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Our Fallen: Tucsonans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan wars

In more than a decade of war, dozens from Tucson and Southern Arizona have died in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and elsewhere.

Here is our brief tribute to them.

Killed in Iraq


U.S. Army Sgt. Sean Kelly Cataudella, 28. Died: Aug. 30, 2003, after a vehicle accident in Ba'qubah near Tikrit, Iraq. Assigned to 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, based in Fort Hood, Texas.
Tucson tie: Rincon High Class of 1994.


U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Christopher Nason, 39. Died: Nov. 23, 2003, in Iraq. He was assigned to A Company, 306th Military Intelligence Battalion.
Southern Arizona tie: The Los Angeles native was stationed at Fort Huachuca.


U.S. Army Spc. Isaac Campoy, 21. Died: Oct. 28, 2003, when his tank hit a roadside bomb in Baqubah, Iraq. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, Fort Hood, Texas
Southern Arizona tie: Graduated from Douglas High School in 2001.


U.S. Army Sgt. Benjamin Biskie, 27. Died: Dec. 24, 2003, near Samarra, Iraq. He was assigned to 5th Engineer Battalion, 1st Engineer Brigade, based in Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.
Tucson tie: Attended Tucson Junior Academy parochial school. In his junior year, he moved with his mother to Vermillion, Ohio, in 1993.


U.S. Army Sgt. Michael Merila, 23. Died: Feb. 16, 2004, after an explosion hit his convoy in northern Iraq the day before his 24th birthday. He was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, Fort Lewis, Wash.
Southern Arizona tie: Graduated from Buena High School in Sierra Vista.


U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Robert Paul Zurheide Jr., 20. Died: April 12, 2004, near Fallujah, Iraq. He was a rifleman assigned to 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, based in Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Tucson tie: Desert View High Class of 2001.


U.S. Marine Cpl. Jeffrey David Lawrence, 22. Died July 6, 2004, near Fallujah, Iraq. He was assigned to Delta Company, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, based in Camp LeJeune, N.C.
Tucson tie: Palo Verde High Magnet Class of 2000.


U.S. Army Spc. Robert Oliver Unruh, 25. Died: Sept. 25, 2004, Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to the 44th Engineer Battalion, based in Camp Howze, Korea.
Tucson tie: Lived in Tucson part of his youth, then Virginia, returning to Tucson in 2002.


U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua E. Lucero, 19. Died: Nov. 27, 2004, in the Al Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion of 2nd Marine Division, based in Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Tucson tie: Sunnyside High Class of 2003.


U.S. Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Tina Time, 22. Died: Dec. 13, 2004, after a vehicle accident during a dust storm in southeast Iraq. She was assigned to 208th Transportation Co., based in Tucson.
Tucson tie: Lived in Tucson while attending Pima Community College and joined the reserves; moved to Texas before her unit was activated.


U.S. Army Pfc. Sam Williams Huff, 18. Died April 17, 2005, after her Humvee was hit by a roadside bomb near Baghdad. She was assigned to 170th Military Police Company, 504th Military Police Battalion, 42nd Military Police Brigade, based in Fort Lewis, Wash.
Tucson tie: Mountain View High Class of 2004.


U.S. Marine Corps Master Sgt. Kenneth E. Hunt Jr., 40. Died Oct. 12, 2005, in Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas, from injuries received July 24 when the armored Humvee he was in was hit by an anti-tank mine in Al Taqaddum, Al-Anbar province west of Baghdad. He was assigned to Marine Wing Support Group 37, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma.
Tucson tie: Santa Rita High Class of 1983.


U.S. Army Spc. Thomas H. Byrd, 21. Died: Oct. 15, 2005, in Ar Ramadi, Iraq, when a roadside bomb detonated near the M2A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle he was in during combat operations. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, based in Fort Benning, Ga.
Tucson tie: Santa Rita High Class of 2003.


U.S. Marine Cpl. Brandon Scott Schuck, 21. Died: Feb. 6, 2006, from injuries due to an improvised explosive device near Baghdad.
Southern Arizona tie: A Safford High School graduate.


U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Bobby Mendez, 38. Died: April 27, 2006, when his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device in Baghdad. He was assigned to the 2nd Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Tex.
Southern Arizona tie: TThe former Fort Huachuca soldier's famliy lives in Sierra Vista. He was killed in action on his son's birthday.


U.S. Army Sgt. Mark R. Vecchione, 25. Died: July 18, 2006, in Ar Ramadi, Iraq, when a roadside bomb blew up near his tank. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 37th Armored Regiment of the 1st Armored Division, based in in Friedberg, Germany.
Tucson tie: Sahuaro High School Class of 1999.


U.S. Navy Hospitalman Chadwick Thomas Kenyon, 20. Died: Aug. 20, 2006, in Al Anbar province of injuries suffered when his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations against enemy forces. He was assigned to 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, based in Twentynine Palms, Calif.
Tucson tie: Mountain View High School Class of 2004.


U.S. Army Cpl. Casey L. Mellen, 21. Died: Sept. 25, 2006, in Balad, Iraq, after his patrol group was hit by small arms fire during combat in Mosul. Mellen was assigned to Fort Lewis, south of Tacoma, Wash.
Southern Arizona tie: Huachuca City resident.


U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Budd M. Cote, 21. Died: Dec. 11, 2006, after the Humvee he was riding in was hit a roadside bomb in Al Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to Marine Wing Support Squadron 373, based out of the Marine Corps Air Station at Miramar, Calif.
Tucson tie: Attended Marana and Mountain View high schools before moving temporarily to Las Vegas. He returned to Tucson and attended Canyon del Oro High, dropped out and received his GED before joining the Marines.


Army Spc. Collin R. Schockmel, 19. Died: Jan. 16, 2007, in Ramadi, Iraq, when his unit was attacked by rocket-propelled grenades. He weas assigned to the 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.
Southern Arizona tie: Spend much of his childhood in Sierra Vista and attended Buena High School.


U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Russell P. Borea, 38. Died: Jan. 19, 2007, when a roadside bomb detonated near his vehicle in Mosul. He was with the 1st Cavalry Division from Fort Bliss, Texas.
Tucson tie: Catalina Magnet High School Class of 1986. Wife, Nicole, 37, is a 1989 Sahuaro High School graduate.


U.S. Army Sgt. Sean Fennerty, 26. Died: Jan. 20, 2007, in Anbar Province when the vehicle in which he was riding was hit by a roadside bomb.
Tucson tie: attended Fruchtendler Elementary School and St. Cyril's School.


U.S. Army Cpl. Victor Langarica, 29. Died: Jan. 20, 2007, when the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter he was in crashed in Baghdad.
Southern Arizona tie: Stationed in Fort Huachuca.


U.S. Army Spc. Alan E. McPeek, 20. Died: Feb. 2, 2007, in Ramadi of injuries sustained when his troop came in contact with enemy forces using small arms fire. He was assigned to the 16th Engineer Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, based in Giessen, Germany.
Tucson tie: Mountain View High School Class of 2004.


U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Darrel Kasson, 43. Died: March 4, 2007, in Bayji, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device exploded near his Humvee. Was deployed with the Arizona Army National Guard's 259th Engineer Company, based in Phoenix. He was a member of the Alpha Battery, 2-180th Field Artillery Battalion and was serving at Camp Anaconda in the Sunni Triangle.
Tucson tie: Amphitheater High School Class of 1982.


U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Damian Lopez-Rodriguez, 19. Died: April 6, 2007, when an improvised explosive device exploded near his Humvee. Army's 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Division, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, based in Schweinfurt, Germany.
Tucson tie: Pueblo High School Class of 2005.


U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher R. Brevard, 31: Died: March 16, 2007, when a roadside bomb exploded in Baghdad. Served with the 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, based at Fort Richardson, Alaska.
Tucson tie: Spent his formative years — from ages 6 to 16 — in Tucson, until his Air Force father was transferred to Alaska in 1991.


U.S. Army Sgt. Gary D. Willett, 34: Died: February 8, 2008, when his vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in Taji, Iraq. Served with the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team in the Army's 25th Infantry Division, based at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
Tucson tie: Willett's mother lives in Tucson.


U.S. Army Sgt. Victor M. Cota, 33. Died: May 14, 2008, when his vehicle struck improvised explosive device in Kadamiyah, Iraq. He was assigned to the Special Troops Battalion, 4th Infantry Division at Fort Hood, Texas.
Tucson tie: Graduated from Tucson High School, Class of 1993.


U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Robert C. Hammett, 39. Died: June 24, 2008, when a bomb exploded in Baghdad, Iraq. He was assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division out of Fort Carson, Colorado.
Tucson tie: The Tucson native worked at the VA Health Care System before joining the Army in 1990.

Killed in Afghanistan


U.S. Air Force Airman First Class Raymond Losano, 24. Died: April 25, 2003, in eastern Afghanistan. He was assigned to 14th Air Support Operations Squadron, based at Pope Air Force Base, N.C. and deployed to Afghanistan with 82nd Airborne Division of Fort Bragg, N.C.
Tucson tie: Attended business classes at Pima Community College.


U.S. Army Sgt. Kenneth G. Ross, 24. Died: Sept. 25, 2005, in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan's Deh Chopan district, 180 miles southwest of Kabul. He was assigned to 7th Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment, based in Giebelstadt, Germany.
Tucson tie: Mountain View High School Class of 1999.


U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Charles R. Browning, 31. Died: May 31, 2007, when his vehicle struck a roadside bomb in Mehtar Lam, Afghanistan. He served with the Arizona Army National Guard's Gilbert-based B Company, 1-158th Infantry Battalion.
Tucson tie: Resident of Florence. Grew up in Tucson, graduated from Palo Verde High Magnet School.


U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ernesto Guadalupe Cimarrusti, 25, of Douglas. Died: March 10, 2008, in Baghdad, Iraq, after a suicide bombing. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.
Southern Arizona tie: Graduated from Douglas High School in 2000.


U.S. Marine Cpl. Stewart S. Trejo, 25, of Whitefish, Mont. Died: Aug. 7, 2008, after a vehicle accident in Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to the 1st Maintenance Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Southern Arizona tie: Began high school in Nogales. Trejo's parents, several siblings and his grandmother live in Tucson.


U.S. Army Pvt. Joseph F. Gonzales, 18. Died: Sept. 20, 2008, when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device in the Korengal Valley of Afghanistan. He served with the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division.
Tucson tie: Tucson native. Attended Sunnyside High School for three years.


U.S. Army Cpl. Charles P. Gaffney Jr., 42, of Phoenix. Died: Dec. 24, 2008, in Paktika province, Afghanistan, when his combat outpost came under rocket fire. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.
Tucson tie: Lived in Tucson in the 1970s and '80s.


U.S. Army Master Sgt. David L. Hurt, 36. Died: February 23, 2009, died from injuries caused by an improvised explosive device. He served with the 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group.
Tucson tie: Hurt, a native of Oak Park, Ill., moved to Tucson with his family at age 3.


U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Timothy L. Bowles, 24. Died: March 15, 2009, in eastern Afghanistan from wounds from a roadside bomb. He was assigned to the 3rd Logistics Readiness Squadron, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska.
Tucson tie: Graduated from Tucson High School in 2002 and attended Pima Community College before joining the Air Force.


U.S. Army Sgt. Justin Gallegos, 27. Died: Oct. 3, 2009, in Kamdesh, Afghanistan, when his outpost near the border with Pakistan was attacked. He served with the 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.
Tucson tie: Graduated from Tucson High Magnet School.


U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Michael P. Flores, 32. Died: June 9, 2010, when a helicopter carrying the pararescueman was shot down in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He served with the 48th Rescue Squadron.
Tucson tie: The San Antonio resident was based at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.


U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Benjamin D. White, 24. Died: June 9, 2010, when a helicopter carrying the pararescueman was shot down in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He served with the 48th Rescue Squadron.
Tucson tie: The Erwin, Tenn., resident was based at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.


U.S. Army Spc. Christian M. Adams, 26. Died: June 11, 2010, in Kandahar, Afghanistan of wounds from a non-combat incident. He served with the 20th Engineer Battalion, 36th Engineer Brigade, based in Fort Hood, Texas.
Southern Arizona tie: A Sierra Vista native.


U.S. Army Spc. Christopher J. Moon, 20. Died: July 13, 2010, from injuries he suffered after stepping on a roadside bomb on July 6. He was serving in the Arghandab Valley north of Kandahar, Afghanistan, with the 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the Army's 82nd Airborne Division, based at Fort Bragg, N.C.
Tucson tie: Played baseball at Tucson Magnet High School and the University of Arizona.


U.S. Army Sgt. Martin Lugo, 24. Died: Aug. 19, 2010, in Puli Alam, Afghanistan, when his unit was attacked by insurgents. He served with the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, based at Hunter Army Air Field, Ga.
Tucson tie: Graduated from Tucson High Magnet School in 2004.


U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Todd Harris, 37. Died: Nov. 5, 2010, in Badghis province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire. He was assigned to the 87th Infantry Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.
Tucson tie: Harris was a standout football player for Sahuaro High School in the 1990s.


U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Randy R. Braggs, 21, of Sierra Vista. Died: Nov. 6, 2010, while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Tucson tie: Graduated from Buena High School in Sierra Vista.


U.S. Army National Guard SFC James E. Thode, 45, of Farmington, N.M. Died: Dec. 2, 2010, Sabari District in Afghanistan's Khowst Province during a roadside bombing. He was assigned to the 1457th Engineer Battalion, 204th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Tucson tie: Grew up in Tucson, graduated from Catalina High School and the University of Arizona.


U.S. Army Pfc. Robert J. Near, 21, of Nampa, Idaho. Died: Jan. 7, 2011, while supporting combat operations. He was assigned to the 86th Signal Battalion based at Fort Huachuca.
Southern Arizona tie: Stationed at Ft. Huachuca.


U.S. Air Force Capt. Nathan Nylander, 35. Died: Apr. 27, 2011, during a shooting on a base in Kabul, Afghanistan. He was a flight commander with the 438th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group from Davis-Monthan.
Tucson tie: Grew up in Waller, Texas, lived in Tucson with his wife and three children.


U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Orion N. Sparks, 29. Died: Sept. 26, 2012, during a suicide attack in Pul-E Alam, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Schweinfurt, Germany.


U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Ryan J. Savaard, 29. Died: Oct. 13, 2012, while on patrol in Khanabad District, Afghanistan, during his fifth deployment. He was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C.
Tucson tie: Graduated from Sierra Vista's Buena High School in 2001.


U.S. Army Command Sgt. Major Nicholas L. McCaskill, 41. Died: April 6, 2013, during a suicide attack in Afghanistan while working as a private security contractor. He had served in combat as a pararescueman, and was part of the USAFR's 306th Rescue Squadron, based at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.


U.S. Army Command Master Sgt. Martin R. Barreras, 49. Died: May 13, 2014, in Texas of wounds suffered during a May 6 attack in Harat Province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, Fort Bliss, Texas.
Tucson tie: Graduated from Sunnyside High School.


Carlos Carrasco. Died: Oct. 2, 2015, as a C-130 transport plane crashed on takeoff from Jalalabad Air Field in eastern Afghanistan. He was a civilian contractor for Northrup Grumman, working as a drone mechanic and technician.
Tucson tie: Graduated from Tombstone High School.

Killed in other countries


Staff Sgt. Kevin J. McEnroe, 30. Died: Nov. 4, 2016, in an attack on a convoy in Jafr, Jordan. He was one of three Airborne soldiers killed as they entered a military base while on a training mission as part of the U.S. military action against the Islamic State. He was with the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), based at Fort Campbell, Ky.

Died from illness or outside combat areas


U.S. Army Capt. Gilbert A. Munoz, 29. Died: Feb. 9, 2005, from a staph infection less than two weeks after returning from a scouting mission in Iraq. He was to lead a Special Forces team into Iraq to help train Iraqis to take over security of their country. He was with the Third Batallion of the 7th Special Forces Group, based in Fort Bragg, N.C.
Tucson tie: Tucson native and Salpointe Catholic High School class of ‘94.


U.S. Army Spc. Scott Mullen, 22. Died: Oct. 14, 2005, in Makati City, The Republic of the Philippines, from injuries sustained while on leave in the country. He was stationed in the Philippines with the 5th Battalion, 4th Psychological Operations Group, U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command, based in Fort Bragg, N.C.
Tucson tie: Catalina Foothills High School Class of 2002.


U.S. Marine Sgt. Aron C. Blum, 22. Died: Dec. 28, 2006 of an illness at Naval Medical Center in San Diego after being evacuated Dec. 8 from Al Anbar province. He was assigned to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352, Marine Aircraft Group 11, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force at Marine Corps Air Station, based in Miramar, Calif.
Tucson tie: Sahuaro High School Class of 2002.

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3 comments on this story

3
1760 comments
Nov 11, 2015, 11:34 am
-0 +1

Thank you for this list.

2
2 comments
Nov 12, 2011, 12:59 pm
-0 +4

Thank you very much.  We all need to know these names and faces.

1
17 comments
Nov 11, 2010, 4:22 pm
-0 +4

This is a wonderful tribute. Thank you for the opportunity to reflect on the sacrifice of these young men. May blessings surround their friends and loved ones.

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