Remains of Seven U.S. Troops Killed in Afghanistan Returned Home
(July 9, 2009)
|DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del., July 8, 2009 –
The remains of seven American troops killed July 6 during
combat operations in Afghanistan returned to their nation
during a dignified transfer this afternoon at Dover Air
Force Base, Del.|
Twenty-six family members from every region of the country
stood on the tarmac witnessing their loved one's return.
|A U.S. Navy team transfers the remains of Petty Officer 2nd Class Tony M. Randolph at Dover Air Force Base, July 8, 2009, as Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, joined Rear Adm. James J. Shannon, commander of the Naval Warfare Center, Army Brig. Gen. Michael T. Harrison Sr., director of Joint and Futures, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G8, Headquarters, Department of the Army, Washington D.C., and Air Force Col. Manson O. Morris, commander, 436th Airlift Wing, Dover Air Force Base.
U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik
Subdued voices of the carry team leaders directed their teams to perform precise
movements as they transferred their comrades-in-arms from the C-17 aircraft to a
waiting vehicle. A six-person Navy team carried the transfer case of the single
sailor into one vehicle, followed by a six-person U.S. Army team who then
carried each transfer case for the six soldiers into a second vehicle. |
The wind picked-up on this warm summer day as the last transfer case holding the
sixth soldier was placed in the transfer vehicle, and all present rendered a
As the second and final transfer vehicle with the remains of the six Army
soldiers left the flight line, the U.S. Navy carry team joined a dozen troops
standing at attention outside the passenger terminal as they rendered a salute.
The transfer vehicle passed in front, followed by the Army carry team and the
Today's dignified returns were of the following seven servicemembers:
U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Tony M. Randolph, of Henryetta, Okla.,
assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit Eight, Sigonella, Italy.
U.S. Army Capt. Mark A. Garner, of State Road, N.C., assigned to Company B,
1-4th Infantry Battalion, Hohensfels, Germany.
U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Derwin I. Williams, of Glenwood, Ill., assigned to Troop B,
2nd Squadron, 106th Cavalry, Dixon, Ill., Illinois Army National Guard.
U.S. Army Sgt. Brock H. Chavers, of Bulloch, Ga., assigned to Company D, 2nd
Battalion, 121st Infantry, Americus, Ga., Georgia Army National Guard.
U.S. Army Spc. Chester W. Hosford, of Hastings, Minn, assigned to Troop B, 2nd
Squadron, 106th Cavalry, Dixon, Ill., U.S. Army National Guard.
U.S. Army Spc. Issac L. Johnson, of Columbus, Ga., assigned to Company A, 48th
Brigade Special Troops Battalion, Statesboro, Ga.
U.S. Army Pfc. Nicholas Gideon, of Murrieta, Calif., assigned to the 40th
Armored Squadron, Fort Richardson, Ark.
|Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Admiral Michael Mullen, BGen Michael Harrison, and RADM James
Shannon salute the coffin of a fallen service member during a
dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base Delaware July 8, 2009.
All fallen service members are transferred directly from theater to
the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operation Center at Dover Air Force
Base. DoD photo by Benjamin Faske
Minutes after the transfer was complete and family members exited the flight
line the sound of retreat followed by the National Anthem broadcast across the
air base. |
Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, attended today's
dignified transfers, as he has for several previous transfers.
Mullen spoke with family members assembled in a base chapel before the transfer
. Afterwards, the chairman spoke briefly with each of the carry teams and with
more than 20 other servicemembers involved in the transfer operations.
Earlier in the day, Mullen responded to a question at the National Press Club
about the impact he has seen from the policy change to allow the press to cover
the return of fallen service members.
"It's been very well done," Mullen said. "I've been up there and observed the
process. I personally believe it was a very important decision.
"And what I've seen is that that dignity and that respect has been -- has been
very, very much supported in the time that certainly the press has been there,"
he said. And I'm very encouraged by that. I think it's important that all of us
understand the sacrifices that these young men and women make."
U.S. Navy Rear Admiral James J. Shannon, commander, Naval Surface Warfare
Center, and U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Michael T. Harrison Sr., director, Joint and
Futures, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G8, Headquarters, Department of
the Army, also attended the transfer. U.S. Air Force Col. Manson O. Morris,
commander, 436th Airlift Wing, Dover Air Force Base, Del., was the dignified
Dignified transfers have occurred over 4,000 times at Dover Air Force Base since
2001 in virtually the same manner. A policy change on April 5 of this year
allowed news media to be present with the approval of the primary next of kin of
the fallen service member. In about 70 percent of cases the families approve the
presence of news media. Family members have been present in the same percentage.
Article by USAF TSgt. Benjamin J. Matwey
Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations Center Public Affairs
Special to American Forces Press Service
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