Showing posts with label Iraq casualties. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Iraq casualties. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Over 100 servicemembers with TBI from Iran bombs..,not just headaches

Over 100 US troops have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries following Iran strike

Barbara Starr
February 10, 2020
Last month, Trump said he does not consider potential brain injuries to be as serious as physical combat wounds, downplaying the severity of the injuries suffered in Iraq.

(CNN)Over 100 US service members have been diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injuries in the wake of the January 8 Iranian missile attack on the al Asad military base in Iraq, according to a US official with knowledge of the latest information.
A picture of the destruction left at Al Asad base in Iraq after it was struck by Iranian missiles.

Later on Monday the Pentagon released a statement confirming that 109 service members had been diagnosed, an increase of 45 from the end of January when they said 64 service members had been suffered injuries.

The statement added that nearly 70% of the injured service members have returned to duty.
read it here

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Civilians punished for pretending to be Veteran's Court

2 men falsely claimed military service to get their cases moved to a veterans court

Associated Press 
August 25, 2019
Before they can be eligible for parole, Pinski ordered both men to hand write the names of all 6,756 Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan; write out the obituaries of the 40 Montanans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and send hand-written letters of apology to several veterans groups identifying themselves as having lied about military service to receive help and possibly a lesser sentence through a veterans court.
The first Veterans Treatment Court (VTC) was started in 2008 in Buffalo, N.Y. There are 220 operational VTCs in the United States with approximately 11,000 veterans currently participating. (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)
GREAT FALLS, Mont. — Two Montana men who were sentenced to prison for violating the terms of the probation in separate crimes won’t be eligible for parole until they complete a writing assignment given because they falsely claimed to have served in the military to have their cases moved to a veterans court. Cascade County District Judge Greg Pinski sentenced Ryan Patrick Morris, 28, and Troy Allan Nelson, 33, on Friday. Morris got 10 years in prison for violating the terms of his probation for felony burglary, while Nelson got five years on a drug possession conviction. Pinski suspended three years of each defendant’s sentence. read more here

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Spc. Kamisha Block's family did not settle for what military told them

Army reopens case of 2007 murder-suicide that was originally called 'friendly fire'

Published: April 19, 2019

AUSTIN, Texas – One gunshot wound to the chest from friendly fire — that’s the story Spc. Kamisha Block’s family was told about her death in Iraq.
Spc. Kamisha Block was buried in her hometown of Vidor, Texas. Twelve years after she was murdered by a fellow soldier at Camp Liberty, Iraq, the Army has reopened the investigation into her death. Rose L. Thayer/Stars and Stripes

Her family had no reason not believe the two soldiers who arrived at their home in Vidor, Texas in August 2007 to break the bad news to them.

But when Block’s body arrived at their local funeral home with five gunshot wounds, including one in the head, her family started asking questions.

“It’s just lie after lie after lie after lie!” Shonta Block

Shonta Block said family members have questioned the Army about her sister, waiting six months to get the report on her Aug. 16, 2007 noncombat death. The family learned while she was deployed at Camp Liberty, Iraq, the 20-year-old soldier was shot to death by her 30-year-old boyfriend, Staff Sgt. Paul Brandon Norris, who then turned his weapon on himself.

In August, Shonta Block, who works with a remodeling company, said they finally got a glimmer of hope when a phone call from the Inspector General of the Army Criminal Investigation Command informed her that the investigation into her sister’s death was reopened.

“I was on a job painting a door,” Shonta Block said about the call. “I said, ‘Oh my God, thank you.’ I couldn’t stop saying it. I just kept saying thank you.”
read more here

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Tulsa Police Patrol Car Tribute to Marine

Tulsa Police Unveil Patrol Car Dedicated To Veterans
News on 6
September 27th 2018

TULSA, Oklahoma - A newly wrapped patrol car is making its debut at the Tulsa State Fair. It’s dedicated to a former officer who died while serving as a Marine in Iraq.
Jared Shoemaker was killed in action in Iraq in 2006 after his reserve unit was deployed.

Tulsa Police unveiled the car Thursday. It’s decorated in Marine Corp camouflage with red, white and blue. The department said it’s dedicated to Shoemaker and other veterans who serve on the police department.

"To represent the Marines who work for our department, the Marines who lost their lives, the Marines still fighting for our country," Sergeant Richard Meulenberg said.

After the fair, the car will hit the streets as part of normal patrols.

It will also be used in the upcoming Veteran's Day parade.
go here to see the rest of this patrol car

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The House in the Woods Provides Veterans Solace From Community

Veteran says House in the Woods saved him, hopes it can now help others
Zach Blanchard
July 08, 2017
Lawrence said he was overcome by PTSD after he served two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He now credits House in the Woods with saving him and wants to do the same for others.
LEE, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – The House in the Woods, a project aimed at providing military veterans a place of refuge, held its grand opening Saturday.

The project has been the work of the House and Emery families after they both lost their sons in the line of duty.

Sgt. Joel House died in June 2007, and Sgt. Blair Emery died just months later in November. Both served in Iraq.

10 years after their deaths, the families were able to open their facility in Lee thanks to a massive outpouring of local support from individuals and companies.

The lodge-style facility has a large gathering space, commercial kitchen, as well as lodging for guests and staff.

Paul and Dee House founded House in the Woods in the hopes of creating a program that would provide military men and women and their families with a place to escape and experience the outdoors.

“I was lost,” Lawrence McManus said. “It eats away at you.”
read more here

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Mom Lost Son in Iraq But Added to Family in Las Vegas

Cadets make over home of mother whose soldier son died in Iraq
Las Vegas Review Journal
Keith Rogers
May 14, 2016

“We probably have 25 kids here working to help the family realize we’re going to stay connected with them as long as they want us to."
Marina Vance arrives to see the new landscaping by volunteers done as part of a Blue Star Mothers of Henderson and Boulder City project on Saturday, May 14, 2016. Vance lost her son in Ramadi, Iraq, in 2006. (Daniel Clark/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
With shovels, hoes and wheelbarrows, a platoon of teenage cadets launched their assault Saturday as the sun rose over Marina Vance’s Henderson home.

“I wanted to beat the heat,” Sgt. Maj. Robert Brown said as the team of two dozen Army Junior ROTC cadets from Mojave and Valley high schools set out to sweat and “spit cotton,” as one soldier put it.

Stormmie Banegas, 16, of Mojave high, said the sight of the unkept landscape “was really gloomy.”

Fellow cadet Adrian Castellanos, 17, described the scene “as a blackish-gray mess of dried grass.”

Their job: remove tons of that dead grass and dirt from the front yard, and replace it with rock and desert landscaping. Then give the stucco-and-rail fence a makeover with fresh paint. Then focus on the house’s exterior, said Chief Warrant Officer-4 Loyd Crathers, the senior Army instructor at Mojave High School.

The reason: It’s been almost 10 years since Vance’s son, “Nacho” — Spc. Ignacio Ramirez — was killed when a roadside bomb exploded in Ramadi, Iraq.

With Memorial Day approaching, Chere’ Pedersen of Blue Star Mothers of Henderson and Boulder City thought a makeover of the Gold Star mother’s home was long overdue.

Brown, an Iraq War veteran, was on tour when Ramirez was killed. He and Crathers are members of the Nevada Veterans Council where they found out about the Blue Star Mothers’ plan to spruce up Vance’s home.
read more here

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth May Get Justice After Electrocution Death

Mom of soldier electrocuted in base shower hails Supreme Court ruling 
The Associated Press
Published: January 21, 2015

PITTSBURGH — The mother of a Pittsburgh-area soldier electrocuted in his barracks shower at a U.S. Army base in Iraq seven years ago says she's grateful the Supreme Court rejected three appeals by a military contractor seeking to stop the case and other lawsuits from going forward.

The high court offered no comment Tuesday in allowing three lawsuits against KBR Inc. over the electrocution and open-air burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan to proceed.

The parents of Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth, who was electrocuted in his barracks shower in January 2008, filed one of the lawsuits. The suit alleges a KBR unit was legally responsible for what it says was shoddy electrical work common in Iraqi-built structures taken over by the U.S. military. KBR disputes the claim.

Cheryl Harris, Maseth's mother, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Wednesday that she never expected it to take more than seven years after her son's death to get the case closer to a trial. "I'm grateful that we're here," she said.
read more here
Green Beret electrocuted in shower on Iraq base
Abbie Boudreau and Scott Bronstein
May 28, 2008

Story Highlights
At least 12 U.S. troops have been electrocuted in Iraq from wiring problems

Ryan Maseth, 24, died January 2 while taking a shower on base

"I truly couldn't believe he would be electrocuted," his mom says

Defense Department inspector general, Congress launch investigation

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- A highly decorated Green Beret, Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth died a painful death in Iraq this year. He died not on the battlefield. He died in what should have been one of the safest spots in Iraq: on a U.S. base, in his bathroom.

Ryan Maseth, a 24-year-old Green Beret, died in his shower January 2.

1 of 2 The water pump was not properly grounded, and when he turned on the shower, a jolt of electricity shot through his body and electrocuted him January 2.

The next day, Cheryl Harris was informed of his death. A mother of three sons serving in Iraq, she had feared such news might come one day.

"I did ask exactly, 'How did Ryan die? What happened to him?' And he had told me that Ryan was electrocuted," she said.

Her reaction was disbelief. "I truly couldn't believe he would be electrocuted ... in the shower," she said.

Maseth, 24, was not the first. At least 12 U.S. troops have been electrocuted in Iraq since the start of the war in 2003, according to military and government officials. Watch mom describe horror, heartbreak over son's electrocution »
read more here
Electrical Risks at Bases in Iraq Worse Than Previously Said
New York Times
Published: July 18, 2008

WASHINGTON — Shoddy electrical work by private contractors on United States military bases in Iraq is widespread and dangerous, causing more deaths and injuries from fires and shocks than the Pentagon has acknowledged, according to internal Army documents.

During just one six-month period — August 2006 through January 2007 — at least 283 electrical fires destroyed or damaged American military facilities in Iraq, including the military’s largest dining hall in the country, documents obtained by The New York Times show. Two soldiers died in an electrical fire at their base near Tikrit in 2006, the records note, while another was injured while jumping from a burning guard tower in May 2007.

And while the Pentagon has previously reported that 13 Americans have been electrocuted in Iraq, many more have been injured, some seriously, by shocks, according to the documents. A log compiled earlier this year at one building complex in Baghdad disclosed that soldiers complained of receiving electrical shocks in their living quarters on an almost daily basis.
read more here

Thursday, November 6, 2014

When Blue Stars Turn to Gold Tribute To Military Families Sacrifices

RIVERSIDE: Vet's song about military families takes flight
Press Enterprise
Mark Muckenfuss
Staff Writer
November 6, 2014

Blue Stars Turned Gold
Ted Peterson isn’t sure if he’ll be sick or if he’ll shine.

On Thursday, the Riverside resident and fledgling songwriter will be sitting on a White House panel that includes country singer Willie Nelson and hip-hop artist Common. Hosted by Michelle Obama, the group will discuss the role of music in the military.

“I’m ready to vomit I’m so nervous,” said Peterson, 44. “If it was up to me, I would not be up there on that stage.”

He’s on the stage because he wrote “When Blue Stars Turn to Gold,” a country-oriented song about the sacrifice of military families. The song caught some fire on YouTube recently and grabbed the attention of the panel’s organizers. It’s the first song he has composed in his short writing career that has been recorded.

Peterson, who is connected with the Guitars For Vets music therapy group at Loma Linda’s VA Medical Center, doesn’t even play a musical instrument. He came to songwriting in a roundabout way.

A Navy veteran with active duty from 1989-1993 and later the reserves, from 2002-2007, Peterson also worked for 15 years for Camp Pendleton’s base security. Some long-term physical problems caught up with him and he was forced to leave his security job. He had no idea what to do with his life.

“I hit a depression, a pretty bad one,” said Peterson, 44, of Riverside. “A Vietnam veteran who’s a friend of mine pulled me aside and said, ‘What’s going on with you?’ He made me promise that I would go and talk to someone. So I did.”

It may have been the best advice he ever received.
read more here

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

This Day in History Forgotten, Iraq War Started

War in Iraq begins
Mar 19, 2003

On this day in 2003, the United States, along with coalition forces primarily from the United Kingdom, initiates war on Iraq. Just after explosions began to rock Baghdad, Iraq's capital, U.S. President George W. Bush announced in a televised address, "At this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger." President Bush and his advisors built much of their case for war on the idea that Iraq, under dictator Saddam Hussein, possessed or was in the process of building weapons of mass destruction.

Hostilities began about 90 minutes after the U.S.-imposed deadline for Saddam Hussein to leave Iraq or face war passed. The first targets, which Bush said were "of military importance," were hit with Tomahawk cruise missiles from U.S. fighter-bombers and warships stationed in the Persian Gulf. In response to the attacks, Republic of Iraq radio in Baghdad announced, "the evil ones, the enemies of God, the homeland and humanity, have committed the stupidity of aggression against our homeland and people."

Though Saddam Hussein had declared in early March 2003 that, "it is without doubt that the faithful will be victorious against aggression," he went into hiding soon after the American invasion, speaking to his people only through an occasional audiotape. Coalition forces were able to topple his regime and capture Iraq's major cities in just three weeks, sustaining few casualties. President Bush declared the end of major combat operations on May 1, 2003. Despite the defeat of conventional military forces in Iraq, an insurgency has continued an intense guerrilla war in the nation in the years since military victory was announced, resulting in thousands of coalition military, insurgent and civilian deaths.
read more here

Remember the lives lost?
2003 486
2004 849
2005 846
2006 823
2007 904
2008 314
2009 149
2010 60
2011 54
2012 1

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Arlington National Cemetery’s Section 60 upsets families of war dead

Cleanup in Arlington National Cemetery’s Section 60 upsets families of war dead
Washington Post
By Greg Jaffe
Published: October 1 2013

Elizabeth Belle walked toward the grave of her son carrying a canvas bag full of miniature pumpkins, silk leaves and other decorations for his headstone. Then she noticed the changes.

Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, where more than 800 Iraq and Afghanistan war dead are buried, had been stripped bare. The photographs of young soldiers were gone. The balloons, too, and love letters, the sonograms and worry stones, the crosses and coins.

“They’ve taken everything,” Belle said.

Over the past weeks, a quiet transformation has taken place in Section 60, leaving family members of the dead feeling hurt, saddened and bewildered. Today, Section 60 resembles the quiet cemetery of an older generation’s war, not the raw, messy burial ground of one still being fought. Even within the hallowed ground at Arlington, Section 60 is special, a living memorial to an ongoing war.
read more here

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Two losses to war, Mom weeps, Wife grieves, one woman's story

When war won't release its grip: Mother lives with memories, courage
Detroit Free Press
By John Carlisle Columnist
July 7, 2013

LAPEER — It was her son’s birthday.

As she does every year, Darcy Monier drove the hour and a half from Lapeer, where she lives, to Chelsea, where he grew up and where he is now.

She took the winding road through the old cemetery, past a sea of American flags poking up from the ground. She parked within sight of the old clock tower, just against the railroad tracks, right by his grave.

Her son, Donald McCune II, would be turning 29 that day.

But he has been dead since he was 20.

Nine years ago, while serving in Iraq and driving down a road as the gunner on a Humvee, a roadside bomb went off and blew up his vehicle. The three soldiers riding with him were badly injured, but they survived. He didn’t.
Next to McCune’s well-kept grave sat a mound of upturned dirt, so freshly dug it hadn’t yet settled to the ground. So new that no tombstone had yet been put there.

Her husband was just buried there. He’d killed himself three weeks before.

Like Monier’s son, he, too, served in Iraq. Twice. But both times when he came home, he brought some of the war back with him, and finally it became too overwhelming to bear anymore.
read more here

Monday, July 30, 2012

Fort Carson clinic named after Pfc. Eric P. Woods

Colorado Army clinic named for Omahan killed saving fellow soldier's life
By Matthew Hansen

An Army medic from Omaha who died trying to save a fellow soldier's life will now be remembered at a famed Army base.

On Friday, Colorado's Fort Carson officially renamed a medical clinic in honor of Pfc. Eric Paul Woods, who died in a 2005 bomb blast in Iraq. Now, when a soldier's spouse or child needs medical help they will go to the Pfc. Eric P. Woods Soldier Family Care Center on the base.
read more here

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Marines remember fallen from Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan

Marines remember fallen from Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan
By Cpl. Chelsea Flowers
Headquarters Marine Corps

6/12/2012 By Cpl. Marcin Platek Headquarters Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Steven A. Hummer, commander of Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces North, and Sandra Mandez-Ruiz, a Gold Star family member, listen to the playing of taps at a wreath laying ceremony at traveling Vietnam War Memorial Wall at Voinovich Park here June 12. Voinovich Park is one of the sites of displays available for public during the Marine Week Cleveland. Along with the wall, Marine Corps vehicles, aircraft and equipment will be available for viewing at Public Square, Voinovich Park, Gateway Plaza and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Marine Week Cleveland celebrates community, country and the Corps. More than 750 Marines journeyed to Cleveland for the event, which runs through June 17. Ohio has more than 9,000 active and reserve Marines, making it one of the top-five producers of Marines.

CLEVELAND — A somber crowd gathered in front of the traveling Vietnam War Memorial Wall in Voinovich Park for a wreath-laying ceremony during Marine Week Cleveland June 12, 2012.

Although the wall lists the names of the fallen from the conflict in Vietnam, the service also commemorated those who paid the ultimate price in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“We’ve been out here 14 hours a day doing this and still every ceremony we do is very emotional,” said Staff Sgt. Matthew Drake, staff noncommissioned officer in charge of the Marine Week honor guard at the Vietnam War Memorial Wall.

During the ceremony, which will take place daily throughout Marine Week, a Gold Star family member lays the wreath at the foot of the flagpole in front of the wall.

Today, Sandra Mendez-Ruiz placed the wreath to honor the life and sacrifice of her nephew, Lance Cpl. David Alberto Mendez, who was killed in Iraq six years ago.

“When David died, I lost David, but I gained a family,” Ruiz said. “What I’ve learned in the past six and a half years is that the Marine Corps is a family – it’s a bond unlike any other. It doesn’t just include the Marines, it includes the family of those who served and paid the ultimate sacrifice.”
read more here

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Fallen soldier in Iraq didn't tell family he was there

One thing about tracking all of this across the country is that some reports stun me. This is one of them. A US soldier, born in South Korea, wanted to join the military and serve this country. He didn't want his family to worry about him, so he didn't tell them he had been deployed. If that isn't strange enough, this part really got me.

"I didn't trust this document, so they called someone in the military. They were told when a soldier is born outside of the United States, they change his birthplace to a U.S. state. His had been changed to Kansas.
Slain Soldier Didn't Tell Parents He Was at War
Knight Ridder
by Imani Tate
Jun 02, 2012

Besides helping freedom-loving citizens of his adopted homeland and countries fighting tyranny, Jang Ho Kim of Placentia was fighting to protect his parents and sister.

Jang Ho, the son of La Verne's Nikuni Japanese Grill owner Steve Kim, thoroughly believed people everywhere should be free of worry and fear, so he enlisted in the Army in June 2005.

Not wanting his dad, mother Sang Soon Kim or little sister Michelle to fret about his safety, he fudged in conversations about his exact whereabouts after finishing basic training at Fort Benning, Ga., and combat training in Germany.

So, when two soldiers came to tell them Jang Ho had been killed in Baghdad, Steve Kim knew it had to be a mistake.

"I had just come back from lunch when I got a phone call from my wife," said Kim, then Samsung's information technology director in La Mirada. "She said two soldiers were at the house and asked me to come home."
read more here

Friday, May 18, 2012

Sgt. John Russell faces death penalty

Soldier faces murder charges in Iraq base deaths
Published May 18, 2012
Associated Press

SEATTLE – Murder charges have been filed against a sergeant accused of killing four other soldiers and a Navy officer in May 2009 at a mental health clinic in Iraq, the Army said Friday.

The charges against Sgt. John Russell were referred Wednesday and announced Friday in a statement from Joint Base Lewis-McChord. He faces five charges of premeditated murder, one of aggravated assault and one of attempted murder.

If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

The charges result from an investigation into the shooting at the Camp Liberty Combat Stress Center near Baghdad.

No date for the court-martial has been set. Russell is being held at the base about 40 miles south of Seattle.

Russell is from Sherman, Texas, and is now about 47 years old, said Lt. Col. Gary Dangerfield. The delay since the incident has been filled with the process of determining whether Russell is fit to stand trial. Russell has an Army defense attorney but it is standard procedure for them not to comment to the media, Dangerfield said.
Read more

From 2009
Update on soldiers killed at stress clinic

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Wounded in Iraq NJ Marine dies after 7-year fight to save leg

NJ Marine dies after 7-year fight to save leg
Mar. 24, 2012


WOODLAND PARK, N.J. (WTW) — Staff Sgt. Oscar Canon lived in constant motion — an athlete and a Marine, raised in Colombia, Florida, Texas and New Jersey. He served two tours of duty in Iraq, fighting in some of the war's bloodiest battles. Not even a 2004 insurgent assault, which nearly claimed his left leg and his life, could stop the Dumont High School graduate.

After more than seven years and 80 surgeries performed after the attack to try to save the leg, Canon died last month after lapsing into a coma at a naval hospital in Oceanside, Calif. Though his death is still under investigation, it appears to be connected to an infection in his leg.

The military considers it a combat death.
read more here

Friday, March 2, 2012

Pfc. David Sharrett, shot by Lieutenant, was alive when Apache flew away

David Sharrett Sr. seeks answers years after son's death in Iraq
March 2, 2012
By Kimberly Suiters

For four years, Dave Sharrett, Sr. has been trying to find out exactly how his son died.

But it wasn't just the conclusion that his son, Pfc. David Sharrett, was killed by friendly fire in Iraq in 2008. What was worse was the devastating reality that no one would be held accountable.

"Our son, our family gave up blood and treasure for his country, and we were treated like this by the very institution our son served," Dave Sr. said.

Four years ago, Pfc. Sharrett died after a firefight in Iraq. He was shot during the chaos by his own lieutenant, an investigation revealed. It's what his father saw in a video two years later, though, that shook him to the core.

In the video, Sharrett says that he could see his son struggling to live while an Apache helicopter flies away.

"I said, 'Did you see that?'" he said. "He left a man behind. His commanders knew he did that."
read more here

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Why was Maj. Troy Gilbert's body left behind in Iraq?

North Texas family seeks pilot's body left in Iraq


Posted on February 6, 2012
Maj. Troy Gilbert took off in his F-16 in November 2006 for a mission near Baghdad.

Now that U.S. forces have left Iraq, his family wonders who will look for his body to bring it home to Texas.

The 22nd combat mission for the Texas Tech grad would earn him the Distinguished Flying cross with valor, one of the nation's highest military awards.

He's credited with saving about 20 American commandos under fire.

"They say he was very calm," said the hero's mom, Kaye Gilbert. "He told this young man on the ground, 'I will not leave you.'"

According to witnesses, Maj. Gilbert destroyed one gun truck, then turned sharply to attack a second.

"Of course, he was already too low to begin with to do a strafing run," said his father, Ronnie Gilbert. "He went ahead and did it."

Kaye finished her husband's thought: "...because they were calling him from the ground saying, 'We're dying down here.' And when someone says, 'I'm dying down here,' you do everything you can."

The jet's tail hit the ground. Maj. Gilbert died instantly.
read more here

Sunday, December 18, 2011

For Marine's widow, Iraq war will never be truly over

For Marine's widow, Iraq war will never be truly over
In the six years since Maj. Ray Mendoza was killed, his wife, Karen, says her goal has been to help their son and daughter continue to be inspired by their father, but not crushed by his absence.
Karen Mendoza, who lost her husband, Marine Maj. Ray Mendoza, when he stepped on a land mine in Iraq in 2005, is reflected in a display cabinet where she keeps a collection of mementos of her husband's life. (Rick Loomis, Los Angeles Times / December 18, 2011)

By Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times
December 18, 2011
For most of America, the war in Iraq officially ended last week with a speech-laden ceremony in Baghdad.

But for Karen Mendoza and the other 2,000-plus widows of U.S. military personnel killed in Baghdad, Fallouja, Ramadi and dozens of other cities and towns, the war in Iraq will never truly be over.

"Being a widow is a full-time job," said Mendoza, whose husband, Marine Maj. Ray Mendoza, 37, was killed in November 2005 when he stepped on a land mine while leading Marines from Camp Pendleton into combat near the Syrian border.
read more here

Friday, November 4, 2011

Wounded Warriors share wicked sense of gallows humor

Wounded warriors share tales of recovery, hope
By Patricia Kime - Staff writer
Posted : Friday Nov 4, 2011 13:09:32 EDT
Apparently, wounded warriors who find a way to overcome grievous injuries tend to share a common characteristic: a wicked sense of gallows humor.

“My friends all looked at me like they’d seen a ghost,” said retired Sgt. Army Bryan Anderson, recalling the minutes after he was hit by a roadside bomb in October 2005, shredding his legs and slicing off his left hand. “I felt I needed to say something, so I reached up and grabbed one’s arm and said, ‘Holy f---, do you think I’ll ever get lucky again?’ It put ’em right on track and they went to work and saved my life.”

“I was in this really dark place, and well, for me, it’s truly dark,” quipped Steve Maguire, blinded in Vietnam by a mine while on patrol with his Army Ranger platoon.

“The sniper was obviously very capable, because he almost shot the reporter in front of me and the Marine behind me. My dad says that even in Iraq, they know who the lawyers are,” joked retired Marine Maj. Justin Constantine, a former member of the judge advocate general corps who was shot in the head by a sniper on Oct. 18, 2006.

Anderson, Maguire and Constantine were among nine veterans who shared miraculous stories of survival, recovery and adaptation following horrific injuries for a television special, the Wounded Warrior Experience, to air on Veterans Day on the Pentagon Channel. The panel discussion was held Thursday, as part of the American Veterans Center’s 14th annual convention in Washington, D.C.,
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