February 2014 Casualties

We remember these 7 heroes who gave their lives for freedoms cause and the families they left behind.

PFC Joshua A. Gray, 21, of Van Lear, KY, died Feb. 10, in Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, from a non-combat related incident currently under investigation.   He was assigned to the Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, NY

SPC Christopher A. Landis, 27, of Independence, KY., died Feb. 10, on Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, from wounds received when the enemy attacked his dismounted patrol with a rocket propelled grenade in Kapisa Province, Afghanistan.
He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, NC

SPC John A. Pelham, 22, of Portland, OR, died Feb. 12 in Kapisa Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when he was struck by enemy small arms fire.  He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, NC

SFC Roberto C. Skelt, 41, of York, FL, died Feb. 12 in Kapisa Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when he was struck by enemy small arms fire.  He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, NC

Master Sgt. Aaron C. Torian, 36, of Paducah, KY, died Feb. 15, while conducting combat operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 2d Marine Special Operations Battalion, Marine Special Operations Regiment, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, Camp Lejeune, NC

Lance Cpl. Caleb L. Erickson, 20, of Waseca, MN, died Feb. 28, while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.  He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, NC

Master Sgt. David L. Poirier, 52, of North Smithfield, RI, died Feb. 28, from a non-combat related incident currently under investigation.  He was assigned to the 157th Operations Support Squadron, Pease Air National Guard Base, NH

February 2012 Casualties

Seventeen lives given for our country this month

Lance Cpl. Edward J. Dycus, 22, of Greenville, Miss.
Brig. Gen. Terence J. Hildner, 49, of Fairfax, Va.
Sgt. 1st Class Billy A. Sutton, 42, of Tupelo, Miss
Pfc. Cesar Cortez, 24, of Oceanside, Calif.
Lance Cpl. Osbrany Montes De Oca, 20, of North Arlington, N.J
Petty Officer 3rd Class Kyler L. Estrada, 21, of Queen Creek, Ariz
Sgt. Jerry D. Reed II, 30, of Russellville, Ark.
Petty Officer First Class Paris S. Pough, 40, of Columbus, Ga
Capt. Ryan P. Hall, 30, of Colorado Springs, Colo
Capt. Nicholas S. Whitlock, 29, of Newnan, Ga
1st Lt. Justin J. Wilkens, 26, of Bend, Ore.
Senior Airman Julian S. Scholten, 26, of Upper Marlboro, Md.
Sgt. Allen R. McKenna Jr., 28, of Noble, Okla.
Sgt. Joshua A. Born, 25, of Niceville, Fla.
Cpl. Timothy J. Conrad Jr., 22, of Roanoke, Va.
Lt. Col. John D. Loftis, 44, of Paducah, Ky.
Maj. Robert J. Marchanti II, 48, of Baltimore, Md

Honor and Remember Dispatch – February 2010, Vol 3 Issue 2

  Founder’s Message  – The Journey Continues

I have delayed publishing this edition of the Dispatch to report some exciting news! Last week the Virginia Senate Rules committee unanimously voted to adopt the Honor and Remember Flag (HJR137) as an official state symbol recognizing its fallen military. The next stop for the bill is the Senate floor. The bill’s progress is a significant and historic moment as Virginia has made the statement that these brave men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families deserve a perpetual tangible emblem of thanks.

This is a major step in our campaign and we know that this vote sends a challenge to every state governor and legislature to adopt similar bills. Eventually, news of the actions taken by state legislatures will reach Washington and HR134 will become a reality.

To educate each state on the importance of this mission, I once again share with you what is ahead and ask for your help.

With so much momentum in place and more progress ahead, we must focus on broadening awareness. That is why we will soon be taking the message to every state and launching “Honor and Remember Across America” which I mentioned last month.

The trip will focus on taking the Honor and Remember message to 49 states with the hope that each state legislature will join Virginia’s in officially adopting the flag. We will be giving presentations at various venues where we have been invited to speak, including houses of worship, veterans groups and community organizations. And most importantly, we will look forward to meeting many Gold Star families around the U.S. Our goals are to spread the word about the Honor and Remember Flag everywhere possible, to see the flag flying across America and to touch the lives of many families who have lost so much.

Our plan is to leave Virginia the first week of June and spend 23 weeks traveling a route from one state capital to another, heading north to Maine, then west across the upper half of the United States, reaching Sacramento by early September. Then we will head south through California and then east across the lower half of the U.S., arriving at Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2010 — A total of 22,000 miles round-trip.

I need your help to successfully accomplish this entire mission. I have posted a preliminary itinerary online (Click Here)
and would ask that you look over the dates and places I am planning to visit. This cannot be achieved without significant resources, coordination and support. Please consider helping us in this effort, individually or corporately. Here are our areas of need.

Host us in your city and:

Help to secure appointments with state and local officials;
Join me at your state capital;
Arrange meetings with veterans groups or local organizations;
Help initiate and plan personalized flag presentations;
Provide opportunities to share in your place of worship or at community meetings
Join me on a portion of the road trip.

Our physical needs include:

Use of a Class A recreational vehicle;
Cost of gas, tolls, maintenance, insurance, etc.;
Flag sponsorship – personalized and state flags;
Airline tickets;
Volunteer staff & Drivers.

If you can help in any way possible or if you have suggestions for areas I have left out, please write to me at contact@honorandremember.org
Thank you for the continued support.

God Bless,
Sign the Petition ~ Share the Vision ~ Fly the Flag

Flag being flown by 732d Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, Detachment 2, The Reapers.  On 17 Feb 10 in Baghdad, Iraq this squad, Reaper 1-2, took this photo in honor of the 5 Fallen Air Force Security Forces members who gave their lives while deployed with the 732 ESFS over the last 3 years.

  Our Hero’s Story – by Melanie Smith

He always had this ornery smile with a gleam in his eyes, a look of loving life and all the excitement life had to give. Lance loved his family, friends and country.  His smile told so much about him.

As his mother I remember that five of Lance’s birthday cakes when he was young had military themes.  Lance, his brothers, Matt and Phillip, and his cousins were obsessed with playing with toy guns, airplanes and fighting the “bad guys.”  They always wanted to be the good guys.  It was no surprise to his friends or family, when Lance signed up a year early for the U.S. Marine Corps during his junior year at Eastbrook High School.  Lance and his cousin, Casey Stanley, always spoke of joining the Marines and fighting the “real” bad guys together.  Lance and Casey followed Lance’s older brother Phillip, who had joined the Marine Corps in 2000.

Dedicated and determined to get started, Lance enlisted with two fellow Eastbrook graduates. They left for boot camp in September, 2001. Lance was stationed with the 2nd Battalion 5th Marines as a field radio communications operator at Camp Pendleton, California.

At one point during Lance’s time in Iraq, he found himself sitting in Saddam Hussein’s abandoned hot tub. Another time, he saw the bodies of a young mother clutching her small child in a mass grave.  Lance’s first seven-month tour began with the invasion of Iraq in 2003.  He left for his second tour in Iraq on September 1, 2004.  Lance was the radio communications operator for his unit’s captain.

During his last call home he stated that his unit had been going out three to four times a day to look for the bad guys.  In one of Lance’s last comments to his family that day, he stated, “I’m here so everyone there can be safe at home.  So they can sleep safe at night.  I don’t want this coming home.”  Lance felt he was there so that all people (no matter where they lived) could have the freedom to do what they wanted to do, say the things they wanted to say and be who they wanted to be.  Lance told his family “Freedom isn’t free, and we have a price to pay for it.” Lance was always “Gung Ho” about his beliefs, so much so that he wore the “Gung Ho” symbol tattooed on his left wrist.

Marine Cpl. Lance McGregor Thompson was killed by a suicide vehicle bearing an improvised explosive device detonated next to his vehicle during convoy operations on November 15, 2004. Today I am a proud American Gold Star Mother. Lance loved to fish and he loved to make those around him laugh. He hoped to go to college when he completed his commitment with the Marine Corps and was considering a career in the electrical engineering field.  Our family has set up a school scholarship to continue his dream for other students who attend his high school.

NOTE: Honor and Remember is looking for positive stories about the young men and women who have died serving our country. We would like to share them in this newsletter and on a special page on our web site. The stories should be about 300-400 words in length and contain insights that capture the individual’s personality and celebrate their life and honor their experiences in service, etc. We want to present a snapshot of our young heroes … who they were and how those who loved them remember. Photos are welcome.  Please send to contact@honorandremember.org

  Why I’m on Board – Kathy Moore

I am not exactly sure how or when I found out about Honor and Remember.  Since my son, CPL Ryan Russell, was killed March 5, 2007 in Iraq along with two other soldiers, SPC Blake Harris, and PVT Barry W. Mayo, I have received many emails with links to different organizations that give support to military families.

In the days and weeks following Ryan’s death, we received quilts, books, coins and many other items from people who wanted us to know that they where thankful Ryan choose to serve his country.  After awhile, it seemed as though we where the only ones that remembered Ryan.

Then I received an email with the link to Honor and Remember and I was really impressed. This was an organization that wanted to honor those who had given the ultimate sacrifice for this country and their families.  The more I read about the design of the Honor and Remember Flag and the vision of George Lutz the founder the more that I wanted to be a part of the mission to make this flag a national symbol.

Even though I was a child during the Vietnam War, I can remember the disrespect that our veterans received when then came home. I wanted to be a part of not only giving honor to all of our nation’s fallen military but letting the families of these service members know that as a nation we have not forgotten them and will not forget them.

I think that it would be wonderful for current and future generations to have a symbol that honors all of our nation’s fallen military.  For that reason, I decided to become involved. I am the North Carolina state chapter director of  Honor and Remember.

I look forward to working with George and seeing the vision become a reality.

Kathy Moore
Gold Star Mother of CPL Ryan Russell

News and Upcoming Events

The 2010 calendar is now filling with ceremonies, trade shows, festivals and presentations. If you would like to consider Honor and Remember in your planning for the year please contact us at events@honorandremember.org

As part of the campaign, this summer we are planning a national awareness bus tour and would be privileged to include your event in our schedule if possible. We are planning personalized flags presentations in every state possible. Please write soon so that we can coordinate schedules.

If you know of any company or individual who would be willing to become a trip sponsor, donate the use of an RV, tour bus and/or the painting of a graphic wrap, let us know. Its time to bring this mission to the people. Thank you!


This flag is such an honor to all that have served proudly. I’m hoping that this becomes every state’s goal. It is comparatively small in comparison to those who have given everything. I’m proud to say that I served, and even more proud to support those who can’t speak of their ultimate service. (Soldotna, AK)

Thank you for giving those of us who are grateful a chance to show just how, by flying this flag! My husband returned healthy and whole from Iraq, April 12, 2005, and I thank God every day. My heart breaks for those whose loved ones did not return….. those brave soldiers who died or those who were injured. Blessings to all involved in this endeavor. (Sarver, PA)

This is a WONDERFUL TRIBUTE! I urge everyone to participate in supporting this effort to Honor Our Fallen who have given their lives for all of us. (Blaine, MN)

Thank God for this tribute. This is something that every American should be thrilled to support.
(Lillington, NC)

God Bless all our veterans, past and present, survivors, KIAs, POWs, MIAs, KLODs, Disabled Veterans and the Patriotic People who Support and Promote this Organization, Amen. (Springfield, OR

Honor and Remember Dispatch – February 2009, Vol 2 Issue 2

Founder’s Message

I am taking a portion of my message to recognize Gold Star mom Mrs. Mollie Snyder. She passed away this week, Feb 8th in Wernersville PA. Mollie was the oldest living member of the American Gold Star mothers, she was 99. She lost her precious son Pfc Walter H. Snyder Jr. on the 8th of December, 1950 in Korea. Since that tragic day, she has worked tirelessly over the
years to bring genuine comfort to generations of hurting Gold Star families, as well as playing a major role in veterans care around her community and beyond.

Honor and Remember had been preparing a special flag in her honor, and in tribute to Walter, that we hoped to soon place in her hands. Unfortunately God’s timing always supersedes our own. Although we are not able to personally present this gift we know that the joy of creating it for her will touch many many lives in the future. We thank you Mollie for all you have meant to so many and for the ultimate sacrifice you have endured for a price called freedom. ******

The speed at which we are growing is phenomenal. Every day I receive encouraging letters from Gold Star families, veterans and organizations who have caught the vision for Honor and Remember and are sincerely grateful for this campaign. Despite the breadth of this movement, we still have so very far to go. You may recall that in late October we were honored to be mentioned on Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News program with the help of Dennis Miller. This mention resonated strongly with Mr. O’Reilly’s audience and produced a tremendous response on our web site. As we move into 2009, we need to encourage even broader national exposure. There are dozens of local and national talk show programs whose hosts continue to speak positively about our military. Yet unless there is a recent death there is very little mention of our fallen heroes being recogniz ed.

Since October, I have had some favorable interaction with national personalities, including Glenn Beck, Mike Huckabee and Oliver North. We even shipped Sean Hannity his own Honor and Remember Flag. Many other local and national media figures are at least aware of our campaign, but “no on air” attention. However, with your help we can ramp up our outreach and get the attention that Honor and Remember needs and deserves.

Many of you have already contacted your House and Senate representatives soliciting their support for Bill H R 7111. Thank you for your efforts and please keep in touch with them until legislation is passed to officially recognize the flag as a national symbol. Now I’d like to challenge everyone who receives this newsletter to make a similar effort with local and national media.

Please consider making a call to local and national radio and TV programs or writing a letter or sending email to media personalities or reporters that you admire. Respectfully ask them to give Honor and Remember some exposure on their shows and in their publications. These celebrities have the ears of millions of Americans who have yet to hear about this remembrance campaign. Even one mention on a national show or in a national publication could give a tremendous boost to our grassroots movement to have the Honor and Remember Flag officially recognized and to put a personalized flag in the hands of Gold Star parents.

Here is a link that will help you locate many major personalities, such as Sean Hannity, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Dennis Miller, Oprah, Gary Sinese, Alan Combs, Rush Limbaugh, Clark Howard, Mike Huckabee, Neil Boortz and many more: www.talkshowhosts.com/outsourcing.html

Thank you in advance for any effort you can make to spread the word. I truly believe that our national campaign will soon reach a “tipping point” w hen recognition of the Honor and Remember mission will explode. Your added efforts will play a critical role in the success of our goals.

Finally, as we near Valentine’s day this weekend, our thoughts and prayers are with all of those who find, through their loss, this a very difficult day to overcome.

God Bless

Our Heroes Story

My son, Cpl. Cody A. Putman had returned from a successful mission and was asleep for just a few hours when a suicide bomber drove a truck into his unit’s Bagdad compound. When the bomb exploded, the building where Cody was sleeping collapsed and he was crushed. That was April 12, 2007. Cody’s death came just 12 days after he returned to Iraq from a visit home. We were blessed to have spent nearly three wonderful weeks with him. After his death, we received many letters from members of his unit and others who knew him telling us what a great soldier he was. They said that even though he was a radio man and driver, Cody often did things that were above and beyond the call of duty.

I absolutely love and admire what you have started, and I will share it with our local Gold Star Mother Chapter, which we are just starting here in Indiana. I’m going to recommend that sharing this information become one of our missions this spring. I also will forward this information to everyone I know.

One thing that became so clear to me as our community honored my son was a question: How did the families of those who were killed in the Vietnam era cope? They didn’t receive the honor my son and our family received. I can’t imagine what that families in that era went through at that time, but I do know they are still experiencing the pain, as we are. It never goes away.

Please let me know if I can be an Indiana connection for this wonderful project. I will share this information with as many people as I possibly can. Thank you for all that you are doing. You are in my thoughts and prayers. I’m going to order my flag this week and many of the other items for my family. Love, Pamela Mow

*** If you have a story about a fallen hero that you would like to share, please send it to contact@honorandremember.org

Why I’m on Board – Don Belew  

I will never forget the day that the Honor and Remember Flag was presented to honor the life and death of Lt. Jeremy Wise at Oceana air base in Norfolk, Virginia. The colors of the American flag and Navy flags flew high. There was a large group of motorcycles and vehicles of the Patriot Guard Riders, an extremely dedicated veteran and civilian organization formed to honor and remember, as well as promote peace and solitude during the funerals of men and women who died for this great country.

This was a sacred day that shook my soul. I cannot get out of my mind the pain I saw in the eyes of Lt. Wise’s wife, knowing that she and her family were suffering with the realization that Lt. Wise would never come home to play with his son, eat the Thanksgiving Day meal or sing praises to God at their church. Many, many civilians attended the funeral, as well as fellow naval air officers, who paid quiet respect to their fallen comrade. A formal 21-gun salute echoed through the base as I watched over and over the empty bullet casings fall to the ground.

As the military and civilian mourners looked upon the casket of Lt. Wise, I noticed several that also looked upon the Honor and Remember Flag with reverent silence and respect. During several moments of conversation with both officers and Patriot riders, I sensed a newfound respect for the flag that was standing as a noticeable symbol of Lt. Wise’s ultimate sacrifice. Many of the Patriot Guard Riders expressed their feelings of honor to finally see and hold this flag.

There were a few people who were unsure about the meaning of the Honor and Remember Flag. They wondered how it was meant to be perceived. Was it supposed to replace “Old Glory?” But it didn’t take long for them to realize that it only compliments the US flag and perfectly symbolizes the ultimate sacrifice made by Lt. Wise to keep it flying!

It wasn’t until the missing man formation of F18 Hornets flew over that my knees began to buckle. All I could think of was how blessed I was to stand at attention with so many honorable U.S. veterans. I will always thank my dad for raising me to respect our country and its military. And I am grateful that I have been able to be a supporter who has signed the petition to get the Honor and Remember Flag nationally recognized.

Recent News and Comments

Thank you for continuing to help us remember all of our fallen heroes. I lost my son, Lcpl. Brian Hopper, in Iraq on Jan. 26, 2005 and we miss him terribly. I plan on flying this flag on all Patriot Guard Rider Missions. Thanks again. Wynne, AR

I think this is wonderful. I am so worried that people are going to forget my son. We have put up a flag of the USA in our front yard and friends had his favorite tree planted in our front yard. We had a marker made to go at the bottom of the tree. Thank you for all you do. Christiansburg, VA

What an incredible thing you are doing. This is a great idea, to have a way to every day remember the fallen heroes of our country. I am a veteran of Vietnam and think of the men lost there often. I will be signing the petition and calling my senators and representatives to endorse Bill H.R.7111. Gulfport, MS