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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.

Navy Chief Petty Officer Jason Richard Freiwald

Jason Richard Freiwald had one brother who also is a Navy SEAL, another training to become one and a third who is in college.

“Their whole family makes everyone in this area quite proud,” said Nancy Moegle, a physical education teacher at Armada High School.

Freiwald, 30, of Armada, Mich., died Sept. 12 from injuries sustained while conducting combat operations. He was temporarily deployed from his assignment at Naval Special Warfare Development Group.

Army Pvt.

Joseph Gonzales Jr.

Whenever Joseph Gonzales Jr. visited his family, he would point to a picture of himself as a toddler dressed in combat fatigues.

“He would look at it and say, ‘It's fate.' It was something that he was meant to do,” said his father, Joseph Gonzales Sr.

Gonzales, 18, of Tucson, Ariz., was killed Sept. 20 when his vehicle struck an explosive in Korengal Valley, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Fort Hood, Texas.

Army Pfc.

Leonard Gulczynski

Though Leonard Gulczynski loved football, it was on the volleyball court where he truly shone, coaches and teammates said.

“He was a middle hitter, a good blocker with a build for the game,” said teammate Craig Damm. “He always played with heart.”

Gulczynski, 19, of Carol Stream, Ill., died Sept. 17 in Baghdad of injuries suffered in a vehicle accident. He was assigned to Fort Lewis, Wash.

Army Sgt. Joshua Harris

It was a lifelong dream of Joshua Harris' to serve in the military and he enlisted with the National Guard while still in high school.

Don Gillingham, executive director of Walther Lutheran High School, remembered Harris as the kid who always wore a smile but felt a deep sense of purpose.

“He felt like he was doing something important,” Gillingham said of Harris' military aspirations. “He had that. His life had purpose. His life had meaning.”

Harris loved history and once visited the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum on a trip to Springfield. He was enthralled by the Civil War exhibits.

Harris, 21, of Romeoville, Ill., was killed Sept. 17 when his vehicle struck an explosive in Gerdia Seria, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Robbins, Ill.

Army Sgt.

William Hasenflu

Michael Mendoza said William Hasenflu stood side-by-side with him as he was rehabilitated from a traumatic head injury sustained in a military training exercise in 1993.

Mendoza spent years relearning common activities and finding another way to put food on the table, and Hasenflu was there throughout to help, he said.

“Bill helped tutor me during my community re-entry programs and years of life coaching,” said Mendoza. “He always helped people focus on what they could do and not what they couldn't do.”

Hasenflu, 38, of Bradenton, Fla., was killed Sept. 28 by small-arms fire in the Jaji district of Afghanistan. He was assigned to Fort Campbell, Tenn., and was on his fourth tour in Afghanistan.

Army Capt. Bruce Hays

Col. Greg Porter, chief of staff for the Army and Air Guard, said Bruce Hays was very quiet and soft-spoken.

“A good person. A good man. A good soldier,” Porter said.

Hays, 42, of Cheyenne, Wyo., was killed Sept. 17 by a roadside bomb in Gerdia Seria, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Cheyenne.

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