Tonight, we remember a dedicated and true patriot. He was an engineer and a special forces soldier, who proudly served his country. Since 2001, there have been 2290 American troops killed in Operation Enduring Freedom. Since 2010, there have been 66 casualties in Operation New Dawn.
DoD Announces Army Casualty
Staff Sgt. Alex A. Viola, 29, of Keller, Texas, died Nov. 17, in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his unit was attacked with an improvised explosive device while on dismounted patrol.
He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.
Viola joined the Navy and was accepted into SEAL training. During the hell week, he was injured and left the SEAL program. Staff Sgt. Viola never gave up his dream of serving in the Special Forces. He entered Fort Bragg and became an engineer sergeant with the US Special Forces.
His mother, Margaret Viola, told the Fort Worth Star- Telegram about her son's desire to serve in Special Forces:
“He didn’t want to stop there, so he transferred and got his green beret,” she said. “It was like he didn’t want any regrets and he just wanted to finish what he started.Staff Sgt. Viola was on his first tour of duty, when he was killed while on foot patrol. He had been in Afghanistan for five weeks. His mother told the Star-Telegram:
“At first we were nervous and we tried to talk him into getting a normal job, but he didn’t want it. So we supported him."
“He was just a great guy and I’m not saying that because I’m his mother,” Margaret Viola said. “This is what he wanted to do, and he kept trying and training.Staff Sgt. Alex Viola earned the following awards and decorations: the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Noncommissioned Officer Development Ribbon with Numeral 2, the Army Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal, the Parachutist Badge, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Special Operations Dive Badge and the Special Forces Tab.
“We were just in awe of him, his drive to do that.”
Staff Sgt. Alex A. Viola is survived by his parents and his sister.
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 i dunno, Monkeybiz, Noweasels, Blue Jersey Mom, Chacounne, twilight falling, SisTwo, Spam Nunn, True Blue Majority, CalNM, Wide Awake in Kentucky, Maggie Jean, Jax Dem, The Fat Lady Sings, Ekaterina, Joy of Fishes, 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.