Marines Killed in Helicopter Crash Were Based in Hawaii

The Associated Press reports that military officials have released the names of six Marines killed when their helicopter crashed Thursday in Afghanistan.

The crash in the southern province of Helmand was the deadliest in Afghanistan since August, when 30 American troops died after a Chinook helicopter was apparently shot down in Wardak province in the center of the country.

All six were based at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, said base spokeswoman 1st Lt. Diann Olson.

The dead were:

  • Capt. Daniel Bartle, 27, of Ferndale, Wash.
  • Capt. Nathan McHone, 29, of Crystal Lake, Ill.
  • Master Sgt. Travis Riddick, 40, of Centerville, Iowa
  • Cpl. Jesse Stites, 23, of North Beach, Md.
  • Cpl. Kevin Reinhard, 25, of Colonia, N.J.
  • Cpl. Joseph Logan, 22, of Willis, Texas

Bartle and McHone were the pilots of the aircraft, while Riddick was the helicopter’s crew chief. Their squadron had been sent in August to Afghanistan as part of a seven-month deployment, Olson said.

A full report is available HERE.

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Six Marines Killed in Helicopter Crash Reports AP

Anonymous Defense Official

Associated Press is reporting that all six forces killed in the crash of a U.S. helicopter in Afghanistan were U.S. Marines according to an anonymous defense official. You can read the AP update HERE.

An earlier AP report:

A NATO helicopter has crashed in southern Afghanistan, killing six members of the international military force, the U.S.-led coalition said Friday.

The cause is still being investigated, but a coalition statement said there was no enemy activity in the area at the time of Thursday’s crash, which brought the number of international forces killed in Afghanistan this month to 24.

The coalition did not disclose the nationalities of those killed and would not release details of the crash until the families of the dead were notified.

The helicopter crash occurred on the same day that a suicide car bomber killed at least seven civilians outside a crowded gate at Kandahar Air Field, a sprawling base for U.S. and NATO operations in the south. The Taliban insurgents claimed responsibility, saying they were targeting a NATO convoy.

You can read the initial news article HERE.

Military Moms Most Memorable Moments in 2011

Chelle and Nelson in Charleston, September 2007.

A Sister, a Mom, a Family Prepares for Military Life” – Dorie Griggs.

It’s hard to believe in just over a month my oldest son will graduate from The Citadel. The time, for me at least, has flown by. Looking through photos from his college career, I’m forced to believe the time really has gone by.

Our daughter, Chelle, is the measuring stick. She was a little girl in 3rd grade when Nelson started his knob year (freshman).  She is now a young lady in 6th grade and about 12 inches taller. The photos tell the story best. During the 2007-08 school year she always brought a treasured stuffed animal on our visits to The Citadel. Now she brings a book.

Dorie Griggs knew little of military life until her son joined ROTC in high school. That’s when her education began and has not stopped since. She’s cheered him through four years and graduation at the Citadel and watched as he made his First Jump at the U.S.  Army Airborne School. Through her writing and photos by her husband Stanley Leary, Dorie has taken us along as she travels the unknown road as a military mom.

Tracie Ciambotti and her son, Joshua Nearhoof, Army Sergeant out of Fort Carson, September 2010.

An Army Mom Connects Military Families and Churches” – Tracie Ciambotti.

My son enlisted in the Army two days after graduating high school in June of 2005—five months later he was in Baghdad in the middle of a war.  He received the best training in the world for his new job as an Army infantryman; I however, did not receive any information or training for my new role as the mother of a soldier.  Families that have a loved one in the Armed Forces sacrifice and serve with their enlisted and they need support. 

I could not find one support group in the community or county where I lived in Pennsylvania at the time.  Most communities in this country have support groups for all kinds of things; alcoholism and drug addictions; cancer and many other diseases; crime victims; and many more. 

When Tracie Ciambotti couldn’t find a support group for military moms and families near her Pennsylvania home, she co-founded Military Families Ministry. She has generously contributed to Off the Base – writing about her experience as an Army Mom detailing the emotions of deployment but also the drive to provide soldiers and their families prayer and support.

Jared Agle's official US Marine Corps photo.

A Marine Mom Lets Go a Week Early” – April Agle.

… the Marines made their presence known in our lives. It became very clear that things were going to be different from now on.  Jared called me at work on Thursday, August 5th.  He had just received a call from his Marine recruiter that his departure date for boot camp had been moved up a week early to Sunday, August 9th.  Jared was asked if he could leave a week early.  As Jared said to me, “ I can’t say no mom.  I need to call him back and tell him okay”.  

I was proud of myself.  I told him to go ahead and call the Recruiter back and tell him that he would be ready to go.  I hung up with Jared. My heart was pounding so fast. I was in a panic.  My eyes teared up. I called Roger at work and told him.  I hung up with Roger and cried a bit.  I knew it was coming – I knew this day was coming.  I thought to myself, “the stupid military is already messing with my plans”. 

I thought I was ready for this and was finding that it was not true.  I knew I had to be strong.  I remember thinking that it is only boot camp, it’s not like he is going to war – At least not yet.

April Agle works in the business office at WUSF Public Broadcasting, where I work. She’s not only a colleague, she’s a friend. Her 17-year-old son, Jared, convinced her to sign the papers for the Marine Corps Delayed Enlistment Program while he was still in high school. I convinced April to write about the experience. I also had the privilege of interviewing Jared before and after boot camp in 2010. He’s now serving in Afghanistan.

Momma B tries out a flight simulator - three of her children are aviators in military service.

A Mom, 4 Kids, 4 Services: Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines” – Momma B.

My mom radar was definitely on the blink. As an aviator’s mom (make that triple aviator’s mom ) I scan the news daily for any mention of a mishap that might remotely involve my boys or any of their compadres. And when a news crawl or Google alert pops up I am on the phone, if possible, checking  to make sure my kid is safely on the ground.

Such is the life of a military pilot’s mom. It doesn’t matter if they are deployed or not. Every day, they do battle with physics. My Marine in his F/18 defies gravity and the speed of sound, flying way too close to another airplane to make a mom comfortable. My P/3 NFO is up for hours in OLD airplanes-thankfully soon to be replaced. And my Army ROTC cadet in helicopters-those things fly way too close to the ground, don’t you think?

This Off the Base contributor goes by the nom de plume of Momma B on her blog: 4starmilitarymom. She’s mother to four children – all are in the military.

Photo courtesy of Lynn Nankervis.

Seven Is Too Young to Join the Army” – Lynn Nankervis.

Today I sat in an Army recruiter’s office while a camouflage-wearing, big-muscled, tough-talking soldier insisted my 7-year-old son was ready to serve his country by enlisting in the military.

Not really.

Sam is actually 17 years old, entering his senior year in high school and considering joining the Army under the Delayed Entry Program, essentially meaning he signs the papers now but doesn’t report to boot camp until after high school graduation next June.

But as I sat with my son in that office listening to the recruiter proclaim all the benefits of a military career, my mind flashed back to a front-toothless Sam at 7 asking me to take him to “McDongals” for a “mikswake.”

This is my baby, my first-born son. How is it possible he is old enough to be thinking about the military? He’s supposed to be playing cowboys and Indians, not defending his country. You can read the full blog entry HERE.

Lynn Nankervis originally wrote this for the Bloomingdale Patch. Her writing was so clear and insightful, I contacted Lynn for permission to re-use her column.  She also writes The Brady Bunch Plus One blog.

Christmas Carolers Serenade Marines at Camp Leatherneck

Christmas caroling is a tradition that continues even in Afghanistan. Here’s a video produced by USMC 2nd Lt. James F. Stenger and USMC Sgt. Justin J. Shemanski. If you have a family member currently serving in Afghanistan, may listening to it make you feel closer to your loved one.

The video shows an international band of Christmas carolers, including U.S. and British military personnel, as they bring holiday cheer to service members at the 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward) compound aboard Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan on December 22, 2011.

Football for Florida Warriors & Marine Family in Need

Beef O'Brady's Bowl festivities included a "beach bash" scheduled on Sunday.

The Louisville Cardinals and Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles are competing for bragging rights in the football field Tuesday night, but the real winner will be the bay area’s wounded warriors.

Organizers of the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl are teaming up with Opertation Homefront-Florida for the game at St. Petersburg‘s Tropicana Field. At Gates 1 and 4, members of Operation Homefront will collect toys and money donations to support Florida military families and injured veterans in crisis.

Tailgating begins at 2 p.m. outside St. Petersburg's Tropicana Field.

“Operation Homefront-Florida truly appreciates the opportunity to be a part of this event.  The exposure and support it will bring to our military families comes at a crucial time.  The length and frequency of deployments continue to increase and our military families need our support now more than ever,” said Jeff Gareau, Director of Operations for Operation Homefront-Florida according to a news release.

The game starts at 8 p.m. but the tailgate party which is open to the public begins at 2 p.m.

Visit www.BeefOBradysBowl.com for information on tickets and upcoming bowl events.

There are others in need as well. The following email message was sent by a member of  T.A.M.P.A., Tampa Area Marine Parents Association a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization. Cyd Deathe is President-Executive Director of Tampa Area Marine Parents Assoc., Inc.

It has been brought to my attention that one of our members’ family is having an extremely difficult time during this holiday season.  While I understand that many have felt the pressure of the economic crunch and individual personal struggles, this family could really use our help.

The family is full of Marine Corps service, past and present, and has just continued to face hardships both medical and financial throughout the past year.  The family would have never said a word to us or asked for help. But, it was brought to our attention by a very dear friend who knows the specifics, has heard all about our group, and has also been working to help out.

I am currently trying to get some financial assistance for the family through military organizations so the light bill can be paid and there will be electricity for the holidays.  We are currently in need of Christmas gifts for three children (Girls 5 & 8/Boy 8) or monetary donations to help purchase them.

If you are in a postion to help, you can contact Cyd Deathe online Tampa Area Marine Parents Association.

As Veterans Celebrate, A New Marine Joins

New Marine Jared Agle already has his first stripe for ROTC service and first ribbon for joining during wartime.

Jared Agle decided years ago he wanted to be a Marine. He spent his years in high school preparing for it. And when the time came, he convinced his mother to sign off. He left for boot camp in August weeks before his 18th birthday.

I met Jared because his mom April works here at WUSF Public Media in the business office. Agle returned last Friday after 13 weeks of basic training at Parris Island, South Carolina.

In this week that the country is honoring its veterans, Agle shared what it’s like to be at the beginning of that journey to serve his country.

It started with his late-night arrival at camp. Getting off the bus the Marine recruits are ordered to keep their heads down and not look up. The DIs – or Drill Instructors – run them from station to station filling out paperwork, picking up uniforms, having their hair sheared off.

Agle, fresh from boot camp, shares what it's like to become a Marine.

Agle didn’t sleep his first night there. He laid in his “rack”, his mind racing with all sorts of questions: “You’re kind of like, is it going to be this bad the whole time? Am I going to be able to make it? Am I going to be able to sleep?”

He wasn’t used to being “hollered at.” Yet, Agle said he never questioned his choice to join the Marines. His most difficult challenge during the training, the DIs told Agle his voice wasn’t loud enough.

“One time I had to scream at a wall until it moved,” Agle said.

April Agle and her son, USMC Private First Class Jared Agle, 18.

More than a dozen family members attended Agle’s graduation. His sister decorated the family car writing “USMC Graduate” on the back. So the entire trip home, passing cars pulled up alongside honked and gave Agle a “thumbs up.”

That’s when the realization hit Agle, he is now part of “the Corps.”

“It’s definitely worth it,” Agle said. He already has his first stripe because he was in high school ROTC. And he has earned his first ribbon, the defense ribbon for joining the military while the country is at war.

USMC Private First Class Agle, 18, leaves for infantry school on Monday.

You can listen to Agle talk about his first few months spent becoming a Marine during a WUSF radio interview with me.

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