I Got The News Today (IGTNT) , which is among 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.
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Tonight we honor and remember:Staff Sgt. Russell J. Proctor
Pfc. Dylan J. Johnson
1st Lt. Dimitri A. Del Castillo
Staff Sgt. Nigel D. Kelly
Cpl. Michael C. Nolen
Since 2003 we have suffered the loss of 4466 American lives and a total of 4784 Coalition Forces in Iraq.
Since 2001 we have suffered the loss of 1646 American lives and a total of 2558 Coalition Forces in Afghanistan.
Staff Sgt. Russell J. Proctor, Jr. died June 26, in Diyala province, Iraq, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, TX. Proctor was supporting Operation New Dawn.
Russell Proctor, Jr. was a 2003 graduate of Rio Linda High School and was the oldest son of 11 children. He enlisted in the Army two years after graduation and this was his third tour of duty in Iraq.
Staff Sgt. Proctor's father, Russell, Sr. said that anytime there are two soldiers knocking on your door, you know what that means. He added that his son looked at his fellow soldiers as family.
He didn't want to leave them. He kept signing up for more tours and you know,this last one he didn't make it.
Russell, Jr.'s mother, Renee said:
He just had a good heart. He wanted to serve his country and he was good at it and he was happy.
Russell, Sr. added:
He's my hero. He's an American hero and I want him to be recognized as that.
Proctor's awards and decorations included two Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals, two Meritorious Unit Citations, two Army Good Conduct Medals, a National Defense Service Medal, an Iraqi Campaign Medal with two combat service stars, a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and several ribbons and badges.
Staff Sgt Russell J. Proctor, Jr. is survived by his wife, his one year old son, his parents and ten siblings.
No funeral services have been announced.
Pfc. Johnson died June 26 in Diyala province, Iraq, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an IED. He was assigned to the 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.
Dylan Johnson went to Jenks High School and decided to join the Army in 2009, largely inspired by the men on both sides of his family who served with the military during World War II and Korea.
Pfc. Johnson's father, Jeff Johnson said:
I've been chatting with the guys in his platoon all day, and they all described him as one of the funniest guys they ever met. He was that way - a natural comedian.
A former teacher of Johnson said:
Dylan possessed a kind spirit and was a bit reserved in my World Literature class. We all ache for the loss of this young life and grieve with his family. We do not know what he could have achieved but we are humbled that he had made the supreme sacrifice for his country.
Jeff Johnson said his son loved music and sports and was a great marksman and called his son his "best friend". He last saw him in March.
He knew they were going to Iraq, but he didn't know when. He was really excited about going over there.
He and his son communicated through Facebook while Dylan Johnson was in Iraq.
Their last communication was Friday, when Johnson said his son complained about the heat in Iraq and said he was bored and wanted something to do that was more exciting.
Dylan Jeffery Johnson is survived by his father, Jeff Johnson; his mother, Joy Sehl; his stepmother, Lynda Johnson; two sisters, Alexandra Johnson and Kathryn Sehl; and two stepsisters, Brittany Dinan and Brooke Dinan.
Pfc Dylan J. Johnson will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery. The service is scheduled for July 4, 2011.
Dimitri Del Castillo was a 2005 graduate of Katy Taylor High School in Katy, Texas. Later his family moved to Tampa, Florida. Dimitri, who friends and classmates say always wanted to be a soldier, was inspired by his uncle who is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point. His lifelong dream came true on May 23, 2009 when he joined the Army after having just graduated from West Point Academy.
1st Lieutenant Dimitri del Castillo died from wounds he suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire on June 25 in Kunar province, Afghanistan.
His father, Carlos del Castillo said:
He was very much at peace doing what he was doing. He knew he was in God's hands and not worried. He wasn't worried.
Dimitri wanted to follow in his uncle's footsteps his father said.
He earned his Airborne patch at the academy and then, after he graduated, went on to officer training school through the Army and then on to Ranger school and became a Ranger.
Dimitri met his wife, Kathleen "Katie" Pulliam, at West Point. She is also a 1st Lieutenant in the Army and is stationed in Afghanistan. They had planned on getting married in July 2012 after their deployments were complete, but on the advice of their commanders they got married in a civil ceremony in December 2010 before both were sent to Afghanistan. They kept their plans for a church wedding in 2012.
Katie’s father, Nate Pulliam, said:
Katie did manage to fly up and see him twice, most recently on his birthday on June 9. That was the last time they spent some time together.
West Point has set up a Web Page/Eulogy for Del Castillo.
Del Castillo's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Combat Infantry Badge, Expert Infantry Badge, Parachutist Badge, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Overseas Ribbon, Army Good Conduct Medal and the NATO Medal.
1st Lt. Dimitri A. Del Castillo is survived by his wife, 1st. Lt. Kathleen “Katie” Pulliam- Del Castillo; his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Carlos Del Castillo; grandparents, Dr. and Mrs. Hector Del Castillo of Houston and grandparents, Dr. and Mrs. Dimitri Filostrat of New Orleans, La.
Memorial services are still pending, but the funeral will most likely be held at West Point with the visitation in Tampa.
He died June 25, at Kunar province, Afghanistan of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their units with small arms fire. He was assigned to 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
Nigel Kelly grew up a star basketball player in California at Temescal Canyon High School, where he was also remembered as a hard-working and serious minded student. He was named to The Californian's All-Valley Boys Basketball Team for the 2002-03 season. The crowd cheered Nigel on as he scored 13 points in the 2003 High School All-Star Classic shortly before enlisting in the Army.
"He was very well-liked," said coach Williams, now the school's athletic director. "It's very sad and makes you reflect on what an outstanding young man he was.
"We'll miss him and wish the best for his family, which must be very proud of him."
Neighbors said they saw Army officials at the house Monday morning informing the residents of Kelly's death.
"The military showed up and then all the family started coming over," said neighbor Chris Ellis. "It's a sad affair."
Nigel Kelly joined the Army in 2003 as a Combat Engineer. He trained at the Schofield Barracks in Hawaii. Staff Sgt. Kelly spent two combat tours in Iraq before deploying to Afghanistan where he lost his life in combat.
Staff Sgt. Kelly's awards and decorations include two Bronze Star Medals, one with Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, and Army Achievement Medal among many other decorations.
Staff Sgt. Kelly leaves behind his family and friends back home in California, and his troops.
Staff Sgt. Kelly is missed. May he rest in peace.
Many thanks CalNM for researching and writing-up Cpl Nolen
Cpl. Michael C. Nolen, 22, of Spring Valley, Wisconsin
Cpl. Nolen died June 27 during combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, based in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
Mike Nolen's friend's in the small town of Spring Valley, Wisconsin remember the young Marine as someone who always wanted to serve others. They are all very thankful for his service.
"He changed anyone and everyone's life around him in Spring Valley. He did so much and just probably wasn't even aware of it," Sarah Friberg remembered.
"He had always said he wanted to do something and he wanted to make a difference for people and I guess that was the way he felt he could do it best," Friberg said.
Mike Nolen graduated from Spring Valley High School in 2007, and joined the marines in November of that year. He was promoted to corporal Dec. 2, 2009. Cpl. Nolen visited the school, teachers, and friends when he came home on leave.
Cpl. Nolen deployed to Afghanistan in March 2011.
Wisconsin’s governor, Scott Walker, issued a statement saying:
"Wisconsin is extraordinarily grateful for the service and sacrifice of Cpl. Michael Nolen.
"We are honored by the service of those in uniform, particularly those who have made the ultimate sacrifice."
“As our nation heads into a holiday weekend, Cpl. Nolen's death is a reminder of the men and women who put their lives on the line for us, who won't be with their friends and family. We are honored by the service of those in uniform, particularly those who have made the ultimate sacrifice."
Cpl. Michael Nolen leaves behind family and friends in Spring Valley.
Cpl. Michael Nolen is missed. May he rest in peace.
"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, 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.
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
Sgt. Bowe R. Bergdahl 23
Never forgotten - please keep good thoughts and prayers for these two men.
On December 8, 2010 new photos were published of Sgt. Bowe R. Bergdahl in captivity. The article and images can be seen here.
The father of Bowe R. Bergdahl released this video on May 6, 2011 in which he appeals for the release of his son.
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.