Lawmakers give final salute to 38 fallen soldiers

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A husband and outdoorsman who enjoyed country music. A man who loved playing the guitar. An actor and poet. A father known for his work ethic. A soccer player active in his church.

Those are some of the Virginians who have died in military service in Iraq and Afghanistan. They were among the 38 fallen soldiers honored this year by the Virginia General Assembly for their heroism and dedication that ultimately cost them their lives.

To show appreciation for the soldiers’ patriotism, Virginia legislators this year adopted 42 resolutions commemorating service members who have died. Some soldiers were honored by more than one resolution; overall, 38 individuals were recognized. Thirty-one of the soldiers had been killed in Afghanistan or Iraq; seven others died elsewhere, including in accidents in the U.S.

Del. Terrie Suit, R-Virginia Beach, filed 11 of the 42 resolutions. Suit said she learned of many of the military deaths from her husband, a former Navy SEAL.

To ensure that all fallen Virginia military personnel were honored this year, the House speaker’s office provided delegates with a list of soldiers who had not had resolutions filed on their behalf, Suit said.

“The speaker’s office had those resolutions prepared and asked several members (of the House) to introduce them,” she said.

In 2007, the General Assembly passed 16 resolutions honoring 15 soldiers (one resolution was a duplicate) who died in Iraq or Afghanistan. This year, the numbers were way up.

Some lawmakers, like Delegate Dan Bowling, D-Oakwood, personally have known soldiers who died and have filed resolutions to honor them.

For example, in 2007, just after Bowling was sworn into office, the first resolution he filed was in honor of Army Sgt. Brandon Scott Asbury, whom the delegate had known as a child. Asbury, a 2004 graduate of Tazewell High School, was killed in Baghdad on Oct. 7, 2006, when his unit came under enemy fire.

Bowling remembers Asbury as “a real bubbly, friendly person.”

“He was the one who kept everybody laughing,” he said.

Not all military resolutions are filed to honor soldiers who died.

For example, Suit filed a resolution this year for Senior Chief Petty Officer Douglas M. Day, who was not killed in the line of duty. But it was a close call.

House Joint Resolution 337 commended Day for his heroism in Fallujah in April 2007. He was the first U.S. soldier to enter a building from which insurgents were firing, according to the resolution.

Day, a member of a SEAL team based in Norfolk, was “shot 17 times by enemy gunfire” and injured by a grenade, and his rifle was “shot out of his hands.” Still, Day continued to hold his position by firing with his sidearm, killing three insurgents without injuring nearby civilians.

According to the U.S. Defense Department, 27 soldiers from Virginia were killed in 2007 in Iraq and Afghanistan. So far this year, 10 soldiers from Virginia have died.

Since the war started in 2003, about 4,500 U.S. service members have been killed in the line of duty, including 131 Virginians.

Bowling said he is proud to sponsor resolutions honoring fallen service members from his district.

“I feel like anyone who’s given their life in any branch of service, I feel you should honor them through a resolution,” Bowling said. “It means the Commonwealth of Virginia recognizes what they gave. They’ve paid the ultimate price for our freedom.”

A Solemn Roll Call

Here is a list of military personnel who died in Afghanistan or Iraq and were honored by the 2008 General Assembly:

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jason R. Arnette n Amelia County resident. Died April 1, 2007, from wounds suffered in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Played soccer in high school, was an Air Force Junior ROTC cadet and traveled with his church to help communities in need.

Sgt. Derek Ramond Banks n Hampton resident and member of the Virginia Army National Guard. Died Nov. 14, 2007, from wounds suffered in combat in Baghdad. He was a husband and father who was awarded with the Purple Heart, among many other awards.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Chad A. Barrett n Saltville resident. Died Feb. 2, 2008, while serving in Iraq. He was a husband and father who continued his family’s devotion by serving in the military, where he felt he had found his niche in the Army.

U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Mark T. Carter (SEAL) n Stationed in Virginia. Died Dec. 11, 2007, from enemy attack while in Iraq. He belonged to a select group within the SEALS, whose motto was “Don’t give up those bones.”

U.S. Army Sgt. Forrest Dane Cauthorn n Midlothian resident. Died April 5, 2007, from enemy attack in Hawijah, Iraq. He was known as a man who “lived life to the fullest” and had a positive outlook on life.

U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Steven P. Daugherty n Stationed in Norfolk. Died July 6, 2007, from enemy attack in Iraq. He was a father who wanted to see the world and gain valuable life experience.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jonathan Kilian Dozier n Portsmouth resident. Died Jan. 9, 2008, from an improvised explosive device in Iraq. He came from a family with a long tradition of military service, dating to the Civil War.

U.S. Army 1st Lt. Benjamin J. Hall n Woodbridge resident. Died July 31, 2007, from combat attack wounds in Afghanistan. He was known as an outgoing and funny man who surprised his sister by attending her wedding before he deployed to Afghanistan.

U.S. Navy Special Operator Chief Petty Officer Nathan Hall Hardy (SEAL)

n Stationed in Virginia. Died Feb. 4, 2008, from combat attack wounds in Iraq. He served in Kosovo and Afghanistan and four times in Iraq as a member of the U.S. Navy.

U.S. Army Sgt. Bruce E. Horner n Newport News resident. Died June 1, 2007, from enemy small-arms fire in Baghdad. He was a husband and an ambassador for his church, known for his larger-than-life personality.

U.S. Army Sgt. William R. Howdeshell n Norfolk resident. Died July 26, 2007, from an improvised explosive device in Saqlawiyah, Iraq. He was a husband and father whose dream was to serve in the Army.

U.S. Army Pfc. Rush Marshall Jenkins n Martinsville resident. Died Oct. 30, 2007, from an improvised explosive device that his vehicle ran over. He was a caring, easy-going man who enjoyed playing the guitar.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Christopher S. Kiernan n Virginia Beach resident. Died May 6, 2007, in Iraq. He was known for his generosity and concern for fellow soldiers. He drove a tank in the front lines of Desert Storm and served in Bosnia.

U.S. Army Sgt. Scott Lange Kirkpatrick n Loudoun County resident. Died Aug. 11, 2007, from an improvised explosive device in Iraq. In 2000, he won the Washington, D.C., Slam Poetry contest after studying political science and creative writing in college.

U.S. Navy Special Operator Chief Petty Officer Michael Eugene Koch (SEAL) n Stationed in Virginia. Died Feb. 4, 2008, from enemy combat wounds in Iraq. A member of a group of SEALs who believe “freedom is the gold of this nation that is worth fighting for.”

U.S. Army Sgt. David Eugene Lambert n Mavisville resident. Died Oct. 25, 2007, in Baghdad. He received many awards, including the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Global War on Terror Service Medal.

U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Jason D. Lewis (SEAL) n Stationed in Virginia. Died July 6, 2007, from enemy combat wounds in Iraq. He was a devoted husband and father of three. He took parachute training and other advance SEAL training and received many medals.

U.S. Army Sgt. Mason Lee Lewis n Gloucester resident. Died Nov. 16, 2007, from wounds from a non-combat training exercise in Baghdad. His family called him “Little Rambo” because he always wanted to be a soldier.

U.S. Army Col. Jon M. Lockey n Fredericksburg resident. Died July 6, 2007, in Baghdad. He was a husband and father known as a “man of honor, character, and compassion.”

U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Jackie L. McFarlane Jr. n Norfolk resident. Died Aug. 14, 2007, in Iraq. He was a husband, father and part-time minister. He was a member of Task Force Dragon, which provides air support to ground troops in Iraq.

U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Robert R. McRill n Stationed in Virginia. Died July 6, 2007, of combat wounds in Iraq. He was a trained combat cameraman who documented President Reagan’s funeral and Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Michael D. Moody Jr. n Chesterfield resident. Died June 23, 2007, from enemy attack in Baghdad. He was a father known for his radiant smile and strong sense of duty.

U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Dwayne L. Moore n Williamsburg resident. Died April 19, 2007, in Iraq. He was the youngest of seven children, with three older brothers who served in the military.

U.S. Army Pfc. Christopher Edward Murphy n Campbell County resident. Died May 12, 2007, after an enemy ambush near Baghdad. He was a defensive lineman on his high school’s state championship football team in 2002.

U.S. Army Sgt. John Carl Osmolski n His family resides in Powhatan. Died Feb. 5, 2008, in Iraq. He was active in his church. He had become a rifle expert while in the U.S. Army.

U.S. Army Sgt. Dustin John Perrott n Fredericksburg resident. Died June 21, 2007, in Iraq. He was a paratrooper who enjoyed the thrill of skydiving and an amateur drummer, known by friends and family as the “Gentle Giant.”

U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Joseph Clark Schwedler (SEAL) n Stationed in Virginia. Died April 5, 2007, in Al Anbar Province in Iraq. He received many awards, including the Bronze Star Medal with “V” for Valor and Purple Heart.

U.S. Army Pfc. David H. Sharrett II n Woodstock resident. Died Jan. 16, 2008, from enemy grenades and small-arms fire in Pallouata, Iraq. He was a Redskins football fan and history enthusiast whose goal was to become a history teacher.

U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Luis Ariel Souffront n Stationed in Virginia. Died Feb. 7, 2008, from enemy combat wounds in Iraq. He received multiple military awards and honors, including the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, Iraq Campaign Medal and Joint Service Commendation Medal.

U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jeremy L. Tinnel n Richmond resident. Died July 1, 2007, in a boating accident on the Euphrates River, near Al Anbar Province. He was a husband and Civil War enthusiast.

U.S. Army Pfc. Thomas Randolph Wilson n Maurertown resident. Died Aug. 27, 2007, from an enemy sniper’s bullet in Paktika, Afghanistan. His hobbies included drawing and photography. He was a faithful member of his church.