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KANDAHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan  The Missouri National Guardsmen had already been briefed on the high threat of the day’s mission. The bullets and explosives were packed. So were the tourniquets and Kevlar armored diapers.

They’d already prayed for protection from wolves among the sheep.

Now it was time for the combat engineers to roll out, to move toward a dusty road to nowhere where they’d previously found two improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, and been shot at. As their convoy rumbled out of base in the early morning, heavy metal music reverberated through the headsets of three seasoned guardsmen riding in one of the armored vehicles.

Feel the power of the warrior, fight, fight, fight, fight.

They rode in the “Great White Buffalo,” a battleship on wheels, complete with a V-shaped hull to repel blasts and a long mechanical arm to dig up homemade bombs.

Spc. Patrick Feldmann, far from his home in Washington, Mo., gripped the steering wheel, and spit tobacco juice into a cup strapped to the front of his Kevlar vest.

Five months into the deployment with 89 other men of the 1138th Engineer Company, he still holds a secret. He hasn’t told his mother and girlfriend exactly what he is doing over here.

He hasn’t told them his group of citizen soldiers has one of the riskiest jobs in Afghanistan.

He hasn’t told them theirs is the task of finding and destroying the insurgents’ favorite and most effective weapons of choice.

He has spared the details.

“It’s easier that way,” said Feldmann, 23, with his signature ear-to-ear grin.

The 1138th normally drills one weekend a month at an armory in Farmington and responds to state emergencies like ice storms, floods and tornadoes.

That was before the 11-year war in Afghanistan and its accompanying war in Iraq.

Now, members of the 1138th troll through Kandahar Province, the birthplace of the Taliban, at a frighteningly slow pace. Their mission is to clear roadways of IEDs so other units and supply convoys can move around the war-torn country.

The company has cleared the way so other troops could safely close three bases, while enabling several infantry missions and the movement of Afghan security forces.

All men, these guardsmen primarily come from the St. Louis region and eastern Missouri. In real life, they are truckers, salesmen, teachers and mechanics.

As America’s longest war has drawn on, they know the slow fatigue of multiple deployments. They know the frustrating juggle of family obligation, civilian jobs and the demands of military life.

Now, they and thousands like them stand on the edge of a troop drawdown vowing to pull most of them out by the end of 2014.

To many Americans it sounds like an exit, and perhaps even a resolution. And yet, for members of the 1138th it feels like an abstraction.

Because even as military leaders move to dismantle bases, bring troops home and train Afghan security forces to replace them, the 1138th is engaged full-bore in its task.

If anything, the guardsmen think a drawdown will make their job busier.

To exit Afghanistan, thousands of troops will have to travel thousands of miles to conduct countless missions. And not much moves without units like the 1138th out front.

“I thought that was going to mean a slow mission tempo,” said Staff Sgt. William Hanke, 27, of St. Charles. “It turns out that it means the exact opposite. It’s actually given us more work for our particular mission.”

While some of them stay within the confines of their base, doing paperwork, coordinating missions, monitoring radios, keeping the company supplied, others are constantly in harm’s way. A memorial of 44 names painted on concrete barriers in the middle of their base speaks to the dangers they face.

Since late August, the 1138th has found 27 IEDs and has been hit by 11. One bomb nearly ripped a vehicle in half.

They say it can be satisfying work.

“Us doing our jobs could have saved who knows how many lives behind us,” said Spc. Jason Dane, 34, who hopes to find work in a Reynolds County mine when he gets home to his wife and three kids in Ellington.

JUST ANOTHER DAY

On the recent mission — with music playing in the Great White Buffalo — they had been warned to keep their eyes peeled. They were headed into a rural area where a Taliban leader and several fighters are believed to hang out.

Those are the kinds of areas where insurgents are known to lay IEDs — more than 14,500 were placed in Afghanistan last year alone.

The bombs are often buried in shallow holes on dusty roads known to be traveled by Americans and Afghan security forces. The explosives are usually packed in jugs and connected to pressure plate triggers made of nothing much more than plastic picnic plates or wood. The cheap but lethal weapons are a stark contrast to the $15 million worth of equipment in the Guard’s convoy.

And the ground-penetrating radar doesn’t pick up everything.

Members of the 1138th are trained to look for the slightest ripple in the soil, or anything that might offer clues to a deadly device.

That tense task — where every moment can produce fatal missteps — is just another day at work for Staff Sgt. Mike Johnson, 37, the Buffalo’s commander. A substitute teacher from Park Hills, he is on his third deployment doing route clearance with the Guard.

“(My wife) really hates what I do, but she is probably my biggest supporter,” Johnson said.

Johnson has two sons. His gunner, Spc. David Dunavant, a diesel mechanic from Cedar Hill, has two daughters.

Even amid the stress of their mission, they engage in an ongoing feud over which is better, the Boy Scouts or the Girl Scouts.

Dunavant waved a small green Girl Scout flag from behind the bulletproof windows as the Buffalo trucked across the barren landscape.

After the convoy turned off pavement, it slowed to a crawl so the guardsmen up front could scan for suspicious wires and containers. Dunavant compared the pace to taking all day to drive to Walmart.

Ahead, they noticed a suspicious line of rocks with a stick in the middle of the road. Perhaps these were the markings of a bomb.

Feldmann steered the Buffalo in close, as the rest of the convoy waited behind.

Johnson, manning a small control box, extended the long mechanical arm and punched the metal spike on the end of it into the packed dirt. He scraped and dug into the roadway.

Dunavant scanned the hilltops for fighters.

Feldmann gnawed on his chew as Bob Marley sang through the headsets.

A DRY MOONSCAPE

The 1138th is stationed at Forward Operating Base Frontenac, just north of Kandahar. Canadians opened the base, which sits near a dam an American company helped build in the 1950s. It’s surrounded by giant baskets of dirt, concrete barriers and concertina wire. A white blimp floats above for surveillance.

Inside the walls, there’s Internet, a gym, a chapel, pool tables and steak and shrimp at the chow hall on Friday nights. People from places such as Kenya, the Philippines and Nepal fill private contracts to clean the base, do the laundry and cook the food.

The area is a brown and dry moonscape, with a horizon lined with steep, jagged mountains. One soldier describes it as a biblical movie set.

Children collect dead bushes in wheelbarrows for fuel. Squat homes are built of mud and sticks. There are traditional water wells with a bucket on a rope.

Most of the residents of the Shah Wali Kot district, which includes the base, are off the grid without any kind of services, said the district’s governor, Obaidullah Popalzai, in an interview.

He said insurgents target schools and other government programs. He hoped coalition forces, including the Missourians, would stay longer to help provide security for the area. He said Afghan security forces aren’t ready.

“When they find an IED, they don’t have enough equipment to get it off the road,” he said.

The Missourians recently saw Afghan soldiers try to dismantle a roadside bomb near Kandahar. The Afghans hovered around the bomb, touched it with their hands and moved it around before it went off in their faces.

One soldier was thrown against a wall and likely died later. Another was torn to pieces. Nothing was left of a third.

“He was there and then he wasn’t,” said Sgt. John Reeves, 44, of Jackson. “I never knew the human body could disappear like that.”

30 PERCENT LUCK

Capt. Jason Davis, company commander of the 1138th, said about 70 percent of success in route clearance should come from skill, good equipment and training. The remaining 30 percent is luck.

“Luck has been in our favor,” said Davis, 32, a property consultant from Wentzville.

In September 2011, the 1138th replaced an Indiana Guard company that wasn’t so fortunate. It lost six of about 100 men — four from one blast, two in an ambush.

“They are just as smart as us,” Indiana Guard Staff Sgt. Kyle Leonard said of insurgents here. “They are not stupid people, that is what we had to respect. We have multimillion-dollar vehicles, and they are still killing us.”

So far, just one of the Missourians has gone home from a combat injury. Sgt. 1st Class Randy Hargis, of Pacific, stepped on a mine while outside his vehicle. The blast shredded his Kevlar diaper, which probably saved his life, Davis said.

Four other guardsmen have gone home for non-combat-related injuries. Back pain is common. The men work in tight battle spaces with heavy armor strapped to their bodies, sometimes for days and nights at a time.

When they are hit, most soldiers survive the blasts. They say it feels like walking away from a bad car wreck.

Spc. Chris Hawkins, 30, a construction worker from Foristell, ran over a bomb in early January while clearing a route to help close a base. The vehicle filled with dust, and his head smacked the ceiling. Once he and the four-person crew realized everyone was OK and their legs were intact, they laughed.

“We were in the lead for so long, we just kind of figured we’d hit one,” he said. “Kudos to the Taliban, because they had that one placed perfectly.”

Several of the men in the company have been hit on multiple occasions.

“I’ve been blown up three times,” said Sgt. Tim Barker, 37, of Troy, who fixes convenience store beverage equipment for his real job. “Twice in Iraq and once here.”

He didn’t boast. He explained the fact like a cook talking about being burned in the kitchen.

Barker, who recently found out he’s going to be a grandfather, downs chocolate throughout the missions and crosses his fingers if it gets dicey.

It’s that one huge IED lurking out there in no man’s land that’s in the back of Lt. Perry Hoffman’s mind — the bad-luck blast that soldiers won’t walk away from.

Hoffman, 39, of Rolla, an intense leader with a lot of gray hair for his age, kept telling his platoon to stay sharp for the recent mission, even though they were experienced.

“We are getting too close to home to be making mistakes now,” he said.

BETWEEN MISSIONS

When the Missourians aren’t bracing for an explosion, they hang out in their compound of containerized housing units. It looks and feels like a two-story hotel along a highway, only there are blast walls, and everyone wears green and has a passion for guns and explosives.

Their ages range from 19 to 52. They are grandsons, sons, spouses, fathers and grandfathers.

“I just wanted to do something different,” Pfc. Imaum Weakley, 19, of Sikeston, said of joining the Guard. His gun truck was hit by a bomb early in the deployment. “Growing up, I always wanted to be a leader.”

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He was only 8 when the Sept. 11 attacks happened and doesn’t remember watching news footage of the Twin Towers falling over and over again.

Sgt. Jeffrey “Pappe” Stevens, a plumber from Winchester who often stokes a big cigar, is on the other end of the spectrum.

“I still got some fight left in me,” said Stevens, 52, who is on his third deployment.

This time his son, Douglas, 29, of Manchester, has joined him.

“He’s doing a darn good job,” Stevens said. “Ever since the kid was little, it’s what he wanted to do.”

Two brothers, David and Jeff Vaughn, share the same room, rank, platoon, smoking habit and affinity to rile each other.

“I can outshoot him,” said Spc. Jeff Vaughn, 40, who works at a Walmart automotive center in Sikeston.

“On days I feel like letting him,” countered David, 38, a trucker from Cape Girardeau.

Spc. Vikas Singh, 29, originally from India, came to Cape Girardeau to go to school but wound up in the Guard.

“It kind of didn’t work out for me,” said Singh. “I didn’t do good in college.”

Now he works as a lead man on Mississippi River barges. In Afghanistan, he’s a gunner.

Between missions, the men work out, and play basketball, dodgeball and hockey. They hunt each other with Nerf pistols. They rummage through the latest round of care packages. They stay up in the wee hours challenging each other on video games such as “Call of Duty.” The movie “300,” about Spartan warriors, is a favorite.

One solider had a collection of women’s panties sent from home displayed on his wall. Another soldier listened to the recording of his unborn baby’s heartbeat, while others watched their children grow up without them via Skype.

When supply Sgt. Kris Moore, 31, left Missouri, his son could put two or three words together.

“Now he’s speaking in whole sentences and potty trained,” said Moore. “He’s quite the little man now.”

STAYING ALIVE

Expecting the worst on the recent mission, a few helicopters and F-16 fighters were requested to defend the convoy. It was sparse terrain, but there were still plenty of places to hide in nearby hilltops.

The crew in the Buffalo — Feldmann, Johnson and Dunavant — cranked up the air conditioning on the bright winter day. They balanced the stress with healthy sarcasm and, of course, music playing through their headsets.

At first they were relieved to see children walking near the desolate roadway. That usually was a safe sign.

Dunavant waved at the children, but few, if any, waved back.

“You should wave,” he said, smiling through the glass. “I am the one with the gun.”

Then they wondered why the few cars in the area were driving on a different, nearby road. Johnson told Dunavant to keep his eyes on a suspicious young man who perhaps had a cellphone and was tipping people off down the road.

“Maybe he’s texting his girlfriend,” Feldmann said.

Dunavant kept his eyes on him until he was out of sight.

The convoy crept on as the road wound its way through more nothingness and the occasional group of earthen homes. A cemetery was strewn with rock-piled graves marked with flags, some that were short, perhaps for children.

They stopped only to pee off the back of the trucks — nobody set foot on the ground — and to check the dirt with the Buffalo’s arm.

“All clear,” Johnson would say after digging into suspicious sections of the road.

He thought the landscape around him was godforsaken.

“It looks like somebody forgot about it,” he said. “There’s no water. There’s no green. It’s ugly.”

But to some, it’s home, and a few people eventually took more than a passing glance at the convoy.

“Hey, we are starting to cause a stir,” Johnson said into his radio.

They were right above the village where they took enemy fire on the previous trip. This time, though, the guardsmen weren’t going that far.

They hit their turnaround point before reaching the village, and with it a hint of safety.

From there, the trip back to base would be over the same soil they’d already passed. A safe return would be a matter of carefully retracing their tracks on the dirt, while making sure no one had since planted new bombs.

Relief of the return is as familiar as the stress of the mission. More times than not, the men blast the Bee Gees’ disco mantra “Staying Alive” just as they enter the base’s front gate.

On this day, they already spent that track earlier in the route. But knowing they still had time to make it to lunch at the chow hall was satisfaction enough.

Feldmann, at the wheel of the Buffalo, was already ordering chicken nuggets in his head.

And he was smiling his ear-to-ear grin.

This list of casualties of the Iraq and Afghanistan consists primarily of men and women who had connections to the St. Louis area, as well as some from outstate Missouri and Illinois.

Some of this information is incomplete. Do you have a correction or a better photo? Please share them with us.

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Cpl. Evan Tyler James

Bio

Age: 20

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: La Harpe, Ill.

Branch: Marines

Unit: Engineering Company C, 6th Engineer Support Battalion, 4th Force Service Support Group

Incident

: Drowned while trying to cross the Saddam Canal in southeastern Iraq; his body was recovered on March 25.

Location: Saddam Canal, Iraq

Lance Cpl. Nicholas Brian Kleiboeker

Bio

Age: 19

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Irvington, Ill.

Branch: Marines

Unit: 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division

Incident

: Killed when the munitions bunker he was working in caught fire and exploded.

Location: Near Hillah, Iraq

Pvt. Matthew Duane Bush

Bio

Age: 20

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: East Alton, Ill.

Branch: Army

Unit: F Troop, 1st Squadron, 10th Armored Cavalry Regiment

Incident

: Bush died of what is believed to be a heat-related illness.

Location: Camp Caldwell in Kirkush, Iraq

Capt. Benedict Joseph Smith

Bio

Age: 29

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Monroe City, Mo.

Branch: Army Reserve

Unit: 5th Battalion, 101st Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)

Incident

: Smith was on board a Black Hawk helicopter that was shot down near Tikrit.

Location: Near Tikrit, Iraq

Spc. William David Dusenbery

Bio

Age: 30

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Fairview Heights, Ill.

Branch: Army

Unit: 4th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)

Incident

: Dusenbery was among those killed in the crash of two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters in Mosul.

Location: Mosul, Iraq

Sgt. 1st Class Richard Steven Gottfried

Bio

Age: 42

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Lake Ozark, Mo.

Branch: Army

Unit: 1st Division Support Command, 1st Infantry Division

Incident

: Gottfried was killed when struck by an explosive.

Location: Tampa, Iraq

Lance Cpl. Torrey Louis Stoffel-Gray

Bio

Age: 19

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Patoka, Ill.

Branch: Marines

Unit: 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force

Incident

: Stoffel-Gray was killed by hostile fire.

Location: Anbar province, Iraq

Capt. John Edgar Tipton

Bio

Age: 32

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

Branch: Army Reserve

Unit: Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division

Incident

: Tipton died from an explosion while conducting combat operations.

Location: Anbar province, Iraq

Sgt. Christopher Allen Wagener

Bio

Age: 24

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Fairview Heights, Ill.

Branch: Army

Unit: 10th Aviation Battalion, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry)

Incident

: Wagener died when his convoy vehicle hit a land mine.

Location: Mosul, Iraq

Staff Sgt. Trevor Lawson Spink

Bio

Age: 36

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Farmington, Mo.

Branch: Marines

Unit: 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force

Incident

: Spink was among four Marines killed in a non-combat-related vehicle accident.

Location: Anbar province, Iraq

Cpl. Christopher Ward Belchik

Bio

Age: 30

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Alton, Ill.

Branch: Marines

Unit: 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force

Incident

: Belchik was killed in hostile action.

Location: Anbar province, Iraq

Spc. Marco Damian Ross

Bio

Age: 20

Sex: Male

Race: Black or African American

Town: Memphis, Tenn.

Branch: Army

Unit: 115th Forward Support Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division

Incident

: Ross was killed in a mortar attack on his camp.

Location: Baghdad, Iraq

Lance Cpl. Drew Michael Uhles

Bio

Age: 20

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: DuQuoin, Ill.

Branch: Marines

Unit: 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division

Incident

:

Location: Anbar province, Iraq

Cpl. Jacob Rudeloff Fleischer

Bio

Age: 25

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: St Louis, Mo.

Branch: Army

Unit: 2nd Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division (Light)

Incident

:

Location: Deh Rawood, Afghanistan

Cpl. Matthew Alan Wyatt

Bio

Age: 21

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Millstadt, Ill.

Branch: Marines

Unit: 5th Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division

Incident

: Wyatt died of injuries suffered in hostile action.

Location: Anbar province, Iraq

Spc. Jacob Christopher Palmatier

Bio

Age: 29

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Springfield, Ill.

Branch: Army

Unit: 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division

Incident

: Palmatier was killed when an explosive detonated near his military vehicle.

Location: Muqdadiyah, Iraq

Staff Sgt. Daniel Gene Gresham

Bio

Age: 23

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Lincoln, Ill.

Branch: Army

Unit: 797th Ordnance Company, 79th Ordnance Battalion, 52nd Ordnance

Incident

: Gresham was killed when a second explosive went off while he was responding to an earlier device.

Location: Camp Wilson, Iraq

1st Lt. William Anthony Edens

Bio

Age: 29

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Columbia, Mo.

Branch: Army Reserve

Unit: 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division

Incident

: Edens was among four soldiers killed when an explosive detonated near their Stryker military vehicle.

Location: Tal Afar, Iraq

Lance Cpl. Erik Ryan Heldt

Bio

Age: 26

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Hermann, Mo.

Branch: Marines

Unit: 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division

Incident

: Heldt and another Marine were killed when their vehicle hit an explosive.

Location: Ramadi, Iraq

Pvt. Lavena Lynn Johnson

Bio

Age: 19

Sex: Female

Race: Black or African American

Town: Florissant, Mo.

Branch: Army

Unit: 129th Corps Support Battalion

Incident

: Johnson died of non-combat-related injuries.

Location: Balad, Iraq

Spec. Christopher M Katzenberger

Bio

Age: 25

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: St. Louis, Mo.

Branch: Army

Unit: 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment

Incident

:

Location: Bagram, Afghanistan

Sgt. Robert Gene Davis

Bio

Age: 23

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Jackson, Mo.

Branch: Army

Unit: 864th Engineer Combat Battalion (Heavy), 555th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade (Provisional)

Incident

:

Location: Kandahar, Afghanistan

Staff Sgt. Gary Ray Harper Jr.

Bio

Age: 29

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Virden, Ill.

Branch: Army

Unit: 2nd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group

Incident

: Harper was killed when his reconnaissance mission was attacked.

Location: Baghdad, Iraq

1st Lt. Debra Anne Banaszak

Bio

Age: 35

Sex: Female

Race: White

Town: Bloomington, Ill.

Branch: Army National Guard

Unit: 1035th Maintenance Company

Incident

: Banaszak died of noncombat-related injuries.

Location: Camp Victory, Kuwait

Spc. Peter Joseph Navarro

Bio

Age: 20

Sex: Male

Race: Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander

Town: Wildwood, Mo.

Branch: Army

Unit: 2nd Battalion, 70th Armor, 3rd Brigade Combat Team

Incident

: Died while conducting combat operations when an improvised explosive device detonated near their HMMWV

Location: Taji, Iraq

Sgt. 1st Class Shawn Christopher Dostie

Bio

Age: 32

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Granite City, Ill.

Branch: Army

Unit: 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division

Incident

: An improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV during patrol operations

Location: Baghdad, Iraq

Maj. William Freder Hecker III

Bio

Age: 37

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: St. Louis, Mo.

Branch: Army

Unit: 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division

Incident

: An improvised explosive device detonated near their HMMWV during convoy operations.

Location: Najaf, Iraq

Lance Cpl. Jonathan Kyle Price

Bio

Age: 19

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Woodlawn, Ill.

Branch: Marines

Unit: 3rd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force

Incident

: Died from wounds received as a result of enemy small arms fire while conducting combat operations against enemy forces

Location: Ramadi, Iraq

Staff Sgt. Edwin Herbert Dazachacon

Bio

Age: 38

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Belleville, Ill.

Branch: Army

Unit: 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group

Incident

: Died when an improvised explosive device detonated near their HMMWV during combat operations

Location: Deh Rawod, Afghanistan

Sgt. Amanda Nicole Pinson

Bio

Age: 21

Sex: Female

Race: White

Town: St. Louis, Mo.

Branch: Army

Unit: 101st Military Intelligence Detachment, 501st Special Troops Battalion, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)

Incident

: Died when a mortar round detonated

Location: Tikrit, Iraq

Pfc. James Francis Costello III

Bio

Age: 27

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: St. Louis, Mo.

Branch: Army

Unit: 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division

Incident

: Died of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near their Bradley Fighting Vehicle and they subsequently came under small arms fire during combat operations

Location: Taji, Iraq

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Christopher Brian Donaldson

Bio

Age: 28

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Effingham, Ill.

Branch: Army

Unit: 3rd Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry)

Incident

: Died when their CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed during combat operations

Location: Kunar Province, Afghanistan

Lance Cpl. Leon B Deraps

Bio

Age: 19

Sex: Male

Race: Multi

Town: Jamestown, Mo.

Branch: Marines

Unit: 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force

Incident

: Died while conducting combat operations against enemy forces

Location: Anbar province, Iraq

Pfc. Christopher Neal White

Bio

Age: 23

Sex: Male

Race: Hispanic

Town: Southport, N.C.

Branch: Marines

Unit: 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force

Incident

: White died while conducting combat operations.

Location: Anbar province, Iraq

Cpl. Riley Elam Baker

Bio

Age: 22

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Pacific, Mo.

Branch: Marines

Unit: 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force

Incident

: Baker died while conducting combat operations.

Location: Anbar province, Iraq

Cpl. Ryan James Buckley

Bio

Age: 21

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Nokomi, Ill.

Branch: Army

Unit: 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne (Air Assault)

Incident

: Buckley died of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV during combat operations.

Location: Baghdad, Iraq

Sgt. Steven Paul Mennemeyer

Bio

Age: 26

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Granite City, Ill.

Branch: Army

Unit: 82nd Medical Company (Air Ambulance)

Incident

: Died when their UH-60 Blackhawk crashed into a lake in the vicinity of Korean Village

Location: Rubtbah, Iraq

Staff Sgt. Michael Lee Deason

Bio

Age: 28

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Farmington, Mo.

Branch: Army

Unit: 3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division

Incident

: Died of injuries suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle during combat operations

Location: Ad War, Iraq

Pfc. Jeremy Reed Shank

Bio

Age: 18

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Jackson, Mo.

Branch: Army

Unit: 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division

Incident

: Died of injuries suffered when he encountered enemy forces using small arms fire during a dismounted security patrol

Location: Hawijah, Iraq

Spc. Russell Michael Makowski

Bio

Age: 23

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Union, Mo.

Branch: Army

Unit: 4th Battalion, 42nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division

Incident

: Died when an improvised explosive device detonated near his dismounted patrol during combat operations

Location: Taji, Iraq

Capt. Travis Lyle Sallee Patriquin

Bio

Age: 32

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: St. Charles, Mo.

Branch: Army

Unit: 2nd Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division

Incident

: Died in of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near their HMMWV during combat operations.

Location: Ramadi, Iraq

Maj. Gloria Dean Davis

Bio

Age: 47

Sex: Female

Race: Black or African American

Town: St. Louis, Mo.

Branch: Army

Unit: Defense Security Assistance Agency

Incident

: Davis died in Baghdad, Iraq, from a non-combat related incident. She was assigned to the Defense Security Assistance Agency, Washington, D.C. The incident is under investigation.

Location: Baghdad, Iraq

Lance Cpl. Matthew William Clark

Bio

Age: 22

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: St. Louis, Mo.

Branch: Marines

Unit: 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force

Incident

: Died due to injuries suffered from enemy action in Al Anbar Province

Location: Anbar province, Iraq

Sgt. Milton Anthony Gist Jr.

Bio

Age: 27

Sex: Male

Race: Black or African American

Town: St. Louis, Mo.

Branch: Army

Unit: 1st Battalion, 77th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division

Incident

: Died of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle during combat operations.

Location: Ramadi, Iraq

Lance Cpl. Matthew Paul Pathenos

Bio

Age: 21

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Ballwin, Mo.

Branch: Marines Reserve

Unit: Marine Forces Reserve's 3rd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division

Incident

: died while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq.

Location: Anbar province, Iraq

Pfc. Ryan Clark Garbs

Bio

Age: 20

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Edwardsville, Ill.

Branch: Army

Unit: 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment

Incident

: Garbs diedwhen his helicopter crashed in southeastern Afghanistan.

Location: Qalat, Afghanistan

Sgt. Brandon Lee Wallace

Bio

Age: 27

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: St. Louis, Mo.

Branch: Army Reserve

Unit: 1451st Transportation Company, 13th Support Command

Incident

: Died when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.

Location: Fallujah, Iraq

Sgt. Nicholas Rudolph Walsh

Bio

Age: 27

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Millstadt, Ill.

Branch: Marines

Unit: Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force

Incident

: Died from wounds suffered while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq.

Location: Anbar province, Iraq

Spc. Jeremiah David Costello

Bio

Age: 22

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Carlinville, Ill.

Branch: Army

Unit: 5th Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division

Incident

: Died of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle.

Location: Qayyarah, Iraq

1st Lt. Daniel Patrick Riordan

Bio

Age: 24

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: St. Louis, Mo.

Branch: Army

Unit: 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division

Incident

: Died June 23 in Taji, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle.

Location: Taji, Iraq

Master Sgt. Thomas Alfred Crowell

Bio

Age: 36

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Neosho, Mo.

Branch: Air Force

Unit: Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Detachment 301

Incident

: Two airmen and a Department of the Air Force civilian died Nov. 1 near Balad Air Base, Iraq, of wounds suffered from an improvised explosive device. All were special agents to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.

Location: near Balad Air Base, Iraq

Sgt. Austin David Pratt

Bio

Age: 22

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Cadet, Mo.

Branch: Army

Unit: 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry)

Incident

: Pratt died in Balad of non-combat related injuries sustained in Baghdad.

Location: Baghdad, Iraq

Spc. Todd Edward Davis

Bio

Age: 22

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Raymore, Mo.

Branch: Army

Unit: 3rd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Division

Incident

: Died of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated during combat operations

Location: Sinsil, Iraq

Spc. Matthew Francis Straughter

Bio

Age: 27

Sex: Male

Race: Black or African American

Town: St. Charles, Mo.

Branch: Army National Guard

Unit: 1138th Engineer Company, 35th Engineer Brigade, Missouri National Guard

Incident

: Straughter died of wounds suffered when his vehicle was struck by a rocket propelled grenade.

Location: Baghdad, Iraq

Sgt. Bradley Joe Skelton

No photo available.

Bio

Age: 40

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Gordonville, Mo.

Branch: Army National Guard

Unit: 1138th Engineer Company, 35th Engineer Brigade, Missouri Army National Guard

Incident

: Skelton died of wounds suffered when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device during combat operations.

Location: Baghdad, Iraq

Lance Cpl. Drew William Weaver

Bio

Age: 20

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: St. Charles, Mo.

Branch: Marines

Unit: 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force

Incident

: Weaver died while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq.

Location: Anbar province, Iraq

Pfc. Andrew James Habsieger

Bio

Age: 22

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Festus, Mo.

Branch: Army

Unit: 4th Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division

Incident

: Died from wounds suffered when their vehicle encountered an improvised explosive on March 23.

Location: Baghdad, Iraq

Col. Stephen K Scott

Bio

Age: 54

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: New Market, Ala.

Branch: Army Reserve

Unit: 356th Quartermaster Battalion

Incident

: Died in Baghdad, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked unit with indirect fire.

Location: Baghdad, Iraq

Sgt. Adam Job Kohlhaas

Bio

Age: 26

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Perryville, Mo.

Branch: Army

Unit: 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)

Incident

: Died of wounds suffered when their vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device.

Location: Beiji, Iraq

Pfc. Michael Robert Patton

Bio

Age: 19

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Fenton, Mo.

Branch: Marines

Unit: 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force

Incident

: Four Marines died June 14 while supporting combat operations in Farah Province, Afghanistan

Location: Farah province, Afghanistan

Cpl. Gunnar William Zwilling

Bio

Age: 20

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Florissant, Mo.

Branch: Army

Unit: 2nd Battalion, 503d Infantry Regiment (Airborne), 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team

Incident

: Died of wounds suffered when outpost was attacked by small arms fire and rocket propelled grenades from enemy forces in Wanat, Afghanistan, on July 13.

Location: Wanat, Afghanistan

Pvt. Vincent Cortez Winston Jr.

Bio

Age: 22

Sex: Male

Race: Black or African American

Town: St. Louis, Mo.

Branch: Army

Unit: 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division

Incident

: Died of wounds suffered when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device.

Location: Afghanistan

Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Riley Sexton

Bio

Age: 53

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Wentzville, Mo.

Branch: Army

Unit: 164th Military Police Company

Incident

: Died of injuries sustained in a non-combat related incident.

Location: Joint Base Balad, Iraq

Pfc. Ja'Mel Antwon Bryant

Bio

Age: 22

Sex: Male

Race: Black or African American

Town: Belleville, Ill.

Branch: Army

Unit: 40th Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division

Incident

: Died of injuries sustained in a vehicle accident while on patrol in Wahida, Iraq.

Location: Baghdad, Iraq

Sgt. 1st Class Gary Joseph Vasquez

Bio

Age: 33

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Round Lake, Ill.

Branch: Army

Unit: 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group

Incident

: Died from wounds suffered when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device during mounted operations.

Location: Yakhchal, Afghanistan

Sgt. Edward Watson Forrest

Bio

Age: 25

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: St. Louis, Mo.

Branch: Army

Unit: 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division

Incident

: Died when his vehicle was struck by an explosive in Mosul.

Location: Mosul, Iraq

Spc. David Allen Schaefer Jr.

No photo available.

Bio

Age: 27

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Belleville, Ill.

Branch: Army

Unit: 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 172nd Infantry Brigade

Incident

: Died of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his unit.

Location: Baghdad, Iraq

1st Lt. Roslyn Littmann Schulte

Bio

Age: 25

Sex: Female

Race: White

Town: St. Louis, Mo.

Branch: Air Force

Unit: Headquarters, Pacific Air Forces Command

Incident

: Died of wounds suffered from an explosive device.

Location: Kabul, Afghanistan

Sgt. Paul Faris Brooks

Bio

Age: 34

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Joplin, Mo.

Branch: Army National Guard

Unit: 935th Aviation Support Battalion

Incident

: Died of wounds sustained when his unit was attacked by enemy forces using explosives.

Location: Baghdad, Iraq

Sgt. Paul Gene Smith

Bio

Age: 43

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Peoria, Ill.

Branch: Army National Guard

Unit: 2nd Squadron, 106th Cavalry

Incident

: Two soldiers were killed in Kandahar, Afghanistan of wounds sustained when their vehicle was hit by an explosive device. They were Illinois Army National Guardsmen.

Location: Kandahar, Afghanistan

Staff Sgt. Joshua Allen Melton

Bio

Age: 26

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Carlyle, Ill.

Branch: Army National Guard

Unit: 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry

Incident

: Two soldiers were killed in Kandahar, Afghanistan of wounds sustained when their vehicle was hit by an explosive device. They were Illinois Army National Guardsmen.

Location: Kandahar, Afghanistan

Pvt. Lucas Montana Bregg

Bio

Age: 19

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Wright City, Mo.

Branch: Army

Unit: 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division

Incident

: Died of injuries suffered from a non-combat related incident.

Location: Baghdad, Iraq

Senior Airman Bradley Randall Smith

Bio

Age: 24

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Troy, Ill.

Branch: Air Force

Unit: 10th Air Support Operations Squadron

Incident

: Died of wounds sustained while supporting combat operations.

Location: near Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan

Spc. Denis Deleon Kisseloff

Bio

Age: 45

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Saint Charles, Mo.

Branch: Army National Guard

Unit: 1141st Engineer Company

Incident

: Died of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using rocket propelled grenade and small arms fires.

Location: Forward Operating Base Shank, Afghanistan

Cpl. Donald Matthew Marler

Bio

Age: 22

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: St. Louis, Mo.

Branch: Marines

Unit: 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force

Incident

: Died while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Location: Helmand province, Afghanistan

Lance Cpl. Michael Chad Bailey

Bio

Age: 29

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Park Hills, Mo.

Branch: Marines

Unit: 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force

Incident

: Died while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Location: Helmand province, Afghanistan

Sgt. Zachary Michael Fisher

Bio

Age: 24

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Ballwin, Mo.

Branch: Army

Unit: 27th Engineer Battalion (Combat Airborne), 20th Engineer Brigade (Combat)

Incident

: Died of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked military vehicle with an improvised explosive device.

Location: Zabul Province, Afghanistan

Staff Sgt. James Roger Ide

Bio

Age: 32

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Festus, Mo.

Branch: Army

Unit: 230th Military Police Company, 95th Military Police Battalion, 18th Military Police Brigade, 21st Theater Sustainment Command

Incident

: Died of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire.

Location: Hyderabad, Afghanistan

Sgt. 1st Class Ronald Aaron Grider

Bio

Age: 30

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Brighton, Ill.

Branch: Army

Unit: U.S. Army Special Operations Command

Incident

: Died of wounds suffered when he was struck by machine gun fire

Location: Kunduz province, Afghanistan

Maj Paul Douglas Carron

No photo available.

Bio

Age: 33

Sex: Male

Race: Multi

Town: Union, Mo.

Branch: Army

Unit: 2nd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment

Incident

: Died of injuries sustained in a non-combat related incident

Location: Qalat, Afghanistan

Lance Cpl. Phillip David Vinnedge

Bio

Age: 19

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Saint Charles, Mo.

Branch: Marines

Unit: 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force

Incident

: Four Marines died while conducting combat operations.

Location: Helmand province, Afghanistan

Pfc. Dylan Thomas Reid

Bio

Age: 24

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Springfield, Mo.

Branch: Army

Unit: 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division

Incident

: Died in a non-combat related incident

Location: Amarah, Iraq

Spc. James Chad Young

No photo available.

Bio

Age: 25

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Rochester, Ill.

Branch: Army Reserve

Unit: 863rd Engineer Battalion

Incident

: Died of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device.

Location: Kandahar province, Afghanistan

Staff Sgt. Jordan Blake Emrick

No photo available.

Bio

Age: 26

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Hoyleton, Ill.

Branch: Marines

Unit: 1st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force

Incident

: Died while conducting combat operations

Location: Helmand Province, Afghanistan

Spc. Justin Eric Culbreth

Bio

Age: 26

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Colorado Springs, Colo.

Branch: Army

Unit: 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)

Incident

: Died of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device.

Location: Panjway district, Afghanistan

Lance Cpl. Kenneth A Corzine

Bio

Age: 23

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Bethalto, Ill.

Branch: Marines

Unit: 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force

Incident

: Died of wounds received while conducting combat operations.

Location: Helmand province, Afghanistan

First Sgt. Billy Joe Siercks

Bio

Age: 32

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Velda Village, Mo.

Branch: Army

Unit: 2nd Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division

Incident

: Died in Landstuhl, Germany, of wounds suffered in Logar, Afghanistan when insurgents attacked his unit using indirect fire.

Location: Logar, Afghanistan

Pfc. Richard Lewis McNulty

Bio

Age: 22

Sex: Male

Race: Asian

Town: Rolla, Mo.

Branch: Army

Unit: 425th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division

Incident

: Died when the enemy attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device.

Location: Bowri Tana, Afghanistan

Spc. Sterling William Wyatt

Bio

Age: 21

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Columbia, Mo.

Branch: Army

Unit: 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division

Incident

: died of wounds sustained when his vehicle was attacked with an enemy improvised explosive device

Location: Kandahar province, Afghanistan

Capt. Brandon Lee Cyr

Bio

Age: 28

Sex: Male

Race:

Town: Woodbridge, Va.

Branch: Air Force

Unit: 906th Air Refueling Squadron

Incident

: Died in the crash of an MC-12 aircraft.

Location: Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joshua Benjamin Silverman

Bio

Age: 35

Sex: Male

Race:

Town: Scottsdale, Ariz.

Branch: Army

Unit: 3rd Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division

Incident

: Died of injuries suffered as a result of a helicopter crash.

Location: Now Bahar, Afghanistan

Sgt. Melvin Yamil Mora

Bio

Age: 27

Sex: Male

Race:

Town: Columbia, Mo.

Branch: Army Reserve

Unit: 245th Maintenance Company, Army Reserve

Incident

: Mora was killed when his camp was hit by a mortar attack.

Location: Log Base Seitz near Abu Ghraib, Iraq

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Ricky Linn Richardson Jr.

No photo available.

Bio

Age: 33

Sex: Male

Race: White

Town: Sullivan, Mo.

Branch: Marines

Unit: 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force

Incident

: Died while supporting combat operations in Farah province, Afghanistan.

Location: Farah province, Afghanistan

Sources: Defense Casualty Analysis System, St. Louis Post-Dispatch archives, Associated Press, Washington Post