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U.S. casualties in Afghanistan August 2012: A closer look

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The article was originally published on the Madison Independent Examiner. There is a slideshow available for viewing there.


A woman mourns her loved one at Arlington National Cemetery.
Credit: Getty Images.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)

The words of Dr. McCrae, written in 1915 after witnessing the death of his friend, have as much relevance today as they did then. With 53 soldiers killed, August 2012 was one of the deadliest months for the NATO coalition in Afghanistan since the war began almost 11 years ago. U.S. troop deaths in Afghanistan surpassed the 2000 mark with at least 38 killed last month. And there is no end in sight until at least 2014.

Those who have made the ultimate sacrifice seem to be getting less and less attention from the corporate media. NBC called it a "forgotten war" that "no one really cares" about, but there are hundreds of families who care and will never forget. It is a safe assumption that most Americans who have been paying attention to the news put forth by the corporate media in print and on national TV do not know how many service members died in August, and even fewer know their names. Whatever views one may have on the recent wars, military personnel deserve more recognition than that.

This article may be lengthy, but that is because the list of young Americans who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country last month is long. The lists will continue to be lengthy until Americans demand an end to this war and the military presence in the Middle East. If you cannot take the time to read about and recognize the sacrifice of each individual, then ask yourself if it was worth it for any one of these young people to give up their lives.

To whom it may concern, here are their names and some information about each one of them:

Lance Cpl. Curtis Joseph Duarte, age 22, Covina, California. 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force. Curtis died August 1, 2012 in Helmand province, Afghanistan following an improvised explosive device (IED) attack during combat operations. Duarte, a 2008 graduate of Covina High School who went on to study at San Diego State University, was on his first combat deployment. Among numerous decorations, he had earned a bronze star. Curtis is survived by his parents, Joe and Gina Duarte, his wife Sarah and their two year-old daughter, Gracie.

Pfc. Jesus Jonathan Lopez, age 22, San Bernardino, California. Company D, 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. Jesus died on August 1, 2012 in Paktika province, Afghanistan. He was one of two soldiers killed by a roadside IED on their first combat deployment. A video posted on YouTube entitled "In loving Memory of Pfc. Jesus Lopez" can be viewed here. It says more about Jesus' life than I can.

1st Lt. Todd William Lambka, age 25, Fraser, Michigan. Company D, 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. Todd died along with Pfc. Lopez on August 1, 2012 when their vehicle stuck a roadside bomb in the Bermel district of Paktika province, Afghanistan. Todd was a 2010 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Todd's twin brother, Jordan, also serving in Afghanistan, accompanied his body home. Todd was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart posthumously, and flags in the state of Michigan were lowered to half-mast on August 15th in his honor. He is survived by his father, Brian, his brother and his fiancee, Cassie, whom he had planned to marry next June.

"I think every parent is surprised when their son or daughter makes that decision, but their love of country is the reason why they're willing to go over there," Brian Lambka said. "He thought defending the country was very noble. This is what my kids were called to do."

Sgt. Kyle Brenton McClain, age 25, Rochester Hills, Michigan. 1433rd Engineer Company, 507th Engineer Battalion, 177th Military Police Brigade, Michigan Army National Guard. Kyle died on August 1, 2012 while clearing IEDs from roadways in Salim Aka, Kandahar province, Afghanistan. At his funeral on August 16th, Lisa McClain shared a letter from her husband's best friend in college that was mailed after her husband's death. "He never expected anything in return for any thoughtful act he provided," she read. Father Stanley Ulman told mourners that the names of soldiers who are killed are read "never thinking, never even considering that one day we'd be reading the name of a young man close to our hearts."

Staff Sgt. Matthew Steven Sitton, age 26, Largo, Florida. Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 508th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. Matthew was one of two soldiers killed on August 2nd when a roadside bomb detonated during dismounted operations in the Zharay district of Kandahar province, Afghanistan. He was supposed to return home in September and had planned to move to North Carolina with his wife, Sarah and their 9-month-old son, Brodey. Instead Sarah had this to say to NBC channel 8 news in Tampa Bay: "Everything I had in life, every future plan that I ever had was based around him. So when I heard that news, everything stopped on August second." Matt is also survived by his parents, Steve and Cheryl and his brother Jonny.

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http://www.examiner.com/independent-in-madison/gregory-patin

Gregory Patin is a free-lance writer residing in Madison, WI. He earned a BA in political science from the University of Wisconsin - Madison and a MS in IT management from Colorado Tech. He is politically independent and not affiliated with either (more...)
 
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NBC called it a "forgotten war that "no one reall... by Stephen Zimmett on Tuesday, Sep 4, 2012 at 1:54:56 PM
Thanks for your comment and thanks for taking the ... by Gregory Patin on Tuesday, Sep 4, 2012 at 2:27:19 PM
This article is missing something huge: It is not ... by Richard Pietrasz on Tuesday, Sep 4, 2012 at 4:25:52 PM
Thanks for your comment, Richard. Most people, as ... by Gregory Patin on Tuesday, Sep 4, 2012 at 5:49:49 PM