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In Tribute |

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.

Marine Sgt. Jerome Bell

Jerome Bell Jr. enlisted in the Marines in 1996 and served one tour of duty in Iraq. He left in 2004. When his daughters were old enough for school, he asked his mother for permission to re-enlist.

“He missed it so much,” Tammy Bell said. “He asked me if I minded if he went back in. He had enough respect to ask me if I minded. I knew he never wanted to get out. How do you tell a 27-year-old Marine, a married man, he didn't need his mother's permission?”

Bell Jr., 29, of Auburn, N.Y., died Sept. 19 during combat operations in Afghanistan's Farah province. He was assigned to Twentynine Palms, Calif.

Army 1st Lt.

Thomas Brown

While stationed at Fort Benning, Ga., Thomas Brown found an abandoned cat that someone had tossed out a window. He adopted it as a pet, giving it a loving home, and named it Batman.

“That was Tom,” said his mother, Carol Brown. He always looked out for others, both people or animals, she said.

Brown, 26, of Burke, Va., died Sept. 23 in Salman Pak, Iraq, of wounds from small-arms fire. He was assigned to Baumholder, Germany.

Army Pfc. Ja'Mel Bryant

Once Ja'Mel Bryant and his family were at an opera when Bryant saw a little boy making a fuss and decided to talk him out of it.

“He talked to the little boy and told him that he used to be like that,” Bryant's grandmother Barbara Eiland said. “The little boy apologized and the mother turned around and thanked Ja'Mel.”

Bryant, 22, of Belleville, Ill., died Sept. 27 of injuries from a vehicle accident in Wahida, Iraq. He was assigned to Baumholder, Germany.

Army Capt. Richard Cliff

Richard Cliff Jr. spent as much time in the water as a dolphin, swimming and surfing with his brother. The two boys, born only 16 months apart, had a special bond.

“It was just him and me,” Eddie recalled. “He was my big brother, and I looked up to him.”

Cliff, 29, of Mount Pleasant, S.C., was killed Sept. 29 in an explosion in Yakhchal, Afghanistan. He was a 2002 graduate of Appalachian State University and was assigned to Fort Bragg.

Army Staff Sgt.

Nathan Cox

Nathan Cox was known to care about his men, knowing they were young and away from home for the first time.

“He'd run with guys on his own time that needed to lose a little weight. He'd take the time to talk to guys who had broken up with their girlfriends or something. Everybody was at their house all the time,” said his mother, Jane Cox.

Cox, 32, of Walcott, Iowa, was killed Sept. 20 when his vehicle struck an explosive in Korengal Valley, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Fort Hood, Texas.

Army Staff Sgt.

Darris Dawson

When he wasn't leading his squad on patrol, Darris Dawson liked to challenge his men to pickup basketball.

“Dawson liked joking around with the soldiers. He was a friendly guy. He would take them out on the basketball court and say stuff like, ‘When y'all get old enough to play me, come play me,'” said Sgt. 1st Class Xaver Perdue.

Dawson, 24, of Pensacola, Fla., was shot and killed by a fellow soldier Sept. 14 in Tunnis, Iraq. He was on his third tour of duty in Iraq and was assigned to Fort Stewart, Ga.

Army Capt.

Bruno de Solenni

Oregon National Guard Capt. Dominic Oto described Bruno de Solenni as smart, kind and with a steel core that made him the best officer on the team.

“He loved the Afghans, and in combat never was there a better operator or leader,” said Oto. “The man was absolutely fearless.”

De Solenni, 32, of Crescent City, Calif., was killed by a roadside bomb Sept. 20 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the Joint Forces Headquarters.

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