Southern Arizona service members to remember

2013-05-27T00:00:00Z 2013-05-27T13:42:07Z Southern Arizona service members to rememberArizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Some were teens just out of high school.

Others, veteran service members on a second, third or fourth tour.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have claimed 54 service members with ties to Southern Arizona.

The men and women with ties to Southern Arizona who have been killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan:


• Army Sgt. 1st Class Ryan J. Savard, 29, a 2001 graduate of Buena High School in Sierra Vista, died Oct. 13, 2012, from small-arms fire while on patrol about 100 miles north of Kabul. It was Savard's fifth deployment to Afghanistan. He was based at Fort Bragg at the time of his death.

• Army Staff Sgt. Orion N. Sparks, 29, was killed Sept. 26, 2012, in eastern Afghanistan, when an insurgent detonated a suicide vest near his patrol, the Department of Defense said. Sparks was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team at Schweinfurt, Germany. Sparks, who was from the Washington state area, lived for a short time in Tucson.


• Air Force Capt. Nathan J. Nylander, 35, with the 25th Operational Weather Squadron at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, was one of nine airmen killed April 27, 2011, at Kabul International Airport when an Afghan air force officer opened fire on them after an argument. Nylander was a father of three.

• Army Pfc. Robert Near died Jan. 7, 2011, in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The Idaho native, who operated and maintained communication equipment, was serving overseas with the 86th Signal Battalion, part of the 11th Signal Brigade based at Fort Huachuca.


• Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Jim Thode, 45, who grew up in Tucson, was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan on Dec. 2, 2010. He served with the 204th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

• Marine Lance Cpl. Randy R. Braggs of Sierra Vista was killed in action in Afghanistan on Nov. 6, 2010. The Buena High School grad was based at Camp Pendleton, Calif., and was deployed with the I Marine Expeditionary Force.

• Army Sgt. 1st Class Todd M. Harris, 37, of Tucson died Nov. 3, 2010 of hostile fire in Afghanistan, where he served with the 10th Mountain Division based at Fort Drum, N.Y.

• Army Ranger Sgt. Martin A. Lugo, 24, of Tucson died Aug. 19, 2010, in Afghanistan while leading a team of Rangers in a clash with the Taliban that killed 14 enemy fighters. He was serving with the 75th Ranger Regiment, on his sixth combat deployment.

• Army Sgt. Christopher J. Moon, 20, a star baseball player at Tucson High who walked away from a UA sports scholarship to enlist, died July 13, 2010, of wounds received when he stepped on a roadside bomb in Arghandab, Afghanistan.

• Army Spc. Christian M. Adams 26, of Sierra Vista, died June 11, 2010 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds from "a non-combat-related incident," according to the Defense Department. He was assigned to the 20th Engineer Battalion, 36th Engineer Brigade at Fort Hood, Texas.

• Two Davis-Monthan pararescuers, Tech Sgt. Michael Flores, 32, and Sr. Airman Benjamin White, 24, were killed in action June 9, 2010, when their helicopter crashed during a rescue mission in Afghanistan. They were assigned to D-M's 48th Rescue Squadron.


• Army Sgt. Justin Gallegos, 27, died Oct. 3, 2009, in Kamdesh, Afghanistan, one of eight soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division who were killed when hundreds of insurgents stormed a remote outpost near the Pakistan border. Gallegos attended Tucson High.

• Air Force Staff Sgt. Timothy Bowles, 24, was killed in action in Afghanistan on March 15, 2009, when a homemade bomb hit his vehicle as his convoy was checking on a school. Bowles, who grew up on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, had volunteered for the mission when a comrade fell ill.

• Army Master Sgt. David L. Hurt, 36, a Green Beret who grew up in Tucson, was one of two troops killed Feb. 20, 2009, in Kandahar, Afghanistan, when their military vehicle was struck by a homemade bomb followed by small arms fire attack by enemy forces. He was a father of two.


• Army Cpl. Charles P. Gaffney Jr., 42, who moved to Tucson as a teen and lived more recently in Phoenix, died Dec. 24, 2008, in Paktika, Afghanistan, when his combat outpost received enemy rocket fire.

• Army Pfc. Joseph F. Gonzales Jr., 18, died Sept. 20, 2008, in Afghanistan along with another soldier when their vehicle struck a homemade bomb in the Korengal Valley. Gonzales was born and raised in Tucson, wrestling for Sierra Middle School and playing football his freshman year for Sunnyside High School.

• Marine Cpl. Stewart S. Trejo, 25, died Aug. 7, 2008, while supporting combat operations in Anbar province, Iraq. Trejo listed his hometown as Whitefish, Mont., but spent his childhood in Arizona and Mexico and has many relatives still in Tucson.

• Army Chief Warrant Officer Robert Hammett, 39, was one of two soldiers and eight civilians felled June 24, 2008, in Iraq by a bomb blast at a municipal office in Sadr City. He was part of a team working to restore local government and services in the former Shiite militia stronghold.

• Army Staff Sgt. Victor M. Cota, 33, of Tucson died May 14, 2008, in Baghdad of wounds suffered when his vehicle encountered a homemade bomb in Kadamiyah, Iraq, on May 13. The father of two enlisted in 2000 as an armor crewman. He was assigned to the Special Troops Battalion, 4th Infantry Division at Fort Hood, Texas.

• Army Staff Sgt. Ernesto Guadalupe Cimarrusti, 25, of Douglas, was killed March 10, 2008, along with four other soldiers when a suicide bomber detonated an explosive in a relatively secure area of Baghdad. Cimarrusti was a graduate of Douglas High School in 2000.

• Army Sgt. Gary D. Willett, 34, whose parents live in Tucson, died on Feb. 8, 2008, along with three other soldiers when a roadside bomb struck their Stryker combat vehicle.


• Army Spc. Adam J. Davis, 19, who went to high school in Tucson but moved to Twin Falls, Idaho, to live with his father and later enlist, was killed July 23, 2007 in Sarobi District, Afghanistan, when his vehicle was hit by a homemade bomb. Davis attended Santa Rita High School.

• Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Charles R. Browning, 31, who was raised in Tucson, died June 1, 2007 in Mehtar Lam, Afghanistan, when a homemade bomb detonated near his vehicle. He was a 1994 Palo Verde High School graduate.

• Army Pfc. Damian Lopez Rodriguez, 19, of Tucson, was killed in Baghdad on April 6, 2007, when his Humvee was hit by a homemade bomb. The 2005 graduate of Pueblo High Magnet School was a native of Mexico and was awarded U.S. citizenship after his death.

• Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Brevard, 31, died in Baghdad on March 16, 2007, after a roadside bomb detonated near his unit. He lived in Alaska but grew up in Tucson and attended Palo Verde High School.

• Arizona Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Darrel Kasson, 43, was killed in Iraq on March 4, 2007, when a bomb exploded near his vehicle. Kasson was born in Tucson and graduated from Amphitheater High School in 1982.

• Army Spc. Alan McPeek, 20, of Tucson, was killed in action Feb. 2, 2007, on his last day in Iraq. The 2004 Mountain View High School graduate and another soldier were killed in Ramadi by friendly fire.

• Army Cpl. Victor Langarica, a 29-year-old single dad, was one of a dozen soldiers killed when their UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crashed in Baghdad on Jan. 20, 2007. Langarica was a Georgia native stationed at Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista since 2004.

• Army Sgt. Sean Fennerty, 26, who lived in Tucson as a child, died Jan. 20, 2007, in Anbar province in Iraq when the vehicle he was riding in was hit by a roadside bomb.

• Sgt. 1st Class Russell Borea, 38, a 1986 graduate of Catalina High School, died on Jan. 19, 2007, in Mosul, Iraq, when a homemade bomb detonated during combat operations.

• Army Spc. Collin R. Schockmel, 19, who spent much of his childhood in Sierra Vista and attended Buena High School, died Jan. 16, 2007, in Ramadi, Iraq, when his unit came under grenade attack during security and observation operations.


• Marine Sgt. Aron Cody Blum, 22, died Dec. 28, 2006, at Naval Medical Center in San Diego following an illness. He'd been evacuated several weeks earlier from Anbar province, Iraq. The 2002 Sahuaro High School graduate joined the Marines after graduation and was assigned to an aerial refueler squadron.

• Marine Lance Cpl. Budd M. Cote, 21, of Marana, was killed Dec. 11, 2006, along with two other Marines while the three men conducted combat operations in Anbar province. He died less than two weeks before his first wedding anniversary.

• Army Cpl. Casey L. Mellen, 21, of Huachuca City, died Sept. 25, 2006, in Balad, Iraq, after his patrol group was hit with small arms fire during combat in Mosul, Iraq. Mellen was assigned to Fort Lewis, south of Tacoma, Wash.

• Navy Hospitalman Chadwick T. "Chad" Kenyon, 20, a 2004 graduate of Mountain View High School, died when an explosive struck the vehicle in which he was riding during combat operations in Anbar province on Aug. 20, 2006.

• Army Sgt. Mark R. Vecchione, 25, was a Massachusetts native who moved to Tucson as a teen and graduated from Sahuaro High School in 1999. He died on July 18, 2006, in Ramadi, Iraq, of injuries sustained when a homemade bomb detonated near his tank.

• Army 1st Sgt. Bobby Mendez, 38, a former Fort Huachuca soldier, was killed in action in Baghdad on April 27, 2006, when his vehicle was hit by a bomb.

• Marine Cpl. Brandon Scott Schuck, 21, a Safford High School graduate, was killed by a homemade bomb Feb. 6, 2006, as his unit patrolled the violent streets of Baghdad.


• Army Spc. Tommy Byrd, 21, a 2003 graduate of Santa Rita High School, was one of five soldiers killed Oct. 15, 2005, when their assault vehicle was blown up by a roadside bomb in Ramadi, Iraq.

• Marine Master Sgt. Kenneth Hunt Jr., 40, a 1983 Santa Rita High School graduate, died Oct. 12, 2005, of burns sustained July 24 when his vehicle hit an anti-tank mine in Iraq.

• Army Sgt. Kenneth Ross, 24, a 1999 graduate of Mountain View High School, died Sept. 25, 2005, in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan.

• Army Pfc. Sam Huff, 18, a 2004 graduate of Mountain View High School, died April 17, 2005, when a roadside bomb hit her convoy in Baghdad.


• Army Reserve Sgt. Tina Time, 22, a native of American Samoa and a Pima Community College student, was killed Dec. 13, 2004, in a vehicle accident in Iraq.

• Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua Lucero, 19, a 2003 graduate of Sunnyside High School, was killed Nov. 27, 2004, by hostile fire in Iraq.

• Army Spc. Robert Unruh, 25, a combat engineer from Tucson, died Sept. 25, 2004, when enemy forces attacked his unit in Iraq.

• Marine Cpl. Jeff Lawrence, 22, of Tucson, was hit by a homemade bomb near Fallujah on July 6, 2004.

• Marine Lance Cpl. Robert Zurheide Jr., 20, of Tucson was killed in hostile fire in Iraq on April 12, 2004. He graduated from Desert View High School.

• Army Sgt. Michael Merila of Sierra Vista was killed in an explosion when his convoy was attacked in Iraq the day before his 24th birthday, on Feb. 16, 2004.


• Army Sgt. Benjamin Biskie, 27, of Tucson, was killed when a makeshift bomb hit his convoy north of Baghdad on Christmas Eve 2003.

• Chief Warrant Officer Christopher Nason, 39, of Los Angeles, stationed at Fort Huachuca, died Nov. 23, 2003, when the vehicle he was in collided with a tanker truck in Iraq.

• Army Spc. Isaac Campoy, 21, a Douglas resident who graduated from Douglas High School in 2001, was killed when his tank hit a land mine in Iraq on Oct. 28, 2003.

• Army Sgt. Sean Cataudella, 28, of Tucson died Aug. 30, 2003, when his vehicle rolled into a canal near Baghdad.

• Air Force Airman 1st Class Raymond Losano, 24, a former Pima Community College student, was killed in an ambush in Afghanistan on April 25, 2003.

Compiled from Star archives.

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