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U.S. service members with Nebraska connections killed in Iraq

U.S. service members with Nebraska connections killed in Iraq

  • Updated
Linda Tarango-Griess

Nebraska National members walk away from the coffin of Nebraska National Guard Sgt. Linda Tarango-Griess of Sutton following services at St. Cecilia's Catholic Church in Hastings on Saturday, July 24, 2004. (LJS file)

Fifty-five U.S. service members with Nebraska connections have been killed in Iraq:

Capt. Matthew Nielson, 27, of Jefferson, Iowa, died June 29, 2011, in Badrah during a fire attack by insurgents. He was assigned to the Army's 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment at Fort Hood, Texas. Nielson was born in Omaha and lived in Lincoln before moving with his family to Iowa. He graduated from the University of Northern Iowa and was one of seven children.

Pfc. Michael Jarrett, 20, of North Platte, died Jan. 6, 2010, in Balad of injuries suffered in a noncombat incident. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, based in Illesheim, Germany. Jarrett joined the Army in 2008 and repaired helicopters. He received posthumous awards including the Army Commendation medal and Good Conduct medal, as well as an Army Service Ribbon and the Basic Aviation Badge.

Sgt. Justin Duffy, 31, of Cozad, died June 2, 2009, in Baghdad when a bomb detonated near the Humvee in which he was riding. He was serving with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division of the Army based in Fort Bragg, N.C. Family members said Duffy was "full of blarney" but kind and gentle. He was a Moline, Ill., native and his family moved to Cozad when he was in sixth grade.

Special Agent Nathan J. Schuldheiss, 27, of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, died Nov. 1, 2007, of wounds from a bomb near Balad Air Base. He was assigned to Offutt Air Force Base and was a civilian counterintelligence specialist from Newport, R.I.

Staff Sgt. Lillian Clamens, 35, was killed Oct. 10, 2007 -- a week before she was scheduled to return home -- after insurgents fired rockets at Camp Victory in Baghdad. The 1990 Omaha Central High graduate and mother of three served in the Army Reserve for 17 years.

Sgt. Jacob Schmuecker, 27, of Norfolk, died July 21, 2007, in a roadside bomb explosion in Balad. He was 10 months into his first tour of duty with the National Guard's 755th Chemical Company based in O'Neill. He graduated from West Holt High in Atkinson in 1999. The father of three enjoyed hunting and fishing and was called an inspiration to others.

Petty Officer 1st Class Jeffrey L. Chaney, 35, of Omaha, was killed July 17, 2007, in Salah Ad Din Province by a roadside bomb. He was assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 11 out of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash. Chaney graduated in 1990 from Bellevue West High.

Spc. Dustin L. Workman II, 19, of Greenwood, was one of five soldiers from his unit killed by bombs in Baghdad on June 28, 2007. He was a member of the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division based at Fort Carson, Colo. Workman graduated from Ashland-Greenwood High in 2005 and was described as creative and a rebel with a zest for life.

Spc. Josiah W. Hollopeter, 27, formerly of rural Valentine, died June 14, 2007, in Balad after his four-man sniper team was attacked in Al Muqdidiyah. He was part of the 6th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Cavalry Division based in Fort Hood, Texas. Hollopeter graduated from Valentine Rural High School in 1998 and was described as a rebel with a willingness to mix it up but very loyal to his friends.

Spc. Val John Borm, 21, of Sidney, died in an explosion during the week of June 10, 2007. He was serving as an infantryman in the Army's B Company, 2nd Battalion with the 35th Infantry based at Fort Shafter, Hawaii. Borm graduated from Sidney High in 2005 and enlisted a few months later. His father said Borm enjoyed his Army service.

Army Spc. Adam Herold, 23, of Omaha, died June 10, 2007, in an explosion. He attended Roncalli High School and was in the Job Corps in Utah learning a construction trade before enlisting in the Army in February 2005. Friends and family said he was a peacemaker.

Spc. William Bailey III, 29, of Bellevue, died May 25, 2007, near Taji. He had been serving with the 755th Chemical Company based in O'Neill and was providing security for a military convoy when a roadside bomb hit his vehicle. Bailey was a former firefighter and father of five who loved being a soldier.

Cpl. Matthew Alexander, 21, of Gretna, died May 6, 2007, with five other soldiers. He had been serving with the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division, based in Fort Lewis, Wash. Alexander enlisted in the Army after graduating in 2004 from Gretna High School, where he was a percussion section leader in the band. His family said he was proud of his military service.

Staff Sgt. Ken Locker Jr., 28, of Burwell, died April 23, 2007. He was with the 82nd Airborne Division and was stationed in Fort Bragg, N.C. He graduated from Burwell High School and enlisted in the Army while still in high school. He was injured by a land mine several months before his death and was awarded a Purple Heart.

1st Lt. Kevin Gaspers, 26, of Hastings, died April 23, 2007. He served with the 82nd Airborne Division and was stationed at Fort Bragg. He graduated from St. Cecilia Catholic High in 2000 and later attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He was remembered as a humble man who had a great love for his country and the Army.

Petty Officer 1st Class Joseph Adam McSween, 26, of Valdosta, Ga., died April 6, 2007, near Kirkuk when a rocket hit his vehicle. He was assigned to the Navy's Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit 11 based at Whidbey Island. McSween graduated in 2001 from York College, where he met his wife. He was buried in York.

Sgt. Wayne Cornell, 26, formerly of Holstein, died in Baghdad on March 19, 2007. He was based at Fort Riley, Kan., and was a member of the Army's 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry, 4th Brigade, 1st Infantry Division. Cornell graduated from Silver Lake High in Roseland in 1999 and was the father of two.

Sgt. Randy J. Matheny, 20, of McCook, died Feb. 4, 2007, from wounds suffered when a bomb was detonated near his vehicle. He was assigned to the Army National Guard's 1074th Transportation Company out of Sidney. Matheny graduated from high school in 2004 and was known as a mischievous but trustworthy friend.

1st Lt. Jacob Fritz, 25, of Verdon, died Jan. 20, 2007, in combat operations. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 377th Parachute Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska. Fritz was a 2000 graduate of Dawson-Verdon High and a 2005 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. In high school, he was a three-sport athlete, baritone player in the honor band and active in anti-drug abuse organizations.

Staff Sgt. Jeremy W. Mulhair, 35, of Omaha, died Nov. 30, 2006, when a roadside bomb hit his vehicle in Taji. He was a member of the Army's A Troop, 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood. Mulhair was born in Michigan but raised in northwest Omaha. He had three children.

Lance Cpl. Mike Scholl, 21, of Lincoln, died Nov. 14, 2006, from injuries he suffered when a roadside bomb exploded in Al Anbar province. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Kaneohe Bay in Hawaii. He was a 2002 graduate of Lincoln High and had a lifetime goal of becoming a Marine. He had an infant daughter.

Staff Sgt. Scott E. Nisely, 48, of Marshalltown, Iowa, formerly of Syracuse, was killed Sept. 30, 2006, in a firefight while providing convoy security west of Baghdad. Nisely was a 1976 graduate of Syracuse High and a former U.S. Postal Service employee. He was in the Marines for 22 years before joining the Iowa National Guard and was a member of the Iowa Falls-based Company C, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry.

Spc. Germaine Debro, 33, of Omaha, was killed in a roadside bombing near Tikrit on Sept. 4, 2006. He was serving with the Army National Guard's 1st Squadron, 167th Cavalry. Debro attended Benson High for a year and graduated from high school in Arkansas in 1991. He joined the Army in 1994.

Staff Sgt. Jeffrey J. Hansen, 31, of Cairo, died Aug. 27, 2006, from wounds suffered during a Humvee accident near Balad on Aug. 21, 2006. He was a member of the Fremont-based portion of Troop B, 1st Squadron, 167th Cavalry Regiment. Hansen graduated from high school in 1993, earned a bachelor's degree in athletic training from the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 1997 and was an officer in the Kearney Police Department, 2001-03.

Spc. Joshua Ford, 20, of Pender died July 31, 2006, near An Numaniyah. He was a member of Nebraska Army National Guard's 189th Transportation Company. Ford graduated in 2004 from Pender High, joined the Nebraska National Guard as a heavy-vehicle driver while still in high school and finished basic training between his junior and senior years.

Spc. Jeremy Jones, 25, of Omaha, was killed June 27, 2006, by a roadside bomb. He was serving in Iskandariyah with the 1st Battalion of the 67th Armor Regiment based in Fort Hood, Texas, and had been in Iraq since November after re-enlisting in the Army in April. Jones graduated from Millard West High in 1999 and was the father of two.

Pfc. Benjamin Slaven, 22, of Plymouth, was killed by a roadside bomb June 9, 2006, near Kirkuk. He was serving with the Army Reserve's 308th Transportation Company of Lincoln and had been with the Reserves for 17 months. He had earned his GED and worked at a lawn mower factory in Beatrice. Slaven was remembered as a jokester who was generous and caring.

Lance Cpl. Brent Zoucha, 19, of Clarks, died June 9, 2006, after an explosion in Anbar province. He was an infantryman with 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, and worked with mortars. Zoucha graduated from High Plains Community High in 2005; his brother Dyrek was serving with the same unit when the land mine exploded.

Sgt. Lonnie Calvin Allen, 26, of Bellevue, was killed May 16, 2006, when his vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb near Baghdad. The 1998 Bellevue East graduate was serving with the Army's 10th Mountain Division. He was remembered as a compassionate and courageous person who was lovable and gentle.

Special Agent Daniel J. Kuhlmeier, 30, of northern Virginia, died Feb. 20, 2006, when his convoy was hit by an explosive in Baghdad. He was a civilian assigned to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations at Offutt Air Force Base. Kuhlmeier joined the Marines in 1994 and was a counterintelligence agent with the Army Reserve, 2000-03. In 2003, he earned an associate degree in Farsi.

1st Lt. Garrison Avery, 23, of Lincoln was killed Feb. 1, 2006, when a roadside bomb exploded. He was stationed with the 101st Airborne Division from Fort Campbell, Ky., deployed in October and stationed south of Baghdad. Avery was a 2004 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., and a 2000 graduate of Lincoln High. He was remembered as a person with an analytical mind who was devoted to the Army but sometimes frustrated by its procedures.

Capt. Joel Cahill, 34, of La Vista, was serving his third stint in Iraq when he was killed by a roadside bomb Nov. 6, 2005. He was a member of the Army's 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry from Fort Benning, Ga., and a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Creighton University and Papillion-La Vista High. He had two daughters.

Staff Sgt. Jason Fegler, 24, of Harrisburg, was killed Nov. 4, 2005, while serving with the Army's 101st Airborne out of Fort Campbell, Ky. He was a 1999 graduate of Banner County High, where he excelled in basketball and was remembered as an amazing soldier who loved to make people laugh.

Spc. Darren Howe, 21, of Beatrice, died at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, on Nov. 3, 2005, from injuries he suffered when a roadside bomb exploded Oct. 17. Howe joined the Army Reserve during his junior year of high school, days before the Sept. 11 attacks, and wanted to make a career of the military. He graduated from Beatrice High in May 2003 and had two small children.

Staff Sgt. Tricia L. Jameson, 34, of Omaha, was killed July 14, 2005, near Trebil when a roadside bomb exploded near her ambulance as it approached wounded Marines. Jameson, a member of the 313th Medical Company of Lincoln, had been in Iraq for just three weeks. She was a 1989 graduate of Millard South and attended Central Community College in Columbus.

Pfc. Eric Paul Woods, 26, of Omaha, was killed by an explosion July 9, 2005, when he stopped to help a wounded soldier on the side of a road. Woods was a medic assigned to the Army's G Troop, 2nd Squadron of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, based out of Fort Carson, Colo. He graduated from Urbandale (Iowa) High in 1997 and had a 3-year-old son.

Sgt. Nick Nolte, 25, a native of Falls City, died Nov. 24, 2004, at National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., from injuries received when his vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb near Baghdad on Nov. 9. He served with the 2nd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion, under Marine Air Control Group 28, part of the 2nd Marine Air Wing. Nolte enlisted in the Marines after graduating from Falls City Sacred Heart in 1998 and re-enlisted following his original four-year commitment. He had a 3-year-old daughter.

Lance Cpl. Shane E. Kielion, 23, of La Vista, died Nov. 15, 2004, in action in Al Anbar Province. He was assigned to the 1st Marine Division based in Camp Pendleton, Calif. Kielion was the starting quarterback at Omaha South and attended Peru State College for a short time on a football scholarship. He died not knowing that his son had been born just hours before.

1st Lt. Edward D. Iwan, 28, Albion, died Nov. 12, 2004, in Fallujah when a grenade hit his vehicle. He was assigned to the Army's 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, Vilseck, Germany. Iwan joined the Army after graduating from high school in 1994 and served three years as an enlisted man and then studied criminal justice at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He rejoined the Army in December 2001 as a second lieutenant.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Eric L. Knott, 21, of Grand Island, died Sept. 4, 2004, in an attack. He was assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 4, Port Hueneme, Calif. He was on the Navy's construction force and was building a gate at the time of the attack. Friends remembered Knott as a bright spot in sometimes dark times. He was a 2001 graduate of Grand Island Senior High.

Sgt. 1st Class Linda Tarango-Griess, 33, of Sutton, was killed July 11, 2004, by a roadside bomb. She was with the Nebraska National Guard's 267th Ordnance Company based in Lincoln. Tarango-Griess graduated from Kearney High. She was the first female member of the U.S. military to die in the war.

Sgt. Jeremy Fischer, 26, of Lincoln, was killed July 11, 2004, by a roadside bomb. He was a mechanic with the Nebraska National Guard's 267th Ordnance Company based in Lincoln and a 1996 graduate of Harvard High School. He joined the guard in 1999 and was remembered as a great soldier.

Lance Cpl. Kyle Codner, 19, of Shelton, was killed along with two other Marines in Al Anbar province May 26, 2004, while conducting security and stability operations. He was in the 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force based at Camp Pendleton. Codner graduated from Shelton High in 2003 and was remembered for his smile, humor and selflessness.

Cpl. Matthew Henderson, 25, of Bennet, was killed May 26, 2004, with two other Marines when a homemade bomb exploded in Al Anbar province. He was assigned to 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton. Henderson graduated from Palmyra High in 1998. His family said he was a hero who grew up making his mom laugh, tormenting his sister and pushing his dad's buttons.

Spc. Dennis Morgan, 22, of Valentine, was killed April 17, 2004, by a roadside bomb south of Baghdad. He was a member of the 153rd Engineer Battalion of Winner, S.D. Morgan was a 2000 graduate of Winner High and was the first casualty of the war involving the South Dakota National Guard. 

Pvt. Noah Lee Boye, 21, of Grand Island, was killed April 13, 2004, when his Marine unit came under fire near Fallujah. He was a member of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force based at Camp Pendleton. A graduate of Grand Island Senior High, Boye was remembered as the life of the party.

Sgt. David McKeever, 25, of Buffalo, N.Y., was killed April 5, 2004, in an ambush outside of Baghdad and buried in his wife's hometown of Kearney. McKeever was a member of the Army's 1st Armored Division and stationed at Fort Carson. He had one son.

Sgt. Cory R. Mracek, 26, of Hay Springs, was killed Jan. 27, 2004, when a roadside bomb exploded near Iskandariyah. He was a paratrooper assigned to 3rd Battalion, 319th Field Artillery, Fort Bragg. Mracek was born in Chadron and grew up in Hay Springs. He had been in Iraq eight days.  

Sgt. Dennis A. Corral, 33, of Kearney, died Jan. 1, 2004, when his vehicle traveling in a convoy to Baghdad International Airport rolled over. He was assigned to Company C, 1st Engineer Battalion, 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, based at Fort Riley. Born in San Diego, Corral moved to Kearney in 1994 and joined the Army for the second time in 1997.

Spc. James R. Wolf, 21, of Scottsbluff, was killed Nov. 6, 2003, when a homemade bomb exploded near his convoy in Mosul. He was an engineer assigned to the Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 52nd Engineer Battalion of the 43rd Area Support Group, based in Fort Carson. Wolf already had committed himself to serving his country when he graduated from Scottsbluff High in 2000.

Staff Sgt. Daniel Bader, 28, of York, was one of 15 U.S. soldiers killed Nov. 2, 2003, in a missile attack on a CH-47 Chinook helicopter near Fallujah. He was assigned to Tiger Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment based at Fort Carson. Bader grew up in York and had one daughter. He was remembered as an All-American good kid.

Staff Sgt. Christopher W. Swisher, 26, of Lincoln, was one of two soldiers killed when their patrol was ambushed and hit by small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades Oct. 9, 2003, in Baghdad. He was assigned to the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Division, based in Fort Polk, La. Swisher graduated from Lincoln Northeast High in 1995 and loved the military so much he dressed in camouflage most of his senior year.

Petty Officer 3rd Class David J. "D.J." Moreno, 26, of Gering, formerly of Lincoln, died July 17, 2003, in Al Hamishiyah from an accidental gunshot wound. He was a medic assigned to the Naval Medical Center, San Diego, 4th Marine Division Detachment. Moreno was a 1995 graduate of Lincoln Southeast High.

Spc. Nathaniel A. Caldwell, 27, of Omaha, was killed May 21, 2003, when his vehicle rolled over in Baghdad. He was a tank mechanic assigned to the 404th Air Support Battalion, 4th Infantry Division. Caldwell was born in Germany but had made his home in Nebraska. He got married six months before his death and had a son and a daughter.

Capt. Travis A. Ford, 30, of Ogallala, died April 4, 2003, when the helicopter he was flying crashed near Ali Aziziyal. He was assigned to the Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron-267, Marine Aircraft Group 39, based at Camp Pendleton. Ford was born in St. Paul and grew up in Ogallala. He enlisted in the Marines in 1991 and earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln while in the Reserves. He was an avid Huskers fan and a member of the Nebraska Yell Squad. He had a young daughter.


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