Capsules of U.S. Troops Killed in Iraq
Some of the U.S. troops killed in the war in Iraq:
Army 2nd Lt. Jeffrey Kaylor, 24, Clifton, Va.
Like most soldiers in the Middle East, 2nd Lt. Jeffrey Kaylor was separated from his young wife _ but not by as many miles as most.
Jenna Cosby also was on a tour in the Persian Gulf when Kaylor was killed in Iraq in a grenade attack Monday, according to the Pentagon. She’s now returning home, military officials said.
Kaylor was focused enough to thrive in the military environment of Virginia Tech’s Corps of Cadets, and graduated in 2001, said Col. Rock Roszak, who was one of his advisers.
``Kids come to college to grow up and make mistakes,″ Roszak said. ``He didn’t make mistakes. He was just even-keeled. He was focused.″
Kaylor and his wife lived in the northern Virginia community of Clifton.
Roszak said Kaylor was on reconnaissance with the C Battery, 39th Artillery Battalion, Fort Stewart, Ga., when he was killed.
``We’re all saddened by the news,″ Roszak said. ``He was serious about doing what he was doing and about what he wanted.″
Marine 1st Sgt. Edward Smith, 38, Vista, Calif.
1st Sgt. Edward Smith, a Marine who also served as an Anaheim, Calif., reserve police officer, told friends he planned to ride into Baghdad wearing his black SWAT team cap stitched with a silver eagle.
Smith never made it. He died Saturday in Doha, Qatar, from wounds suffered during fighting the day before in central Iraq, the Defense Department said Tuesday.
``We all knew Edward was a great man and it’s so nice to know everybody else knew him too,″ his widow, Sandy, said at the Anaheim Police Department. The couple’s three children and police colleagues were at her side.
She said Smith was ``sorry he was leaving″ for Iraq, but wanted to test himself after 20 years in the Marines without having seen combat.
Their son, Ryan, 10, tearfully said that his father was there whenever he needed help. ``It made me feel so good. He was the best dad you could ever have. I miss him a lot,″ he said.
Smith was hired by Anaheim police in 1999 after graduating at the top of his class from Palomar Police Academy.
He sent e-mails and letters from the Gulf back to his police colleagues, who gave him a Special Tactics Detail cap and pin before he left.
In a postcard fashioned from a cardboard box, Smith told fellow officers that ``his intention was to wear his SWAT cap all the way into Baghdad,″ said Rick Martinez, a police spokesman.
Army Pvt. Gregory Huxley Jr., 19, Forestport, N.Y.
Pvt. Gregory Huxley Jr. graduated in June from Adirondack Central High School so the announcement of his combat-related death this week in Iraq came as a shock.
``He just graduated last year _ what is he doing on the front line already?″ football coach Mike Millich asked.
Huxley had played football through his junior year, then opted out senior year because he felt he should get a job.
``He was well-suited for the military,″ Millich said. ``He didn’t mind discipline. He followed orders. And he was proud. He was a proud young man.″
Principal Frederick Morgan made the announcement over the public address system Tuesday, after receiving a telephone call from the soldier’s mother, Mary Huxley.
The Pentagon said the 19-year-old, with B Company, 3rd Battalion, 17th Engineer Battalion, out of Fort Benning, Ga., died Sunday.
He was a native of Forestport, an Oneida County town 55 miles northeast of Syracuse, where his parents live.
``I’d just ask continued support for people still over there,″ his father, Gregory Huxley Sr., said. ``For the support of the president. Just because we lost (someone) doesn’t mean it’s over. I’d hate to see it cut short because of the losses.″
Army Cpl. Jesus Martin Antonio Medellin, 21, Fort Worth, Texas
Cpl. Jesus Martin ``Marty″ Antonio Medellin was a gentle, quiet man who was active in church, loved his grandmother’s tortillas and spent time with his 11-year-old brother, Simon, his family said Tuesday.
``He would always play games with me, chess, and we would play on the computer,″ Simon said. ``He would take me to movies and to the store a lot.″
Medellin, of Fort Worth, Texas, was killed when an enemy artillery round struck his Amphibious Assault Vehicle in central Iraq on Monday, the Department of Defense said. His family was told of his death that night.
His aunt, Simona Sifuentes, said she and Simon had been going to church to pray for the Marine’s safety.
``I was very nervous the past few weeks when my brother (Marty’s father) would call me,″ she said. ``I would panic and think they were calling me to tell me Marty was killed.″
Medellin had been assigned to the 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Marine Lance Cpl. Andrew Aviles, 18, Tampa, Fla.
Lance Cpl. Andrew Aviles had put off a full academic scholarship to Florida State University because he felt he had a moral obligation to serve, his family said.
Aviles was killed Monday when an enemy artillery round struck the Amphibious Assault Vehicle in which he was riding. He was a member of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve assigned to the 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion, 4th Marine Division.
His 21-year-old sister, Kristine Aviles, said she last talked to him when he was training and they discussed plans for the two of them to take a trip with their 17-year-old brother Matthew.
``We told each other we loved each other a bunch of times, and he said he was going to be back home,″ she said.
Aviles graduated last year from T.R. Robinson High School, where as a senior he was a class president, cheerleader and a member of the wrestling team. A National Honor Society member, he graduated third in his class and earned a full academic scholarship to FSU, where he planned to study business.
About 50 students sought grief counseling after hearing the news Tuesday, said Chuck Jaksec, who leads the district’s crisis intervention team.
``This man had a phenomenal presence in this school. He was Mr. Everything.″
Marine Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Menusa, 33, Tracy, Calif.
Joseph Menusa originally intended to join the Air Force after graduating high school. He changed his mind after he saw girls swarming around a uniformed Marine recruiter.
He chose to join the Marines and later became a Marine recruiter himself.
Menusa, a 33-year-old gunnery sergeant and veteran of the 1991 Gulf War, died in Iraq during a March 27 ambush, his stepfather, Mike Kenny, said.
More than 400 well wishers held a memorial service Tuesday to bid farewell to the Philippines-born soldier who was posthumously awarded U.S. citizenship last week.
Among the speakers was Menusa’s younger brother David, a 30-year-old Marine drill instructor in San Diego.
``One thing I regret is that night he took off, I never told him I love him. He told me, ’I’ll be back, don’t worry bro, I’ll be back. It’ll be over in three months,‴ David Menusa said. ``He came back, I had to meet him in a box.″
Parents of young men Menusa recruited also expressed their gratitude _ how Menusa encouraged recruits to build self-confidence by getting good grades and seeing the world beyond their own community.
Military authorities in January assigned Menusa to the 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, at Camp Pendleton. He left for the Middle East on Feb. 5, telling his wife of seven years, Stacy Menusa, not to worry.
Army Pfc. Anthony S. Miller, 19, San Antonio, Texas
As the war progressed, Anthony Scott Miller’s family watched television broadcasts from Iraq hoping to spot the 19-year-old soldier in the war zone.
``We were always worried,″ said Patrick Miller, Anthony’s older brother. ``We never knew exactly where he was _ in the front lines or in the back.″
The Defense Department said the younger Miller was killed in Iraq on Monday.
An Army representative who visited the family’s home Tuesday did not provide details of Anthony’s death, saying only that he was killed in action. The military characterized the incident as enemy indirect fire.
``Ironically, we just got his mailing address a few days ago,″ said Patrick Miller.
The slain Miller graduated from John Jay High School in 2001. Not knowing what he wanted to do with his life, he joined the Army.
``He saw an opportunity to better himself and to apply the skills he learned in the Army at a future point,″ Patrick Miller said. ``He had a bunch of ideas in his head.″