The Kraft family and the New England Patriots have a longstanding commitment to supporting those who have served and those who continue to serve our country. As part of the Salute to Service campaign, the Patriots will celebrate the lives of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice while defending our country.
The Patriots will honor 26 fallen service members through a partnership with the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) at our Patriots vs. Cowboys game on Sunday, November 24. Each family has a tie to New England and the Patriots.
Every Patriots player will have a decal sticker on their helmet with the initials of a service man or woman that has lost their life. The Patriots coaching staff will also participate in the initiative by wearing a button with the name and photo of the service member. Patriots cheerleaders will wear a ribbon with the initials on their arms while they are on the sidelines.
Through this initiative, the Kraft family and the New England Patriots will celebrate the lives of 26 brave men and women, ensuring that they will never be forgotten.
SGT James Ayube II
United States Army
April 29, 1985 – December 8, 2010
United States Army Sergeant James Ayube, II was born on April 29, 1985, and grew up in Salem, Massachusetts. James graduated from Salem High School in 2003. He earned an Associate's Degree in Sociology from Bunker Hill Community College in Boston in 2007, before enlisting in the Army in
June of that year. He was a member of the St. James Church in Salem where he had been baptized, received first Communion, and was confirmed. He was a proud member of Salem's Boy Scout Troop 24.
James enlisted in the Army in 2007 and was trained as an Army Medic. He deployed to Iraq in 2008, and then to Afghanistan in 2010. SGT James Ayube, II, died on December 8, 2010, in Balkh province, Afghanistan, after a suicide bomber attacked his unit while he was on patrol. For his service and sacrifice, he earned the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Combat Medic Badge.
SGT Ayube is survived by his wife, Lauren; his parents, James and Christina Ayube; his brother, Alex; and his sister, Ashleigh.
GM Luis Billingslea
United States Army
March 1, 1965 – September 15, 2017
United States Army Sergeant Major Luis Billingslea was born on March 1, 1965, in Panama City, Panama. Luis' family was very close growing up, so they would spend a lot of time with each other. Luis was the youngest in a large group of cousins and was often spoiled! He loved playing soccer and, as an adult, he got into volleyball and even coached. He enjoyed golfing, even though he was not very good at the sport.
Luis came to the United States to attend college. He went to
schools in Florida and Texas, earning his Associate's Degree. After joining the Army, he attended college intermittently throughout his career, balancing work, family, school, and eventually earning his Master's Degree.
Luis enlisted in the Army as a Calibrator in September 1988, belonging to a very small and elite group - the Army's Test, Measurement, and Diagnostic Equipment (TMDE) team. He loved his work and became an instructor, travelling to teach at other bases for several years. He also served as a Drill Sergeant for three years and even competed, placing second in the Drill Sergeant of the Army Competition.
Throughout his career, Luis completed a few tours to both Iraq and Afghanistan. His last position was the Sergeant Major at the Ordnance Schoolhouse, 73rd Maintenance Co. at Ft. Gordon, Georgia. On September 15, 2017, SGM Luis Billingslea was killed in a motorcycle crash as he was on his way to go watch the sunset. For his service and sacrifice, he received various medals and awards.
SGM Luis Billingslea is survived by his wife, Tanya; their children, Francine, Melissa, and Owen; his mother, Dora; his sister, Haydee; and his brother, Gilberto.
Maj David Brodeur
United States Air Force
December 10, 1976 – April 27, 2011
United States Air Force Major David Brodeur was born on December 10, 1976, in Worcester, MA, and grew up in Auburn, MA. He was educated in the Auburn Public School System and graduated from Auburn High School in 1994. While in high school, he played soccer and was an accomplished
track and field athlete who won the Southern Worcester County League and District Class B individual championships. He served as Treasurer and President of the Student Council and was a member of the National Honor Society; represented Auburn High at the Annual Student Government Day Program sponsored by the Massachusetts State Legislature and received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for his service to Auburn High and the Town of Auburn.
After a year of prep school at Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne, Pennsylvania, he entered the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and graduated in 1999 with a degree in Political Science.
Major Brodeur then earned an MBA from Touro University and completed Air Command Staff College. He graduated from pilot training at Columbus AFB in Columbus, Mississippi, in April 2001, and F-16 Fighter training from Luke AFB in Arizona. Major Brodeur was an experienced
F-16 pilot with deployments to Iraq, where he flew combat missions during the initial days and months of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Major Brodeur was an F-16 instructor, Flight Commander, and Weapons ADO for the 18th Aggressor Squadron. He was a Senior Pilot with more than 1600 flight hours in fighter aircraft. He had a fascination with aviation as a child which turned into the goal of becoming a fighter pilot and led eventually to his career as an aviator and Air Force officer.
On April 27, 2011, Maj David Brodeur was killed in Afghanistan. For his service and sacrifice, he received many medals and awards, including the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, and Combat Action Medal.
Maj Brodeur is survived by, his wife, Susan; their children, Elizabeth and David; his parents, Lawrence and Joyce; and his sister, Amanda.
PFC Christiaan Bush
United States Army
May 8, 1989 – February 5, 2012
United States Army Private First Class Christiaan Bush was born on May 8, 1989, and grew up in Hagerstown, Maryland. Throughout his entire life, he loved hunting, fishing, skiing with his grandfather, playing video games, working on cars, and spending time with his family and friends. Christiaan was always smiling and genuinely happy. He loved his family and friends and would do anything for anybody. He had a huge heart and gave to others whenever he had a chance. He was funny and had a shining personality that made others want to be near him.
Christiaan attended Smithsburg High School in Smithsburg, Maryland, and graduated in 2007. He went on to attend Universal Technical Institute in Exton, Pennsylvania, and graduated in 2009.
Christiaan enlisted in the Army in 2010. He went on to Ft. Knox, Kentucky, where he completed Basic Training on April 29, 2011. He was then assigned to Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 1st Heavy Combat Team where he was an M1-A2 tank crew member at Ft. Stewart, Georgia.
On February 5, 2012, while he was out riding his motorcycle, PFC Christiaan Bush was killed by a reckless driver on base. For his service, PFC Christiaan Bush received the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.
PFC Christiaan Bush is survived by his fiancée, Meagan Bromley; his mother, Amy; his sister, Ella; his grandmother, Grace; his stepsister, Kendall; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.
SFC Robert Campbell
Army National Guard
August 24, 1969 – April 9, 2018
Army National Guard Sergeant First Class Robert “Rob” Campbell was born on August 24, 1969, and grew up in Natick, Massachusetts. Rob loved the outdoors, fishing, hunting, and listening to country music. In his adult life, he loved going to shooting range with his son and cheering his daughter on as she crushed it in the pool.
He attended Wayland High School and graduated in 1988. Rob enlisted in the Army immediately after high school graduation and left for Basic
Training at Fort Bliss, Texas. He then went on to attend Medic Training at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas, and Airborne Training at Ft Bragg, North Carolina, before being stationed in Germany for four years. In total, Rob completed five tours of duty for his country. He served in the Gulf War, Guantanamo Bay and was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with both the 1/181st Infantry Regiment and the 772 Military Police Company. Robert was a full time member (AGR) of the 51st Troop Command in Wellesley, Massachusetts.
SFC Robert F. Campbell died by suicide on April 9, 2018. For his service, SFC Campbell was the recipient of the Expert Field Medical Badge, Combat Field Medical Badge with Star, and the Army Commendation Medal for Valor.
SFC Campbell is survived by his wife, Joan; their son, Connor; and their daughter, Julia; his mother, Sharon; his sister, Christine, and her husband, Eric; his in-laws, Lawrence and Kathleen Gavini; and several nephews, nieces, aunts, uncles, cousins, dear friends and brothers and sisters in service.
Cpl Jonathan Currier
United States Marine Corps
June 18, 1997 – August 9, 2018
United States Marine Corps Corporal Jonathan Currier was born on June 18, 1997, and grew up in Hampton, New Hampshire. Jon was an Eagle Scout with the Hampton Boy Scout Troop 380. He enjoyed being outside and loved camping and hiking. He was active in his church and was an altar server for many years. Jon loved playing sports and was on the Winnacunnet High School Varsity Swim Team. He also loved spending time at Hampton and Seabrook Beaches. His love of Legos continued into adulthood, often calling his brothers to inform them of his latest purchase.
Jonathan graduated from Winnacunnet High School in 2015, where he was active in the JROTC Program and was in the delayed entry program. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on August 23, 2015, and graduated from Boot Camp at Parris Island, South Carolina, on November 20, 2015.
Cpl Jonathan Currier joined the Marines to see the world. He really enjoyed working and flying on helicopters and was a crew chief on a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter. He completed his aviation training in Pensacola, Florida, and Jacksonville, North Carolina. His last duty station was Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, California, where he was a member of Squadron 361, The Flying Tigers. For his last position, he was a member of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 166 (Reinforced), 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, 1 Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, California.
On August 9, 2018, Cpl Jonathan Currier died aboard the USS Essex in the Philippines. For his service, he was awarded the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal, The Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, The National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Medal.
Cpl Currier is survived by his parents, Kathy and Chris Currier; his brother, Collin; and his grandparents, Walter and Jill Currier.
SCPO Scott DeCoste
United States Navy
July 21, 1966 – August 31, 2015
United States Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Scott DeCoste was born on July 21, 1966, in Framingham, Massachusetts, and grew up in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. Scott had a long standing love for running that started when he was a teenager. He was an All-State Cross Country Runner and ran many races throughout his Naval Career. He eventually developed a passion for CrossFit and was a faithful member of the 6:00 AM class at CrossFit Krypton.
Scott attended Woonsocket High School in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, and graduated in 1984. He later earned his Associate's Degree while on Active Duty with the Navy.
Scott enlisted in the Navy and left for boot camp the day after his high school graduation. He proudly served his country for 23 years as a Culinary Specialist. He spent time overseas during Operation Desert Storm and, for the majority of his life, was stationed in the Virginia Beach area. During his career, he became a SAR (Search and Rescue Swimmer), was attached to Naval Special Warfare on the USS Chinook, and was the RINC (Recruiter In Charge) for Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts. Scott's last duty station was on the then pre-commissioned ship, the USS Mesa Verde.
On July 10, 2015, SCPO Scott DeCoste was diagnosed with terminal cancer that was a result from his time in service. He was given 6-12 months to live. Just eight short weeks after his diagnosis, on August 31, 2015, SCPO Scott DeCoste died at his home, in his beloved “Patriots Mantown” room. For his time in service, SCPO DeCoste was awarded the National Defense Service Medal (2), Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal (5), Good Conduct Medal (5), GWOT Service Medal, and the Joint Meritorious Unit Award.
SCPO DeCoste is survived by his wife, Lisa; their daughters, Alexis and Crystall; his stepchildren, Travis and Alicia Pavoni; his seven grandchildren, Clifton, Brycen, Lyle, Norah, Kennedy, Connor, and Abigail; his parents, Harold DeCoste, and Maureen and Richard York; and his siblings, David, Kirk, and Kate DeCoste, Diana Gamache, and Maureen Gazaille.
CDR Brian Donahue
United States Coast Guard
May 14, 1958 – February 8, 2018
United States Coast Guard Commander Brian Donahue was born on May 14, 1958, in Framingham, Massachusetts, and grew up in Marshfield, MA. Brian was the third oldest out of seven children and spent much of his childhood playing football, camping, and fishing with his siblings. Growing up near the ocean, his love of boating and being on the water started early. He bought his first boat at just 15 years old, a Boston Whaler, and spent most of his free time on it. He also filled his time being an alter server and worked as a busboy/dishwasher. Brian loved dogs, tropical climates, and playing football with his son.
Brian graduated from Marshfield High School in May 1977. He enlisted in the Coast Guard right after graduation and completed recruit training at Cape May, New Jersey. He was so excited that he could finally go out on the water in all sorts of weather. Brian received numerous
personal and team awards during his career. He also advanced through the Boatswain's Mate rating to Senior Chief Petty Officer before choosing to enter the Officer Corps.
As a Chief Warrant Officer (BOSN), CDR Donahue served as Commanding Officer of Coast Guard Station Panama City in Panama City Beach, Florida; First Lieutenant of CGC HORNBEAM in Cape May, New Jersey; and, as the First Executive Officer on CGC WILLIAM TATE in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He also worked in search and rescue at Coast Guard Station Brant Point on Nantucket.
Brian was serving as the Fourteenth Coast Guard District's Chief of Waterways Management in Honolulu, Hawaii, when he was diagnosed with cancer in May 2017. On February 8, 2018, just nine months and three days after diagnosis, CDR Brian Donahue died from stage IV cancer. For his service, CMDR Donahue received numerous awards and medals including Expert Rifle and Expert Pistol Badges, an Achievement Medal, a Good Conduct Medal and an Outstanding Service Medal.
CDR Donahue is survived by his wife, Tracy; their son, Ian; his siblings, Kathleen, Jarvis, Kevin Donahue, Timothy Donahue, Maureen McCarthy and Kelly Donahue; and many nieces and nephews.
SSG Shane Fuller
United States Army
July 16, 1980 – July 8, 2015
United States Army Staff Sergeant Shane Fuller was born on July 16, 1980, in Framingham, Massachusetts, and he grew up in Mansfield, MA. Growing up, he enjoyed riding ATVs and playing football. Shane also played and coached volleyball.
Shane attended Coyle and Cassidy High School in Taunton, MA. After graduation, in 1999, he joined the Army National Guard. Shane went on active duty with the Army in 2007, and
was stationed in Bamberg, Germany, from 2007-2013. In Germany, he was part of the 541st Combat Engineer Unit as a Combat Engineer. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2008 and 2010.
After he was medically retired in July 2013, he went back to Framingham State University to finish his Bachelor's Degree. He also became involved with the Wounded Warrior Project and was a member of the Wounded Warrior Volleyball Team, a sport that he had loved since his childhood.
On July 8, 2015, SSG Shane Fuller passed away at his home. For his service and sacrifice, he received the Bronze Star.
SSG Fuller is survived by his wife, Nadine; their son, Tyler; and his parents, Scott and Kathleen Fuller.
SPC Ken Galyas, Jr.
United States Army
December 29, 1985 – March 5, 2018
United States Army Specialist Ken Galyas, Jr. was born on December 29, 1985, and was raised in Charlestown, Rhode Island. Ken grew up a Patriots fan and loved playing backyard football. He enjoyed doing wood craftsman projects and riding his Harley Davidson when he wasn't working.
Ken attended Chariho High School and enlisted in the United States Army in May 2008. He spent his Army career with the 864th Engineers, 2nd Battalion, stationed in Ft Lewis, Washington. He also deployed to Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, with the 585th Army Corps of Engineers.
On March 5, 2015, after a long battle with PTSD, SPC Ken Galyas died at his parents' home from suicide. For his service, he received the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, and the Overseas Service Ribbon.
SPC Galyas is survived by his father, Ken Galyas, Sr.; his mother, Sandra Ducharme; his aunts, Karla Wilson and Paula Grab; and his cousins, Sean Morone, Elizabeth Guyotte, Auburn, Kate, Karen and Tori Grab, Chyance and Greg Wilson, and Pan Galyas.
ENS Tara Hackett
United States Navy
November 19, 1988 – March 11, 2013
United States Navy Ensign Tara Hackett was born on November 19, 1988, and grew up in Bangor, Maine. Tara had many interests growing up which included writing, singing, drama, sports, and the military. She adored her family and was a very caring and involved daughter, sister, and friend. Tara graduated from high school in 2007 and attended the University of Maine on a Naval ROTC Scholarship. She studied nursing and graduated with high honors in 2011.
Tara began serving as an Ensign in the Navy Nurse Corps at Walter Reed Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, immediately following graduation, and served there until her death in 2013.
ENS Tara Hackett died by suicide in her home in Gaithersburg, Maryland, on March 11, 2013. For her service, Tara received the Outstanding Leadership Award from Eastern Maine Medical Center at her college graduation ceremony.
ENS Hackett is survived by her parents, Suzanne and Mark, and her brothers, Zachary and Lucas.
SCPO Daniel Healy
United States Navy
July 17, 1968 – June 28, 2005
United States Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Daniel “Dan” Healy was born on July 17, 1968, in Exeter, New Hampshire. He had a love of music, which included Neil Diamond, which his family used to joke with him about. “The bug bad SEAL loved Neil Diamond, go figure!” Dan also managed to get up on stage during a Van Halen concert. Dan loved golfing in flip flops and weight lifting. He graduated from Exeter High School in 1986.
Dan entered the Navy in 1990. He then graduated from BUD/S
Class 176, making him a Navy Seal. Many of Dan's missions were kept secret. He travelled all over the world to places like Dubai, Guam and Afghanistan. SCPO Healy was a member of SDV Team 1 out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, at the time of his death.
Dan was scrawny growing up. When he became a SEAL, his life truly began, it seems; though, it took more than one try to complete the initial pool test. Sailors must swim one full lap of the SEALs training pool under water. If you cannot, sailors are sent back to the fleet and are not allowed to go to BUD/S. On his first try, Dan was inches away from touching the edge of the pool, signaling his completion, when he passed out. He had to be pulled from the pool and resuscitated. His instructors, after some discussion amongst themselves, decided that because he didn't "quit or give up", he would get another shot at trying to swim the pool. So Dan swam again, this time touching the edge of the pool just as he fell unconscious again, literally dragged from the pool and given CPR. But, he touched the edge of the pool and was able to move onto BUD/S.
SCPO Daniel Healy was killed on June 28, 2005, while aboard an MH-47 Chinook Helicopter that was struck by an RPG while performing a combat mission (Operation Red Wing), in the vicinity of Asadabad, Afghanistan in the Kunar Province. For his service, Dan was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with V (for Valor), a Purple Heart, a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Award and the National Defense Service Medal for his sacrifice and actions made that fateful day.
SCPO Healy is survived by his wife, Norminda, his children, Chelsea, Jasmine, Sasha, Jacob, Nia, Nathan, and Chris; his former spouse and his stepson, Vianne and Jacob Centeno; his former spouse, Robyn Healy; his sisters, Jennifer and Shannon; and his mother, Natalie.
BG Michael Heston
Army National Guard
December 16, 1959 – November 14, 2018
United States Army National Guard Brigadier General Michael “Mike” Heston was born on December 16, 1959, in Providence, Rhode Island. He spent his childhood in Pawtucket before moving to Cumberland, RI. Mike was an avid soccer player throughout high school and college and, on his off days, would hit the golf course. He loved skiing but really loved to give his time back to teach children how to ski.
Mike graduated from Cumberland High School and Roger
Williams College with a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice. Mike went on to receive a Master's Degree in Strategic Studies from the Naval War College.
Mike joined the Marine Corps Reserves in 1985, while serving as a Vermont State Trooper. In 1987, he made the decision to commission through the Vermont Army National Guard OCS Program. Second Lieutenant Heston was assigned to a Military Police Unit upon commission. He spent the next 30 years rising through the ranks of the Vermont Army National Guard. He deployed three times to Afghanistan, one of those times was in 2003 when the Vermont Guard was sent to train the Afghan Military. He was then sent from 2006 - 2008 to train the Afghan Police Force and again from 2011 – 2012 with the Rhode Island Army National Guard as Chief of Staff for Detention Operations.
Mike was diagnosed with Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer in January 2017, as a result of his exposure to toxins from the burn pits while on overseas deployments. On November 14, 2018, BG Michael Heston passed away from cancer. For his service, BG Heston received the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with three stars received for his first deployment in 2003; Armed Services Reserve Medal with 20 years w/Device Service Hourglass; Bronze Star Medal 2nd Award for Meritorious Service while deployed to Afghanistan; Meritorious Service Medal for service in Afghanistan; Army Commendation Medal (4th Award) for his service in Afghanistan; Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal (5th Award); Army Commendation Medal for his service in Afghanistan; and an Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal.
BG Michael Heston is survived by his wife, June Heston; their daughter, Dr. Kelsey Heston; their son, Keegan Heston; his parents, Tom and Dot Heston, his siblings, Mary Chisholm and Meg Shideler, his brothers, John Heston, Tim Heston, and Terry Heston.
SGT Michael Kelley
Army National Guard
September 2, 1978 – June 8, 2005
United States Army National Guard Sergeant Michael Kelley was born on September 2, 1978, and grew up in Scituate, Massachusetts. Growing up, Michael loved to play soccer. He was also an avid video game player. Mike also had such a talent for drawing and writing and would spend hours sketching. He loved to watch movies, his favorite being 'Tommy Boy'.
Michael graduated from Scituate High School in 1997. He enlisted
in the Army National Guard shortly after graduation, and was assigned to the 101st Field Artillery Battalion out of Rehobeth, Massachusetts. After spending a year as a guard at the Massachusetts Military Reserve at Camp Edwards, he changed assignments, so he could be deployed overseas.
SGT Michael J. Kelley was killed on June 8, 2005, in Shkin, Afghanistan, when his base came under heavy rocket fire, while he was unloading a Chinook helicopter. On the day he died, he had picked up an extra shift because his base was understaffed.
He has been honored in a number of ways, since his death. A walking trail and a bridge spanning the North River, both in his hometown of Scituate, bear his name, as does a portion of a scholarship fund given by the Army Corps of Engineers. The Massachusetts National Guard also named a tactical training base at Camp Edwards for Michael in 2008. They dedicated the Sgt. Michael J. Kelley Tactical Training Base at the Bourne facility, where Kelley spent a year of service before his deployment to Afghanistan in January 2005.
SGT Michael Kelley is survived by his parents, Joe and Karen Kelley; his sisters, Collen Dugan and Karianne Golemme; his brother, Shawn Kelley; and his niece, Olivia Golemme (15).
LCpl Ryan Kennedy
United States Marine Corps
November 27, 1994 – September 14, 2018
United States Marine Corps Lance Corporal Ryan Kennedy was born on November 27, 1994, in Coventry, Rhode Island. As a young man, Ryan enjoyed fishing with his best friends and sports, playing high school rugby, baseball and football. Ryan also loved movies and country music, particularly Toby Keith. He later developed a skill for firearms, which led him to be a military policeman marksmanship coach and law enforcement instructor. Ryan attended Bishop Hendricken Catholic High School in Warwick, Rhode Island.
Ryan enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in March 2015, following high school graduation. Following boot camp, he spent a year with HMX 1 in Quantico, Virginia, and also served a tour of duty in South Korea, where he trained Republic of Korea Marines. Ryan was an active duty Marine Corps Corporal stationed in Okinawa, Japan, with the 3rd Law Enforcement Battalion from 2016-2018, serving as a military policeman and marksmanship coach. During 2017, Ryan trained over 3500 Marines in firearms and law enforcement procedures.
LCpl Ryan Kennedy lost his young life in a tragic accident on September 14, 2018, while at home on leave. He had come home on emergency leave to see his grandfather, his “hero”, one last time after he had fallen quite ill.
For his service, LCpl Kennedy received the National Defense Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Letter of Appreciation, Korean Defence Service Medal, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
LCpl Ryan Kennedy is survived by his mother, Jeanne Natale, and Step Father, Costantino Natale; his father, James Kennedy; brother, James R. Kennedy; and his devoted grandparents, John and Jacqueline Baccaire.
Sgt Owen Lennon
United States Marine Corps
August 9, 1990 – July 10, 2017
United States Marine Corps Sergeant Owen James Lennon was born on August 9th, 1990, in Queens, New York, but grew up in Rockland County, New York. Owen enjoyed playing football and tennis and was a natural runner. Teenage Owen often had friends over for cards. Hiking remained important to him throughout his life and many hikes had a story attached to them - getting lost in the woods, self-inflicted USMC "training" and date hikes with his love, Jenn. Later, as a Marine, Owen found karaoke. He was a good sport for Halloween, especially as Forrest Gump. Football was
always watched with chicken wings. He is missed beyond measure by all who knew him.
Owen graduated from Ramapo High School in 2008. He received an academic scholarship to attend New Haven University where he also served as a resident advisor. Owen intended on studying criminal justice at New Haven, but left as a sophomore to enlist. He was convinced that this was the right move for him and spoke with maturity and conviction about his decision.
Owen enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on October 12, 2010. He was selected as the Marine of the Year in 2013 and had a KC-130T aircraft named after him to mark his achievements. Owen was deployed for three months during Operation Enduring Freedom and was promoted to Sergeant in January 2015. Owen attended Flight Engineer School and was one of the youngest to qualify as a flight engineer. He also taught at Corporal School in Quantico and was known for his strong leadership in this capacity. He was stationed at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, New York.
Sgt. Owen Lennon died, alongside 15 other servicemen, when their C-130 was lost in a catastrophic mishap over Leflore County, Mississippi, on July 10, 2017. For his service, Owen earned two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, along with a Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Sea Service Deployment Medal, Certificate of Commendation (Individual Award), two Meritorious Masts, three letters of Appreciation and a Certificate of Appreciation, among others.
Owen is survived by his parents, Owen and Rosemarie; his partner, Jenn; and his sisters, Kelly and Rachel.
Capt Gregory Keith McCoy
United States Air Force
January 11, 1982 – January 5, 2015
United States Air Force Captain Gregory Keith McCoy was born on January 11, 1982, in Mystic, Connecticut. He loved running and hiking. Keith attended Fitch Senior High School and then went on to attend Wheaton College, in Wheaton, Illinois, following by Medical School at the University Of New England School Of Osteopathic Medicine in Biddeford, Maine.
Keith entered the Air Force as a First Lieutenant during the summer of 2006, as part of the medical school scholarship program, and was commissioned as a Captain in May 2008, following graduation from medical school. He completed the military service's medical school
scholarship program and then went on to complete the Family Medicine Residency at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada. After residency, Captain McCoy was stationed at Andrews Air Force Base in the Washington, D.C. area where he served Air Force families in the Family Medicine Clinic.
Keith began showing cancer symptoms in October 2014 and was diagnosed with Adenocarcinoma of Unknown Primary in late December 2014. He died January 5, 2015 at Walter Reed National Medical Center.
Captain G. Keith McCoy is survived by his wife, Becky; their children, Caleb and Libby; his parents, Bob and Joanne; his siblings and their spouses, Todd, Jen, Gwynne, and Dan; his nieces and nephews, Maggie, Josh, Avery, Parker, Finn, and Zak; his mother in law, Patty; and his sister in law, Molly.
Pfc Daniel McGuire
United States Marine Corps
December 26, 1988 – August 14, 2008
United States Marine Corps Private First Class Daniel McGuire was born in Middleborough, New York, on December 26, 1988, and moved to Mashpee, Massachusetts, when he was three.
Raised in the town of Mashpee on the Cape, Daniel grew up with a house full of brothers. Adventures at home, Cubs Scouts and Boys Scouts, and activities at church kept him busy when classes at school, acting in plays and musicals, singing in chorus, and playing lacrosse were not occupying his time. Any spare moments in between, Daniel spent on his love of drawing, carving, reading, writing stories, being outdoors with his
brothers or climbing (and falling out of) trees. He was an Eagle Scout and the oldest of four brothers.
Daniel graduated from Mashpee High School in 2007, joined the Delayed Entry Program in December 2006 and arrived at Parris Island on August 14, 2007. After boot camp graduation in November 2007, he trained at Twentynine Palms and was deployed to Iraq in April 2008.
Pfc Daniel McGuire was killed on August 14, 2008, just outside of Fallujah, Iraq, when his observation post was attacked by enemy small arms fire during combat operations. For his service and sacrifice, he received the Purple Heart.
Daniel is survived by his parents, Mark and Kae; and brothers, Samuel, Stephen, Benjamin, Timothy and James.
SPC Jose Melendez, Jr.
United States Army
July 29, 1986 – November 29, 2017
United States Army Specialist Jose J. Melendez, Jr. was born and raised in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He enjoyed being active as a kid, especially playing soccer and football. He took up playing the guitar in high school and in college. He tried so hard to learn to play well, but it did not pan out. His real passion then turned toward the world of art and video games. He could spend an entire weekend just playing his games. Jose loved drawing and painting abstract art. He enjoyed music and dancing salsa. Lastly, he enjoyed watching football games with his family.
Jose Melendez, Jr. attended Massey Hill Classical High school in Fayetteville, NC, and graduated in 2004. He was a member of the National Honor Society. Jose then went on to graduate from Campbell University in 2008, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design.
SPC Jose Melendez, Jr. enlisted into the United States Army on July 7, 2013. Upon completion of Basic Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and Advance Individual Training at Fort Gordon, Georgia, SPC Melendez volunteered to serve as a Paratrooper and was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division Signal Company at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, as a Node System Operator-Maintainer.
SPC Jose J. Melendez, Jr. deployed in support of Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command in Iraq from June 2015 to March 2016. In March 2017, he was assigned to Bravo Company, 112th Signal Battalion at Fort Bragg, where he served as a Special Operations Forces Deployable Node Operator in the Joint Task Force Platoon. SPC Melendez supported multiple Special Operations Training Missions, including the 75th Ranger Regiment.
Jose died in Raleigh, North Carolina, on November 29, 2017, during leave. He was shot and killed and his case remains unsolved. His dad was in the Army and it was his service that inspired Jose to join. Jose wanted to be just like his father, with his end goal being to be in the Special Forces. Sadly, his life ended just four and a half years into his Army career.
For his service, SPC Melendez, Jr. received many awards and decorations, including the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, and the Parachutists Badge.
SPC Jose J Melendez Jr. is survived by his mother, Mara Doens Ramos; his father, Andres Ramos, Jr.; and his sister, Mara Melendez.
GySgt EJ Pate
United States Marine Corps
October 22, 1981 – June 26, 2011
United States Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant EJ Pate was born in Mullins, South Carolina, on October 22, 1981. In high school, EJ was a National Honors student who played basketball, football and tennis, and was also involved in the drama department where he ran the light and sound systems. As an adult, EJ took up golf (His tattooed self on many a prim and proper golf course was a sight to see!) and gained a passion for motorcycles. He loved a good bike trip, especially when he was leading the pack.
EJ attended Mullins High School and joined the Marine Corps in October 1999, just a few months after graduation. He spent his 18th birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the Millennium New Year in boot camp. GySgt EJ Pate attended Marine Combat Training and communications school at Marine Corps Air & Ground Combat Center in California before making a lateral move into the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) community. In June 2008, GySgt Pate reported to 2nd EOD Company, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He was an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician who deployed four times to Iraq and three times to Afghanistan. Stateside, as an EOD tech, he conducted off-base emergency incidents and was selected for Secret Service EOD missions. During deployments, he conducted numerous EOD combat missions, rendering safe Improvised Explosive Devices, destroying enemy weapons and ordnance caches, conducting post-blast analysis, and saved countless lives.
In April 2011, GySgt Pate deployed for the last time to Helmand Province, Sangin, Afghanistan as a team chief for Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, in direct support of 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. He was killed in action on June 26, 2011, by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), while supporting combat operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
For his service and sacrifice, GySgt Pate received the Bronze Star with Valor Device, the Purple Heart Medal, a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, two Combat Action Ribbons, a Presidential Unit Citation and a Navy Unit Commendation.
EJ Pate is survived by his wife, Kim; their daughter and son, Brianna and Ashton; his parents, Inez and Roy Stroud; his sisters and their spouses, DeeDee and Joe Travis and Misty and Philip Funderburk; his nieces, Mayez and Jonna Travis and McKenna Flowers; and his nephews, Liam Travis and Hunter Flowers.
SPC Joshua Scott Piotrowski
United States Army
May 2, 1993 – June 10, 2017
United States Army Specialist Joshua Scott Piotrowski was born on May 2, 1993, in Banbury, England, where his father, Greg, was stationed with the United States Air Force. Josh grew up a “military brat” living in five states and two foreign countries by the age of 14. He spent his high school years playing soccer and running track for West Henderson High School in Hendersonville, NC. In May 2015, Joshua graduated from Appalachian State University, located in Boone, NC, with a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice. Shortly after graduating from Appalachian, Joshua enlisted in the US Army as an Airborne Infantryman.
Josh came from a family with a heavy military background. Not only was his father in the Air Force, but his grandfather also served in the US Army. Josh always knew he would join the military and fight to defend his country. He would often talk about the moment he became set in his decision to join the Army - during the terror attacks of 9/11. Joshua was 8 years old and in the 3rd grade on 9/11 and his father was Active Duty Air Force, at the time.
He married his wife, Emily, on March 5, 2017. Three short months later, on June 10, 2017, Josh died as a result of injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident. At the time of his death, SPC Piotrowski was serving in the 1st Battalion, 325th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
SPC Piotrowski is survived by his wife, Emily, and their two dogs, Rogue and Ginger-Lee; along with his mother-in-law, Barbara Honea and her husband, Willis; father-in-law, H.H. Tish III and his wife, Regina; and his brother-in-law, Nikolaos Tish. Joshua is also survived by his mother, Michelle Rondo; father, Gregory Piotrowski and his wife, Velma; his brother, Jason; and his two step-brothers, Joshua and Jeremy Alvarez.
LCpl Matthew Rodriguez
United States Marine Corps
March 1, 1994 – December 11, 2013
United States Marine Corps Lance Corporal Matthew Rodriguez grew up on the South Coast in the seaside town of Fairhaven, Massachusetts. Matthew loved sports and the outdoors. He played baseball growing up and hockey in high school. During his senior year, he decided to join the hockey team (he had only previously played with friends, no organized team... but that is how Matt rolled). He loved going to Maple Park Camp in Wareham, MA, with the
family during the summer, where his family kept a seasonal camper. Matthew also loved being an Uncle, and getting to spend time with his niece and nephew.
Matthew graduated from the Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School, in May 2012, specializing in Plumbing. He joined the Marine Corps, through the delayed entry program, in the fall of his senior year of high school. Matt completed Boot Camp in Fall 2012 and chose to become a combat engineer.
After graduating from Boot Camp in November 2012, Matthew attended engineer school at Camp Lejeune, NC. He was then assigned to the 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, “The Super Breed”, onboard Camp Pendleton, California. Deploying to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in the fall of 2013, Lance Corporal Rodriguez proudly served as a Combat Engineer with the Mobility Assault Company of the 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, providing forward support to afford following troops safe clearance to complete their missions.
Lance Corporal Matthew R. Rodriguez was killed in action on December 11, 2013, while on a route clearing mission in Now Zad Afghanistan, when a remotely detonated IED detonated, overturning the MRAP he was driving. Four other Marines were injured (including a K-9), 2 with serious injuries. Matthew was the only fatality.
For his service and sacrifice, LCpl Rodriguez received the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the NATO Medal International Security Assistance Force Afghanistan and the Massachusetts Medal of Liberty.
Matthew is deeply missed by his fiancée, Julia; parents, Lisa and Rod; brother, Adam; sisters, Lisa and Lauren; Nieces, Katelyn, Abigail, and Alison; along with many friends and relatives.
CPT Andres Schloemann
Army National Guard
February 22, 1981 – December 11, 2015
United States Army National Guard Captain Andres Schloemann was born on February 22, 1981, and grew up in Chile and Germany, but naturalized into the United States (Pennsylvania) just before high school. Growing up, his favorite sports were soccer, rugby, and football, which he played in high school and college. His love for sports spanned from collecting his favorite jerseys to bringing a South Carolina Gamecocks flag on his deployment to Afghanistan, sending the college back an American flag with a certificate that his battalion flew over their headquarters. The only thing he loved more than sports (and his family) was Star Wars. Elizabeth, his wife, still has his Star Wars memorabilia boxed up with his jerseys.
Since Andres naturalized into the U.S., he had an exceptionally strong sense of pride and love for his country. After graduating from The
Porter-Gaud School in Charleston, S.C., he pursued dual bachelor's degrees in Political Science and Criminal Justice at the University of South Carolina and graduated in 2009.
Andres had joined the South Carolina Army National Guard as a Private First Class in 2004, serving in the 58th Transportation Battalion while pursuing his college degrees. In 2009, he decided that he wanted to commission as an officer, so he went to Officer Candidate School (OCS) and became a 2nd Lieutenant, renouncing his German citizenship (a requirement to become an officer). After Andres commissioned, he went to the Basic Officer Leadership Course, Phase II, at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where he met his wife, Elizabeth. He completed officer training at Fort Eustis, Virginia, then moved to Fort Huachuca, Arizona, to get married. While in Arizona, Andres quickly gained recognition as an outstanding officer in the
Arizona National Guard's 222nd Transportation Company and was promoted to 1st Lieutenant, taking command of a task force of 150 Army and Air Force troops supporting the border mission, Operation Copper Cactus. Andres then joined the Alabama National Guard and was offered a deployment to Afghanistan with the 1103rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion. In Afghanistan, Andres was given a special assignment to shut down remote Forward Operating Bases. He went to FOB Tarin Kowt and FOB Ghazni and shipped what they could back to the United States, burning everything else in place. In 2015, Andres was offered company command at Fort Bliss, Texas.
Captain Andres Schloemann died at his home on December 10, 2015, by suicide. For his service and sacrifice, he received a Bronze Star for his deployment to Afghanistan, as well as a Combat Action Badge. He also received the Army Commendation Medal and Army Achievement Medal for his time in command.
Andres is survived by his wife, Elizabeth; their sons, Gabriel and Sebastian; his parents, Manfred and Lucia; his brother and sister in law, Javier and Rebekah Schloemann; his nephew, Isaac, and nieces, Anna and Olivia.
SSG Eric Shaw
United States Army
June 23, 1979 – June 27, 2010
United States Army Staff Sergeant Eric Shaw was born on June 23, 1979, and grew up in Exter, Maine. Throughout his school years, Eric played football, baseball and wrestled. Wrestling continued to be a passion of his and he wrestled throughout his college years. Growing up in Maine, Eric also enjoyed fishing, hunting and camping with family and friends. He attended Dexter High School in Dexter, Maine, and went on to attend the University of Southern Maine where he obtained his BA in History in 2003.
Eric joined the Army on October 21, 2004. He served three tours of duty with the 101st Airborne from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from September 2005 to September 2006, and September 2007 to November 2008. During his six years of service, Staff Sgt. Shaw held numerous positions, which included an M249 squad automatic rifleman, rifle squad fire team leader and infantry squad leader.
Eric was killed on June 27, 2010, while supporting Operation Strong Eagle 1, during his third deployment to Afghanistan. At the time, this was the largest military operation that had occurred since the Vietnam War. As Staff Sergeant Shaw's squad was attempting to seize the Village of Daridam, he realized that a platoon of their Afghan Army partners were cut off from the squad and exposed to effective enemy fire. With complete disregard for his own safety, Staff Sergeant Shaw immediately rushed to their aid and rallied the soldiers. While successfully leading the soldiers out of imminent danger to rejoin United States forces, Staff Sergeant Shaw was killed by enemy fire. His bravery and selflessness saved the lives of twelve Afghan soldiers and enabled the forces to consolidate, continue fighting and accomplish their mission.
For his service and sacrifice, SSG Shaw posthumously received four awards including a Bronze Star, Purple Heart, NATO Medal, and the Distinguished Service Cross. During his six years of service, he had also received the Army Commendation Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Combat Infantryman's Badge, an Expert Infantryman's Badge, Air Assault Badge, Good Conduct Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Medal and the Army Service Ribbon.
He is survived by his wife, Audrey Shaw; their three daughters, Madison (14), Victoria (12) and Julia (9); and many aunts, uncles and cousins.
LTC Keith Underwood
Army National Guard
May 26, 1965 – June 14, 2009
United States Army National Guard Lieutenant Colonel Keith Underwood was born on May 26, 1965, and grew up in Gill, Massachusetts. Keith enjoyed hiking, mountain climbing, hunting, and fishing with his friends and two sons, as well teaching his sons the love of nature. He was an avid reader of military history and battle tactics from the colonial militia through World War II, and current conflicts. Keith was an active supporter of Scouting and was a past Boy Scout Master of Northfield. He was also a very active member and supporter of the Advent Christian Church of Vernon, Vermont.
Keith was educated at Gill Elementary School, attended Turners Falls Junior High, and graduated from Northfield Mount Hermon High School in 1983. He completed a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice at Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont, in 1987 and was a member of Mountain Cold Weather or MCW.
In 1987, Keith was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army Reserves following his graduation from Norwich University, where he participated in the Army ROTC program. LTC Keith L. Underwood served for over 20 years in the National Guard rising in rank from 2nd Lieutenant to Lieutenant Colonel. In his civilian life, Keith worked for the Windham County Sherriff's Department and was an Associate Professor of Military Science at UMass, Western New England University, and Springfield College.
LTC Keith L. Underwood developed a serious illness while serving in Afghanistan in 2008 and was prescribed ibuprofen to alleviate his pain. The cause of his illness at the time was "unknown". He came home from his yearlong deployment in Afghanistan in January 2009 and was extremely emaciated. Six months later, he died at his home on June 14, 2009, due to an aggressive form of lung and liver cancer.
For his service and sacrifice, Keith posthumously received a Presidential Recognition Certificate Award from President Obama. While serving, he also received many medals and awards, including the Army Meritorious Service Medal, Army's Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, a Global War on Terrorism Medal and many more.
Keith Underwood is survived by his wife, Jennifer; their two sons, Jeph and Karl; his parents, Larry and Judy Underwood; and his two younger sisters, Lisa and Erin.
HM3 Bradley Wakeley
United States Navy
January 8, 1991 – December 11, 2012
United States Navy Hospital Corpsman Third Class Bradley Wakeley was born on January 8, 1991, in Providence, Rhode Island, and grew up in Frederica, Delaware. Bradley loved to play the guitar, spend time with his family, friends and pets and had a great sense of humor. He graduated from Lake Forest High School in Felton, Delaware, in 2009.
Bradley joined the Navy immediately after graduating from high School and graduated from Basic Training at Great Lakes, Illinois, in June 2010. In October 2010, HM3 Wakeley graduated from Basic
Hospital Corps School at Great Lakes, IL. Bradley then attended Field Medical Training School at Camp Pendleton in California, which he graduated from on December 2010. After graduation, Bradley was stationed at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he proudly served as a Hospital Medical Corpsman.
HM3 Bradley Wakeley died in his home on December 11, 2012. For his service and sacrifice, he earned a number of medals and awards, including the National Defense Medal.
Bradley is survived by his parents, Scott and Lauri Wakeley; his sister, Christen Boesenberg; brother, Joshua Wakeley; and nieces, Lola and Piper Boesenberg.