"I'm so cried out right now my eyes are burning," Higdon's father, Danny, told the hometown Odessa American newspaper. He said his son "strongly believed in what he did and why we are fighting." He left behind a wife and two children.

Higdon's younger brother, Kaleb, 15, especially looked up to him and took his big brother to school to speak when he was home on leave. In a recent conversation, Kaleb told the newspaper "he just told me he loved me and that he'd see me soon".

KIA May 22, 2007


In Kuehl's hometown his family issued a statement: "We prayed this day would never come, unfortunately, we were notified Tuesday that David lost his life during combat while bravely serving his country,".

"David was a wonderful son, husband, father, brother and uncle and will be dearly missed."

Kuehl's family and friends told the newspaper that he was a quiet, hardworking man who got along with everyone and was devoted to serving his country.

Word of his death spread rapidly through his hometown. "I was at the beauty shop last night. I started crying," Paulette Hoeft, a family friend, told the Fargo newspaper.

KIA May 22, 2007

In Georgia, Worthington's death became that state's 101st in the war only hours after the 100th grim milestone was reached, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The newspaper said Worthington and his sister, Kaylin, had grown close after their parents divorced five years ago. Worthington wanted nothing more than to hold his 6-month-old niece again and to start college after returning from Iraq.

Worthington's father, Robert, told the newspaper that he felt sick and empty when the men in military uniforms visited his home in Hampton, Ga., on Tuesday night to tell him about his son's death. He thought only of the inquisitive son who loved the outdoors. He said he knew his son was nervous about going to war, the paper reported. "You know something might happen, but you never think it will," he said.

KIA May 22, 2007

Twenty-one-year-old Army Specialist Mathew LaForest died when his unit came under fire during combat operations.

Spc. LaForest was assigned to 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.

A family friend who went to high school with LaForest said "He died doing something that protected all of us and that served for all of us. He died watching out for his army brothers, and I think that's the most important thing people need to realize". LaForest's family says he was on his first tour of duty, and was only in Iraq for about 3 weeks.

KIA May 25, 2007

When Willard M. Powell-Kerchief joined the Army last year, his friends and family were reluctant to embrace the decision. But they also said the 2005 Reitz High School graduate seemed to hit his stride while wearing fatigues.

The 21-year-old, serving with an infantry unit, was waiting for a promotion to corporal. "Willard felt a sense of accomplishment. It was the most prideful I've ever seen him," said close friend Jeremy Jones, a high school classmate.

He was a active member of First Christian Church and was remembered Friday as the definition of a "true friend," and in fact, Powell-Kerchief was fond of using that very term.

PFC. Willard M. Kerchief was assigned to the 4th Battalion 9th Infantry Regiment - 2nd Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team) at Fort Lewis, Washington.

KIA August 16, 2007
Dan McKinney's Report

Cpl. Graham M. McMahon, 22, of Corvallis, Ore., Died Sept. 19 in Balad, Iraq, from a non-combat related illness. He was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Fort Lewis, Wash.

McMahon, who joined the Army in 2004, graduated from the Army's health care specialist course for combat medics at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, before arriving at Fort Lewis.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and fellow soldiers during this difficult time.

Died September 19, 2007
Bear & Cheri's Report

Cpl. Jose A. Paniagua-Morales, 22, of Bell Gardens, Calif., died March 7 In Balad, Iraq, of wounds suffered in Samarra, Iraq, when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment.

In Paniagua-Morales’ home state, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered that flags be flown at half-staff at the capitol in Sacramento.

In a statement, the governor said Paniagua-Morales “was a true patriot who gave his life in the defense of liberty. He fought with honor, bravery and loyalty to our country and his fellow soldiers. On behalf of the people of California, Maria and I offer our prayers and deepest condolences to Jose’s loved ones as they mourn the loss of an extraordinary Californian.”


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