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We remember and honor our South Sound heroes

Post by Cheryl Tucker on May 30, 2010 at 4:14 pm with No Comments »
May 28, 2010 6:21 pm

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

On this Memorial Day, we honor the men and women of our nation’s military who died in their nation’s service. The graves of those who fell in long-ago wars and conflicts will be decorated with flags and flowers, and services will be held on military installations and in cemeteries.

For many of our South Sound neighbors, this Memorial Day takes on entirely new meaning, for they will be mourning a loved one killed in Iraq or Afghanistan within the last year.

The nation lost a soldier, but they lost a son, a daughter, a father, a spouse, a brother, a sister, a grandfather. Our loss is abstract; theirs is all too real and highly personal.

The names of those who died in their nation’s service in the last year are listed on page A1. Here we remember those who had particularly deep South Sound roots. And we mourn with those who loved them.

• Spc. Joseph T. (Joey) Caron, 21, of Roy, killed April 11 in Afghanistan. The Washington High School graduate was a paratrooper, a prankster and protective brother known for his Forrest Gump impersonations.

• Sgt. Joel D. Clarkson, 23, of Puyallup, killed March 17 in Afghanistan while on his fifth overseas tour. He is survived by his wife, Cassandra, and their infant son, Orion.

• Pfc. Erin L. McLyman, 26, of Federal Way was killed in Iraq March 13. “She could become an instant friend to all she met,” remembers a friend about the young woman who had turned a troubled life around.

• Sgt. William C. Spencer of Tacoma, 40, was fatally injured in Iraq Feb. 20 and died five days later. The Washington National Guardsman had chosen to stay in Iraq after his unit returned home.

• Spc. Dennis M. Williams, 24, of Federal Way, killed in Afghanistan Aug. 25, 2009. He wanted to become a police officer after leaving the Army and dreamed of joining the FBI.
Williams had a talent for making people laugh by doing impersonations and skits inspired by comedian Dave Chappelle. He leaves a wife, Maria, and children Grant and Alaina.

• Capt. Cory J. Jenkins, 30, killed in Afghanistan Aug. 25, 2009. A physician’s assistant, he believed he had no better opportunity to treat trauma victims than in a war zone. He was active in his Steilacoom church and served as a Scoutmaster. He leaves a wife, Brooke, and their daughter, Reagan.

• 1st Sgt. Jose Crisostomo, 59, of Spanaway, killed in Afghanistan Aug. 18, 2009. “Joe Sinbad” was proud of his Chamorro heritage and was a leader of the local Guam community.
Crisostomo had served from 1969 to 1993, then re-enlisted in 2008. He was a handyman and Mariners fan who loved beer and barbecue. The father and grandfather is survived by his wife Pat.

• Lt. Brian Bradshaw, 24, of Steilacoom, was killed in Afghanistan June 25, 2009. Born at Madigan Army Medical Center to military parents, he graduated from Bellarmine Preparatory School and Pacific Lutheran University. Bradshaw was a campus leader at PLU, a Catholic Youth organization camp counselor and a team leader with Pierce County Search and Rescue.

• Spc. Samuel D. Stone, 20, of Port Orchard. The National Guardsman was killed in Iraq almost exactly a year ago, on May 30, 2009. Stone, a carpenter and construction worker, was remembered as an outstanding soldier and a kind young man with a good sense of humor.

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