Stories by Beth Ford Roth
Active-duty soldier Pfc. Paul Ieti, 21, recently completed a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan. While in the war-ravaged country, he used music to soothe his soul and entertain his fellow soldiers. His incredible singing voice landed him an audition on "America's Got Talent," and his performance on the show this week earned him a standing ovation and a spot in the final competition.
Taylor St. Cyr was crushed when she learned her brother, Camp Pendleton Marine Lance Cpl. Shayne St. Cyr, wouldn't be able to make it to her high school graduation in Essex, Vt. But Shayne, and Taylor's parents, had a major surprise in store for the graduate when she walked across the stage to receive her diploma.
About 100 U.S. Marines are en route to the American embassy in Baghdad as the militant group ISAS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) seizes more territory in Iraq. In addition, the USS Mesa Verde will join aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush in the Persian Gulf "to protect American citizens and interests in Iraq."
Two Russian Tu-95 Bear bomber planes came within 50 miles of the Northern California coast, shortly after four of the Russian Tu-95 planes entered the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) near Alaska. None of the planes entered U.S. air space, and military officials dismissed the incident as "routine."
The commanding officer and the command master chief of the San Diego-based USS Cowpens were relieved of their duties on Tuesday. The Navy reported a loss of confidence in the ability to lead of both Capt. Gregory W. Gombert and Master Chief Petty Officer Gabriel J. Keeton as the reason for their removal.
Army Pfc. Jacob H. Wykstra, 21, died May 28, in Kandahar Province of injuries he suffered in what the Defense Department calls an "aircraft accident." The Pentagon did not say if it was the same accident as the May 28 U.S. military helicopter crash in Kandahar Province that killed one NATO soldier and injured three Americans.
Unlike Veterans Day, which honors all who have served in the military, Memorial Day specifically pays tribute to fallen service members. On this day, the father of Navy CTI2 Matthew Bergman, a 21-year-old sailor from the USS Boxer who was lost at sea in 2011, posted an essay he wrote shortly after his son's death.