WASHINGTON -- February 28 -- News Advisory -- On the Occasion of the 1,500th U.S. Troop Death in Iraq, Military Families Mourn and Speak Out: How Many More Will Die in a War Based on Lies? Honor the Fallen, and Bring the Troops Home NOW
Americans are on the eve of two tragic milestones: the 1,500th troop death in Iraq, and March 19, 2005, the second anniversary of a war that should never have happened. Military Families Speak Out honors all who have fallen -- US service men and women, and Iraqi men, women and children -- who have all died in a war that is neither just nor justifiable. Despite all the "banner days" that were supposed to mark turning points in this war, the violence continues and escalates. The U.S. occupation of Iraq continues to be the problem, not the solution.
Military Families Speak Out - an organization of over 2,000 military families including those with loved ones who are serving in Iraq, who have died as a result of the war in Iraq, and who are newly deploying or redeploying to Iraq - urges politicians on the local, state and national level to call for the return of all our troops to their home duty stations, for troops to be taken care of when they get home, and for an end to the policies that allowed this reckless military misadventure to happen. Honor the fallen by ending this war.
Available for Interview:
The following Military Families who have lost loved ones in Iraq, whose loved ones are currently deployed to Iraq, and the co-founders of Military Families Speak Out. This list is in formation - others are also available. For interviews, contact Ryan Fletcher at (202) 641-0277 or Nancy Lessin at (617) 320- 5301.
Military Families whose loved ones were killed in Iraq:
Carlos Arredondo of Roslindale, MA, whose son Lance Cpl Alexander Scott Arredondo, age 20, was killed by hostile fire in Najaf on August 25, 2004, which was also his father Carlos Arredondo's birthday.
Eric Blickenstaff of Portland, OR and Susan Livingston of Blaine, WA, whose brother SPC Joseph Blickenstaff, age 23, was killed in Iraq on December 8, 2003 when his vehicle rolled into an irrigation canal in Balad, Iraq.
Phyl Brown of Conrad, CA, whose nephew Spc. Joseph C. Norquist, age 26, was killed in an ambush in Baqubah, Iraq on October 9, 2003.
Vickie E. Castro of Corona, CA, whose son Corporal Jonathan Castro, age 21, was deployed to Iraq under a stop-loss order, and killed along with 21 other soldiers on December 21, 2004 in a suicide bombing on a military base in Mosul.
H. Elaine Johnson of Cordova, SC, whose son Spec. Darius Jennings, age 22, was killed on November 2, 2003 when the Chinook helicopter in which he was riding was shot down near Fallujah. That crash took the lives of 15 other troops as well.
Lila Lipscomb of Flint, MI, whose son Sgt. Michael F. Pederson, age 26, was killed in a Black Hawk helicopter crash on April 2, 2003 that killed all six on board. Lila Lipscomb is a co-founder of Gold Star Families for Peace.
Nadia McCaffrey of Tracy, CA, whose son Sergeant Patrick Ryan McCaffrey of the California National Guard, age 34, was killed in action in Balad, Iraq on June 22, 2004.
Karen Meredith of Mountain View, CA, whose son and only child 1st Lt. Ken Ballard, age 26, was killed on by hostile fire on May 30, 2004 during an ambush in Najaf. He had served in Iraq for 384 days and was extended 6 weeks before he was killed.
Sue Niederer of Pennington, NJ, whose son 2nd Lt. Seth Dvorin, age 24, was killed in Iraq on February 3, 2004. He had been deployed to Iraq five days after he was married. Sue Niederer is a co-founder of Gold Star Families for Peace.
Jan Perreault of Cary, NC, whose brother-in-law Lt. Col. David S. Green, age 39, was killed in hostile fire in Al Anbar Province, Iraq on July 28, 2004. He had been retired from military service, but was called to active duty and sent to Iraq.
Nooshin Razani of San Francisco, CA, whose brother SPC Omead Razanni, age 19, was killed in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was the first Iranian-American U.S. soldier to be killed in Iraq.
Rachael Rentschler of Lebanon, Ohio, whose husband Staff Sergeant George Scott Rentschler, age 31, was killed in an RPG attack on April 7, 2004 in Baghdad.
Cindy Sheehan of Vacaville, CA, whose son SPC Casey Sheehan was killed in Sadr City (Baghdad) on April 4, 2004. Cindy Sheehan is a co-founder of Gold Star Families for Peace.
Bette Sullivan of Bolingbrook (Chicago), IL, whose son SPC John R. Sullivan, age 26, was killed on November 15, 2003 along with 16 other soldiers in the crash of two Black Hawk helicopters. His twin sons were born on September 10, 2003; he never got to hold them.
Celeste Zappala of Philadelphia, PA, whose son Sgt. Sherwood Baker, age 30, was killed in Baghdad on April 26, 2004. He was the first Pennsylvania National Guardsman to die in combat since World War II. Also available for interview are the brothers of Sgt. Sherwood Baker, Dante Zappala and Raphael Zappala of Philadelphia, PA. Celeste Zappala is a co-founder of Gold Star Families for Peace.
Military Families with loved ones currently deployed in Iraq
Anne Roesler of Saratoga, CA, whose son in the Army's 82nd Airborne Division has been deployed for a second time to Iraq. He is currently serving in Mosul, Iraq.
Co-founders of Military Families Speak Out
Nancy Lessin and Charley Richardson, of Boston, MA, whose son Joe, in the U.S. Marine Corps, served in Iraq in spring, 2003. Lessin and Richardson, along with one other military family, co- founded Military Families Speak Out (MFSO) in November, 2002. MFSO now has a membership of over 2000 military families.