Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The fallen

3 US soldiers died in Iraq Sunday: Sgt Matthew Gallagher, Pfc Dylan Jeffrey Johnson and Staff Sgt Russell Jeremiah Proctor. The Contra Costa Times reports that 25-year-old Russell Proctor was from Oroville and that this was his third deployment to Iraq. California Governor Jerry Brown's office issued the following statement yesterday:

SACRAMENTO – On behalf of all Californians, Governor Brown and First Lady Anne Gust Brown honor Staff Sgt. Russell J. Proctor, who bravely gave his life in service to our state and nation. The Governor and First Lady extend their deepest condolences to his family and friends at this difficult time.
In memorial, Governor Brown ordered that flags be flown at half-staff over the State Capitol today. Staff Sgt. Proctor’s family will receive a letter of condolence from the Governor.
Staff Sgt. Russell J. Proctor, 25, of Oroville, CA, died June 26, in Diyala province, Iraq, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, TX. Proctor was supporting Operation New Dawn.

As we've noted before, a significant number of elected officials can't be bothered with a statement. (Jerry Brown is not one of those.) And the worst place for a service member to be from in terms of officials acknowledging his or her death is Illinois -- a state where the two US senators and the governor all rush to pretend like no death took place. And it should be noted that you'll be largely ignored by the big press in Illinois as well. The Chicago Tribune really only kicked into gear of coverage after the Chicago Sun-Times and other (smaller) papers were carrying the load and then some. For days, the state's biggest paper utilized AP to cover a local's death in Iraq.

Craig Salters (GateHouse News Service) reports on Matthew Gallagher's survivors and speaks with his mother-in-law Maureen Hall:

Hall said her daughter [Katie Hall Gallagher] is trying her best to cope with the tragedy and will travel to Dover Air Force Base to be with her husband when he returns to American soil.
"She's an amazingly strong young woman," Hall said. "I think she's making him as proud as he made her."
Hall said the families are obviously struggling with the loss but are grateful for the support that has been pouring in from friends, from residents and from various military support groups. As The Bulletin went to press, one such group, the Falmouth Military Support Group, was organizing a candlelight vigil in Gallagher’s memory for Wednesday night at Old Silver Beach. The spot was described as "Matt's favorite place."

Christian Schiavone (Patriot Ledger) speaks with Matthew Gallager's step-father Jim Ruggiero:

Gallagher was born in Weymouth and lived there until he was 4, when he and his mother moved to Hyde Park. About 10 years ago, they moved with Ruggiero to North Falmouth.

Growing up, Gallagher was an avid baseball player and also loved skiing, snowboarding and tae kwon do.

Gallagher’s mother spent three years in the Army beginning in 1975, and Gallagher often turned to her for advice when he was getting ready to join and then during basic training, Ruggiero said.

Mike Massey (KTUL) covers the reaction to the passing of Dylan Johnson and notes Jenks Mayor Vic Vreeland has ordered flags at half-staff and quotes Jenks Public Schools' Bonnie Rogers stating of Johnson's family, "We wish them the best. I know he has some brotehrs and sisters in our system. We really do grieve with the family and give our condolences to them at this time." KCEN offers a report on all three of the fallen.

The following community sites -- plus Jane Fonda,, The World Can't Wait and On The Wilder Side -- updated last night and this morning:

Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. She's championed many veterans causes and is currently working to address the issue of employment opportunities. Today her Committee will address proposed legislation and her office notes:
(Washington, D.C.) -- Tomorrow, Wednesday, June 29th, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, will hold a hearing on pending legislation. During the hearing, the committee will vote on pending legislation. Included among the bills to be considered is Senator Murray's Hiring Heroes Act, a major veterans employment bill that make jobs skill training necessary for the separation of service members from the military and provides new pathways to federal and private sector employment. A full list of the bills the committee will vote on is available HERE.
WHO: U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chairman Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee
WHAT: Markup on Pending Legislation

WHEN: TOMORROW - Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

3:00 PM ET

WHERE: Russell Senate Office Building
Room 418

Washington, D.C.

The e-mail address for this site is

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends