The United States is at war. It's too easy to forget.
We're able to go about our daily lives thanks to men and women who volunteer to defend our freedom. On my way to a meeting in Indianapolis last week, I walked by the Indiana OEF-OIF Memorial Wall in the Indiana Government Center South, next to the Statehouse.
OEF stands for Operation Enduring Freedom, which is the war in Afghanistan, and OIF stands for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Since 9/11, 163 American troops with ties to Indiana have died in the war on terror. Most were Hoosiers; some lived elsewhere but were originally from Indiana or had family here. They ranged in age from 19 to 49. The first death was in 2002, the most recent three weeks ago.
After my meeting, I went back and spent some time looking at the wall, which is a series of six boards. Information about each hero, including a photo, is printed on a separate piece of paper. The simple, yet powerful, memorial is outside the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs.
I stepped inside and spoke with Director Tom Applegate, who maintains a Web site featuring each hero's photo and story. The address is http://oefoifhonorroll.homestead.com.
Thank you for reading my column. I don't expect you to read every word every week, but I do ask that you read every word of today's column. Following are the names and ages of Indiana's 163 fallen brave. If they were from - or had ties to - a community in our area, it is in parentheses.
2002: Marine Sgt. Jeannette Winters, 25; Army Spc. Curtis A. Carter, 25; Army Cpl. Matthew A. Commons, 21; Air Force Senior Airman John Patrick Morton Jr., 23.
2003: Army National Guard Spc. Brian M. Clemens, 19; Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Jason Profitt, 23 (Charlestown); Marine Lance Cpl. David Fribley, 26; Army Spc. Gregory P. Sanders, 19; Army National Guard Spc. William A. Jeffries, 39; Marine Sgt. Duane R. Rios, 25; Army Pfc. Jason M. Meyer, 23; Army Spc. Roy R. Buckley, 24; Marine Reserve Lance Cpl. Matthew R. Smith, 20; Army Pvt. Jesse M. Halling, 19; Army Pvt. Shawn D. Pahnke, 25; Army Sgt. Chad L. Keith, 21; Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Craig A. Boling, 38; Army Pvt. Robert L. McKinley, 23; Army National Guard Staff Sgt. David L. Loyd, 44; Army Spc. Ronald D. Allen Jr., 22; Army Staff Sgt. Mark A. Lawton, 41; Army Spc. Ryan G. Carlock, 25; Army Staff Sgt. Frederick L. Miller, 27; Army Spc. Kyle G. Thomas, 23; Army Spc. Brian H. Penisten, 28; Army National Guard Cpl. Darrell L. Smith, 28; Army Sgt. Jarrod W. Black, 26.
2004: Army Spc. Luke P. Frist, 20; Army Chief Warrant Officer Brian D. Hazelgrove, 29; Army Pfc. Christopher E. Hudson, 21; Army Pfc. John D. Amos II, 22; Marine Pfc. Deryk L. Hallal, 24; Marine Lance Cpl. Torry L. Gray, 19; Army Spc. Michael J. Wiesemann, 20; Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Stephen G. Martin, 39; Army Sgt. Robert E. Colvill Jr., 31; Army National Guard Spc. Donald R. McCune, 20; Army Sgt. David M. Heath, 30; Army Reserve Pfc. Luis A. Perez, 19; Army Sgt. James D. Faulkner, 23 (Clarksville); Marine Cpl. Christopher S. Ebert, 21; Army Pfc. Nathan E. Stahl, 20; Army Pfc. Stephen P. Downing II, 30; Army Command Sgt. Maj. Steven W. Faulkenburg, 45; Army Spc. Raymond L. White, 22; Marine Sgt. Morgan W. Strader, 23; Marine Cpl. Lance M. Thompson, 21; Marine Lance Cpl. James E. Swain, 20; Marine Cpl. Bryan S. Wilson, 22; Army Staff Sgt. Marvin L. Trost III, 28; Army Reserve Pfc. Joshua A. Ramsey, 19; Marine Lance Cpl. Eric Hillenburg, 21.
2005: Army Sgt. Jeremy R. Wright, 31; Army Pvt. Cory R. Depew, 21; Army National Guard Sgt. Armand "Luke" Frickey, 20; Army Sgt. Kyle W. Childress, 29; Army Sgt. Paul M. Heltzel, 39; Army National Guard Capt. Michael "Todd" Fiscus, 36; Army National Guard Spc. Brett M. Hershey, 23; Army National Guard Spc. Norman "Kyle" Snyder, 21; Army National Guard Master Sgt. Michael T. Hiester, 33; Army Pfc. Steven F. Sirko, 20; Marine Sgt. Jimmy Shawn Lee, 26; Army Cpl. Sascha Struble, 20; Army Pfc. Robert W. Murray, 21; Army Pfc. Darren A. Deblanc, 20; Army Spc. Nicholas R. Idalski, 23; Army Sgt. 1st Class Marcus V. Muralles, 33; Army Staff Sgt. Michael Wayne Schafer, 25; Army Spc. Adam J. Harting, 21; Army Staff Sgt. Jeremy Doyle, 24; Army Sgt. Matthew L. Deckard, 29 (Greenville); Army Staff Sgt. Matthew A. Kimmell, 30; Army Spc. Jeffrey W. Corban, 30; Army Reserve Sgt. Christopher T. Monroe, 19; Marine Lance Cpl. Scott A. Zubowski, 20; Army Cpl. Jonathan F. Blair, 21; Army Pvt. Jonathan R. Pfender, 22.
2006: Army Spc. Matthew G. Frantz, 23; Army Pfc. Brian J. Schoff, 22; Army Sgt. Rickey Jones, 21; Army Reserve Spc. Joshua Lee Hill, 24; Army Spc. Antoine J. McKinzie, 25; Army National Guard Sgt. Brock A. Beery, 30; Marine Staff Sgt. Eric A. McIntosh, 29; Marine Cpl. Eric Lueken, 23; Army National Guard Sgt. Joseph E. Proctor, 38; Marine Lance Cpl. David J. GramesSanchez, 22; Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Richard A. Blakley, 34; Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer 3 William T. Flanigan, 37; Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Paul S. Pabla, 23; Army National Guard Sgt. Major Jeffrey A. McLochlin, 45; Army Cpl. Nathaniel S. Baughman, 23; Army Pfc. Anthony P. Seig, 19; Marine Cpl. Aaron Seal, 23; Army Staff Sgt. Jonathan Rojas, 27; Marine Reserve Sgt. Brock Babb, 40; Army Pfc. Nathan J. Frigo, 23; Army Sgt. Kraig Foyteck, 26; Marine Lance Cpl. James E. Brown, 20; Marine Lance Cpl. James R. Davenport, 20; Army Spc. Joseph A.L. Strong, 21.
2007: Army Pvt. Kelly D. Youngblood, 19; Army Pfc. Jason D. Johns, 19; Army Sgt. William "B.J." Beardsley, 25; Army 1st Lt. Neale M. Shank, 25; Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Bradley D. King, 28; Army Pfc. David Neil Simmons, 20; Army Spc. Cody A. Putman, 22; Army Spc. Jason J. Beadles, 22; Marine 1st Lt. Shaun M. Blue, 25; Army Pfc. Richard P. Langenbrunner, 19; Army Pvt. David A. Kirkpatrick, 20; Army Spc. Andrew Robert Weiss, 28; Army Sgt. Anthony J. Schober, 23; Army Spc. Nicholas S. Hartge, 20; Army Sgt. Robert J. Montgomery, 29 (Scottsburg); Army Spc. Clinton C. Blodgett, 19 (Pekin); Air Force Tech. Sgt. Ryan A. Balmer, 33; Army Staff Sgt. Michael A. Bechert, 24; Army Staff Sgt. Roy P. Lewsader Jr., 36; Army Spc. David A. Wilkey Jr., 22; Army Spc. Carter "C.J." Gamble Jr., 24; Army Staff Sgt. William R. Fritsche, 23; Army Reserve Spc. Zachariah J. Gonzalez, 23; Army Pfc. Shawn D. Hensel, 20; Army Cpl. William Powell (Kerchief), 21; Army Cpl. Ryan A. Woodward, 22; Army Sgt. Nicholas "Nick" Patterson, 24; Army National Guard Sgt. Gerald J. Cassidy, 32; Navy Seaman Apprentice Shayna A. Schnell, 19; Army Capt. Timothy I. McGovern, 28; Army Sgt. Kenneth R. Booker, 25; Army Spc. Johnathan A. Lahmann, 21.
2008: Army Sgt. Jon M. Schoolcraft III, 26 (Madison); Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Collin J. Bowen, 38; Army Staff Sgt. Michael D. Elledge, 41; Army National Guard Spc. Joseph A. Ford, 23 (New Albany); Army Staff Sgt. James P. Snyder, 48; Marine Lance Cpl. Layton B. Crass, 22; Marine Lance Cpl. Andrew Francis Whitacre, 21; Army Staff Sgt. Travis K. Hunsberger, 24; Army Sgt. Ryan P. Baumann, 24 (Jeffersonville); Army National Guard Sgt. Brian K. Miller, 37; Army National Guard Sgt. Gary Henry, 34; Army National Guard Spc. Jonathan Menke, 22 (Madison); Army Staff Sgt. Kristopher D. Rodgers, 29; Army Spc. William J. McClellan, 22; Army National Guard Spc. James M. Clay, 25.
2009: Army Spc. Joseph M. Hernandez, 24; Army Spc. Ezra Dawson, 31; Army Pfc. Zachary R. Nordmeyer, 21; Marine Cpl. Donte J. Whitworth, 21; Air Force Senior Airman Ashton L.M. Goodman, 21; Army Reserve Spc. Chancellor A. Keesling, 25; Army Reserve Spc. Paul E. Andersen, 49; Army Sgt. Dale R. Griffin, 29; Army Pfc. Jaiciae L. Pauley, 29.
2010: Army Spc. Brian R. Bowman, 24; Marine Sgt. Jeremy McQueary, 27; Marine Cpl. Gregory Scott Stultz, 22; Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua Birchfield, 24; Marine Capt. Brandon A. Barrett, 27.