That is how many US troops have been killed in Iraq so far this month. In only eleven days, twenty-six of our brave soldiers have lost their lives as a result of being sent to fight for lies, arrogance and greed.
With Veterans' Day upon us today, I wanted to mention these twenty-six people - those veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice so George W. Bush could live out some twisted version of an Oedipal Complex, Hamletesque Luke Skywalker fantasy and avenge the fact that Saddam "wanted to kill his daddy" - a daddy whose approval poor Georgie could never seem to get.
We are on pace for the second worst month (last month was the worst) in almost a year as far as casualties. And while we should be elated, celebrate, gloat, or congratulate ourselves, let us take a moment for those who we have lost while the entire US was distracted by important stuff like, you know, Britney Spears' divorce.
Pfc. Kevin J. Ellenburg, 20: North Florida soldier dies in Iraq bombing. A soldier from this North Florida town died in Iraq from injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his armored vehicle, the Department of Defense said this week.
Pfc. Kevin J. Ellenburg, 20, of Middleburg, died on Nov. 1 in Baghdad, the department said. A roadside bomb exploded near his Bradley Fighting Vehicle.
Cpl. Gary A. Koehler, 21: Cpl. Gary A. Koehler, 21, of Ypsilanti, Mich., died Nov. 1 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C. Fallen Marine's Life Celebrated in Service.
Lance Cpl. Minhee Kim, 20: Lance Cpl. Minhee Kim, 20, of Ann Arbor, Mich., died Nov. 1 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq. Family, Friends Mourn Soldier Slain in Iraq. Every chair in the Anderson Room of the Michigan Union was filled last night. Those unable to find a seat lined the aisles and gathered at the back.
The sounds of stifled sobbing and crumpling tissues echoed through the room where family and friends had gathered to celebrate the life and mourn the death of Lance Cpl. Minhee Kim.
Pvt. Michael P. Bridges, 23: Pvt. Michael P. Bridges, 23, of Placentia, Calif., died Nov. 2 in Taji, Iraq, from a non-combat related incident. The incident is under investigation
Cpl. Michael H. Lasky, 22 and Lance Cpl. Luke B. Holler, 21 died Nov. 2 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq.
Soldotna Marine Dies in Iraq He was married to Jessica Lasky, also of Soldotna. The couple have a baby girl, Liberty Lynn, who just celebrated her first birthday in October.
Lasky finished his first seven-month tour of duty in Iraq last year and came home that October, when he met newborn Liberty. He volunteered to be redeployed for his current tour in March and had been in Iraq since then.
S.A. Marine Reservist Killed in Iraq "He was very happy-go-lucky, just a great kid," said Staff Sgt. Edward Cruz, who helped prepare Holler for duty in Iraq. "Very intelligent, and he was very dedicated in what he did."
Lance Cpl. James E. Brown, 20 and Staff Sgt. Jason D. Whitehouse, 27 died Nov. 2 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq.
Slain Marine was Planning February Wedding A 2005 Gibson Southern High School graduate, Brown was engaged to his high school sweetheart, Jamie Coleman, and the couple was planning their wedding to coincide with his expected return from Iraq in February 2007.
Brown and Coleman - who Van Antwerp described as best friends - had known each other since the third grade and had been dating for the past two and a half years.
Coleman said she spoke with her fianceé just last Tuesday, and Brown told Coleman then that he wanted to come home. But Coleman said Brown was in a good mood when they spoke because he was able to talk with her.
Jason Daniel Whitehouse He is survived by his wife Lindsay and their children Aaron and Haylie, seven and four years of age; his mother and step-father Carol Whitehouse Bruno; his father, Richard Roach; his and step-father Carol Whitehouse Bruno and Robert Bruno; his father, Richard Roach; his brother, Joshua Quick and Step-father Daniel Quick; his sister and brother-in-law Rachael and Rob Michael; his mother-in-law and father-in-law, Tina and Ron Anthony, and his step-brothers Ed and Preston Bruno. Jason and Lindsay were married on July 31, 1999. Jason enlisted in the Marine Corps in December of 2000 and reenlisted in 2004.
Lt. Col. Paul J. Finken, 40, Lt. Col. Eric J. Kruger, 40, and Staff Sgt. Joseph A. Gage, 28 died Nov. 2 in Baghdad, Iraq, of injuries suffered when an IED detonated near their vehicles.
Modesto soldier killed by roadside bomb in Baghdad "He had 11 days left. He should have been coming home," said Randy Gage, his father, told the Modesto Bee.
His stepmother, Tamara Gage, said their son was dedicated to the war against terrorism. "He was a very good soldier, a good man, a good father and a good husband," she said.
Fort Carson Officer Dies in Iraq Kruger is the highest ranking soldier from Fort Carson to have died in Iraq; the next highest was a major, a base spokesperson said. He is the 174th soldier from Fort Carson to be killed in Iraq, spokeswoman Dee McNutt said.
McNutt, who said she knew Kruger, said he was a "wonderful man and a great leader. Everyone who knew him loved him."
West Point Grad from Western Iowa Killed in Iraq An Iowa native who was scheduled to return home next week from a tour of combat duty in Iraq has been killed by a roadside bomb in Baghdad, the U.S. Department of Defense said today.
He leaves behind a wife, Jackie, and three daughters, Emilie, 8; Caroline, 6, and Julia, 4, all of Clarksville, Tenn. The 101st Airborne Division is headquarter nearby at Fort Campbell, Ky.
Finken was remembered today as a warm, bright person who dedicated to his country and often smiled.
Twenty-six people who thought they were fighting for a noble cause and were not being lied to by their Commander in Chief.
November 4 and 5
2nd Lt. Mark C. Gelina, 33: 2nd Lt. Mark C. Gelina, 33, of Moberly, Mo., died Nov. 4 from a non-hostile incident in Al Anbar province, Iraq.
Marine Who Went to MU Dies in Iraq At MU, Gelina was president of the Semper Fi society, planned the Navy/Marine Corps ball and mentored other students. He also trained and led teams in drill, rifle and pistol skills at competitions around the country.
"Just about his entire tenure here spoke to leadership," Read said. "He was a Marine's Marine. He was the type of leader that other Marines wanted to emulate."
Spc. James L. Bridges, 22: Spc. James L. Bridges, 22, of Buhl, Idaho, died Nov. 4 in Baghdad, Iraq, when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using small arms fire during combat operations.
Alaska Governor's Statement on Death of Soldier "The death of Specialist Bridges is a tragic loss to his family and friends, Alaska and the nation," Murkowski said. "He was fulfilling his duty to our great nation and protecting us from those who would cause terror against us. Words cannot assuage the grief his death will impart upon his family and friends. He was doing a tremendous duty by sacrificing the comforts of hearth and home in a foreign country to protect everything we hold dear. We are proud he was a member of our Alaskan community, and hope his memory will not be lost or forgotten."
Cpl. Kyle W. Powell, 21 and Cpl. Jose A. Galvan, 22: Cpl. Kyle W. Powell, 21 of Colorado Springs, Colorado died Nov. 4 from wounds suffered while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq. Cpl. Jose A. Galvan, 22, of San Antonio, Texas, died Nov. 5 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq.
Springs Marine, 21, killed by roadside bomb Powell was born and raised in Colorado Springs. His family said he dedicated himself to helping others at a young age, moving from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts to the Marine Corps.
The son of two parents who retired from the Army, Powell always dreamed of joining the military.
Drill Team Legend Killed in Iraq The tall, slim Galvan was a central figure in the armed drill team's best year in memory, when it beat out reigning champion John Jay High School in 2003 for top honors in the Northside school district. That was a big deal because John Jay had long dominated the contest.
The team also claimed first place in the American Legion National JROTC Drill Tournament in Montgomery, Ala., fulfilling a bold vow to come back home to Texas as champions.
Spc. Douglas C. Desjardins, 24: Spc. Douglas C. Desjardins, 24, of Mesa, Ariz., died Nov. 5 in Ar Ramadi, Iraq, of injuries suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his M1A1 Abrams tank during combat operations.
Scio Graduate is Killed in Iraq "He got himself in gear and performed an amazing turnaround," Hamnquist wrote, after extensive pressure from his parents. "I'm sure that Doug knew he was liked, but I think in the last quarter, it amazed him how intensely people cared about him and his future."
Barbara Desjardins said her stepson, who she raised since he was 4, was a quiet youth who got involved in soccer, Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts to get out of his shell and lost much of his shyness as he reached high school.
Twenty-six men and women who will never see their children grow up, will never get married and will never fulfill their potential. And all for what?
Chief Warrant Officer John R. Priestner, 42 and Chief Warrant Officer Miles P. Henderson, 24: The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died Nov. 6 in Balad, Iraq, of injuries suffered when their AH-64 Apache helicopter crashed.
Family remembers N.C. soldier as dedicated father, pilot "John had an awesome sense of humor. Very intense, dedicated. He was everything a hero would be," his wife, Theresa Priestner, said in a statement released by his family late Thursday.
She said her husband referred to her and their two daughters - Breanne, 14, and Megan, 10 - as "Team Priestner," and used the phrase when he last saw them this summer.
Soldier Proud to Serve The 24-year-old soldier stood 5 feet 7 inches, but loved ones say the small frame couldn't contain a proud, caring countenance.
"He was a loving, compassionate man," said Terry Henderson of her son.
Sgt. Lucas T. White, 28: Sgt. Lucas T. White, 28, of Moses Lake, Wash., died Nov. 6 in Baghdad, Iraq, of injuries suffered when his unit came in contact with enemy forces while on patrol.
Army sergeant who grew up in Pendleton is killed in Iraq White grew up in Pendleton and was an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla nation. When he was 12 or 13, the family moved to White Swan, Wash., and the Yakama Indian Reservation where he finished high school, relatives said.
Lance Cpl. Ryan T. McCaughn, 19: Lance Cpl. Ryan T. McCaughn, 19, of Manchester, N.H., died Nov. 7 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq.
N.C.-based Marine wanted to keep fathers off battlefield "I just can't believe it," his mother, Nicole Cote, of Manchester told unionleader.com. "It's not supposed to happen this way. Your kids aren't supposed to leave you."
"He said he needed to do this," Cote said. "He said if he could keep one dad from going to Iraq and he could take his place instead, then he'll feel like he's accomplished something."
Twenty-six people whose futures were wasted by men who are responsible for the torture of innocent people and falsely trying to link Iraq to Al Qaeda and 9/11.
One soldier killed. Name not yet released.
Three soldiers killed. Names not yet released.
Two soldiers killed. Names not yet released.
On Veterans' Day, let us not forget those who we have lost just these past 10 days. These twenty-six people who will never get to celebrate a holiday that is dedicated to them and their service to their country.
And I salute you all for that.