October 13, 2011

Running with a Purpose

Running the marathon with Team USO became incredibly real once my brother donated in memory of three fallen soldiers. It's an easy reminder that an ache or a pain at mile 20 is nothing compared to the sacrifices our fighting forces are making around the world.


Pvt. Jonathan Falaniko
Died October 27, 2003 in Operation Iraqi Freedom

Age 20, of Pago Pago, American Samoa; assigned to A Company, 70th Engineer Battalion, 1st Armored Division, Fort Riley, Kansas. Killed near the Khadra Police Station Oct. 27 when a vehicle containing an improvised explosive device detonated in downtown Baghdad.
Pvt. Jonathan I. Falaniko had been in the Army for only a few months. His father had served 26 years. Both were assigned to Iraq, and in October they spent two nights together and spoke to other family members by video conferencing. “It was one of the proudest moments for my family. My son was pretty proud of his tour of duty,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Ioakimo Falaniko. The elder Falaniko spoke to his wife and two daughters in Germany again by video teleconference to tell them Jonathan died. The 20-year-old Falaniko was killed Oct. 25 when a bomb-laden vehicle blew up near him at a police station in downtown Baghdad. “My son and I talked about the war. He and I understood the danger in our chosen profession,” his father said.


Capt. Robert Scheetz Jr.
Died May 30, 2004 in Operation Iraqi Freedom

Age 31, of Dothan, Alabama; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, Baumholder, Germany. Killed May 30 when his vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in Musayyib, Iraq. 


1SG Christopher Rafferty
Died July 21, 2006 in Operation Enduring Freedom

Age 37, of Brownsville, Pennsylvania; assigned to 37th Engineer Battalion, Fort Bragg, N.C. Died July 21 of injuries sustained when his unit encountered a mortar attack during combat operations in Sharana, Afghanistan.