Sgt. 1st Class Reymund R. Transfiguracion

Army Special Forces is mourning the loss of Sgt. 1st Class Reymund R. Transfiguracion 36, who died on Sunday after being wounded in an Aug. 7 improvised explosive device blast Helmand province, Afghanistan, according to 1st Special Forces Command.

Originally from the Philippines, Transfiguracion joined the Army National Guard in July 2001 as motor transport operator, his official biography says. He deployed from 2005 to 2006 with the Hawaii National Guard, joined the active-duty force in February 2008, and then deployed to Afghanistan from 2008 to 2009. Afterward, he spent six months in the Philippines from 2010 to 2011 as part of Joint Special Operations Task Force – Philippines.

Transfiguracion was selected for Special Forces while serving as a horizontal construction engineer at Fort Polk, Louisiana. He deployed to Afghanistan in support of the U.S. counterterrorism mission there in March. He received a posthumous promotion to sergeant first class and was awarded his second Purple Heart, Bronze Star Medal, and Meritorious Service Medal.

His other military awards include the Meritorious Unit Commendation, three Army Achievement Medals, three Army Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, two Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbons, two Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbons, NATO Medal, Combat Action Badge, Army Special Forces Tab, Combat Infantry Badge, Basic Parachutist Badge, and Air Assault Badge.

We honor you, Reymund Transfiguracion.

(#Repost @taskandpurpose.com)

SGT Christopher Higginbotham

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Christopher was born on January 24, 1990, the son of Jeanette Higginbotham. Christopher was a Sergeant in the U.S. Army where he served two tours in Afghanistan. Throughout his military career, he was a recipient of the following awards: 3 Army Commendation Medals, 2 Army Achievement Medals, 2 Army Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medal, 2 Afghanistan Campaign Medals with Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Medal, NATO Medal, Combat Action Badge, and an Air Assault Badge. He currently served with the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.

He passed away on Saturday, April 25, 2015 in Colorado Springs, at 25 years old.

We honor you, Christopher Higginbotham.

(#Repost @Clarksville Now)

MG Dee Ann McWilliams

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Major General Dee Ann McWilliams, USA, Retired, took the helm as president of the Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation on January 1, 2016. Serving 29 years with the United States Army, MG McWilliams held a variety of Human Relations positions, including command of four companies, a training battalion, and a personnel brigade. She also taught national strategic studies and leadership, and served as an Equal Opportunity Officer. As Director, Military Personnel Management for Department of the Army, MG McWilliams developed policy and strategy for staffing, salary compensation, and training for over 1 million soldiers, to include recruitment of more than 100,000 annually. She also served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel and Installation Management in Europe where she provided human resource and quality of life support to soldiers in Germany, Italy, Hungary, Kosovo, Croatia, Bosnia, Greece, and Egypt. MG McWilliams retired from the Army in 2003 and later joined the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. She retired in 2010 as Director of the Lessons Learned Center. MG McWilliams holds degrees from Lon Morris College, Stephen F. Austin University where she was named a distinguished alumnus, Texas Woman’s University, and the National War College. She serves on the advisory boards of the Army Historical Foundation and the Army Women’s Foundation where she previously served as President. In 2007, MG McWilliams joined the board of directors for the Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation, assuming the position of Vice Chair in 2014. She was the 2013 recipient of the Lillian K. Keil Award for outstanding contributions to women’s service in the United States military and was named a Trailblazer by Women Veterans Interactive.

We honor you, Dee Ann McWilliams.

(Submission by: Ninzel Rasmuson)

MSG Jonathan J. Dunbar

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A special operations soldier assigned to Fort Bragg was killed in Syria on Friday, March 30, according to the Department of Defense.

Master Sgt. Jonathan J. Dunbar, 36, of Austin, Texas, died from wounds received near Manbij, Syria, officials said.

Dunbar, assigned to Headquarters, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, and a British soldier, officials said, were killed by an improvised explosive device while on patrol.

A spokesman for USASOC said Dunbar joined the Army in 2005, six years after he graduated from John B. Connally High School in Austin.

His first assignment was with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division as a machine gunner, fire team leader and squad leader. He deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq with that unit before transferring to Fort Hood in 2009 to join a long range surveillance battalion and again deploy to Iraq.

Dunbar was assigned to Headquarters, U.S. Army Special Operations Command in 2013. He served as a team leader and deployed three times in support of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We honor you, Jonathan Dunbar.

(Submission by: Miah Parry. #Repost @The Fayette Observer)

1LT Thomas Martin

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First Lieutenant Thomas Martin died during combat operations October 14, 2007, while serving his country in Iraq.

Tom was born October 10, 1980, in Huron, South Dakota. He left South Dakota as a very young boy, went to school for a short time in San Marcos, Texas, and then graduated from high school in Cabot, Arkansas in 1998. That same year he enlisted in the United States Army completing Basic Training and AIT as a Field Artilleryman at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. In 2000, after an assignment to Camp Stanley in Korea, Tom was accepted for admission to the United States Military Academy. After attending the United States Military Preparatory School, Tom entered West Point in the fall of 2001. As a West Point Cadet, Tom started on the Rugby team, was a member of the Military Tactics Team, and earned his Parachutist Badge by graduating from Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia. Tom majored in Military Science and graduated with his class in May 2005. He was commissioned as an Armor Officer and completed the Armor Officer Basic Course at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

Tom volunteered for Ranger School and graduated earning his Ranger tab in May 2006. He reported to the 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment at Fort Richardson, Alaska in June 2006. Upon arrival, Tom was assigned as the Sniper Platoon Leader in Crusader Troop and deployed with the unit in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in October 2006.

He will forever be remembered as a man with undaunted determination who was fiercely dedicated to his men, his mission, and his country.

We honor you, Thomas Martin.

(#Repost @Pritzker Military Museum & Library)

MSG Roy P Benavidez

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Today, I am remembering and honoring my dad on National Medal of Honor Day. The Medal of Honor is our nation’s highest award given in the military. It is EARNED, not won.

My dad was often asked if he would do it all over again and his answer was always this, “There will never be enough paper to print the money or enough gold in Fort Knox for me to have, to keep me from doing what I did. I’m proud to be an American and even prouder that I earned the privilege to wear the Green Beret. I live by the motto: Duty, Honor, Country.”

Thank YOU, to all who served and continue to serve. YOU are what makes America great! My dad stood along side you, and kneeled for the cross.

His Medal of Honor official citation reads:

“On the morning of 2 May 1968, a 12-man Special Forces Reconnaissance Team was inserted by helicopters in a dense jungle area west of Loc Ninh, Vietnam to gather intelligence information about confirmed large-scale enemy activity. This area was controlled and routinely patrolled by the North Vietnamese Army. After a short period of time on the ground, the team met heavy enemy resistance, and requested emergency extraction. Three helicopters attempted extraction, but were unable to land due to intense enemy small arms and anti-aircraft fire. Sergeant Benavidez was at the Forward Operating Base in Loc Ninh monitoring the operation by radio when these helicopters returned to off-load wounded crewmembers and to assess aircraft damage.

Sergeant Benavidez voluntarily boarded a returning aircraft to assist in another extraction attempt. Realizing that all the team members were either dead or wounded and unable to move to the pickup zone, he directed the aircraft to a nearby clearing where he jumped from the hovering helicopter, and ran approximately 75 meters under withering small arms fire to the crippled team. Prior to reaching the team’s position he was wounded in his right leg, face, and head. Despite these painful injuries, he took charge, repositioning the team members and directing their fire to facilitate the landing of an extraction aircraft, and the loading of wounded and dead team members.

He then threw smoke canisters to direct the aircraft to the team’s position. Despite his severe wounds and under intense enemy fire, he carried and dragged half of the wounded team members to the awaiting aircraft. He then provided protective fire by running alongside the aircraft as it moved to pick up the remaining team members. As the enemy’s fire intensified, he hurried to recover the body and classified documents on the dead team leader. When he reached the leader’s body, Sergeant Benavidez was severely wounded by small arms fire in the abdomen and grenade fragments in his back. At nearly the same moment, the aircraft pilot was mortally wounded, and his helicopter crashed. Although in extremely critical condition due to his multiple wounds, Sergeant Benavidez secured the classified documents and made his way back to the wreckage, where he aided the wounded out of the overturned aircraft, and gathered the stunned survivors into a defensive perimeter.

Under increasing enemy automatic weapons and grenade fire, he moved around the perimeter distributing water and ammunition to his weary men, re-instilling in them a will to live and fight. Facing a buildup of enemy opposition with a beleaguered team, Sergeant Benavidez mustered his strength, began calling in tactical air strikes and directed the fire from supporting gunships to suppress the enemy’s fire and so permit another extraction attempt. He was wounded again in his thigh by small arms fire while administering first aid to a wounded team member just before another extraction helicopter was able to land. His indomitable spirit kept him going as he began to ferry his comrades to the craft.

On his second trip with the wounded, he was clubbed from additional wounds to his head and arms before killing his adversary. He then continued under devastating fire to carry the wounded to the helicopter. Upon reaching the aircraft, he spotted and killed two enemy soldiers who were rushing the craft from an angle that prevented the aircraft door gunner from firing upon them. With little strength remaining, he made one last trip to the perimeter to ensure that all classified material had been collected or destroyed, and to bring in the remaining wounded.

Only then, in extremely serious condition from numerous wounds and loss of blood, did he allow himself to be pulled into the extraction aircraft. Sergeant Benavidez’ gallant choice to join voluntarily his comrades who were in critical straits, to expose himself constantly to withering enemy fire, and his refusal to be stopped despite numerous severe wounds, saved the lives of at least eight men. His fearless personal leadership, tenacious devotion to duty, and extremely valorous actions in the face of overwhelming odds were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service.”

We honor you, Roy Benavidez.

(Submission by: Miah Parry. Written by: Yvette Benavidez Garcia. #Repost @Hall of Valor)

 

SGT Ashly Lynn Moyer

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Moyer was killed when an explosion detonated the fuel tank on her vehicle, creating a fireball. Among the soldiers who responded to the bombing was Moyer’s boyfriend, Jake Wells, a member of her unit who tried to rescue her but was turned back by the flames and rounds of ammunition exploding in the heat. ”That’s what’s most heart wrenching to me,” said Moyer’s father, Michael Moyer. ”Can you imagine that? The girl you love is in there, and not being able to do anything.” ”I just talked to her last week,” her father said. ”They were coming home in June and planning two weeks in Pennsylvania and two weeks in Texas, where Jake Wells is from. They were coming here because he was going to ask me for her hand in marriage.”

Jane Drumheller described her daughter as a tomboy with a girlish side, as fond of dolls as she was of softball. ”She would always rise to the occasion.” She was serious when she needed to get a job done, but when it was time to have fun, she was a chuckle.”

Moyer then deployed to Baghdad and Moyer took an instant liking to her job as a driver. Her father sent her rearview mirror dice and other gag gifts to dress up the interior of the armored vehicle. On the exterior, she mounted a toy Incredible Hulk head, which other soldiers would rub for luck before missions. Moyer’s father said his daughter believed strongly in the American cause and had recently extended her enlistment for a year. ”She really liked what she was doing,” he said. ”The MPs over there are a very close family.”

Listening to SGT Ashly Lynn Moyer’s family recall memories of her growing up, one thing above all else comes through: Moyer may have been a woman small in stature but she was huge in heart. Jean Garrison, Moyer’s aunt and Samantha Straude her cousin held back the tears as they talked about SGT Moyer. “She always thought she was so cool in those sunglasses,” pointing to a photo Moyer took inside her Army vehicle. The women spoke of Moyer’s sense of humor, how she loved to make people laugh no matter how ridiculous she looked. Moyer was someone who liked to give to others and wanted to make a difference, and who chose joining the military as a way to do so.

We honor you Ashly Lynn Moyer.

(#Repost @Fallen Heroes Project)