Tonight, we remember two marines and five soldiers, who were killed in Afghanistan.
They died July 29 while conducting combat operations in Badghis province, Afghanistan.
Gunnery Sgt. Jonathan W. Gifford, 34, of Palm Bay, Fla. He was assigned to 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Gifford graduated from Melbourne Catholic High in 1996. While attending he played soccer and baseball. In 1996 Jonathan Gifford and his brother Matthew Gifford were listed as outstanding students by St. Leo College. Also in 1996 Gifford was one of eight soccer team members to make the Sunshine State Commissioner's Honor Roll.
Gifford was just short of 15 years of service and was due to return home next month.
Gunnery Sgt. Daniel J. Price, 27, of Holland, Mich. He was assigned to 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion, Camp Pendleton, Calif.
When Marine Gunnery Sgt. Daniel Price decided he wanted to enter the military nine years ago, he knew which service was for him.Funeral arrangements are pending. In addition to his wife, Daniel Price is survived by his parents, a brother and sister.
"He always wanted to be the first one in, so he chose the Marines," his father, Karl, said today as he and his wife, Ruth, greeted friends at their Zeeland area home. "That's what he wanted to be."
Karl and Ruth Price talked about their 27-year-old son's life, his passion for the Marines and his faith as they mourned his death in a Sunday hostile action in Afghanistan.
He was awarded a Bronze Star with combat V for a 2009 incident, the Purple Heart, three Combat Action Ribbons and three Good Conduct Medals.
The injury last year came when a ricocheted bullet hit his kneecap. He spent more than six months in recovery.
He described his son as "very driven" and said he had recently re-enlisted for four years. "He liked his job," said his mother, Ruth Price.
DoD Announces Army CasualtiesSgt. 1st Class Bobby Estle was due home in a few days for a visit with his wife and three children. His wife, Monica, told the nbc4i.com
They died July 28 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered from enemy, small arms fire. These soldiers were assigned to the 630th Engineer Company, 7th Engineer Battalion, 10th Sustainment Brigade, Fort Drum, N.Y.
Sgt. 1st Class Bobby L. Estle, 38, of Lebanon, Ohio, and
Pfc. Jose Oscar Belmontes, 28, of La Verne, Calif.
"I'm proud of him every day," she told WKRC-TV in Cincinnati. "I will always be proud of him."Sgt. 1st Class Bobby Estle joined the Army in 1993. He served two tours of duty in Iraq and two in Afghanistan.
"He did so much for everybody ... anybody," she said.
Badge, the Pathfinder Badge, the Air Assault Badge, the Marksmanship Qualification Badge, and the Sapper Tab.
Pfc. Jose Oscar Belmontes joined the Army in February 2011. He arrived at Fort Drum in July 2011.
"He was a real good, upstanding kid. He was a good person all the way around," said Daniel Lawson, 48, of Las Vegas, whose niece was Belmontes' wife, Flora.Belmontes' awards and decorations include: the Purple Heart, the Army Achievement Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one star, the National Defense Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon and the Combat Action Badge.
"He was really loved by his wife and his maternal side of the family. I can't remember him saying anything ignorant or out of place or say anything rude. He was a good, Christian kid."
DoD Announces Army CasualtySalvatore Pleitez spoke to the Modesto Bee about getting the news of his son:
Spc. Benjamin C. Pleitez, 25, of Turlock, Calif., died July 27, in Mazar E Sharif, Afghanistan.
Pleitez was assigned to 1072nd Transportation Company, 746th Combat Support Battalion, 224th Sustainment Brigade, Van Nuys, Calif.
"The first impression we had was like somebody had taken our heart out," Pleitez said. "But we are starting to get our head around it."and
He said an autopsy will be performed on his son, and then he will be returned to the Northern San Joaquin Valley, where the family will have a service.
"He enjoyed being a medic and being able to be of service to his fellow soldiers," his father said.Spc Pleitez joined the National Guard in 2006. In March, he was sent on his first deployment to Afghanistan as a Medic.
Circumstances surrounding his death won't be available for several weeks, so the family is unsure what happened. Fellow comrades told the
Sgt. Christina Cooper told the San Luis Obispo.com
“He truly cared for his soldiers. Not just in a medic sense, but socially as well,” Cooper said.
Sources: San Luis Obispo.com">San Luis Obispo.com ,
DoD Announces Army Casualties1st Lt. Sean Jacobs was a 2010 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point. His grandfather, Peter Jacobs, served as a Naval Officer and administered the Oath of Office to his grandson at graduation. Peter Jacobs told the Redding newspaper:
They died July 26 in Khakrez, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when they encountered an enemy improvised explosive device. These soldiers were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
1st Lt. Sean R. Jacobs, 23, of Redding, Calif., and
Sgt. John E. Hansen, 41, of Austin, Texas.
“He was a winner all the way and he had a great future," he said.Jacobs was born at Lake Havasu City, Arizona. The family relocated to Redding, California in 2001. Jacobs graduated from Mountain View High School and went to West Point upon a recommendation from their Congressman Wally Herger.
The parents are devastated at the loss of their only son. The father told the Redding.com:
“It was a total shock, “ said Jacobs, a retired California Highway Patrol officer. “You always think it happens to someone else.”
Sgt. John E. Hansen deployed to Afghanistan in April. Hansen enlisted with the Air Force in 1999. In 2006, he joined the Army and had been assigned to Fort Sill, Fort Carson and Fort Bragg. He served in Operation Iraqi Freedom from December 2007 to February 2009.
Sources: Austin Statesman
I Got the News Today is a diary series intended to honor, respect and remind. Its title is a reminder that almost every day a military family gets the terrible news about a loved one. 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.
All of the U.S. fatalities can be seen here and here. They all had loved ones, families and friends. The DoD news releases are here. I Got the News Today is intended to honor, respect and remind. Click the IGTNT tags below for previous diaries.
Click the IGTNT tags to see the series, which was begun by i dunno, and which is maintained by Monkeybiz, Noweasels, Blue Jersey Mom, Chacounne, twilight falling, SisTwo, Spam Nunn, True Blue Majority, CalNM, Wide Awake in Kentucky, Maggie Jean, Jax Dem, TheFatLadySings, Ekaterina, and me, Sandy on Signal.
Please bear in mind that these diaries are read by friends and family of the service members chronicled here. May all of our remembrances be full of compassion rather than politics.