Tonight, we have six to remember. Three were soldiers with the Oklahoma National Guard and three were Marines. All were killed in Afghanistan. Both leave behind heartbroken families and friends. Please take a moment to read about their lives and dedication.
So far in 2011, 243 American troops have been killed in Afghanistan. Since 2001, there have been 1689 American troops killed in Afghanistan. Since 2003, there have been 4474 American troops killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom and 46 killed in Operation New Dawn. Please take a moment to honor their sacrifice.
The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
They died July 29 at Paktia, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device. They were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 279th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Oklahoma Army National Guard, Tulsa, Okla.
2nd Lt. Jered W. Ewy, 33, of Edmond, Okla., and
Spc. Augustus J. Vicari, 22, of Broken Arrow, Okla.
DoD Announces Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Staff Sgt. Kirk A. Owen, 37, of Sapulpa, Okla., died Aug. 2 in Paktia province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 279th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Oklahoma National Guard.
This past week, the Oklahoma National Guard has lost four soldiers in three incidents.
2nd Lt. Jered Ewy was an Army Ranger before joining the National Guard. He enlisted in 1998 and was sent to Afghanistan right after the September 11th attacks nearly ten years ago. Ewy served three tours of duty as a Ranger.
His father, John Ewy, said his son had a degree in Criminal Justice and had a chance to work in law enforcement with the Department of Justice, but his son "missed the camaraderie" of the Army. Jered went full time with the National Guard and graduated Officer Candidate School. After graduation, he became a 2nd Lieutenant.
2nd Lt. Jered Ewy leaves behind a 2 month old daughter, Kyla, and his wife, Meagan. A charitable trust has been set up to provide for his daughter by family members. The News OK spoke to Ewy's cousin, Andy Burnett:
“He got on the first flight he could and made it all the way back here. He got here literally 15 minutes before his daughter was delivered and got to spend about three days at home with her and his family and then that was it. He flew out,” Burnett said.
“He never complained. He was going to miss the entire first year of his daughter's life and he never complained about it,” he said.
John Ewy, told the News OK:“He talked a lot about the Afghan people and how he enjoyed helping them, especially the children,” John Ewy said.
Spc. Augustus Vicari was born and raised in Indiana. He was a 2008 graduate of Lowell High School in Lowell, Indiana. His mother told the Tulsa World, how she encouraged her son and his wife, Holly, to leave Lowell and explore the world.
"My dad had moved to Broken Arrow a couple of years ago, and he said it was beautiful there," she said.
"We loved living in Oklahoma."
Holly said her husband wanted to serve in the Oklahoma National Guard. He left for Afghanistan in late June.
“His personality could light up any room,” she said, calling her husband “an amazing guy.”
Staff Sgt. Kirk Owen's leaves behind a wife and two daughters. His family issued a statement through their pastor, Doyle Pryor, to the Tulsa World:
"Kirk's family and friends will miss his loving presence, strong faith, as well as his incredible sense of duty and honor," the statement says.
"Kirk believed that his position in the military was a God-given calling on his life, and those of us who know him are honored today to be associated with one of the heroes who have put himself in harm's way to ensure the fight does not come here," the statement concluded.
Rest in peace, SSGT Kirk Owens.
DoD Announces Marine Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the death of three Marines who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Staff Sgt. Patrick R. Dolphin, 29, of Moscow, Pa., Sgt. Dennis E. Kancler, 26, of Brecksville, Ohio, and Sgt. Christopher M. Wrinkle, 29, of Dallastown, Pa., died July 31 while supporting combat operations in Herat province, Afghanistan.
Dolphin, Kancler and Wrinkle were assigned to 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion, Marine Special Operations Regiment, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
The deaths are under investigation. At this point, news agencies are reporting they died in a house fire, still waiting confirmation from the Pentagon.
Shortly after, Staff Sgt. Patrick Dolphin graduated North Poconos High School in 2000, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. His grandmother knew he was a perfect fit for the Marines. Ever since he was a child, he wanted to be a soldier or Marine. His grandmother, Mrs. Golden, told the The Times-Tribune :
"From the moment he was born, he was a Marine," Mrs. Golden said, recalling memories of Sgt. Dolphin running through the woods near his childhood home playing soldier with a toy gun.
"He had a happy life; he was dedicated to being a serviceman," she said. "He made a beautiful, handsome Marine."
Dolphin's mother, Jean Uffalussy, told the Naples News:
“All his life he wanted to be in the military,” she said. “He deserves a hero's welcome.”
Semper Fi, SSGT Patrick Dolphin.
Sgt. Kancler was a highly trained Marine in special operations. The Cleveland.com:
Kancler was a "joint terminal attack controller," a highly skilled job in which Kancler ordered military firepower from the air or the ground, said Maj. Jeff Landis, a spokesman for the specials operations command.
Kancler wanted to join the Marines after the 9-11 attacks on our country. After graduating high school in 2003, he enlisted in the USMC. He leaves behind a three year old son, his parents and two sisters.
Semper Fi, Sgt. Dennis Kancler.
Sgt. Christopher Wrinkle was on his seventh tour of duty when he died in Afghanistan from a house fire. Wrinkle graduated from Dallastown High School in 2001. People in the town of York, told the York Daily Record about what a good man he was. Patti Bream, assistant pastor at Wrinkle's church:
"I think the majority of people are still in shock," Bream said. "He was such a wonderful young man, and people had such respect for him. It's hard to understand. ... We are, as a congregation, proud of his dedication to our country, and we will sorely miss him."
I Got the News Today is a diary series intended to honor, respect and remind. Its title is a reminder that almost every day a military family gets the terrible news about a loved one. Diaries about the fallen usually appear two days after their names are officially released, which allows time for the IGTNT team to find and tell their stories.
All of the U.S. fatalities can be seen here and here. They all had loved ones, families and friends. The DoD news releases are here. I Got the News Today is intended to honor, respect and remind. Click the IGTNT tags below for previous diaries.
Click the IGTNT tags to see the series, which was begun by i dunno, and which is maintained by monkeybiz, noweasels, blue jersey mom, Chacounne, twilight falling, joyful, roses, SisTwo, Spam Nunn, True Blue Majority, CalNM, Wide Awake in Kentucky, Maggie Jean, Jax Dem, Kestrel 9000, racheltracks, csas, and me, Sandy on Signal.
Please bear in mind that these diaries are read by friends and family of the service members chronicled here. May all of our remembrances be full of compassion rather than politics.