Westmoreland County connected Fallen Heroes who are Veterans of the Global War on Terror.

Army Staff Sergeant Stevon A. Booker – 4/5/2003

Army Specialist Eric R. Hull – 8/18/2003

Army Sergeant Nicholas A. Tomko – 11/9/2003

Army Specialist William R. Sturges, Jr. – 1/24/2004

Army Specialist Joshua J. Henry – 9/20/2004

Marine Sergeant Lonny D. Wells – 11/9/2004

Army Staff Sergeant Thor H. Ingraham – 5/8/2005

Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class John T. Fralish – 2/6/2006

Marine Staff Sergeant Eric A. McIntosh – 4/2/2006

Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Roger A. Napper, Jr. – 10/6/2006

Army Private David E. Dietrich – 12/29/2006

Army Sergeant Jason A. Shaffer – 4/5/2007

Air Force Staff Sergeant David A. Wieger – 11/1/2007

Army Sergeant First Class Robert J. Fike – 6/11/2010

Marine Lieutenant Colonel Christopher K. Raible – 9/15/2012

Navy Chief Petty Officer Nicolas D. Checque – 12/8/2012

Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Matthew P. Ruffner – 4/9/2013

Army Sergeant Jason M. McClary – 12/2/2018

Thank You and God Bless You All dc99
Home of the Free, Because of the Brave, Freedom Isn’t Free

Army Sergeant Jason Mitchell McClary

Remembering today and always, Army Sergeant Jason Mitchell McClary, who made the ultimate sacrifice on December 2, 2018, while serving during Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

Army Sergeant Jason Mitchell McClary died on December 2, 2018, at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany, while serving and assigned to the 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, CO, as the result of wounds sustained from injuries he received on November 27, 2018, from an IED (improvised explosive device) blast, which struck a convoy of U.S. and Afghan forces in the Ghazni Province’s Andar District in Afghanistan en route to battle Taliban fighters. Sergeant McClary was an up-armored vehicle assistant gunner and was a driver of this combat movement of Special Forces soldiers traveling on Highway 1.

Sergeant Jason Mitchell McClary was the son of JoLynn P. Maiolie, born on August 13, 1994. Sergeant McClary was originally from Export, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Kiski Area High School in 2013. While attending school he trained to be a machinist. After his graduation, it was finally time to enlist, but due to several health reasons, Jason has turned away. But after months of working hard to get healthy, Jason Mitchell McClary enlisted in January 2014 as an infantryman and fulfilled his dream of joining the United States Army, excited to finally serve his country and do the job he was meant for. Over the span of four-and-a-half years, Sergeant McClary had also served in Iraq from May 2016 to January 2017.

Sergeant McClary was awarded the Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts, Army Commendation Medal with Valor Device, Army Commendation Medal with Service Device, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghan Campaign Medal with Combat Service, Global War on Terror Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with Combat Service, Combat Infantry Badge and the Air Assault Badge..

Sergeant McClary was survived by his beloved wife, Lillie Renee Ashbaugh McClary and their two sons Jett Isaac and Jason James McClary; his parents, Raymond & Jolynn Maiolie; his brother, Jeffrey and sister-in-law, Katrina Ritter; his sister, Jennifer and brother-in-law Jason Lorent; his parents-in-law, Eric Ashbaugh and Lillie (Mike) Ayers; brothers-in-law, Eric and Ryan Ashbaugh; and sisters-in-law, Autumn and Faith Ashbaugh, and Kim Nielsen.

Army Sergeant Jason Mitchell McClary
Birth: 13 August 1994
Pennsylvania, USA

Death: 2 December 2018 (age 24)
Landstuhl, Landkreis Kaiserslautern, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany

Burial: National Cemetery of the Alleghenies
Cecil, Washington County, Pennsylvania, USA

Thank you, Sergeant Jason Mitchell McClary, for your service, dedication, and sacrifice!

Marine Corps Sergeant Lonny Dion Wells

Remembering today and always, Marine Corps Sergeant Lonny Dion Wells, who made the ultimate sacrifice on November 9, 2004, while serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Marine Corps Sergeant Lonny Dion Wells died on Tuesday, November 9, 2004, in Fallujah, Al Anbar Province, Iraq, while serving and assigned to the 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, NC, as the result of wounds sustained from enemy action of Iraqi insurgents on Highway Ten in Fallujah.

Sergeant Lonny Dion Wells was the son of Yvonne Lynn and Lawrence Wells, Sr., born on January 10, 1975, in Kittanning, PA. Sergeant Wells was from Vandergrift, Westmoreland County, PA and a graduate of the Class of 1994 from Kiski Area High School. Ever since he was a little boy, Wells knew he would be a Marine. He was an athletic, friendly kid growing up in the Pittsburgh suburb of Vandergrift. Living in the Steel City didn’t hinder his passionate zeal for the Dallas Cowboys. Wells was a good student who also excelled in playing football and baseball, loved singing Kenny Rogers songs in the car, and he loved the Marines.

As an instructor for Marine Combat Training, Sergeant Wells made an incredible impact on those around him. His energy and professionalism inspired many young Marines, he was a true role model. He wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather before him and serve. Wells had been in the Marine Corps for eight years and served in Kosovo, France, Spain, and Germany. He had been in Iraq since June and was scheduled to come home in January.

Sergeant Wells was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.

Sergeant Wells was survived by his wife, Jennifer Wells of Jacksonville, NC; two sons, Lonny Jr. and Daylon Wells of Apollo, PA; three daughters, Dominique White and Jade Wells of Jacksonville, NC, and Marissa Wells of Vandergrift, PA; his mother, Yvonne Lynn Weston Wells of Vandergrift, PA; his father, Lawrence Wells, Sr. of Amarillo, TX; his brother, Lawrence Wells, Jr. of Indiana, PA; his sister, Army Sergeant Angela Ackles of Fort Hood, TX; his half-brother, Adam Wells of Amarillo, TX; and his half-sister, Amandya Wells of Amarillo, TX.

Marine Corps Sergeant Lonny Dion Wells
Birth: 10 February 1975
Kittanning, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, USA

Death: 9 November 2004 (age 29)
Fallujah, Al Anbar Province, Iraq

Burial: Greenwood Memorial Park CemeteryLower Burrel, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, US

Thank you, Sergeant Lonny Dion Wells, for your service, dedication, and sacrifice!

Army Sergeant Nicholas Allen Tomko

Remembering today and always, Army Sergeant Nicholas Allen Tomko, who made the ultimate sacrifice on November 9, 2003, while serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Army Sergeant Nicholas Allen Tomko died on Sunday, November 9, 2003, in Baghdad, Iraq, while serving and assigned to the 307th Military Police Company, U.S. Army Reserve, New Kensington, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, as the result of wounds sustained when his team came under mortar and small-arms attack as they were performing a standard night patrol to check the camp’s perimeter for explosive devices; Sergeant Tomko was the door gunner in one of the 4 vehicles in the convoy.
 
Sergeant Tomko was born on February 16, 1979, in Pittsburgh, PA. The son of Jack Tomko and the late Sherry Pfab Tomko. Sergeant Tomko was of McKees Rocks, PA, formerly of Hampton Township and of Butler, PA. Sergeant Tomko was a graduate of the Class of 1997 from Hampton High School, and while working several part-time jobs at restaurants and gas stations along Route 8 to save money for a car; he discovered what he wanted to do with his life. He met a state trooper while he was working at Eat ‘n Park, and the two became very good friends. Nick was working as an armored car driver near Pittsburgh when he joined the Army Reserves in 1998 for the experience and college tuition to become a police officer. He had been stationed in Iraq since February 2003 and also had served in Operation Joint Forge in Bosnia-Herzegovina for nine months in 2001. He wanted to serve his country, and he wanted his family to live in a country that was safe; he did it with great pride.

SGT Tomko was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Combat Action Badge.

Nick is survived by his proud father, Jack Tomko, of Evans City, PA, and his son, Ethan Tomko. “He made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can have freedom here,” Jack Tomko said. “With men and women like that, we’re going to be safe for a long time.”

Army Sergeant Nicholas Allen Tomko
Birth: 16 February 1979
Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA

Death: 9 November 2003 (age 24)
Baghdad, Iraq

Burial: Allegheny County Memorial Park
Allison Park, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, US

Thank you, Sergeant Nicholas Allen Tomko, for your service, dedication, and sacrifice!

Staff Sergeant David Alan Weiger

Remembering today and always, Air Force Staff Sergeant David Alan Wieger, who made the ultimate sacrifice on November 1, 2007, while serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Staff Sergeant David Alan Weiger died on Thursday, November 1, 2007, near Balad Air Base, Iraq, while serving and assigned to Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Detachment 303, Travis Air Force Base, CA., as the result of wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device (IED).
 
SSG Wieger was an Air Force Special Agent and his primary responsibility on the battlefield was to perform reconnaissance missions of tracking and monitoring IEDs. His humvee was struck by an IED roadside bomb, killing him and Air Force Master Sergeant Thomas A. Crowell, 36, of Neosho, MO, and Nathan J. Schuldheiss, 27, an Air Force Defense Department civilian investigator from Newport, RI. The three were on their way back from meeting with sources related to an intelligence investigation when their convoy hit the explosive.

Even on the Iraqi road SSG Wieger was traveling, moments before he died, the North Huntingdon native had his squadmates howling. “We asked them what kind of spirits he was in,” said his mother, Lori Wieger. “They said, as always, David was on the radio with the two other Humvees, just making them laugh up until the last second.”

Staff Sergeant David Alan Wieger was born on May 5, 1979, in Pittsburgh, PA. He lived and grew up in North Huntingdon, Westmoreland County, PA. SSG Weiger graduated in the Class of 1997 from Norwin High School, where he was active in the Norwin Soccer Club and was also a member of the Penns Forest Football Club. He additionally was a member of Norwin Christian Church. After graduation, he attended and earned an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Westmoreland County Community College in Youngwood, PA. When he decided on the Air Force, he opted for a six-year enlistment, attending basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. Six years later he re-enlisted.

“Since high school, he wanted to get into the military,” said his brother, Michael Wieger. “He loved the job he was doing. That was the thing he was always saying.” Michael said his brother was eager to serve in Iraq despite the obvious risks associated with his deployment. “David had confidence and did not shy away from those issues, and he thought it was very important to do his duty.”

SSG Weiger was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Combat Action Medal, and the Air Force Commendation Medal.

David is survived by his loving parents, Loreene R. (Harper) and Michael J. Wieger, Sr., of North Huntingdon, PA, and his brother Michael J. Wieger, Jr. and his wife Brenda, of Port Vue, PA.

Air Force Staff Sergeant David Alan Wieger
Birth: 5 May 1979
Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA

Death: 1 November 2007 (age 28)
Balad, Saladin Governorate, Iraq

Burial: Penn-Lincoln Memorial Park
North Huntingdon, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, USA

Thank you, Staff Sergeant David Alan Wieger, for your service, dedication, and sacrifice!

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