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Marine Casualties Heighten in AfghanistanTim King Salem-News.com
The cost of the war in Afghanistan in terms of American lives is escalating.
(SALEM, Ore.) - In Afghanistan, the Marines in particular have paid a heavy price in recent days, losing over half of the U.S. casualties in this report.
The U.S. Army typically experiences a higher rate of casualties than the Marine Corps, as the Army is a vastly larger service. In recent action in Afghanistan though, the Army has lost four soldiers to the Marines' six.
The average age of the fallen referenced here is 23.72. Florida lost two of its native sons, other states that these fallen servicemen hailed from include Tennessee, Oklahoma, Washington, Illinois, Virginia, Montana, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania.
The war in Afghanistan claimed all of the combat-related deaths in this report. One loss in Afghanistan was not combat-related, and the one death that took place in Iraq was also not a result of combat. One sailor in this report died from an illness contracted while serving at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
A good percentage of the U.S. military forces serving in Afghanistan have prior experience in Iraq. Yet the two countries are very different on a number of levels.
Afghanistan, for example, has the largest number of unexploded land mines in the world. This means military vehicles stay on the marked roads on operations, limiting opportunities to an extent. The people the Coalition are fighting are also in many cases, very familiar with the land, and are more familiar with the location of hazards like minefields leftover from the Soviet invasion.
Lance Corporal Gregory A. Posey, 22, of Knoxville, Tennessee died July 30th of wounds suffered while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
Although the statement said Greg Posey is from Knoxville, his parents Delma and Steven Posey told the OEF Page that they live in Winchester, Tennessee, and he graduated from Franklin High School in 2005.
Volunteertv.com wrote that this Marine was fighting in the Helmand province, what has become a hot zone in Afghanistan. They say according to his family, Greg was a Marine born to fight for his country. "He was happier now than he had been in several years," says his aunt, Renee Hurt of Winchester. "He was doing what he wanted to do."
Neighbors at the Knoxville apartment complex where Greg Posey used to live say he was friendly, a nice guy, who loved motorcycles and his job.
Greg Posey was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
Lance Corporal Jonathan F. Stroud, 20, of Cashion, Oklahoma, died July 30th of wounds suffered while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
A family friend told the OEF Page that Jonathan Stroud was killed Thursday morning during a fire fight. His close friend, Sam Boyd, said he's proud of Jonathan's service and sacrifice.
"He already had a high view of the United States as it was. Becoming a Marine was just, Jonathan was so spontaneous there was no reason behind it other than he wanted to do it," Boyd said. Jonathan Stroud, who joined the Marine Corp in May 2008 and was stationed in Afghanistan since June 1st, leaves behind his wife Lacie who is pregnant with the couple's first child. The baby is due in December.
Jon Stroud was assigned to 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
Chief Warrant Officer Douglas M. Vose III, 38, of Concrete, Washington, died July 29th in Kabul Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire.
The OEF Page states that Douglas Vose was a Purple Heart recipient and Bronze Star soldier and one of Concrete's favorite sons. "But Concrete lost its hero when Vose, a 38-year-old father of four, was gunned down in Afghanistan on Wednesday."
"I'm just so proud for having known him, and thank his mother for sharing him," said mother-in-law, Vicki Frank. "He was my second son." Vicki and Michael Frank lowered the flag at their home where Vose had spent many a nights on the couch. The All-American athlete from Concrete High played sports with Michael Frank and dated his sister.
He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group, Stuttgart, Germany.
Private Gerrick D. Smith, 19, of Sullivan, Illinois, died July 29th in Herat, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident.
Gerrick Smith, who enlisted in the Guard in February 2007, was first deployed in September, arriving in Afghanistan in December. The OEF Page states that he was an infantryman with the Marion-based Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry.
“He was a great guy,” said Tyler Craven, 20, a longtime friend of Smith’s, who is also a National Guard soldier. “He was always helping out his friends. If you needed someone to have your back, Gerrick was that guy. He would stand up with you to the bitter end.”
He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry, Illinois Army National Guard, Marion, Illinois. The circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation.
Private first-class Donald W. Vincent, 26, of Gainesville, Florida, died July 25th of wounds sustained while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
The AP reports that Donald Vincent is the sixth casualty from Alachua County, Florida since the beginning of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the first local death to occur in Afghanistan, according to Jim Lynch who works in veteran's services in Alachua County.
The Marine was involved in the commissioning of a monument for the Iraq-Afghanistan war dead from this area to be unveiled at Kanapaha Veterans Park on Veterans Day.
He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
Specialist Justin D. Coleman, 21, of Spring Hill, Florida, died July 24th in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit using small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fires.
The OEF Page states that Justin's wife, Nicole Coleman, "wanted to know about the shaggy-haired boy who was sitting on her friend's sofa." Their dating started soon after that. The couple married two years ago and Justin she said, still had that heart-melting effect on her.
"He was a devoted husband," she said with a soft, quivering voice. "I'd say if we had kids, he would've made a great father."
He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, New York.
Specialist Herberth A. Berrios-Campos, 21, of Bealeton, Virginia, died July 24th in Salman Pak, Iraq, of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident.
Herberth Berrios-Campos was a gunner with the 82nd Airborne. Lt. Col. David Bari, commander of the 1st Battalion, 505th told the Culpepper Star Exponent, "Specialist Berrios-Campos was a fine paratrooper and a valued member to his platoon. We are grateful for his service to our unit and are proud of his service to the nation. His loss will be felt by many."
He was assigned to the 1st Battalion 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Aviation Electronics Technician Airman Andrew Scott Charpentier, 21, of Great Falls, Montana, died July 23rd at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida, from a non-combat related illness incurred while assigned to the Navy Expeditionary Guard Battalion, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The Schnider Funeral Home wrote, "Although his life was cut short, Andrew lived life to the fullest. He enjoyed a great many things. During his school years he participated in a number of sports including basketball, football, wrestling and track. Andrew was active in scouting while in elementary school then moved into other interests in high school to include FFA, drama, and debate. He was a member of his high school debate team, and was a staff photographer and writer for the Charles M Russell High School Stampede."
The circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation.
Lance Corporal Jeremy S. Lasher, 27, of Oneida, New York, died July 23rd of wounds suffered while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
Jeremy Lasher is the 10th serviceman from the Mohawk Valley, New York to be killed in action since 2003. The mayor of his hometown reportedly stopped by the Arnolds' home Friday afternoon as they packed up the car preparing for the drive to Dover. The OEF Page reports that as they talked, a neighbor stopped by with a plate of cookies and a handwritten note. The mayor said he expected a lot of gestures like that in the coming days.
And as Hedglon left the Arnolds to grieve, he pulled his car away from a home where American and Marine Corps flags flew side by side from the front porch. “This is going to be a new experience, and I'm sure we will come together as a community,” he said.
Jeremy Lasher was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. (Watch video by Oneida NY Observer, below)
Corporal Nicholas G. Xiarhos, 21, of Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts died July 23rd of wounds suffered while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
Nicholas G. Xiarhos' father is a veteran Yarmouth Police Lieutenant named Steven Xiarhos. Along with his wife, Lisa, the department said in a statement issued this statement:
"We watched him grow up. Many officers on the Yarmouth Police Department watched their whole family grow up. ... All of us feel we've lost a member of our family," said Chief Michael Almonte.
According to The OEF Page, Nicholas Xiarhos was a June 2006 graduate of Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School. He went to Marine boot camp that summer. In addition to serving in Afghanistan, he had served in intense fighting in Anbar, Iraq, the statement said.
He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
Sergeant Ryan H. Lane, 25, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, died July 23rd of wounds suffered while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
The Post Gazette reports that Ryan Lane is the son of former Castle Shannon police Chief Harold Lane. Ryan Lane arrived in Afghanistan this summer after serving at least one other tour in the country. His unit had lost several Marines in recent weeks, said Shirley McMonagle, police secretary for Castle Shannon and a close friend of the Lane family.
"He's my hero," Mrs. McMonagle said of Sgt. Lane. "He always wanted to be a Marine. He just wanted to serve his country."
He was assigned to the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
Here is a video of the homecoming of Lance Corporal Jeremy S. Lasher, July 30, 2009:
Recent stories on Americans who paid the ultimate price fighting in the wars overseas:
From July 18, 2009: Oregon Marine Among Casualties From Afghanistan - Tim King Salem-News.com
From July 6th 2009: Two Soldiers and One Marine Killed Fighting in Afghanistan - Salem-News.com
From June 2nd 2009: War Casualties Mounting in Iraq & Afghanistan - Tim King Salem-News.com
From May 11th 2009: Five Americans Killed in Baghdad by Fellow U.S. Army Soldier - Salem-News.com
From May 5th 2009: Two California Soldiers Killed in Iraq - Tim King Salem-News.com
From April 20th 2009: The Faces of Four Americans Killed in Iraq and Afghanistan - Salem-News.com
From April 12th 2009: Five Soldiers Killed by VBIED in Iraq Among Latest Casualties - Tim King Salem-News.com
From April 7th 2009: More Casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq - Tim King Salem-News.com
Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor.
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