Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fort Hood: Remember these Names(Part 1)

Today, all the US military mourns the loss of 13 who lost their lives at Ft. Hood, and the world mourns with them. Every one of these fallen heroes volunteered to serve a cause greater than themselves. Every one of these Americans was loved - is loved - and their families grieve, as we all grieve with them.

Today, Ft. Hood honours its own:

Lt. Col. Juanita L. Warman, Havre De Grace, Maryland


Lt. Col. Warman was 55, married, and a certified psychiatric nurse practitioner. She had been in Ft. Hood less than 24 hours on November 5. She was there processing for a deployment in Iraq for which she had volunteered.

Philip Warman, her husband:

. "I kept thinking, 'She can't be in the processing center.' She had just gotten there, she had more training to undergo. She was not due to leave until the end of November. The base hot line didn't have her on the initial list of casualties.

"I thought, 'Good, she's probably OK. She just can't get through to me.'"

A half-hour later, his doorbell rang....

His wife's military career spanned 25 years in active duty and Army reserves.

She received an Army Commendation Medal in 2006 for meritorious service at Landstuhl. (Soldiers' Angels Germany has a post up about her here. READ it.)

Her husband:

"She was indeed an extraordinary woman," ... "I can't remember when we weren't together. We met at a social event at the University Club in 1986. We've been together since. She was my best friend....

Her daughter, Melissa Papst-Czemerda, 29, of Peters, said:

"She really donated her life to serving her country," ...She loved helping people and making a difference. She was a heroine and gave her life serving her country."

On Oct. 29, Lt. Col. Warman made her final Facebook posting. Ms. Harper said the family had been reading and re-reading the note since her death. The note mentions how her sister was missing her daughters and grandchildren, and kept track of their lives through the photographs they posted.

"I am so excited to be leaving the country again soon," Lt. Col. Warman said in her posting. "Just now got a few minutes. So much to do, so many lives to touch. Just wish it didn't take me away from home so much."

On Legacy.com, I found the following:

November 09, 2009

My dear friend...I will always remember your laugh, that mischievous twinkle in your eye, your zest for fun and the stories we shared about work, family, and fellow reservists. Such fun we had working together in Germany, air evacs, travelling together and staying busy on deployment in Europe! You were a terrific roommate and I will cherish those memories always. Here's to you Warman! Toasting you with a Grand Marnier! Tchuss, my friend. You were special and you are missed.

Barbara Marley, Florida


Pvt. Francheska Velez, Chicago, Illinois

According to her sister-in-law Marisol Cruz: “She was the sweetest, sweetest person,” Cruz said. “If you needed anything, you could count on her.” (Chicago Sun Times)

Francheska Velez, 21, lived the dream her father never realized.

Velez enlisted three years ago, an act her father Juan Guillermo Velez always wanted to accomplish, he told CNN affiliate WGBO. He encouraged his three-months pregnant daughter to stick with the military after she gave birth.

"My advice to her was to continue with her career in the military after she had her child," he told WGBO. "Then she would tell me, 'Daddy,' always with a smile on her face, which I will never forget, 'I will continue with my military career.' That was a dream that she made happen for me."

Francheska Velez had recently returned from Iraq and was transferred to Fort Hood last week because she was pregnant, her father said.

A friend said Velez loved music and loved hanging out with her friends. "She was just your average person who liked being around her friends and family," Judy Cielocha said. "Her family meant a lot."

Cielocha said she will always remember Velez's smile. "It was so bright, you could tell she was happy. She was really looking forward to staying in the military. "This is horrible."

Another article can be found here.

Velez wanted to be an psychologist and help soldiers deal the stresses of military life, friends said.

Velez was thrilled about the pregnancy and had hoped for a boy, according to Sasha Ramos, a fellow soldier and one of her closest friends. "She would have been a great mom," said Ramos, who was to be the child's godmother. "She loved kids."

"She was our baby," Velez said as tears streamed down his cheeks.


Sgt. Amy Krueger, Kiel, Wisconsin

Krueger, 29, of Kiel, Wis., joined the Army after the 2001 terrorist attacks and had vowed to take on Usama bin Laden, her mother, Jeri Krueger said.

Amy Krueger arrived at Fort Hood on Tuesday and was scheduled to be sent to Afghanistan in December, her mother told the Herald Times Reporter of Manitowoc.

Jeri Krueger recalled telling her daughter that she could not take on bin Laden by herself.

"Watch me," her daughter replied.

Kiel High School Principal Dario Talerico told The Associated Press that Krueger graduated from the school in 1998 and had spoken at least once to local elementary school students about her career.

"I just remember that Amy was a very good kid, who like most kids in a small town are just looking for what their next step in life was going to be and she chose the military," Talerico said. "Once she got into the military, she really connected with that kind of lifestyle and was really proud to serve her country." (FOX here)

Denise Morley, Krueger's best friend, and Kristin Thayer spoke on behalf of Krueger's family who learned early Friday morning that Amy was one of 13 killed at Fort Hood.

"She was a hero; she was a hero for all of us, one hell of a soldier. And we're very proud of her and we'll miss her very much," said Thayer.

Thayer spoke to Krueger just a few days ago. It's a conversation she thought would not be their last. Now, their words sustain her. "The last thing she said to me was, 'I love you,'" she said. "She was a best friend. And anyone who was not in her life was missing out on an amazing person."

Krueger reportedly got a tattoo on her back before she was deployed. It contained the words “All gave some, some gave all. Sacrifice.”

Krueger's mother, Jerri, got the news of her daughter's death at 2 a.m. Friday. And while she mourns, the entire community mourns with her.

"She was a wonderful person who was strong-willed," said Krueger. "When she said she would do something she would do it."


Pfc. Michael Pearson, Bolingbrook, Illinois

Michael Pearson, 22, enlisted in the Army more than a year ago to realize his musical dream. He hoped the military would be his path to college, where he could study musical theory, his brother Kristopher Craig told CNN affiliate WGN-TV in Chicago, Illinois.

"He was a genius as far as we were concerned," Craig told WGN-TV, reeling from the news that his 21-year-old "little kid brother" was dead.

"He was really living his life playing guitar," Craig said. "When he picked up a guitar, we all understood that he was expressing himself."

Pearson was scheduled to deploy either to Iraq or Afghanistan in January, his brother said. He was learning to deactivate bombs and training in the Mojave Desert, said his mother, Sheryll Pearson. She was looking forward to seeing her son at Christmas.

Pfc. Michael Pearson taught himself to play the piano and became a guitar virtuoso long before he joined the Army last year. "He had a little Jimi Hendrix in him," a relative said Friday..

"He was very reflective and introspective and wise beyond his years," the relative said. "He knew the importance of things, whether they were pleasant or not."

As a guitarist, improvisation was his joy: "He just sat-in and just jammed away."

"He was always upbeat and looking forward to coming home," she said. "He was bringing his guitar home." Pearson, she said, loved music and his guitar. He and his father often played together.

Mike Dostalek, Pearson's cousin, said Jimmy Hendrix was his idol. Pearson also taught himself how to play piano, Dostalek added during an informal news conference outside the family home this afternoon.

"He was the poster child of what any mother wanted in a son," his mother, Sheryll Pearson said. "...still doesn't seem real to me."He was the best son in the whole world. He was a good student, good friend, loyal, a hard worker -- he was my best friend and I miss him," she said, adding that she is praying for the families of the other victims.

On his Facebook page, Pearson typed the words to a song of his own. The relative choked up as he read them aloud:

I look only to the future for wisdom.

To rock back and forth in my wooden chair,

Grow out the beard of the earth,

And play my experience through sound.

Not always pleasant, but just as important,

For each note must represent love, pain experience.

Everyone has a place in my story,

And someday I'll play a tune that represents you

And the role you played in my life.


Chief Warrant Officer Michael Grant Cahill (Ret.), Cameron, Texas

Michael Cahill, 62, had worked for six years at Fort Hood as a physician's assistant, helping soldiers deploying and returning from overseas, after working as a rural doctor and serving in the National Guard and U.S. Army Reserves. He loved his job so much that he drove 60 miles in each direction to get to work each day. Three weeks ago, when Michael Cahill had a heart attack, he didn't want anyone to worry. He called his son from the ambulance on the way to the hospital, and didn't even mention it.

For Michael Cahill, work and family were his life. When he worked as a rural health care provider, he was on call 24 hours a day, his family said. And he would make time for every single person who called -- no matter what hour -- to try and help.

"He did what he always thought was right. He supported his soldiers, he gave them the best care that he could give them," wife Joleen Cahill said.

Cahill, who served in the Army Reserve, previously worked as a registered nurse, Marilyn Attebery told KREM. He later returned to school to pursue a career as a physician's assistant, she said. Cahill was assisting with physicals for soldiers preparing for deployment at the time of the shooting, his sister said.

Family members said they know had he not been killed, he would have been trying to save the lives of others who were shot on Thursday. "He would have been right there, he would have done what he could," daughter Kerry Cahill said.

Kerry Cahill, still wearing her father's plaid shirt that she just couldn't take off yet, became emotional when asked what she would miss most about her father. "What would you miss if your dad died?" she asked before pausing, as if to give time to think of all of the memories anyone might have of their father. "I'll miss that."


Major Libardo Eduardo Caraveo,

Woodbridge, Virginia


Major Libardo Eduardo Caraveo's son, Eduardo, says his father arrived in the United States in his teens from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, knowing very little English. He earned his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Arizona and worked with bilingual special-needs students at Tucson-area schools before entering private practice.

Caraveo lived in Woodbridge, Virginia.

His son told the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson that Caraveo had arrived at Fort Hood on Wednesday and was preparing to deploy to Afghanistan. (source)

Arizona Daily Star said he had been in the Army National Guard for nearly a decade. Caraveo was assigned to the 467th Medical Detachment, Madison, Wisconsin.

From Legacy.com:

As much as he was eminently qualified with many degrees and certified as a prescribing psychologist in new Mexico, “doc” was a cool guide who loved life fully. When he was my boss at the Federal prison in Loretto, PA, he would come and get me to go run, work out, or eat out. I was not always up to it but he was...

Although he was first my boss at the Federal prison in Loretto, Pennsylvania, he became one of my best friends (I have about three or four best friends) in the world. He bought many lunches for me and I did the same. I joked back in those days about his cool black Mercedes Benz, how elegant it was - but material things, his lovely home, etc., did not puff him up at all. I met his dear wife (Angela) after he had moved to the DC area. He talked non-stopped about his children and his son Eduardo, in particular...

Rest in peace. The deep faith by which you lived will sustain those of us left behind.

We will miss you, doc, we will.

Neal Walker, PhD
Clinical Psychologist...(here)


Capt. John Gaffaney, San Diego, California

Gaffaney, the father of a grown son, traveled to Fort Hood this week for a yearlong overseas deployment. Before he worked for the county, he had been in the Army, where he earned the rank of major, Schmeding said.

Schmeding said Gaffaney "really felt he could make a difference" serving members of the armed forces.

He will be "sorely missed," she said.

Army Capt. John Gaffaney, 56, loved collecting baseball cards, reading military novels, restoring his 1965 Mustang and riding his Harley-Davidson.

He worked hard at helping the elderly through his job in San Diego County's Adult Protective Services department. Above all else, he cared about his family and his flag.

Bound for Iraq with an Army Reserve unit at age 56, Gaffaney had only arrived at Ft Hood the day before.

“John would want others to know that he loved his family and his country,” his wife, Christine Gaffaney and her son, Matthew, said in a statement released through the California Army National Guard. “He died doing something he believed in.”

Gaffaney was born in Williston, N.D., and grew up in the Pacific Northwest before earning nursing degrees in San Diego. His father was a Korean War veteran.

He enlisted in the Navy in 1973 and served for five years. In 1984, missing military life, he joined the 40th Infantry Division of the California National Guard and eventually retired as a major in 1999.

Trained as a psychiatric nurse, Gaffaney also started work with the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency 22 years ago. He spent most of his civilian career in Adult Protective Services, investigating cases of neglect or abuse of the elderly.

His skills and personality made him perfectly suited for his job, said longtime colleague Ellen Schmeding.

“He was very kind, very hardworking,” she said. “We lose count of all the people he was able to help.”

Schmeding said Gaffaney focused on helping foreign-born seniors who wanted to return to their homelands.

Gaffaney headed a group of roughly a dozen workers at a county office on Rosecrans Street in San Diego's Midway district. Grief counselors arrived there early yesterday to help his co-workers cope with the loss, Schmeding said.

The Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks made Gaffaney determined to serve again, said Schmeding, who is assistant deputy director for the county's office of Aging and Independence Services.

“He very much wanted to get back in the military after 9/11,” Schmeding said. “He felt he had something to offer.”

Three years ago, Gaffaney signed up for the Army Reserve, hoping to counsel soldiers who are dealing with the trauma of war. He was assigned to a medical detachment specializing in the treatment of combat stress. The Army called him to active duty earlier this year.

Gaffaney said goodbye to his friends at Adult Protective Services in mid-October.

“Everyone really respected his dedication and admired his decision to reactivate,” Schmeding said.

Gaffaney arrived at Fort Hood and was in the base's Soldier Readiness Center on Thursday taking care of some details before leaving for Iraq.

It is difficult for us to think beyond our grief,” the Gaffaneys said in their statement. “We love him so very much and will miss him, always.”

[Bratnote: I had major tech issues here at oh dark hundred - don't ask! However, I had to finally split the profiles into 2 posts, as one way of getting around those issues....

I had major help (and yes, Help!)on these posts. The leader of the Living Legend Team of Soldiers' Angels gave me permission to use their amazing research as the basis of my own research. Any and all bloopers are mine]..


Poet Warrior said...

Love ya Brat. Thank you.

K-Dubyah said...

Aww Brat dahling,

You've done good once again.

Thank you for allowing us to know the men and women who died ready to serve.

My heartfelt condolences go to their families. God keep them strong.