Please remember Pvt. Jalfred D. Vaquerano, 20-years-old, from Apopka, Fla., who died on Tuesday, Dec. 13, supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
He was severely wounded from enemy small-arms fire in Logar province, Afghanistan—a mountainous region known for Taliban resistance.
His last days were spent at the military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany.
Vaquerano was to be married in August to his fiancé, Katie Madden, who rushed overseas to be with him in his final days.
"He needed to rest. They took him off ventilator. We were there for him for his last breath and when his heart stopped beating," Madden said.
After his death, she shared a thought for all to hear:
"I hope this reminds everyone to reach out to the ones they love in LIFE because it's too late to tell him all the things we're telling him now," she wrote. "Actively love the people here with you now with all your heart. Everyone is so busy with their own lives, but the most important thing is each other."
Vaquerano was assigned to 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas.
Jalfred gave his life for this country, and for that we say thank you, Hero. Rest In Peace, Pvt. Jalfred Vaquerano.
Today Please Remember Marine Sgt. Christopher Diaz, 27-years-old, killed on Sept. 28th in Helmand province, Afghanistan. (Pictured here with his Military Working Dog, Dino, who was with him when he died).
Sgt. Diaz was killed while attempting to rescue a fellow Marine.
Diaz, from, El Paso, Texas, was a third-generation Marine, assigned to Headquarters Battalion, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif.
He spent eight years serving in the Marines and was an elite K-9 handler, one of only a handful in the Marine Corps to have the qualifications he possessed.
His skill and professionalism lead to him being chosen to support reconnaissance and special forces in some of the most dangerous places in Afghanistan.
Before departing on his current deployment, he faced a choice.
He had been selected to support reconnaissance and special forces units on raids to “kill or capture” Taliban leaders. He was briefed on the missions he could expect to support and was told he could expect to be in the thick of some of the most determined insurgent resistance in Helmand province.
However, with his enlistment set to expire, Diaz did not have to be part of any of it. But for Diaz, the decision was an easy one: Re-enlist to do what he did best - lead Marines and serve his country.
Once deployed to Afghanistan, He was on one of those missions when he died -- mortally wounded while rushing to help a wounded fellow Marine.
Dino, his military working dog, was with him when he died, but Dino survived the explosion that killed Sgt. Diaz.
Over the course of a tour of duty, military dog handlers and their working dogs build a very special and close bond, becoming the closest of companions.
On the first weekend of October, many Marines who respected Diaz gathered at Camp Leatherneck, the Marines' headquarters in Helmand province, to honor his memory and mourn his loss.
And in the front row, in a place of Honor, was Dino, Diaz's working dog, maintaining a disciplined posture but seemingly unable to look at the large picture of Diaz at the front of the makeshift chapel.
Near 1,000 supporters gathered at his funeral in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
His brother, Jeromie Diaz, says, "He was an amazing person, just an all-around great guy. He could get along with anybody. He walked in the door and he would make you smile."
Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Campbell, 36, was part of the Navy SEAL Team 6, and one of the incredible men who tragically lost his life in the August 6th helicopter crash that took the lives of so many American service members, all American Heroes.
Within a couple days of Chris’ death, his family learned that he had hand-written in his will that should he die in combat, rather than to focus on him, he wanted attention to be directed to Wounded Warrior Project. His hope was that 100,000 people donate to this worthy organization.
This was his final wish, which sought to continue to serve his country, even after laying down his own life for his fellow Americans.
He is a true American Hero, along with all of the American service members who are our heroes everyday. We Will Never Forget!
Chris’ family has taken up his mission, and are rallying the country to help make his dream come true as a testament to his memory. Please help them achieve his goal by donating today in Chris’ name, even if it’s just $1. http://bitly.com/qHQbqV
Today we remember 19-year-old, Army Pfc. Tyler M. Springmann, who died on July 17th in Kandahar, Afghanistan in a roadside blast when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.
Tyler was from Hartland, Maine; He served in the 25th Stryker Brigade, out of Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
Although family members hold different memories of the young man, they are "completely unified" about his love of singing. In the shower. Around the house. During church.
"And when Tyler sang, he did so quite badly," said Chaplain Andrew Gibson of the Maine Army National Guard. But through his singing and his commitment to his family and country, "he also showed of his soul and his heart."
Tyler was more mature than his 19 years, and had an uplifting personality.
More than 200 people attended his funeral where, because music was indeed a very important part of Tyler's life, his grandmother, Linda Snay, sang "Amazing Grace".
"Tyler loved this song with all of his heart," Snay said. "So I hope it blesses you just as much as it did him."
At the start of the second verse, Tyler’s stepfather, Ben Martin, rose from his seat and began singing along, and the rest of those in the gym soon stood and sang as well.
Today Remember Army Staff Sgt. Michael J. Garcia, 27, of Bossier City, LA, who was killed July 4, 2011.
He was killed on Independence Day serving during Operation Enduring Freedom.
Assigned to the 63rd Ordnance Battalion, 52nd Ordnance Group (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), 20th Support Command, Fort Polk, La.; He died in Logar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device.
Staff Sgt. Michael J. Garcia died doing what he loved, friends say.
He joined the Army after graduating from high school in 2001.
“He loved what he did, he absolutely loved what he did,” said his girlfriend, Shelby Martinez, who said he was “the happiest he ever was in his whole life deployed in Afghanistan.”
Precise and methodical, he always arranged to have birthday and holiday presents sent to family and friends even while deployed, and even left instructions with one of his sisters as to what would need to be done if he died.
His best friend, who was also in Afghanistan, was killed in February. He was sad and angry but had decided to live with the happy memory of what they had.
Christine Geisler Thomas who knew Garcia since high school said, “He was amazing. There’s no other way to describe Michael.”
In everyday life, Garcia was “an all-around nice guy,” she said. “He was handsome, he made you laugh. He knew how to make somebody’s day. I keep thinking, ‘Of all the people, why him?’ ” Thomas said.
This week, his buddies in Afghanistan recalled his impact on the unit.
"When something went wrong or didn't seem to work out he never got rattled or lost his temper, he simply fixed it and moved on," said Sgt. 1st Class Willis Fontenot, a 705th EOD noncommissioned officer from Mamou.
Capt. Aaron Teller, commander of 705th, said its soldiers looked up to Garcia because of his tenure and his extensive EOD knowledge base.
"You could always count on his rock-solid judgment and his common-sense approach to all challenges," Teller said. "Staff Sergeant Garcia simply drove on to get the mission done."
Michael was less than a month away from his 28th birthday.
Today remember Army Staff Sgt. Jeremy A. Katzenberger, 26-years-old, who was killed June 14th serving Operation Enduring Freedom. He died of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire in Paktika province, Afghanistan.
Jeremy was from Weatherby Lake, Mo., assigned to the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Hunter Army Airfield, Ga.
“Staff Sgt. Katzenberger was a phenomenal Ranger who died while leading his men in an assault against our enemies,” said Col. Michael Foster, a commander in Katzenberger’s 75th Ranger Regiment. “He died while protecting our nation and we will not forget his sacrifice.”
He leaves behind a wife, Colleen, and a 7-month-old son, Everett James, of Richmond Hill, Ga.; parents Robert and Peggy Katzenberger of Weatherby Lake; and three brothers, two of whom are also serving in the armed forces.
Katzenberger was on his eighth combat deployment since enlisting in 2004, the Pentagon said. He had served four in Iraq and was on his fourth in Afghanistan.
“I wish the American people could truly understand the dedication and sacrifice that Staff Sgt. Jeremy Katzenberger made for his country,” said Col. Michael E. Kurilla, another commander in his regiment. “Since early 2005, Jeremy has either been in combat or training for combat.”