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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.
~ IGTNT Candle logo created by Timroff

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Honoring and Remembering

1st Lt. Stephen C. Prasnicki
Sgt. James L. Skalberg Jr.

Since 2001 we have lost 2028 American troops in Afghanistan and a total of 3067 American and coalition forces.

Amazing Grace and Taps

Performed at Arlington National Cemetery
Day is done...Gone the sun
From the lake...
From the hills...
From the sky.
All is well...Safely rest
God is nigh.
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1st Lt Stephen C Prasnicki   Prasnic
1st Lt Stephen C. Prasnicki, 24 of Lexington, Virginia

At about this time last Sunday, 1st Lt. Prasnicki arrived in Afghanistan; on Wednesday he died when his vehicle was hit by an IED.

1st Lt. Stephen C. Prasnicki, 24, of Lexington, Va. died June 27, in Maidan Shahr, Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device.  He was assigned to 4th Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Warner Barracks, Bamberg, Germany.   ~ DoD News Release
Stephen "Chase" Prasnicki graduated from Rockbridge County High School where he was an exceptional quarterback for the football team.  Chase was such a standout that he had many colleges to choose from.  He settled on the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.  Playing for the Army, after all, meant joining the Army while his country was at war, Prasnicki said in a 2006 Roanoke Times story.
But then I thought `What's better than fighting for your country? There's no more honorable thing can you do.'
Prasnicki graduated from West Point in 2010.

Former football coach at Rockbridge, Jason White said Prasnicki wasn't supposed to be going on patrols so soon, but he had volunteered for this one which was not surprising to White.

From the word go, he was a leader, and he wasn't going to be outworked by anyone, either. When he spoke in the huddle, no one else talked, and everybody listened.
Friend and former teammate, Byron Jones said leadership was something Chase had his whole life.
I don't think being a leader that you can be taught to be a leader. I think you have to be born with it, and Chase embodied all of that.
That leadership was not just something Prasnicki spoke about, he lived it. He studied the playbook year- round to the point of memorizing every receiving route, he worked out five days a week on the off season and held himself to an 11 p.m. curfew year-round.
"If you want to be a leader, you have to lead by example," he said in a 2005 Roanoke Times story.
David Pevoto, a former Army quarterback who hosted Prasnicki on his West Point recruiting visit said:
That’s the way I see him, volunteering to do anything. He volunteered to do the jobs nobody else wanted to do. There’s no way you can describe that kind of commitment. He just pushed himself until he literally couldn’t go anymore. He was a great individual to know and it’s a sad day for Army football.
Although Prasnicki, whose nickname was "Nitro" only played one game during his first three years at West Point, he saw significant playing time during his senior year when he switched to the defensive side of the ball.  He was beloved by teammates for his heart and spirit on and off the field.

Head Coach, Rich Ellerson moved Prasnicki from quarterback to safety in the spring before his senior season. Prasnicki made his presence known immediately, delivering the biggest hit of the Black & Gold Game on running back Pat Mealy.

“He got everything out of himself,” Ellerson said. “You knew you could count on him to be right. You knew you were going to get every thing he had. He was always going to be well-prepared. He was a special guy.”
In a 2006 Roanoke Times story, Prasnicki made it clear he was still enjoying life as a college football player.
"Running out there with all these people, there's smoke and bagpipes. It's a rush," he said. "We come in with a big flag. And everybody has a flag, but here the flag really means something."

1st Lt Stephen C. Prasnicki is survived by his wife of only seven months, Emily; his father; his mother, Debbie; sister, Lauren and brother, Tyler.

 ~ Source   ~ Source   ~ Source

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Sgt James L. Skalberg, Jr
Sgt. James L. Skalberg Jr., 25, of Cullman, Alabama

Sgt Skalberg died June 27th in Maidan Shahr, Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device. Sgt Skalberg was assigned to 4th Battalion, 1st Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas.   ~ DoD News Release
James, "Jamie" Skalberg attended Nishna Valley High School in Hastings, Iowa for his junior and senior year, graduating in 2005 with a class of 21 students.  Skalberg was popular and voted to both the homecoming and prom courts in his senior year.  He was top scorer on the school's basketball team during his senior year and he was a wide receiver on the school's eight man football team.

Former coach, Kevin Schafer said:

He was a little immature when he first came to our school, but when he aged, he really blossomed. He was a really good teammate.
James' former principal, Deb Taylor recalled an encounter she had with him in the spring of 2005 when she returned to work following a leave of absence due to breast cancer:
I remember when I came back, he put his arm around me and said, ‘It’s so good to have you back.’ He was very caring.  Jamie was very outgoing, he had a beautiful smile.
Skalberg attended Peru State College in Peru, Nebraska where again, he was on the football team.  He enlisted in the Army in February 2007 and traveled to Germany for his first duty station.

Skalberg met his wife, Jessica while the two were still teenagers.  They have an 11 month old son.  The family said he was was looking forward to having more children and teaching them how to play basketball.  Jessica added:

He was just a loving, good-hearted man. He had a love for life. He would have done anything for anybody.
Sgt Skalberg served a tour in Iraq and had recently re-enlisted and had orders to Hawaii following his tour in Afghanistan.

Sgt. Brandon Dryburgh, who served with Skalberg in Afghanistan said he was a well liked person who took care of his fellow soldiers.

He loved being in the Army. He made friends with people above his rank and below his rank. He always looked out for everybody. He was definitely a really good guy.
1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss commanding general Maj. Gen. Dana J.H. Pittard said in a statement"
Team Bliss is saddened by the loss of Sgt. James Skalberg.  He was a great 1st Armored Division Soldier who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation and leaves behind a loving wife and infant son. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, fellow Soldiers, and all of our troops in Afghanistan.
Sgt James L. Skalberg's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart (posthumous), Army Commendation Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Army Achievement Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Driver's Badge, Air Assault Badge and Combat Action Badge.

Sgt James L. Skalberg, Jr is survived by his wife, Jessica; 11 month old son, Carter; his parents and a sister.

 ~ Source    ~ Source   ~ Source  ~ 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, 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.

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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.

Helmets to Hardhats - Connects veterans into promising careers in construction.

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

The Landstuhl Hospital Care Project (LHCP) - a non-profit organization that provides comfort and relief items for military members who become sick, injured, or wounded from service in Afghanistan.

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.

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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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