Sgt. Daniel J. Beard, 24, of Buffalo, New York
Sgt. Beard died April 3 in Al Diwaniyah, Iraq, of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 147th Postal Company, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, Wiesbaden, Germany.
Last Christmas Eve, Sgt. Daniel Beard’s family joyfully met him at the airport when he came home for holiday leave. Last Friday, they learned he was dead.
His family welcomed him with open arms on Christmas Eve. Sgt. Daniel Beard was clearly overcome by emotion at the airport that day, excited to be back in Buffalo.
"I want some Buffalo Wings from the Anchor Bar because that's definitely what I want," Daniel Beard said at the airport on December 24, 2008. "Do I got to show this six pack. I've been working out something fierce."
These moments and these memories of a vibrant 24-year-old who kept a smile on his face are what family and friends will always hold on to.
His oldest sister Deleris said, "I couldn't have picked a better brother. I am so proud of him. And I'm just so happy that we were all able to let him know just how proud of him we were prior to him leaving this Earth."
Source ~ WIVB
Video from WIVB’s coverage of Sgt. Beard’s Christmas Eve homecoming.
No one could have picked a better brother.
Sergeant Beard attended Burgard High School, and came from a big family of four brothers and two sisters.
(One of his sisters said) "Daniel is the one in our family who is always in good spirits and he is never in a bad mood and he's so loving and caring and full of life. So this is truly a tragedy. Not only for our family but for everyone who lives here. He's truly a hero and he will be missed."
Source ~ WIVB
The body of Army Sgt. Daniel J. Beard is expected to return to his hometown of Buffalo, where he will be buried with military honors following his death late last week in Iraq, his family told The Buffalo News on Tuesday.
(His sister, Deleris) Austin said the family was notified Friday that Beard had just finished running "a couple of miles" and was in line for a weigh-in when he collapsed. Officials tried to revive Beard, but were unsuccessful. Results of an autopsy are pending.
News of the death of the 2003 Seneca Vocational High School graduate shocked and saddened his family, which includes Austin and another sister, four brothers and his father. Austin said their mother died in 2006 of a massive heart attack at age 50.
Austin last talked with Beard on Thursday. He told her he would call again Friday after his physical test but that call never came.
"He put his life on the line for all of us," she said.
After a brief stint in college, Austin said Beard enlisted in the Army and had been stationed in Germany for the last four years.
She said Beard was ranked as a specialist until only very recently when he was promoted to sergeant. He had also recently re-enlisted for four years, Austin said.
Beard was expected home on leave in August and planned a vacation in Jamaica before returning for his next tour of duty, she said.
"He always had a smile on his face," said Austin.
Source ~ Buffalo News
On the last morning of his life, Daniel J. Beard, an Army specialist, awoke to the prospect of becoming a noncommissioned officer.
Beard, 24, of Buffalo, N.Y., got the promotion, though it apparently came to him posthumously, his company commander said Wednesday.
Capt. Ramon Torres, the soldier’s company commander, said Beard was always motivated.
"Beard was an excellent soldier," Torres said. "He always leaned forward."
Beard joined the Army in February 2005, and this was his first deployment downrange, Torres said.
Beard "was eager and motivated," Torres said. "He was scheduled to go to a promotion test that day."
Source ~ Stars & Stripes
Sgt. Daniel Beard is survived by his wife, Yolanda, his father, two sisters and four brothers. There will be a service for him in Germany, at the Daenner base chapel in Kaiserslautern. He will be buried in the United States.
Thank you, Sgt. Beard. Godspeed. Your mission is done.
Spc. Israel Candelaria Mejias, 28, of San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico
Spc. Mejias died April 5 near Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds sustained when a mine detonated near him during combat operations. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment in Task Force 3rd Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 172nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Grafenwoehr, Germany.
Spc. Mejias was the second soldier in eighteen years to have his sad homecoming open to the public. This is how one reporter described the scene.
The widow stepped gently off the small blue bus, dressed all in black. She was surrounded by family members and several uniformed members of the military. She looked stunned and frail.
She was at Dover Air Force Base to witness the "dignified transfer" of her husband who was killed in Iraq.
On Tuesday evening, Army Spc. Israel Candelaria Mejias’ remains returned in a large metal transfer case, covered with an American flag.
Mejias’ was killed when a mine detonated near him while serving outside of Baghdad on Sunday.
An eight-person team carry team marched into the back of the cavernous C-17, where several more soldiers and airman stood at attention. The carry team paused as a military chaplain said a quiet blessing and then they carefully raised the transfer case.
The carry team, in this case soldiers from the Army’s Old Guard, slowly marched to a waiting truck. After the case was placed in the truck, the soldiers backed up. As the doors closed, the officer presiding over the ceremony gave the command, "Present Arms."
And in perfect unison, the eight soldiers gave a steady salute to honor the fallen soldier.
And with that, the brief ceremony was over. It lasted less than 15 minutes, but in that short time the reverence and honor bestowed upon the fallen soldier was palpable.
The story at Dover was supposed to be about the media finally gaining access to the solemn dignified transfers at Dover Air Force Base. But in a brief moment I finally saw that the story was not about the media at all. It was about honoring the heroes who sacrifice their lives to serve us all.
Source & Video MSNBC
Thank you, Spc. Mejias. Godspeed. Your mission is done.
Spc. Adam M. Kuligowski, 21, of Arlington, Virginia and Derry, New Hampshire
Spc. Kuligowski died Apr. 6 in Bagram, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the Special Troops Battalion, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.
He would have become a wonderful man.
As a student at Pinkerton Academy, Adam Kuligowski made his mark on a 2004 school trip to China when he climbed on a camel's back and was photographed wearing his signature cowboy hat.
Former teacher Tom Weatherby yesterday described Kuligowski as "one of the kids who would do their own thing — but a very nice kid. It's a real loss."
Kuligowski, a 21-year-old Army specialist, died Monday in Bagram, Afghanistan. His family said he died from noncombat injuries, and they are awaiting the official report of the cause.
His grandfather, Stanley Kuligowski of Derry, said the military sent a colonel to Bangkok to inform Kuligowski's father, who is in the foreign service.
Kuligowski, . . . . wanted to follow in his father's footsteps and possibly go into the foreign service after the military, family members said yesterday.
Kuligowski enlisted in October 2006 and was sent to Fort Campbell in August 2007.
He grew up living in U.S. embassies in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, according to his aunt, Stephanie Kuligowski of Manchester.
He arrived with his father in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on the eve of Operation Desert Storm. He also lived in Nigeria. He was born in Korea while his father was attached to the U.S. Embassy there.
Kuligowski moved back to Derry about 10 years ago, his aunt said. He attended Gilbert H. Hood Middle School and Pinkerton Academy.
"He would have become a wonderful man," his aunt said yesterday. "It's a shock."
Kuligowski was sent to Afghanistan about a year ago, his grandfather said. They had not seen him since he was deployed, but his mother anticipated he would be home in June or July.
Kuligowski's youngest brother, Lucas, broke the news to his grandparents on Monday.
"He made a declaration standing in that doorway," Phyllis Kuligowski said, looking at the entrance to their home on North High Street.
"'Adam's dead.' That was all he said," she said. "I'll never forget it."
Pinkerton Academy yesterday lowered the U.S. flag in front of the clock tower to half-staff in Kuligowski's honor.
He attended the school from 2002 to 2006, according to Robin Perrin, Pinkerton's spokesman.
""He went where his intelligence took him," (television production teacher John) Barry said. "He was into strategic games and finding out about foreign cultures."
Kuligowski steered clear of extracurricular activities, except for the television production club.
He became an officer in the club. He is pictured in the Pinkerton yearbook smiling and sporting a head full of dark, curly hair. He is standing in the back row of the club under a caption, "Zooming in on Artists."
Source ~ Eagle Tribune
"He was a very nice guy," (his grandfather) said. "He was determined to learn everything."
Adam entered the Army in October 2006 and arrived in Fort Campbell, Ky., the following August.
He had been in Afghanistan about a year and was scheduled to return home next month, his grandfather said. He was a communications specialist.
"(Adam's father) said he was looking forward to coming home. He wanted to see me and talk about my service in World War II," Kuligowski said.
Source ~ Manchester Union-Leader
Spc. Kuligowski Kuligowski's awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Army Service Ribbon; NATO Medal and Weapons Qualification: M4-rifle, expert.
Spc. Kuligowski is survived by his parents, Michael and Tracy Kuligowski of Derry, New Hampshire, by an older brother, Stefan, who is in the Army and is currently stationed in Thailand, by a younger brother, Lucas, of Derry, and by a sister, who lives in Utah.
Funeral arrangements for Spc. Kuligowski are pending. He will be remembered at memorial services in Afghanistan and at Fort Campbell.
Thank you, Spc. Kuligowski. Godspeed. Your mission is done.
Remember them. Honor their sacrifice.
To date, 4266 members of the United States military have lost their lives in Iraq. The death toll thus far in 2009 is already 45. More than 31,000 members of the military have been wounded, many grievously. The Department of Defense Press Releases, from which the information at the start of each entry in this diary was drawn, can be seen here. The death toll among Iraqis is unknown, but is at least 200,000 and quite probably many times that number.
To date, 676 members of the United States military have lost their lives in Afghanistan. The death toll thus far for 2009 is 46. 452 members of the military from other countries have also lost their lives.
Slide Show ~ The Final Salute
Other sites have stories, video, pictures and remembrances, including: Honor the Fallen. A group of runners is crossing the United States, dedicating a mile to each fallen soldier, sailor, Marine, Airman and National Guardsman. You can read about ~ and see photos and video of ~ Run for the Fallen here.
Assisting our military: Supporting our troops is the RIGHT THING to do.
You can send a care package. Please consider brightening the day of a soldier with a care package.
You can write letters.
You can send a cup of organic coffee.
You can find other ways to give at anysoldier.com or Fisher House. If you have frequent flyer miles you would like to donate to hospitalized veterans or their families, please see Fisher House’s Hero Miles program.
You can help the left-behind animal companions of our troops. See how here.
And don’t forget them when they get home! Read welcomebackveterans.org to learn what you can do. Visit VoteVets and IAVA.
About the IGTNT series:
(Our beautiful logo was created by kossack Timroff. Thank you, Timroff.)
The purpose of the I Got the News Today series is to honor service members who have died as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; its title is a reminder that almost every day a military family gets the terrible news about a loved one.
Today marks the fifth anniversary of the first diary in this series.
Click here to see the series, which was begun by i dunno, and is currently maintained by Sandy on Signal, monkeybiz, greenies, blue jersey mom, Chacounne, twilight falling, joyful, roses, SisTwo, SpamNunn, a girl in MI, JeNoCo, Mediaprof, and me, noweasels. Blessings and thanks to all those who have written and contributed to this series, including silvercedes, MsWings, American Daughter, labwitchy, moneysmith, Wee Mama and sheddhead.
If you would like to contribute to the series, even once a month, please contact Sandy on Signal, monkeybiz, or me, noweasels.
And on a personal note:
Back in 1970, when I was in 9th grade, I got POW bracelet inscribed with the name of Master Sgt. Harold D. Mullins, who had gone missing on June 3, 1966 in Vietnam. I wore it throughout high school. Many decades ago, it got misplaced. Yesterday, it arrived in the mail. My sister-in-law had found it and sent it to me. Master Sgt. Mullins was promoted to CMS posthumously. On March 28, 1974, his status had been changed from MIA to "Dead While Missing." His remains, along with five others who were with him on the plane that was shot down on at 9:25 p.m. on June 3, 1966, near the Laos border, were repatriated on April 28, 2003, before this series began. CMS Mullins was buried with his crewmates in Section 60 of Arlington Cemetary on November 5, 2004. His name is engraved on the Wall on Panel 08E.
CMS Harold Mullins.
Thank you, CMS Mullins. I will never forget you.
As you read this diary, please consider that the families and friends of those profiled here also may read it and that many members of our community have served in Iraq or Afghanistan or have loved ones currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. As the very proud daughter of a Navy pilot, and the granddaughter of a Marine pilot and a submariner ~ all of whom rest beneath our nation‘s flag ~ I hope that the comments tonight will demonstrate our respect for the sacrifices of our fallen military and our compassion for their families. Please reserve your political comments for appropriate diaries; this is not one of them.
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