Welcome to our world. Life isn’t always pretty, but it is always ours.
This is the post excerpt.
Welcome to our world. Life isn’t always pretty, but it is always ours.
First of all, I am quite dismayed that the media is using Sgt La David Johnson’s death as a political pawn to discredit the President. This hero was protecting our way of life and trying to stamp out evil in this world, but let’s use his name all over the place just to discredit Trump.
Anyway, I saw on Facebook yesterday that Trump was disrespectful to a grieving widow. He allegedly told Sgt La David Johnson’s widow, “He knew what he signed up for.”
That wasn’t the end of the quote, but it was all the media cared about reporting. The media cut off the balance of what Congresswoman Wilson claimed Trump said. She claims he said, “knew what he signed up for . . . but when it happens, it hurts anyways.” The end connotes a much different meaning when added to the beginning.
Notwithstanding that I would not have found that disrespectful or hurtful, I couldn’t accept that that was the end of that, because that doesn’t sound like the man who took off on Marine One to meet the body of a fallen hero, so I looked into it. Unfortunately, the call was not recorded, so we are relying on the memories of:
Since we don’t have a single unbiased witness to the conversation, how can we automatically assume it was as one-side reports? Even the widow admits that she doesn’t remember the entire conversation, and the Congresswoman who made the accusation sometimes admits she didn’t hear the entire conversation (although sometimes she says she heard the whole thing). But we are to automatically just believe their version?
As I know from practicing law: There is his truth, her truth, and the actual truth, which probably falls somewhere in the middle. Unfortunately, so many are so quick to jump on the anti-Trump train. But what was his intent? [Side note: I was recently told that I had no right to be offended by the “take a knee” because there was no offense meant. So, along the same lines, if Trump didn’t mean any offense, she doesn’t have a right to be offended? Yeah, I know that’s not how it works, but I wanted to throw a little liberal logic back at them.]
But putting that aside for a moment…..
We all know Trump shoots from the hip and doesn’t check his words. Unlike Obama who had everything scripted and on a teleprompter, Trump is himself. He has no filter. He doesn’t always think before he speaks. That’s what I like about him, but also what I don’t. He really needs to learn a bit more diplomacy, but I still couldn’t accept that, as is being reported by the media, his only words to a grief stricken widow were – he knew what he signed up for. [Another side note: After Derek was injured, someone told me, “What did you expect when he joined the military?” And another one said to me, “Why did you let him join?”]
Anyway, I did a little checking. I was able to find an alleged full context of the comment (posted below). This comment was shared by several friends, and there was an article about it that I found on a Google search that confirmed the full statement. Unfortunately, as has been the disrespect shown towards this President since January 2017, the article is now either gone or so far down my Google search that I cannot locate it. I read it, but now cannot find it. It has been replaced with every major news source and blogger railing about how awful Trump is. [Yet another side note: This really makes us look awesome in the eyes of the world. Way to undermine foreign policy, people! Do you not care about making us a laughing stock? About us having zero respect in the eyes of other countries?]
Anyway, this was what I initially found:
Full quote: President Trump to the widow of Sgt. Johnson:……..” they know the risk, they know what they sign up for but they still volunteer to put their lives on the line for their fellow Americans. We owe them a debt that can never be repaid.”
As a Gold Star Mom, that doesn’t offend me. If someone said that to me when my son died, I would have thanked them. Honestly, if someone had simply said to me that Derek knew what he signed up for, I would have agreed with him. Derek knew. Someone dear to me and to Derek said to him before he deployed, “But, Derek, you could die!” His response was, “I know.”
Anyone who raises his/her hand and is sworn in to the military knows the worst that can happen. Their families also know the worst that can happen. We sit at home just waiting, knowing that that call or knock on the door could come at any time.
In some interviews the Congresswoman who reported the initial comment admitted that she didn’t hear the entire conversation, so she doesn’t know whether or not he followed it up with the balance of the quote above. In other interviews, she says she heard the entire conversation. Which is it? She has already contradicted herself.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said there was no recording, but that other White House officials were in the room when Trump called the widow, including White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.
Her statement was that “multiple people in the room believe that the President was completely respectful (and) very sympathetic.”
We don’t know exactly what Trump said. There is no recording. So, each side will continue to believe what they want. Bottom line – if you don’t like someone and they make a comment, you will receive it very different that if someone you like says the exact same thing. Perception is everything.
While I’m on my tangent, Trump was criticized for comments made about calling and writing to the families. Trump actually said he didn’t know what his predecessors did, but he was told that they didn’t call often. What’s so wrong with that? Even if he is wrong, if he was told the information, he isn’t wrong to repeat it with a phrase “I was told.” Obama never called me. He didn’t even write to me when Derek died. I know a lot of other Gold Star Moms who also didn’t get a call or letter from Obama when their sons died.
Another quote I found online by Rick Weidman, co-founder and executive director of Vietnam Veterans of America: “I don’t think there is any president I know of who hasn’t called families. . . President Obama called often and President Bush called often. They also made regular visits to Walter Reed and Bethesda Medical Center, going in the evenings and on Saturdays.” First of all, Obama did not make regular visits. Obama visited in October 2011 and March 2012 (those were the only two visits during Derek’s seven month hospital stay. That’s not regular.
When my son died, I did not get a letter from Obama, I got a mass produced Certificate. When my friend’s son died, she got a personalize
d, hand written letter from George W. When my friend’s son was injured, she received a personalized, hand written letter from George W. I didn’t get a letter from Obama when Derek was injured. When her son later died, she got a mass produced Certificate from Obama, and they spelled her son’s name wrong. See the difference?
People are criticizing Trump for not calling families and some have claimed Obama called everyone. Really? I never got a call. I got this:
And my friend got this:
Notice how exact the signatures are? These are mass produced. Obama did not sign this. No one signs his name exactly the same every time. Where was my call? My personal letter?
Oh, and Obama met Derek. Twice.
Oh, and one last comment about him saying “congratulations” to a Purple Heart recipient, Derek was told “congratulations” when he was presented with his Purple Heart, by a Captain in the Army. So, yeah. Not such a bad thing after all.
Stop spinning and twisting, MSM (NBC, ABC, CBS, WPIX, MSNBC, CNN, etc.). Just stop. You look like total fools and idiots, and everyone who believes anything you report is a blithering idiot.
And now here is Gen. John Kelly’s take on it. Looks like those of us who don’t immediately jump to condemn Trump were right, again.
While watching Designated Survivor last night, I saw scroll across the bottom on my screen a notice to call Optimum and demand that ABC not be dropped from the lineup. (And I had previously seen a notice not to allow them to lose Disney.) That caused me to do a little research as to why these stations are threatening to pull out of the Optimum line up. I mean, why would I only believe ABC?
I found this article, among many others.
The bottom line is that they want more money. They want to force customers to pay for ESPN even if (like me) they don’t want it or need it or watch it. Given how the NFL has been throwing a collective temper tantrum, I really don’t care if football is available in my house.
These companies make billions. Yes, that’s right. Billions of dollars off the backs of hard working Americans. Now they want us to pay more for basic TV coverage, even if we only want the barebones. They want to force us to have channels we don’t want and many of us cannot afford.
To make matters worse, do you know of any package that allows you to only have less than all of the major TV networks (i.e. ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, etc.)? I don’t. Can I have Optimum only provide me with CBS and NBC if that is what I want? No. I will be forced to pay the higher rates for channels I don’t want, cannot afford, and will never watch.
This is not acceptable. We, as a collective group, need to stand up to these greedy companies.
And this is on the heels of some unpatriotic and nasty statements from the ABC “stars,” and unpatriotic decisions by ABC.
So, good-bye. I don’t want or need you in my life. While I love Designated Survivor and a few of your other programs, and while Disney Channel has been my go to for mindless, easy TV (except Bizaardvark, because that is just too stupid to stomach), I can live without them. I will not be extorted to pay an astronomical fee just to pad your pockets.
Optimum, if my rates go up because you gave in to the extortion, I WILL find other service. Stand strong. Don’t let them manipulate you.
We have all heard and probably said, “Happy Memorial Day!” But is that really appropriate? Should we be saying “Happy” Memorial Day? Is it really a “happy” day? Do we go to funerals or memorial services for loved ones and tell people to have a happy day?
It used to bother me. A lot. But it no longer does.
When someone says, “Happy Memorial Day” to me now, I smile. I am thankful to all of those who gave all, who gave their very lives so that the American public can have a “happy” Memorial Day. So that they can go to barbecues, head down the shore, take a road trip, or whatever else makes them happy.
I am thankful that so many Americans do not have to live with the horrors and difficulties that other countries experience. Bombings in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, England, France. Yes, we have our own share of problems, but not like around the world. I am glad that I live in a country protected by these brave souls so that John Q Public can continue to live in ignorance.
Memorial Day has always had special meaning in my household. In 1942, my paternal grandfather lost two of his brothers. Albert Fuller was a Merchant Marine who died on a torpedoed tanker, and Frank Fuller was a Lt. Commander in the US Navy who perished on a tanker in the South Pacific. My paternal grandmother lost her brother, John Keane, in 1945 in Germany.
In addition to several uncles, cousins, and in-laws who served, my great-great-grandfather, Michael Keane, was a prisoner of war in the First World War where he served with the Royal Navy. My father, John Fuller, was in the Army in the early 1960’s. My son, Michael, served four years with the US Navy on the USS Vella Gulf out of Norfolk, Virginia.
While my family’s history led to us having a deeper appreciation for Memorial Day, it wasn’t until 2013 that it really hit home. In 2011, only six short years ago, I “celebrated” Memorial Day with two sons in the Armed Forces. Michael was finishing his tour of duty in Norfolk, Virginia, but Derek had deployed to Afghanistan in March 2011 with the 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Drum, New York where Derek exemplified the 10th Mountain’s Motto: “Climb to Glory”.
On July 23, 2011, I received a phone call from Fort Drum advising me that Derek had been injured while on patrol. While attempting to secure a landing zone for a medevac helicopter for an injured lieutenant, Derek encountered not one, but two IEDs. The first one knocked him down, but he sustained no further injury. When given the opportunity to stand down, he laughed and carried on. Two steps later, he wasn’t so lucky.
Derek suffered amputations to both legs, the left leg from the hip and the right leg high above the knee. He also had a degloving injury to his right arm, leaving the hand not able to function, several fractures, and blast wounds, and he was riddled with infections due to the dirty soil entering his blood stream. We almost lost him several times to sepsis and organ failure. Derek spent 59 days in the ICU and 228 days (seven full months) as an inpatient at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. He had 45 surgeries and procedures, and he was seen by 34 different medical teams and services. He fought through it all.
Derek fought long and hard to regain his health, strength and stamina, but he never lost his sense of humor. We spent many days sitting in his hospital room, when he was too sick to get out of bed, just laughing at his antics. We were the place nurses and doctors came to hang out and get their daily dose of “Derekisms.”
In high school Derek was the student who showed up to class with a smile and a whole lot of charm. That’s it. No homework. No notebook. Nothing but his winning personality. He charmed his teachers into passing him. He stood up for the little guy. He fought against injustice. He was as fierce in battle as he was gentle in friendship and a great ally. He so loved his family that he had a tattoo of a four-leaf clover on his arm with the names of each of his four siblings. His favorite sayings were “No Luck, Only Sacrifice,” and “Go Big, or Go Home.” He had “No Luck, Only Sacrifice” tattooed on his arm, and many of us have gotten the same tattoo in his honor. He meant that you do not get anywhere in life by relying on luck; you work hard and sacrifice for what is important. That’s who Derek was.
He was also a hot mess. When I told him that, his response to me was, “Well, Mom, at least I’m hot.” His sense of humor is something none of us will quick forget.
Derek fought hard, and never gave up. He learned to walk again on high tech prosthetics, learned to be independent, and proposed to the girl of his dreams, Krystina Dressler, his high school sweetheart. They were to be married in January 2014. Derek aspired to be a writer, and he started his own novel. He was completing the med board process so that he could be medically retired from the Army, and he was looking forward to coming home in the summer of 2013, and to picking up his service dog, a German Shephard with an angel’s name, Gabriel. My sister, Yvette Maglio, renovated her house so that Derek would be able to move home. We were all ready and excited about the future. Derek knew his limitations, but he was ready to meet them head on.
His dreams and goals were not to be realized. On March 18, 2013, almost two years to the date he deployed to Afghanistan, he climbed to eternal glory. Sgt Derek McConnell, 23 years old like so many other Veterans; made the ultimate sacrifice and wrote a blank check payable to The United States of America, for an unknown amount, but “up to, and including, his life…”
But Derek is only one of our brave men and women who answered the call to serve our country. He is but one. I am but one Gold Star Mother honoring and remembering our military heroes on this Memorial Day.
Since the start of the War on Terror, less than 14 years ago, we have lost around 7,000 of our brave, young men and women, and that is not including the 22 each day who lose their battle with PTSD.
Today, we pause to honor all of those lost in military conflict since the start of our great nation, which is more than 1.3 million. Their sacrifice and the sacrifice of their families can never be forgotten.
Memorial Day is about so much more than barbecues, the beach, and a long weekend. Memorial Day is a day of reflection and remembrance. It is a day to remember all of our Fallen Heroes from all of the wars. It is a day to think about the families that will forever grieve for their lost loved one. It is a day to be thankful to those who have served and made the ultimate sacrifice. They fought and died to win the freedom and democracy that we Americans cherish so dearly.
All gave some, but some gave all.
Along with my Gold Star Sisters and Brothers, I will bear the burden for everyone in this great Nation to have a “happy” Memorial Day.
So go on and have a happy Memorial Day. Smile when someone says, “Happy Memorial Day.” Then take a few minutes to reflect on all of those who gave all so that you and I could have a Happy Memorial Day.
Pledge to go silent for these brave men and women at 3:00 p.m. on Memorial Day. Never forget their sacrifice so that you may live free.
On Memorial Day, we gather to remember the brave men and women who selflessly gave all so that we can enjoy the freedom that is part and parcel of life in America.
The following is only a small snapshot of the brave men and women who gave all. Remember their sacrifice. Raise a toast to them. Have a wonderful, and happy Memorial Day, but please do NOT forget those who made it possible.
I cannot and will not take credit for this piece, except that I took the time to put it together (about 10 hours total, I think). Some of the following, I wrote. Some I took from obituaries or articles I found online. Some of it was written by a family member. All of it acknowledges and remembers those who gave all. Unless otherwise specified, my source is various sites from the world wide web.
Sgt Derek Tra McConnell was born on October 8, 1989. The second of five children, Derek graduated from West Essex High School in North Caldwell in 2008, and moved to Parsippany in August 2009. He enlisted in the US Army in January 2010, and was stationed at Fort Drum, NY. He deployed to Afghanistan in March 2011. After stepping on an IED on July 23, 2011 in the Zahari District of Afghanistan, Derek suffered amputations of both legs, the left leg from the hip, traumatic injury to his right arm leaving him with limited function, as well as other injuries. Derek did not let his injuries get him down. His sense of humor, never quit attitude, and passion for life were infectious. Derek was an aspiring writer and ghost hunter, and he was looking forward to being medically retired from the Army this summer, as well as picking up his service dog, Gabriel, and getting married to his high school sweetheart in January 2014, after winning a dream wedding contest. He was 23 years old when he was called to eternal rest on March 18, 2013. (Written by Siobhan Fuller McConnell)
PFC Brian M. Wolverton, 7 Nov 87 – 20 Aug 09 was KIA Kunar Province, Afghanistan. 1-32 Infantry Battalion, 10th Mountain Division. Brian grew up in Oak Park, CA. A track athlete in high school, he earned an Associate’s Degree in Cultural Anthropology before enlisting in the Army. He was planning on completing his education after his enlistment using the GI Bill. Very interested in history and other cultures, he also helped coach his high school track team while in college. (Written by Wayne Wolverton)
John Wesley Spraul of the US Navy passed away on February 28, 2013. Born in Barstow, California to John Michael and Darla Jane (nee Crisp) Spraul, now of Hendersonville, North Carolina. John was the beloved husband of Angela Rodriguez Spraul. He leaves behind to cherish his memory, his two loving children, Alana Tirzah, and Ava Nayeli. He was the loving brother of Jeddiah, Caleb, Morgan, Tyler, Cady and Elijah.
Airman David Maxwell Walker II, age 20, and a resident of Spring Hill, Tennessee passed away July 31, 2012 at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. David was born November 11, 1991 in Greenville, MS to David Maxwell Walker and Sarah Lyles Walker. He was a 2010 graduate of Spring Hill High School, and a member of the Spring Hill First Baptist Church. “It is well known that Max was a ‘momma’s baby,'” his mother recalls. “He would always tell me he was never too big to sit in my lap.” He was always kind-hearted and loving toward others. His respect for those around him was evident in his life. In his free time, Max enjoyed riding motorcycles and getting as muddy as he could, off-road. If there was something to tear up, Max would. He played paintball and computer games as well. In school, he was a member of the Spring Hill JROTC program. His JROTC Commanding Officer recounted his time with Walker when they began working together in 2008. “Cadet Walker was part of the program from its inception. During those years, I had the opportunity to observe numerous aspects of his leadership, teamwork, and missio accomplishments,” recounted CSM Stephen Williams. “He soon rose through the ranks to Staff Sergeant in the program and was recognized for his outstanding performance by receiving numerous awards and ribbons.”
Sergeant Mickel D. Garrigus, 24, of Elma, Washington, died January 27, 2007, in Taji, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle during combat patrol. Garrigus was assigned to the 543rd Military Police Company, 91st Police Battalion, 10th Sustainment Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York. Mickel enlisted in the Army a month after
graduating, following his step-father into the armed forces. Mickel married Natasha on January 23, 2004, and they had one son, Ethan.
Spc Justin Hebert U.S. Army 13F 173rd Airborne, Caserma Ederle, Italy. KIA 8.1.2003 OIF I Silvana, WA 20 yrs old. Of Arlington, Washington. Hebert was on patrol when his vehicle was struck by a rocket propelled grenade in Kirkuk, Iraq. Hebert was assigned to the 319th Field Artillery, 173rd Airborne Brigade, Camp Ederle, Italy. Died on August 1, 2003.
I’m Justin’s sister, Jessica Hebert. I just want to say thank you to you all. I appreciate the support and I don’t know how I will ever thank any of you. It’s been extremely hard to get back to day to day things. I find myself just caught off guard every time I start to think about my brother. He meant the world to me and I am so very proud to be his sister. I’ll never forget him or any of you…..this will be a memory of a lifetime. As tragic as this has been, I have never felt so much strength from more people in my entire life. It’s sad that it takes something so devastating to bring total strangers together. I know that from this day on that I won’t look at anyone as a stranger. I’ll look at them like they are an open book with much to offer.
Life is just too short. I feel like I am going to take what I can out of this and do my best in caring on my life with Justin right beside me. He’s there, I can feel it. I just can’t see that he is there and that is what will bother me for the rest of my life. He knows that I love him and I’m glad that I had 20 short years to tell him that. I am glad that I was able to hear it from him. I have no regrets….just wishes, wishing he were still here to come home and earn his gratitude while stepping on United States soil with everyone else that arrives home safely.
May Justin guide all of you men and women serving our country at this time. I know that he won’t turn his back on you. He never turned it on anyone else…..
May he have the sweetest dreams…….
PROUD sister of SPC Justin Hebert
I will forever love you…………
SFC Daniel T. Metcalfe, 29, of Liverpool, N.Y.; assigned to 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Vicenza, Italy; died Sep. 29 in Sayyid Abad, Afghanistan, of injuries caused by small-arms fire. He first arrived in Vicenza in January 2002. He served with the brigade on its rotation in Iraq, then deployed for two rotations in Afghanistan with Company A. He then became a drill instructor at Fort Benning, Ga., before returning to Vicenza in 2011, where he was promoted and became a Company D platoon sergeant. In addition to his wife, Vesna, Metcalfe is survived by four children: Kalyn, 12; Alexis, 6; Edward, 3; and Nathaniel, 1. He is also survived by his parents, Tom and Sherri ; a brother, James; and a sister, Debi.
Christopher M. Wainwright, Age 26, resident of Copperas Cove, TX for 1½ years, formerly of Temecula for 15 years, passed away 01/23/2009. Christopher was born 07/04/1982 in Long Beach, CA. He was in the US Army for 2 years. Christopher was a 2000 graduate of Temecula Valley High and was a member of the ROTC. Christopher is survived by his wife, Tallia; son, Christopher Julian; parents, Timothy Wainright and Christina Nichols of Temecula; brothers, Lance Cpl. David Wainright, Christopher Tiecero, Justin Gilbert; sisters, Stevie Wainright, Angelina Gilbert, Evelyn Gilbert, Tareena Gilbert; grandparents, Archie and Carole Wainright; godparents, Margaret Porter and Peter Horvath.
Army PVT Isaac T. Cortes / KIA November 27, 2007 / Operation Iraqi Freedom
Assigned to 1st Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, New York.
Army PVT Isaac Cortes died November 27, 2007 of wounds sustained when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device in Amerli, Iraq. Also killed in the blast was SPC Benjamin J. Garrison.
Isaac grew up in Parkchester, the Bronx, in one of the sprawling apartment developments built by Metropolitan Life in the 1930s and ‘40s He attended Christopher Columbus High School and upon graduation, Isaac got work as a ride operator at Playland Amusement Park in Rye, one in a series of jobs. Of his enlistment, “He said it was the best decision he ever made,” his Aunt Wanda said. “He spoke to his mother on Thanksgiving Day. He said it was really crazy, that he was very tired.” Five days later, PVT Cortes and SPC Garrison were driving through the village of Amerli, 100 miles north of Baghdad when the roadside bomb detonated that took their lives. Earlier that year in July, one of the deadliest bombings of the war had killed between over 150 people there. PVT Cortes had been deployed for three and a half months. PVT Isaac Cortes was 26 years old from the Bronx, New York.
Pfc Michael Robert DeMarsico II, also known as Demar to his military brothers overseas, Mikey to his family and Sunshine to his mother, deployed to Heaven after being killed in action on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012, while serving his country in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Attached to 1-23 IN 3-2 SBCT Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, Michael deployed to Afghanistan at the end of March 2012 and took a job that placed him in front of his brothers, always wanting to protect them no matter the cost. He protected and saved his brothers and many others over and over again.
Michael was born on Dec. 22, 1991, son of Lisa (Babcock) DeMarsico and Michael Robert DeMarsico. Besides his parents, Michael is survived by his four siblings, Aubrey Raye DeMarsico and her fiance T.J. Harmon of Pittsfield, Kailey Rose DeMarsico, Leigha Renae DeMarsico and Adam Reed DeMarsico, all of North Adams; maternal great-grandmothers, Belva Babcock and Barbara Cahoon; maternal grandmother, Ronnalee (Cahoon) Porey of Florida, Mass., and maternal grandfather, Frank A. Babcock of Bennington, Vt.; paternal grandmother, Rena (Tatro) DeMarsico of North Adams, as well as many aunts, uncles and cousins.
SFC David J. Todd Jr., age thirty-six of Marrero, Louisiana, died August 20, 2008 in Bala Morghab, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his unit was attacked while on patrol by enemy forces using small arms fire. He was assigned to the Afghan Regional Security Integration Command-West, Herat, Afghanistan. It was his first Afghanistan deployment.
SFC Todd was a former Army ROTC instructor at Tulane University who volunteered for duty in Afghanistan. A cavalry scout who joined the Army in 1991, SFC Todd was assigned to the Orleans Battalion as an instructor at Tulane from 2003 until he volunteered to join a “military transition team,” a small unit trained to help Afghani and Iraqi troops assume control of their countries. Such teams embed with Afghan army units. SFC Todd was a husband and father and provided training and care to many others in their quest for improvement and attainment of their personal best.
Army PFC Michael Metcalfe, age 22, died April 22, 2012 of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device in Ghazni province, Afghanistan. Also killed in the blast was 1LT Jonathan P. Walsh. PFC Metcalf had only been in Afghanistan for about two weeks when he died. He joined the Army just after graduating from a Wisconsin military academy. Michael was born May 15, 1989 in Coral Springs, Florida; the son of Ceejay Metcalf and Kimberly Metcalf. After high school he discovered bull riding and tattoos, which he loved the most. He also enjoyed truck mudding, playing pool, and just going out with friends. Michael was a free-spirited person who left you feeling like you had been a lifelong friend after just meeting him. Childhood friend, Mandy Eichorst, remembered Michael as the “class clown,” she recalled, “Always making people laugh. I wish his homecoming was a little bit different, but I’ll see him again.”
PFC Metcalf was a Quick Response Team member and was coming to the aid of his injured comrades when he was killed. He was a paratrooper assigned to the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. PFC Metcalf was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his actions.
Michael is survived by his father, Ceejay; mother, Kimberly; grandparents, Clarence Metcalf and Ann Faustine; uncles, Anthony Metcalf, Joseph Faustine, and Richard Faustine; aunts Sandra Bennett and Patti Metcalf; niece, Rylee O’Keefe; and several cousins.
PFC Michael Metcalf was 22 years old from Boynton Beach, Florida.
CPT Jay Brainard, 26, of Newport and Atkinson, Maine; assigned to 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, Ansbach-Katterbach, Germany; died May 28, 2012 in Kabul, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when his AH-64 Apache helicopter was shot down from enemy fire. Also killed was Army Chief Warrant Officer Five John C. Pratt.
Sergeant Jeffrey C. S. Sherer, 29, of Four Oaks, North Carolina, died June 2, 2011, in Zabul province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
LTC Arthur D. “Nick” Nicholson, Jr – Fort Huachuca, AZ. – When Major “Nick” Nicholson and his driver, Staff Sergeant Jessie Schatz headed out to patrol an area in Ludwigslust, East Germany on the morning of March 24, 1985, there was nothing unusual about their mission. They were in uniform, driving a vehicle marked with the distinctive plates of the U.S. Military Liaison Mission (USMLM) and they were unarmed. As members of this unique organization, the two men were basically licensed spies, authorized by a 1947 treaty with the Soviet Union which allowed all parties of the occupation to maintain communications and exchange intelligence in the occupied zones of East and West Germany. Originally, the agreement was designed to coordinate efforts and keep tabs on German disarmament and demilitarization. As the Cold War progressed, however, the liaison teams remained in place, keeping tabs on each other rather than the Germans. The Soviets had their own liaison mission which operated on the same principles inside the American, British, and French zones of occupation.
He was shot by a Soviet sentry, a young sergeant named Aleksandr Ryabtsev.
He was posthumously awarded the Legion of Merit and the Purple Heart, and in an unprecedented move, promoted to Lieutenant Colonel upon approval of the President. Three years later, the Soviet Union expressed “regret” over Nicholson’s death. Ironically, by the time LTC Nicholson was inducted into the MI Hall of Fame in June 1991, the two divided sides of Germany had been reunited (Oct 3, 1990), and six months after his induction, the Soviet Union would officially be dissolved (Dec 26, 1991). The veterans of the Cold War, America’s longest war, deserve to be recognized, honored, and remembered. LTC Arthur D. “Nick” Nicholson, Jr: we thank you for your service.
Frank B. Walkup IV – was born in Memphis, TN on June 19, 1983 and died in Kirkuk, Iraq, Saturday, June 16 from injuries sustained in Rashaad, Iraq. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Div., Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. He is survived by his wife, Sabita Maharaj Walkup; parents, Frank and Mitzi Walkup of Woodbury and Melissa Oaks of Memphis; nine siblings, Franz, Mitch, Kevin, Nina, Andy, Emily, Jake, Josh and Taylor; grandparents, Frank and Joyce Walkup, Faye Burdine, Claude and Audrey Barron, Glenda Knight and Bobby White; great-grandparents, Frank B. and Kathleen Mitchell and Ruth Walkup. He was a 1st Lt. in United States Army Infantry where he was trained as an Airborne Air Assault and was Ranger qualified. He was commissioned as 2ndLt. on May 5, 2005, the day he graudated from UT Knoxville, ROTC. He was also a member of the Woodbury United Methodist Church.
SSGT Jorge Oliveira – 33, New Jersey National Guard on his third tour of duty was KIA in October 2011. He was also an 11-year veteran at the Essex County Sheriff’s office, working the dangerous Fugitive Squad. Oliveira was deployed in March 2011 with 58 other guardsmen. He had also served in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay. Oliveira lived in the Ironbound section of Newark with his parents and his brother.
SSgt. Edward Karolasz, 25 – Killed near Baiji, north of Baghdad by a roadside bomb
When Kristine Karolasz came home last Wednesday, she found a voice mail from her younger brother, Edward, a soldier in Iraq, thanking her for having sent him a birthday card. “He said, ‘I got your package and thank you and I love everybody, and I’ll talk to you in two or three days,'” his sister said yesterday, her voice breaking. He never got the chance.
At 10:30 Saturday night, two Army officers came to her parents’ home in Kearny to notify them that their son was dead.
Army Staff Sgt. Edward Karolasz, 25, the son of Edward and Krystyna Karolasz, was one of five soldiers killed Saturday near Baiji, north of Baghdad, in two separate roadside bomb attacks, one of whom was Dennis Zilinski, also of New Jersey. Five other soldiers were wounded. All were with the 101st Airborne Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team, according to his family.
Adapted From The Star-Ledger Archive, By MARY JO PATTERSON
COPYRIGHT (c) The Star-Ledger 2005
Leroy DeRonde III of Jersey City, NJ, age 22, was one of two soldiers killed on May 27 when their unit was attacked in Afghanistan. DeRonde, assigned to the 125th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st
Armored Division, Fort Bliss Texas, died in the Wardak District in central Afghanistan.
Army Sgt. Humberto F. Timoteo Died June 5, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom, age 25, of Newark, N.J.; assigned to Battery A, 3rd Battalion, 112th Field Artillery, Army National Guard, Morristown, N.J.; killed June 5 when his vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in Baghdad.
Sgt. Humberto Timoteo and Spc. Ryan Doltz were killed Saturday when a roadside bomb hit their armored vehicle. The two men, members of a field artillery unit, were providing security for a convoy when they were killed. “The loss of a single soldier is difficult to the National Guard family and community,” said Lt. Col. Roberta Niedt, a spokeswoman. “It is inconceivable that we have had to face this many deaths in such a short period of time.”
Timoteo, 25, was from Newark. He belonged to the 3rd Battalion of the 112th Field Artillery, headquartered in Morristown. Two other members of the unit, Sgt. Frank Carvill, 51, of Carlstadt, and Spc. Christopher Duffy, 26, of Brick, were killed Friday in an ambush. Three other soldiers from the unit were injured in Friday’s attack.
Adapted from an article by Evan Berland, Associated Press
Spc Ryan Doltz – Died June 5, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom, age 25, of Newark, N.J.; assigned to Battery A, 3rd Battalion, 112th Field Artillery, Army National Guard, Morristown, N.J.; killed June 5 when his vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in Baghdad. Spc. Ryan Doltz was killed Saturday when a roadside bomb hit their armored vehicle. The two men, members of a field artillery unit, were providing security for a convoy when they were killed. “The loss of a single soldier is difficult to the National Guard family and community,” said Lt. Col. Roberta Niedt, a spokeswoman. “It is inconceivable that we have had to face this many deaths in such a short period of time.”
Doltz, 26, was from Mine Hill. He belonged to the 3rd Battalion of the 112th Field Artillery, headquartered in Morristown. Two other members of the unit, Sgt. Frank Carvill, 51, of Carlstadt, and Spc. Christopher Duffy, 26, of Brick, were killed Friday in an ambush. Three other soldiers from the unit were injured in Friday’s attack.
Adapted from an article by Evan Berland, Associated Press
Lance Cpl. Osbrany Montes De Oca died Friday in Helmand Province. He was 20. He was an identical twin, whose twin as well as his older brother were also Marines. The twins’ passion for the Corps persuaded their older brother, 22-year-old Sandro Moreta, to enlist a few months after them, relatives said. Based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., he was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force. On his Facebook page, Montes De Oca poses in uniform with his girlfriend, whom he calls “the love of my life,” and writes, “I do have a future. I am a United States Marine.”
Army Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski, November 19, 2005, Age: 23, Hometown: Howell, NJ – Killed by a roadside bomb near Bayji
Zilinski, 23, of Howell in Monmouth County was one of four American soldiers killed by a roadside bomb during combat operations as they traveled in a Humvee near Bayji, 155 miles north of Baghdad. The attack was the same one that claimed the life of Staff Sgt. Edward Karolasz of Kearny. “Dennis stood behind the nation’s mission 100 percent, ready to serve and protect the freedoms so many citizens cherish,” his parents, Dennis and Marion Zilinski, said in a statement released through the public affairs office at Fort Monmouth. “He lived the Army values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless sacrifi
ce, honor, integrity, personal courage.” Zilinski, a 2004 graduate of West Point, was a first lieutenant with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division.
Zilinski is survived by his parents, two brothers, two sisters, a grandmother and a large extended family.
Adapted from an article in The Star-Ledger by TOM FEENEY
Marine Lance Cpl. Phillip E. Frank – age 20, died April 8, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom, assigned to 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; killed by hostile fire in Anbar province, Iraq. He joined the Marines after watching the second of two planes hit the World Trade Center towers. “He was devastated by that experience, and it never left him,” Frank said at his son’s memorial service at St. John’s United Methodist Church.
Army Staff Sgt. Gary L. Woods Jr.- Died April 10, 2009 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom – age 24, of Lebanon Junction, Ky.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.; died when his vehicle was struck by a suicide bomber. Also killed were Sgt. 1st Class Bryan E. Hall, Sgt. Edward W. Forrest Jr., Cpl. Jason G. Pautsch and Pfc. Bryce E. Gautier. Patrick Keller, who served with Gary L. Woods Jr. in Iraq, remembered him as a fine soldier who cracked jokes to break up the most tense situations and also for Woods’ love of music. “I remember on more than one occasion he’d be busting out his acoustic guitar in Iraq and entertaining the rest of us. We used to joke around and tell him that he should release an album entitled ‘Talifar Unplugged,’ ” referring to an Iraqi town.
David Alex Knapp, an Army police officer stationed in Iraq, died of a heart attack after surviving life changes injuries in Iraq. He had his legs amputated above his knees from injuries suffered in March 2008 when an improvised explosive device blew up the vehicle in which he rode near Baghdad. His attempt to apply the vehicle’s emergency brake following the explosion, which injured four soldiers, was described as nearly super human by fellow soldier Austin Bewley, who was in the truck with him.
The Eisenhower High School graduate underwent at least 16 surgeries, endured numerous complications and recuperated at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington D.C. Knapp in September returned to his hometown, Shelby Township, and last December moved into a barrier-free home specially designed for him in Macomb Township, thanks to the charitable organization, Home for Our Troops. He was admired by his friends and family for retaining an upbeat attitude and generous spirit.
At the time he suffered the heart attack, he was playing the Michigan Sled Dogs sled hockey team and had made the U.S. junior sled hockey team and was to be a first or second alternative for the national team that would compete in the next Olympics, Kevin Knapp said. “He wasn’t the type to let anything like that bother him or slow him down,” Knapp said. He is survived by his parents, Eric and Jeannette, and two brothers, Ryan and Michael Shane.
Marine Cpl. Barton R. Humlhanz, age 23, Died August 26, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom, assigned to Marine Expeditionary Unit Service Support Group 24, 24th MEU, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; killed Aug. 26 by enemy action in Babil province, Iraq. Humlhanz enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2000, before he graduated, and wore his military uniform to commencement. He was voted “most unique” by his graduating class, Dietrich said, and is pictured in the yearbook wearing an Army baseball cap.
Pamela Dowling joined the Marine Corps right out of high school in Oregon in 2005 to get money for college. She deployed three times, including to Iraq and Afghanistan, over the course of five years in uniform. She worked with big trucks, including providing gun support. When Dowling left the Marines, she was already suffering from PTSD and depression that occurred following her first deployment. According to her aunt, Lindsay Stevens, Dowling was in therapy for PTSD for nearly a decade, both in the Marines and later at the San Diego VA.
She had tried to reach out to the VA, but she was turned off by the experience. She called that last weekend. Her family questions whether the VA crisis worker should have acted —instead of endorsing her plan to wait over the weekend. “Why didn’t they go get her, when they knew that was how she was feeling?”
“She wasn’t in therapy because it wasn’t helping her,” Stevens said. “After 10 years of PTSD therapy, she shouldn’t have shot herself. That’s not usually how that would work. Ten years of therapy, you should be getting better.”
Army SFC Raymond J. Munden- Died February 16, 2009 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom – 35, of Mesquite, Texas; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; died Feb. 16 at Forward Operating Base Tillman in Orgun-E, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit using indirect fire. Raymond J. Munden joined the Army in August 1991, only three months after graduating from high school. Growing up in a military family, he and his brother, Brad, both set their sights on serving their country at a young age. Raymond joined the Army, and Brad joined the Navy. “We both knew growing up that that’s what we wanted to do,” said Brad Munden. “He’s always had that passion.” Munden is survived by his wife, Kelly their daughters, Sydney, 6, and Kailey, 2 and two sons from a previous marriage, Gaven, 13, and Garrett, 12.
MacPherson was born July 20, 1986 in Long Beach, Calif. and graduated from Los Alamitos High School. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in May 2007 and completed One Station Unit Training at Fort Benning, Ga., as an infantryman. MacPherson is survived by his wife, Claudia MacPherson, and their son, Brayden of Tacoma, Wash., and his parents, Troy and Diona MacPherson of Long Beach, Calif.
Master Sgt. MacLean said Wyatt lived his life with honor, commitment and courage.
“He didn’t die. He changed jobs,” MacLean said. “He went from being a Marine here on earth to guarding the gates of Heaven. That’s what Marines do.”
Kristopher joined the Army National Guard in 2003, served in Iraq from 2005 – 2006, was in the military full-time from 2006 to the present and he was on his 2nd tour in Afghanistan. Kristopher served in several Army combative tournaments. United States Sergeant Kristopher James Gould received several awards and decorations, including: the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal for Mobilization and the Army Service Ribbon. Sergeant Kristopher Gould was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.
But Morgan did not hear from her son the next morning; instead, the Marines informed her of her son’s death.
“When he found out he was being deployed, he was excited. He said he was finally going to do what he was getting paid to do,” Morgan said. “I think the military made my son a man and I am extremely proud of him.”
“There is no doubt that Anthony’s actions that day saved the lives of many Marines to his left and his right,” Kevin Murphy, Denier’s platoon commander, said. “I witnessed young men in their prime sacrificing everything for each other and with each other. I witnessed courage like this time and time again throughout the firefight. I am very proud of Anthony and his actions, for I know it is because of his sacrifice that the rest of us came home.”
Keith was a Navajo and belonged to the Towering House clan and then to the Bitter Water clan. “He was willing to go to war to sacrifice his life for his country and his reservation,” said his younger brother, Chad.
He was scheduled to end his tour in Iraq in just a little more than three weeks and planned to serve the remainder of his time in California.
The Filipino immigrant had been in the United States for only three months in 2008 when he decided to join the Army. The 19-year-old, who was living in the Glassell Park area of Los Angeles, dreamed of becoming a pilot. Hizon had just started classes at Glendale Community College, where an Army recruiter sparked his interest. “First I didn’t want to let him sign up, because I wasn’t ready for that,” said his father, Rodolfo Hizon Jr. But two weeks later, he agreed. The grief of Hizon’s mother, Rachel Santiago, is especially acute; she had not seen her older son in three years. U.S. immigration rules had forced her to stay in the Philippines when Ryan, his younger brother and sister and their father moved to Los Angeles three years ago. It was only after he died that she was able to come to the U.S. She joined his brother, sister and father for a solemn military ceremony outside a Burbank airport hangar, where they embraced and wept over Hizon’s flag-draped casket.
A few weeks later, at a naturalization ceremony in Afghanistan for the U.S. military, U.S. Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry spoke of Hizon’s sacrifice. “Specialist Hizon gave his life for the honor of his country,” the ambassador said at the event in Kandahar. “In addition to receiving the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and the National Defense Service Medal among many other awards and decorations, Specialist Hizon also became a citizen of the United States posthumously on March 14. “Although Specialist Hizon was not able to swear the oath of citizenship, we know from his actions that in his heart, he was a true American. He cherished the United States and upheld her values until the end. I am proud that his family, particularly his mother, who remained in the Philippines, will now be eligible to receive her son’s survivor benefits.”
Santiago, who recently got her green card, lives now with her other two children and their father in Glassell Park. From their home, they can see the cemetery bluff where Hizon is buried. Hizon’s father is thankful for his son’s citizenship but regrets that he never had the chance to enjoy being an American. “It came too late,” he said.
U.S. Army Spc. Dustin G. Allen, age 28, died May 18, 2012 in Croatia. He was a long time resident of Mobile, Al, but was stationed in Vicenza, Italy. He is survived by his mother Susan Allen, aunt Karen Dennis, sister Sherri Teat (Billy Teat), nephews Jordan, Liam and Logan Teat, brothers Joshua, Nicholas and the family dog “Liz” and many many more family and friends. He is preceded in death by his grandmother Mary Dennis.
Army Cpl. Keith E. Essay, 20, of Dyersburg, Tenn.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; died Jan. 8, 2009 in Maywand, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when his dismounted patrol was hit by an improvised explosive device. Also killed was Sgt. Joshua L. Rath.
They were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division at Fort Hood.
Sgt. Casey Byers, a member of the Iowa National Guard, died June 11, the first person from Schleswig to die in Iraq. Last week, two days before Casey, 22, was to be eulogized, his brother, Spc. Justin Paul Byers, 19, was struck and killed by a pickup on a local highway.
PFC Mikel Aaron Justus was born on July 1, 1982 in Grundy, Virginia. He lived in Richlands and Tazewell for most of his life before joining the United States Army in 2005. Mikel was an avid golfer. It was by far the sport of his choice. He was a self taught golfer spending many hours at the Tazewell County Country Club while a child and teenager playing. In 1999, he took first place in the Junior Golf Boys 14-18 playoff. For nine months, Mikel had been assigned to Walter Reed Medical Center for rehabilitation for injuries he received in November 2008. While at Walter Reed Medical Center, Mikel touched many lives, giving many soldiers hope from day to day to go on. He befriended everyone he met and he never met a stranger. He had a heart of love and would give or help people anyway he could. Mikel’s nickname at Walter Reed Medical Center was “Miracle Mike,” because they had witnessed actually seeing the miracles and changes in Mikel’s physical body.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Clayton R. Beauchamp, of Weatherford, Texas, died Aug. 7 when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device while conducting a dismounted patrol in the Shaban District, Helmand Province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 6, 1st Marine Division (Forward), I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), Camp Pendleton, Calif.
SSgt Jeffery Reber, USMC, 2/19/85 – 8/12/14, Assigned to the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). The 11th MEU is a forward-deployed, flexible sea-based Marine air-ground task force. Jeff served two tours in Iraq, one tour in Afghanistan and one tour in Yemen. While serving in Afghanistan Jeff received the Navy Commendation Medal with Valor for combat heroism. Jeff is survived by his wife, two sons, his mother, a brother, and a sister. Jeffery loved surfing and spending time with his family and his 2 boys. He was stationed at Camp Pendleton, CA and served in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen. He was in 2 different companies 1/1 and 1/4. He served as a recruiter for 4 years. He loved USC football and the Los Angeles of Anaheim Angels.
Pfc. Brian Scott Ulbrich, 23, served as a lookout for bombs and insurgents ahead of his unit. He died Sunday after explosions rocked his Humvee, said his mother, Barbara Ulbrich. Ulbrich graduated in 1999 from Scott High School in Madison. He studied criminal justice at Marshall and had hoped to become an FBI agent but changed his mind, his mother said. He started training with the Army in April 2004 and joined a Fort Carson, Colo.-based unit that went overseas in March. He had spent his weekends home from Marshall doing part-time work at a Boone County coal mine that included running a bulldozer. On a recent mission, Ulbrich’s unit came upon a canal that looked to be uncrossable. He spotted a bulldozer nearby and hopped aboard. Before his commanding officers could react, he had the engine started and had a plan to cross the canal. Barbara Ulbrich said that when a doubting officer questioned her son, he replied, “Sir, I’m a West Virginia coal miner and I know what I’m doing.”
Spc. Eric J. Poelman, 21 married his “sweetheart of three years,” Renate Klema, on May 1, 2004, his father said. She is living with her parents in Racine. The Poelmans lived in Mount Pleasant, just outside Racine, before moving to Texas. Eric Poelman has two brothers, Andy, 23, and Greg, 17. Poelman joined the Army in January 2003 to get more experience operating big equipment like bulldozers and cranes after being home schooled in high school, his father said. The soldier spent five months in Iraq in 2003 and was redeployed for another tour of duty in March after being based at Fort Carson, Colo., Matt Poelman said. In Saturday’s call, the son reported he had a broken DVD player, and the parents already bought one to replace it by Monday, the father said. “He was planning to come home in two weeks, at the end of June. We still got the DVD player laying here,” he said.
Written by Kelli Culverhouse Barfield – My grandfather, SSG JASON FRANKLIN HILL– KIA 1945-Okinawa, Japan, beside his devoted wife, LOIS ETHEL SMITH-HILL…My grandfather was on his second enlistment when he was killed. It took my grandmother over 3 years to get him home so that he could finally be laid to rest where he belonged at home in his hometown…
Written by Kelli Culverhouse Barfield – My son, LCpl Jason Nicholas Barfield USMC – KIA 3/7/89-10/24/11 HELMAND PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN Sangin District – OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM. Jason was with 3rd CEB & was attached to 3/7 out of 29 Palms, CA … Jason will be forever 22 Our hometown affectionately gave him the name HOMETOWN HERO and his guys, his brothers from Cali nicknamed him MOMMA for his nurturing ways…
— Staff Sgt. Liam J. Nevins, 32, of Denver, Colo., assigned to 5th Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group, Watkins, Colo. Nevins received a Purple Heart with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster (2nd Award) and Army Commendation Medal with two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters (3rd Award) among his numerous awards. Nevins is survived by his mother, his father, two sisters, and his fiance.
— Staff Sgt. Timothy R. McGill, 30, of Ramsey, N.J., assigned to 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group, Middletown, R.I. McGill deployed with the 3rd Marine Division in 2005 and joined the R.I. National Guard in 2008. His awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal and the National Defense Service Medal. He is survived by his parents and two sisters.
— Spc. Joshua J. Strickland, 23, of Woodstock, Ga., assigned to 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. His awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal and the Army Achievement Medal. He is survived by his wife, his son and two daughters.
So-called insider attacks killed 62 personnel in 47 incidents last year compared with 35 killed in 21 attacks a year earlier, according to NATO.
So far in 2013, 11 foreign soldiers have been killed in seven such attacks, including Saturday’s, according to an Associated Press count.
Army Staff Sgt. Jamie D. Jarboe, 27, Died March 21, 2012 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom, of Frankfort, Ind.; assigned to 4th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.; died March 21 in Topeka, Kan., from wounds suffered on April 10, 2011, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, when enemy forces attacked his unit with small-arms fire.
I have seen a lot of memes and nastiness going on around Ariana Grande since Monday night’s attack in Manchester, England, and I have to put in my two cents for what it’s worth.
As to Ariana herself, I am not a fan. I don’t like her music. Some of it is catchy and fun to dance to, but I think when she sings, she sounds like she is screaming. And I cannot get past the time at the start of the Army Ten Miler when they were playing the National Anthem and everyone was at attention, but the DJ at the finish line was blasting, singing, and dancing to “Bang Bang.” Now every time I hear that song, I’m transported back to that time. Not Ariana’s fault, but anyway.
But, because I am not a fan, I am not coming from a place where I want to automatically defend her.
Come on, people. You don’t have to be a fan to know that some of this crap going around since the tragedy in Manchester is just plain wrong.
On Monday, May 22, 2017, a suicide bomber killed 22 and injured many more as fans, mostly children, were streaming out of an Ariana Grande concert. Ariana then cancelled 35 shows on her planned international tour, and she headed home.
After such a tragedy, we should be banning together and trying to find out how to prevent this in the future. This isn’t the time or place for me to espouse on the benefits or evils of immigration, refugees, etc., so I will move on.
I’ve seen two memes this week, and both times it made me sick to my stomach.
This one is the first one that I saw:
First of all, Ariana Grande is 23 years old. She’s still very young and has been thrown into a mature adult world when I don’t think she was ready.
Did she say she hates America and Americans? Yes, she did. I was pretty ticked when she did it, but she was 21 years old and stupid. Don’t we all know a bunch of 21 year olds? They are obtuse. They have no filters and say the stupidest things. Are we going to hold everything a stupid kid says against him/her for the rest of his/her life? Or are we going to allow him/she to learn from his/her stupidity and move on?
She actually meant her statement as a side comment on American obesity while she was looking at fattening, but delicious donuts.
She came out with the following statement:
“I am EXTREMELY proud to be an American and I’ve always made it clear that I love my country. What I said in a private moment with my friend, who was buying the donuts, was taken out of context and I am sorry for not using more discretion with my choice of words. As an advocate for healthy eating, food is very important to me and I sometimes get upset by how freely we as Americans eat and consume things without giving any thought to the consequences that it has on our health and society as a whole. The fact that the United States has the highest child obesity rate in the world frustrates me. We need to do more to educate ourselves and our children about the dangers of overeating and the poison that we put into our bodies. We need to demand more from our food industry. However I should have known better in how I expressed myself; and with my new responsibility to others as a public figure I will strive to be better. As for why I cannot be at the MLB show, I have had emergency oral surgery and due to recovery I cannot attend the show. I hope to make it up to all those fans soon. That being said let me once again apologize if I have offended anyone with my poor choice of words.
– Ariana Grande”
Do I forgive her? Nothing to forgive. She said something stupid and she apologized. Move along. Nothing more to see here.
It is wrong and despicable to throw it back in her face when she is mourning the loss of 22 of her fans, and when she is trying to cope with the knowledge that children were killed at her concert. As a Mom, I want to wrap my arms around the very young lady and tell her that everything will be all right.
But then this one started going around:
This is disgraceful, and to whomever made it, I hope Karma bites you in the ass and soon.
This is NOT Ariana Grande. This is the real image:
But since it is on the internet, it must be true, right?
Please, people. Stop affixing blame and pointing the fingers at a young woman whose only crime is being a stupid kid and saying thoughtless things two years ago.
If she was going around espousing the evils of America and saying she hates us all the time, then I’d be right there with you and telling you to go for it. But it was once. And it was two years ago.
She also does not deserve all of this or to be told, “well, that’s what you get” because she is a Trump hater and wants open borders. No one deserves to deal with this. Maybe this event will change her political views, but probably not. Some of her political views are a reflection on the influence of the Hollywood elite, and some are just her being too young to know any better, but she will grow up, eventually.
Concentrate on the real evil here. We are in a jihad. We have a group of people who have sworn to wipe us off the planet. If you are Jewish, Christian, American, English, French, or anything other than Muslim, they want you dead. I am not saying that it is all Muslims. There are extremists in every religion, race, group, ethnicity, etc.
But these extremists are Muslim, and they are not afraid to kill themselves as long as they take a few of us with them.
We cannot coexist with people who want us dead. If I thought that giving them a big hug, inviting them to dinner to allow them to explain why they hate us, or doing any other liberal bull shit would stop this carnage, then I’d support it. But it won’t happen. They hate us. They want us dead.
Bottom line to this rant – stop blaming Ariana Grande for what these animals have done to us. You are taking the spotlight and attention off the real issues!
Be vigilant. Be careful. Keep your eyes open. If you see something, say something.
And for God’s sake, please stop affixing blame and attacking a young woman who said something stupid two years ago. She is not a factor in this.
Seaside Heights Boardwalk lost a shining star on December 5, 2016, but Heaven gained a new angel. Ironically enough, my dear, beautiful, strong, cousin Robin had also been born on December 5th, some 50-ish years ago.
I remember when I was little, my sister Yvette and I would accompany our parents to Toms River to visit with Granny (Dad’s Mom). My great-aunt Rea (Dad’s Dad’s sister) and cousins, Robin and Doug, also lived in Toms River.
During the summer, no trip to Toms River was complete without a walk on the Seaside Heights Boardwalk, a tradition I continued until my Granny passed away in 2002, after which we skipped Toms River and went straight to the Boardwalk.
Robin and Doug were the owners of Playday Amusements, which in lay terms means that they owned the games located on Casino Pier. They owned the games from May 1973 until September 2010, after which they owned and ran a store on the Boardwalk, Twisted Fish (https://www.facebook.com/Twisted-fish-180447492009689/).
My clearest memory is from when I was around 9 or 10 years old, maybe a little earlier, but definitely not later.
On that day, we met Robin and Doug for dinner at a restaurant that was on the second floor and overlooked the boardwalk and ocean. Do not ask me where that restaurant was exactly, or what its name was, or even what I ate, because those details are long lost in the dusty archives of my brain.
After dinner, Yvette and I were allowed to play their games until we won. If it took us one try or 100+ tries, we played until we won. That particular evening we each walked away with a pink elephant. It wasn’t soft and cuddly, but it was amazing.
At my Granny’s house, she had a small, soft, cuddly bear on her bed. She told me that she had won that at the Boardwalk. I wanted one. I do not remember what game I played, how old I was, or anything else except I won a brown bear that slept with me until I was in high school when he graduated to the top of my dresser. I still have him somewhere in the boxes that I packed when we moved from North Caldwell to Parsippany in 2009. One day maybe I’ll get to unpack.
As Yvette and I grew up and got our own licenses, we continued to drive to Toms River to visit with Granny and to walk on the Boardwalk. Even when we were going down with our friends, we stopped and saw Granny and took her to the Boardwalk with us. Her favorite game was the Frog Bog, one of Robin and Doug’s games.
No trip to Seaside Heights was complete without stopping to see Robin and Doug.
When my children were small, I brought them to visit Granny as often as I could, and each trip included a walk on the Boardwalk. Although it was never expected and always appreciated, Robin and Doug gave us books of ride tickets and a chance to play their games until each child won something. With five children, that is a big undertaking!
They were generous, loving, and appreciated on every level. As a single Mom with five children, I couldn’t afford to let the children play the games and ride all of the rides. My amazing cousins did that for me. I will never forget their generosity and love.
I remember one year when we stopped in their office upstairs (near the carousal), and Derek and Michael were eating ice cream cones. Their dog, whose name escapes me, relieved Derek of the burden of finishing his ice cream. Derek took it all in stride and said that the pup must just have been hungry.
I am a practicing family law attorney, and, on occasion, I get a case that brings me to Ocean County. About three years ago, sometime in late 2013 or early 2014, I had an appearance in Toms River and met Robin for lunch, after which she took me to the Boardwalk to see the devastation left by the fire than ravaged Seaside Park in September 2013. We walked the boards and she told me stories of the different vendors who after having rebuilt from Superstorm Sandy, lost everything in the fire. The fire stopped about 100 yards from Twisted Fish’s new location. The building that had housed Twisted Fish initially was destroyed by Sandy, so they moved further down the Boardwalk.
This past summer, August 2016, I rented a cottage in Seaside Park for a week. That week I was able to see Robin almost every day. In spite of her ongoing chemo treatments, she continued to work full-time, six days each week, taking off only one day, the day she had chemo. She was such a strong, loving woman. I am very glad that I was able to spend that time with her, although I do regret not getting down there in the Fall of 2016.
Robin was an amazing person. She was loving, kind, generous, and compassionate. Her absence will be greatly felt by all of us, but especially by her wonderful husband, Doug.
Robin, rest in the sweetest peace. You lived well and fought hard. You will be forever missed. No walk on the Boardwalk will ever be taken where you are not part of our thoughts and heart. I love you.
To Doug: You are family. We love you. We are only a phone call away if you need anything.