November 20, 2003
EMAIL OF THE WEEK
From an anonymous reader:
Hear about the 17 less americans!
hope they had famlies!
This person will be delighted to learn that, yes, the 17 soldiers killed in Mosul on Saturday did have families. Letís meet them, via various news reports:
His grandmother said he was kind, nice and honorable.
Then again, she said, that's how all grandmothers see their grandsons.
"All I can say is that I couldn't ask for a better one," said Bitha Heidelberg, from her home in Clarke County.
Her grandson, 21-year-old Pfc. Damian L. Heidelberg, a Shubuta native, was among the 17 killed Saturday in Iraq when two Black Hawk helicopters collided.
Warrant Officer Erik C. Kesterson spent eight years in the Marines as a crew chief and gunner on helicopters. He was awarded the Marine Corps Medal of Heroism for pulling seven men out of a burning helicopter crash. He left the Marines, but after Sept. 11 he re-enlisted in the military, joining the Army's warrant officer program.
"He was very patriotic and believed in this country," his father, Clayton Kesterson of Independence, said. "He's a good man."
Pfc. Sheldon Hawk Eagle joined the Army while he was visiting his sister in North Dakota and dreamed of becoming an elite Army Ranger, his cousin says.
Hawk Eagle, 21, of Eagle Butte, S.D., a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, was among 17 Americans killed when two Black Hawk helicopters crashed in Mosul, Iraq, on Saturday.
"He's a hero," said Harold Frazier, the tribal chairman. "He defended our country and protected our freedom."
Two dozen long-stem roses remain in bloom on a dining room table inside the Federal Way home where a 28-year-old widow tends to the 2-month-old twin sons that a husband, father and soldier gone to war will never see.
Katrina Sullivan knew immediately the roses were from her husband, 26-year-old Army Spc. John Sullivan, when they arrived last week commemorating both her Nov. 7 birthday and the birth of their sons.
The last thing helicopter crew chief Sgt. Ryan Baker did when he was home on leave two weeks ago was to hug his mother, assuring her that he would be safe despite his job as a helicopter mechanic in Iraq.
The family, said mother Vicky Baker, is devastated."Iím just so proud ... and Iím so angry that they would take my baby like that," the mother sobbed, her voice trailing off.
Funeral arrangements have been made for a fallen South Dakota soldier who died in a helicopter collision last weekend in Iraq. 33-year old Scott Saboe of Willow Lake joined the Army in 1989. He leaves behind his father, Arlo; his sister, Ann; his wife, Franceska and their six-year old son Dustin.
Sgt. 1st Class Kelly Martin Liberato Bolor, a Maui native, was among those killed in Saturday's collision of two Black Hawk helicopters in Mosul, Iraq, the Army said yesterday.
Bolor, 37, was an Army reservist and a supply specialist with the 137th Quartermaster Company, which was attached to the 101st Airborne Division. The 1984 Lahainaluna High School graduate lived with his wife, Kelly, and their 3-year-old son, Kyle, in Whittier, Calif.
Spc. Eugene A. Uhl III was honored to follow his father and grandfather into the military.
"He was proud to be there (in Iraq), proud to be defending the country," said his mother Joan Uhl.
William Dusenbery was a devoted flyer, his father said Sunday.
"He died doing something he loved," William Dusenbery, Sr., who lives in Fairview Heights, just outside St. Louis, Mo.
Nancy Koeppen planned to answer an e-mail from Warren Hansen, a Clintonville soldier stationed in Iraq last Saturday, but thought it could wait until Monday.
Koeppen watched Hansen grow up with her son Mark. "Warrenís mother Beth and his stepfather Jim (Karlson) are great people, always doing and thinking about others first. Warren was the same way."
The flags outside Gregory Portland High School are at half staff in memory of 26-year-old Sgt. John Russell.
He graduated from high school in 1995 and went on to serve his country in the 101st Airborne based out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Dennis Russell, John's father, said, "The media is using them to advance somebody's political ... for whatever reason and attacking our president. And it's wrong."
He says we should not forget those in the armed services who make the ultimate sacrifice.
First Lieutenant Pierre Piche, 28, was one of 17 soldiers from the 101st Airborne based in Fort Campbell, Ky., who died in the collision. "They said . . . there was an attack and that the helicopters may have collided," his mother, Lisa Johnson, said yesterday to WCAX-TV. "He was supposed to grow old with his wife."
Rick Hafer lived for two things: football and his two half-sisters.
Hafer joined the Army to get his life together after poor high school grades kept him from entering college to play football, family members said. Also, he wanted to fight to keep his country safe for his younger sisters, Holly and Heather Strickland.
"His sisters were his whole life," his former stepmother, Sherry Barclay, said Monday from her home in Nitro, a suburb about 15 miles from Charleston. "He said when he left that he wanted to keep our home ground safe for them to live in. He wanted to prove to everybody that he could be somebody."
When Michael Acklin Sr. spoke to his son, Army Sgt. Michael Acklin II, during a telephone call from Iraq about two weeks ago, he could hear the sadness in his only child's voice.
The younger man didn't cry, but Acklin said he could hear his pain over losing a member of his Army unit to gunfire.
"He expressed to me the situation was getting worse over there. I tried to encourage him, keep him strong. I couldn't tell him, `Son, I miss you.' I didn't want to upset him.
"I hope our country and our community of Louisville will take time to appreciate our brave soldiers who sacrificed their life for ours."
Pfc. Joey Whitener spent his childhood wanting a military career.
But the birth of his son on Sept. 13 changed Whitener's priorities.
"He was so happy to be home with his friends and family and his son," Whitener's wife, Beth, told the Asheville Citizen-Times, recalling her husband surprising her by taking leave to be home for Tristan's birth.
"His son was his pride and joy. The first time they put him in his arms, he cried."
Spc. Jeremy DiGiovanni, 21, died Saturday, in the helicopter collision that also killed Mississippi soldier Pfc. Damian L. Heidelberg.
"It brings it home. This thing is real and it's not over by a long shot," said the Rev. Harold Gartman, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Summit, where DiGiovanni will be buried when his body returns from Iraq.
The stunned community has tried to extend sympathy to DiGiovanni's father, Joe, who owns a store in the community, Joe's One-Stop.
"He's super fine guy," Gartman said.
Inside the rural Menomonie, Wis., home of his dad, David Wolfe, somber friends and family gathered to grieve the loss of Jeremy Wolfe, 27, a helicopter pilot who died Saturday in Iraq.
"He should be remembered as a soldier for the United States, who fought for his country and for its beliefs," said David Wolfe.
Poor anonymous e-mail person. Heíll never know this sort of love and pride.Posted by Tim Blair at November 20, 2003 01:27 PM