Army Sgt. Aaron X. Wittman, 28, from Chester, Va., was the first U.S. military casualty of 2013. He died Jan. 10 from small-arms fire during an attack in Khogyani District, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan. A graduate of The Citadel Military College of South Carolina, Sgt. Wittman earned a Purple Heart and Bronze Star during his two combat deployments.
As of this writing, Air Force Capt. David I. Lyon, 28, from Sandpoint, Idaho, is the last reported U.S. war death in 2013. He perished Dec. 27 in Kabul, Afghanistan, from injuries caused by a suicide car bomb. Capt. Lyon, an Air Force Academy graduate, was scheduled to return home in February.
These are but two U.S. service members who lost their lives in operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and New Dawn in 2013. Here are the others:
January: Army Sgt. David. J. Chambers, 25; Army Sgt. Mark H. Schoonhoven, 38.
February: Marine Staff Sgt. Jonathan D. Davis, 34.
March: Air Force Tech. Sgt. Larry Bunn, 43; Army Spc. Cody D. Suggs, 22; Army Staff Sgt. Steven P. Blass, 27; Army Chief Warrant Officer Bryan J. Henderson, 27; Army Capt. Sara M. Knutson, 27; Army Capt. Andrew M. Pedersen-Keel, 28; Army Staff Sgt. Rex L. Schad, 26; Army Staff Sgt. Marc A. Scialdo, 31; Army Spc. Zachary L. Shannon, 21; Navy Chief Cryptologic Technician (SW) Christian M. Pike, 31; Army Spc. David T. Proctor, 26; Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 James E. Groves III, 37; Army Sgt.1st Class James F. Grissom, 31; Army Sgt. Tristan M. Wade, 23; Army Sgt. Michael C. Cable, 26; Army Chief Warrant Officer 5 Curtis S. Reagan, 43.
April: Air Force Capt. James M. Steel, 29; Army Spc. Wilbel A. Robles-Santa, 25; Army Spc. Delfin M. Santos, 24; Army Staff Sgt. Christopher M. Ward, 24; Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Matthew P. Ruffner, 34; Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jarett M. Yoder, 26; Army Pfc. Barrett L. Austin, 20; Army Capt. Aaron R. Blanchard, 32; Army 1st Lt. Robert J. Hess, 26; Air Force Capt. Brandon L. Cyr, 28; Air Force Staff Sgt. Richard A. Dickson, 24; Air Force Staff Sgt. Daniel N. Fannin, 30; Air Force Capt. Reid K. Nishizuka, 30.
May: Army Staff Sgt. Michael H. Simpson, 30; Army Pfc. Charles P. McClure, 21; Army Spc. Trinidad Santiago Jr., 25; Air Force Tech Sgt. Herman Mackey III, 30; Air Force Capt. Victoria A. Pinckney, 27; Air Force Capt. Mark T. Voss, 27; Army Spc. Kevin Cardoza, 19; Marine Staff Sgt. Eric D. Christian, 39; Army 1st Lt. Brandon J. Landrum, 26; Army Spc. Thomas P. Murach, 22; Army Staff Sgt. Francis G. Phillips IV, 28; Army Spc. Brandon J. Prescott, 24; Marine Cpl. David M. Sonka, 23; Army Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey C. Baker, 29; Army Spc. Mitchell K. Daehling, 24; Army Spc. William J. Gilbert, 24; Army Pfc. Cody J. Towse, 21; Army Sgt. 1st Class Trenton L. Rhea, 33; Army Sgt. Eugene M. Aguon, 23; Army Spc. Dwayne W. Flores, 22; Army Spc. Christopher R. Drake, 20; Army Staff Sgt. Joe A. Nunezrodriguez, 29.
June: Army Spc. Ray A. Ramirez, 20; Army Pfc. Mariano M. Raymundo, 21; Army Staff Sgt. Job M. Reigoux, 30; Army Spc. Kyle P. Stoeckli, 21; Army Warrant Officer Sean W. Mullen, 39; Army Spc. Robert A. Pierce, 20; Army 2nd Lt. Justin L. Sisson, 23; Army Lt. Col. Todd J. Clark, 40; Army Maj. Jaimie E. Leonard, 39; Army Staff Sgt. Jesse L. Thomas Jr., 31; Army Staff Sgt. Marek Soja, 30; Marine Lance Cpl. Jared W. Brown, 20; Army Spc. Ember M. Alt, 21; Army Spc. Robert W. Ellis, 21; Army Sgt. Justin R. Johnson, 25; Army Spc. William R. Moody, 30; Army Sgt. Corey E. Garver, 26; Army Spc. Javier Sanchez Jr., 28; Army Sgt. Justin R. Rogers, 25.
July: Army Spc. Hilda I. Clayton, 22; Army 1st Sgt. Tracy L. Stapley , 44; Army Pvt. Errol D.A. Milliard, 18; Marine Lance Cpl. Benjamin Tuttle, 19; Army Staff Sgt. Sonny C. Zimmerman, 25; Army Spc. Anthony R. Maddox, 22; Army Spc. Rob L. Nichols, 24; Army 1st Lt. Jonam Russell , 25; Army Sgt. Stefan M. Smith, 24; Army Sgt. Eric T. Lawson, 30; Army Spc. Caryn E. Nouv, 29; Army Sgt. Stephen M. New, 29; Army Spc. Nicholas B. Burley, 22.
August: Army Staff Sgt. Joshua Bowden, 28; Army Staff Sgt. Michael H. Ollis, 24; Army Sgt. 1st Class Ricardo Young, 34; Army 1st Lt. Jason Togi, 24; Army Spc. Kenneth Clifford Alvarez, 23; Army Pvt. Jonathon Michael Dean Hostetter, 20; Army Master Sgt. George A. Bannar Jr., 37; Army 1st Lt. Timothy G. Santos Jr., 29; Army Spc. Keith E. Grace Jr., 26; Army Staff Sgt. Octavio Herrera, 26; Army Sgt. Jamar A. Hicks, 22; Army Spc. Nickolas S. Welch, 26.
September: Air Force Staff Sgt. Todd J. Lobraico Jr., 22; Army Staff Sgt. Randall R. Lane, 43; Army Staff Sgt. Robert E. Thomas Jr., 24; Army Sgt. William D. Brown III, 44; Army Spc. James T. Wickliff-Chacin, 22; Army Staff Sgt. Timothy R. McGill, 30; Army Staff Sgt. Liam J. Nevins, 32; Army Spc. Joshua J. Strickland, 23; Navy Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jonathan S. Gibson, 32; Navy Lt. Cmdr. Landon L. Jones, 35; Army Staff Sgt. Thomas A. Baysore Jr., 31.
October: Lance Cpl. Jeremiah M. Collins Jr., 19; Army Spc. Angel L. Lopez, 27; Army Sgt. Patrick C. Hawkins, 25; Army Capt. Jennifer M. Moreno, 25; Army Pfc. Cody J. Patterson, 24; Army Sgt. Joseph M. Peters, 24; Army Staff Sgt. Patrick H. Quinn, 26; Army Sgt. Lyle D. Turnbull, 31; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Christopher O. Grant, 20.
November: Army Sgt. 1st Class Forrest W. Robertson, 35; Army Staff Sgt. Richard L. Vazquez, 28; Army Staff Sgt. Alex A. Viola, 29.
December: Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew R. Rodriguez, 19; Navy Petty Officer 1st Class James L. Smith, 38; Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Randy L. Billings, 34; Army Sgt. Peter Bohler, 29; Army Sgt. 1st Class Omar W. Forde, 28; Army Spc. Terry K. D. Gordon, 22; Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joshua B. Silverman, 35; Army Staff Sgt. Jesse L. Williams, 30; Marine Sgt. Daniel M. Vasselian, 27.
If you skimmed this list or skipped it, perhaps you ought to go back and read each name. Consider that these are our fallen for one year only and that military suicides are excluded from the official list of U.S. war dead. Remember that none of them will ever again welcome a new year. Then thank them for their willingness to serve our nation, and bless them, every one.
Marilee Swirczek invites you to visit www.wnc.edu/always_lost/ to learn about a unique Nevada memorial dedicated to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan and to those who made it home.