Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, December 14, 2006

Comrades mourn Schofield five

Schofield soldiers memorial gallery

By William Cole
Advertiser Military Writer

The helmets and rifles of Sgt. Jesse J.J. Castro, Cpl. Jason I. Huffman, Pfc. Travis Krege, Sgt. Joshua B. Madden and Spc. Yari Mokri stood solemn tribute this week at a combat memorial in Iraq.


spacer spacer

Troops in Iraq bid farewell to the five killed Dec. 6 in Hawija by a roadside bomb to their Humvee.


spacer spacer

The grief of five deaths to a single roadside bomb blast in Iraq continued to be felt this week at Schofield Barracks, in hometowns on the Mainland and in Guam, and within the units that suffered the losses in Iraq.

Sgt. Joshua B. Madden, 21, of Minden, La.; Spc. Yari Mokri, 26, of Pflugerville, Texas; Cpl. Jason I. Huffman, 23, of Conover, N.C.; Sgt. Jesse J.J. Castro, 22, of Guam; and Pfc. Travis Krege, 24, of Cheektowaga, N.Y., were remembered yesterday in a memorial service at Schofield's main chapel.

In Iraq this week, the empty combat boots, rifles, dog tags and helmets of the five fallen Schofield soldiers were arrayed for a combat memorial and final farewell.

"Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of these incredible soldiers," Lt. Col. Drew Meyerowich, the commander of the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Wolfhounds, said in a statement.

"The void in our ranks is inconsequential compared to the void that these honorable men have left in the lives of their loved ones, friends and fellow soldiers," Meyerowich said. "We continue our mission not only because this world must be free of those who only offer pain and destruction, we continue the mission to honor the sacrifice of these fine young men, who died fighting to make this world a better place."

Meyerowich said the soldiers "will always be a part of our lives and will always be Wolfhounds."

Castro, Huffman, Madden and Krege were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry. Mokri was with the 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion.

The deaths Dec. 6 of the five soldiers from a large roadside bomb that hit their Humvee in Hawija, southwest of Kirkuk, represented the single greatest combat loss for the 25th Infantry Division since the Vietnam War.

Mokri had planned to use two weeks of leave to be home for Christmas. Castro's body is expected to be returned to Guam and family, including a wife and 2-week-old son, Jesse Jr., sometime next week.

A police escort is expected today in Minden, La., for the return of Madden's body, the Shreveport (La.) Times reported. Madden saw his 3-month-old son, Jaxon, for the first time while on leave over Thanksgiving. The soldier will be buried with full military honors in Garden of Memories Cemetery.

Reach William Cole at wcole@honoluluadvertiser.com.