The recent death of Osama Bin Laden was a significant milestone in the war on terror, but the war isn't over. Last year, the week before Memorial Day, I published a list of 163 troops with ties to Indiana who had died in Operation Enduring Freedom, which is the war in Afghanistan, or Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Since then, another 15 soldiers with ties to Indiana have given their lives in defense of our freedom. Most were Hoosiers; some lived elsewhere but were originally from Indiana or had family here. If you're in Indianapolis, you can view information about each one, including a photo, on the Indiana OEF-OIF Memorial Wall, outside the office of the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs.
The memorial is online at http://oefoifhonorroll.homestead.com. The website says it all: "We owe our freedoms to men and women such as these who have made the ultimate sacrifice, and we grieve with their families for their loss."
One of the 15 was from Jeffersonville. One died three weeks after arriving in Afghanistan. Following is a brief glimpse of each fallen hero, taken from the website:
Marine Sgt. John K. Rankel, 23, Speedway, died June 7 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif. A 2005 graduate of Speedway High School, he joined the Marines right after high school and after briefly considering playing football at Franklin College.
Marine Cpl. Daane A. DeBoer, 24, Valparaiso, died June 28 from an improvised explosive device while on foot patrol. Born in Valparaiso, DeBoer attended Immanuel Lutheran School through sixth grade before moving to Michigan. He lived in Colorado for about a year before joining the Marines in 2009. He was deployed to Afghanistan in March 2010. He was part of the 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force from Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Army Sgt. Christopher N. Karch, 23, Indianapolis, died Aug. 11 in Arghandab Valley, Afghanistan of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C. He graduated from Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis in 2005 and was serving his second tour in Afghanistan.
Army Spc. Christopher S. Wright, 23, Jeffersonville, died Aug. 19 in Pech, Afghanistan of injuries sustained from small arms fire. He was assigned to C Company, 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Hunter Army Airfield, Ga. He grew up in Jeffersonville before moving to Kentucky with his father. He graduated from Lewis County High School, Vanceburg, Ky., in 2005 and joined the Army.
Army Spc. Justin B. Shoecraft, 28, Elkhart, died Aug. 24 of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device at Kadarak, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, based at Vilseck, Germany. He was a 2000 graduate of Elkhart Memorial High School and the son of Carroll "Blue" and Donna Shoecraft of Elkhart. He married Jessica R. Hernandez on Sept. 20, 2008, before he went to basic training.
Army Spc. Chad D. Clements, 26, Huntington, died Aug. 30 in Arghandab River Valley, Afghanistan after an improvised explosive device or roadside bomb detonated near his vehicle. He was assigned to the 4th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. He was a 2002 graduate of Huntington North High School and joined the Army in 2009. He had arrived in Afghanistan on Aug. 9.
Army Sgt. Phillip Chad Jenkins, 27, Decatur, died Sept. 7 in Balad, Iraq of wounds suffered in a shooting accident in Salah ad-Din province. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Advise and Assist Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. He was a 2002 graduate of Bellmont High School, where he played saxophone in the band. His wife and two children were living in Hawaii, where he was stationed.
Marine Cpl. John C. Bishop, 25, Columbus, died Sept. 8 in combat in Helmland province, Afghanistan. He was on his first tour to Afghanistan after serving twice in Iraq. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C. He graduated from Columbus North High School in 2003 and went straight into the Marine Corps.
Army Sgt. Marvin R. Calhoun Jr., 23, Elkhart, died Sept. 21 in a helicopter crash during combat in Zabul province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 5th Battalion, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky. He joined the Army upon graduation from high school and was on his second tour of duty.
Army Staff Sgt. Kenneth K. McAninch, 28, Logansport, died Oct. 21 in Paktika Province, Afghanistan of injuries sustained from small arms fire. He was assigned to A Company, 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky. He had previously been a member of the Indiana Army National Guard. He attended Lewis Cass High School and was on his third tour of duty.
Army Spc. Shane Hasan Ahmed, 31, Bedford, died Nov. 14 when his unit was fired upon by insurgents while conducting operations in Konar province, Afghanistan. He joined the Army in 2007 and was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky. He was a 1997 graduate of Bedford North Lawrence High School and Purdue University.
Army Staff Sgt. Kevin M. Pape, 30, Fort Wayne, died Nov. 16 in Konar province, Afghanistan of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire. Assigned to the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Hunter Army Airfield, Ga., he joined the Army in 2005.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Barry E. Jarvis, 36, Tell City, died Nov. 29 in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, According to initial reports, Jarvis died of injuries sustained from small arms fire. He was assigned to B Troop, 1st Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky. He graduated from Tell City High School in 1993 and enlisted in the Army in 1998.
Marine Lance Cpl. William H. Crouse IV, 22, Fort Wayne, died Dec. 21 along with his bomb-sniffing dog while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Navy Hospitalman Benjamin D. Rast, 23, South Bend, died April 6 northeast of Patrol Base Alcatraz, Helmand province, Afghanistan, while conducting a dismounted patrol. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve; stationed at Naval Medical Center, Expeditionary Medical Force Detachment, San Diego, Calif. Rast studied at Lake Michigan College, where he majored in law enforcement and was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society. He joined the Navy and volunteered to go to Afghanistan.