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Purple Helicopter

August 10, 2010 by staff 

Purple Helicopter, AP Michael Stansbery promise to serve in the army hung on the refrigerator of her family. He wrote the letter when I was in first grade.

“I will go to battle and has a lot of men with me to help. I’ll go to sea and save someone in trouble,” the letter said.

It was appropriate to join the military, family and friends, he said, because the history of his family in the company. His father served in Operation Desert Storm as a Marine, and a grandfather served in World War II.

“He loved every second of the military. I loved every bit of it,” said the younger sister Michelle Stansbery. “It was the kind of brother who was always there for you whenever needed.”

Stansbery, 21, of Mount Juliet, Tennessee, was killed by a roadside bomb July 30 near Kandahar, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Fort Campbell. He joined the Army immediately after graduating from Wilson Central High School in 2007.

The soldier. Michael Clair, who served with Stansbery in Iraq, wrote in an online memorial that the soldier was “a real family man who cared deeply for his parents and little sister looked like one of his best friends.”

In addition to his sister, Stansbery is survived by his parents, Michael and Tammy.

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Army Sgt officials. Christopher T. Stout

Christopher Stout had a beautiful voice and could sing the melodies of a church choir or a more casual karaoke.

“I think we could have done professionally,” said his uncle, James Stout. “But he thought of others instead of thinking of himself.”

That’s why he joined the Army. He was assistant chaplain and hopes to someday become a minister in the Pentecostal church, who was raised in, James said Stout.

Stout, 34, of Worthville, Ky., was killed July 13 in the city of Kandahar, Afghanistan, when insurgents attacked his unit. He was assigned to Fort Bragg.

The soldier lived with his wife and three daughters, near the Army post in North Carolina.

“His love for his wife Misty and three princesses, Jacqueline, Kristen Audreanna and always had a beaming smile on his face,” said the captain Ludovic O. Foyou, one of his fellow chaplains.

James Stout said his nephew was a courteous man, who thought it was his duty to serve in the military.

“And we are very proud that he thought that way,” said James Stout.

The soldier spent most of his military career, which began in 1997 as a parachute rigger with the 82nd Airborne Division. He became assistant chaplain in 2006.

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Army Sgt officials. Sheldon L. Tate

Sheldon Tate loved to joke around and keep people laughing, friends and family.

“It was a sweet person,” said Theresa McFaddin, Tate’s aunt. “Good heart. He liked to joke and have fun. He loved his family.”

Talya Graves of Chattanooga, Tennessee, wrote in an online memorial Tate – whom he called “Shelly Boo” – it was like his little brother. O “I always thought big brother!” she wrote.

Tate, 27, of Hinesville, Georgia, was killed July 13 in the city of Kandahar, Afghanistan, when insurgents attacked his unit. The soldier was assigned to Fort Bragg. He joined the military in 2001 as a cook, but rose through the ranks to become a decorated sergeant.

His company commander, Captain William Hoffman, said that just before Tate died, he led a paratrooper comrades to safety during the attack. Tate called “the epitome of a professional in silence.”

caliber of “Hero is the only word that can be used to describe a man of sergeant. Tate and moral fiber,” Hoffman said in a press release.

Rachel Reuther of Ludowici, Georgia, wrote in an online memorial was glad to call a friend Tate.

“I can not remember the first time we met, but I know he had me laughing from the first day,” he said.

Tate is survived by his wife, daughter and a host of other relatives.

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Army Sgt. Jesse R. Tilton

Friends say that the circumstances that led to the death of Jesse Tilton underscore a theme of his life putting others before him.

The 23-year-old Army medic Decatur, Illinois, died July 16 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany of wounds sustained three days earlier as was another soldier in an attack in Kandahar city .

“They knew they could count on Jesse,” said the Rev. Pam Bradford, who presided at his funeral. “That was the legacy that he had.” Tilton was assigned to Fort Bragg and was on his second tour of duty.

“Selfless service sergeant. Tilton and dedication to their brothers in the battlefield is a true testimony to the paratroopers was,” said First Lt. Jeffrey Conrad.

His friends describe him as a fan of water-park and a free spirit who was fair, unfailingly loyal and honest, with a sarcastic sense of humor.

She had attended Mt. Zion High School and graduated with honors in 2004 from Lincoln Challenge Academy, where he joined the yearbook committee and Levante Guard for the outstanding cadets who qualify. He joined the Army in 2006.

He survived by his mother, Julie Magana, and her husband, Javier.

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Marine Lance Cpl. Frederik E. Vazquez

Frederik Vazquez had planned to join the Marines for about a decade before he did, just after turning 18, and boot camp changed him.

He left as a quiet boy with a streak of fun, but returned as a more responsible and respectful man who helped his people more around the house, his father, John, said.

The military said the shooter of 20 years of age, of Melrose Park, Illinois, died July 24 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province. He was assigned to Camp Lejeune.

His mother, Rubellius Vazquez, said he was “proud of him for being brave and doing what he wanted to serve his country.”

Vazquez, known to his family as “Erik” and friends as “Freddy”, graduated in 2008 from West Leyden High School.

He was a “good boy, quiet I could not be wrong,” said Karin Councilor Dewey, adding that he quickly made friends and was always smiling.

Friends and family remember him as a fun-loving man who enjoyed basketball, paintball and video games on fighting and he encouraged young people to finish school. They had been waiting for a home early birthday celebration.

He is also survived by his older brother, Juan Carlos.

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Army Sgt officials. Kyle R. Warren

With his muscular build and the frame of nearly 6-foot-3, Kyle Warren knew he could be intimidating. But he was not, unless your military work needed to be.

“It was a big, strong,” said Bob Bishop, who used to travel to Warren to rugby practice. “And a really nice guy.”

But Warren, 28, took his job seriously Army. It was a special forces soldier assigned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and served as sergeant of a medical team. He earned his Green Beret in 2007.

Warren, Manchester, NH, was patrolling an area of Tsagay, Afghanistan, on July 29 when his military vehicle hit an explosive device. He died in the explosion.

“He was a hero to this country,” said his stepfather, Ed LINTA.

Warren grew up in Huntington Beach, California, playing football and rugby, and graduated from Marina High School. It moved east in 2003 to join his mother, Lynn LINTA, and attend a technical institute.

He joined the Army next year and married Sandra Kurt last fall. He was on his second deployment and was hoping to become a physician’s assistant when he returned home.

Warren also leaves behind his father, Del Warren.

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Army Sgt. Matthew W. Weikert

Matt Weikert had a tattoo on his arm saying “I’m awesome.” And he was, at least in the eyes of his son 10 years old, Jays, who remembers him as safe and competitive.

It played video games, visited the beach and play a basketball game where doing Weikert impressed the boy with a memorable shot.

“I do not think a professional could have done,” said Jays Weikert.

The largest Weikert, 29, of Jacksonville, Illinois, died July 17 in the province of Paktika, Afghanistan, of wounds from a bomb. He was assigned to Fort Campbell.

When I was young, Weikert was a leader among local children, one who was honest when things break on their adventures, neighbor Randy Shearburn said.

“It was also a kind of Daredevil, every child in every sense of the word,” Weikert pastor, the Rev. John Kay, said. “He was brave and confident with boundless energy.”

The former football player graduated from Jacksonville High School in 2000 and joined the Marine Corps next year. He served three tours in Iraq and came back after switching to the Army.

Weikert is survived by his parents, Dick and Susan, and sisters, Meghan and Melissa.

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Marine Major James M. Weis

James Weis was a Navy veteran of 16 years and a decorated helicopter pilot who followed the footsteps of his father, Paul, and his older brother, William, in the military.

He grew up in Toms River, New Jersey, and attended Toms River North High School and then at Rutgers University, where he discovered his love for flying. He enlisted in 1994 and a year later was commissioned as an officer based at Camp Pendleton, California

His career highlights include participation in the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and professor in the Marine Corps University in Quantico, Virginia

Weis, 37, was in Afghanistan on his third mission when their AH-1 Cobra helicopter was shot down in Helmand province on 22 July.

His mother, Anne Weis, said his son died doing the job he loved. “My husband and I could not be more proud,” he said.

Weis had hoped to be promoted to lieutenant colonel on his return.

Also survived by his wife, Mae, and their two children, ages 5 and 7.

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Army Sgt. Grant A. Wichmann

Wichmann Grant grew up in Golden, Colo., a picturesque village on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains, where they often spent their time playing soccer, snowboarding and music.

Those who knew Wichmann said he could show patience in the tense situation long after others had lost her.

Wichmann, 27, died at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC, on April 24. His death comes more than a month after being wounded in a March 12 attack on his unit in Bari Alai Out Post in eastern Afghanistan. He was assigned to Fort Carson.

“Every day he gave all men to his right and left, and I know each of them would do the same for him,” said Capt. Christopher Migliaro of the 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment.

He was born March 21, 1983, in Denver. In 2001, he graduated from Golden High School.

He enlisted in September 2007, partly to honor a friend who died in Iraq, said his friends at a service held for him.

Wichmann married his wife, Michelle Saindon, two months later and after completing basic training. His son, James Koston, was born in June 2009.

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Army Sgt. M. Leston winters

Leston “Tony” was a clown winters growing, but not the kind that caused many difficulties, his family said.

He joined the Army in the summer of 1998 after graduating from Hardin Jefferson High School in Sour Lake, Texas, where he played a little football and tried to rodeos and clung to youth that prompted him to flee the school work in favor of practical jokes, such as lizards and put in the bed of his sister. He also enjoyed hunting and fishing, but do not have the knack for it.

His talent was that he was helping others, and was declared as he told his family this year about his decision to leave his job at a Army hospital front lines.

“He had the opportunity to stay home, a family friend for a long time, Shodi Jacobson said. “This was his service. He enlisted again because he could help. This is what was good.”

Winters died July 15 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds from an improvised explosive device. Civil cases 30 years of age, medical sergeant was assigned to Fort Campbell and had served twice in Iraq.

He’s survived by his wife, Elizabeth, two sons and a daughter, and their parents. His funeral was set for Arlington National Cemetery.

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The Air Force Capt. David A. Wisniewski

David Wisniewski had many names. He was known as “Wiz” or, according to one instructor, “Skrabble,” a blow to his poor spelling.

A colleague, Captain Jennifer Aupke said called it “trivialize” because he helped keep problems in perspective.

He was also known as a smart pilot remained calm through several tours abroad.

The 31-year-old from Moville, Iowa, was injured in a helicopter crash near June 9 Operating Base Jackson. He was awarded the Purple Heart before his death July 2 in a hospital in Maryland, where his family had celebrated her birthday with her favorite Oreo cookies.

Wisniewski, who was assigned to Nellis Air Force Base, set his sights on flying helicopters after a visit to a database of children, his older brother, Craig said.

Wisniewski played football at Woodbury Central High School and was tough even then, refusing to leave a game after breaking his knee. According to his brother, told the coach: “Shut up and get out of my face because I’m getting back into the game.” And he did.

The 1998 graduate later attended the Air Force Academy.

He is survived by his girlfriend, Matt’s brother and parents, Chet and Beverly.

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Pfc. Edwin C. Wood

Edwin “Eddie” Wood was no stranger to a uniform, whether it was the Army team today or armed infantry suit when I was young, when he accompanied his father, a U.S. soldier in early re- enactor, in parades.

He was involved in Boy Scouts and Junior ROTC at Omaha North High School in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, before graduating last year. He also worked on the set construction, lights and sound for theatrical productions.

A Junior ROTC instructor at the school and remember him as a student of confidence, conscience.

The former classmate said the Emmy Hotovy redhead, freckled Wood “lit up when she smiled.”

“He always tried to make you feel better, no matter what,” he said.

Wood joined the Army in October, and 18 years old, had been in Afghanistan about a month, when he and another soldier were killed July 5 in Kandahar, a bomb attack. Wood was assigned to Fort Drum.

The mourners at his memorial including members of his baseball team and Pastor Brad Hertzler Dundee Presbyterian, who suggested the wood would be remembered for his impish grin.

Wood is survived by his parents, Tom Wood and Janis Boehmer, and three brothers.

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Marine Cpl. Joe L. Wrightsman

Joe Wrightsman said kidding and being silly with his fellow Marines – but it was also the guy who could be counted on to watch their backs.

“He liked to be ahead,” said his father, John Wrightsman. “It was one of the guys who like to be right up front.”

His grandmother, Buffy Langford, Wrightsman said he could not wait to enlist in the Marines, even as a teenager. His family asked him not to go to Afghanistan when the military was asking for volunteers, but he said he wanted to be there for his country.

“He’s a young man who has to live their dreams,” said Langford.

Wrightsman, 23, of Jonesboro, Louisiana, died July 18 in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. He was based in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

His family said his unit had been training Afghan soldiers when they had to cross a river. His pupil was struggling, so he returned to help Wrightsman. The swift current carried the men away, however, and drowned them.

Wrightsman spent part of his childhood in Washington state and then moved to Louisiana with her mother, Connie, as a teenager.

In addition to his parents, Wrightsman is survived by his brother and sister.

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