FORT HOOD The Brave who died had real lives!
Not much has been said about the people and the lives of those who were murdered at Fort Hood by the terrorist ..a convert to radical Islam.
They were sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, mothers and a mother to be…with lives to live; service given to our country…and now they are gone. Shot and killed by one within their own ranks. It would have been the last thing that they would have thought to happen when they decided to join the military..especially on a secure military base in their own country.
Boyer Writes thinks that it is important to take a good look at what has been lost and how valuable they were in the lives they lived. What is listed here is only a small part of all they had done in life or the dreams that they had…but would not fulfill because of one man who used misguided, religious fanaticism as an excuse to kill. They deserve to not be forgotten.
NAMES, AGE, and HOME TOWN: Michael Grant Cahill, 62, of Cameron, Texas; Maj. Libardo Eduardo Caraveo, 52, of Woodbridge, Va.; Staff Sgt. Justin M. DeCrow, 32, of Evans, Ga.; Capt. John Gaffaney, 56, of San Diego, Calif.; Spc. Frederick Greene, 29, of Mountain City, Tenn.; Spc. Jason Dean Hunt, 22, of Frederick, Okla., Sgt. Amy Krueger, 29, of Kiel, Wis.; Pfc. Aaron Thomas Nemelka, 19, of West Jordan, Utah; Pfc. Michael Pearson, 22, of Bolingbrook, Ill.; Capt. Russell Seager, 51, of Racine, Wis.; Pvt. Francheska Velez, 21 (and her unborn child), of Chicago; Lt. Col. Juanita Warman, 55, of Havre de Grace, Md.; and Pfc. Kham Xiong, 23, of St. Paul, Minn.
Michael Cahill had worked as a civilian contractor at Fort Hood for about four years, after jobs in rural health clinics and at Veterans Affairs hospitals. He and his wife, Joleen, had been married 37 years.
Major Caraveo was a self-made man who spoke very little English when he first came to this country. He was the youngest of seven children of an impoverished family that immigrated to El Paso, Texas from Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. Eduardo put himself through the University of Texas at El Paso, received a master’s degree from Texas Tech University and his doctorate from the University of Arizona.
He worked as a teacher and at the Federal Bureau of Prisons and had a private practice in Woodbridge, Virginia. Eduardo had been in the National Guard for ten years and had spent one year at Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
At 32, Staff Sgt. Justin M. DeCrow had been in the Army for 13 years. He had decided it was time to become a civilian. DeCrow had returned from a year’s deployment in South Korea to Evans, Ga., where he had built a house with his wife, Marikay and thirteen year old daughter. He had lined up a job as an Army contractor at nearby Fort Gordon in his specialty, training younger soldiers in satellite communications.
Capt. John Gaffaney was a psychiatric nurse who worked for San Diego County, Calif., for more than 20 years.He was preparing for a deployment to Iraq. Born in Williston, N.D., Gaffney, as a young man, had served in the National Guard and in the U.S. Navy.
Specialist Frederick Greene of Mountain City, Tenn., went by “Freddie” and was active at Baker’s Gap Baptist Church while he was growing up, said Glenn Arney, the church’s former superintendent and a former co-worker of Greene’s. “I went to church with him, knew him all of his life. He was one of the finest boys you ever saw,”
(A special note about Specialist Green and those who would attempt to get benefits for the families of those killed. The following is a quote from an article by Lacey Hillard, “Specialist Greene’s lack of eligibility for Military Death Benefits has inspired several local veterans to turn lobbyist in order to garner support for not just the family of SPC Greene, but the families of all those killed in the Fort Hood attack. Air Force veteran, Dick Dion is attempting to right what he feels is an injustice to those killed at Fort Hood. Dion said, “This is not a political issue. It’s about seeing that our military personnel and their families are treated with respect. There’s no difference in what Specialist Fredrick Greene did in trying to quell the violence, without a weapon, than what soldiers do every day in a combat zone in Afghanistan.”)
Specialist James Dean Hunt of Frederick, Okla., went into the military after graduating from Tipton High School in 2005 and had been married only a short while. He had served 3 1/2 years in the Army, including a stint in Iraq. He was known as a quiet, kind young man.
Amy Krueger had put her schooling on hold immediately after the events of 9/11 to enlist in the U.S. Army in support of the war on terrorism. She served as a Mental Health Specialist and had already completed one tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2003.
PFC Aaron Nemelka was a combat engineer with the 510th Engineering Company, 20th Infantry Battalion, 36th Engineering Brigade. He was scheduled to be deployed to do one of the most dangerous jobs in the war — helping to dispose of munitions. He wanted to serve his country. He picked what he wanted to do.
PFC Michael Pearson was in the Army Corps of Engineers, stationed at Fort Hood. His mother said her son had been in training to deactivate bombs. Music was his central passion. Pearson loved to play the guitar that his father, Jeffrey, taught him to play as a young boy. Jimmy Hendrix was his idol. He talked about going to college to study music theory. He stayed in constant touch with his family. When he found out his father had been laid off, Pearson sent money home so that the family car would have new tires. “He was the best son in the whole world,” his mother said. “He was my best friend.”
Capt. Russell Seager was a psychiatrist who joined the Army because he wanted to help veterans returning to civilian life. Capt. Seager had worked with soldiers at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Milwaukee who were suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. He also taught classes at Bryant & Stratton College in Milwaukee.
Pfc. Francheska Velez, 21, had finished a tour of duty disarming bombs in Iraq and was pregnant and preparing to go home to Chicago. “She was a very happy girl and sweet,” her father, Juan Guillermo Velez, said.
Lt. Col. Juanita Warman’s military career spanned 25 years in active duty and Army reserves. A certified psychiatric nurse practitioner had undergone training in California in preparation for her mission. A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned a master’s degree in nursing. In 2005 Lt. Col. Warman accepted a job at a Veterans Administration facility in Perryville, Md. and she had a civilian practice at UPMC. She was an expert in post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury as well as being considered excellent in her practice. Lt. Col. Warman served a year overseas at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, the Army facility where those injured in Afghanistan and Iraq are treated before being sent stateside for further medical care. She regularly volunteered for round-trip flights to Iraq to care for soldiers being sent to Landstuhl. She received an Army Commendation Medal in 2006 for meritorious service at Landstuhl.
PFC Kham Xiong came from a St. Paul, Minn., family with ties to military life. His father, Chor Xiong, battled communist insurgents in Laos during the Vietnam War; a brother, Nelson, enlisted in the Marines. He had a great commitment to supporting his family. Xiong and his wife had three young children. “Kham was a person of sound character, and his greatest attribute was his ability to make everybody smile,” said the principal at Community of Peace Academy, a St. Paul charter school from which Xiong graduated in 2004. “He was a superb role model to his peers and siblings and children.”
FOOTNOTE: The lead prosecutor at the military trial of the terrorist assured jurors that the murderer would “never be a martyr” despite his attempt to tie the attack to religion. “He is a criminal. He is a cold-blooded murderer,” Col. Mike Mulligan said in his final plea for a rare military death sentence. “This is not his gift to God. This is his debt to society. This is the cost of his murderous rampage.”