The Faces of the Fallen: Honoring the Service Members We Lost This Year

Military deaths 2016

Memorial Day may mark the unofficial start to summer, but the holiday was founded as a moment to pause, reflect and salute the sacrifices of armed forces killed in active duty. Thirty American service men and women have lost their lives since last Memorial Day. Join us in taking a moment to remember them.

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Army Pvt. Christopher J. Castaneda
Christoper Castaneda
U.S. Army

Christopher J. Castaneda was 19 when he died on November 19, 2015, on the Al Asad Air Base in Iraq in a noncombat-related incident. He was from Hammonton, New Jersey, and graduated from Hammonton High School in 2014.

"He came to see me last spring before he left for Iraq," said his former English teacher, Carolyn Edwards. "He spoke then about how much he loved the military, and how proud he was to serve his country." He was assigned to 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York.

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Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Charles H. Keating IV
Charles H. Keating IV
U.S. Navy

Charles H. Keating IV was 31 when he died on May 3, 2016, in Tal Usquf, Iraq, of combat-related causes in the battle against ISIS. Keating's family has a history of service: His great-grandfather served in World War I, and his grandfather in World War II. His younger brother is also a Navy SEAL.

"Any time I met any of his SEAL buddies, it was all obvious that they all looked up to him. He was kind of the leader of his crew," his cousin, Liz Keating. He was assigned to a Navy SEAL Team based in California.

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Air Force Staff Sgt. Louis M. Bonacasa
Louis Bonacasa
U.S. Air Force

Louis M. Bonacasa was 31 when he died on December 21, 2015, near Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, when his patrol was attacked by a suicide bomber. He was assigned to the 105th Security Forces Sq, Stewart Air National Guard Base, New York.

Bonacasa had a wife, Deborah, and a 5-year-old daughter, Lilliana. He first enlisted in the Air Force in 2002, and family members that this tour would be his last.

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Army Pfc Monterrious T. Daniel
Monterrious T. Daniel
Fort Carson

Monterrious T. Daniel was 19 when he died on June 12, 2015, at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, in a noncombat-related incident. He was assigned to the 68th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 43rd Sustainment Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colorado.

He was from Thomaston, Georgia. His friend, Private First Class Ryan Monroe, gave the eulogy at his funeral, : "I was so excited when you joined our platoon. I had my best friend with me. You were a great guy, but a better friend."

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Air Force Staff Sgt. Michael A. Cinco
Michael Cinco
U.S. Air Force

Michael A. Cinco was 28 when he died on December 21, 2015, near Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, when his patrol was attacked by a suicide bomber. He was assigned to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, 11th Field Investigations Squad, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas.

He had a wife, Veronica, who was his high school sweetheart in their hometown of Mercedes, Texas. He enlisted after graduation in 2005. This was his second tour of Afghanistan.

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Air Force Master Sgt. Gregory T. Kuhse
Gregory T. Kuhse
U.S. Air Force

Gregory T. Kuhse was 38 when he died on October 11, 2015, at Camp Resolute Support, Kabul, Afghanistan, in a non-hostile helicopter crash. He in the Air Force for 19 years, and was assigned to the 3rd Manpower Requirements Squad, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.

He left behind a wife, Torri, and four children: Madeline, 20; Eliana,12; Tristan, 7; and Caleb, 5. He loved all sports, running a local golf tournament, and was a champion at cornhole in particular.

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1st Lt. David A. Bauders
image
Washington Army National Guard

David A. Bauders was 25 when he died on May 6, 2016, on Al Asad Air Base in Iraq in a noncombat-related incident. He was assigned to 176th Engineer Company, Snohomish, Washington.

As a civilian, he was still dedicated to public service, as he was a trooper with the Washington State Patrol. "He was a young man who was building a future wholly devoted to serving and protecting the people of our state and our nation," said Washington Governor Jay Inslee .

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Air Force Senior Airman Quinn L. Johnson-Harris
Quinn L. Johnson-Harris
U.S. Air Force

Quinn L. Johnson-Harris was 21 when he died on October 2, 2015, at Jalalabad Airfield, Afghanistan in the crash of a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft. He was assigned to the 39th Airlift Squad, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas.

From Mequon, Wisconsin, he played football in high school, where his nicknames were Swag and Quinninator, . "He was the heart of the squadron. He was the best of us," said his instructor, Sgt. Calvin Freeman.

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Senior Chief Petty Officer Jason P. May
image
Western Michigan University

Jason P. May was 38 when he died on June 29, 2015, on the assault ship Essex in a noncombat-related incident. He had served in the Navy for 18 years.

A resident of Chesterfield, Michigan, he by both of his parents, several siblings, and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.

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Major John D. Gerrie
Qatar air base
Getty Images

John D. Gerrie was 42 when he died on January 16, 2016, at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar (pictured here) in a noncombat-related incident. He was assigned to 453rd Electronic Warfare Squadron, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.

He was the husband of Amy and father to Emily, Jack, and Kaitlyn.

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Air Force Capt. Jordan B. Pierson
Jordan B. Pierson
KCBD-Newschannel 11

Jordan B. Pierson was 28 when he died on October 2, 2015, at Jalalabad Airfield, Afghanistan, in the crash of a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft. He was assigned to the 39th Airlift Squadron, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas.

He is survived by his wife, Jaime, whom he met in high school. "He was the sweetest, kindest, most wonderful boy," his best friend's mother, Patty Futrell. "He was such a good person. He was a good influence on my son growing up."

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Sgt. Joseph F. Stifter
Joseph F. Stifter
U.S. Army

Joseph F. Stifter was 30 when he died on January 28, 2016, at Al Asad Airbase in Iraq from injuries sustained when his armored HMMWV was involved in a roll-over accident.

From Glendale, California, he to be outdoors, and was an avid hiker, skier, and snowboarder. He is survived by his wife, Melissa, and his daughter Olivia, 2. Stifter was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kansas.

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Air Force Capt. Jonathan J. Golden
Jonathan J. Golden
NBC-LA

Jonathan J. Golden was 33 when he died on October 2, 2015, at Jalalabad Airfield, Afghanistan, in the crash of a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft. He was assigned to the 39th Airlift Squadron, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas.

From Camarillo, California, he was as "the backbone of the family" by his brother, Jeff. He aeronautics and had dreamed of being a pilot as a little boy.

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Army Spc. Kyle E. Gilbert
Kyle E. Gilbert
U.S. Army

Kyle E. Gilbert was 24 when he died on September 21, 2015, in Bagram, Afghanistan, in a noncombat-related incident. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York.

From Buford, Georgia, he is survived by his parents and step-parents, as well as two sisters. He hunting and fishing.

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Air Force Technical Sgt. Joseph G. Lemm
Joseph G. Lemm
U.S. Air Force

Joseph G. Lemm was 45 when he died on December 21, 2015, near Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, when his patrol was attacked by a suicide bomber. He was assigned to the 105th Security Forces Squadron, Stewart Air National Guard Base, New York.

He is survived by his wife, Christine, and three children. He also worked as a detective in the New York Police Department. "Our city is heartbroken. There are people mourning in every part of this great metropolis," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio at the funeral.

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Staff Sgt Louis F. Cardin
Louis F. Cardin
FOX5-NY

Louis F. Cardin was 27 when he died on March 19, 2016, in Makhmur, Iraq in a rocket attack by ISIS. He was assigned to Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

He just two days after his high school graduation, and came from a family of military men. Both of his grandfathers and one brother served. He was from Temecula, California.

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Air Force Capt. Matthew D. Roland
Matthew D. Roland
U.S. Air Force

Matthew D. Roland was 27 when he died on August 26, 2015, near Camp Antonik, Afghanistan, when his vehicle was attacked. He was assigned to 23rd Special Tactics Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Florida.

A memorial display was created at the Air Force Academy in his honor. He was awarded a posthumous Silver Star medal. "Matt remains one of the most excellent human beings I've ever met," his squadron leader, Lt. Col. Paul Brister. "Physically, he didn't just run with the guys; he led them. Intellectually, he understood operational art and military theory beyond his years."

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Air Force Staff Sgt. Chester J. McBride
Chester J. McBride
Air Force Office of Special Investigations

Chester J. McBride was 30 when he died on December 21, 2015, near Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, when his patrol was attacked by a suicide bomber. He was assigned to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Detachment 405, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.

He criminal justice throughout his life, eventually earning a Master's in public administration. He is survived by both of his parents, a sister, and a beloved niece and nephew, who "were his world."

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Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Q. McClintock
Matthew Q. McClintock
GoFundMe

Matthew Q. McClintock was 30 when he died on January 5, 2016, in Marjah District, Afghanistan, from wounds suffered in an enemy attack.

He is by his wife, Alexandra, infant son, Declan, his parents, and a brother. He was from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Washington National Guard, Buckley, Washington.

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Air Force Senior Airman Nathan C. Sartain
Nathan C. Sartain
GoFundMe

Nathan C. Sartain was 29 when he died on October 2, 2015, at Jalalabad Airfield, Afghanistan, in the crash of a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft. He was assigned to the 66th Security Forces Squadron, Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts.

From Pensacola, Florida, he left behind a wife, Lana, and a daughter, Alexia, as well as both parents, a brother, and a sister. "If you were blessed to be his friend, then you had an incredible person in your life, one who leaves us with a legacy we will never forget," Staff Sgt. Lee Shortell.

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Airman First Class Nathaniel H. McDavitt
Nathaniel H. McDavitt
WUSA-9

Nathaniel H. McDavitt was 22 when he died on April 16, 2016, in Jordan in a building accident. He was assigned to the 52nd Equipment Maintenance Squadron at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.

Even as a kid, the Maryland native tinkering with machines and engines. He had been deployed to work on aircraft engines, but the building in which he was working collapsed due to structural issues and extreme winds.

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Army Master Sgt. Peter A. McKenna Jr.
Peter A. McKenna Jr.
U.S. Army

Peter A. McKenna Jr. was 35 when he died on August 8, 2015, in Kabul, Afghanistan, from enemy fire. He enlisted shortly after high school graduation in Bristol, Rhode Island and served for 17 years.

His teammates of his "selfless service." He was awarded a Bronze Star for valor, among many other awards. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

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Navy Seaman Philip Frazier Manes
USS Gladiator
USS Gladiator (MCM 11) Facebook

Philip Frazier Manes was 21 when he died on September 27, 2015, in a noncombat-related shooting incident on the USS Gladiator (pictured) near Manama, Bahrain.

He was assigned to 5th Fleet, and for the fight against ISIS. He was from Fairfax, Virginia.

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Air Force Maj. Phyllis J. Pelky
Phyllis J. Pelky
U.S. Air Force

Phyllis J. Pelky was 45 when she died on October 11, 2015, at Camp Resolute Support in Kabul, Afghanistan, in a non-hostile helicopter crash. She had been a teacher in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, when 9/11 happened, and she decided to enlist in the Air Force.

"One thing is certain: She saw life that way, with every moment a precious opportunity to serve others," chaplain Capt. Don Romero. She was assigned to the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

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Air Force Senior Airman Kcey E. Ruiz
image
U.S. Air Force Security Forces

Kcey E. Ruiz was 21 when she died at Jalalabad Airfield, Afghanistan, in the crash of a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft.

The McDonough, Georgia, native was "just the type of person who always did the right thing. She had a high level of integrity, and she was just good to people," said her father Michael Ruiz. She was assigned to the 66th Security Forces Squadron, Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts.

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Air Force Staff Sgt. Ryan D. Hammond
Ryan D. Hammond
455th Air Expeditionary Wing Facebook

Ryan D. Hammond was 26 when he died on October 2, 2015, at Jalalabad Airfield, Afghanistan, in the crash of a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft.

He leaves behind a wife, Holly, both parents, and a sister. His family him as a "fearless adventurer, the life of the party and a selfless soul." He was assigned to the 39th Airlift Squadron, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas.

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Air Force Staff Sgt. Forrest B. Sibley
Forrest B. Sibley
U.S. Air Force

Forrest B. Sibley was 31 when he died on August 26, 2015, near Camp Antonik, Afghanistan, when his vehicle was attacked. He was assigned to 21st Special Tactics Squadron, Pope Army Airfield, North Carolina.

Over the course of his service, he was awarded two Purple Hearts and four Bronze Stars. He is survived by both parents, a sister, and a younger brother who also serves in the Air Force.

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Air Force Staff Sgt. Peter W. Taub
image
U.S. Air Force

Peter W. Taub was 28 when he died on December 21, 2015, near Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, when his patrol was attacked by a suicide bomber. He was assigned to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Detachment 816, Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota.

He is by a daughter, Penelope. His wife Christina was pregnant with their second child at the time of his death.

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Air Force Maj. Adrianna M. Vorderbruggen
Adrianna M. Vorderbruggen
U.S. Air Force

Adrianna M. Vorderbruggen was 36 when she died on December 21, 2015, near Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, when her patrol was attacked by a suicide bomber. She was assigned to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, 9th Field Investigations Squadron, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

When she married her wife, Heather, she became one of the first gay members of the military to do so. She the mother of a young son, Jacob.

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Army Master Sgt. Joshua L. Wheeler
Joshua L. Wheeler
Senator Jim Inhofe

Joshua L. Wheeler was 39 when he died on October 22, 2015, in Kirkuk province, Iraq, from wounds sustained in a raid on an Islamic State detention center. He was shot in an attempt to free hostages detained by ISIS.

He is by his wife, Ashley, and four sons, including an infant. He was assigned to Headquarters, U.S. Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. "He was exactly what was right about this world," his sister Rachel Quakenbush said.

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