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Joshua S. Harmon
Corporal, United States Army
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U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Release
 
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 1039-07
August 23, 2007
 
DoD Identifies Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the death of 14 soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died August 22, 2007, in Multaka, Iraq, of injuries suffered when their helicopter crashed.
 
Killed were the following soldiers assigned to the 4th Squadron, 6th U.S. Air Cavalry Regiment, Fort Lewis, Washington:
 
Captain Corry P. Tyler, 29, of Georgia.
 Chief Warrant Officer Paul J. Flynn, 28, of Whitsett, North Carolina
 Sergeant Matthew L. Tallman, 30, of Groveland, California
 Specialist Rickey L. Bell, 21, of Caruthersville, Missouri
 
Also killed were the following soldiers assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii:
 
Captain Derek A. Dobogai, 26, of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
  Staff Sergeant Jason L. Paton, 25, of Poway, Califprnia
 Sergeant Garrett I. McLead, 23, of Rockport, Texas
 Corporal Jeremy P. Bouffard, 21, of Middlefield, Massachusetts
 Corporal Phillip J. Brodnick, 25, of New Lenox, Illinois
 Corporal Joshua S. Harmon, 20, of Mentor, Ohio
 Corporal Nathan C. Hubbard, 21, of Clovis, California
 Specialist Michael A. Hook, 25, of Altoona, Pennsylvania
 Specialist Jessy G. Pollard, 22, of Springfield, Missouri
 Speialist Tyler R. Seideman, 20, of Lincoln, Arkansas
 
The cause of the incident is under investigation.
 
For more information related to the deaths of Tyler, Flynn, Tallman and Bell, the media may contact the Fort Lewis public affairs office at (253) 967-0152, (253) 967-0147 or after hours at (253) 967-0015 (ask for the Public Affairs Officer on call).
 
For more information related to the deaths of Dobogai, Paton, McLead, Bouffard, Brodnick, Harmon, Hubbard, Hook, Pollard and Seideman, the media may contact the U.S. Army Garrison, Hawaii public affairs office at (808) 656-3159 or (808) 656-3157.



Group Burial Funeral Services: Friday, 24 October 2008: Arlington National Cemetery
RICKEY L BELL, Specialist, USA POST CHAPEL 11:00
JEREMY P BOUFFARD, Corporal, USA POST CHAPEL 11:00
PHILLIP BRODNICK, Corporal, USA POST CHAPEL 11:00
DEREK A DOBOGAI, Captain, USA POST CHAPEL 11:00
PAUL J FLYNN, Chief Warrant Officer 2, USA POST CHAPEL 11:00
JOSHUA C HARMON, Corporal, USA POST CHAPEL 11:00
MICHAEL A HOOK, Specialist, USA POST CHAPEL 11:00
NATHAN A HUBBARD, Corporal, USA POST CHAPEL 11:00
GARRETT I MCLEAD, Sergeant, USA POST CHAPEL 11:00
JASON L PATON, Staff Sergeant, USA POST CHAPEL 11:00
JESSY G POLLARD, Corporal, USA POST CHAPEL 11:00
TYLER R SEIDEMAN, Specialist, USA POST CHAPEL 11:00
MATTHEW L TALLMAN, Sergeant, USA POST CHAPEL 11:00
CORRY TYLER, Captain, USA POST CHAPEL 11:00
Honoring Fallen 14 With 'Quiet Strength'

By Mark Berman
Courtesy of The Washington Post
Saturday, October 25, 2008

Four Black Hawk helicopters skimmed overhead against the backdrop of a gray, cloudy sky. Below, more than 150 people brought together by tragedy and united in grief gathered yesterday to pay tribute to 14 soldiers honored at Arlington National Cemetery.

The soldiers were killed August 22, 2007, in a helicopter crash in Multaka, Iraq. Each had been buried separately. But 14 months after the accident, which was caused by mechanical failure, family and friends bundled together on a chilly October morning for a group tribute.

The mourners followed a horse-drawn caisson bearing a single flag-cloaked silver coffin up Bradley Drive. The coffin was carried to Section 60 of the cemetery and placed amid a bevy of red, white and blue flowers.

As part of the service, folded flags were given to parents and siblings, widows and a best friend. Each flag was touched for a moment to the coffin before being handed to the loved ones of the fallen soldiers.

The soldiers were between the ages of 20 and 30 years old. They hailed from 11 states, spanning from California to Massachusetts.

Captain Corry P. Tyler, 29, of Woodbine, Georgia, graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1999 and had deployed to Iraq in 2003 and 2006. Chief Warrant Officer 2 Paul J. Flynn, 28, of Whitsett, North Carolina, was a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter pilot with a decade of service.

The eldest soldier, Sergeant Matthew L. Tallman, 30, of Groveland, California, was a tall, easygoing man and a devoted father, family members told the Los Angeles Times.

The youngest soldiers were Corporal Joshua S. Harmon, of Mentor, Ohio, and Specialist Tyler R. Seideman, of Lincoln, Arkansas, both 20. Harmon, a medic, had married his wife, Kristin, 84 days before his death, she told the News-Herald in Ohio. Seideman, who loved to joke, was a generous person who would "give you the shirt off his back if you needed it," said his best friend, Jeremy Bolivear, at a memorial service honoring the soldier, according to the Morning News in Arkansas.

Specialist Rickey L. Bell, 21, of Caruthersville, Missouri, joined the military in 2005 after graduating from high school.

Tyler, Flynn, Tallman and Bell were assigned to the 4th Squadron, 6th U.S. Air Cavalry Regiment based at Fort Lewis, Washington.

Captain Derek A. Dobogai, 26, of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, was selfless, kind and too modest to boast about his accomplishments, his family said in a statement last year. "Therefore, we will honor him with quiet strength," relatives said.

Staff Sergeant Jason L. Paton, 25, of Poway, California, was to be married November 18, 2007, family members told the Los Angeles Times. He had deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq before, and his second deployment to Iraq was scheduled to end three weeks after the helicopter crash.

Sergeant Garrett I. McLead, 23, of Rockport, Texas, liked surfing, skateboarding and playing soccer. He enlisted shortly after his birthday in May 2002 because of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, according to the Rockport Pilot.

Corporal Jeremy P. Bouffard, 21, of Middlefield, Massachusetts, was a jokester and a loyal, dedicated man who loved his wife Amanda, son Caleb and the Boston Red Sox. Nearly 1,000 mourners attended his funeral last year, according to the Boston Globe.

Corporal Phillip J. Brodnick, 25, of New Lenox, Illinois, was "the life of the party," a friend wrote on the guest book of a Web site dedicated to his memory.

Corporal Nathan C. Hubbard, 21, of Clovis, California, was one of three brothers serving in Iraq. Marine Lance Corporal Jared Hubbard was killed in 2004, so Nathan and Jason Hubbard enlisted to honor their brother's sacrifice. Jason Hubbard was in the same platoon as Nathan and in a helicopter ordered to secure the crash site, according to CNN.

Specialist Michael A. Hook, 25, of Altoona, Pennsylvania, was excited to come home because his fiancee, Susan Fetterman, was pregnant, according to the Altoona Mirror. Mere weeks after the crash, she gave birth to their son, Mason.

Corporal Jessy G. Pollard, 22, of Springfield, Missouri, embraced and believed in what he was doing and would tell family members about jumping out of planes at night, they told the Associated Press.

Dobogai, Paton, McLead, Bouffard, Brodnick, Harmon, Hubbard, Hook, Pollard and Seideman were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division based at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

Yesterday's burial brought to 447 the number of Iraq war casualties buried, memorialized or inurned at Arlington National Cemetery.


By Laura Kessel
Courtesy of The (Ohio) News Herald
24 October 2008

“Death silences us.”

On a gray Friday morning at Old Post Chapel at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, Lieutenant Colonel Harry Rauch explained that because death is so scary, it’s addressed in whispers.

Not for the families and friends of 14 men who died August 22, 2007, in Kirkuk, Iraq, when their UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter crashed.

One year, two months and two days after the crash, about 200 people gathered to witness the burial service at Arlington for these fallen soldiers, including Corporal Joshua S. Harmon of Mentor-on-the-Lake.

The service followed the discovery in the summer of remains of those who died. Because DNA tests could not be used to determine whose remains were located, the U.S. Army chose to honor all 14 soldiers with full military burial honors.

The burial site, in Section 60, Plot No. 8883, will have a single grave marker that lists all 14 names.

Kaitlyn Horst of Arlington National Cemetery said this type of burial service is not unusual.

“You see it now when there’s an aircraft crash,” she said. “It’s becoming more and more common.”

For Donna Harmon of Mentor, Ohio, the service was a mixed blessing.

“The second year is even harder,” she said. “The first year, I was numb. Now it’s a dull ache. It’s softer. I’m glad that people remember Josh. But right after something happens, it’s a little harder for a little while.”

Family members were escorted throughout Arlington Cemetery by military liaison, known as casualty officers. They could choose to travel from the chapel to the gravesite by limousine or to walk behind the casket on a wagon drawn by six horses.

About half of the attendees walked the mile between the two sites. Once they reached the site, family members were escorted to green upholstered chairs around the casket. As they were being seated, four U.S. Army helicopters performed a flyover.

The service differed from a standard military burial because of the number of deceased.

Flags presented to spouses and parents of the deceased were pre-folded.

Each flag was carried to the casket, where a serviceman bent at the waist, and touched the center corner to the casket for a few seconds before proceeding to the family member.

Donna Harmon clutched her flag to her chest for several minutes after it was presented.

She said family members received the commemorative boxes Thursday night at a private service at a Washington-area funeral home.

After the flag presentation, U.S. military brass approached and spoke with each family member.

Among those taking part were Secretary of Army Pete Geren; Major General Richard J. Rowe Jr., who is commander of Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region and the U.S. Army Military District of Washington; and Brigadier General Mick Bednarek, Deputy Commanding General, Operations, for 25th Infantry Division.

After the ceremony, several family members, including Donna and Kristen Harmon, Joshua’s wife, took roses from a display near the casket and placed them atop.

The Harmons also mimicked a ceremony that took place August 22, 2008, the anniversary of Joshua’s death, in Mentor Cemetery, releasing butterflies that then flew over the casket.



A long walk provides time to reflect
Saturday, October 25, 2008  
 Courtesy of The (Ohio) News Herald

It was poor planning.

But, looking back, I wouldn’t have planned it any other way.

When I arrived at Old Post Chapel on the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery to cover the burial service for 14 U.S. Army soldiers who died in August 2007 in Iraq, I was worried about taking notes and talking to a grieving family.

I never considered how I’d get from the chapel to the burial site.

I immediately dispatched any thoughts of asking the family of late Corporal Joshua S. Harmon of Mentor-on-the-Lake for a ride in their limousine.

I’m lazy, but not quite that lazy.

“I’ll just follow the casket,” I thought.

I wasn’t alone.

About 100 of those in attendance opted to try to match the brisk pace set by the caisson that escorted the casket to the gravesite.

Young and old, civilian and military — they all moved along the paved road that winds through the cemetery.

But the only sound from the group traveling that mile was an occasional tune from the U.S. Army band that led the parade, and the clip-clop of the six horses pulling the caisson bearing the casket.

The relative lack of noise made it easier to take in the surroundings.

Everyone knows what’s beneath those white stones at Arlington.

But it’s days like Friday when it becomes so utterly clear what it all means.

At our pace, it was easy to read the names and dates as we passed sections of graves.

“Kirkland” made me pause, then think of Ohio, and 1968 made me remember Vietnam.

Many of the stones listed a name above “HIS LOVING WIFE.”

Who’s “his”? The stone next door told me.

The sea of white against green grass was broken by a group of teenagers amassed near the road’s edge.

They silently surveyed what was approaching. Their serious looks indicated they understood it was a soldier’s burial.

How would they react if they knew it was 14?

Farther down the road, a crew was performing landscaping work. As we got closer, they rested.

The men stopped, turned and studied the passing line. Some rested on shovels, others stood with their hands at their sides.

Because they work at Arlington, I got the sense they knew where we were headed. They might have even dug the grave.

A few hundred feet away, a couple in jeans and sweatshirts, bearing cameras around their necks, stood just off the road.

I’ll never know if they were visiting a loved one’s grave or there on vacation, but they appeared, from the wideness of their eyes, to be new to such scenes.

Once we reached Section 60, the final resting place for many of those lost in Operation Iraqi Freedom, it sank in so much more deeply.

I walked around the back of the casket, faced the families sitting alongside and got my own personal lesson in grief.

The red cheeks, trembling lips and hankies dabbing at eyes were a vivid reminder that the passage of a year doesn’t signal the end of the sadness of the loss of a life.

I didn’t know when I’d find meaning in Harmon’s burial.

It happened during an unplanned, long walk on a gray Friday morning.

But, looking back, I wouldn’t have planned it any other way.

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Posted: 25 October 2008