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December 30. 2012 4:19AM

2004: Granite Staters serving in the Armed Forces


 


They answered when duty called

Granite State men and women in the Armed Forces are being collectively recognized as New Hampshire's 2004 Citizen of the Year .

The selection will be made annually by The Union Leader and New Hampshire Sunday News. Its purpose is to highlight those Granite Staters who have had a significant impact in a given year.

Thousands of New Hampshire's sons and daughters are serving in support of the War on Terror. In the National Guard alone, the ratio of deployed troops to total enrollment is the highest nationally. They are our neighbors, co-workers, and family, and they are serving in all branches of the regular military, Guard, and Reserves.

They risk life and limb for us. And in 2004, some of them earned Purple Hearts and military burials.

Their service in the post-9/11 military has meant stress for loved ones here, who need to maintain the family without a key member. It has created a strain for some employers, who have seen valuable workers take leave when called up to serve.

All in New Hampshire have been affected in some way, even if it is as simple as a newfound respect for the men and women who volunteer for the armed services.

--The Editors

Click here to view a list of soldiers with NH ties who died during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

WHEN Tom Brokaw wrote of "The Greatest Generation," he meant the generation that fought and won World War II. But there are those who would extend that acclaim to the men and women now fighting for their country in Afghanistan, Iraq and other nations beyond the seas.

Members of the New Hampshire community, even those who don't support the war in Iraq, hold our armed forces in high esteem. They credit New Hampshire's young -- and not so young -- military forces with patriotism, bravery, resourcefulness and ironclad fidelity, to each other and their country.

Those who were there and have returned recall moments of intense sadness, a fleeting friendship with a sunny-dispositioned Iraqi boy, wry quips from a wounded companion in pain, and having to say no when an Iraqi parent asked the soldier to take his child back to America.

A Roman Catholic chaplain who grew up in Keene chuckles in remembrance of walking into a mess hall on a military base somewhere in Iraq and into the familiar climate of Boston accents all around him.

"Hi, I'm from New Hampshire," Maj. Jim Decker, a chaplain on loan to the Air Force from the Diocese of Manchester, remembers calling out to anyone who would listen.

"We New Englanders have a delightful sarcastic, sort of homegrown, humor. So when you meet somebody from New Hampshire, it's a taste of home," Decker said.

The sounds of New England a's and r's were euphony to homesick ears. Not that the chaplain wanted to be anywhere else but this place where he could comfort people of all nationalities, colors and religions.

Numbers of New Hampshire residents serving in the regular armed services are difficult to come by. But, of the total number of 2,700 New Hampshire Army and Air National Guard members, 910 are deployed overseas. With more than one-third of its complement in deployment, the New Hampshire National Guard has the highest "total number: deployed" ratio of any state.

As of Dec. 1, the New Hampshire Army National Guard (1,700 total) had 828 deployed in Iraq, 67 in Afghanistan and 110 deploying in early December for an Iraq mission.

The New Hampshire Air National Guard, with a complement of 1,000, had 12 in Iraq, two in Qatar, one in Germany and eight at locations in the United States.

Six New Hampshire citizens talked to the New Hampshire Sunday News about the men and women serving overseas. Some of their observations follow:

Josiah Downey. The 18-year-old Sunapee High School graduate, now at the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine, had this to say. "They are all regular people like you and me. They are fighting for what they believe in. A lot of my friends went over, and when they come back they are changed. They all believe in what they're doing. I am very proud to know so many people who are over there. I am just in awe of what they are doing, risking their lives for our nation. They go over as high school graduates and when they come back they have grown into more mature people who have experienced things others may not have to experience because they have taken it on themselves."

Denise Moquin. She is 27 and lives in Nashua, having recently returned from 17 months in Iraq, where she was a platoon medic with the Londonderry-based 94th Military Police Co. of the U.S. Army Reserve.

"There was the good and the bad. I don't want to talk about the bad. One of the good events was I got to visit some of the hospitals to see how the Iraqis and their hospitals are, and interact with the children. A smile and a lollipop showed a child we were there to help.

"We were there to police the area. We helped with border patrol. We trained Iraqi police. Some of us were under fire. My friends in the company taught me how to be an MP. If they needed a driver or someone to watch the radios, whatever was needed, they taught me how to do it. Everybody had to pull their weight. We were a team. I have missed my teammates so much: 160 of us and we all came home.

"My family has been very patient with me. I can get angry and irritable because I am trying to adjust back to life, and everything is different. I have a 3-year-old child. I gained self-confidence and more discipline than my parents could have imagined. It was a good step for me to do.

"One night there was a bombing on a small village and we had to go secure the site. To see the rubble and people's homes gone was heartbreaking. Iraqis would come up to us and ask us to take their children because they had no water, no food, no electricity. That was profound. All you can say is, 'I'm sorry, I can't.'"

Michael Rice. Command Sgt. Maj. Rice is from Manchester and, for the last 30 years, has lived in Nashua. He has had 38 years of service with the New Hampshire Army National Guard and has been full-time command sergeant major for the last five. As the senior enlisted person the New Hampshire Guard he is liaison between the soldiers and command leadership.

"One of the challenges we have (at N.H. Guard headquarters in Concord) is many soldiers feel guilty they're not over there. It's not their fault who's called and selected. What they are doing is all part of the war on terrorism. The people back here take care of the families of the deployed soldiers and resolve pay issues. We also do training for either a future national mission or a state mission.

"We provide many kinds of services to the families, including counseling and financial assistance through the chaplain's relief fund and other programs. Now as it is getting closer to them (the deployed servicemen) coming home, we are starting to conduct programs through veterans centers and other sites and sit with families and talk about what to expect when they come home. Some of them have seen some horrific things, and God only knows what kind of reactions they will have.

"The soldiers all feel, no matter whether they are happy or not to be deployed, that what they are doing is for a worthwhile cause. These soldiers have done so much for the local communities over there. Instead of sending things to the soldiers , they (the soldiers ) are asking us to send things they can take to the kids in the schools. With some of the horrific things they have experienced and seen, I think a vast majority feel they are doing the right thing for the right reasons and they want to get that mission done and come home.

"Almost to a person, the wounded say, 'I want to get fixed up so I can go back and finish the mission.' They feel as if they are letting the soldiers down, and it's not their fault. It's heartwarming, the morale, when you talk to these folks. The dedication to what they're doing. It leaves you with a heck of a good feeling, I can tell you that.

"One of the reasons the reserves do well is that in their training they are together for a long time, up to 10 to 15 years. There's a lot of camaraderie gained. You get to the point where you really know the guy or gal around you and how they think and react, and that's awfully important when you are being shot at. It's family, a different kind of family."

William Hooley. The state commander of the American Legion in New Hampshire (with 36 years' membership in the Legion) says attitudes toward our troops have changed for the better since Vietnam.

"The world's largest veterans organization, with 2.7 million members, the American Legion supports the military action in Iraq," Hooley said.

"Like Tom Brokaw's designation of World War II veterans, we (the American Legion) consider the men and women who are serving our country now are also a great generation -- because of their commitment to their country. They are leaving an awful lot behind to protect freedom. Freedom is not free. The terrorists killed innocent men and women sitting at their desks in the World Trade towers on Sept. 11. It's a wonderful thing that we do have people such as ours to carry on the struggle."

Jeremiah (Jay) Holmes, a sergeant in the 744th Transportation Co., New Hampshire Army National Guard, died in Balad, Iraq, on March 29, 2004, when his vehicle was blown off a bridge by an improvised explosive device. The Dover native was 27.

"I went to Jeremiah Holmes' wake and it tore my heart out," said Hooley. "I talked to his wife, Kimberly. Her baby turned one year old the day of the burial, and her main concern was the education of her child. I held her hand and made a promise that we, the Legion, will work hard to make sure the boy will get the education. We started the American Legion Legacy Fund to raise money to go to the education of children who are direct descendants of persons killed in line of duty since 9/11.

"A lot of people are coming back to Walter Reed Hospital pretty banged up, and the number one request . . . is for telephone cards. The hospital charges the patients for long-distance calls and the patients just don't have the money. We accept contributions and pass them on to them. These guys are wounded, hurting."

Donna Lafond. A proud mother of two sons, this Northwood woman is not a fan of the war in Iraq, but reserves special compassion for the young troops whose lives have been disrupted uprooted by the hostilities in the Middle East.

"National Guardsmen are supposed to be protecting our homeland; some are not in their prime and are not in training on a daily basis; most have families. My dad spent years while in his 20s serving as a Marine; then in the National Guard when he was a bit older. He'd still be willing to fight for his country at 81 years of age; but I am sure he was in better shape when he was in his 20s, serving as a Marine -- No offense, Dad.

"I think it's very, very sad that young lives are being extinguished on a daily basis while Homeland Security is partying their butts off in Hawaii and enjoying a secure environment that our military is getting killed to protect.

"It's pretty sad that our nation is spending billions and billions of dollars to fight a foreign war, yet our soldiers have to dig in landfills for scrap metal to modify their vehicles in an attempt to protect themselves; and have to ask their families to provide them with protective clothing, toilet paper, and so forth.

"God bless America and keep our troops safe!"

James Decker. An Air Force major and chaplain, Decker, of Keene, has been on loan from the Diocese of Manchester to the Air Force and stationed at the Air Force's flagship hospital, Wilford Hall Medical Center at Lackland AFB, Texas, since 1995. He served in the Air Force Reserve on and off from 1982 to 1995. He has been deployed overseas four times, twice to Iraq as one of the Air Force's 70 deployable Catholic priests (out of 90).

"The military does not have enough priests, just priests the dioceses release to go on. Top priority is deployment but no civilian priest can go on these things. As Catholic priests we deploy far more than our counterparts do.

"I got used to seeing the patch of the 744th (Transportation Company, New Hampshire Army National Guard) in Iraq. When I saw them in chow hall, we would chitchat. Tom Brokaw wrote about the greatest generation. I think the troops, and all of the country, are part of that type of spirit.

"Not everybody is happy, that's for sure, but the majority are strongly motivated and I don't think it's blind obedience. They are willing to put their life on the line and they are not disgruntled in the process of doing it and they are very loyal to one another and to the mission.

"I don't care what side of the opinions you are on, you would be astounded to see how somebody who is badly wounded wants to get back to his unit to fight again even though he is not strong enough.

"We were under harassing mortar attacks on a fairly constant basis, which was unnerving, but people adapt. You do what you have to do and move on. It did not seem to lessen the spirit of the people who were injured. The human spirit rises to the occasion.

"A lot of them asked me to pray with them. 'When you are well enough to talk, you need to move along,' I would tell them," Decker said, laughing. "If they are complaining, all the better. It's when they don't talk that you worry."

Decker recalled a serviceman who told him how touched he had been when, having stopped to view one of the country's few Christian churches, he was approached by an Iraqi youth who pressed a cross into his hand and walked away, then looked back and smiled.

"I can remember one time being totally exhausted," Decker went on. "I was on a bus taking the wounded to a plane for evacuation. Seated behind me was a young man who had been shot in the temple, a grazing but deep wound."

"I'll never be able to raise that eyebrow. But I can live with that," the young man said with a grin as Decker, constrained by layers of requisite military gear, attempted to turn around and make eye contact, an exercise he described as contortionistic.

"He was blessed, he said. We connected. It was a privilege. As uncomfortable as I was, I can remember not wanting to be anywhere else but there."

They paid a heavy price

This list offers brief biographical information on those with New Hampshire ties whose deaths or injuries are linked to their service to the nation in 2004. While the New Hampshire Citizen of the Year is bestowed on all those who have served in 2004, we especially note the sacrifices this group has made.

John Brad Adams, CPT, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, U.S. Marines, based at Camp Pendleton, Calif. Age 33. Portsmouth. Adams sustained shrapnel wounds when a roadside bomb totaled his Humvee in an insurgent stronghold in Fallujah on Oct. 23, 2004. He was flown to hospitals in Baghdad , then Germany, where he was treated for a broken foot and shrapnel wounds.

Jeffrey Beaudoin, SSGT, 1st Cavalry, 227th Aviation Regiment, U.S. Army. Age 24. Manchester. Beaudoin was injured on April 8, 2004, when shrapnel struck his leg during a mortar attack on his base in Tafi, Iraq, northwest of Baghdad. Beaudoin's job was overseeing six Apache Longbow helicopter crews. Beaudoin attended Manchester West High School before transferring to, and graduating from, Central High School. He's the son of former Manchester Police Lt. Paul Beaudoin. "He was back to the work the next day," Lt. Beaudoin said, "limping around but able to stay on the job. Thank God he was wearing a flak vest."

Adam R. Brooks, LCPL, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C. Age 20. Manchester. Killed in Babil province, Iraq, in November 2004, six months to the day he was married to his wife, Ashley. He was a Central High School graduate who enlisted after his graduation in 2003. He was on patrol in Baghdad when a bomb exploded near his Humvee. He died shortly afterward from injuries suffered while trying to escape from the vehicle. He had wanted to be a state trooper one day. "He tried to do the best he could, at everything he did," his mother, Rose Marois, said.

Alan J. Burgess, SPC, 2nd Battalion, 197th Field Artillery Forward, New Hampshire Army National Guard, headquartered in Berlin, N.H. Age 24. Landaff. Joining the Guard in 2002, Burgess was assigned to Task Force Olympia, 225 miles north of Baghdad. He was on patrol as a vehicle gunner in Mosul when he was struck by shrapnel in October 2004. He died of severe head injuries at a Mosul field hospital.

Rich Capen, SGT, 744th Transportation Company, New Hampshire National Guard, based in Hillsborough. Weare. Capen took a bullet to his right shin on June 7, 2004, while riding in a truck in a convoy from Balad to Baghdad. Sniper fire came through the driver's door, missed the driver and hit Capen, who was in the passenger seat. The bullet lodged on top of his shinbone but did not pass through his leg. He was taken to a medical facility in Baghdad. "They took the bullet out there and threw me back in the truck and we went back to Balad," Capen said. "And on the way back we got hit with a bomb." Fortunately no one was injured when the truck was hit by the explosive device commonly triggered by remote by an insurgent with a cell phone. Capen is a full-time National Guardsman.

James Collins, SPC, 133rd Engineer Battalion, U.S. Army Reserve. Age 24. Portsmouth. On Dec. 21, a mess tent was blown up at a base in Mosul, killing 22 and injuring many more, including Collins, who was about 50 feet from the suicide bomber. Collins, who grew up in Moscow, Maine, lived in Portsmouth for about four years before deploying to Iraq. He suffered hearing loss and bleeding in his left ear as a result of the explosion. In an e-mail to his mother, Collins wrote: "Mom, I've never seen so much blood and body parts everywhere."

Jeremy J. Craig, SSGT, Bravo Company 134 of the 1st Infantry Division, U.S. Army. Age 29. Swanzey. On May 27, 2004, Craig was sitting in the front passenger seat of his truck, leading a caravan of four vehicles down a road that runs along the Euphrates River in Ar-Ramadi, Iraq, when a five-gallon fuel can exploded near his right front tire. The explosion blew the windshield out and knocked the driver unconscious before the truck rolled over and off the side of the road. Originally listed as critical, Craig recovered with brain injury, back pain and lack of coordination in his right hand. Craig joined the Army in 1994 after graduating from Monadnock Regional High School, where he played bass drum in the school band. For nine months before the explosion, Craig led patrols throughout Ar-Ramadi and helped train Iraqi police. "Without us putting in the effort we did," Craig said, "that country would never be fighting for itself."

Mark Davis, PFC, C Mountain Company, 172nd Infantry Regiment New Hampshire Army National Guard. Age 22. Concord. Davis was injured June 16, 2004, in a rocket attack that left three U.S. soldiers dead at Camp Anaconda in Balad, 50 miles north of Baghdad. He suffered shrapnel wounds to his back, arms and chest. The Manchester-based unit includes 180 New Hampshire soldiers who provide convoy and supply route security and reconnaissance and patrols with Iraqi military units. The division started operations in Iraq in March.

Daniel W. Eggers, CPT, Army Special Forces (Green Berets) since 2002, was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) based in Fort Bragg, N.C. Age 28. Former Hollis resident. Eggers was killed on Memorial Day Weekend in 2004 in Afghanistan in an accident in which the Humvee in which he was riding drove through a land mine field in Kandahar. Two other soldiers died with him. Born in Colorado, he grew up in Hollis, where he attended Hollis Elementary School before his family moved in 1987 to Cape Coral, Fla. He served as battalion commander in ROTC in high school in his senior year. He was named Young Marine of the Year while in high school. Eggers went to The Citadel in South Carolina on ROTC and academic scholarships and graduated near the top of his class.

Henry Farrin Jr. SGT. 172nd Mountain Division, Army National Guard. Age 38. Former police chief of Epsom. Suffered a head wound in combat in Iraq on Friday, August 13, 2004, the same day his wife and children barely escaped injury inside their Hurricane Charley-flattened home in Port Charlotte, Fla. The family had moved to Florida in late 2003 and had been there only two days when Farrin got his orders to Iraq. Farrin's job was mainly protecting convoys.

Richard Lee Ferguson, M/SGT, A Company, 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group, U.S. Army, based in Fort Carson, Colorado. Age 45. Ferguson grew up in Warwick, R.I., but the Department of Defense lists him as being from Conway, N.H. Ferguson was killed in April 2004, in Somara, Iraq, when the Humvee he was riding in rolled over. A career veteran of almost 30 years, Ferguson had served five previous tours in Iraq including the Gulf War, and in Bosnia, Germany and other nations. "He was military all the way," his father, Lee Ferguson, said. "He did what he had to do."

Robert Fraser, PFC, Robert Fraser, 2nd Battalion, 197th Field Artillery, New Hampshire National Guard, based in Berlin, N.H. Dalton. Fraser and three other guardsmen were on a mission escorting Army bomb squad workers to the site of another improvised explosive device in May 2004, when a roadside bomb exploded next to the Humvee he was riding in. Fraser was treated for minor wounds and returned to duty.

Randal S. Frotton, SGT, New Hampshire National Guard 744th Transportation Co., based in Somersworth. Age 41. Newmarket. Frotton sustained injuries to his ribs and ankle in March 2004, when a roadside bomb rocked the truck in which he was riding in Iraq.

William Garneau, SPC, 2nd Battalion, 197th Field Artillery, New Hampshire National Guard, based in Berlin, N.H. Whitefield. Garneau and three other guardsmen were on a mission escorting Army bomb squad workers to the site of another improvised explosive device in May 2004, when a roadside bomb exploded next to the Humvee he was riding in. Garneau was treated for minor wounds and returned to duty.

Dimitri Gavriel, LCPL, 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C. Age 29. Grew up in Atkinson, N.H., lived more recently in Haverhill, Mass. After 9/11 when he lost two friends at the World Trade Center, Gavriel exchanged a promising career on Wall Street for a tour of duty in the Marines. Enlisting in October 2003, he was deployed to Iraq in June. Gavriel was killed in intense fighting outside Fallujah in November 2004. He had been injured a week earlier with shrapnel throughout his leg. "He could very well have stayed in bed and nursed his wounds," Gavriel's mother Penelope said. "He was limping, but he felt well enough to go . . . I feel my son's death would be a worthy death if everyone knew his morals and the example he set."

Dave Guindon, T/SGT, 157th Air Refueling Wing, New Hampshire Air National Guard based in Newington. Age 48. Merrimack. He and four other members of the unit provided security to Army convoys. One day after he returned home in August 2004, from a 6-month deployment in Iraq, Guindon took his life. Guard officials praised Guindon's service, saying he and his team were awarded Army combat honors after carrying out more than 100 missions. "War is a terrible thing," Maj. Gen. John E. Blair, Adjutant General of the New Hampshire National Guard, said at the time. "You don't know what they've seen or heard or had to do. I wish I could explain it, but I can't."

Jeremiah (Jay) Holmes, SGT, 744th Transportation Co., New Hampshire Army National Guard, based in Hillsborough. Age 27. Born in Dover. Lived in North Berwick, Maine, where he graduated from Noble High School in 1994. Holmes died March 29, 2004 in Balad, Iraq, when the tractor trailer he was driving was blown off a bridge by an improvised explosive device. Holmes joined the National Guard in 1999 after serving in the U.S. Army from 1994 to 1999.

Jameson Holmes, SPC, 2nd Battalion, 197th Field Artillery, New Hampshire National Guard based in Berlin, N.H. Plymouth. Injured May 27, 2004, in Iraq when a bomb exploded next to the Humvee in which he was riding. Three other New Hampshire National Guardsmen were treated for minor wounds and returned to duty. The four were on a mission escorting Army bomb squad workers to the site of another improvised explosive device when they were hit by the roadside bomb. Holmes was flown to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C., with injuries described as not life-threatening.

Gerard Lamson, SPC, Bravo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 197th Field Artillery, New Hampshire National Guard. Age 26. Ashland. Lamson received shrapnel wounds to both hands in March, 2004, during a firefight with four insurgents in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. His patrol had stopped the insurgents' vehicle because it matched the description of one used in an earlier drive-by shooting at U.S. forces. The four insurgents were killed. In their truck, soldiers found assault rifles, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and other weapons.

Steven Lord, SPC, C Company, 3rd of the 172nd Infantry (Regiment), "Mountain Company." Allenstown. Wound to hand from IED explosion in 2004.

Shames Marron, Corpsman, U.S. Navy, with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. Age 22. Londonderry. A field medic working in a dangerous area to the south of Fallujah, Marron has been injured twice, once when he was hit with shrapnel from a mortar round in August 2004, then when he was shot in the hip during a driveby by insurgents in September 2004. Marron's superior office told his mother, Paula Marron, that in both cases Marron rushed to tend to fellow military personnel before nursing his own wounds. He has earned two Purple Hearts. Marron is a graduate of Londonderry High School.

Aaron Marshall, SPC, 2nd Battalion, 197th Field Artillery Forward, New Hampshire National Guard. Ashland. Sustained wounds during April 9, 2004, firefight defending Diyala Provincial Police Headquarters in Iraq.

Wayne Pearson, SPC, 744th Transportation Company, New Hampshire National Guard. Claremont. Sustained shrapnel wounds in IED ambush in 2004.

Timothy Plaisted, SPC, C Company, 3rd of the 172nd Infantry (Regiment), "Mountain Company." Dover. Wound to head from IED explosion in 2004.

David L. Potter, PFC, 115th Forward Support Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division, U.S. Army. Age 22. Born in Portsmouth but he had been living in Johnson City, Tenn., as a student at East Tennessee State University. Potter deployed to Iraq in March. He was killed in August 2004. "He said the reason he put on his uniform was so we could sleep safely at night," Potter's brother Carlton said. "That's what he said kept him going."

Jeremy Regnier, an E4-SPC in the 1st Division, U.S. Army. Age 22. Littleton. Regnier was stationed in South Korea before going to Texas for retraining. He was killed in Iraq in October 2004, when his armored vehicle drove over a bomb during a patrol outside Baghdad. He had hoped to make the military his career. "He wanted to do what his father, grandfather and great-grandfather did," his aunt, Sherry Velozo said. "All the Regniers went into war. He was the first not to come back."

Scott Robbins, SSGT, 744th Transportation Company, New Hampshire National Guard. Lisbon. Sustained wounds in rocket attack in 2004.

Randy Scott Rosenberg, SSGT, B Company, 1st Battalion, 9th Cavalry, U.S. Army, Fort Hood, Texas. Age 23. Berlin, N.H. Killed in Khalidiyah, Iraq, in January 2004, when a suicide bomber blew up in front of the vehicle in which he was riding.

Gregory Sears, SGT, 744th Transportation Co., New Hampshire National Guard. Keene. Wounds sustained in rocket attack in 2004.

Douglas Sirois, SGT, 2nd Battalion, 197th Field Artillery, New Hampshire National Guard, based in Berlin, N.H., Laconia. Sirois and three other guardsmen were on a mission escorting Army bomb squad workers to the site of another improvised explosive device May 27, 2004, when a roadside bomb exploded next to the Humvee he was riding in. Sirois was treated for minor wounds and returned to duty.

Donald Smialek, SSGT, 2nd Battalion Field Artillery Forward, New Hampshire National Guard. Campton. Sustained shrapnel wounds on June 24, 2004, in Iraq. He was treated at Walter Reed Army Hospital and Fort Dix, N.J., and returned to Iraq to lead his squad again.

Nathan Smith, SGT, C Company, 3rd of the 172nd Infantry (Regiment), "Mountain Company." Whitefield. Injured by two gunshots to his lower leg at Fallujah, Iraq. In good spirits while being treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Peter J. Sora Jr., LCPL U.S. Marines. Age 19. Londonderry. Killed in a training accident in California in May 2004. Born in Framingham, Mass., graduated from Londonderry High School in 2002, son of Peter J. and Gail A. Sora, Sr. of Londonderry. Died May 4, 2004, from injuries in a Marine training accident in California.

Douglas S. Stone, SPC, 744th Transportation Co., New Hampshire National Guard. Age 38. Antrim. In March 2004, Stone suffered a laceration to his left ear from shrapnel, when an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded as he was driving a tractor trailer along a military route in Iraq. He was airlifted to Germany.

Normand Vallee, SGT, 2nd Battalion, 197th Field Artillery Forward, New Hampshire National Guard. Laconia. Wounded on April 9, 2004, in Iraq.

Marc Vallieres, SGT, 2nd Battalion, 197th Field Artillery Forward, New Hampshire National Guard. Berlin. Wounded June 16, 2004.

Jason Weaver, SGT, Bravo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 197th Field Artillery, New Hampshire National Guard. Age 30. Franklin. Weaver was shot in the left leg on March 28, 2004, during a firefight with four insurgents in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. His patrol had stopped the insurgents' vehicle because it matched the description of one used in an earlier drive-by shooting at U.S. forces. The four insurgents were killed. In their truck, soldiers found assault rifles, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and other weapons.


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