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By Kimberly K. Wilson

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 FALLEN SOLDIERS - MAY GOD BE WITH THEM AND WATCH OVER THEIR FAMILY AND FRIENDS

But his soul goes marching on

 

Anthony Gaunky

   
Individuals US
When he was about 10 years old, Alex Gaunky stared up apprehensively at the climbing wall in the field house of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.



He climbed up several feet, but fear brought him back down. He tried again, climbing a little higher, came back down and tried several more times, reaching a greater height each time, his father, David Gaunky, recalled Friday.

"He kept trying until he finally made it to the top, and pretty soon was trying the harder sections of wall," David Gaunky said in a telephone interview.

"He never let fear keep him from doing something that he wanted to do."

"He never let fear keep him from doing something that he wanted to do."

That persistent attitude drove Alex Gaunky to enlist in the Army fresh out of high school after the Navy turned him down because of a food allergy about a year and a half ago, said his father, who learned Friday morning of his son's death in Iraq.

The 19-year-old private first class from Sparta was a combat engineer with the Army's 101st Airborne Division. He was injured when the Humvee he was riding in was struck by a vehicle that came across a road and crashed into his convoy, his father said.

The soldier, who had been in Iraq for about 2 1/2 months, died Friday morning while being airlifted to Germany, his father said.

His family requested that any viable organs be harvested for donation.

"It's in a sense a way for him to live on and, in a way, save other people's lives," David Gaunky said.

Two of Alex's brothers are serving their second tours with the military in the Middle East. Adam Gaunky, 24, is a petty officer with the Navy aboard the USS Tarawa. Don Gaunky, 22, is a sergeant with military intelligence in Iraq, attached to the 18th Airborne Corps.

Don's twin brother, Bob, recently got out of the Navy and also served in Iraq, David Gaunky said.

"He always looked up to his older brothers," Alex's father recalled.

Born Anthony Alexander Gaunky, he was known simply as "Alex," a happy teen with an infectious smile, his father said. He was a 2004 graduate of Sparta High School, where he played French horn in the school band, managed the Spartans football team and was voted the best dancer in his graduating class.

"Alex was a real happy kid. He always had a grin on his face," his father said. "It was kind of infectious. You couldn't be around him without feeling kind of good."

He enjoyed bicycling with his father and brothers on the Elroy-Sparta and La Crosse River trails, eating pizza at Slice of Chicago in Sparta, and catching trout and bluegills in Stillwell Lake at Fort McCoy, his father said.

In high school he played the role of Sir Dinadan in a production of "Camelot."

He also loved horseback riding on his birthday on the Red Rock Trail and was an avid fan of the books and movies of the Star Wars and Monty Python series, his father recalled, adding, "He could quote and swap Monty Python lines all day."

His son even named one of his father's chickens after a Monty Python character, "The Vicious Chicken of Bristol," David Gaunky said.

During their last telephone conversation about a week ago, Alex told his father he had just picked up a box set of Monty Python DVDs with all of the skits.

"Somehow he managed to find a Monty Python box set out there," David Gaunky said.

After high school, the Navy turned Alex Gaunky down because of an allergy to potatoes, so he immediately enlisted in the Army, his father recalled.

"He was a very determined person," his father said. "He would not accept 'no' for an answer when it came to getting into the military.

"If the Navy didn't take him, he knew he would find someone who would."

Alex Gaunky is also survived by his mother, Lori Friske.

He is the 50th member of the Armed Forces from Wisconsin to be killed in Iraq.

 

 

Lance Cpl. John J. Mattek Jr.,  ANTIGO, WI    24 YEARS OLD

Died June 13 at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland from injuries suffered in a June 8 explosion in Iraq's Al Anbar province. Mattek was the 39th Marine or soldier from Wisconsin to die since fighting began in Iraq more than two years ago.

Before he left for Iraq, Mattek gave his family a letter to open only in case of his death. His brother, Matt Mattek, read the letter in which the Marine promised to "fear no man, no enemy" and vowed to forgo heaven "if hell is where the fight is ... Thy shall not mourn my death, but celebrate my life. Because every man dies, but not every many really lives. I have lived."

MORE-- http://www.militarycity.com/valor/911905.html 

 

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                                                  PFC Michelle Whitmer 20  New Berlin Wi. April,  9   2004

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Army Pfc. Rachel K. Bosveld


19, of Waupun, Wisconsin.
Bosveld was fatally injured during a mortar attack on the Abu Ghraib Police Station in Iraq. Bosveld was assigned to the 527th Military Police Company, V Corps, Giesen, Germany. Died on October 26, 2003.

 

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Sgt Dan H Gabrielson 39 - Spooner Wi -- 652nd Engineer Company, US Army Reserve Killed by hostile fire when his convoy came under attack on July 9,  2003 in Ba Qubah, Iraq

 

Died:
July 09, 2003

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Army Sgt. Warren S. Hansen

36, of Clintonville, Wisconsin.
Hansen died when two 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters crashed in Mosul, Iraq. He was assigned to the 9th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Died on November 15, 2003.

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Maj Mathew E Schram 36  Wisconsin city unkown  -- HHT Support Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment -- Killed while traveling in a military convoy on a resupply mission that came under enemy fire on May 26, 2003, in Hadithah, Iraq

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 Marine Sgt. Kirk Allen Straseskie


23, of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.
Drowned in a canal near Al Hillah, Iraq, when he attempted to rescue the crewmembers of a Marine CH-46 helicopter that went down in the canal. Straseskie was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Camp Pendleton, California. Died on May 19, 2003.

 

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 Army Spc. Paul J. Sturino


21, of Rice Lake, Wisconsin.
Sturino died from a non-combat weapons discharge in Quest, Iraq. He was assigned to B Battery, 2nd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Died on September 22, 2003.

 

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Spc Eugene A Uhl III 21  Amherst, Wi. -- 1st Battalion 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division -- Killed when two 101st Airborne Division UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters collided in  mid-air over Mosul, Iraq on November 15, 2003

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Army 1st Lt. Jeremy L. Wolfe

27, of Menomonie, Wisconsin.
Wolfe died when two 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters crashed in Mosul, Iraq. He was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Died on November 15, 2003.

Wolfe was posthumously promoted to 1st Lieutenant.

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Army Capt. John F. Kurth

31, of Wisconsin.
Kurth died in Tikrit, Iraq, when his patrol encountered an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, based in Schweinfurt, Germany. Died on March 13, 2004.

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Army Pfc. Bert. E. Hoyer

23, of Ellsworth, Wisconsin.
Hoyer died in Baqubah, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device hit his convoy. He was assigned to the 652nd Engineer Company, U.S. Army Reserve, Ellsworth, Wisconsin. Died on March 10, 2004.

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Army Staff Sgt. Charles A. Kiser

37, of Cleveland, Wisconsin.
Kiser died in Mosul, Iraq, when an explosion occurred near his convoy. He was assigned to the Army Reserve's 330th Military Police Detachment, Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Died on June 24, 2004.

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Army Spc. Michael A. McGlothin

21, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
McGlothin died in Baghdad, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device exploded near his patrol. He was assigned to 115th Forward Support Battalion, Division Support Command, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas. Died on April 17, 2004.

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Army Pfc. Sean M. Schneider

22, of Janesville, Wisconsin.
Schneider died as the result of a vehicle accident near Baghdad. He was assigned to the 115th Forward Support Battalion, Fort Hood, Texas. Died on March 29, 2004.

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Army Maj. Christopher J. Splinter

43, of Platteville, Wisconsin.
Splinter died when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device on Highway One near Samarra, Iraq. He was assigned to the 5th Engineer Battalion, 1st Engineer Brigade, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Died on December 24, 2003.

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Marine Pfc. Ryan M. Jerabek

18, of Oneida, Wisconsin.
Jerabek died due to hostile fire in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, California. Died on April 6, 2004.

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Marine Cpl. Jesse L. Thiry

23, of Casco, Wisconsin.
Thiry died due to injuries received from hostile fire in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, California. Died on April 5, 2004.

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Army Spc. John O. Tollefson

22, of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.
Tollefson died in Ashraf, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV while out on patrol. He was assigned to the 411th Military Police Company, 720th Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas. Died on July 27, 2005.

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Army Sgt. Andrew L. Bossert

24, of Fountain City, Wisconsin.
Bossert died in Ramadi, Iraq, when a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated near his screening area. He was assigned to the 44th Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Camp Howze, Korea. Died on March 7, 2005.

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Army Staff Sgt. Todd R. Cornell

38, of West Bend, Wisconsin.
Cornell died in Fallujah, Iraq, when acting in an advisory support capacity and his Iraqi unit came under attack by enemy forces using small arms fire. He was assigned to the Army Reserve's 1st Battalion, 339th Infantry Regiment, Fraser, Michigan. Died on November 9, 2004.

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Army Sgt. 1st Class Donald W. Eacho

38, of Black Creek, Wisconsin.
Eacho died in Ar Ramadi, Iraq when an improvised explosive device detonated near his patrol. He was assigned to the 1st Infantry Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Fort Carson, Colorado. Died on March 4, 2005.

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Army Pfc. Nichole M. Frye

19, of Lena, Wisconsin.
Frye died in Baqubah, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device struck her convoy. She was assigned to Company A, 415th Civil Affairs Battalion, U.S. Army Reserve, Kalamazoo, Michigan. Died on February 16, 2004.

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Army Pfc. Isaiah R. Hunt

20, of Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Hunt died in Baghdad, Iraq, when the driver of his military vehicle accidentally struck another vehicle. He was assigned to the 782nd Main Support Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Died on November 15, 2004.

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Army Capt. Benjamin D. Jansky

28, of Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
Jansky died in Al Taqaddum, Iraq, when his HMMWV was accidentally struck by another military vehicle. He was assigned to the Army Reserve's 983rd Engineer Battalion, Monclova, Ohio. Died on July 27, 2005.

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Army Sgt. Mark A. Maida

22, of Madison, Wisconsin.
Maida died in Baghdad, Iraq, of injuries sustained in Diyarah, Iraq on May 26, 2005 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV. He was assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Irwin, California. Died on May 27, 2005.

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In Remembrance
Spc. Eric J. Poelman    
Age:   21
Hometown: Racine, WI
Date of Death: 6/5/2005
Incident Location: Baghdad
 
Branch of Military:   Army
Rank: Spc.
Unit: 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment
Unit's Base: Fort Carson, Colo.


 

As a young boy, Eric Poelman used to play a game with his brothers where they tried to hit each other with apples. He excelled. "He was a marksman when he was 11," said his brother, Greg. Poelman, 21, of Racine, Wis., was killed June 5 when a bomb exploded near his vehicle in Baghdad. He was based at Fort Carson. Poelman, who enjoyed football and paintball, smiled all the time, but his brother said the family never saw him happier than when he married Renate Klema. "He was with his true love, his only love," Andy Poelman said. Poelman was home-schooled in high school and joined the Army to serve his country and get more experience operating big equipment like bulldozers and cranes. It was his second tour of duty in Iraq. He always told his brothers to finish strong in sports and in life. "Eric, I'm so proud of you because you finished strong," Andy Poelman said.

 

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Please send the families a card and thank them for our freedoms that  their loved ones have made the ultimate sacrifice for.

Lets pray for no more

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