Tonight we honor a three Marines who were killed, along with their military dog, in an IED explosion in Afghanistan.
Since 2001, 2333 U.S. troops have lost their lives while serving in Afghanistan, and between 2003 and 2012, 4468 U.S. troops lost their lives while serving in Iraq.
I Got The News Today (IGTNT), which is 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.
~ Photo Credit Timroff
The Department of Defense has announced the death of three Marines who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Lance Cpl. Brandon J. Garabrant, 19, of Peterborough, New Hampshire, died June 20, while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.Please join me tonight for a remembrance of their lives.
Staff Sgt. David H. Stewart, 34, of Stafford, Virginia, died June 20, while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
Lance Cpl. Adam F. Wolff, 25, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, died June 20, while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
In 2013, Greenfield, NH, native Lance Cpl. Brandon Garabrant was graduating from ConVal High School. This year, his grieving family went to Dover AFB to receive his body back from Afghanistan.
Last year, Brandon made national news when, after graduating from Marine Corps basic training in Parris Island, S.C., he was so proud of being a Marine that he asked to wear his uniform to his high school graduation. The school denied his request, and Brandon did not pursue the issue out of respect for his school and for the Marines. After hearing of Brandon's death, ConVal principal Brian Pickering said,
"On behalf of the entire ConVal community I extend my deepest sympathy to Brandon's family and friends. We are all shocked and deeply saddened by his passing and we are incredibly grateful for his service to our country."Garabrant was a combat engineer assigned to 2nd CEB, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force. He joined the Marine Corps in March 2013 and was promoted to lance corporal on Dec. 1, 2013. He deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in March 2014.
As he was preparing to leave for Afghanistan, Garabrant wrote:
"Going to do what we do best. Fighting for our country, our brothers to the left and right, our friends and families back home. So that you can have the right for freedom and to live the American dream without fear of anything. May God be with us on this journey. Guardian Angels be watching over us and protecting us. This is what I signed up for. Here comes a long journey into the unknown. I love all my family and friends."Before becoming a Marine, Garabrant was a volunteer member of the Temple Fire Department, a police explorer with the Peterborough Police Department and worked at Touchstone Farm in Temple. Fire Department Chaplin Olivia Holmes praised Brandon, saying:
“He was the epitome of goodwill to all and service to all. Brandon lived his faith. He was a kid, but a leader of human kind.”
Peterborough Police Chief Scott Guinard said:
"The three best words to describe him: A young gentleman. He was a young gentleman who I am extremely proud of and who will be sorely missed by all."Brandon also worked at Summerhill Assisted Living and Touchstone Farm. He was the son of John and Jessie Garabrant and had a younger brother and sister, Jacob and Mykala. His mother said her son was an extraordinary person:
"He was such a good kid, with such a good heart, he's going to be missed by a lot of people. It's too bad he had such a short life. But he did make the most of it, and he did go out doing what he loved. I just wish I could have one more conversation with him."Brandon's last Facebook entry was written on June 15 to his girlfriend who had just graduated from high school:
"I am so proud of you, Ashley Gryval. Finally graduating high school and going on to the next adventure. Wish I could've been there to see you walk the stage. Can't wait to come home and see all the pictures of it! You're the best!"His awards include the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. Funeral plans are incomplete at this time.
Rest in peace, Lance Cpl. Brandon J. Garabrant. You have served with honor.
The roots of military service run deep in SSGT Stewart's family as his great uncle, Thomas D. Elliott, 75 and a former marine himself could attest:
I thought so much about him that I passed a Civil War gun that was carried by my great grandfather. I figured he was the most deserving.Staff Sgt Stewart's wife, Kristine spoke about her husband with loving pride:
This is a blow, I never cried for my father, my mother. I do cry for David.
He had a very easy going way. He was a very handsome young man. He was into everything that he should be. He’s the type of person I would lay my life down for.
We've been together since we were teenagers and he's always been positive. It didn't matter what was going on. All the joys in our life and then the hardships that come with five deployments; he just was my rock.Kristine said she supported her husband's decision to follow in his father's and brother's footsteps by joining the Marines:
It's painful to think their two young children won't have their father with them as they grow up. He was the most joyous father you could ever know. He had such a sparkle in his eyes when he looked at his beautiful children.
David's probably up in heaven right now saying, 'I'm so sorry, sweetheart. I love you so much. And I'm so sorry,' because he always put us first.
It was all about serving something that was bigger than ourselves and doing the right thing. I fell in love with him when I was 16 years old because he was like that as a teen, and he just carried that on.This was SSGT Stewart's fifth deployment. He served in Iraq from September 2004 to March 2005, from March to October 2006 and from September 2007 to April 2008. Prior to this deployment to Afghanistan, he served from October 2012 to April 2013.
He just was so proud to be a Marine and so proud to serve his country, and I was just so proud of him.
Staff Sgt David H. Stewart's awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Selected Marine Corps Reserve Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Marine Corps Drill Instructor Ribbon and Armed Forces Reserve Medal.
Staff Sgt David H. Stewart is survived by his wife, Kristine; daughter, Mackenzie, 2; and son, Marshall, 14 months.
Rest in peace, Staff Sgt. David H. Stewart. You have served with honor.
Lance Cpl Wolff's family and extended family are grateful now more than ever that they gathered together with Adam just prior to his deployment.
Sister, Angela Malone said:
He came back in March, after his [Marine Corps advanced] schooling in North Carolina. We had a dinner for him, a party, you know, where the whole family got together before Adam went to Afghanistan.Wolff's math teacher, Sheila Fetter said of Adam:
Many of the more distant relatives didn't know what Adam had been up to and he had no problem explaining his work to listeners.
You could see it in his eyes. He loved what he was doing. And he loved telling everybody about it.
He was a very nice kid, very kind.She added that he always helped out a great deal at home where his mother raised goats and cows. He also worked at a Hy-Vee grocery store and a McDonalds.
Fetter recalled an eighth grade school trip to Washington, DC that Adam and his twin brother, Aaron attended:
We did fundraisers and stuff. I don't know how many candy bars they sold, but their mom took those boys all over selling candy bars, and they worked their way onto the trip.U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Waterloo, who represents the Cedar Rapids area, issued a statement upon learning of Wolff's death.
I know all Iowans join me today in honoring Lance Cpl. Wolff's service and sacrifice on behalf of the United States. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones.Sister, Angela Malone said that just before her brother left Ottumwa for the final time before shipping out for Afghanistan, he was baptized at church.
You could tell --- he was different. He was always kind hearted, gentle with children, but now he was firm, too; very strong from the Marines. When he came back, he was a man.Lance Cpl Adam F. Wolff's awards include the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Lance Cpl Adam Wolff is survived by his parents; sister, Angela; brother, Nathan; and twin brother, Aaron.
Rest in peace, Lance Cpl. Adam F. Wolff. You have served with honor.
"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, blue jersey mom, Chacounne, twilight falling, SisTwo, SpamNunn, TrueBlueMajority, CalNM, Wide Awake in Kentucky, maggiejean, JaxDem, Joy of Fishes and me, Ekaterin.
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.
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.