Honoring and Remembering:
Maj. Walter D. Gray, US Air Force
Maj. Thomas E. Kennedy, US Army
Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin J. Griffin, US Army
Petty Officer 3rd Class Clayton R. Beauchamp, US Navy
Spc. Ethan J. Martin, US Army
Cpl. Daniel L. Linnabary II, US Marine Corps
Since 2001 we have lost 2087 American troops in Afghanistan and a total of 3136 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.
On Wednesday, August 8th in the Kunar province of Afghanistan, an insurgent wearing a suicide vest killed three top level American military personnel who were ISAF service members, USAID Foreign Service Officer Ragaei Abdelfattah and an Afghan civilian — and injured a State Department Foreign Service officer.
“On behalf of President Obama and the American people, I have sent my deepest condolences to Ragaei’s family and to the entire U.S. Mission in Afghanistan,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a written statement released late Thursday."The three ISAF service members who died in the attack are the first three honored below. ~ Source
Gray received a bachelor’s of technology degree from Charleston Southern University in 2001, where he was a member of Air Force ROTC Detachment 772.
Charleston Southern President Jairy C. Hunter Jr. said in a news release:
The Charleston Southern University family is grieving the loss of one of our own today. Our prayers are with David’s family.Major Walter D. Gray was commissioned in October 1997 through the Reserve Officer Training Corps after previously serving as an enlisted Airman. He became one of the Air Force’s first career Air Liaison Officers, and was the career field’s second highest ranking officer, after serving for several years as an Airfield Operations officer.
Wing Commander, Col. Samuel Milam said:
Maj. Gray’s ultimate sacrifice is a tragic loss for the 93d Air Ground Operations Wing family. He was a tremendous officer and leader. Our most heartfelt sympathies are with the Gray family and the Airmen of the 13th Air Support Operations Squadron during this difficult time.Master Sgt. David Bickel, the superintendent of operations at the joint tactical air control advanced instructor course who went through technical school with Gray in 1995 said this:
He took a lot of us under his wing. He was what a TACP officer should be. We’ve been wanting TACP officers. We want guys who have been through the training and bled in the field. He was the epitome of what a 13 Lima should be.His peers and friends said everyone who served with Gray respected him. It was a respect that did not just come from the bars or oak leaves he wore, but from his actions and words.
Master Sgt Bickel continues:
Once he became an officer, he realized his job was to lead guys into battle. He was very confident, and he led by example, and the guys loved him. Gray was one of the highest-ranking ALOs in the Air Force, and his comrades looked forward to him being a leader in the new career field.Major Walter D. Gray leaves behind his wife, Heather and three children.
I’d follow him into a firefight, because I know he’d never lead us wrong.
He entered the Army on May 27, 2000, after graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Major Kennedy served two previous deployments to Iraq, this was his first deployment to Afghanistan.
Close family friend John Ryan watched Kennedy and his two brothers grow up side-by-side with his three sons, always knowing that “Tommy,” as he was called, was destined for greatness.
Tommy was in the middle of everything. He was just your typical kid. Great, great kid.Kennedy’s family released this statement on a Facebook Memorial Page:
“I said, ‘Tommy, you don’t have to do this anymore. (You’ve) been to Iraq twice, you’re married now, you have two beautiful babies at home, you don’t have to do this.” And he looked me in the eye with that great smile of his and he said, ‘I’m a soldier Uncle John, that’s what I do.”
FROM: THE FAMILY OF MAJOR THOMAS E. KENNEDY, UNITED STATES ARMYMajor Thomas E. Kennedy’s funeral, with full honors and full processional, is tentatively scheduled for Friday, August 17, 2012 at the USMA Cadet Chapel at West Point (time TBD).
DATE: AUGUST 10, 2012
On Wednesday, August 8, 2012 our family lost a son, a brother, a husband, a father, an uncle, a godfather, a cousin and a friend in Afghanistan. Our country lost an outstanding Officer, a decorated war hero and a true patriot, one who gave his life for his country and the freedoms we so often take for granted.
We are grief stricken and heartbroken, yet humbled and grateful for the overwhelming showering of support we have received from all the lives our hero touched. At this time our family asks not just for your prayers, but for the privacy to mourn this unimaginable loss and as such we will not be making any further statements.
Major Thomas E. Kennedy had been recognized a number of times as a serviceman, earning dozens of awards and service medals. Among them are the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation and the Valorous Unit Award. He was awarded a Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart posthumously.
"Tommy" Kennedy leaves behind a wife, Kami, and twin children, a son and a daughter, who will turn two at the end of August.
Command Sgt Major Griffin joined the Army in 1988. He deployed to Iraq three times since 2003 and also served in the Balkans and Kuwait. This deployment to Afghanistan began on March 13.
Griffin was the most senior enlisted soldier for the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.
When he was 10, Dustin Griffin spent a week with his uncle Kevin in Colorado Springs.
He was definitely 100 percent Army. He was all about the Army. That’s why he got up so high I guess is because he just, he lived it.Griffin's brother, Shawn said Kevin was an active and social person from childhood through adulthood.
As a young kid, Kevin was very competitive, fun-loving, real adventurous-type kid.Kevin Griffin’s father, multiple uncles, son and nephew are currently serving or have previously served in the military. Kevin’s ambitions surpassed that of simple service, though. He loved Army life enough to make a career out of it.
He loved the Army, but on top of that, he loved his family. He truly believed in what he was doing, and that’s the one solace that we kind of get out of this. He was where he wanted to be.
Maj. Christopher D. Thomas who worked with Griffin 11 months ago during deployment preparation said Griffin worked tirelessly to see to the needs of the soldiers of the brigade during training.
I came to know him as a leader who was quick to smile and crack a joke, but was deadly serious when it came to doing the right thing and taking care of soldiers. He had a great sense of humor and was humble enough to take a joke as quickly as he would fire one back at you.CSM Kevin J. Griffin's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal (3OLC), Meritorious Service Medal (2 OLC), Army Commendation Medal w/Valor (1 OLC), Army Commendation Medal (4 OLC), Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal (7 OLC), Good Conduct Medal 7th Award, National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star, Korea Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Southwest Asian Service Medal (3 Service Stars), Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, NCO Professional Development ribbon (numeral 4), Army Service Ribbon, Kuwait Liberation Medal Saudi Arabia, Kuwait Liberation Medal Kuwait, NATO Medal, the Gold Army Recruiting Badge, and Combat Action Badge.
No matter how bad it got, he could be counted on to bring us up and keep us focused in the right direction. I, personally, as will many in the brigade, miss him as a human being and as a professional.
Command Sgt Major Kevin J. Griffin leaves behind a wife and two children.
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a sailor who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.Clayton Beauchamp signed up for the Navy on his 17th birthday but continued to attend Weatherford High School until his graduation in 2009. He left for the Navy immediately thereafter.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Clayton R. Beauchamp, of Weatherford, Texas, died Aug. 7 when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device while conducting a dismounted patrol in the Shaban District, Helmand Province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 6, 1st Marine Division (Forward), I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), Camp Pendleton, Calif. ~ DoD News Release
PO3 Weatherford was serving as a Corpsman and was only three weeks into his first combat deployment.
Father, Jack Beauchamp said had an option to take a less dangerous assignment, but decided on Afghanistan because "he felt his skills would be better applied there."
He was full of energy and lived life to the fullest. He had a knack for making everyone around him better.Navy Senior Chief Clarence Conner, the Command Master Chief for the 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton who has spent 18 of his 26 years in the Navy with the Marines, said the highest honor is to be called "Doc" by a Marine.
Clayton had absolutely no regrets. He believed in what he was doing and what he did. We take comfort in that he was doing what he wanted to do -- serving his country.
We hold that word ‘Doc' as very sacred. I never heard it til' I was with Recon (Marines). I'd read about it in books. When a Marine calls you ‘Doc,' that's the best thing you can receive. I'd rather be called ‘Doc' than my current rank.Although he did not know Clayton Beauchamp personally, but he'd heard nothing but praise from his peers in Afghanistan.
He was held in high regard. He was considered a leader. He had that fellowship with the Marines, and once you have that fellowship it lasts forever. It makes a sailor a better sailor. You can always pick out a sailor who's been with the Marines – they walk a little taller, hold their heads higher.PO3 Beauchamp has a younger sister, Cheyenne who is in the Navy Security Forces and stationed in Virginia. His older brother, Christoper is a six year Navy veteran serving his third tour overseas. He traveled to Germany to escort his brother's body back to Dover.
Petty Officer 3 Clayton R. Beauchamp's awards included the Purple Heart Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Navy Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Eagle Globe and Anchor device, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Navy Expert Rifle Ribbon, Navy Expert Pistol Ribbon and Fleet Marine Force Enlisted Warfare Specialist device.
Clayton Beauchamp will be buried at Memorial Gardens in Weatherford.
Spc. Ethan J. Martin, 22, of Lewiston, Idaho, died Aug. 7 in Koragay, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when he encountered enemy small-arms fire.Spc. Martin's family released this statement:
Martin was assigned to 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.
Ethan was a very loving young man with a tender heart. He loved Idaho and he loved to hunt and fish. He planned to go to nursing school after leaving the Army.Martin is at least the 66th Idahoan, including several civilians, to die in U.S. military action since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Ethan leaves behind a loving family and many friends in Bonners Ferry and northern Idaho. His family includes his mother and father, his sister, 4 stepsisters and 3 stepbrothers. Ethan was preceded in death by his grandfathers Leroy Oakes and Ron Marcy. He will be greatly missed by his family and his friends.
Cpl. Daniel L. Linnabary II, 23, of Hubert, N.C., died Aug. 6 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C ~ DoD News ReleaseDaniel Linnabary attended Swansboro High School until the 10th grade, then his family moved to Okinawa, Japan. Upon graduation from High School, Daniel enlisted in the Marine Corps in May of 2009. He was promoted to Corporal in October and was an M1A1 tank crewman.
It was almost predestined that Daniel would join the Marine Corps as he came from a long and distinguished line of Marines. His father, Daniel Linnabary had a 27-year career in the Corps; and his grandfather, Vernon Linnabary Jr., his great uncle, Dale Linnabary, his second cousin, Vernon Linnabary III, and his first cousin, Gary Brewer, all served in the Marine Corps, according to an article on marines.mil. Their service meant that a Linnabary was in the Marine Corps over the course of the past 46 years, with one Linnabary always in the Corps since the first Linnabary joined.
There have been six Linnabarys in the Marine Corps over the course of 46 years with three following a direct family line and one always active duty in the Corps at any time during those years.
For Daniel Linnabary, watching his son cross caused a myriad of seemingly conflicting emotions.
More than just pride and, to be quite honest with you, a little jealousy, because he’s just starting his Marine Corps career. I would trade places with him in a minute just to relive this whole experience again.Cpl Daniel L. Linnabary II's awards include the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and National Defense Service Medal.
"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, 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.
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.
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.
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.