The hometown lives they led
|||Schofield troop deaths blamed on tail rotor|
|StoryChat: Comment on this story|
Advertiser Staff and News Services
Advertiser Staff and News Services
The following soldiers were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks:
Now, Jeff and Peggy Hubbard's third and eldest son, Jason, 33 — who joined the Army at the same time as Nathan so that he could protect him in Iraq — is heading back to Clovis, Calif., under military regulations designed to prevent parents from losing all their children to war.
Jason Hubbard called his wife and father to let them know he was allowed to fly back home with his brother's body for a portion of the trip, said family spokesman Tim Rolen.
Nathan Hubbard joined the Army in 2005 in part to honor the death of Jared.
Wednesday night, family members found out that Jason was on the mission with his younger brother when Nathan's Black Hawk went down.
"He was in another helicopter on the same mission," Rolen said. "The men in that helicopter were required to be the rescue attempt on the downed helicopter. There's that pain of knowing that a brother was so close to the death of his younger brother."
Jared Hubbard joined the Marines in December 2001. He was killed alongside his closest friend from school, Jeremiah Baro, as his unit prepared for an assault on what was then the Sunni stronghold of Fallujah.
The father of the three sons, Jeff Hubbard, is a retired 30-year veteran of the Clovis police department.
Grief counselors were dispatched to Buchanan High in Clovis yesterday, a school that's now lost five graduates in the Iraq war, including the Hubbard brothers.
Keith Butterfield said he became close to the Hubbards after his own son, Tony — also a Buchanan High graduate — died in Iraq last year.
"There is nothing anyone can say to make it better, but it's good to know that there are other families that can help you cope," Butterfield said. "It's bringing up the feelings of everyone else's loss, but we will be there for them."
Dobogai, the son of David and Lisa Dobogai, graduated in 1999. The family had no comment yesterday but faculty members at Winnebago Lutheran Academy learned of Dobogai's death on the faculty message board.
"It is in the hands of the Lord," Zahn said. "We will do all that we can for the family."
After graduating from Glendale High School in 2003, Pollard wanted to fight "for our freedoms that we enjoy," said his stepfather, Alan Dewitt. "After high school, he really got into wanting to do that. He prayed about it a lot before he joined."
In July, Pollard spent two weeks in Missouri before heading back to Iraq.
"We hadn't seen him in six months, so it was good to have him back," Dewitt said. "He was doing what he wanted to do."
He was married and had a son and is also survived by his parents, Paula and Stephen, and three sisters.
"His job was difficult, but he was content with himself, his family and his life," the family said in a statement. "He was clear-headed and positive about his future. We celebrate his life even as we mourn his loss."
Flags flew at half-staff yesterday at Middlefield's Town Hall and at Gateway Regional High School, where Bouffard had been a student.
"He chose to serve out of a sense of honor and commitment to the ideals of our nation," the family statement said.
Harmon had met Kristin Rathjen last year at Scruples Beach Club in Waikiki while Rathjen was in Hawai'i for a wedding, said Rathjen's grandfather, Tim Collins.
Harmon and Rathjen had their own wedding in May, Serazin said.
"It was a love-at-first-sight kind of thing," Serazin said.
Harmon, the son of the fire chief of Willoughby Hills, Ohio, hoped to go to medical school and become a doctor one day, said Serazin, who is a lieutenant in the fire department.
But first Harmon had another year to go in the Army and was scheduled to be shipped out to Afghanistan.
"Josh joined the service with the intent to be a career soldier," Serazin said. "After one deployment in Iraq, he realized the limitations that gave him. He told us he was frustrated. He became a medic to take care of people but he would see injured non-soldiers as they made their way down alleys in a hot zone and they couldn't stop. That was very frustrating for him. That's when he decided to go to medical school and become a doctor.
"He was just a genuinely nice guy who cared about people," Serazin said. "The military is shrouded in this macho this and macho that, but Josh cared about people — whether they were Iraqis or Americans. The whole mess frustrated him."
"He was an excellent marksman," she said. "When they went through basic training, he was third in the whole group. The first two were picked before him for scout/sniper school."
In Altoona, Hook was a defensive lineman on the high school football team and his stepmother still remembers his jersey number, 29.
For the first two or three years after graduation, Hook tried working for a roofing contractor.
"Michael was extremely smart," Belinda Hook said. "But I don't think he had the direction he needed. He was a good kid, never in trouble. But the right motivation for college wasn't there at that time."
So Hook joined the Army and found a home.
"He said he loved it and he wanted to go to college and make the Army a career," Belinda Hook said. "It gave him that missing piece he was looking for. The minute he hit the Army it was for him. We were proud of him."
Michael Hook and his fiancee, Suzie Fetterman, were expecting their first son next month. They planned to name him Mason.
Hook was a bodybuilder who had a sweet tooth and a love for chewing tobacco. So the family sent a birthday-present box last week full of non-perishable, non-meltable items like Slim Jims, gum, wipes and chewing tobacco, Belinda Hook said.
"You have to send enough so he can share it," she said.
"He didn't do things to get in trouble, but he was always pulling jokes on people — constantly," said Jayroe, a family friend who is also active in the church. "He never got into trouble but if folks dared him to do something, he'd do nearly anything."
Jayroe's wife, Nita, still has the scar on her ankle she got years ago while teaching Sunday school to McLead's group of junior high school students.
While Nita Jayroe was outside the room getting refreshments, McLead booby trapped the door to try and trip his friend, who was late joining the group.
Instead, "when my wife got back with the refreshments, she tripped and came close to falling down," Jayroe said. "She still has that scar on her foot where the string cut her and it made her cry thinking about it when she heard of his death."
McLead's uncle, Paul Emmons, said at a news conference yesterday that McLead would never be mistaken for an academic superstar, Jayroe said.
"His uncle said, 'He graduated. Let's just leave it at that,' " Jayroe said.
After graduating from Rockport-Fulton High School in 2002, McLead got some jobs modeling clothes in Dallas and wanted to move to California to try acting.
McLead and his family met with agents in California but "he just never did it," Jayroe said.
Instead, inspired by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, McLead surprised friends and family by joining the Army, Jayroe said.
"I wouldn't be surprised if he decided to stay in the Army 20 years," Jayroe said. "He
believed in what he was doing. He felt that what they were doing in Iraq was a worthwhile thing and he was dedicated to doing a good job."
McLead talked about becoming an Army recruiter in Houston. But first he wanted to come back to Hawai'i, where he loved the surfing, Jayroe said.
"He was an avid surfer growing up (in Texas)," Jayroe said, "so Hawai'i meant a lot to him."
"He loved Hawai'i, he loved Hawai'i," said his mother, Marian Stockhausen of Warrenville, Ill. "After work he would run down to the beach and he loved to snorkel. He sent us pictures and he seemed to really enjoy it. We were going to come down for the first time at Christmas."
Brodnick joined the Army at the age of 18 but got out after three years in 2003.
"He re-enlisted in 2005 because he felt he could accomplish more with his life in the service," Stockhausen said. "He knew they were short-handed and needed people. He would always talk about the fun things they did, the jokes."
Brodnick was scheduled to leave the Army in 2009 and hoped to become a Secret
Service agent or a police officer like his father, James Brodnick, who is with the Burbank, Ill., police department.
On Wednesday, as the family gathered to grieve for Brodnick, a birthday present he had sent his mother arrived from Iraq.
Mother and son had been playing chess over the Internet, so Brodnick sent her a chess board from Iraq.
Even though her birthday was in July, Brodnick finally sent the package with a note of apology.
"He said, 'I'm sorry Ma. I was lazy and we were playing with it,'" Stockhausen said.
She found comfort in the timing of the present.
"It was nice," Stockhausen said. "It was like, 'I'm OK. I'm all right.' "
The following soldiers were assigned to the 4th Squadron, 6th Air Cavalry Regiment, Fort Lewis, Wash.:
He was married to Kathy Sanderson (Tyler) and had three children, Emily, Jacob and Lucas, in Washington.
His father, Terry, died last year, leaving Tyler as the lone male in the family, which meant he did not have to return to Iraq, said the family's pastor, Dr. William
P. Warnock of First United Methodist Church in Woodbine, Ga. Warnock had also served as pastor at the Waikiki Baptist Church from 1975 to 1977.
But Tyler chose to volunteer for a third tour in Iraq anyway, Warnock said.
"It speaks highly of his integrity," Warnock said. "No one made the decision for him to go back. He decided to go back because of his belief in the Constitution. He knew the Constitution was written in blood and it continues to be written in blood. To him, it was more than a piece of paper."
"There was a whole little family destroyed," said Tallman's mother-in-law, Vicki Whiting. "He wasn't just a number. I want people to know Matthew Tallman existed."
Tallman had served two months in Iraq when he was killed. He had previously served a year in Afghanistan, Whiting said.
"He was a good father, good husband and good human being," she said. "He was delighted to have his little princess (Sandie) and his little 'bubba boy.' "
Tallman was a crew chief for the Black Hawk unit and "loved his job, loved being in the air," Whiting said.
In Iraq, Bell was assigned as the Black Hawk's gunner. He had just turned 21 on June 30 in Iraq and was scheduled to return home to Caruthersville on furlough on Sept. 13, said his aunt, Glenda Overbey.
"He loved the Army," Overbey said. "He loved it. He loved what he was doing. He always volunteered. If there was anything to be volunteered for, Ricky volunteered."
His mother, Janice, works for Missouri's family services agency; his father, Ricky Sr., works in a factory that produces electrical fuses.
Because of his father's name, the family called the younger Bell "Little Ricky," said Overbey, Ricky Sr.'s sister.
"Little Ricky is the way we referred to him," she said. "Little Ricky is the way we'll remember him."
Bell joined the Army because "he loved to serve his country and be able to travel and make money for college by saving money from his Army pay," Overbey said.
He had no specific college or career plans for after the Army, though.
"He was just taking things one day at a time," she said.
* No biographical information available.