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Since 2001, 2177 U.S. troops have lost their lives while serving in Afghanistan, and since 2003, 4486 U.S. troops have lost their lives while serving in Iraq. Thousands more have died after returning home, but these Veteran deaths are seldom announced as war casualties.

The IGTNT (I Got The News Today) series is a reminder that nearly every day, somebody gets the heartbreaking news that a friend, former classmate, or beloved family member will not be coming home from war.

Tonight we remember Soldiers and Marines who died
back home in the US after serving in Afghanistan and Iraq:

Sgt. Mark H. Schoonhoven, 38, of Plainwell, Michigan
Sgt. Tyler W. Ziegel, 30, of Washington, Illinois
Dr. Peter Linnerooth, 42, of Minneapolis, Minnesota
Spc. Karl Kenton Bray, 30, of Irvine, Kentucky

Please take a moment to remember them,
and all those who have died in these wars.

The Department of Defense announced the death of a soldier who had been severely wounded in Afghanistan last month:

Sgt. Mark H. Schoonhoven, 38, of Plainwell, Michigan
Sgt. Schoonhoven died January 20, at Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, after being wounded by an enemy IED on December 15, 2012 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Sgt. Schoonhoven was assigned to the 32nd Transportation Company, 43rd Sustainment Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, in Fort Carson, Colorado.

The small town of Plainwell, Michigan, is gathering around to support the family of a 38-year-old Army sergeant, husband, and father who did not survive the grievous war injuries he sustained in December. The western Michigan community 12 miles north of Kalamazoo is where Mark Schoonhoven graduated from Plainwell High School in 1994. His family says he enjoyed fishing and playing video games.
Plainwell Mayor Richard Brooks told that his city has dealt with war deaths in the past.

Mayor Brooks noted the death of Pvt. Thomas Allers of Plainwell, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2011 along with three others in his unit.

"Unfortunately, we know how to deal with this," Brooks said.

"Two years ago one of our own died. That was tragic and so is this."

Brooks said residents rallied around the Allers family, and he expects the same for Schoonhoven's.

"Plainwell is a great community and they will come together for the family," Brooks said.

The Denver Post. Fox17Online

According to his obituary, the Funeral Services will be held at 11:00 A.M. Thursday, February 7, 2013, at Winkel Funeral Home. A town procession and Burial with Military Honors will follow at Fort Custer National Cemetery, Augusta.

Sgt. Schoonhoven was about two months into his third deployment with the 143rd Sustainment Brigade when his unit was hit by a roadside bomb. He served as a motor transport operator for the 32nd Transportation Company, which is part of the 4th Infantry Division. Schoonhoven joined the Army in 2006 and served two tours with the 82nd Airborne.

Sgt. Schoonhoven has several sons and daughters from an earlier marriage.

Recently married again, he and his wife have a six month old baby daughter named Ava.

His family and friends commented on the story at kooa5 saying:

"Mark will be greatly missed.

He was not only a great son, brother, and father, but an exceptional soldier, whom died doing what he so loved doing.

I liked how he was bold and would speak his mind!"

Among those Sgt. Schoonhoven leaves behind are his wife, six children, his mother, grandmother, and brother, and soldiers in his unit.
Sgt. Mark H. Schoonhoven is missed. May he rest in Peace.

Other casualties, like the deaths of war veterans, are not listed in the Department of Defense news releases. These deaths often occur back home in the United States, and while these sad losses equally break the heart and tear the soul, they often go unmentioned. Thank you to facebook page Honor to the Troops for announcing these deaths. They too will be remembered.

Tonight we honor and remember three more veteran losses at home.

Sgt. Tyler W. Ziegel, 30, of Washington, Illinois

Former Sergeant Tyler Ziegel passed away on December 26, 2012, at OSF St Francis Medical Center in Peoria, where he was born. He had been successfully living with the severe combat injuries he sustained in 2004, but died after an early morning fall on the ice.

Hundreds of people came out to line the streets of Metamora for the well-known Marine's funeral procession and memorial service. Tyler Ziegel grew up in Metamora, Illinois, where he graduated from Metamora Township High School in 2001, and was named "Vo-Tec student of the Year." He enlisted in the Marines after high school and was a member of Charlie Company Engineers in Peoria, according to Legacy.

In 2004, on his second combat deployment to Iraq, the Marine sergeant was critically wounded in a Christmas eve suicide bombing near his vehicle. He lost his left hand and the fingers on his right, fractured his skull, and suffered severe burns in the blast, reported PJStar.

Sgt. Ziegel received the Purple Heart medal and endured 19 months of surgeries and rehabilitation at Brooke Army Medical Center. His family and fiancée Renee cared for him and stayed by his side.

After two years spent recovering, Tyler married his high school sweetheart, Renee in 2006. The young couple had vowed to make a life together before his deployment, and kept true to the promise even after he returned permanently scarred and disabled.

The wedding photos of Marine Sgt. Ziegel, then 24, and his 21-year old bride Renee, were part of an exhibit at the Whitney museum. The wedding portrait by Nina Berman was named the 2006 World Press Photo Portraiture winner, and appeared in many media outlets.

Nina Berman: Marine Wedding

The award-winning photo exhibit and other media coverage soon made Sgt. Ziegel the iconic face of the Iraq war. People Magazine (2006) told of their romance and marriage in Coming Home: A Love Story.
The newlyweds divorced less than a year later.

Thanks to Dan Nguyen who wrote about Sgt. Ziegel then, and updated his blog with the latest news.

PJStar writes: "Tyler Ziegel had many friends before his deployment.

After his injuries, it was his unbreakable spirit people remember more than his scars."

In recent years, Tyler enjoyed living a rural country lifestyle, riding his Harley trike, and collecting guns and guitars. He loved spending time with his beloved dogs Dobbs and Marshall, and his family and friends. He was of christian faith, and enjoyed being a member of the Operating Engineers Local 649, the NRA, and the American Legion.

Among those former Sergeant Ziegel leaves behind are his parents, brother, and grandparents, and his dogs and friends.
Tyler W. Ziegel is missed. May he rest in peace.

Dr. Peter Linnerooth, 42, of Minneapolis, Minnesota

Former Captain Linnerooth was a U.S. Army psychologist who took his own life on January 2 in Mankato, Minnesota. The Bronze Star recipient is credited with helping hundreds of soldiers cope with post-traumatic stress and other mental health issues.

Dr. Linnerroth was published in a 2011 edition of the American Psychological Association as a co-author of an article on professional burnout among military psychologists.

Peter was adopted by David and Gayle Linnerooth and grew up in Rochester, Minnesota. Peter attended John Marshall High School and graduated in 1988. He graduated from Concordia College in 1992 with a Bachelors of Art and from Mankato State University, Mankato in 1995 with a Masters of Art in Psychology.  He received his Ph.D. in Psychology from University of Nevada, Reno in 2004.  He was married to Amy Linnerooth in 1992 in Rochester, Minnesota. They had two children and later divorced, according the Mankato Free Press.

Peter Linnerooth began active duty as an Army psychologist at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, from 2003 to 2004.  After that, Linnerooth spoke up about the lack of mental health resources when he was stationed in Schweinfurt Germany as the only psychologist treating 10,000 troops.

In 2006 Linnerooth was deployed to Iraq where he served 18 months as a psychologist. In addition to trying to curb soldier suicides, he assisted in emergency surgeries in a medical tent, during this period of heavy combat casualties.

His family and colleagues say Peter came back from war a different man, suffering from PTSD even while counseling soldiers with PTSD. He was honorably discharged from the Army in 2008 with the rank of Captain.

Dr. Linnerooth worked the following year as an assistant professor at Mankato State University, Mankato. Then he took a position with the Veterans Administration in Capitola, California, in 2009, and later at other VA centers. He had trouble keeping his jobs due to complications with his PTSD.

"He was really, really suffering," Linnerooth's widow, Melanie Walsh, told Time for its story on his death.

"And it didn't matter that he was a mental health professional, and it didn't matter that I was a mental health professional.

I couldn't help him, and he couldn't help himself," quoted the TwinCities.

Several stories about the passing of Dr. Peter Linnerooth and the high rate of military suicide are found here: Milwaukee  My Fox TwinCities  Santa Cruz Sentinel

Colleagues called Peter Linnerooth a psychologist dedicated to helping the soldiers and veterans that he served. The soldiers trusted him because he had been deployed to the field in Iraq, and because he experienced many of the same symptoms they did. He voiced his opinion about the military's limited work on providing mental health care to soldiers, particularly to those with PTSD, calling the lack of resources and professionals "Criminally negligent."

Peter was also known for his sense of humor, good conversation, and wonderful writing, and will be greatly missed by his family and friends.

He married Melanie Walsh on July 14, 2011, in Reno, Nevada, and they have a baby together. His family say Peter was a loving, devoted father to his children and step-children.

Among those Dr. Linnerooth leaves behind are his wife, three children, two step-children, a sister, and his mother, and the soldiers he served.
Peter Linnerooth is missed. May he rest in Peace.

Spc. Karl Kenton Bray, 30, of Irvine, Kentucky

Former Specialist Kenton Bray died January 22 at Veteran's Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, after a valiant fight with an unknown killer illness that left the Iraq war veteran unable to eat anything since last May, and dying of starvation.

Kent was a married father of two young boys who loved their dad as a hero. He lived in Estill County, Kentucky all his life.

Kent Bray's funeral will be held Sunday afternoon January 27, 2:00 with Burial in West Irvine Cemetary, writes Toler Funeral Home.

Kent's mother and loved ones kept vigil for him, told his story, and looked for answers on a facebook page called Kenton's News, excerpted here:

Former NBC Specialist Kenton Bray was a veteran of the US Army and Army National Guard who served in combat Iraq from 2007-2008, while detached as part of a Special Forces Unit. He served in Charlie Company as a part of the "Mountain Warriors" Infantry, 149th Division.

Bray was diagnosed with PTSD after returning from his deployment.
He was honorably discharged after 5 years of service to his state and nation.

His family explained on facebook that in late 2011, early 2012, Kent couldn't eat without vomiting or doubling over in pain. The VAMC in Lexington performed paracenthesis time after time, but had no answers for why he could not ingest any food. During a 12-18 month period, he lost over 100 pounds.

Kenton Bray was admitted to ICU in the VA medical center since July. While there he suffered injuries from falls and contracted pneumonia. Soon Kent was being kept alive in ICU by a ventilator and feeding through an IV. His status deteriorated in the last weeks, with his heart failing due to his rapid starvation. He got a blood clot in his femoral artery last week, and his loved ones stayed by his side. Kenton Bray finally left this world on January 22, no longer in pain and distress.  

Apparently the VA does not fund any associated hospitals, clinics or treatments that could assuage the unexplained profound malnutrition that led to Kenton Bray's death. His family would like other Iraq veterans to be aware of this unknown killer illness.

Among those former Specialist Kenton Bray leaves behind are his wife and sons, his parents and brother, and his other family and friends.
Karl Kenton Bray is missed. May he rest in Peace.

* * *

Thanks to Timroff for our faithfully lighted candle IGTNT logo;
Other Photos by CalNM and linked Sources

Helping our troops: If you wish to assist our military and their families, consider Operation Helmet, or sponsoring a deployed service member at Fisher House provides housing for families of injured troops and veterans who are recovering in hospitals, and Guardian angels for soldierspet assists the animal companions of our deployed military.

When our veterans come back home, they can find support at Welcome Back Veterans. Our recently returned veterans need jobs, and Veterans Green Jobs is now hiring for positions and filling training sessions. VGJ corps retrains veterans as leaders in forest and resource conservation, green construction, and energy efficient upgrades of homes in rural areas. Encourage a Veteran, and see if you can help out.

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About the IGTNT series: I Got the News Today is 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 at war.

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. The US Department of Defense news releases are found at defense gov/releases. Icasualties lists the names of those killed, and shows the number of wounded. Published AP photos of the returning war fatalities are found on the Dover AFB page. Click the IGTNT tags below for previous diaries in the series which was begun by i dunno, and which is maintained by monkeybiz, noweasels, blue jersey mom, Chacounne, twilight falling, joyful, roses, SisTwo, a girl in MI, Spam Nunn, JeNoCo, Janos Nation, True Blue Majority, Proud Mom and Grandma, Sandy on Signal, Wide Awake in Kentucky, Ms Wings, maggiejean, JaxDem, and me, CalNM. These diaries are heartbreaking to write, but are an important service to those who have died, and show our community’s respect for our fallen brothers and sisters.

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.
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