Facing Our Losses - Iraq 2009

Washington's toll in Iraq in 2009.

READ THE STORY • SEE THE IRAQ 2003 LIST • SEE THE IRAQ 2004 LIST • SEE THE IRAQ 2005 LIST • SEE THE IRAQ 2006 LIST • SEE THE IRAQ 2007 LIST • SEE THE IRAQ 2008 LIST • SEE THE IRAQ 2009 LIST • SEE THE IRAQ 2010 LIST • SEE THE IRAQ 2011 LIST • SEE THE AFGHANISTAN LIST Operation Iraqi Freedom

Began March 20, 2003. In all, more than 4,370 troops have been killed, 283 of them with ties to Washington, 9 in 2009. (Updated Dec. 18, 2009)

(Information compiled from military and media.) 4,366th to die: Nov. 29, 2009 - Army Pfc. Derrick D. Gwaltney, 21, a Fort Lewis solider from Cape Coral, Fla., died south of Basra, Iraq, of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident. His family said he was found alone with a single gunshot wound to his head. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 377th Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Fires Brigade, at Fort Lewis. Gwaltney graduated from Sandusky High School in Ohio in 2006 and enlisted in the military in 2008. He was married, with one child, and expecting another. Gwaltney had talked with his family on Thanksgiving, just days before his death. "We put him on speaker phone so everyone could yell, 'Derrick, we love you! Happy Thanksgiving!'" said his mother, Patricia Gwaltney. "He kind of chuckled and laughed and said, 'Thanks everybody.' He said, 'I'll talk to you later, mom.' That was it." 4,219th to die: Nov. 4, 2009 – Army Staff Sgt. Amy C. Tirador, 29, of Albany, N.Y., died in Kirkush, Iraq, of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident. She was assigned to a military intelligence unit with the Fort Lewis 3rd Stryker Brigade. Married, Tirador enlisted in March 1999 and was assigned to Fort Lewis in January 2008. She served as a medic, a tracked-vehicle driver and mechanic, and eventually as a military intelligence collector with Arabic-language training. She was credited with saving an American soldier who in 2004 was shot during a convoy mission, according to military reports. "I'm very proud of my daughter," her father, Gerard Seyboth, said. 4,214th to die: Oct. 27, 2009 – Army Maj. David L. Audo, 35, of Saint Joseph, Ill., died in Baghdad, Iraq, of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 22nd Military Police Battalion, 6th Military Police Group, Fort Lewis, Wash. Married, with two children, Audo was a 1992 graduate of St. Joseph-Ogden High School. He attended the University of Illinois on a ROTC scholarship and earned a bachelor's degree in architecture and a master's degree in business from Webster University in St. Louis. His former coach and teacher, Jim Acklin, said that of meeting 5,000 in his 31 years of teaching, Audo stood out in his memory, both as a high school track athletes and student. "His sense of humor sticks out" in particularly, said Acklin, "and he was ornery in a good way." 4,200th and 4,201st to die: Sept. 2, 2009 - Army Staff Sgt. Todd W. Selge, 25, of Burnsville, Minn., and Spc. Jordan M. Shay, 22, of Salisbury, Mass., died of injuries sustained during a vehicle roll-over. Baqubah, Iraq. Both were Fort Lewis Stryker soldiers. Selge enlisted in the Army in 2004, two years after he graduated from high school. He received the Purple Heart in an earlier deployment to Iraq. Selge made it clear to his family that he joined the Army to help others achieve freedom. "He was definitely gung-ho about the military," said his widow Dellona Selge, the mother of their two children. Her husband planned to return to Minnesota after finishing his service in 2012, she said. "He was going to get out. He wanted to finish up school and move back home and have a regular life." Shay, a 2005 Amesbury, Mass., High School graduate, regularly chronicled military life on his service blog. In his last post, about a week before his death, he wrote about leaving a secure Iraqi police station for an unauthorized visit to an Iraqi village. "Crossing a small lot with a few scattered cars and trash piles, a pack of four or five dogs picked up our scent and barked to alert the area to our presence. We held up at the far side of the lot. ... A group of kids had been playing around in the street, but had scattered as soon as we left the station. In previous years, that was a bad sign. Kids scattered and plugged their ears before roadside bombs detonated." 4,306th to die: May 30, 2009 – Army Spc. Samuel D. Stone, 20, of Port Orchard, died in Tallil, Iraq, of injuries suffered during a non-combat related vehicle roll-over. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 303rd Cavalry Regiment, Bremerton. He attended South Kitsap High and graduated from Wellpinit-Fort Semco High School in Yakima County in 2006. He trained in carpentry and worked in Seattle as an apprentice carpenter before shipping out to Iraq. His mother, Nancy Stone, said her son "liked carpentry, but he wanted to be an architect and that's why he joined the military, so he would be able to have the education paid for." The family said Stone was an avid reader, enjoyed playing Dungeons & Dragons, and fishing and hunting with his father, Stephen Stone. He named his dog Ayla after a character in the Jean Auel novel "The Clan of the Cave Bear." Said his mother, who named her son after the prophet Samuel: "I didn't expect to have to give him back [to God] this soon."

4,242nd to die: Feb. 15, 2009 – Army Staff Sgt. Sean D. Diamond, 41, a Fort Lewis solider from Dublin, Calif., died in As Salam, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. He was assigned to the 610th Engineer Support Company at Fort Lewis, and was married, with four children. Diamond joined the Army as an infantryman in September 1987 and later served in the Reserve. He returned to active duty after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and was a heavy equipment operator in Iraq. "When I saw him before he left last year I thought, 'Aren't you a little old to be going there?'" said his mother, Sally Wiley Diamond of Dublin. "But he had a lot of young guys that had never been there. He didn't want to turn them loose over there." She added: "You won't see a picture his whole life he wasn't smiling."

4,232nd to die: Jan. 26, 2009 – Army Chief Warrant Officer Benjamin H. Todd, 29, of Colville, Wash., and three others, died from wounds suffered when two OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters crashed in Kirkuk, Iraq. They were assigned to the 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y. The cause of the accident did not appear to be the result of enemy action, the Army said, noting the crash was the largest single American military loss of life in one day since last September . Formerly an Army Ranger, Todd served two tours of duty in Afghanistan with the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. The helicopter pilot had a fancy for dirt bikes and four-wheelers. His family, in a statement, called him "a young man defined by his loyalty to God, family and country."

4,231st to die: Jan. 24, 2009 – Army Sgt. Kyle J. Harrington, 24, a Fort Lewis solider from Swansea, Mass., died in Basra, Iraq, of injuries sustained from a non-hostile accident in his unit motor pool. He was assigned to the 542nd Maintenance Company, 593rd Sustainment Brigade, at Fort Lewis. Harrington's widow, Faith, said she was told that Harrington was fatally hit by a forklift . He and his wife had two children. Harrington's sister Elizabeth said "I can't be sad when I think of my brother. I can't think of one sad moment [we] ever had with each other. Once he joined the Army, he just became a man. He went from my teenage brother to a man overnight."

 

 
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