department of defense report heavy losses this past week

Cpl. Jorge Villarreal Jr., 22, of San Antonio, Texas, died Oct. 17 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.  He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

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The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of three servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors. 

                Army Staff Sgt. Robert S. Griffith, of Hapeville, Ga., will be buried on Oct. 23 in Fairburn, Ga.  The group remains of the other two soldiers which could not be individually identified — Army Staff Sgt. Melvin C. Dye, of Carleton, Mich., and Sgt. 1st Class Douglas J. Glover, of Cortland, N.Y., will be buried at a later date.  The men were aboard a UH-1H Iroquois helicopter on Feb. 19, 1968, when it was shot down by enemy fire in Laos.  They were involved in an attempt to extract a long-range reconnaissance patrol in the mountains of Attapu Province.  Three other American service members survived the crash and were rescued, but three Vietnamese Montagnards did not survive. 

                Several hours after the crash, a team was dispatched to survey the location and reported seeing remains of at least five people.  Enemy activity prevented remains recovery at that time.  The following month a second team was sent to the crash site but found no remains. 

                In 1995, a joint U.S.-Lao People’s Democratic Republic team traveled to the recorded grid coordinates for the crash site but found no evidence of a helicopter crash.  The team then surveyed a second location in the area where they found helicopter wreckage and human remains.  In 2006, a follow-on team was not able to resurvey the same site due to severe overgrowth and time constraints.  Another team excavated the location in late 2007 recovering human remains, wreckage and military-related equipment.

                Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command used dental x-rays in the identification of Griffith’s remains.

                Since late 1973, the remains of 938 Americans killed in the Vietnam War have been accounted for and returned to their families with 1,708 service members still missing.

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         Sgt. Ian M. Tawney, 25, of Dallas, Ore., died Oct. 16 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.

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Pfc. Dylan T. Reid, 24, of Springfield, Mo., died Oct. 16 in Amarah, Iraq in a non-combat related incident.  He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.

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Lance Cpl. James D. Boelk, 24, of Oceanside, Calif., died Oct. 15 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.

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              The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of three soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.  They died Oct. 14 while conducting combat operations between Moqur and Darreh-Ye-Bum, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device. 

                Killed were:

                Sgt. Carlos A. Benitez, 24, of Carrollton, Texas.

                Spc. Rafael Martinez Jr., 36, of Spring Valley, Calif.

                Pfc. Tramaine J. Billingsley, 20, of Portsmouth, Va.

                They were assigned to the 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.

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           Sgt. Eric C. Newman, 30, of Waynesboro, Miss., died Oct. 14 in Akatzai Kalay, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device.  He was assigned to 1st Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, N.C.

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               Lance Cpl. Alec E. Catherwood, 19, of Byron, Ill., died Oct. 14 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.  He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

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   Lance Cpl. Joseph C. Lopez, 26, of Rosamond, Calif., died Oct. 14 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.

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           Lance Cpl. Irvin M. Ceniceros, 21, of Clarksville, Ark., died Oct. 14 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.  He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

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  Pfc. Jordan M. Byrd, 19, of Grantsville, Utah, died Oct. 13 in Yahya Kheyl, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire.  He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.

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    The following Marines died Oct. 13 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan:

            Cpl. Justin J. Cain, 22, of Manitowoc, Wis.

            Lance Cpl. Phillip D. Vinnedge, 19, of Saint Charles, Mo.

            Lance Cpl. Joseph E. Rodewald, 21, of Albany, Ore.

            Pfc. Victor A. Dew, 20, of Granite Bay, Calif.

            All four Marines were assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

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   The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

            Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Arthur F. Parkhurst, of Evansville, Ind., will be buried on Oct. 16 in Dayton, Ohio.  On March 12, 1945, Parkhurst and five other crew members aboard a C-47A Skytrain departed Tanauan Airfield on Leyte, Philippines, on a resupply mission to guerilla troops.  Once cleared for takeoff there was no further communication between the aircrew and airfield operators.  When the aircraft failed to return, a thorough search of an area ten miles on either side of the intended route was initiated.  No evidence of the aircraft was found and the six men were presumed killed in action, their remains determined non-recoverable.

            In 1989, a Philippine national police officer contacted U.S. officials regarding a possible World War II-era aircraft crash near Leyte.  Human remains, aircraft parts and artifacts — including an identification tag belonging to Parkhurst — were turned over to the local police, then to U.S. officials.

            Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command used dental comparisons and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA — which matched that of Parkhurst’s brother and sister — in the identification of his remains.

            At the end of the war, the U.S. government was unable to recover and identify

approximately 79,000 Americans.  Today, more than 72,000 are unaccounted-for from the conflict.

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      Lance Cpl. Raymon L. A. Johnson, 22, of Midland, Ga., died Oct. 13 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.  He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

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Spc. Matthew C. Powell, 20, of Slidell, La., died Oct. 12 at Kandahar Airfield, of wounds suffered at Ghunday Ghar, Afghanistan when insurgents attacked his military vehicle using an improvised explosive device.  He was assigned to the 526th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.

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               The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.  They died Oct. 10 of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device.

                 Killed were:

                 Staff Sgt. Dave J. Weigle, 29, of Philadelphia, Pa.  He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 75th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; and

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