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Aug-01-2009 20:00printcommentsVideo

Marine Casualties Heighten in Afghanistan

The cost of the war in Afghanistan in terms of American lives is escalating.

Photos: Department of Defense, The OEF Page, Air Force Mortuary Affairs Center, libertyunites.tv, Schnider Funeral Home

(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:

Courtesy: Oneida NY Observer

Recent stories on Americans who paid the ultimate price fighting in the wars overseas:

From July 24, 2009: Minnesota Pays Heavy Price in Latest War Casualty Reports - Tim King Salem-News.com

From July 18, 2009: Oregon Marine Among Casualties From Afghanistan - Tim King Salem-News.com

From July 12, 2009: Costly Fighting in Afghanistan Leads to Three More Combat Deaths - Tim King Salem-News.com

From July 6th 2009: Two Soldiers and One Marine Killed Fighting in Afghanistan - Salem-News.com

From July 2nd 2009: Almost 50 U.S. Casualties in Iraq & Afghanistan Reported in June - Tim King Salem-News.com

From June 21st 2009: IED's Blamed in at Least Half of Latest Iraq and Afghanistan War Casualties - Tim King Salem-News.com

From June 7th 2009: Rate of American Casualties in Iraq & Afghanistan Accelerates - Tim King Salem-News.com

From June 2nd 2009: War Casualties Mounting in Iraq & Afghanistan - Tim King Salem-News.com

From May 24th 2009: Average Age Among 11 Recent War Casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan is 32 - 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 May 4th 2009: Two Soldiers Killed and One Missing in Action in Afghanistan - Salem-News.com

From April 20th 2009: The Faces of Four Americans Killed in Iraq and Afghanistan - Salem-News.com

From May 2nd 2009: Deaths in Iraq Jump: 6 Americans Killed in Recent Days - Tim King 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

From March 29th 2009: Two U.S. Navy Officers Killed by Insurgent Posing as Afghan Soldier - Tim King Salem-News.com

From March 24th 2009: More Marines and Soldiers Pay the Ultimate Price 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.
Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines. Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), the first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several other awards including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website, affiliated with Google News and several other major search engines and news aggregators.
You can send Tim an email at this address: newsroom@salem-news.com

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

All comments and messages are approved by people and self promotional links or unacceptable comments are denied.

Anonymous March 26, 2010 9:27 am (Pacific time)

Hi This Is To The Family Of Justin D. Coleman. It Probably Is The Wife's Bracelet But It Was Found At The Motel I Manage In Wauchula Florida . I found This Bracelet When I Was Retrieving The Keys In My Key Box If This IS Yours Or You Know who This Belongs To Please Call (863)-528-8216 Thank You You Must Be Able To Identify THe Bracelet. Will BE Gladly To Mail It Back To The Rightfull Owner.

SSgt D. USMC August 11, 2009 1:04 pm (Pacific time)

None combat could mean any number of things. Such as a vehicle roleover or someone getting electricuted by a hot power line that hangs 10 ft off the ground. Both of these things happend a number of times during my 3 deployments and only resulting in death a few. Roads give why, power through lines isn't controlled. All sorts of things can happen. non-combat related shouldn't be related to suicide everytime. Get a grip.

Editor: Roger that Staff Sergeant, we don't mean to imply that suicide/crime related deaths are the main reason behind most non-combat related deaths.  At the same time don't make it sound like it isn't a big friggin' problem.  It is enough of one that we do write about it and there are some glaring cases, two of which I am very familiar with.  Still,  your point is well taken, Oooh rah and Semper Fi.  

Chris Henes August 3, 2009 5:46 pm (Pacific time)

Thanks for your service. Massachusetts sadly lost Marine Nick Xiarhos as you pointed out. On June 17, 2009, a friend/colleague of mine, 1SG Kevin Dupont died in Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. Kevin, a former active duty Marine served many years in the Massachusetts National Guard and was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom when the vehicle he was in was struck by an IED on March 8, 2009. Kevin was burned over 65% of his body but fought a valiant battle for his life for about 100 days when he finally died. The Massachusetts National Guard has lost 12 service members who have died on federalized active duty since the events of September 11, 2001. Of the 12, 3 have been killed in action by the enemy. All 3 KIA's occurred in Afghanistan. The Guard has deployed many more troops to Iraq than Afghanistan in the almost 8 years since 9/11. My own personal view is that Afghanistan was always dangerous, that we erred in shifting so many resources from Afghanistan to Iraq, and that we are paying a much bigger price now as the bad guys have been able to re-organize and get back into it in a big way. In any event thanks for your reportage.

Vic August 3, 2009 8:40 am (Pacific time)

Thanks for the input, Tim. But are you saying that we SHOULD still be in Afghanistan? I am not criticizing the soldiers, I am criticizing the mission. I thought it was about "getting Bin Laden"...we dont hear much about him anymore. Seems to me that war is serious business and one cannot start a war one one pretense and then change the mission at will without a congressional approval of the new mission. I like this quote from General David Sharp, former US Marine Commandant,1966--" I believe that if we had and would keep our dirty, bloody, dollar-soaked fingers out of the business of these [Third World] nations so full of depressed, exploited people, they will arrive at a solution of their own.... And if unfortunately their revolution must be of the violent type because the "haves" refuse to share with the "have-nots" by any peaceful method, at least what they get will be their own, and not the American style, which they don't want and above all don't want crammed down their throats by Americans."--

Anonymous August 2, 2009 7:19 pm (Pacific time)

To Editor--I agree the Taliban are bad actors. We are allies with Saudi Arabia. In 1977 a 19 yr. old Saudi princess had an affair with the son of the Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon, where she was going to school. she was executed allegedly in violation to Sharia Law, which the Taliban seek to enforce in Afghanistan. she should have been flogged instead. He was also executed. There is some controversy about the execution. It may well have been an honor killing as done in some Arab countrys when a woman/girl can be killed if she does something as heinous as getting raped, like occured w/ a 12 yr. old not lomg ago See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misha'al_bint_Fahd_al_Saud for the story about the princess.

 Editor: Thank you for writing this, it is sad that religion is so abused and rewritten. I think women who survive rape are heroes, what a twisted philosophy the Taliban use.  I can't count the number of people in Afghanistan who told me they are no expression of Islam in the first place.  Sadly, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan (US allies) are, as you illustrate, just as bad.  

Vic August 2, 2009 4:19 pm (Pacific time)

I sure appreciate that you post this, Tim..but it sure is upsetting to me. Exactly WHY did these pople die ? WHY? We have unborn children who will never see their dad, kids who have no dad now..widows, grieving parents, grandparents...WHY EXACTLY WAS SUCH AN INCREDIBLE SACRIFICE REQUIRED??? Seems to me there ought to be a damn good, well defined and majority approved reason for this kind of loss and sacrifice. Can someone tell me why we are in Afganistan? Ask ten people and you will get ten different answers. No one really knows. The Taliban aint my cup of tea, and wouldnt win any human rights awards, but then neither would China...and we give them "Most Favored Nation" trade status. Tienamen Square didnt even register when it came to commerce and business. Is it our job to enforce free will around the world? I think we need to return to the idea of a defensive, not offensive military. Protect our borders. If that were the case, these folks could be living their lives right now. Andwho knows what any one of them may have contributed to the world. Our heart go out to these families.

Tim King:  First of all, I do know a few things about Afghanistan and the Taliban.  Bonnie and I were against this group way back in the 90's, long before I learned in person what utterly non-human aspects these guys carry and teach to the male youth.  If some jerk was abusing women near me I wouldn't put up with it, and on a larger scale that is what we are doing.  I don't buy anything from Bush, you know that, but these are my people and some are in the military.  I do not have ideals rooted in unrealistic reality.  I served, therefore I care about those who served.  I can not agree with most of what you say because I know what kind of experience the military can be for people.  Then you have the fact that most Americans over there are just trying to help.  Most are not combat troops, most are in supportive roles.  They love those kids in Afghanistan and they aren't people you have met or know so you don't see it the same way.  We have honestly and legitimately helped people there in many ways- true story.   I don't think we had the same affect in Iraq.  In the end I am against a government that creates killers and doesn't manage them and this conversation is really off to the side.  I care about trying to find common ground with you so I try. 

Jay Syler August 2, 2009 7:31 am (Pacific time)

I'm retired now but it was always mandatory for both myself and my associates, not to mention our editors, to confirm any and all rumors before we published them. This was absolutely neccesary when reporting from combat zones...

Editor: Listen you little weirdo, you and I both know that you use different names constantly and almost none of your racist low-IQ drivel gets through.  Not Kyle today huh?  I know it is a game for you, but doing this on a story about fallen soldiers and Marines is as low as ever.  You have never been a journalist and you have never been in a combat zone.  Get a life eh?

MJK August 2, 2009 5:07 am (Pacific time)

Video of the homecoming of Jeremy Lasher


EDITOR: Thank you MJK. The video has been posted above, also.

Anonymous August 1, 2009 10:38 pm (Pacific time)

Do you think that the non-combat death of Specialist Herberth A. Berrios-Campos, was probably one of the rash of suicides brought on by frustrations because of these crazy wars?

Editor: I don't want to speculate about that particular case out of respect for the family, but you certainly bring to light a serious point, and the DoD does not disclose that information in their news releases if it is the case.  In Iraq last summer I heard about firefights between soldiers and all kinds of crazy things.  

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