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Area veterans advocates urge remembrance of 20 killed in Afghanistan in 2019

Dec 29 2019
Adam Young |Lubbock Online

Area veterans advocacy groups are urging the community to remember 20 service members killed in Afghanistan in 2019, including one from the Panhandle/South Plains area. The Military Order of the Purple Heart, Chapter 0900, VFW Post 2466 and the Friends of the Monument of Courage compiled a list of the 20 soldiers killed in Afghanistan, according to organizer Danny Koch.

The most recent, SFC Michael Goble, died Dec. 22. Ten of the 20 were in Special Forces.

The 20 received Purple Hearts posthumously, and 20 families had their Blue Star turned to a Gold Star.

“We will be dedicating the Monument of Courage on May 23rd, where we will showcase the 12 regional Medal of Honor Heroes, Gold Star families and Purple Heart Heroes,” said Koch. “WWII Marine Medal of Honor Woody Williams will be one of the two keynote speakers. Heroes will be remembered there. Our youth can go to learn that freedom comes with a high cost and even loss.”

Koch said the veterans organizations released the list of the 20 soldiers who died, in hopes the community will read their names aloud before the end of the year.

“If we call out their names, they will not be forgotten,” he said. “Let us remember the wise words of President Lincoln - ‘A nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure.’”

The first soldier who died this year was Sgt. Cameron Meddock of Spearman in the Panhandle.

He played football and ran track in high school. He was an Army Ranger who was 26 when he died. He left a wife who was pregnant with their first child.

He was on his second deployment in support of Operation Resolute Support, according to Amarillo Globe-News archives.

The Monument of Courage project will recognize the loss suffered by Lone Star families, service men and women wounded in war, and this region’s Medal of Honor recipients, according to previous coverage in the Avalanche-Journal.

Fundraising for the project has been underway for several years, with organizers touting about $270,000 in donations toward an estimated cost of about $300,000 for what will be three monument structures.

The monument, which ground has already been broken for, will be in the Lubbock Area Veterans War Memorial, located in Huneke Park at 82nd street and Nashville Avenue.

  • SGT Cameron A. Meddock – Army – January 17, 2019. Spearman, Texas
  • SFC Joshua Z. Beale – Army – January 22, 2019.
  • SGT Joseph P. Collette – Army – March 22, 2019.
  • SFC Will D. Lindsay – Army – March 22, 2019.
  • SSGT Christopher K. A. Slutman – Marine – April 8, 2019.
  • SGT Robert A. Hendriks – Marine – April 8, 2019.
  • SSGT Benjamin S. Hines – Marine – April 8, 2019.
  • SPC Miguel Holmes – Army –May 6, 2019.
  • SGT James G. Johnston – Army – June 25, 2019
  • MSGT Michael B. Riley – Army – June 25, 2019.
  • Justice T. Mills – Army – June 28, 2019.
  • Sgt Major James G. Santor – Army - July 15, 2019. Teague, Texas.
  • PFC Brandon J. Kreischer – Army – July 29, 2019.
  • SPC Michael I. Nance – Army – July 29, 2019.
  • MSGT Luis F. DeLeon – Army – August 21, 2019.
  • MSGT Jose J. Gonzalez Army – August 21, 2019.
  • SFC Jeremy W. Griffin – Army – September 17, 2019.
  • CWO2 Kirk Fuchigami – Army – November 21, 2019.
  • CWO2 David C. Knadle – Army – November 21, 2019. Tarrant, Texas.
  • SFC Michael J. Goble – Army - December 23, 2019.