Four military families, three Marine, and one Army, got the news that their son died over the past weekend. The dreaded knock at the door came for the loved ones of:
- Army Captain Michael W. Newton who was from Virginia
- Marine Lance Corporal Jason D. Hill who was from California
- Marine Lance Corporal Sean M. N. O’Connor who was from Wyoming
- Marine Lance Corporal Joshua B. McDaniels who was from Ohio
Captain Michael W. Newton
Michael W. Newton was from Newport News, Virginia. He graduated in 1999 from Denbigh High and was a graduate of the Class of 2003 at the Virginia Military Institute.
Newton, who received a bachelor of arts degree in history from VMI, was a member of the VMI men’s rifle team and the Virginia History Society. He served as executive officer of the 2nd Battalion of the VMI Corps of Cadets.
Virginia’s Hampton Roads Military site quotes Reverend James Cornish from Michael’s hometown:
"When you watched him," Cornish said, "you knew he had a determination. Whatever he was going to, he was going to be good at it."
He was one of those children who said "yes sir" and "yes ma'am" at an early age, Cornish recalled.
Because he was surrounded by so many retired and active-duty military, it seemed as if his life's course was set early on
"It seemed like he had one eye on them and one eye on his future," Cornish said. "He literally loved the military. We knew that was his destination."
Not too long after graduating from VMI, in July of 2004, Newton joined the US Army. He was deployed in Iraq, in 2006, and again in 2009. He also had served in South Korea.
Newton was assigned to 1st Battalion, 84th Field Artillery Regiment, 170th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Baumholder, Germany in December of 2009. He deployed to Afghanistan with his unit in February.
Captain Michael W. Newton was working on an assignment in the Faryab province of Afghanistan on June 11th. The Department of Defense announced that Captain Newton died from injuries suffered in a non-combat-related matter. They did not release further details. The Army Captain was 30 years old when he died.
Survivors of Captain Michael W. Newton include his parents, Willie and Barbara Newton, and his sister, Kelly.
Lance Corporal Jason D. Hill
Lance Corporal Jason D. Hill was from Poway, California. His father was a retired Marine. He graduated from Poway’s Abraxas High School in 2008. Hill’s MySpace name for himself was “Iron Man” and he had posted many pictures and videos featuring Marines.
According to Sign On San Diego site:
Hill’s brother, Dylan, 16, said he, Jason and their oldest brother, Aaron, 22, headed to Ramona on hunting trips while they were growing up. Jason taught him how to shoot a gun, Dylan said.
Their father, Charles, raised his sons as a single parent and the outings are some of the clearest memories Dylan said he has of their childhood. They also offered a glimpse of Jason’s protective spirit, Dylan said.
“He was just like a protector. That was his main job,” Dylan said. “No matter what, if you knew him at all, he would protect you.”
Hill enlisted in the Marine Corps on March 15, 2010 and was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, California. He was deployed with his unit in April of 2011.
Lance Corporal Jason D. Hill died June 11th while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was 20 years old.
Personal decorations earned by Lance Corporal Hill include the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon and the NATO Medal.
Lance Corporal Sean M. N. O’Connor
Sean M. N. O’Connor was born at the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base. His family moved to Douglas, Wyoming when he was 7. He was a member of the swim team at Douglas High School graduated in the Spring of 2007. In May of 2007, he joined the Marines and was based at Camp Pendleton in California.
O’Connor was with the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton. His unit was assigned to the insurgent stronghold of Sangin in Afghanistan and O’Connor was scheduled to leave the Corps later this year.
On June 12th, Lance Corporal Sean M. N. O’Connor died while serving as a rifleman in combat operations the Helmand province of Afghanistan. His death was the third casualty suffered by the battalion since it took command of the town in April. He was 22 years old.
Sean’s father, Daniel O’Connor is quoted extensively in the Casper Star-Tribune, but others also spoke about their hometown hero:
Barbara Williams’ family had known O’Connor since he was in fourth grade.
“We’re all emotional right now,” she said through tears Monday. “Sean is our hero.”
Williams, who said she thought of O’Connor as part of her family, described him as an outgoing person who was always fun to be around and who would do anything for his family and friends.
“He lived for life,” she said. “He was the kind of kid who everybody couldn’t help but love. He just loved life.”
Sean O’Connor’s personal service awards include the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal and Afghanistan Campaign Medal.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
Lance Corporal Joshua B. McDaniels
Joshua B. McDaniels grew up in Madison County, Ohio, and his parents live in New Albany, Ohio. He wrestled and captained the 2007 football team at London High School. According to the Madison Press site:
Former LHS head football coach Bill Dennis remembered the former defensive end as a “great kid.”
“He worked hard and was just a pleasure to be around,” Dennis said.
“When kids tell me that they’re going into the military, I wonder if they’re going to be able to handle it. I never had those worries about Josh. I knew he’d be a great soldier. He’s the type that will always fight for what he believes is right.
“My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
McDaniels moved to Dublin, Ohio before enlisting in the Marines n November of 2009.He married his high school sweetheart, Adrianna Powell McDaniels, in September of 2010.
Promoted to Lance Corporal on January 1, 2011, McDaniels was a combat engineer with the 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force based at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. He deployed to Afghanistan in March of 2011 and was working with a mine detection unit.
Lance Corporal Joshua B. McDaniels died June 12th while conducting combat operations in Helmand province of Afghanistan. He was 21 years old.
Awards earned by Lance Corporal McDaniels include the National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Medal.
He is survived by his wife and parents.
Helping our troops:
If you wish to assist our military and their families, consider contributing to Fisher House. Donating to Netroots for the Troops provides care packages that make a real difference in a military person's life. To assist the animal companions of our deployed military, information is available here. Also, you could visit:
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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.
|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, and which is maintained by Sandy on Signal, monkeybiz, noweasels, blue jersey mom, Chacounne, twilight falling, joyful, roses, SisTwo, SpamNunn, a girl in MI, JeNoCo, Mediaprof, TrueBlueMajority, JanosNation, Proud Mom and Grandma, Ministry of Truth, CalNM, Wide Awake in Kentucky, Ms Wings, maggiejean, racheltracks, JaxDem, and kestrel9000. These diaries are heartbreaking to write, but are an important service to those who have died, and show our community’s respect for them.
Fallen service members whose names have been released by the US Department of Defense will usually be diarized two days after the official announcement on the DoD website. This allows the IGTNT team to cover each person more fully, but still in a timely manner