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As of today, 2,010 US military personnel have been killed in or near Afghanistan. Pfc Andrew Keller, and Pfc Michael R. Demarsico II were two of the most recent casualties.
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.

Pfc Andrew Keller
Pfc. Andrew J. Keller, 22, of Tigard, Ore., died Aug. 15, in Charkh, Afghanistan when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire.  He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Caserma Ederle, Vicenza, Italy.  

Andrew's family gathered to remember his life and mourn his passing in his backyard according to The Oregonian. They laid out three tables: one red, one white and one blue, and a photo montage of his childhood. Friends and family traded memories of the boy and man they would never see again.

Andrew J. Keller's life

Andrew J. Keller's Short Life

Andrew was killed by insurgents on a hillside in Charkh by a single gunshot wound to the head. A call for help came out over the radio. Two soldiers ran two miles uphill to retrieve his body. They pulled off their shirts and threw their bodies over him, bare backs exposed, to protect him from the debris spewed out by the helicopter. His father, Jeff Keller, said, "They got all torn up protecting his body."

Andrew and Marissa
Andrew and Marissa
Andrew was a high school athlete, and engaged to be married to his eighth grade sweetheart, Marissa Jones.

Andrew caught his first fish when he was only 6. He caught a 32-pound salmon when he was 7. His father tried to take the rod and help land the fish, but Andrew wouldn't let anyone touch it.

Andrew's younger brother, Derek, 19, was home alone when the military couriers came to tell the family about Andrew's death. Marissa was out mailing her fiance a care package that he would never receive. Jeff was away on business. According to the Oregonian:

"I drove two and a half hours straight home," Jeff said. "All I remember from the drive was hitting the rumble strips on the side of the road and middle of the road."
Mike Demarsico
Pfc Michael Demarsico II, mugging for the camera

View a video about Pfc Demarsico and his family here:

Pfc. Michael R. Demarsico II, of North Adams, Mass., died Aug. 16 in Panjwa’l, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when he encountered an enemy improvised device.  Demarsico was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. He was 20 years old.

Mike Demarsico
Mike in uniform
Mike was one of five Demarsico children, and had dreamed of becoming a soldier since he was a young child. He talked about joining up throughout high school.
"Ever since Michael was a little boy, he wanted to be in the Army,” said Laurie Douglas, Demarsico’s aunt. “He was always playing with little toy soldiers and trucks. He wanted to be in the infantry.”
He received many decorations over his short career. According to
Demarsico received a number of awards and medals, including National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Ribbon, NATO Medal and Combat Infantry Badge.
He had volunteered for a position at the front of his unit to protect his fellow soldiers from bombs.

His aunt, Laurie Douglas, told WNYT:

He was deployed to Afghanistan and now he's deployed to heaven.
Dignified Transfer of Pfc Michael Demarsico, II
"Now he is deployed to heaven."


Originally posted to TheFatLadySings on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 04:41 PM PDT.

Also republished by IGTNT.

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