Afghanistan's 500th

Ammon.jpg Lt. J.A. Ammon

This being the forgotten Memorial Day -- as opposed to the unofficial M-Day observed Monday -- we mark it with the 500th American troop death in the forgotten war in Afghanistan: Lt. Jeffrey A. Ammon, 37, a Bangor Navy officer, died May 20 from the blast of an improvised explosive device - bomb - in the Aband District of Afghanistan. Sgt. 1st Class David L. McDowell, 30, a Fort Lewis Army Ranger, was also killed in Afganistan on April 29. They're the first with state ties to die in Afghanistan this year, and the 23rd and 24th overall.

Along with three other soldiers -- Army Pfc. Aaron J. Ward, 19, a Fort Lewis MP; Army Staff Sgt. Chad A. Caldwell, 24, of Spokane; and Army Pfc. William T. Dix, 32, of Fort Lewis who all recently died in Iraq (Dix committed suicide) and were just added to our War Dead list -- 294 active-duty troops with Washington state connections have died in Afghanistan, the Philippines, Pakistan, and Iraq since October 2001. All were raised, based, or had family here. Ages 18 to 53, they left behind 171 children, 127 widows, and two widowers.

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