Last month Madison native and combat medic Cpl. Rachael L. Hugo, 24, was killed when her unit came under fire in Bayji, Iraq. Yesterday when I read that Wisconsin native Second Lt. Tracy Alger age 30 had been killed by an IED in Iraq I thought my God we have lost so many women from WI to this war.
Thinking my perception may not match reality I searched the Iraq Coalition Casualtysite. I found 6 women from WI have been killed in Iraq. The only state which has lost more is CA with 7. IL and TX have lost 6 as well. Additionally of the9 women who have been killed in Afghanistan, one was 52 year old Meredith Howard who“became the oldest Wisconsin war casualty in at least 50 years.” I have no idea why a state which is so comparatively small to CA, IL or TX has suffered these so many losses. It’s just one of those awful random arbitrary facts of war.
And so very sad…
Second Lt. Tracy Alger, 30, was killed 11/1/07 in Baghdad. Her passion had been barrel-racing. Her mothersaid of her…”She was such a good daughter, We spent a lot of time
together traveling to barrel races. She was my right-hand person. We
did everything together. […] Serving her country was what she wanted, We had a
conversation before she left that she might not be coming back, so we
spent as much time together as we could.”
Cpl. Rachael L. Hugo, 24, was killed 10/5/07 in Bayji Iraq. She had hoped to one day become a nurse.“Her father, Kermit Hugo, told the story of how his daughter saved the
life of a comrade during an engagement earlier this year. A sergeant was wounded during the engagement and Rachael Hugo volunteered to go to his aid.
“She told the guys to cover her,” Kermit Hugo said. “From the sounds of
it, there were rounds going off from the Humvee. She stayed with him.
She kept treating him. She just did her job.”
At the cemetary Rachel’s brother Scott released a dozen white doves which “circled overhead before flying off into the clouds.”
Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Jaime S. Jaenke, 29, was killed 6/5/06 in Anah Iraq. She left behind a 9 year old daughter, Kayla.
Kayla is being raised by her grandparents. Though Jaime, a single mother, left a letter clearly assigning her mother to receive the “death gratuity” should she die, it has been denied. By law it can only go to a spouse or a child. Kayla will receive it when she is 18. Until then Kayla’s grandparents struggle with“emotional, legal and financial difficulties of putting the pieces back together for a grandchild.”
Specialist Michelle Witmer, 20, was killed 4/9/04 in Baghdad. Michelle had been deeply touched after visiting an orphanage in Iraq for disabled children. Upon her urging“relatives and friends back home sent supplies and treats for the children.” “She wanted to help the women over there, she wanted to help the children,” Pretzel [grandmother] said. “She was very tender-hearted.”
Michelle’ssisters Charity and Rachel, who had also been serving in Iraq at the time of Michelle’s death, brought their sister home.
Spc. Nichole Frye, 19 was killed 2/16/04 in Ba’qubah Iraq. She had wanted to be a firefighter or police officer and joined the Army after high school“to earn money to realize her dream job.” “She played the flute for eight years, loved animals and cooking, and
was able to change the oil of a car. She named her kitten Angelica
because she loved angels.” Amazing Grace was her favoritehymn. A lone bagpiper played it at her funeral.
Private 1st Class Rachel Bosveld, 19, was killed 10/26/03–Abu Ghuraib, Iraq. “Bosveld’s friends and loved ones remembered her as a talented musician
who had played the violin since the fourth grade, an oil painter who
created beautiful landscapes on canvas and a student director for the
drama club who gladly painted sets and performed the non-starring but
necessary theater jobs. […] Still, Rachel tried to make sure her family didn’t worry. She began her letters to her mother, saying, “I’m OK. I’m really OK.”
She ended the letters saying, “Don’t worry Mom. Everything is OK. I’ll be OK.”
Reserve Sgt. 1st Class Merideth L. Howard, 52, was killed 9/8/06 in Kabul Afghanistan. “She was a “loving, affectionate and outgoing” woman who played tennis
in college and later became the first female firefighter in Bryan,
Texas. […] Stevenson said her cousin expected to go to a safer area of Afghanistan. Stevenson also said Howard was given a gun that she did not know how to use, even after trying to train herself. “She was not adequately trained,” Stevenson said. “They just sent her over there.”
May they all rest in Peace.