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We are gathered here tonight to learn about the lives of six members of the US military police. Their families got the news recently of how they were killed serving our nation in the war overseas in Afghanistan. Our hearts go out to those who have died, those who were wounded, and for those who will face life now without someone they love.

I Got The News Today (IGTNT) is one of the oldest continuous series on Daily Kos. It is a way for our community to pay its respect to those who have died as a result of war.

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The six who died together on Sunday, July 8th, 2012 in the Wardak province of Afghanistan were:
  • Staff Sergeant Ricardo Seija who was from Florida
  • Specialist Erica P. Alecksen who was from Georgia
  • Sergeant Clarence Williams III who was from Florida
  • Private First Class Trevor B. Adkins who was from North Carolina
  • Private First Class Alejandro J. Pardo who was from California
  • Private First Class Cameron J. Stambaugh who was from Pennsylvania

The roadside bombs and insurgent attacks in eastern Afghanistan on July 8th killed another person from the US military in a separate incident, 19 Afghan civilians (including children, according to some reports), and seven Afghan policemen. May the loved ones of these casualties, and those injuried find peace and comfort.

Staff Sergeant Ricardo Seija
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Ricardo Seija was born in Chicago and moved to Tampa, Florida as a teenager. He was the youngest of the three sons of Ignacia and Ricardo Seija, Sr. His parents had emigrated from Colombia. While at Florida's Leto High School, he joined the wrestling team.  He graduated in 1999, a year early so he could enlist in the US Army, something he’d wanted to do since he was a little boy.

Ricardo previously deployed to South Korea, Puerto Rico and Germany. In Puerto Rico, he met his first wife, Jill. Together they had a child, who is now 8 years old and affectionally referred to as "Little Ricky." They divorced in 2006.

Ricardo had remarried this past March. He was assigned to the 978th Military Police Company, 93rd Military Police Battalion and stationed in Fort Bliss, Texas where he lived with his new wife, Sunny. Seija had deployed to Afghanistan in March and was expected to visit his parents in Tampa next month.

In Wardak province of Afghanistan, the staff sergeant was driving an armored vehicle on July 8th, when it was destroyed by a roadside bomb. Staff Sergeant Ricardo Seija was 31 years old.

He was killed in the same roadside bombing, just south of Kabul, that also claimed the life of fellow Floridian Sgt. Clarence Williams III and four other US soldiers. An article in the Tampa Bay Times tells how the news of his death and that of another soldier was announced to the families:

The knock on the door of the West Tampa home was the second visit military officers had made early Monday to deliver grim news. At 5 a.m., officers told the Williams family that their son, a 2008 Hernando High grad who hoped to someday become a Florida Highway Patrol trooper, had died in the attack.

Williams and Seija became the 27th and 28th Tampa Bay area service members to have died in Afghanistan.

"I don't understand it," Ignacia Seija said Tuesday. "Why? Why? He was my baby."
Ricardo Seija is survived by his wife, Sunny, of El Paso, Texas; his parents, Ignacia and  Ricardo Seija, both of Tampa; a son, Ricardo of Missouri; and two older brothers, Jose Seija, and Eduardo Seija, both of Chicago, Illinois.

Funeral arrangements have been arranged and services will be held in Tampa, however, the date and time are not being released.

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Specialist Erica P. Alecksen
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Erica Alecksen grew up in Eatonton, Georgia, and graduated from Putnam County High School in 2009. Soon after graduation she joined the US Army.

Despite her military career, Erica still kept close to her family. The Georgia News Central site tells just how close her little brother felt to her:
Charles and Erica were very close. She was very active in his life. She drove him to sports practices, attended Boy Scouts meetings and stayed up late talking with him for hours. Alecksen’s aunt, Lydia Ivanditti said they are processing the loss but will remember the young woman who touched their lives.

"She was a model teenager, she was a model child, she was a model soldier, and she had a moral compass that was dead center."

But for her parents it will be a certain facial expression they will not forget.

"Never seen Erica with anything but a smile on her face," Lars Alecksen said.
In August 2010, Alecksen was assigned to the 978th Military Police Company, 93rd Military Police Battalion and stationed in Fort Bliss, Texas and was with unit ever since. She married Tim Bailey, who is from El Paso.

Specialist Alecksen was deployed to Afghanistan. On July 8th, she was riding in an armored vehicle in Wardak province. It was destroyed by the blast of a roadside bomb. Army Specialist Erica P. Alecksen was 21 years old when she was killed.

Specialist Alecksen's husband, Tim Bailey, joined her parents, brother and aunt to receive her body at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.  Services for Army Specialist Erica Alecksen will be held Saturday in her hometown of Eatonton, Georgia at the First United Methodist Church. The family said they encourage people to wear red, white and blue in honor of Alecksen's service to her country. The US Capitol in Washington D.C will be flying a flag on Wednesday in tribute to her and it will be sent to her family.

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Sergeant Clarence Williams III
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Floridian Clarence Williams III was born in Gainesville and raised in Brooksville, where he graduated from Hernando High School in 2008. The middle child with two sisters, he followed in his father's footsteps when he enlisted in the US Army more than two years ago. He enlisted in the Army for an eight-year stint. After that, he wanted to attend college and have a career in law enforcement.

Friends and family said that Williams grew up as a country boy who wore jeans and cowboy boots and spent his time hunting hogs or fishing. Growing up, Williams sang in the choir for Ebenezer Baptist Church, played football in high school and had been part of the local sheriff's office Explorer post.

His father, Clarence Williams Jr. is a corporal with the Florida Highway Patrol, where he has worked for 22 years. He has served in the Army and is currently a reservist. According to the Tampa Bay Times, he got the news of his son's death in the early morning hours of the day after the incident that killed Americans and Afghans alike:
"He wanted to go out and see the world," said his longtime friend Josh Parnell.

The 23-year-old sergeant was killed in Afghanistan on Sunday along with five other Americans when the armored vehicle they were riding in struck a roadside bomb in Wardak province, just south of Kabul. Coalition and Afghan forces are trying to secure areas of Wardak that insurgents use as a gateway to the Afghan capital, where they stage high-profile attacks on Afghan government and NATO targets.

Military officials knocked on the door of the Williams' home at about 5 a.m. Monday to deliver the news, said Clarence Williams Jr., a corporal with the highway patrol.
Sergeant Williams was assigned to the 978th Military Police Company, 93rd Military Police Battalion and stationed in Fort Bliss, Texas. He deployed to Afghanistan in February.

23-year-old Sergeant Williams III was serving with the military police while in Afghanistan. He and five other soldiers died while on patrol in the Wardak province. Their armored vehicle struck an improvised explosive device in eastern Afghanistan. The Taliban took responsibility for the bomb blast.

Sergeant Clarence Williams III is survived by his father, his mother, Talisa Williams; and his sisters, Abrill Edwards of Kissimmee, and Samantha Williams of Brooksville.

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Private First Class Trevor B. Adkins
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Trevor B. Adkins was from Spring Lake, North Carolina. He was a graduate of Overhills High School. He enlisted in the US Army in 2010, shortly after his graduation.

Adkins was previously assigned to Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. Later, Private First Class Trevor B. Adkins was reassigned to the 978th Military Police Company, 93rd Military Police Battalion and stationed in Fort Bliss, Texas. He was deployed overseas to Afghanistan in February.

A story at the ABC11 News site says:
The flag in his family's front yard now flies at half staff.

"I told him when he went overseas I would fly the flag in his honor and it wold not come down untill he came home," said Adkins' stepfather Hartzell Haines. "I'm very proud of him and that flag shows him how proud I am of him."

Family members said it was in Adkins' blood to be a soldier.

"People called him a hero," said Hartzell. "He said, 'Dad, I'm no hero. I was just doing my job. It was my job. I was doing it so other people can live free.'"
On July 8th, Adkins' unit was patroling the roads of Afghanistan. They were in Maidan Shahr, the Wardak province, just south of Kabul. Private First Class Trevor B. Adkins was killed that day along with five other US soldiers when the armored vehicle they were riding in struck a roadside bomb. PFC Adkins was just 21 years old when he died.

His awards and decorations include the National Treaty Organization Medal and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with a Campaign Star.  His Facebook page and a Guest Book are filled with messages of sympathy for his heartbroken family.

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Private First Class Alejandro J. Pardo
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Alejandro Pardo was a 2009 graduate of Granite Hills High School in his hometown of Porterville, California. He joined the US Army about a month after graduating.

He was known by family and friends as “AJ” and it was said that he always had a smile on his face. Pardo played cello in middle school and performed with a school orchestra at Carnegie Hall in New York City. As a teen, he was active in the church youth group at St. Anne's Parish.

AJ's aunt, Pandora Taylor, and some friends are quoted on The Fresno Bee website:
"He told me when he got out of the service that he really wanted to open a pizza restaurant in Chicago," Taylor said.

Aneliz Jimenez, a former member of the church youth group, said she gave him a small pink bow when he left for assignment in Korea.

"I told him he needs a dash of color," Jimenez said. "He wore it under his uniform. A year later when he got back, he told me he was still wearing it."
Pardo was assigned to the 978th Military Police Company, 93rd Military Police Battalion and stationed in Fort Bliss, Texas. He posted several pictures on his Facebook page of arm tattoos he got while in El Paso, Texas. One was a logo for the California rock band, the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Private First Class Alejandro J. Pardo had started a nine-month tour in Afghanistan in March. He was expected home in November.

Pardo was almost halfway through his tour in Afghanistan when a roadside bomb killed him and five other Fort Bliss soldiers on Sunday, July 8th. Their armored vehicle struck an improvised explosive device in the Wardak province of eastern Afghanistan.

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Private First Class Cameron J. Stambaugh
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Cameron J. Stambaugh grew up in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania, as the second youngest of four brothers. He graduated from Spring Grove Area High School in 2010. He was an outdoorsman, fishing and hunting while growing up. He played football in middle school but as he got older he was drawn to motorcycles.

As young boys, Cameron and his younger brother, Jeffrey, made a pact to join the military. They wanted to follow in the footsteps of their grandfather who had been a World War II veteran. As young men, the brothers kept the pact, Cameron joining the US Army shortly after he graduated and Jeffery became a Navy Seal.

Private First Class Stambaugh was assigned to the 978th Military Police Company, 93rd Military Police Battalion and stationed in Fort Bliss, Texas. He was deployed overseas to Afghanistan about 3 months ago. A couple weeks after arriving in the country, he was wounded by shrapnel from an improvised explosive device (IED). That, with reports of some of his buddies dying made his family uneasy about his fate.

According to the York Daily Record, Cameron's dad, Mitchell Stambaugh had seen the news about six service members being killed by a roadside bomb Sunday in eastern Afghanistan and although no names had been released, he knew:
Since Cameron deployed in February, the Stambaughs' relationship had become a modern, military family one - Facebook, text messages and worry.

Mitchell texted Cameron. "Please tell me you're OK."

Cameron didn't respond.

Sunday came and went. Mitchell Stambaugh worked night shift at P.H. Glatfelter and when he drove home, a silver SUV waited for him in the driveway.
A father's worst nightmare had come true.  PFC Stambaugh and five other soldiers were killed while on patrol in the Wardak province of Afghanistan. They were riding in an armored vehicle which struck an improvised explosive device on a road in eastern Afghanistan. Private First Class Cameron Stambaugh had recently celebrated his birthday, so was 20 years old when he died from the blast of the IED.

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About the IGTNT series:
”I Got the News Today” is a diary series intended to honor, respect, and remember the fallen, and to remind us that each casualty has family and friends who received the terrible news that their loved one has died. US 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.Click the IGTNT tags below to see previous diaries in the series, which was begun by i dunno, and is maintained by Sandy on Signal, Monkeybiz, Noweasels, Blue Jersey Mom, Chacounne, Twilight Falling, Joyful, Roses, SisTwo, a girl in MI, Spam Nunn,  JeNoCo, True Blue Majority,  CalNM, Wide Awake in Kentucky, Maggiejean, JaxDem, TheFatLadySings & Ekaterin. These diaries are heartbreaking to write, but show our community’s respect for those who have died.
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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