Category Archives: War on Terror

Billy A. Sutton

The military says a soldier from Mississippi has died from a medical condition unrelated to combat in Afghanistan.

The Pentagon said SFC Class Billy A. Sutton died Feb. 7 in Uruzgan province. Mississippi National Guard spokesman Tim Powell says the 42-year-old soldier lived in Mooreville.

Powell was member of the 288th Engineer Sapper Company based in Houston, Miss. He was married with a wife and a stepson.

He enlisted Sept. 5, 2001.

SFC Sutton is the 1,893rd American to die in Afghanistan … ich hatt’ einen Kameraden

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Posted by on February 15, 2012 in War on Terror



Terence J. Hildner

A one-star U.S. Army general from Fairfax County was found dead in his Kabul sleeping quarters Friday, and Defense Department officials said he is the highest-ranking officer to die during the war in Afghanistan.

An investigation is pending into Brig. Gen. Terence J. Hildner’s cause of death, but the 49-year old father of four died of apparent natural causes, not in combat, said Christopher Haug, chief of media relations at Fort Hood in Texas, where Hildner was based.

His father, Robert Hildner, a retired Air Force colonel in Port Tobacco, Md., said it was likely his son had a heart attack. Robert Hildner said his son was found sitting in a chair where he appeared to have been playing a video game the night before.

“That was one of the ways he used to burn off the stress of the day,” Robert Hildner said. “It’s too bad. He was very much a rising star in the military.”

Hildner deployed to Afghanistan in December to assist the NATO training mission. He managed and distributed all the military supplies in the area — from clothing to ammunition to medical equipment. Hilder was the commander of the 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command at Fort Hood.

As of last month, 1,850 American service members had died in Afghanistan since 2001, according to military records. About 375 of those deaths have been classified as “non-hostile,” which includes deaths from accidents and natural causes.

Growing up in a military family, Hildner moved frequently. He was born in New Haven, Conn., and lived in Tokyo, Rome and Colorado as well as Chantilly, where he attended Brookfield Elementary School. Hildner graduated from Autauga County High School in Prattville, Ala., in 1980, and he joined the University of Notre Dame’s class of 1984. He began his Army career in Fort Bliss, Tex.

His father described him as an ambitious and dedicated military man.

“From the Irish side of the family, he inherited a sense of humor and exuberance about life,” Robert Hildner said. “And from the German side, a singularity of purpose and a very keen analytical mind.”

Hildner was married twice and had four children, ages 17 to 22, from his first marriage. His second wife, Cindy Hildner, is a civilian employee for the military. He met her about seven years ago after she began monitoring the condition of one of his injured soldiers at what is now Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Fairfax was what Hildner considered his home base, even as he moved from place to place in a nearly 30-year military career that included tours in Germany, Iraq and Kuwait. His parents lived in Fairfax near George Mason University from 1980 until last year, when they moved to Charles County. He also is survived by his mother, Susan, and a younger brother and sister, Steven Hildner and Elizabeth Edwards, both of whom live in the Washington area.

Hildner commanded troops in Kuwait and during the Persian Gulf War in Iraq. He also conducted the last U.S. patrol along the East-West German border before reunification. His combat missions earned him various service medals, including two Bronze Stars.

From 2003 to 2006, he was in charge of the 13th Corps Support Command’s Special Troops Battalion at Fort Hood. The battalion provided supplies to units stationed around Joint Base Balad and Abu Ghraib prison during the Iraq war, and to troops responding to Hurricane Katrina.

More recently, he was stationed at Fort Lee, Va., where he trained tens of thousands of soldiers for deployment.

“We are truly saddened by the loss of Brigadier General Hildner,” Lt. Gen. Don Campbell Jr., commanding general of III Corps and Fort Hood, said in a statement. “This is a tragic loss for the Army, III Corps and for our Central Texas community.”

BG Hildner is the 1,892nd American to die in Afghanistan … ich hatt’ einen Kameraden

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Posted by on February 15, 2012 in War on Terror



Edward J. Dycus

Mississippi’s first casualty this year from the war in Afghanistan died at the hands of an Afghan soldier who was guarding a joint operating base with him in the Helmand province, officials said.

Wednesday’s death of Marine Lance Cpl. Edward Dycus, 22, of Greenville is under investigation, military officials say. Details were not released.

“He’s not just another dead soldier,” said childhood friend Kayla Bevill. “He wasn’t killed by ‘the enemy.’ He was killed by someone that was supposed to be helping him guard, and that’s what hurts the most.”

Dycus was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force out of Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Since the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom, Mississippi has had 70 military personnel killed in action, according to In 2011, Marine Staff Sgt. Jason A. Rogers, Army Staff Sgt. David D. Self, Army Sgt. Christopher R. Bell, and Navy Master-at-Arms 1st Class (AW) Stacy O. Johnson were Mississippi’s casualties.

Western Line School District Superintendent Larry Green said talks are in the works to have a candlelight service for Dycus, and about making the school grounds available for his funeral when arrangements are made.

Plans for a memorial service also are pending, officials said, but they believe Dycus’ body will arrive in Greenville on Saturday.

Lonnie Moorman, a friend, said Dycus entered boot camp in 2010 and hadn’t been in Afghanistan more than a few months when he was shot.

“Eddie was born for the military. He thrived in a situation like that,” Moorman said.

Dycus’ friends said he grew up in a tight-knit family, but switched schools a few times, and sometimes saw himself as a bit of an outsider.

“It was hard on him growing up, but he never let that show. He always had a smile on his face,” Bevill said. “No matter how his day or anything in his life was going, he was going to be there to put himself aside and make you smile. He was always more worried about someone else than himself.”

Elizabeth Scrivner, Dycus’ sophomore biology teacher at Riverside High School, said Dycus had a potential greatness about him even when he was younger.

“He was one of those students that when you see him walk into the room, you see more than he sees yet,” she said.

When he came back to visit the school recently, Scrivner said, he was wearing his uniform, and his demeanor was one of pride.

“I couldn’t even say anything at first, it took me aback,” she said. “I could feel the confidence he had in himself that I saw years before. And the way he held himself in that uniform, the Marines couldn’t have been any prouder than I was of him at that moment.”

Dycus graduated from Riverside High in 2008. Principal Donald Coleman said he wasn’t there while Dycus was in school, but he knows him because a brother and sister are still enrolled there.

Coleman said the death hit hard for more than one reason.

“I went to Afghanistan myself in 2005, and had a lot of young soldiers under me,” he said. “I made friends who didn’t make it back, and I had to stand at attention as they drove their bodies by to fly them back home. I’m proud that they risked their lives so we can have freedom.”

Green said it’s always a tragedy when a soldier gives his or her life in the fight for freedom. On the whole, he said, people tend to have more sympathy and empathy for soldiers now than they have in the past.

“We never get over it. It always stops you and hits home,” he said. “When it’s one of our own, it’s much closer, so it’s been pretty tough on us and the kids and the faculty.”

Greenville Mayor Chuck Jordan extended his sympathies to Dycus’ family.

“His death was not in vain,” he said. “It is a reaffirmation of the importance of the effort he and our servicemen and women are working for and fighting for each day.”

Moorman said his friend taught him an important lesson about life.

“Just not to waste time, not to second-guess yourself,” he said. “One thing he made perfectly clear to me is always go after what you want.”

Since high school, Dycus had wanted to be in the military, Bevill said.

“It was one of those things he was born to do,” she said. “He was beyond brave.”

Lance Cpl Dycus is the 1,891st American to die in Afghanistan … ich hatt’ einen Kameraden

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Posted by on February 15, 2012 in War on Terror



William C. Stacey

In a letter left behind for his family, a Seattle Marine who was recently killed in the line of duty is providing inspiration to all of us.

SGT William Stacey was on foot patrol Tuesday in Afghanistan when an enemy bomb went off, killing the 23-year-old.

Though he is now gone, Stacey is still speaking through a letter he left his parents to open in case he didn’t make it home from the war.

“My death did not change the world,” he begins, but where he goes next is startling in its optimism.

This son of teachers, who never loved school but in the Marines he thrived, was just weeks away from coming home after five deployments.

His letter was weighing what would make dying worth it.

“…there is a greater meaning to it,” he writes. And obviously he has seen a lot of kids during his time in the Marines, because he then says: “there will be a child who will live.”

He wrote because of the sacrifice he made, “this child will learn in the new schools that have been built. He will walk his streets not worried … He will grow into a fine man. He will have the gift of freedom …”

In a way, Stacey was writing about a child free to become the man he himself became. And with all the pain this is causing his parents today, these are Stacey’s parting words near the end of his letter, meant to comfort them:

“If my life buys the safety of a child who will one day change this world, then I know that it was all worth it,” he writes.

Words of promise; and those worlds don’t die, they live and wait for the outcome the one Will Stacey died for.

Read more:

SGT Stacey is the 1,890th American to die in Afghanistan … ich hatt’ einen Kameraden

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Posted by on February 15, 2012 in War on Terror



David Johnson

An Army officer from Mayville, Wis., has been killed in action in Afghanistan, his family said in a news release Thursday.

Family members said the military informed them Wednesday night of the death 1LT David Johnson, 24.

The U.S. Department of Defense said later Thursday that Johnson was on foot patrol Wednesday when an improvised explosive device exploded and fatally wounded him.

Johnson, a platoon leader, was assigned to the Army’s 5th Battalion; 20th Infantry Regiment; 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team; 2nd Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.

“We are very proud of our son,” said the release from the soldier’s parents, Andrew and Laura Johnson. “He is a hero. He first was a man of God. He has been a strong leader at Mayville High School, at Evangel University and to the men in his unit. David had no fear of adversity; he lived life to the fullest. There are no regrets. He is an American hero. We love him very much and miss him very much.”

Andrew Johnson is publisher of the Dodge County Pioneer in Mayville, in southeastern Wisconsin.

The community has been hit hard by news of the death, said Katie Leb, an acquaintance of David Johnson and editor of the newspaper.

“In this town, the Johnson family is well-known and well-loved, and to lose David has saddened everyone,” Leb said Thursday. “Everyone here was tremendously proud of him and what he did for our country.”

Johnson joined the Army soon after graduating from high school in 2006 and was a leader in the ROTC during college, Leb said.

Johnson’s family was traveling to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where the soldier’s remains were being sent.

Johnson was a 2011 graduate of Evangel University in Springfield, Mo., a school his brother Michael attends. Campus pastor John Plake said David was the oldest of four siblings. He had two brothers and a sister.

1LT Johnson is the 1,888th American to die in Afghanistan … Ich hatt’ einen Kameraden

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Posted by on January 28, 2012 in War on Terror


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Christopher G. Singer

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a United States Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

CPL Christopher G. Singer, 23, of Temecula, Calif., died Jan. 21 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.  He was assigned to 3rd Combat Engineer Battalion; 1st Marine Division; I Marine Expeditionary Force out of Twentynine Palms, Calif.

For additional information news media representatives may contact the 1st Marine Division public affairs office at 760-725-8766.

CPL Singer is the 1,887th American to die in Afghanistan … Ich hatt’ einen Kameraden

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Posted by on January 26, 2012 in War on Terror



President Obama and the Navy Seals 2, al-Qaida 0

The Associated Press (AP) is reporting that the same U.S. Navy SEAL team which took Osama bin Laden out has parachuted into Somalia under cover of darkness, crept up to an outdoor camp where an American woman and Danish man were being held hostage, killed nine al-Qaida–linked Somali “pirates” and freed the hostages.

The President reportedly authorized the mission by SEAL Team Six earlier in the week, and minutes after he gave his State of the Union address to Congress he called the former American hostage’s father to tell him his daughter was safe.

The AP says the Danish Refugee Council confirmed the two aid workers, American Jessica Buchanan and Dane Poul Hagen Thisted, were “on their way to be reunited with their families.”

The duo, Buchanan, 32, and Thisted, 60, were working with a de-mining unit of the Danish Refugee Council when gunmen kidnapped the two in October.

The Seals hit the camp quickly, reportedly catching the guards as they were sleeping after having chewed the narcotic leaf qat for much of the evening, killing nine pirates and possibly taking three as prisoners.

The United States confirmed media reports that SEAL Team Six parachuted into the area before moving on foot to the target near the Somali town of Adado.

“As Commander-in-Chief, I could not be prouder of the troops who carried out this mission, and the dedicated professionals who supported their efforts,” President Obama said in a statement released by the White House. “The United States will not tolerate the abduction of our people, and will spare no effort to secure the safety of our citizens and to bring their captors to justice.”

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Posted by on January 26, 2012 in War on Terror


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