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The Fallen Soldier Battle Cross

This image is known as the Fallen Soldier Battle Cross or Battle Cross or simply, Helmet Rifle Boots.  

It is made up of the fallen soldier's rifle with bayonet attached and stuck into the ground with the soldier's dog tags hanging, helmet on top of the rifle and the boots of the fallen soldier beneath.

This traditon began during the American Civil War as a means of identifying the bodies on the battlefield.  Today it is used to show respect for the fallen and as a means to allow fellow troop members to mourn as attending a funeral or memorial service is not always possible for soldiers still engaged in battle.

Honoring and Remembering:
Capt Bruce K. Clark
Staff Sgt Zachary H. Hargrove
Sgt. Nicholas Dickhut

I Got The News Today (IGTNT) , which began in April of 2004, is one of the oldest continuous series on Daily Kos and 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.
Since 2001 we have lost 1959 American troops in Afghanistan and a total of 2990 American and coalition forces.

Echo Taps


Day is done...Gone the sun
From the lake...
From the hills...
From the sky.
All is well...Safely rest
God is nigh.

Fading light....Dims the sight
And a star....Gems the sky....Gleaming bright
From afar....Drawing night
Falls the night.

Capt. Bruce K. Clark, 43, Spencerport, New York
Capt. Bruce K. Clark, 43, Spencerport, N.Y., died May 1, in Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan.

Clark was assigned to A Company, Troop Command, William Beaumont Army Medical Center, El Paso, Texas.   ~ DoD News Release

Bruce Clark was a 1986 graduate of Addison High School which is in Lenawee County. Michigan.

Capt Clark received his nursing degree in 2006 from State University of New York at Brockport.  At the the time of his death he was working as a Clinical Staff nurse.

The College at Brockport released this statement:

The entire College at Brockport family was deeply saddened to learn of Capt. Bruce Kevin Clark's passing. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones during this difficult time. We're honored to call Capt. Clark an alumnus of The College at Brockport and hope to honor his memory by continuing to provide tremendous support services to our students who serve our country.
Known by some as Bruce and others as Kevin, Clark was on a video chat with his wife, Susan when he died.  The family released this statement:
Bruce’s wife tragically witnessed her husband’s death during one of their regular Skype video-chats on Monday.  At the time of the incident, the family was hoping for a rescue and miracle, but later learned that it was not to be. Although the circumstances were unimaginable, Bruce’s wife and extended family will be forever thankful that he and his wife were together in his last moments.
Sister-in-law, Mariana said her brother-in-law always put his family first.
He barbecued for all of us. We had a lot of family dinners, a lot of laughs, and a lot of good times.  There is nothing more that Kevin loved than helping people.
Medical center officials say that the circumstances surrounding his death are under investigation.

Capt Bruce K. Clark's awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Award, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Army Service Medal.

Funeral arrangements will be handled by the Walker Funeral Home in Spencerport. A service will be held at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Rochester.  Bruce Clark is survived by his wife and two children.

 ~ Source   ~ Source   ~ Source

SSgt Hargrove
Staff Sgt. Zachary H. Hargrove, 32, of Wichita, Kansas

Staff Sgt. Zachary H. Hargrove, 32, of Wichita, Kan., died May 3 in Bagram, Afghanistan.  He was assigned to the 84th Explosive Ordnance Disposal, 1st Sustainment Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.   ~ DoD News Release
Born on Christmas Day, Zac Hargrove was a native of Wichita and enlisted in the Army in September of 1998 after high school graduation.  He was assigned to Fort Riley in August of 2008 and served three combat tours in Iraq prior to this deployment to Afghanistan.

Army officials at Fort Riley say Staff Sgt Hargrove was found unresponsive in his living quarters and moved to the Bagram military medical facility where he was pronounced dead.  The cause of death is under investigation.

A statement released by Gov. Sam Brownback says:

Lt. Governor Jeff Colyer and I are deeply saddened to learn tonight about the death of Staff Sgt. Hargrove. His bravery and the sacrifices he made for our state and nation will never be forgotten. On behalf of a grateful state, Lt. Governor Colyer and I offer our thoughts and prayers to his wife, family and friends for their tremendous loss.
Kansas Fourth District Congressman Mike Pompeo issued the following statement:

I am deeply saddened to hear about the death of Staff Sergeant Zachary Hargrove.  He died serving our nation to protect our freedoms.  SSgt. Hargrove is an American hero. We will never forget his love of country and his dedicated service to our nation.  My thoughts and prayers are with his wife, family and friends as they cope with this tremendous loss.
Friends have left messages on Zac's facebook page and other message boards:
This man was a brave soldier and beautiful mind. He also was my best friend for over twenty years. I will always miss and love him.
My heart is heavy. We have been friends for 20 years. We got in trouble in High School together. We both joined the army and served together at Ft. Carson, Ft. Riley, and overseas. When I saw your last disturbing post, I tried to reach out. I feel horrible to think I was too late. I pray for your family to bring them strength at this horrible time. You will always be my friend and you will live on in the people you touched. You are a hero. My god have a mansion made for you in heaven. Watch over your brothers in arms. You will be remembered.
Hey Zac I remember the fun times we had at fort Carson you always made us laugh. And on our first deployment to Iraq I will never forget the bright idea you had to stop smoking, wrong place and time for that one bro lol. Im glad I had you as well as the others in our platoon in my family. You will be missed but never forgotten. RIP Zac Hargrove.
Among his numerous awards, SSG Hargrove’s medals include six Army Commendation Medals, six Army Achievement Medals, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal with two campaign stars, and the NATO Medal.

 ~ Source   ~ Source   ~ Source ~ Facebook

Sgt Nicholas Dickhut
Sgt. Nicholas M. Dickhut, 23, of Rochester, Minnesota

Sgt. Nicholas M. Dickhut, 23, of Rochester, Minn., died April 30 in Zharay, Afghanistan, from wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire.  He was assigned to the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.   ~ DoD News Release
Nick Dickhut was a 2007 graduate of Stewartville High School, where during his last two years he was taking secondary classes at Rochester Community College.  Upon his high school graduation he was only one credit shy of an associate's degree.

Before enlisting in the Army, Nick was a supervisor at a Rochester area Office Max.  Even as young as 17, he was training new employees.  Manager Adam Judy said:

He got along with people. He was young when he was a supervisor. But he knew what he was doing.
Dickhut's desire to serve his country was shaped by the fact that both his mother and step-father served in the Army.  He also had a desire to gain new experiences that he might otherwise miss if he stayed at home.  Sgt Dickhurt expressed to them his desire to be assigned to an airborne unit in Italy for jump school and was considering becoming a helicopter pilot.

Sgt Dickhut's mother, Jacqueline Carson said:

It's kind of small town-ish here. There's a lot of people who live their whole lives in a town like this and they don't get to see things. I agreed with him that getting new experiences, knowing what he wanted to do with the rest of his life, that the Army would be good to do that.
Nick had previously been deployed to Afghanistan and suffered a knee injury which would have allowed him a medical discharge.  Instead Dickhut rehabbed his knee and requested this second deployment.

Moments before heading out on what would be his final mission, Sgt Dickhut phoned home to wish his brother, David a happy 9th birthday.

"I don't think it's sunk in. David doesn't get it yet, the fact that he's never coming home again, that he's never going to see him again," said Jacqueline Carson, the mother of the two. "The hardest thing was talking to him Saturday and Sunday and hearing about his plans for the future. And now he's not coming back. The idea that he's not coming back is hard to wrap your arms around."
Captain Lawrence Csaszar, Commander, Co.A., 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment:
Sgt. Dickhut was not only incredibly talented as a Forward Observer, he possessed great maturity and intelligence. His positive attitude and eagerness to share lessons learned made him an invaluable member of our Company. There is no way to describe the loss created by his absence.
Friend and fellow soldier, Spc. Connor Higgins said:
[He] was easily the best forward observer I have ever met in the U.S. Army. Sgt. Dickhut was surrounded by soldiers who loved and respected him. I’m sure the soldiers he trained will carry on in his footsteps.
Dickhut's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Army Achievement medal, Army Good Conduct Medal (two awards), National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with campaign star, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Ribbon (two awards), Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon and the Combat Action Badge.

 ~ Source   ~ Source   ~ Source

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, SisTwo, SpamNunn, TrueBlueMajority, CalNM, Wide Awake in Kentucky, maggiejean,  Kestrel9000, TheFatLadySings, Ekaterin 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.

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.

Any Soldier  – (Marine, Sailor, Airman or CoastGuardsman) Provides detailed information on sending care packages or cards and letters to deployed service members.

Books For Soldiers - View requests for and send troops books, DVDs, games and relief supplies.

Fisher House – Provides a “home away from home” for military families to be close to a loved one during hospitalization for an illness, disease or injury.

Homes For Our Troops – Building specially adapted homes for our severely injured veterans at no cost to the veterans.

National Coalition for Homeless Veterans – The VA estimates 107,000 veterans are homeless on any given night.  There are ways to get involved or donate at the link.

Netroots for the Troops (NFTT) – This non-profit raises money for the assembly, mailing and delivery of care packages to American military in war zones.

Special Operations Warrior Foundation - Provides full scholarship grants and educational and family counseling to the surviving children of special operations personnel who die in operational or training missions and immediate financial assistance to severely wounded special operations personnel and their families.

USA Together - "It's like craigslist for Wounded Warriors". Brings together injured service members who need assistance as they recover, with the people who want to help them.  

Veterans Green Jobs - Helps transition veterans into their communities and find career opportunities in environment sustainable sectors of our economy.

Welcome Back Veterans - Committed to providing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) treatment to our veterans and their families in a public/private partnership

Wounded Warrior Project - Their vision is to foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded warriors in this nation's history.

Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox Extension

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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