Tonight, we remember two soldiers and a sailor. One of the soldiers was the first female from the Tampa- St. Petersburg area to die in Afghanistan. She died along with a CIA officer and four Afghan intelligence agents because of a suicide bomber. The bomber was an Afghan policeman, once more another "green on blue" attack. Spc. Brittany Gordon is the 22nd woman to die in Afghanistan.
Since 2001, there have been 2140 American troops killed in Afghanistan. Since January 1, 2012 there have been 276 U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan. So far in 2012, there have been 51 killed in "green on blue" incidents. Please take a moment to honor their sacrifice.
On Wednesday, October 10th, the Department of Defense made the following announcement:
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a sailor who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.A Navy spokesman said that Specialist Brown fell ill on July 27th while he was serving on board the USS Abraham Lincoln in the Mediterranean. He was then airlifted by Navy helicopter to Rota, and from there he was transferred to another hospital. The nature of Brown's illness could not be disclosed due to privacy regulations.
Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Milton W. Brown, 28, of Dallas, Texas, died Aug. 4, from a non-combat related incident in Rota, Spain. He was assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 137, Lemoore, Calif.
The announcement of the Brown's death was delayed until the Department of Defense verified that he was serving in support of the war in Afghanistan. There are few details available about Brown's life and family. I will update this entry if more information becomes available.
Thank you, Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Milton W. Brown, for your service to our nation. Rest in peace.
DoD Announces Army CasualtySpc. Brittany Gordon grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida and graduated in 2006 from St. Petersburg High School. She came from a well-respected family. Her father is Assistant Police Chief of St. Petersburg, Cedric Gordon. Her mother is Brenda Gordon. Friends of the family say the parents were extremely proud of their daughter. She was an excellent student, strong minded and a kind person.
Spc. Brittany B. Gordon, 24, of St. Petersburg, Fla., died Oct. 13, in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked her unit with an improvised explosive device. She was assigned to the 572 Military Intelligence Company, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
"Her dream was to serve," said Brittany Gordon's cousin, the Rev. Evelyn Thompson. "If I would describe her, she had no fear. She wanted to make a difference. Because that's what military people do: make a difference in the lives of others."After graduation from high school, Gordon went to University of Florida and studied political science and law. She was also an accomplished pianist. After a year of college, she followed her heart and entered the military. Her father was proud of his daughter and the feeling was mutual.
The President of the Urban League, Watson Haynes, told the Tampa Bay Times:
Haynes said he remembers Brittany Gordon as a smart woman who looked up to her dad. He was just as proud of her.
"He loved her so much," Haynes said. "He bragged about it, her going into the military. She was one of those people who was very focused. He just saw so much potential in her."
Haynes said he'll remember her smile and positive attitude.
Cynthia Joliff- Johnson, a friend, described her best:
"She was kind. She was compassionate. She really had a joie de vivre," Jolliff-Johnson said.Deepest condolences to the Gordon family, friends, fellow troops and the community of St. Petersburg.
DoD Announces Army CasualtySgt. Robert Billings had been with the Army for six years. He served a tour in Iraq and was looking forward to retiring from the Army after finishing his Afghanistan deployment. He planned on spending time with his wife and four children ages 3 to 10.
Sgt. Robert J. Billings, 30, of Clarksville, Va., died Oct. 13, in Spin Boldak, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
His grandmother, Elaine Billings, told the Detroit Free Press:
"He was going to make this his last tour so he could be with his children and watch them grow up," she told Mlive.com. "They were just all over him when he'd come home."Billings was a 2001 graduate of Morley Stanwood High School in Deerfield Township, Michigan. Five years after graduation, he decided to follow in his father's and grandfather's footsteps and join the military.
Source: Detroit Free Press
In Flanders Fields
by Lt. Col. John McRae, MD, (1872-1918)
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row
That mark our place, and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved,
and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
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, joyful, SisTwo, Spam Nunn, True Blue Majority, CalNM, Wide Awake in Kentucky, Maggie Jean, Jax Dem, Kestrel 9000, 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.