Navy Master-At-Arms Petty Officer 3rd Class Roger Alan Napper, Jr.

Remembering today and always, Navy Master-At-Arms Petty Officer 3rd Class Roger Alan Napper, Jr., who made the ultimate sacrifice on October 7, 2006, while serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Master-At-Arms Petty Officer 3rd Class Roger Alan Napper, Jr. died on Saturday, October 7, 2006, while serving and assigned to Mobile Security Squadron 3, Detachment Bahrain as the result of trauma from a single motor vehicle accident in Manama, Bahrain on the Al Fatih highway.
PO3 Roger A. Napper, Jr. was born on February 13, 1976, in sunny San Diego, CA. Roger’s family relocated to the Pittsburgh area and then Greensburg, PA when he was a child, and it is there, as to be expected, he grew to be a devoted Steelers fan.
In 2002, Roger volunteered to serve his country as a member of the U.S. Navy. He contributed to his nation’s defense while stationed in San Antonio and the Naval Station Great Lakes. In 2003, as a result of his hard work and dedication to his command, Roger was honored as Sailor of the Year at NAVSTA Great Lakes.
Roger was survived by his best friend and the love of his life, Meredith DeCou Napper, whom he married March 11, 2006, in Flint, MI. He also is survived by his beautiful daughter, Chynna Napper-Agee, who is the image of Roger himself; his loving parents, Myrna (Gutierrez) and Roger A. Napper, Sr. of Greensburg, PA; and Greensburg; brother, Brandon Napper, of Greensburg, PA.
Navy Master-At-Arms Petty Officer 3rd Class Roger Alan Napper, Jr.
Birth: 13 February 1976
San Diego, San Diego County, California, USA
Death: 7 October 2006 (age 30)
Manama, Bahrain
Burial: Greenwood Cemetery
North Branch, Lapeer County, Michigan, USA
Thank you, PO3 Roger Alan Napper, Jr., for your service, dedication, and sacrifice!

U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Stevon Alexander Booker

U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Stevon Alexander Booker

 

Birth

16 Sep 1968
Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, USA

Death
5 Apr 2003 (aged 34)
Baghdad, Iraq

Burial
West View Cemetery
Avonmore, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, USA
SSG Booker was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division, A Company, 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, Fort Stewart, Georgia and served in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. SSG Booker was killed in action by enemy fire as his platoon of Abrams Tanks moved along a highway toward Baghdad International Airport in the first armored raid into Baghdad, Iraq on 4/5/2003.
Stevon is the son of Freddie M. Jackson of Apollo, PA and the late George A. Booker of Avonmore, PA.
Stevon was born in Detroit, and then moved with his family to the mining town of Redtown, Pennsylvania, and then to Apollo, PA.
Stevon joined the Army after graduating from Apollo-Ridge High School in 1988. He held the rank of Staff Sergeant (E-6), was a tank commander and also served in combat during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.
Booker said in an interview with the Associated Press near the Kuwait-Iraq border: “I teach my guys what I learned from the first Gulf War. One guy doesn’t win a war. You have to have confidence in your equipment. The M1A1 is the best tank on the battlefield. It can destroy anything the Iraqis throw at us.”
Stevon always told his mother, Freddie, ‘Mom, don’t worry about me. We are the best-equipped military in the world, and I’m going to be fine.’
SSG Booker was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross on April 5, 2019. He was originally awarded a Silver Star for his actions that day. However, following a comprehensive review directed by former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter of all awards issued during Operation Iraqi Freedom, it was determined that Booker’s award would be upgraded to the Distinguished Service Cross.
Now famously known as “Thunder Run,” SSG Booker’s unit led an offensive armored-attack into Baghdad on April 5, 2003, subsequently resulting in the collapse of the Saddam Hussein government.

During the raid, Booker’s platoon came under heavy small-arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire. Booker immediately reacted – he communicated the situation to his chain-of-command, returned fire with his mounted machinegun and reassured his crew that they would make it to their objective.

When his crew machinegun malfunctioned, Booker completely disregarded his personal safety and took up an exposed prone position on the top of his tank. While still engaged by heavy enemy fire, Booker maintained communication with his platoon, accurately destroyed an enemy vehicle and effectively protected his platoon’s flank.

Booker continued to engage the enemy and protect his platoon while exposed for nearly five miles until he was fatally wounded.
SSG Stevon Alexander Booker was the first soldier from Southwestern Pennsylvania killed in action during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.
Combat and Non-Combat Operations
1990-1991 Gulf War/Defense of Saudi Arabia/Operation Desert Shield
1998-2004 Operation Joint Forge (SFOR)
2003-2003 OIF/Liberation of Iraq (2003)

Sergeant First Class Robert James Fike

Remembering today and always, Army Sergeant First Class Robert James Fike, who made the ultimate sacrifice on June 11, 2010, while serving during Operation Enduring Freedom.

Sergeant First Class Robert James Fike died on Friday, June 11, 2010, while serving with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 110th Infantry Regiment in Zabul, Afghanistan. Sergeant First Class Fike, along with Sergeant First Class Bryan A. Hoover, from West Elizabeth, PA, was on foot patrol providing security with the Provincial Reconstruction Team Zabul when they came upon insurgents who met them with a suicide bomb attack. They both perished from wounds sustained by the improvised explosive device at FOB (Forward Operating Base) Bullard.

SFC Fike was born in Jeannette, PA on July 23, 1971. He graduated from Penn-Trafford High School with the Class of 1989 and Edinboro University in 1992 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Organic Chemistry, before joining the National Guard in September 1993. As a civilian, Bob worked as a Corrections Officer at Albion State Correctional Institution since 1995. In the Guard, he was assigned to the 28th Military Police attached to Company C, 1st Battalion, 110th Infantry Regiment out of Connellsville, PA
Bob loved the military and the idea of serving his country. His father, James is a retired Sergeant Major in the Guard and a veteran of the Vietnam War. His grandfather served in the Navy, three uncles served in the Army and his brother, Chris also served in the Navy. Sergeant First Class Fike had been in Afghanistan since February 2010. He was there doing provincial reconstruction, seeing what the villages needed. He had previously served two deployments, one to Saudi Arabia in 2002 and another to Iraq in 2007.
SFC Fike was a highly decorated soldier whose awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal (3rd award), Combat Action Badge, NATO Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Keystone Freedom Medal, Afghan Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and Service Medals, and Iraq Campaign Medal.

Bob was an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed hunting, fishing and spending time with his daughter, MacKenzie, the love and joy of his life. Bob is survived by his daughter MacKenzie of Meadville, parents James and Christine of Trafford, and brother Christopher of Monroeville.

Sergeant First Class (SFC) Robert James Fike
Birth: 23 July 1971
Jeannette, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death: 11 June 2010 (Age 38)
Zabul Province, Afghanistan
Burial: The National Cemetery of the Alleghenies
Cecil Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania, USA
Thank you, SFC Robert James Fike, for your service, dedication, and sacrifice!

Staff Sergeant Thor Harrison Ingraham

He was killed in action on May 8, 2005, while serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom, when he was conducting combat operations and an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee in Khalidiyah, Iraq. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Camp Greaves, Korea. Private First Class Nicolas Edward Messmer was also killed.

Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 (CW3) Matthew Paul Ruffner

Remembering today and always, Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 (CW3) Matthew Paul Ruffner, who made the ultimate sacrifice on April 9, 2013, while serving during Operation Enduring Freedom.
CW3 Matt P. Ruffner was assigned to 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 104th Aviation Regiment, 28th Combat Aviation Brigade, 28th Infantry Division, Pennsylvania National Guard, Fort Indiantown Gap, PA. He died April 9, 2013, in the Pachir Wa Agam District, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when his AH-64 Apache helicopter crashed.
CW3 Ruffner was formerly from Level Green, PA. He was a 1997 graduate of London High School in London, Ohio. He graduated in 2003 from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor’s Degree in criminology. Ruffner was a fulltime AH-64D Apache helicopter instructor pilot for the Pennsylvania Army National Guard at Fort Indiantown Gap. Ruffner was chosen as TACOPS Officer of the Year by the Quad-A (AAAA) in 2013 for his life-saving mission planning.
CW3 Ruffner was a great athlete, a talented musician, playing guitar, which he played by ear-in numerous bands. He will be most fondly remembered by his family and friends for his great humor and memorable practical jokes, his caring and sensitive nature, his strong convictions, and his great capacity to connect with others, from which he developed countless lifelong friendships.
Matt was survived by his parents Chuck and Diane Ruffner, who are so proud of their son’s accomplishments, his long-time girlfriend Jackeline Bignardi and their beloved Hector.
Chief Warrant Officer 3 (CW3) Matthew Paul Ruffner
18 Nov 1978
Punxsutawney, Jefferson County, Pennsylvania, USA
9 Apr 2013 (age 34)
Pachir Wa Agam District, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan
Burnside Cemetery
Burnside, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, USA
Thank you CW3 Matt P. Ruffner for your service, dedication, and sacrifice!

Sergeant Jason Alan Shaffer

Remembering Army Sergeant Jason Alan Shaffer, who gave the ultimate sacrifice on April 5, 2007, while serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Sergeant Shaffer was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas. He died April 5, 2007, in the Diyala Province, Baqubah, Iraq, of wounds sustained when a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated near his Bradley Fighting Vehicle.
Shaffer was a 1998 graduate of Derry Area High School and his family moved to Virginia in 2003, the year he enlisted in the Army. His mother, Gwendolyn Shaffer, said Jason never regretted joining the Army, or the two tours of duty he was assigned to in Iraq.
“He felt that he needed, ever since 9/11, to protect our country,” she said. “He was our hero, protecting our freedom and all he believed in.”
His father, Roger Shaffer, said his son loved the outdoors and was well-suited to perform surveillance and reconnaissance.
Shaffer is survived by a widow, Kathleen, and stepson in Hood River, OR.
Sergeant Jason Alan Shaffer
2 Dec 1978
Latrobe, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, USA
5 Apr 2007 (age 28)
Diyala Province, Baqubah, Iraq
Twin Valley Memorial Park and Mausoleum
Delmont, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, USA