By: Greg Mitchell
An upsurge in violence in Iraq led to the deaths of several dozen Americans in the past week, yet another spike in the deadly war. While they are just numbers, or sometimes a name and rank, in the national papers, they all receive much wider attention in their home towns and home states.
Here is a cross-section of how just a few of the deaths were reported locally just since Thursday.
Shreveport (La.) Times
A Webster Parish soldier who returned to Iraq over the weekend after a leave home was killed Wednesday, his family has told The Times.
Sgt. Joshua Barrett Madden, 21, died with at least four other U.S. Army soldiers in Task Force Lightning when a roadside bomb detonated near them. They were conducting combat operations near Kirkuk in northern Iraq. He was one of 11 U.S. military personnel killed that day.
“He just got back to Iraq Sunday,” said his father, Jerry Madden, a music minister who until recently lived in Sibley. “We put him on the airplane in Shreveport” the morning of Dec. 1.
Joshua Madden joined the Army in June 2003, shortly after graduating from Minden High School. The member of the 25th Infantry Division out of Hawaii served one previous tour in Iraq, got married in October 2005 and was the father of a 3-month-old son, Jerry Madden said. Josh Madden would have mustered out of Army service in June.
New York Daily News
The first blow was delivered to the fianc?e of a Staten Island soldier by a man in uniform – word that her beloved was killed in combat in Iraq. The second was delivered two hours later by a FedEx truck – a package from Sgt. Yevgeniy Ryndych with an engagement ring inside.
This story of love, war and cruel fate was described by Ryndych’s grieving brother last night after the military confirmed that the 24-year-old soldier was felled Wednesday by a homemade bomb while on foot patrol with his unit in Ramadi.
Fighting back tears, his face tight with grief, Ivan Ryndych said his brother’s beloved was named Kim, but he couldn’t bring himself to talk about her – or what their life together might have been.
But his eyes flashed with anger when he realized he lost his brother on the same day a historic report damning President Bush’s failing Iraq strategy came out. “It won’t change anything,” said Ivan Ryndych, 20, today.
The Washington Post
The poster-size photograph his wife planned to mail to Iraq was a surprise: Holding a large banner reading, “Happy Birthday Major Dad,” she and the couple’s three young children posed smiling. It was to mark Trane McCloud’s 40th birthday next week.
But the toll of war intervened before the gift was sent. Maj. Joseph “Trane” McCloud, 39, was killed Sunday when the CH-46 helicopter he was riding in crash-landed in a lake in Anbar province.
A family’s search for the girlfriend and infant daughter of a Special Forces soldier from Longwood who was mortally wounded this week in Iraq ended with a phone call.
Spc. Marco Miller’s brother and sisters found his girlfriend’s telephone number late Tuesday, the same day the paratrooper was taken off life support at a military hospital in Germany.
Miller, 36, suffered massive head wounds Sunday from enemy fire while conducting an escort mission in Taji, Iraq. Miller was assigned to the 3rd Battalion Support Company, 20th Special Forces Group, Camp Blanding, the Department of Defense announced late Thursday.
Newsday (Melville, N.Y.) via AP
Army Spc. Kenneth Haines’ family feared his daily encounters with improvised explosive devices while on road patrol.
This week, the family learned their fears had become reality. Haines was killed Sunday on routine road patrol when the armored vehicle he was riding triggered a roadside bomb near Balad, Iraq. Two other soldiers were critically wounded in the explosion.
The 25-year-old Haines had just begun his second tour of duty in Iraq in October.
“I tried to talk him out of going back,” said his older brother, Mike Haines, 30, of Baldwinsville. “All he talked about was those damn IEDs.”
Herald-Tribune of Sarasota, Fla.
Staff Sgt. John Hartman didn’t have to go back to Iraq — he had already served two tours and had a plum post-combat assignment awaiting him at a base in Oklahoma. But when a platoon mate’s wife gave birth earlier this year, Hartman was compelled to help him out.
So Hartman, a veteran Army artilleryman and Manatee High School graduate, headed back to Baghdad in his friend’s stead. It was a sacrifice that cost Hartman his life.
Hartman, 39, a father of two, was killed Thursday when a roadside bomb detonated near a Humvee in Baghdad
St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press
The face in the photo is young, almost too young to be holding something capable of spitting out 1,000 rounds of ammunition per minute.
As the sun seared overhead, Bryan McDonough, 22, stood on a rooftop overlooking one of the canals that refresh the parched Iraqi landscape. He turned to the camera for a portrait with his M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon.
The photo was one of several that the Maplewood soldier placed on his myspace.com Web site. And on Monday, it was one of the few reminders of his life. McDonough was one of two Minnesota soldiers killed in Iraq on Saturday when a bomb exploded beneath their vehicle.
Las Vegas Review-Journal
Air Force Capt. Kermit O. Evans was growing weary of the war in Iraq and was getting anxious to see his wife and young son in Las Vegas when the helicopter he was riding in crash-landed in a lake Sunday, killing him and three other troops, his family said.
“He always wanted to be fair, and if it wasn’t right, he was going to find a way to make it right. He always spoke his mind, and he did it respectfully,” his wife, Perneatha Cunningham Evans, said Tuesday, reflecting on the life of her 31-year-old husband.
Detroit Free Press
They called him Bayou Beeler — this big football-loving Marine from Jackson County’s Napoleon Township.
The Marine Corps knew him as Lance Cpl. Brent E. Beeler, and a brief press release Friday delivered the news that the 22-year-old was killed Thursday in combat near Fallujah.
Beeler’s family recalled Friday a man who loved his pickup truck, Hank Williams Jr. and water skiing.
Beeler’s mother, Rhonda Beeler, said an insurgent had shot her 6-foot-2, 220-pound son in the chest during a battle Thursday, killing him despite the body armor he wore.
“He was a good kid,” Rhonda Beeler said. “He had a lot of friends. He was just crazy. Beautiful smile, big heart. … He loved his truck. He would have that thing loaded down like the Beverly Hillbillies. He loved his quad, and his dirt-bike and his truck … and he loved to snowmobile.”
Rocky Mountain News of Denver, Colo.
A Colorado sailor was killed in Iraq on Monday. Christopher A. Anderson, 24, of Longmont died during military action in Anbar province.
He was a Navy corpsman who was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, 2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
The Jackson (Tenn.) Sun
A 22-year-old Army special forces soldier from Finger was among four people killed Sunday when a helicopter made an emergency landing in Iraq, his family said Monday.
Spc. Dustin Adkins was killed in Haditha, Iraq – located in Anbar province – when the Chinook helicopter went down in a lake, said Adkins’ grandmother Mayrine Adkins, of Finger. A Department of Defense press release stated that Adkins was listed as missing following an emergency landing. But Mayrine Adkins said the family was notified about 3 p.m. Monday that his body had been found.
Echo Press of Alexandria, Minn.
The war in Iraq struck a tragic chord in Alexandria Saturday.
Corey J. Rystad, a specialist with the National Guard, was killed when a bomb exploded near the vehicle he was patrolling in near the battle-torn city of Fallujah. The 20-year-old Red Lake Falls man is the brother of Sarah Rystad of Alexandria, a special education teacher at Jefferson High School.
Another Minnesota soldier, Bryan T. McDonough of Maplewood, 22, was also killed in the explosion.