Editorial – The cost of war: we must remember those who died fighting global terrorism | Editorials
A memorial to the US Army Pfc. Gregory P. Huxley Jr. of Adirondack High School in Boonville included a roll of duct tape among all the items.
Hailing from Forestport, Huxley was known for his frequent use of duct tape. Principal Frederick Morgan said Huxley told others that virtually anything can be secured with the adhesive. Erica Merlo, who attended the prom with Huxley, said he doesn’t own a pair of shoes without duct tape.
Huxley enlisted in the United States Army in the summer of 2002. He last visited his family on Thanksgiving.
He died on April 6, 2003 in Iraq at the age of 19.
US Navy Senior Cryptologist (Interpreter) Shannon Kent of Pine Planes is a graduate of the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California; She was the recipient of two Joint Service Commendation Medals, the Navy / Marine Corps Medal of Honor, an Army Commendation Medal and a Joint Service Medal of Honor. She also held an Iraq Campaign Medal and a Maritime Service Deployment Ribbon.
She died on January 19, 2019 in Syria at the age of 35.
Beth Friedrich said her son, a former Hammond resident of US Army Agt. David Travis Friedrich, joined the military to help pay for his college education. He graduated from Governor High School in 1995 before majoring in Criminal Justice and Chemistry at SUNY Brockport, graduating in 1999. He was working on a Masters of Forensic Science at New Haven University, Conn.
He died on September 20, 2003 in Iraq at the age of 26.
United States Marine Master Sgt. Timothy Toney of Manhattan loved to be helpful. He has coached a Marine Corps basketball team as well as children’s baseball, basketball and softball teams.
He died on March 27, 2004 in Kuwait at the age of 37.
The new Potsdam Humane Society building, built in 2019, was dedicated to the Army Spc. Chad C. Fuller. The Potsdam native and Fort Drum soldier volunteered his time to the organization. Fuller was a star athlete on the Potsdam High School football team, graduating in 1998.
He died on August 31, 2003 in Afghanistan at the age of 23 with Army Pfc. Adam L. Thomas, 21, of Missouri, also of Fort Drum. Fuller and Thomas were the first two combat deaths suffered by the 10th Mountain Division since its deployment to Afghanistan in 2001.
US Air Force Staff Sgt. Alexandria M. Morrow of Dansville earned the nickname Mother Alex by members of her deployed unit due to her caring nature. She was chosen to brief the commander of the US Central Command on weapons loading operations during his visit to Southwest Asia.
She died on March 22, 2017 in Jordan at the age of 25.
New York Army National Guard Spc. Michael L. Williams of Buffalo re-enlisted in the military following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 – it was his 44th birthday. A cousin said there was no way anyone would dissuade him from returning. Williams worked for the Office of the Inspector General of the New York State Department of Corrections.
He died on October 17, 2003 in Iraq at the age of 46.
Army Staff Sgt. Michael J. Esposito Jr., who previously served in Kuwait, also re-enlisted after 9/11. The Long Island resident was stationed at Fort Drum before being deployed to Afghanistan.
He died on March 18, 2004 in Afghanistan at the age of 22.
Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class (SW) Michael J. Pernaselli de Monroe and his brother, Captain John Pernaselli, loved to make fun of their respective choices for a career in the military. Michael J. Pernaselli loved to talk to his two daughters whenever he could.
He died on April 24, 2004 in the northern Persian Gulf at the age of 27.
These stories reflect the accounts of different people from different parts of the state serving in different branches of the military at different stages of their lives. But they had one thing in common.
They have dedicated themselves to protecting our country during the war on terror. Some American troops have died in action; others have been killed in accidents.
Then there are the many injured service members, some of whom have overcome incredible obstacles to get on with their lives. One horrific factor has been the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder. The terrible tendency towards suicide among active duty soldiers and veterans is something we must fight and reverse.
Those of us in upstate New York know the toll of the fighting all too well. Members of the 10th Mountain Division stationed at Fort Drum were among the most deployed troops over the past 20 years: 180 post soldiers were among the 2,465 Americans who died in Afghanistan while 132 personnel from Fort Drum were among the of the 4,586 American soldiers killed in Iraq.
Unlike other times of conflict in our country’s history, many people across the country do not know anyone who has served in the armed forces for the past two decades. The all-volunteer army is the best trained and best equipped we have ever had.
Yet far too few Americans have a stake in war today. It’s different here in the north of the country. The men and women who have served us abroad are our family, neighbors, friends and co-workers. We celebrated happy occasions with them when the time was right.
We also attended their funeral when a tragedy claimed their lives. The sacrifice that their loved ones endure is also our loss.
As the United States closes a combat chapter in its history, we must continue to embrace the warriors among us and care for the survivors left behind. The freedoms we enjoy come at a high price. We owe it to the fallen troops to live up to the principles that our soldiers so nobly defend.