Staff Sgt. Benjamin G. Prange
Pfc. Keith M. Williams
Pfc. Donnell A. Hamilton, Jr
Since 2001 we have lost 2335 American troops in Afghanistan and a total of 3462 American and coalition forces.
Day is done
Gone the sun
From the lakes
From the hills
From the sky
All is well
God is nigh
The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
They died July 24, in Mirugol Kalay, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when the enemy attacked their vehicle with an improvised explosive device. These soldiers were assigned 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.
Staff Sgt. Benjamin G. Prange, 30, of Hickman, Nebraska; and
Pfc. Keith M. Williams, 19, of Visalia, California ~ DoD News Release
“It is always hard to lose a part of our military family. Our thoughts and prayers are with Staff Sgt. Prange and Pfc. Williams’ family and friends during this very difficult time.” ~ Statement issued by Fort Carson officials
Teachers, schoolmates, neighbors and friends remember Prange as "just a good solid kid"; "loyal, devoted and family oriented"; :the nice guy around town"; "a devoted father"; "a hard worker"; and "a really great father". A facebook memorial page, Remembering SSG Ben Prange has been set up by those who loved him.
Despite having been turned away initially from serving in the Army because of a partially missing pectoral muscle, Prange went through strength and endurance tests before he was found fit to serve in January of 2007.
SSgt Prange was previously deployed to Afghanistan from June 2008 to June 2009; again from March 2012 to November 2012 with this current deployment beginning in March of this year.
Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer released this statement:
My thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies are with the family and loved ones of Staff Sgt. Prange during this difficult time. His ultimate sacrifice on behalf of his country is a solemn reminder to us all of the high price of freedom. I join all Nebraskans in honoring the memory of this brave American. We are forever indebted to Staff Sgt. Prange for his selfless service.Staff Sgt Benjamin G. Prange’s military awards include four Commendation Medals, an Achievement Medal, two Good Conduct Medals, a National Defense Service Medal, an Afghanistan Campaign Medal with three campaign stars, a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, an Army Service Ribbon, an Overseas Service Ribbon, two NATO Medals and a Combat Infantryman Badge.
Staff Sgt Prange is survived by his wife, Liz; sons Corbin and Dillon and his grandparents Kent and Carolyn Prange.
Sister, Chelsea Sestini said her brother joined the Army because of his love of country:
He wanted to do everything he could to make sure he protected the people he loved, and he said he would die doing it.On Thursday Keith's father, Frank Williams was enjoying the evening sitting out on his porch when an Army chaplain came up his front walk. A 21 year veteran of the US Navy, Frank knew immediately why he was there:
He was more full of life than anyone I've ever met. He had joy for everyone and he loved to make people laugh. He could have been a comedian.
He would always tell me it is stupid to cry. I know he would want us to be happy and proud of him. ... He died for his country, and that's probably the most honorable thing he did in his whole life. He knew there was a risk, and he was just 19 years old, and he was willing to take it.
I had seen it in the movies. As soon as I saw the chaplain, I knew it. I knew my son was gone. We had just sent him a care package with jerky and some snacks. He loved getting that stuff. He was such a fun-loving person who enjoyed life.Frank Williams, who is a counselor on the Tule River Reservation said his son was proud of his Native American heritage, part of the Yokut Tribe from the Tule River Indian Reservation. This heritage gave Pfc Williams his love of drumming and his father has plans on having Native American drummers as a part of his funeral ceremony.
You know the creator has another venue for Keith and that venue is not with us and he's waiting for us to come.Friends, family and former classmates gathered Saturday evening at the sports track at El Diamante High School in Visalia to hold a vigil for this brave soldier. For nearly three hours people who loved Keith stepped up front to share their memories in the candlelight. Pfc Willliams parents were still at Dover, but the event was videotaped for their viewing at a later date.
Pfc Keith M. Williams is survived by his mother Debbie Tuttle; father Frankie Williams; stepmother Tara Williams; stepfather Michael Tuttle; sisters Samantha Williams and Chelsea Sestini; grandmother Jean Painter of Australia; two nieces and two nephews.
This beautiful tribute to Pfc. Hamilton was written by Ekaterin:
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Pfc. Donnell A. Hamilton, Jr., 20, of Kenosha, Wisconsin, died July 24, at Brooke Army Medical Center, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, from an illness sustained in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan.
He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas. ~ DoD News Release
According to his Facebook page, Pfc. Hamilton attended George Nelson Tremper High School in Wisconsin. He entered active duty service in October 2012 as an M1 armor crewman. Since April 2013 he has been assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood.
Pfc. Hamilton was deployed to Afghanistan from July 2013 to March 2014.
His awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with campaign star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Army Service Ribbon.
Pfc. Hamilton was single. Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.
About the IGTNT series:
"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 in 2004 and now is maintained by Sandy on Signal, i dunno, noweasels, blue jersey mom, Chacounne, twilight falling, SisTwo, SpamNunn, TrueBlueMajority, CalNM, Wide Awake in Kentucky, maggiejean, Ekaterin, TheFatLadySings, Joy of Fishes, and me, JaxDem..
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.