My Son Travis is a Treasured Gift from God, born Memorial Weekend May 26th, 1984 swaddled in Red,White,and Blue. Travis has Lakota, Sioux Heritage in him, from his Father's side. As Travis grew up, he was comfortable in his own skin, and always wanted to learn more about his American/ Indian blood.
Travis loved playing street hockey, Little League Baseball, and High school football. Travis always excelled in everything he did, even tho he had a heart mur-mur ( hole in his heart ) from birth, but it never slowed him down. At age 10 he joined a Navy Cadet program with some friends, and he loved it ,and was a natural. His Grandfather Harry, was a Navy Seabee in WW II. Travis was in the program for 3 yrs. ,loved it and did very well. Travis was always concerned about everyone, at dances he made sure the wall-flowers dance, and have fun, too. His heart was huge, along with his gorgeous blue eyes, he loved all he met, and those who met him loved him too. In high -school Travis decided to go into the Marines, instead of the Navy. He said he wanted to be the best of the best. in June 2003' he Graduated, and 10 days later joined the Marines, and was off to Boot Camp. 3 months later Travis was elated, to become a USMarine. WE were all very Proud of him too, when we went to his Graduation from Bootcamp. Then In Feb. 2004' Travis got deployed to Kuwait, for more training, before going into Iraq of March 2004'. In those few short months Travis had moved up and became a LCpl, and also a radio operator.
Tragicly, on April 6th 2004' Travis volunteered to go out on a Mission that early morning. They were sent into an Ambush, unfortunately we lost 10 Marines, and 1 Navy Corpsman, in that blood bath. Our lives were changed forever , after having 3 Marines come to me in my carport with the Horrific news that Travis was KIA. The Void is Etched in my Heart forever more. Travis once again, was draped in Red, White, and Blue.
2 and a half yrs. after Travis ' death we found out he had a son, he never knew he had. DNA was done, and yes Dylan is my Grandson, and Travis Legacy lives on. Dylan is such a Blessing in our lives, we are very thankful, and Proud of Dylan, who just turned 13 yrs. old. this past June.
Proud Mother of LCpl Travis Layfield
KIA April 6th, 2004
Our Fallen Warrior
IN MEMORY OF THE FALLEN
What we do here is not always of our own choosing, for sometimes it has been forced upon us.
We do what we are told and are good at what we do.
Evil now runs through our veins.
We do not hesitate and never second guess ourselves.
Sleepless nights and rationless days are now a part of us.
We crave it…we cannot get it out of our heads.
Always looking over our shoulders, we are always on guard.
We want it more than anything, but we dread the very thought of it.
We avenge our fallen brothers by any means necessary.
We think not of the risks or consequences of our actions. We simply do and deal with what is to come at a later time.
We learned their ways. We learned how to move better than them to maneuver around their traps.
We are even better armed and trained. But how can we fight a war, when we cannot see the enemy?
There is no peace of mind. Not for us…
For peace left us a long time ago with the last breath of the first brother who fell to them.
We are not gentle. We do not show mercy.
We do what we have to do to protect our country. But, in time, we hope to become better men. Time alone will grant us our freedom and let us live our lives the way we can only dream of.
We never give up. We will never give in. We would do anything, just to see our fallen rise again.
LCpl. Zagham Bhatti
LCpl. Christopher Phoenix-Jacob Levy
November 23, 2011
SSG ERIC STANLEY TRUEBLOOD
US ARMY EXPLOSIVE ORDINANCE DISPOSAL
720th EOD COMPANY
BORN: JANUARY 24, 1984
KIA: MARCH 10, 2011 (Age: 27) KANDAHAR PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN
HOMETOWN: ALAMEDA, CA
BURIED: GREENHILL CEMETARY, LARAMIE, WY
When he joined the Army at 19, Eric was a wild young man struggling to find his way in life. He was first stationed at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California as a mechanic. During his 5 years at Fort Irwin, Eric deployed twice, one to Kuwait and one to Afghanistan. After his second deployment, Eric returned to Fort Irwin and volunteered for Explosive Ordinance Disposal, the joint service occupation whose purpose is to render safe explosives, including IEDs, chemical weapons, biological, weapons, and nuclear weapons. The training for EOD is a year long and Eric graduated first in his class. He spent 2 years in Germany, training and providing EOD services to the Secret Service (who does not have explosive experts). The 720th EOD Company deployed to Afghanistan in February 2011.
Early the morning of March 10, 2011, his team performed a post blast analysis, of an IED explosion that had severely injured a soldier the previous evening, and began clearing the rest of the area. At about 8:00, Eric stepped on or near a pressure-triggered IED that his equipment did not detect. Despite the best efforts of the members of his team, Eric died shortly before the medivac helicopter arrived. He is buried next to his paternal grandfather in Laramie, Wyoming. His name was added to the EOD Memorial in May 2012.
Of the many badges and medals Eric had been awarded, he was particularly proud of three: the Combat Action Badge, EOD Badge, and Air Assault Badge. Among many other medals, he was awarded the Army Commendation Medal with V device from his second deployment and, posthumously, the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
Eric was a big personality, a friend to everyone, would give you the shirt off his back, and hated to be the center of attention. He worked harder than most and partied even harder. Many times he has been described by as a great EOD technician, but the best NCO with whom they had ever served. Eric would like that description. He loved EOD, but for him, being an NCO was the real part of the Army.
One of Eric’s friends described him as:
"Some men are destined to live forever. Whether it be through achievement, heroism, fame or circumstance. Some men live forever because of all four. The stories of Eric Trueblood are told far and wide. His name is recognizable to many. The way he touched his friends is uncanny, and without equal. He was a star amongst his peers, and a beam of light to his family. Eric Trueblood's name will forever be uttered in the company of great men who did amazing things for their country." - Kyle Yarbrough
SSG. Jesse Lee Williams
Aug. 21, 1983 - Dec. 17, 2013 ELKHART - SSG. Jesse Lee Williams, 30, U.S. Army, was killed in the line of duty on Tuesday, December 17, 2013, in the Shajau district of Zabul Province in Afghanistan when he and other fellow soldiers were involved in a crash of an American Black Hawk transport helicopter. Staff Sergeant Williams was recently deployed to Afghanistan with his unit, Headquarters Company, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, based in Vilseck, Germany. He was born August 21, 1983, in Elkhart, to Thomas I. Williams and Deborah M. (Bussard) Passerallo. T. Lyman Williams. Jesse attended Elkhart Central High School and in 2006 completed the U.S. Army Basic Training Course at Fort Jackson, SC, while attached to Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 60th Infantry. SSG. Williams' first assignment was in Illesheim, Germany,
with D CO, 412th ASB from Jan. 2007 to Feb. 2009. He was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division and worked in the Electronics Warfare shop at the Divisional level from Jan. 2009 to Jan. 2012. During this time he attended and graduated from Air Assault School. SSG. Williams was deployed 3 times, once to Iraq with the 412th ASB from 2007-2008, once to Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne from 2010-2011, and once with the 2CR starting in July 2013. The United States of America will be forever indebted for the honorable and courageous service SSG. Jesse L. Williams willfully gave to his country.
The above is the official version
Here is what I wrote last week, for his birthday on 8/21:
31 years ago. I remember. I remember not having a clue what it meant to be a mother, to be completely responsible for another life. I remember the moment you were put into my arms. I remember, at once, knowing what real, true love for another was all about. I remember all of the funny times, those growing up years, I remember the things that made you laugh, made you tick, that made you Jesse. I remember you running into the house to be first on Tuesday’s to warm up the big, crappy console TV so that that the picture tube would be ready at seven o’clock for Rescue 911 and a frozen pizza. I remember you and friends in grade school playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and later in junior high, performing WWF, hiding holes in the walls with posters of Hogan and Caretaker and the Ultimate Warrior. I remember the broken bones, the stitches, the sprained ankles, the gym class injuries – teenage clumsiness and some just sheer, dumb teenage decisions. I remember it all with love, and heart gripping longing. I remember how you hated doing book reports at Pinewood, and I would coax and cajole you through them on the front porch in the evenings. I remember those tough years, you struggling to belong, to become independent, challenging us to let you grow. The times I lay awake at night, crying for you to find your way. I lay awake at night now and just cry for you. I remember when you introduced me the world of lattes at The Daily Grind Coffee House on a cool, drizzly spring day in 1997. I remember how proud, how heart swelling proud, I was the first time I saw you in uniform. I remember the awe, the love, the sheer wonder in your eyes the first time you held your little girl. I remember how you would do anything for her, buy her anything she wanted, your gentle, but firm discipline with her given with unwavering, unconditional love. I remember never being as proud of you as I was when you became her father.
I remember the fractured moments we were able to spend together, treasured bits of time before you had to go back to another world. I remember waiting and counting down until you could come home again. I remember making sure you always had a good supply of Starbucks and creamer wherever you went in this world. I remember searching until I found a pair of sized 13 Crocs because you mentioned they would be handy. I remember sending enough Halloween treats for your entire unit and sending cases of baby wipes when the water supply ran out in the desert. I remember how you didn’t whine or complain or groan about your lot in life. You tackled it head on, doing what you needed to do in your work, your relationships and your ambitions. You always had what it took to complete everything that was thrown your way. I remember, now, that I never told you enough how proud I was. I never told you enough how much I love you. I never took enough time to do everything I wanted to with you. I never had enough of you. I remember, now, at the start of each day, what I don’t have anymore. You.
Happy birthday in heaven, my Jessers Lee. I know God has given you good work to do and you will stay on mission. I miss you with every breath. Every moment awake I long to feel you somewhere in the world. Every night, when laying down, I pray that I will see you in my dreams. I love you, baby.
As you love Madison, I love you, forever and a day, from here to eternity, you, my beautiful son, are always a part of me.
Someone phrased this “journey” as like the ocean, waves that come and go. That sure is what it feels like. Some days I can tread water okay, and others, I am drowning. I can tell you, I truly believe our beautiful children are part of God’s army. My prayers at night are for us broken parents left behind. We are all part of a new family now.