20th Engineers (Task Force Lumberjack)
in the Afghanistan Campaign
As patriotic Americans, we salute the achievements of our beloved heroes and will forever remember their sacrifices.
The 20th Engineers, as Task Force Lumberjack, lost 17 soldiers during the Afghanistan campaign: 4 were killed at Fort Hood and 13 died in Afghanistan.
21 August 2010: Spec. Alexis Maldonado, 510th Engineer Company, Killed in Action
From the Battalion Commander: Dear LUMBERJACK family and friends, it is with great regret that I must inform you of the tragic loss of SPC Alexis Maldonado, from 3rd PLT, 510th. SPC Maldonado was killed on August 21st when his patrol came under fire. He is survived by his son, Isaiah, his fiance, Baroncia, and his parents, Jesse & Alicia. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers, and thank you all for your continued support.
5 March 2010: Spec. Alan Dikcis, 630th Engineer Company, Killed in Action
On 5 March 2010, Specialist Alan Dikcis of the 630th Engineer Company was killed when an improvised explosive device struck his vehicle. The 630th Engineer Company, attached to the 20th Engineers from Fort Drum, had been actively participating in operations to push the Taliban out of the Marjah region of Afghanistan.
630th Engineer Company at Memorial Ceremony for Specialist Dikcis
The remains of Specialist Christian M. Adams (Forward Support Company, 20th Engineer Battalion) arrive at Dover Air Force Base. SPC Adams died on 11 June 2010 from wounds associated with a noncombat-related incident.
21 June 2010: Spec. Scott Andrews, 618th Engineer Company, Killed in Action
In a message from LTC Peter Andrysiak, the battalion commander, "To our LUMBERJACK friends and family, it is with great sadness that we announce the death of SPC Scott Andrews, a member of the 618th Engineer Support Company (Airborne) attached to the 20th Engineer Battalion. SPC Andrews was killed by an IED strike while on a route clearance mission yesterday in Zabul Province. He was assigned to the 618th Engineer Support Company, 27th Engineer Battalion on October 2, 2008. He was constantly recognized by his peers and leaders for his motivation and knowledge. His family has been notified; please keep them in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. SPC Andrews will be missed by all.
618th Engineer Company (Airborne)
14 July 2010: Four Soldiers of the 618th Engineer Company, Killed in Action
Sgt. Chase Stanley
Sgt. Zachary Fisher
Spec. Jesse Reed
Spec. Matthew Johnson
In a 17 July 2010 message from LTC Peter Andrysiak, the battalion commander, "On Wednesday [14 July 2010] Task Force LUMBERJACK lost four heroes from the 618th Engineer Support Company from Fort Bragg, NC. Please pray for their families as they endure through these troubling times. Also pray for SPC Adam Keys and his family as he continues to recover from his wounds. Their memorial ceremony was held today at FOB Lagman, we will post a memorial tribute in the near future." The fallen soldiers were
Memorial Ceremony for Soldiers from 618th Engineer Company
24 July 2010: Four Soldiers of C Battery, 5-3 Field Artillery, Killed in Action
Staff Sgt. Conrad Mora
Sgt. Daniel Lim
Spc. Joseph Bauer
Pfc. Andrew Hand
In a 24 July 2010 message from LTC Peter Andrysiak, the battalion commander, "To our family and friends: It is with great regret that I inform you of the loss of 4 Soldiers from C 5/3 of Ft. Lewis. They died when their vehicle struck an IED while on patrol early this morning. A fifth Soldier, SPC Tim Martin from 510th [Engineer Company, Fort Hood], was injured, but is currently stable and receiving excellent care. Please keep the families of our fallen heroes in your prayers, as we also wish SPC Martin a speedy recovery." The fallen soldiers were
Memorial Ceremony for Soldiers from C Battery, 5-3 Field Artillery
Ramp Ceremony As deceased soldiers are loaded into an aircraft destined for Dover AFB, the battalion conducts a "Ramp Ceremony":
26 September 2010: Two Soldiers of the 584th Engineer Company, Killed in Action
Sgt. Mark Simpson
Spec. Scott Morrison
In a 26 September 2010 message from LTC Peter Andrysiak, the battalion commander, "Family & friends, it is with great sorrow that I must inform you of the loss of SGT Mark Simpson and SPC Scott Morrison of 584th. Our hearts go out their families, please keep them in your prayers. Two others were injured, SGT Daniel Krause & SPC Steven Heberlein, but are both doing well." The fallen soldiers were
Memorial Ceremony for Sgt. Simpson and Spec. Morrison, 584th Engineer Company
Soldiers of the 20th Engineers salute their fallen brothers
Nemelka, the youngest of four children, was happy to offer his service, the family said in a letter read aloud by Lt. Col. Lisa Olsen of the National Guard to KUTV.
"Aaron was very happy as a combat engineer. He was anxious to be deployed to Afghanistan in January."
Family members said they were devastated by their loss.
Nemelka's uncle, Maj. Michael Blades, read a statement from his nephew's family.
"Aaron was very proud to serve in the military," Blades said, adding that many others in his family had also served in the armed forces.
"His mission is completed in this life. He now serves a higher calling in heaven," Blades read. "We love him, we miss him, and we look forward to that glorious day when the family will be reunited with him."
Nemelka had a girlfriend and he may have had plans to marry her, KUTV reported.
Mother of Aaron Nemelka, Teena Nemelka, hugs the picture of Pfc. Aaron Thomas Nemelka, 19, of West Jordan, Utah, and touches the boots of the fallen soldier memorial.
Michael Pearson, 22, enlisted in the Army more than a year ago to realize his musical dream. He hoped the military would be his path to college, where he could study musical theory, his brother Kristopher Craig told CNN affiliate WGN-TV in Chicago, Illinois.
"He was a genius as far as we were concerned," Craig told WGN-TV, reeling from the news that his 21-year-old "little kid brother" was dead.
"He was really living his life playing guitar," Craig said. "When he picked up a guitar, we all understood that he was expressing himself."
Pearson was scheduled to deploy either to Iraq or Afghanistan in January, his brother said. He was learning to deactivate bombs and training in the Mojave Desert, said his mother, Sheryll Pearson. She was looking forward to seeing her son at Christmas.
He was shot three times in the spine and chest and died on the operating table, she said, according to TV affiliates in Chicago.
"His father is still in shock and very angry," Sheryll Pearson said. "We're all very angry."
Craig, who also had been stationed at Fort Hood and now serves in the Illinois National Guard, said he cannot accept a fellow soldier gunned down his brother.
"It's unfathomable," he said. "I couldn't imagine something like that -- attacking another soldier. It's just ridiculous. I don't understand it."
A dogtag belonging to PFC Michael Pearson, at the Memorial Ceremony at Fort Hood
Xiong enlisted last year and was scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan in January, Mee Xiong said.
She thinks her brother was at the site of the shooting because he was getting a medical checkup and vaccinations, she said.
With another brother serving in Afghanistan, the news of Kham Xiong's death is "hard on the family," his sister said.
"He is a loving person, everyone loves him and adores him," Mee Xiong told KARE. Xiong was the father of three children.
[It is also reported that Xiong's father fought against the communists in Laos.]
The family of Kham Xiong at the Fort Hood Memorial Ceremony
Soldiers and Colors of the 20th Engineers honoring their fallen brothers