144 Women Killed in War on Terror
Since the attack on America on September 11, 2001, a total of 144 women deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait have lost their lives in service to America.
Most Americans, and even members of the media, are not aware that 144 brave servicewomen have died in the War on Terrorism. With few exceptions, news stories about their tragic deaths usually appear only in the military press, or in small hometown newspaper stories and television accounts that rarely capture national attention.
Everyone in this war is serving "In Harm's Way," but “Direct Ground Combat” units, such as the infantry, engage in deliberate offensive action against the enemy. Most of the servicewomen whose names are listed below were killed by improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and some died in military plane crashes. Twenty were mothers of one or more children age 18 and younger. One female soldier, whose body was shattered by an explosive device she was attempting to disarm, died in the arms of her soldier husband who was stationed nearby.
Military hospitals nationwide have cared for many female heroes who have lost legs and arms. When two women Marines and a female sailor were killed in a Fallujah truck attack in June 2005, eleven more were sent to Brooke Medical Center in Texas, which specializes in the treatment of severe burns. Hundreds have received medals for serious injuries and for personal valor under fire.
Heartbroken family members have expressed indescribable grief and great pride in their daughters, which is universally shared by a grateful nation. It is always when soldiers die, but losses of women in this war are unprecedented in modern history. According to Army Times, 7,000 women served in Vietnam, but only 16 were killed, most of them nurses. In the first Persian Gulf War, 33,000 women were deployed, but only 6 perished due to scud missile explosions or accidents. (Nov. 24, 2003)
Some have argued that the women who have died are no different than the men. But deliberate exposure of women to combat violence in war encourages acceptance of violence against women in general. As a nation we must consider the long-term implications of this cultural shift, which many see as a setback for our values and civilization.
At times in our history it has been necessary to send young men to fight in defense of America. Women have always served in the armed forces with courage and distinction, but there is no military necessity to send young women and mothers to fight in close combat areas where they do not have an equal opportunity to survive, or to help fellow soldiers survive. Concern for men who are fighting and dying in this war should not preclude discussion of problematic policies affecting our women.
Decisions by Default Disrespect Women
As the war continues beyond the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11, it is appropriate to ask serious questions about policies that have led to this grim reality. Our female soldiers are being asked to shoulder heavier burdens and greater risk than military women have ever faced in America’s history. Starting in 2005 and up to the present time, policy changes have been implemented with little or no congressional oversight.
Now the Obama Administration is pushing to implement recommendations of the Military Leadership Diversity Commission (MLDC), a mostly-civilian Pentagon advisory group with expertise in "diversity" and not combat. President Barack Obama has ordered the military services to assign women to infantry units at the "tip of the spear" battalion level, unless the chiefs of staff request exceptions, by January 2016. The stated reason is to increase promotions and gender-conscious "diversity metrics" for a few female officers to three- and four-star rank, even though the Defense Department concedes that there is no evidence of employment discrimination. For decades, women have been promoted at rates equal to or faster than men.
The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) has not heard testimony about women in combat since 1991, 24 years ago. Nor did the SASC have time to hear a single word of testimony about the findings of the 1992 Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Services, which recommended that most of women’s combat exemptions be retained.
The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) did hear five minutes of testimony from former commissioner Elaine Donnelly about the panel’s report in 1993, but nothing more on the subject was heard until May 19, 2005, when the HASC briefly debated limited legislation regarding women in or near land combat. The last full committee hearing on the subject occurred in the House in 1979, 36 years ago.
Failure to discuss and analyze this issue in Congress could also result in successful litigation to include civilian women in Selective Service registration. This would happen by court order, without a vote of Congress. It is long past time for the Obama Administration and Congress to pay women the compliment of taking this issue seriously.
The following list of the names of deployed military women killed since 9/11, updated on January 13, 2015, should be viewed with sober reflection and gratitude for the courageous women who gave their lives in service to America. Unless otherwise indicated, all servicewomen listed served in the Army:
- Marine Sgt. Jeannette L. Williams,25, KC-130 crash in Pakistan mountains, Jan. 9, 2002.
- AF Staff Sgt. Anissa Shero, 31, loadmaster, MC-130H, crash on takeoff of Special Operations mission, June 12, 2002.
- AF 1st Lt. Tamara Archuleta, 23, co-pilot Pave Hawk helicopter, crashed while picking up two injured Afghan children, Mar. 23, 2003.
- Sgt. Maj. Barbaralien Banks, 41, Chinook crash, Apr. 6, married, one son, 19, Apr. 6, 2005.
- Spec. Chrystal Stout, 23, Chinook crash, Apr. 6, 2005.
- 1st Lt. Laura M. Walker, 24, IED attack on Humvee, Aug. 18, 2005.
- Sgt. Wakkuna A. Jackson, 21, IED attack on convoy vehicle, Aug. 19, 2006.
- Reserve Sgt. 1st Class Merideth L. Howard, 52, suicide car bomb attack on Humvee, Sept. 8, 2006.
- Spc. Ciara Durkin, 30, gunshot wound, investigation in progress, Sept. 26, 2007.
- Sgt. Simone Robinson, 21, IED attack in Kabul on Feb. 28, single mother of two year-old daughter, Mar. 1, 2009.
- Navy Lt. Florence B. Choe, 35, killed by iAfghan soldier while running at Camp Shaheen, Mazar-e-Sharif, 3 year-old daughter, March 27, 2009.
- Air Force Lt. Roslyn L. Schulte, 25, IED hit on vehicle near Kabul, May 20, 2009.
- Air Force Senior Airman Ashton L.M. Goodman, 21, IED hit on vehicle near Bagram AFB, May 26, 2009.
- Staff Sgt. Tara J. Smith, 33, non-combat related incident under investigation, mother of two boys, 8 and 6, August 4, 2009.
- Sgt. Eduviges G. Wolf, 24, RPG attack on vehicle, wife and mother of two girls, ages 3 and 1, October 22, 2009.
- Pfc. Barbara Vieyra, 22, IED, RPG attack near Kunar province, Mother of a little girl, Evelyn, Sept. 18, 2010.
- Pfc. Jaysine P.S. Petree, 19, IED attack on vehicle traveling between Ghanzi and Bagram Airfield, Sept. 24, 2010.
- Staff Sgt. Aracely Gonzalez O'Malley, 31, injuries in non-combat incident at Mazar-e Sharif, Oct.12, 2010.
- Lt. Col. Gwendolyn A. Locht, 46, Evacuated from Afghnistan with non-combat illness in May, died Nov. 16,2010.
- Sgt. Zainah C. Creamer, 28, IED attack on unit, Jan. 12, 2011.
- Pfc. Renee Sinkler, 23, RPG attack while in turret of MRAP vehicle in convoy, Jan. 19, 2011.
- Sgt. Linda L. Pierre, 28, Suicide bomb attack by Afghan soldier near FOB Gamberi, April 16, 2011.
- Staff Sgt. Cynthia R. Taylor, 39, Suicide bomb attack near FOB Gamberi, April 16, 2011.
- Master Sgt. Tara R. Brown, 33, Attack by Afghan pilot under training at Kabul Airport, April 27, 2011.
- Spec. Devin Snyder, 20, IED on road, June 4, 2011.
- 1st Lt. Ashley White, 24, IED attack on assault force with which she was assigned as part of a cultural support team, Oct. 22, 2011.
- PFC Sarina Butcher, 19, IED attack in Paktia Province, Nov. 1, 2011.
- Spc. Mikayla Bragg, 21, suicide in guard post in Khowst Province, Afgthanistan, Dec. 20, 2011.
- Spec. Erica Alecksen, 21, IED attack on vehicle, eastern Afghanistan, July 8, 2012.
- Spec. Krystal M. Fitts, 26, indirect fire while serving on a Female Engagement Team, July 17, 2012.
- Pfc. Patricia L. Horne, 20, cause of death in Bagram not reported, August 24, 2012.
- CWO Thalia Ramirez, helicopter crash in Logar province, Sept. 5, 2012.
- Sgt. Donna Johnson, suicide bomber attack, Oct. 1, 2012.
- Sgt. Camella M. Steedley, USMC, 31, mother of four young children, cause of death under investigation, Oct. 3, 2012.
- Spc. Brittany B. Gordon, 24, attack by suicide bomber in Zabul province, Oct. 13, 2012.
- Capt. Sara M. Knutson, 27, UH-60 helicopter crash near Kandahar, Mar. 11, 2013.
- AF Capt. Victoria Pinckney, 27, mother of 7 month-old son, crash of KC-135 tanker refueling plane in mountains of Kyrgyzstan, May 3, 2013.
- Maj. Jaimie Leonard, 39, attack by person wearing ANA uniform, southwest of Kabul, June 8, 2013.
- Spc. Ember Alt, 21, enemy attack near Bagram AFB, June 18, 2013.
- Spc. Hilda I. Clayton, 22, explosion while training with Afghan troops, non-combat mission, July 4, 2013.
- Spc. Caryn E. Nouv, 29, mother of two young children, IED attack, Ghazni Province, Afghanistan, July 27, 2013.
- Capt. Jennifer M. Moreno, 25, IED ambush while accompanying Rangers as nurse in Zhari District, October 6, 2013.
- Pfc. Lori Ann Piestewa, 23, captured, died in captivity, Mar. 23, 2003, two children, 4 and 3, Mar. 23, 2003.
- Sgt. Melissa Valles, 26, non-combat gunshot wound to abdomen, cause unknown, July 10, 2003.
- Spc. Alyssa Renee Peterson, 27, gunshot wound to head, cause unknown, Sept. 15, 2003.
- Pfc. Analaura Esparza Gutierrez, 21, RPG attack on supply vehicle, Oct. 1, 2003.
- Spc. Tamarra J. Ramos,24, non-combat injuries, armor medical company, Oct. 1, 2003.
- Pfc. Rachel Bosveld, 19, MP, attack on Baghdad police station, Oct. 26, 2003.
- Pfc. Karina Sotelo Lau,20, Chinook crash, under fire, Nov. 2, 2003.
- Spc. Frances M. Vega, 20, Chinook crash, under fire, Nov. 2, 2003.
- Chief Warrant Officer Sharon T. Swartworth, 43, CWO, JAG Corps, Blackhawk downed under fire, Nov. 7, 2003.
- Sgt. Linda C. Jiminez, injuries following a fall in Baghdad, Nov. 8, 2003.
- Staff Sgt. Kimberley Voelz, 27, explosive ordnance disposal expert, bomb exploded, died in soldier husband's arms, Dec. 14, 2003.
- Capt. Kimberly Hampton, 27, helicopter pilot, downed under fire, Jan. 4, 2004.
- Sgt. Keicia M. Hines, 27, MP, struck by vehicle, Jan. 14, 2004
- Pfc. Holly Jeanne McGeogh, 19, vehicle hit by IED, Jan. 31, 2004.
- Pfc. Nichole M. Frye, 19, Civil Affairs Reservist, vehicle hit by IED, Feb. 16, 2004.
- Capt. Gussie Jones, 41,non-combat death (surgical nurse, possible heart attack), Mar. 7, 2004.
- Spc. Tyanna Avery-Felder, 22, shrapnel wounds, Apr. 4, 2004.
- Spc. Michelle Witmer, 20, Wisconsin NG MP, killed by small arms attack (one of three sisters in the Army), Apr. 9, 2004.
- Spc. Isela Rubalcava, 25, hit by mortar round to Stryker brigade, May 8, 2004.
- Pfc. Leslie D. Jackson, 18,vehicle hit by IED, May 20, 2004.
- Pfc. Melissa J. Hobart, 22, collapsed while on guard duty, mother of 3 year-old, June 6, 2004.
- Spc. Julie R. Hickey, 20, Civil Affairs Reservist, died in Germany after complications from non-combat related illness, July 4, 2004.
- Sgt. Linda Terango-Griess, Ordnance Company Reservist, 33, vehicle hit by IED, July 11, 2004.
- Sgt. Tatjana Reed, 34, vehicle hit by IED, July 22, 2004.
- Sgt. Shawna L. Morrison, 26, IL NG, 26, hit by shrapnel when barracks mortared, Sept. 5, 2004.
- Spc. Jessica L. Cawvey, 21, vehicle hit by mortar, single mother of 6 year-old, Oct. 6, 2004.
- Sgt. Pamela Osbourne, 38, three children, ages 9 t0 19, Oct. 11, 2004.
- Sgt. Cari Anne Gasiewicz, 28, convoy vehicle hit by grenade, Dec. 4, 2004.
- Sgt. Tina S. Time, 22, vehicle accident, Dec. 13, 2004.
- Sgt. Jessica M. Housby, 23, IL NG, hit by IED near truck convoy, Feb. 9, 2005.
- Spc. Katrina L. Bell-Johnson, 32, truck overturned, cause unknown, mother of 1 year-old, Feb. 16, 2005.
- Spc. Adrianna Salem, 21, vehicle rolled over, unknown cause, Feb. 21, 2005.
- Pfc. Sam W. Huff, 18, IED attack on Humvee, April 18, 2005.
- Spc. Aleina Ramirez Gonzales, 33, Puerto Rico, mortar attack on forward operating base, Apr. 29, 2005.
- Spc. Lizbeth Robles, 31, vehicle accident, Mar. 1, 2005.
- Spc. Carrie L. French, 19, bomb hit on convoy, June 5, 2005
- Marine Lance Cpl. Holly Charette, 21, attack on truck convoy in Fallujah, June 23, 2005.
- Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Regina Clark, 43, 1 18 year-old son, Fallujah attack on truck convoy, June 23, 2005.
- Marine Cpl. Ramona Valdez, 20, Fallujah attack on truck convoy, June 23, 2005.
- Staff Sgt. Tricia L. Jameson, 34, medical specialist, Army NG, IED explosion while responding to a casualty incident, July 14, 2005.
- Pfc. LaVena L. Johnson, 19, non-combat related injuries, July 19, 2005.
- Spec. Toccara Green, 23, IED explosion, Aug. 14, 2005
- Airman 1st Class Elizabeth N. Jacobson, 21, IED explosion, Sept. 28, 2005.
- 1st Lt. Debra A. Banaszak, 35, non-combat related injuries, Oct. 28, 2005.
- Sgt. Julia V. Atkins, 22,IED attack near Humvee, Dec. 10, 2005.
- Sgt. Regina C. Reali, 25, IED attack, Dec. 23, 2005.
- Sgt. Myla L. Maravillosa, 24, RPG attack on Humvee, Dec. 24, 2005.
- 1st Lt. Jaime L. Campbell, 25, helicopter crash, Jan. 7, 2006
- AF Senior Airman Alecia S. Good, 28, Gulf of Aden helicopter collision, Feb. 17, 2006.
- Pvt. First Class Tina M. Priest, 20, gunshot wound to the chest, unknown cause, Mar. 1, 2006.
- Pfc. Amy Duerksen, 19, of injuries suffered in Iraq, Mar. 11, 2006.
- Spc. Amanda Pinson, 21, mortar attack while waiting for bus transport, Mar. 16, 2006.
- Marine Lance Cpl. Juana Navarro Arellano, 24, of wounds received in Iraq, April 8 , 2006.
- Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Jaime S. Jaenke, 29, Humvee struck by IED, Iraq, mother of 9 year old girl June 5, 2006.
- Pfc. Hannah L. Gunterman, 20, mother of a 2 year-old boy, killed by a fellow soldier in a vehicle accident in Taji, Iraq, Sept. 4, 2006.
- 2nd Lt. J. T. Perez, 23, IED explosion near Humvee in Al Kifl, Iraq, Sept. 12, 2006.
- Sgt. Jennifer M. Hartman, 21, suicide bomber attack on West Baghdad Substation, Sept. 14, 2006.
- 1st Lt. Ashley (Henderson) Huff, 23, suicide attack on convoy, near her Humvee, Sept. 19, 2006.
- Sgt. Jeannette T. Dunn, 44, of non-combat related injuries, Nov. 26, 2006.
- Maj. Megan McClung, USMC, 34, IED attack near Ramadi in the Anbar province, Iraq, Dec. 6, 2006
- Maj. Gloria D. Davis, 47, gunshot wound in a non-combat related incident, Dec. 12, 2006.
- Senior Airman Elizabeth A. Loncki, 23, ordnance disposal team targeted by car bomb, Jan. 7, 2007.
- Command Sgt. Maj. Marilyn L. Gabbard, 46, Black Hawk helicopter crash near Baghdad, Jan. 20, 2007.
- Spc. Carla J. Stewart, 37, transportation convoy vehicle rollover, Jan. 30, 2007.
- Marine Cpl. Jennifer M. Parcell, 20, female suicide bomber attack at checkpoint in Anbar province, Iraq, Feb. 7, 2007.
- Marine Capt. Jennifer J. Harris, 28, helicopter crash due to enemy action in Anbar province, Iraq, Feb. 7, 2007.
- Sgt. Ashly L. Moyer, 21, IED detonation near her MP vehicle, Mar. 3, 2007.
- Pfc. Katie M. Soenksen, 19, IED detonation near her MP vehicle, May 2, 200.7
- Spc. Karen Clifton, 22, RPG attack on her vehicle, near Baghdad, June 21, 2007.
- Sgt. Trista L. Moretti, 27, indirect fire during an insurgent attack, June 25, 2007.
- Spec. Michelle R. Ring, 24, mother of two young boys, mortar fire attack in Baghdad, July 5, 2007.
- Capt. Maria I. Ortiz, 40, indirect fire attack in Baghdad, July 10, 2007.
- Staff Sgt. Alicia A. Birchett, 29, non-combat related accident in Baghdad, mother of 3 young boys, Aug. 9, 2007.
- Sgt. Princess C. Samuels, 22, indirect fire near Taji, Iraq, Aug. 15, 2007.
- Spc. Zandra T. Worthy-Walker, 28, indirect fire near Taji, Iraq, Aug. 15, 2007.
- Spc. Kamisha J. Block, 20, non-combat "friendly fire" incident, MP battalion in Iraq, Aug. 16, 2007.
- Spc. Marisol Heredia, 19, injuries suffered from a non-combat related incident, July 18 in Baghdad, Sept. 7, 2007.
- Capt. (Dr.) Roselle M. Hoffmaster, 32, Kirkuk, Iraq, non-combat related incident under investigation, Sept. 20, 2007.
- Spc. Rachel L. Hugo, 24, IED and small arms attack on MP unit, Bayji, Iraq, Oct. 5, 2007.
- Staff Sgt. Lillian Clamens, 35, RPG attack near Baghdad, mother of 3 young children, Oct. 10, 2007.
- 2nd Lt. Tracy L. Alger, 30, IED attack in Shubayshen, Iraq, Nov. 1, 2007, while serving in a forward support company (FSC) attached to the 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment. (All soldiers in the war are "in harm's way," but Direct Ground Combat-collocated support units at the battalion level are required by DoD regulation to be all male.)
- Staff Sgt. Carletta S. Davis, 34, IED attack in Tal Al-Dahab, Iraq, mother of three sons, Nov. 5. 2007.
- Spc. Keisha M. Morgan, 25, non-combat related cause under investigation, Feb. 22, 2008.
- Marine Lance Cpl. Casey Casanova, 22, IED attack in Iraq, May 2, 2008.
- Spc. Mary J. Jaenichen, 20, non-combat related injury that is under investigation, May 9, 2008.
- Cpl. Jessica A. Ellis, 24, IED attack on her medical vehicle, near Baghdad, Iraq, May 11, 2008.
- AF Tech Sgt. Jackie L. Larsen, 37, non-combat related natural causes following non-hostile action, Balad AFB, July 17, 2008.
- Pfc. Jennifer L. Cole, 34, non-combat related incident, under investigation, Bayji, Iraq, Aug. 2, 2008.
- Lance Cpl. Stacy Ann Dryden, 22, non-combat related incident under investigation, al-Asad Air Base, Iraq, Oct. 19, 2008.
- Spc. Jessica Y. Sarandrea, 22, mortar fire on forward operating base near Mosul, Mar. 3, 2009
- Staff Sgt. Army C. Tirador, 29, non-combat incident near Kirkush, Nov. 4, 2009.
- Pfc. Adriana Alvarez, 20, MP, injuries sustained supporting combat operations, Feb. 20, 2010.
- CWO2 Billie Jean Grinder, 25, hard helicopter landing, Feb. 21, 2010.
- Spc. Lakeshia M. Bailey, 23, vehicle rollover in Al Kut, Iraq, Mar. 8, 2010.
- Pfc. Erin L. McLyman, 26, mortar attack on base, Balad, Iraq, Mar. 13, 2010.
- Spc. Morganne M. McBeth, 19, homicide by fellow soldier with a knife, Khan Al Baghdadi, Iraq, July 2, 2010.
- Spc. Faith R. Hinkley, 23, RPG attack on unit in Iraq, Aug. 7, 2010.
- Navy Boatswain Mate Seaman Yeshabel Villot-Carrasco, 23, suicide aboard the destroyer USS James E. Williams on her first deployment as part of OIF, Red Sea, June 19, 2013.
- Reserve Sgt. Denise Lannaman, 46, non-combat-related incident at Camp Arifjan, Oct. 1, 2006.
- Pfc. Cwislyn K. Walter, 19, non-combat related, near Kuwait City, Feb. 19, 2009.
- Navy Operations Spec. 2nd Class Dominique D. Cruz, 26, Jan. 19, Gulf of Oman.
- Staff Sgt. Jessica Wing, 42, non-combat cause of death in Kuwait under investigation, Aug. 27, 2012.