Each death diminishes us all

“American boys in armored jackets and night scopes patrolling the streets of Baghdad are not going to pacify this country, any more than they will convert it to Methodism. They are there to die so that a man in the White House doesn’t have to admit that he, George W. Bush, the decider, the one in the cowboy boots, made grievous mistakes.”

—Garrison Keillor

In his State of the Union address on Jan. 23, President Bush is expected to announce plans for Iraq (due to early deadlines, it’s impossible to say with certainty), which may include sending between 10,000 and 40,000 more dads, moms, sons, daughters, students, fiancés and friends into this deadly civil war. This “temporary surge,” planners say, should last at least 18 months.

Even another year in Iraq or Afghanistan will be too long for the hundreds of U.S. soldiers who will die next year. Here’s a list of Nevada soldiers lost in 2006:

FEBRUARY: Sergeant Gordon F. Misner II, 23, a husband, father and graduate of Sparks High School, died in Balad, Iraq, of injuries from an improvised explosive device. Gordon liked Metallica and pizza with pineapple. He played the stand-up bass.

APRIL: U.S. Army Cpl. Shawn Thomas Lasswell, Jr., 21, of Reno was killed by an improvised explosive device, near Taji, northwest of Baghdad. He was married days before he left for Iraq. His mother and wife met for the first time at Shawn’s memorial service.

Army National Guard Capt. Clayton L. Adamkavicius, 43, died of small arms fire in Afghanistan. He’d attended high school in Las Vegas.

MAY: Staff Sgt. Emmanuel L. Legaspi, 38, of Las Vegas, died of injuries sustained in Tal Afar, Iraq, by enemy small arms fire. He’d worked as a lifeguard and slot technician. His daughter was 6 months old when Emmanuel died.

Two Army Reserve soldiers from Las Vegas, 1st Sgt. Carlos N. Saenz, 46, (a husband and father) and Spc. Teodoro Torres Jr., 29, were killed when a roadside bomb exploded in Hillah, 60 miles south of Baghdad. Teodoro was scheduled to return home the next week. On the same day, Army Sgt. John Griffith, 33, of Las Vegas died in Afghanistan when his helicopter exploded.

JUNE: Pfc. David N. Crombie, 19, of Winnemucca, was killed by an improvised explosive device in Ar Ramadi. David, a drummer, played in a high school marching band and in friends’ garage bands.

JULY: Sgt. Robert P. Kassin, 29, of Las Vegas, died at Larzab Base, Afghanistan, when his platoon encountered enemy small arms fire. He left behind a wife, son and two step-daughters.

AUGUST: Spc. Ignacio Ramirez, 22, of Henderson, died in Ar Ramadi, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated.

Lance Cpl. Jeremy Z. Long, 18, of Sun Valley, died during combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq. Jeremy, a 2005 Spanish Springs High graduate, played football, wrestled and swam.

OCTOBER: Phillip Brandon Williams, 21, a former resident of Gardnerville and South Lake Tahoe, was killed by sniper fire in Iraq while protecting soldiers searching for improvised explosive devices. He played guitar and enjoyed creative friends.

Sgt. Kenneth E. Bostic, 21, of Hawthorne, died in Baghdad, Iraq, from injuries received through small arms fire during check point operations. He wanted to be a police officer.

DECEMBER: Air Force Capt. Kermit O. Evans, 31, died when his helicopter made an emergency water landing in Iraq. He’d grown weary of the war, said his wife and mother of his 18-month old son, who lives in Las Vegas.

First Lt. Nathan M. Krissoff, 25, of Reno, died from injuries received during combat in Al Anbar province, Iraq. He’s remembered as a “modern-day knight.”