22 years old from Tampa, Florida
2nd Forward Support Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division
May 18, 2005
Sgt. Antwan Walker was excited about coming home from Iraq to celebrate his 23rd birthday with his family and friends. His mother, Andrea Pringle, was busy planning the party when an Army official unexpectedly came to her house.
She said he told her Thursday that her son was killed the previous day by a bomb blast in Ramadi. The Department of Defense hasn't publicly confirmed his death.
Sgt. Antwan Walker, known as Twan to his friends and family, joined the Army in 2000. Pringle said her son joined to earn money for college.
"Twan had a lot of goals in life," She said. "He was very ambitious and very smart."
Sgt. Walker had been in Iraq for about a year. He called his family often but didn't want to talk about war. Instead, he talked about starting a real estate career and his three children.
"He was such a good dad," his mother said. "All he wanted to do was make a good life for his kids."
In April 2005, Walker wanted to talk about the fighting. He told his mother five soldiers he was traveling with were killed. His phone calls became more frequent after that.
Pringle said she had days when she couldn't eat or sleep because of her worries. But she never forgot to give her son her support.
"I always told him I'm proud and be safe".
20 years old from Douglaston, New York
Company C, 1st Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team
February 19, 2004
When Spc. Roger G. Ling's Humvee was struck by a homemade bomb in October of 2003, he survived the attack and he worked to keep his superior officer, Lt. Matt Homa, alive. Spc. Ling was riding in the backseat of the Humvee when it was hit. It destroyed Lt. Homa's door.
"It almost killed me. From what I've been told, Roger helped keep me awake until my medic arrived." said Lt. Homa. "Ling was a good kid. You could count on him to do anything."
Spc. Ling was killed, along with Second Lieutenant Jeffrey C. Graham of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, when their unit came under fire from insurgents in Khalidiyah, Iraq. Only two miles from where he'd survived the attack just four months earlier.
Leona Ling said she was grateful her brother came home in August of 2003 just before leaving for Iraq.
"He had to have his tonsils taken out," she said. "It was a blessing in disguise because we got to see him again."
In phone calls home, the soldier spoke wistfully of returning to New York and going to college. "He wanted to hear about what was going on at home and all the latest family gossip," Leona Ling recalled.
Survivors include his father, Wai Ling, a U.S. Army veteran.
24 years old from Corvallis, Oregon
Company B, 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry Regiment, Army National Guard
June 13, 2004
An avid outdoorsman, Spc. McKinley worked as a baker at Alpine Bakery in Corvallis, Ore. Upon his return from Iraq, he hoped to open a juice bar in the college town to provide a drug and alcohol-free environment for young people. Friends and co-workers remember Spc. McKinley as a quiet, caring young man who dyed his hair, sported several tattoos and loved ska and rock music. His senior yearbook picture showed a grinning young man with spiked hair dyed red and green. In other 1998 yearbook pictures, he has purple and blue hair in a mohawk.
Spc. Eric McKinley was killed when a roadside bomb north of Baghdad detonated destroying two vehicles and wounded four other Oregon soldiers. They were identified as Staff Sgt. Phillip Davis, 23, of Albany; Sgt. Matthew Zedwick, 23, of Bend; Cpl. Shane Ward, 23, of Corvallis and Pvt. Richard Olsen, 23, of Independence.
Almost 500 people attended the memorial service for Spc. McKinley at Starker Arts Park in Corvallis. There was a mix of people dressed in either military or punk attire — including McKinley’s six-year-old cousin, who, in tribute, wore his hair in a bright green mohawk.
Coventry Pacheco, McKinley’s fiancee, sat in the first row at his celebration-of-life service. They hadn’t set a wedding date, but were planning to get married.
He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service, a Purple Heart and the Oregon Distinguished Service Award. U.S. and Oregon flags were presented to his parents, Tom McKinley of Salem and Karen Hilsendager of Philomath.
21 years old from Sauk City, Wisconsin
1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force
March 13, 2006
Lance Cpl. Nicholas Anderson lost his life after the Humvee he was riding in rolled over as a group of Marines pursued a suspicious vehicle near Jalalabad, Afghanistan. He suffered head injuries in the crash and died as he was being transported to a hospital.
Nicholas Anderson joined the Marines in January 2005 and began a six-month tour of Afghanistan two months ago with the 3rd Marines Weapons Platoon, his father, James Anderson said.
"I just know that he died fighting for what he believed in," he said. "He wanted to be a Marine and even though it was a major risk he just wanted to go."
James Anderson said his son, a 2003 Sauk Prairie High School graduate, enjoyed riding his motorcycle, lifting weights, going fishing and hanging out with friends.
He joined the Wisconsin Army National Guard when he was 18, but an injured shoulder forced him to drop out. He then enlisted in the Marines.
"I was very nervous when he first joined the Marines because two words jumped into my head: Afghanistan and Iraq," his father said. "I just supported him and prayed that it would end before he had to go over."
These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived
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I don't know--is it more shocking seeing them grouped together? I'll say it again- move on from blaming Bush for getting us into it, it's time to talk about what we're doing to support the folks we've already sent over there. Congress is talking about drastically reducing funding on TBI research. The numbers on fatalities in this war are lower because we can save people who in other wars would have been lost. Those people have Traumatic Brain Injuries, and will need our help and support for years if not their entire lives. How many homeless vets do we have now? Why is no one in Congress looking down the road ten, twenty years?
VOTE, people. Call your congressmen, or email them. Let them know this needs to be addressed.