It’s occurred to me that you just don’t hear much about U.S. military casualties anymore. I mean, I keep up with it and I’m sure a lot of Americans do, but the media doesn’t, really. I seem to recall that one of the big networks has a segment on one of their news programs called Faces of the Fallen, which features a different soldier every night. But my impression of that effort has always been that the music and delivery are too upbeat, and the presentation doesn’t reflect the tragedy of a human life ending.
What you find in the general media are the numbers. The problem is, those numbers are an abstract idea. They can be horrifying if you take the time to think about them, but few of us do. 2,567 members of the U.S. military killed since the beginning of the Iraq War, 2,027 of those by hostile action. 18,988 wounded. See what I mean? It’s hard to wrap our brains around how man people those numbers represent.
Well, I was looking at a list of the casualties for July, and I was just overwhelmed. So I thought I would post the casualty list that I was looking at, and then try to make a point about how desensitized Americans have become to the endless recitation of abstract numbers.
I implore you to read each and every name and description. It’s the least we can do as Americans to honor their sacrifices.
July 21: Army Cpl. Matthew P. Wallace, 22, Lexington Park, Md., died in Landstuhl, Germany, of injuries sustained July 16 when his vehicle hit an explosive in Baghdad; assigned to the Army’s 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.
•Marine Capt. Christopher T. Pate, 29, Hampstead, N.C.; killed in Anbar province; assigned to 2nd Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, Command Element, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
July 20: Army Pfc. Derek J. Plowman, 20, Everton, Ark.; died in Baghdad from a gun shot wound; assigned to the Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 142nd Fires Brigade, Rogers, Ark.
•Marine Cpl. Julian A. Ramon, 22, Flushing, N.Y.; was killed in Anbar province; assigned to 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
July 18: Marine Lance Cpl. Geofrey R. Cayer, 20, Fitchburg, Mass.; died in Anbar province of a non-hostile incident; assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.
•Army Sgt. Mark R. Vecchione, 25, Tucson; died Tuesday in Ramadi when an explosive detonated near his vehicle; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 37th Armor Regiment, 1st Armored Division, Friedberg, Germany.
July 17: Army Cpl. Nathaniel S. Baughman, 23, Monticello, Ind.; died in Bayji when his vehicle was hit by grenades; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky.
•Army Staff Sgt. Michael A. Dickinson II, 26, Battle Creek, Mich.; died in Ramadi when his patrol was hit by small arms fire; assigned to the 9th Psychological Operations Battalion, 4th Psychological Operations Group, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, N.C.
•Army Cpl. Kenneth I. Pugh, 39, Houston; died in Baghdad when his vehicle was hit by small arms fire; assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.
•Army Sgt. 1st Class Scott R. Smith, 34, Punxsutawney, Pa.; died Monday in Iskandariyah from an explosive; assigned to the 737th Explosive Ordnance Detachment, 52nd Ordnance Group, Fort Belvoir, Va.
July 16: Army Staff Sgt. Jason M. Evey, 29, Stockton, Calif.; died when his vehicle was hit by an explosive in Baghdad; assigned to the 1st Squadron, 10th Calvary Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Fort Hood, Texas.
July 15: Army Sgt. Andres J. Contreras, 23, Huntington Park, Calif.; died when his vehicle was hit by an explosive in Baghdad; assigned to the 519th Military Police Battalion, 1st Combat Support Brigade, Fort Polk, La.
•Army Spc. Manuel J. Holguin, 21, Woodlake, Calif.; died Saturday in Baghdad when his patrol was hit by small arms fire and an explosive; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, Baumholder, Germany.
July 14: Army Sgt. Thomas B. Turner Jr., 31, Cottonwood, Calif.; died at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Landstuhl, Germany, of injuries from July 13 when an explosive detonated near his vehicle in Muqdadiyah; assigned to the 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky.
July 13: Army Sgt. Alkaila T. Floyd, 23, Grand Rapids, Mich.; died in Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Landstuhl, Germany, of injuries from an explosive on July 8 in Ramadi; assigned to the 54th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, Bamberg, Germany.
July 12: Army Sgt. Irving Hernandez Jr., 28, New York; died in Mosul from small arms fire; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
•Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Jerry A. Tharp, 44, Muscatine, Iowa; died when his vehicle was struck by an explosive in Anbar province; assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 25, Rock Island, Ill.
July 10: Army Sgt. Duane J. Dreasky, 31, Novi, Mich.; died at the Brooke Army Medical Center, San Antonio, of injuries from an explosive detonated near his vehicle in Habbaniyah on Nov. 21; assigned to the National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 119th Field Artillery, Lansing, Mich.
July 9: Army Spc. Damien M. Montoya, 21, Holbrook, Ariz.; died in Baghdad from a non-hostile incident; assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.
July 8: Army Staff Sgt. Omar D. Flores, 27, Mission, Texas; Army Spc. Troy C. Linden, 22, Detroit Lakes, Minn.; and Army Spc. Joseph P. Micks, 22, Rapid River, Mich. were killed in Ramadi from an explosive near their vehicle; assigned to the 54th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, Warner Barracks, Bamberg, Germany.
July 3: Army Staff Sgt. Paul S. Pabla, 23, Fort Wayne, Ind.; died in Mosul from small arms fire; assigned to the National Guard’s 139th Field Artillery, Kempton, Ind.
July 2: Army Pfc. Collin T. Mason, 20, New York; killed by indirect fire while manning a checkpoint in his vehicle in Taji; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.
•Marine Sgt. Justin L. Noyes, 23, Vinita, Okla.; died in Anbar province; assigned to 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa, Japan.
July 1: Air Force Airman 1st Class Carl Jerome Ware Jr., 22, Smyrna, Del.; died from a non-hostile incident at Camp Bucca; assigned to the 15th Security Forces Squadron, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii.
Conservatives will be quick to point out that some of the deaths listed above did not occur in combat. That’s the kind of sick f**ks they are, that a human life means less to them if they can’t use it for their political purposes. It’s the same thing as the U.S. military spinning the numbers so that the casualties don’t seem so bad. Oh, sure, we’ve had over 2,500 killed. They openly discuss that. What they don’t say much about is the over 18,000 that have been wounded.
Anyway, the point I wanted to make is that the list above seems rather overwhelming when you look at how many names are on it, and reflect that each one of those names was a living, breathing human being. Husbands. Fathers. Sons. Living, vibrant people, with lives and families.
Think about how large that list seems now, and reflect that these are only 26 soldiers. 26 of the 2,567 killed.
I hope you see my point.