Fallen Comrades

A talented doodler, Kramer amused his buddies by drawing characters on their helmets: his lieutenant sported Mouseketeer ears, others had sci-fi characters.

Jones, an early casualty of the ground war, died handling one of his own artillery shells during combat. Back home with wife Melanie are Dametta, Jessica and Robert.

Clark, who loved to ski, was a secretary in civilian life. "She always believed that anything was possible and would try anything," her family said in a statement.

Jenkins's family came to the mother-lode town of Coulterville during the gold rush of the 1850s. He had planned to become a policeman when his hitch was up.

Hutto was good to write home--in one day his mother received five letters. When the cease-fire came, she said, "we were at ease. Then the guys came up to our door..."

While stationed in Texas last summer, Haws became engaged to a schoolteacher. His fiancee met his family for the first time at his funeral.

A victim of the Scud attack on the Dhahran barracks, Bartusiak married for the second time just two days before shipping out with his reserve unit.

Before going to the gulf, Perry was his colonel's driver--a job that amused his family. "Kenneth had three cars," said his brother-in-law, "and he wrecked them all."

A Desert Storm pen pal, Schroeder corresponded with 17 second graders from his hometown elementary school.

Brilinski wanted to be a soldier from an early age. But he didn't like killing: "Even when there was a mouse, he would scare it away instead of killing it," says his mother.

Snyder, who hailed from the suburbs of Buffalo, was killed on a patrol mission three and a half weeks before the ground war actually started.

A helicopter technician, LaBeau met her husband when she repaired his chopper. Sgt. Michael O'Brien said they had plans to start a family.

Part Sioux, Bentzlin's tribal name is "Came From the Stars." He switched from the Army to the Marines for the tough regimen.

Another Desert Storm pen pal, Stephenson corresponded with fifth graders in upstate New York. After the Marines, he wanted to become an actor or a stuntman.

The governor of Idaho ordered flags to be flown at half-staff in Moller's memory. "[He] would be somewhat embarrassed by the publicity," said his father.

A helicopter repairman with the "Big Red One" infantry division, Streeter died when his aircraft was downed. He had two daughters, Tonya and Amy.

Sports enthusiast Porter talked of designing and marketing a line of basketball shoes. He was killed in combat at the Kuwait International Airport.

Witzke's career goal was to retire in 20 years with the rank of sergeant major. He was killed when his unit stormed an Iraqi bunker in Kuwait.

An All-American lacrosse player in high school, Cooper had once tried out for the Olympic team in curling, a Scottish ice sport.

With his two sons grown, Garvey volunteered for gulf duty. "He wanted to save someone else from having to leave small children behind," said his sister.

Siko died in the Scud attack on the Dhahran barracks. To serve in the gulf, he left behind a supervisor's job at a foam company--and 5-year-old Stephen Jacob.

A school dropout who was making a career of the Army, Powell wrote his sister, "We aren't defending our country. We are defending "national interests,' in simple terms, oil."

Swartzendruber spent part of his childhood in New Guinea. He came to love flying when his missionary parents used helicopters to travel the island.

"The last time he called he said he was sorry if he had done anything to hurt us," says his father. Davila, whose daughter Nicole is 3, had planned to become a highway patrolman.

Williams studied business administration and had dreams of opening a beauty shop for his mother to run. "He's made me very proud," she said. "I'm going to miss him."

When Tatum was ordered to the gulf, his supervisor at a construction company says, the young reservist "ran around here like a big rooster. I was proud for the boy because of that."

The young Ecuador-born officer died leading his 100-man unit through a mined Iraqi airfield. Fajardo's mother said that from a very early age her son wanted only to become a soldier.

Harris, who was serving a second hitch in the Army, was a combat engineer. A bachelor, Harris died clearing a minefield in Iraq.

Daniels liked to kid his dad, a career master sergeant now stationed in Germany, that he would have to salute his son one day.

From the age of 12, Carr dreamed of serving in the military. Carr's memorial service was held at his high school; a plane scattered his ashes across the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Before the war, Shaw was holding down a job and attending college. "It's no consolation to know that out of the 500,000 soldiers over there, not that many got killed," said a friend.

Scott loved the military so much that he joined the Reserves while still in high school. When he died, he didn't know that his son had been born five days earlier.

"If I don't make it," Mobley told his aunt in a phone call, "put me under a tree." The young soldier, a pen pal of his cousin's fifth-grade class, died when he stepped on a land mine.

Six hours after the cease-fire, Miller stepped on an Iraqi land mine while delivering supplies. Back home, wife Susan had given birth the week before to their second son, Matthew.

A career soldier, Strehlow had told his mother he believed the conflict was about oil. "I just hope before he died he knew that this wasn't all for oil," Cora Strehlow said.

A former prison guard, Hawthorne died hours before the cease-fire. Back home, his unsuspecting wife, Carla, and 4-year-old Amy were celebrating the end of the war.

His last letter home was serious and reflective. "He was contemplating his existence," his father said. "But he really felt he would survive with the help of his fellow Marines."

Craver had been in the Reserves since 1983 because his degree in environmental-resource management dovetailed with his unit's water-purification role.

Beaudoin was rushing to help a wounded buddy when she stepped on a land mine. "There wasn't a selfish bone in her body," her uncle said.

A 1987 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Olson was on a reconnaissance mission over Kuwait when his plane was shot down by gunfire.

King's nickname was Purple: "Almost everything he wears [has] something purple in it," said a friend. King died clearing an Iraqi minefield.

"War is terrible and there are no such things as heroes," he wrote to a group of cub scouts. "I hope that you fellows never have to see this type of situation in our lifetime."

Plasch loved to refinish furniture, fly planes and play soccer. In Portsmouth, friends renamed a soccer field in his honor and set up a scholarship for aviation students.

Valentine never lost his spirit. "I am in good health and hanging in there," he wrote his family. "[We] will kick butts and then come home and tell the stories."

A former chemical-engineering student at the University of Texas, Montalvo was eagerly awaiting a photograph of new daughter Brenda when he was killed.

Worthy, who had been in the Army since 1987, had been in Saudi Arabia only a week when he was killed. He was planning to be married next fall.

Married to his high-school girlfriend and the father of two girls, Butts was making the Army his career. He was killed on a dangerous rescue mission for which he had volunteered.

The day Douthit died, family and friends back home were having a baby shower for his wife, Jessica, 19, who is expecting the couple's third child this month.

Boliver met his wife when they worked in the Baptist Homes. Before he left, the couple and son Matthew, 2, celebrated the first birthday of daughter Melissa.

"Tell everyone my unit is on the front line," McCoy wrote his mother, "because we're the best there is." A talented musician, McCoy was the father of two boys and two girls.

A casualty of friendly fire, Lumpkins was killed when his armored transport was hit by U.S. artillery.

Wife Danell was planning to make a banner: "Welcome Home, Soldier Boy." He died of wounds from a land mine two days after the cease-fire.

A second-generation West Pointer, Tillar was shot down in his Black Hawk helicopter. "He loved what he was doing when he was killed," said his father, a retired colonel.

Born in Puerto Rico, Delgado moved to the U.S. when he was 6. "He was very patriotic, no hesitation," said his brother. He was also the father of Manuel, 5, and Luis, 2.

Before he went to the gulf he worried about Iraq's chemical weapons, but he was a friendly-fire casualty. His wife learned of his death on the couple's second anniversary.

Walker was the third generation of his family to fight in a war: "But he set the precedent of not coming home," says his father.

Simpson's widow, Hope, was true to her name: "I saw where the military made a mistake in telling a woman her [son] was dead. I hope they will call me back and say he is still here."

The son of a Navy career officer Linderman married his highschool sweetheart right after boot camp. He was killed by friendly fire in a battle near Khafji.

When Collins couldn't find steady work as a carpenter, he re-enlisted. In his last tape-recorded letter, he sent his love to his family, and talked of coming home.

If I "get zapped here," Pack wrote his father, "I am going to be thinking that I got killed for those little [Kuwaiti] kids that can't do anything for themselves, instead of for oil."

Another victim of the Dhahran Scud attack, Madison had studied masonry. He leaves wife, Leann, with Anthony Jr., a kindergartner, and his little sister, Tacarra.

Butler wanted to make the Army his career. His father characterized his son as a sports fan and a comedian who had a knack for making other people feel good.

A graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, Plunk was an engineer assigned to a mine-clearing mission near an airport in Kuwait when he was killed.

Bongiorni, an engineering student at West Virginia University, was considering a military career. A few years earlier, he had played trumpet in his high-school band.

A report of how Mayes left her engagement ring at home for fear of losing it became one of the famous--and moving --stories about the casualties.

Crumby's mother said her son worried most about his soldiers. "He was proud that so far, he hadn't lost any of his men," she said.

When Rennison was called up, he had just gotten a new job at a meat-packing house. Both he and his father, a civilian government employee, were stationed in the gulf.

Talley's family is bitter about the death of their son, a victim of friendly fire. "Not one drop of oil is worth the blood my grandson shed," said his grandmother LuAnne Monroe.

Cash, who arrived in Saudi Arabia on New Year's Eve, died when a rocket-launched mortar hit his tank.

Known to his friends as "Sunshine Man," Puerto Rico-born Cotto hoped the Marines would provide a way out of the poverty of the south Bronx.

Before Desert Shield, Damian planned to leave the Army after his hitch was up. But he wrote his father last month that he planned to re-enlist and make a career in the military.

With a gift for languages, Belas spoke French, German and Russian. Before he shipped out, the Army taught him Arabic so he could monitor Iraqi transmission.

Guitar player Bradt loved spiritual music with a country beat. "He was very religious," said his father. "I think he would probably feel bad for Saddam."

A 17-year veteran, Smith was one of the older KIAs. The father of four girls would reassure his family he was safe. "He kept telling me," his mother said, ""Don't worry. Don't worry'."

The youngest of six boys, Atherton worked a forklift at a Dayton lumber company before going to the gulf. He is survived by his widow, Brenda, and Aaron, a 6-month old son.

"After the cease-fire, we just knew he was coming home," said wife Jennie. Days later she learned that the father of four boys, 2 through 9, would not be back.

"We get the honor of starting [the ground war]," he wrote his wife. "Our main mission is to clear out a zone and draw artillery fire. Nobody likes it but that's our job."

Married for a short time before shipping off, Alaniz left behind wife Cathy expecting their first child. He wrote his "Pop," to thank him for being a good parent.

"I'm not really that afraid anymore," Randazzo wrote to a friend not long before he died. "I'm worried about the people under me. They're all young and scared."

Before he was sent to the gulf, Gregory and his fiancee decided to have a baby. "He really wanted a piece of him to be living if he didn't make it back," his mother said.

Zeugner was killed on a mission to deactivate enemy mines. Back home, his father, a retired Marine colonel, died not long before his son was killed.

A forward artillery observer, Dillon was killed by Republican Guards in a firefight in Kuwait. Cassie, his German-born wife, is pregnant with the couple's second child.

Fitz signed up for the Army while he was still in high school. "He was pumped up to be in the Army," said his high-school assistant principal. "He believed in what he was doing."

The son of a Nashville policeman, Fielder was a combat engineer killed by enemy fire in a battle with the Iraqi Republican Guard.

Killed by the Scud attack on the Dhahran barracks, Boxler had repaired helicopters in Vietnam. He and wife Elaine had two high-school-age children.

It was a bitter-sweet weekend for 18-year-old Katherine Murray. On Friday she gave birth to her daughter and on Sunday she learned Larissa's father had been killed.

Keough served a four-year stint in the regular Army. Last spring he signed up for the Reserves to earn money for college.

A pilot who flew bombing missions, Underwood was killed the last day of the war. At Christmas, his wife sent videotapes of Ann, his baby daughter whom he never met.

As a teenager, Wilbourn kept a picture of Gen. George S. Patton in his bedroom and played music from the movie "Patton" to psych himself up for football games.

During combat, the young Marine was killed when his convoy was hit by a cluster bomb, apparently dropped by an allied plane.

His father was a schoolteacher, but Mongrella was an average student--and a first-rate soccer player--who turned to the Marines after a brief try at college.

Killed in action at the Kuwait City airport, Lane was a high-school dropout who finished his requirements for graduation after he joined the Marines.

"He said in [a] letter that he knew God was going to take him, that he kind of thought that he wouldn't be back," his mother said. "It seemed like he was telling us it was going to happen."

Morgan, a deeply religious man, sent his mother a letter to be opened if he was killed in the war. "For once I know something that you don't," he wrote. "What heaven looks like."

After she learned her son was dead, Rosalie Jones stepped out of her house, next to the Old Soldiers Cemetery, and lowered the family's flag to half-mast.

As a child, Ortiz always wanted to be a pilot. He was killed an enemy fire during a helicopter mission to rescue an Air Force pilot shot down behind enemy lines.

A motorcycle enthusiast back home, reservist Mason was a truck driver in Saudi Arabia. "We didn't want him to go," his grandmother said. "We knew he'd be going to war this time."

Stone enlisted because he had trouble finding suitable work in civilian life. He volunteered for gulf duty the week before he was killed, leaving behind his wife and baby daughter.

Winkle wanted to be an actor. His family said he got an offer to audition for the Walt Disney film "White Fang"--but he had already joined the Army.

Mills's son, Matthew, will be 2 in April, the same month that his widow, Pamela, will give birth to their second child. He was called back on Reserve duty just weeks after his active hitch was up.

A victim of the Scud attack on the Dhahran barracks, Hollen was in the Individual Ready Reserves, which meant he was not part of a unit but assigned as needed.

Killed by a grenade, Davis had been a highschool wrestler in the 140-pound weight class. Said his former coach, "Marty packed an awful lot of life into 19 years."

Connelly, a physician, was killed by a land mine while trying to reach a group of surrendering Iraqis. Friends set up a scholarship fund for his children, Megan, 9, and Peter, 7.

A scripture reader in his Presbyterian church and a volunteer firefighter, Walls was studying engineering at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Eichenlaub, a model-train collector and a marathon runner, loved flying most. "He always said he would pay the Air force to fly if he had to," said his widow, Patricia.

Her father, a retired Air Force master sergeant, said, "I did 30 years [and] didn't get a scratch. My daughter's been in for five months and she's dead."

Kamm graduated early from high school in 1983 just so he could join the Army. Iraqis gunned down his helicopter, which was carrying supplies to the front.

Kidd, who was killed by a land mine, had planned to adopt his 4-year-old stepson when he came home from Operation Desert Storm.

Palmer, who had recently re-enlisted in the Army, was killed in combat along the Iraq-Kuwait border. "He would do anything to help somebody," his father said.

Wolverton served four years in the Army before joining the Reserves. He met his wife, Marlene, while stationed in Germany, and the couple were married last June.

At the Columbia airport, Farnen was the last man to get onto the plane to go to the gulf. "I think we all had a premonition that something was going to go wrong," said his father.

Though he was a college graduate, Wade enlisted in the Army in 1984 to improve his job prospects. Trained as a diesel mechanic, he was sent to Saudi Arabia to repair tanks.

Tall and lanky, Stokes liked to wear wild clothes in civilian life. His mother said he was apolitical and an unlikely hero. "But he was going to do his best," she said.

An electrician in civilian life, Gentry told his father that seven years in the Army had prepared him for what he really wanted to do: to fight in a war.

The son of a retired Air Force major, Lindsey was killed after the cease-fire when the tank in front of his hit a land mine and exploded.

A bright student in a small-town high school, Wieczorek joined the Army to put himself through college. He died in combat when he stepped on a dormant allied bomb.

Once he was discharged, Wedgwood, an Army diesel mechanic, had planned to build race cars which his wife, Tammy, would drive in competition.

Hal Reichle, 27 Robert Godfrey, 32 Edwin Kutz, 26 James Waldron, 25 David Spellacy, 28 Robert Dwyer, 32 William Costen, 27 Rolando Delagneau, 30