U.S. troops who have died in Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa and Iraq.
EDITOR'S NOTE: These tributes, published in alphabetical order, were supplied by The Associated Press.
William “Ricky” Rudd
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Sgt. Dusty Herrell recalled William Rudd's fear of snakes with a smile. On one occasion, they were on a fishing trip in Georgia when Herrell reeled in a water moccasin on his line.
By the time Herrell turned around, “Ricky was already up the hill,” Herrell said, laughing. “I convinced him to take the pole. The snake was still on it.”
Rudd, 27, of Madisonville, Ky., died Oct. 5 of wounds from small-arms fire in Mosul, Iraq. He was assigned to Fort Benning, Ga.
“He had spent two years thinking about it, knowing that he needed a different direction in his life and wanting to defend our country,” said his father, Bill Rudd.
He had done five deployments to Iraq and two to Afghanistan.
“Anything he did, he did with excellence,” said Sgt. Mark Williams, a fellow Ranger.
Army Spc. Justin Saint
Justin Saint rose to the rank of specialist and was sent last year to Iraq, where he was serving on a general's staff near Baghdad.
“He was a creative person,” said his father, David. “He never complained about anything. Whatever would happen, he'd make the best of the situation.”
Saint, 22, of Albertville, Ala., died Oct. 15 in Baghdad of injuries from a noncombat incident. He was assigned to Fort Bragg.
Tavarus Setzler had been in the Army for less than a year and had been in Iraq for about six months. He proposed to his girlfriend after returning from boot camp in Texas.
“He was wearing a big old ring, and I said ‘Oh, that's what happens now – you go to Texas and come back with a ring?' ” his fiancee, Brittnie Jones, remembered saying. “‘Where's my ring?'”
Setzler gave it to her later that day, not long before heading off to Iraq.
Setzler, 23, of Jacksonville, Fla., was killed Oct. 2 when his vehicle struck an explosive in Majar al-Kabir, Iraq. He was assigned to Fort Hood, Texas.
Marine Lance Cpl.
San Sim could crack a joke or quote a movie, even in the worst situations. His fellow soldiers knew him as Simba – a nickname that stuck after someone caught him watching “The Lion King” on his cot.
“He was just a big ball of fun,” said Lance Cpl. Dylan Morgan. “He was an all-around good guy.”
Sim, 23, of Santa Ana, Calif., died Oct. 22 from enemy gunfire in Helmand province. He also had done two stints in Iraq and was assigned to Twentynine Palms.
Sim was in the process of gaining his citizenship.
“He was proud of what he did,” said sister Serene Sim. “He felt like he was really doing something. After what happen on 9-11, he wanted to go out there and put in his own effort.”
Sim was born in a refugee camp in the Philippines, the youngest of 11 children in a family fleeing Cambodia. He grew up in Santa Ana, loved to fish and wrestled in high school.
A Naval Academy classmate of Michael Stahlman said he set tremendously high standards for himself.
“He excelled at everything – academics, athletics – and he made it look easy. Whatever we did, he was number one, and he didn't even break a sweat,” Joe Matza said.
Stahlman, 45, of Chevy Chase, Md., died Oct. 5 of injuries from a nonhostile incident July 31 in Anbar province. He was assigned to Twentynine Palms.
“He had an outstanding reputation,” said Lt. Col. Steve Stewart at the U.S. Army Legal Center at the Judge Advocate General's School.
Stahlman grew up around the world – his father worked for the U.S. Foreign Service – and admired the Marines who guarded U.S. embassies.
He was a 1985 graduate of the Naval Academy who majored in political science. In 1993, he got a law degree from the California Western School of Law.
Deon Taylor of New York City went to Maine as an 8-year-old participant in the Fresh Air Fund program, which brings city youths to rural towns.
“I could see things differently through his eyes. He had never seen stars like ours, never wild animals. He wanted to know who let them out of the zoo. I always missed him when he left and was glad to see him when he came back,” said to Rose Church, whose family hosted Taylor.
Taylor, 30, of New York City, died Oct. 22 in Bela Beluk of wounds from a roadside explosion. He was on his second deployment to Afghanistan and was assigned to Syracuse, N.Y.
Jason von Zerneck
Before he left for Afghanistan in January, Jason von Zerneck told a newspaper that leaving his family behind was “definitely the hardest thing.”
“Some of the soldiers in this unit come from the poorest neighborhoods,” he said. “These are the people who are putting their lives on the line for the city and the country and sometimes that is forgotten.”
Von Zerneck, 33, of New York City, died Oct. 2 after his vehicle overturned in Qara Bagh Karez. He was assigned to Jamestown, N.Y.
Von Zerneck, a compliance officer with Bank of America, was a “die-hard Yankees fan” and loved watching New York Rangers games.
His mother, Barbara, said she hoped that her son would be remembered by Americans as a brave soldier.