops

There would be no finer way to honor the fallen than to contribute to programs that assist our active duty military.  Here are a few suggestions:
Evan Ashcraft Foundation - This foundation was established to assist soldiers returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan to adjust to civilian life.  In particular this foundation's emphasis is on PTSD and traumatic brain injuries.
Fisher House - Provides a "home away from home" for military families to be close to a loved one during hospitilization for an illness, disease or injury.
Netroots For The Troops -  raises money for the assembly, mailing and delivery of care packages to American military in war zones, and to provide assistance to military families in the United States.
Veterans Green Jobs - Our recently returned veterans need jobs and VGJ is now hiring for positions and filling training sessions. VGJ corps retrains veterans as leaders in natural resource conservation, green construction, and energy efficient upgrades of homes in rural areas.
Welcome Back Veterans -  created to inspire Americans to give back to our returning veterans and their families and assist in particular with PTSD.
Wounded Warrior Project -  To raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service service members, to help injured service members aid and assist each other and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.
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Please bear in mind that these diaries are read by friends and family of the service members mentioned here. May all of our remembrances be full of compassion rather than politics.
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