From the UK:
Two soldiers killed in Helmand
A Military Operations news article
2 Jul 09
It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that one soldier from 1st Battalion Welsh Guards and one soldier from 2nd Royal Tank Regiment were killed in Afghanistan yesterday, Wednesday 1 July 2009.
The soldiers were killed as a result of an explosion that happened whilst on a deliberate operation near Lashkar Gah, central Helmand province, yesterday afternoon.
Spokesman for Task Force Helmand, Lieutenant Colonel Nick Richardson, said:
"The loss of these brave soldiers has hit us all very deeply; we grieve for them at this very sad time. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families, friends and colleagues who feel the greatest loss."
Next of kin have been informed and have asked for a period of grace before further details are released. (MoD here)
Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe and Trooper Joshua Hammond killed in Afghanistan
A Military Operations news article
2 Jul 09
It is with deep sadness that the Ministry of Defence can confirm that Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe MBE, Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, and Trooper Joshua Hammond of the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment were killed yesterday, Wednesday 1 July 2009, in Afghanistan.
They were killed by an explosion whilst on convoy along the Shamalan Canal, near Lashkar Gah, in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
On 1 July 2009 Lt Col Thorneloe left the Battle Group Headquarters on a resupply convoy so that he could visit his men, because they were conducting a major operation in hostile territory.
He was travelling in a Viking armoured vehicle, but at 1520hrs local time an improvised explosive device was detonated under this vehicle. Lt Col Thorneloe and Tpr Hammond were killed by the blast.
Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Richard Dannatt, said:
"The deaths of Lt Col Rupert Thorneloe MBE and Tpr Joshua Hammond during Operation Panchai Palang in Helmand province is a devastating blow to the Welsh Guards Battle Group and to the Army as a whole.
"Tpr Hammond was a first class tank crewman who epitomised the spirited and determined approach to operations expected of Royal Armoured Corps soldiers.
"Lt Col Thorneloe was an outstanding Commanding Officer and a born leader, who I knew well. His courageous, thoughtful stewardship of 1st Battalion Welsh Guards since October last year has seen them superbly prepared for the demands of Afghanistan, both in terms of their professional capability and their unbreakable spirit as a team.
"At the leading edge of his generation, his loss will be felt deeply not only by his family but also by his soldiers and others, who like me, had the privilege to serve with him.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of both these highly capable and popular soldiers - as well as with the entire Battle Group, for whom the loss of their Commanding Officer will have been a particularly bitter blow.
"However, this tragic incident has only served to strengthen our resolve and commitment to succeed in bringing stability and prosperity to Helmand province. We will remember them both." (more at MoD here)
Lance Corporal Dane Elson killed in Afghanistan
A Military Operations news article
7 Jul 09
It is with deep regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Lance Corporal Dane Elson from the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards was killed in Afghanistan on 5 July 2009.
Lance Corporal Elson was killed while on patrol in Babaji as part of Operation PANCHAI PALANG in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was part of a Fire Support Group from the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, attached to The Light Dragoons Battle Group.
On 5 July Lance Corporal Elson was a Team Commander in his Fire Support Group. Attached to B Company, 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment, their mission was to clear the enemy from positions south of Malgir. Having provided fire support for an attack on an enemy-held compound, the Fire Support Group began to move off. As they did so an improvised explosive device exploded, killing Lance Corporal Elson instantly....
Lance Corporal Elson was a keen rugby player and he lived for the mates he had around him in the Welsh Guards. He had a very bright future ahead of him, and stood out as a Guardsman destined for the higher ranks of the battalion."For Lance Corporal Elson's friends, no night out was complete without his presence."
Major Andrew Speed MBE
Lieutenant Colonel Gus Fair, Commanding Officer, The Light Dragoons Battle Group, said:
"Lance Corporal Elson was part of a small band of Welsh Guards attached to the Battle Group. Despite being small in number, they have made a huge impact with their professionalism, drive and determination to take the fight to the enemy. Lance Corporal Elson was one of the best of these. It is typical of the man that he died while providing cover to the rest of his platoon. Though Lance Corporal Elson is no longer with us, his fellow Welsh Guardsmen, and the Battle Group, will remember this talented and popular soldier."
His Battalion Second-in-Command, Major Andrew Speed MBE, said:
"Lance Corporal Elson was a dedicated and loyal Welsh Guardsman who had been with the battalion for five years. He was promoted shortly before his deployment to Afghanistan and was looking forward to an undoubtedly bright future.
"Lance Corporal Elson was a Javelin operator with one of the fire support groups, a job he relished. He was extremely fit and was mentally very tough. Prior to deployment, Lance Corporal Elson broke his wrist while learning to drive a quad bike. This meant that his deployment would be delayed. So keen was he to deploy with his fellow Welsh Guardsmen that he suggested to his Section Commander that he should cut off his plaster and pretend that his wrist was fine. To his disappointment, he was forced to wait for his wrist to heal."Lance Corporal Elson was a true friend and comrade. He always had a smile on his face. He was a cracking soldier and will not be forgotten."
Lance Sergeant Dan Collins
"With Lance Corporal Elson's belated deployment came his characteristic energy and enthusiasm, which made an immediate impact on his friends and fellow Welsh Guardsmen serving in the small contingent of Guardsmen attached to The Light Dragoons. He was soon in his element, and could not have been a more effective Team Commander on operations - he galvanised his team and was the fully rounded article. It was so typical of Lance Corporal Elson to have been providing cover and looking out for his mates when he died, he lived his life with a very selfless ethos which inspired others.
"Outside of the Army he was a man whose company others would seek. His friends describe him as being as sociable as a young Guardsman can be; he was universally regarded as being reliably good for morale. For Lance Corporal Elson's friends, no night out was complete without his presence...(more at MoD here)
Captain Ben Babington-Browne killed in Afghanistan
A Military Operations news article
8 Jul 09
It is with deep sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Captain Ben Babington-Browne from 22 Engineer Regiment, Royal Engineers, died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan on Monday 6 July 2009.
The incident took place whilst on takeoff in Zabul province, at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Mescall, on the afternoon of 6 July 2009.
Two Canadian soldiers were also killed in the crash.
Captain Babington-Browne was working in the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) Headquarters of Regional Command (South) and was visiting FOB Mescall...
Captain Ben Babington-Browne's mother Nina issued the following statement:
"Ben is a much loved son, brother and nephew who had a huge personality and will be so missed by his family and friends who are all heartbroken by his untimely death. One of the brightest stars in the firmament has been lost in the line of a duty which was second only to his love for his family and friends. We are all immensely proud of all his considerable achievements in his short life. God bless and keep him."...
Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Noble Royal Engineers, Commanding Officer 22 Engineer Regiment, said:
"I have rarely met a man who was so widely liked and respected in a regiment. On meeting him when I joined 22 Engineer Regiment, Ben immediately impressed me as a man of genuine purpose and penetrating intellect. His humility and selflessness were palpable; he carried his rank lightly and the British Army officers' creed of 'Serve to Lead' could have been written for him.
"He combined these qualities with a warmth, zest for life and sense of fun which could not help but lighten any mood. Above all else, his commitment to his soldiers was total and they knew it. He loved the outdoors and was never happier than when Nordic or Alpine skiing. Such an abundance of good qualities is rare in one person, I can only say that he truly was that man; gifted, compassionate and great fun to serve alongside...(more here at MoD )
From the Edmonton Sun:
Ottawa, Ontario — One Canadian soldier was killed and five injured when an improvised explosive device detonated near their armoured vehicle during a patrol in the Zhari District. The incident occurred south-west of Kandahar City at around 11:20 a.m., Kandahar time, on 3 July, 2009.
Killed in action was Corporal Nicholas Bulger from the 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry based in Edmonton.(here)
Cpl. Nick Bulger fondly remembered
Cpl. Bulger, 30, was killed when his armoured vehicle hit an improvised explosive device yesterday.
Ron Bulger remembered his nephew as an "awesome" person.
"He was a great guy. He had lots of friends and lots of family. He loved life and loved his country. He was sporty, he liked fishing and camping and singing, enjoying times... He was fairly quiet, fun-loving."
Bulger said his nephew didn't talk to him much about his work in Afghanistan.
"He loved his country and wanted to do his part," Bulger said.
Cpl. Bulger is survived by his wife, Rebeka, a four-year-old daughter and a two-year-old daughter who live in Edmonton, his uncle said.
"He was a family man. He loved his kids, loved his family."...
"He was very quiet, kind of a little on the shy side, but very, very patriotic," she said. "They were a wonderfully gracious platoon. They were very, very sincere in their gratitude to the Buckhorn community." [Buckhorn Community Centre president Nancy Fairweather said.]...
In a Canada Day interview, Bulger said he believed Afghanistan had a future.
"Especially when we're driving down the streets in the rural areas, to look down into the eyes of the children that are there, you get a different perspective," he said.
"All you see is the war and the destruction and stuff like that, but then when you see those kids running through the streets without a care in the world ... being here makes a huge difference." (more here)
Our American Heroes:
Someone More Important than Michael Jackson Died
Posted By Bouhammer on June 27, 2009
Yes I agree that MJ was a great dancer, singer, songwriter, and artist in general. I grew up on his music and would have loved to see him in concert when I was a kid. But that was then and this is now. I have lot of his music on my iPod and still enjoy it today, but he was a weird dude that did some weird stuff and I am not sure what all he was guilty of in life and it is not my place to judge. I think he got any judgment coming to him on Thursday evening as he stood at the pearly gates. I do know that I would never ask him to babysit.
So yes it is a loss for the music world that he died on Thursday, but you know someone a lot more important to me than him died Thursday. His name was Brian Bradshaw from Steilacoom, Washington. And I have never even met Brian Bradshaw or would recognize him had I saw him. Have you ever heard of Brian? Have you heard millions scream his name? Have you seen people and media flocking to his house?
No, you probably haven’t. Even though Brian was contributing a ton more to this country than Michael ever did, but will never be known like Michael. You know why? Because 1LT Brian N. Bradshaw was a soldier, an Airborne Soldier who gave his life serving this country and defending it. An American Airborne Soldier who was in Afghanistan, unselfishly trying to give the people of Afghanistan the freedom to live without oppression. So to me, Brian Bradshaw is a real Hero, a real Role-Model and someone who was real and in touch with reality.
Brian Bradshaw, along with the thousands of other Great Americans who have sacrificed their lives for our country deserve the millions of people screaming their names too. But will never get it, and will never ask for it. Because they are serving this country out of personal motivation, not for fame and certainly not for fortune. ...(here at Bouhammer's)
Two days later, Bouhammer wrote a follow up post on this hero:
Posted By Bouhammer on June 29, 2009
I did not know Brian and for that I am sorry. But I wrote that he was someone more important because of the sacrifice he had made. Of course it is not just Brian, but every single American that has laid their life down in sacrifice to this country. It just happened that Brian left this earth on the same day as Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson.
I didn’t know Brian but through the comments on that blog post I have gotten to know him better. One of those comments was from Brian’s parents where they posted a quote from this mighty young man and warrior. I didn’t want this very insightful quote to be lost so I am re-posting it here for all to see, because I think all of you need to. His words speak volumes and exemplifies the character of not only Brian but also thousands of Great Americans that are, have or are supporting those who serve this country every single day.
Service is the foundation of life. Without service, our life’s have the same impact and meaning as a stick lying on the ground. No one remembers the sticks stepped on in the woods, but everyone remembers the flowers they see and smell in the meadow. If we serve and work throughout our life we will be like the flower that everyone remembers and always comes back. In our memory many more, especially those that we touched during our life will carry on the legacy of service, thus we had a positive impact on others and life had meaning. The whole meaning of life is to pass on to others that which we value most and what I value is service and throughout the rest of my life I will serve the community of my brethren to the best of my ability.” Brian Bradshaw 2002...(Go read all that Bouhammer has to say here, and make that site a regular stop.)
Relatives of Soldier Killed in Afghanistan Decry Lack of Coverage Amid Jackson Spectacle
Lt. Brian Bradshaw - U.S. Army
A day before New York Rep. Peter King called Michael Jackson a “pervert” unworthy of nonstop media coverage, the aunt of a U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan on the same day Jackson died asked why her nephew's death went virtually unnoticed while the King of Pop got memorial shrines across the country.
"Mr. Jackson received days of wall-to-wall coverage in the media," Martha Gillis wrote to the Washington Post. "Where was the coverage of my nephew or the other soldiers who died that week?"...
Gillis' nephew, Lt. Brian Bradshaw, 24, died in Kheyl, Afganistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. Bradshaw, of Steilacoom, Wash., was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division in Fort Richardson, Alaska. He was one of at least 13 U.S. soldiers to die in Afghanistan since Jackson's death on June 25.
Bradshaw's mother, Mary, said she agreed with Gillis, saying the nonstop coverage of Jackson's death has become "totally ridiculous" and laughable.
"I can watch the news many nights and there's no mention of what's going on in Afghanistan or Iraq and there's boys dying over there," Bradshaw told FOXNews.com. "Oh God, I can't talk."...
Gillis, of Springfield, Va., could not be reached for comment. In her letter to the Washington Post, she described Bradshaw as a "thoroughly decent person with a wry sense of humor" who loved history, particularly the Civil War.
"He had old-fashioned values and believed that military service was patriotic and that actions counted more than talk," Gillis wrote. "He wasn't much for talking, although he could communicate volumes with a raised eyebrow."
Bradshaw, who graduated from Pacific Lutheran University, was the product of a military family. His father, Paul, is a retired National Guard helicopter pilot, and his mother is a retired Army nurse. Bradshaw was buried Monday following a service at St. John's Bosco Church in Lakewood, Wash.
"He was a search-and-rescue volunteer, an altar boy, a camp counselor," Gillis' letter continued. "He carried the hopes and dreams of his parents willingly on his shoulders....(Fox news here)
As I write this post? There are seven more US soldiers who just made the ultimate sacrifice. Will there be wall to wall media coverage of any of these fallen heroes? We all know the answer. From Michelle Malkin comes this:
Let’s mourn the real American heroes
My column below memorializes some true American heroes whose funerals won’t get wall-to-wall cable coverage.
Let’s mourn the real American heroes
by Michelle Malkin
Flags flew at half-staff this week in California’s state capitol. No, not for Michael Jackson. For Private First Class Justin Casillas.
Pfc. Casillas died in a jihadi suicide bombing attack on his Army base in eastern Afghanistan on the Fourth of July. While Americans enjoyed fireworks and Hollyweird mourned the “King of Pop” with wretched excess, the family of Pfc. Casillas learned that the 19-year-old paratrooper with the U.S. Army’s Alaska-based 509th Airborne had given his life for his country. His father told the Woodland (Calif.) Daily Democrat that Justin just “wanted to do his part.”
The family has a legacy of service: Casillas’s grandfather served in the Pacific theater during World War II; his father served in Vietnam. But the death of Pfc. Casillas didn’t make front-page headlines. His funeral won’t receive wall-to-wall coverage on cable TV. (Go read the rest here)
As I read about Sheila Jackson-Lee drafting a resolution about MJ, and as I hear that the US had a minute of silence to 'honour' MJ, I have to ask:
I am reminded of a video I have posted in the past. Yes, it was made in respect of Remembrance Day, but I wonder what it would take to have each of us make just a small gesture for all of us to spare just a "Pittance of Time" every day to honour our fallen.
(If you haven't heard this before, or don't know the history, go to YouTube here and read it.)
WHEN will any of our heroes get THEIR Pittance of Time?