Archive for the forces Tag

Arlington National Cemetery..June 2011 …..item 1..Afghan war’s deadly toll on US forces hasn’t eased (July 02, 2011 ) …..item 2..Utah News-The Salt Lake Tribune (July 13, 2011) …

Arlington National Cemetery..June 2011 …..item 1..Afghan war’s deadly toll on US forces hasn’t eased (July 02, 2011 ) …..item 2..Utah News-The Salt Lake Tribune (July 13, 2011) …
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FILE – In this June 15, 2011 file photo, Amy Balduf, of Richmond, Tenn., is comforted by a Marine at the graveside of her husband, U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Kevin Balduf, who was killed serving in Afghanistan, at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. Despite U.S. claims of success on the battlefield, American troops have been dying in the first half of this year at the same pace as in 2010, according to a tally by The Associated Press. The numbers indicate the war’s deadly toll on American forces has not eased as the Obama administration moves to shift the burden onto its Afghan allies. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File) less

Associated Press…….5 hrs ago
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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Despite U.S. reports of progress on the battlefield, American troops were killed in the first half of this year at the same pace as in 2010 — an indication that the war’s toll on U.S. forces has not eased as the Obama administration moves to shift the burden to the Afghans.
While the overall international death toll dropped by 14 percent in the first half of the year, the number of Americans who died remained virtually unchanged, 197 this year compared with 195 in the first six months of last year, according to a tally by The Associated Press.

…..item 1)….Yahoo! News….World….Afghan war’s deadly toll on US forces hasn’t eased

By DEB RIECHMANN – Associated Press | AP – Sat, Jul 2, 2011

news.yahoo.com/afghan-wars-deadly-toll-us-forces-hasnt-ea…

Americans have been involved in some of the fiercest fighting as the U.S. administration sent more than 30,000 extra troops in a bid to pacify areas in the Taliban’s southern heartland and other dangerous areas. U.S. military officials have predicted more tough fighting through the summer as the Taliban try to regain territory they have lost.

President Barack Obama has begun to reverse the surge of American forces, ordering a reduction of 10,000 by the end of the year and another 23,000 by September 2012. But the U.S. military has not announced which troops are being sent home, or whether they will be withdrawn from any of the most violent areas in the south and east.

Rear Adm. Vic Beck, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition in Kabul, said he couldn’t comment specifically on the U.S. death count, but noted that the casualties were unchanged despite the surge in forces. He attributed the overall decline in the international toll to coalition progress on the battlefield, including the discovery of a rising number of militant weapons caches. He also said Afghan security forces are increasingly taking the lead, although recent violence has raised concerns about their readiness to secure their own country.

Beck said insurgents were shifting their focus to attacking civilians, pointing to last week’s attack against the Inter-Continental, a luxury hotel in Kabul, that left 20 people dead, including the nine assailants.

"The enemy is taking the fight more to innocent Afghan civilians because we’re taking it to them pretty hard on the battlefield," he said.

According to the AP tally, 271 international troops, including the Americans, were killed in the first half of the year — down 14 percent from the 316 killed in the first six months of last year.

With the American deaths virtually unchanged, the decline reflects a drop off in deaths of troops from other contributing nations. In the first half of the year, 74 of these troops — from countries like Britain, France and Australia — died compared with 121 in the first six months of last year.

In the most recent deaths, NATO said two coalition service members were killed in roadside bombings — one Saturday in the west who was identified as an Italian, and another Friday in the south whose nationality was not available.

By contrast, a recent U.N. report found that May was the deadliest month for civilians since it began keeping track in 2007, and it said insurgents were to blame for 82 percent of the 368 deaths recorded.

The U.N. does not usually release monthly civilian casualty figures but said it was compelled to do so in May because of the high number.

The Taliban have denied targeting civilians and insist coalition claims that insurgents have suffered heavy losses at the hands of foreign troops are false.

Monthly death tolls of foreign forces have varied so far this year, but they fell dramatically in June.

Overall, 65 international troops, including Americans, died last month. That’s down 37 percent from the 103 who died in June 2010 — the deadliest month on record for foreign forces. More than 25 died last month in Helmand province in the south where fierce fighting continues in some hot spots, the AP tally showed.

"In the areas that we believe were pretty secure, there has been very little violence," U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. John Toolan Jr., the commander in Helmand province, said at a recent Pentagon briefing. He said he’s still concerned about northern districts like Gereshk and Sangin.

He said his forces are working with their Afghan partners to try to keep hold of security gains made in recent months.

"I’m pretty sure, pretty confident we’ll be able to do that, but it won’t be without a fight," Toolan said. "But it will not be as big a fight, in my estimation, as it has been in the past."

Underscoring the dangers, a roadside bomb ripped through a van carrying a family Saturday in southern Afghanistan, killing all 13 on board — the deadliest incident in a string of attacks since Friday that killed 18 civilians, according to Afghan officials.

President Hamid Karzai condemned the attacks, saying in a statement that "bombings that kill innocent civilians are the work of people who don’t want the nation to have a life without sadness."
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…..item 2)……Utah NEWS…TheSalt Lake Tribune…Parents of fallen Logan Marine were torn by his choice to enlist

BY KRISTEN MOULTON
The Salt Lake Tribune

First published Jul 13 2011 05:14PM
Updated Jul 14, 2011 10:32AM

www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/52184950-78/marine-son-mendez-…

Logan • The father of the 22-year-old Logan Marine killed in Afghanistan on Sunday has just one question during these dark days.

"How many soldiers have to be shot in the back before they stop the war?" asked a somber Norberto Mendez on Wednesday as he and his wife, Maria Mendez Hernandez, tried to come to grips with their eldest son’s death. They spoke through an interpreter.

"I don’t want any other mother to suffer," said the Marine’s mom.

Lance Cpl. Norberto Mendez Hernandez, an infantryman in a battalion fighting to keep the Taliban out of the Sangin region of Helmand province, was shot in the back of his head while on foot patrol, the Department of Defense told the family.

He leaves behind his wife, Lorena, 2-year-old son Anthony and 8-month-old daughter Audrey at Camp Pendleton, Calif., as well as his parents and four younger siblings, Thomas, Itzel, Abraham and Aileen, in Logan.

The 2007 graduate of Logan High School and former production worker at Gossner Foods fulfilled a lifelong dream when he enlisted in the Marines in April 2010. He was a member of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division based at Camp Pendleton.

His parents, both immigrants from Mexico, are now wondering what more they could have done to discourage their son from joining the military — from going to war.

"Every since he was a little boy, this is what he wanted," his mother said Wednesday as she reminisced, frequently breaking into sobs.

She told her son the uniform and Marine gear would weigh him down, make him shorter.

"I would tell him there are other ways to help your country," his mother said through the interpreter, her son’s friend, Carlos Rosales.

At one point, his father even threatened to join the military if his son did. So Mendez Hernandez put his dad in a headlock to prove he wasn’t fit enough.

In the end, the younger man prevailed by insisting he felt called to action by God and the Bible. He shared his favorite passages with his family, those with messages about bravery, justice and trust in God.

"He would say, ‘I’m not happy with just my family being happy. There are kids suffering in other countries, and I want to help,’ "his mother said. "He had a lot of faith in God."

He didn’t believe he would die, although they had discussed that possibility, she said.

And while they disagreed with his choice, his parents were proud.

His father said he awoke Sunday from a dream that his son had died. The family learned the news later that day while celebrating Thomas’ 17th birthday at Lagoon. Marines were waiting for them back home in Logan.

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On Wednesday, Thomas was thinking about lessons his big brother taught him: about government and the military and its role; about how to never abuse the self-defense maneuvers the older brother taught him on the living-room floor.

"He used to take me out to run with him because he said I was lazy," Thomas said.

His mother remembered some of her eldest son’s tricks, such as the time he translated for his third-grade teacher, who came to their home to say he wasn’t doing his homework.

"He told me, ‘Hey, I’m doing great in school.’ "

His mother could read the teacher’s expression, however, and got a new translator.

When they visited Mexico, he would go to the grocery store for laundry soap and return with chocolate.

As a teenager, he put so many holes in his bedroom walls while wrestling with friends that his mother threw up her hands.

The Marine’s funeral will be held in California, where his wife and children now live and where there is extended family. No date had been set for the funeral as of Wednesday.

Before he died, his Logan family intended to move to Arizona or California to be closer to him.

"For sure they’re moving now," Rosales said.

They want to be close to his grave — and the young family he left behind.
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