In this May 21, 2010 photo, from left, U.S. Army Sgt. Jacob Zimmerman, of Osh Kosh, Wis., Spc. Timmy Hartbeck of Manchester, Iowa, and Spc. Kevin O'Connor, of Hingam, Mass. wait for darkness to set in before heading out to set up an ambush for the Taliban, in the Shah Wali Kot district of Afghanistan's Kandahar province. Zimmerman, Hartbeck and O'Connor, are all member of 2nd Platoon, Charlie Company which suffered 12 casualties, including one Afghan interpreter, during its 12-month deployment with 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment of the 5th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. Twenty-two men in the U.S. Army's 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment of 800 died in a yearlong Afghan tour ending this summer. Most were killed last year in the Arghandab, a gateway to the southern city of Kandahar. About 70 were injured, all but two in bomb blasts. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
There's lots more of this sort of thing -- just click on the picture for the rest of this particular article. A year ago, the group looked like this. There are a lot fewer of them now. They're on their way home. My daughter is on her way home. St. Michael, pray for them. St. Christopher, pray for them. Friends who read my blog, pray for them. We want them home now.
Spc. Troy O. Tom was the first. A 21-year-old Navajo from Shiprock, New Mexico, he smiled serenely through tough camp training and told friends he turned down scholarships to serve his country. On Aug. 18, an explosive on a footbridge killed him.
Within five minutes, Pfc. Jonathan C. Yanney, 20, of Litchfield, Minn., died the same way. Soldiers say he stopped, stooped to adjust his heavy backpack, and took his last step.
Fear of more attacks delayed the search for the bodies. The next day, a bomb struck a convoy. The shock wave thumped 1st Lt. Kyle Hovatter of Tallahassee, Fla. in the face - "like a ton of bricks," he said. Soldiers spotted a dozen muzzle flashes in the undergrowth. Sixteen Strykers unloaded 50-caliber machine gunfire and other ordnance. Helicopters flew low, unleashing at least 100 rockets.
The barrage subsided, and the Americans found Tom and Yanney.
A pattern was emerging.