Recent troop losses boost patriotism

Recent troop losses boost patriotism

July 26th, 2009 by Lauren Gregory in Georgia


Visitation will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at Ponders Funeral Home, 138 Melrose Drive, Dalton, with rosary held at 8.

Spc. Morales' funeral service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, 1775 Haig Mill Road, Dalton.



* Georgia Army National Guard Spc. Raymundo "Ray" Morales, 34, of Dalton, Ga., July 21

* Marine Lance Cpl. Charles Seth Sharp, 20, of Adairsville, Ga., and formerly of Dalton, July 2

* Georgia Army National Guard 1st Sgt. John Blair, 38, of Calhoun, Ga., June 20

* Georgia Army National Guard Sgt. Jeffrey William Jordan, 21, of Cave Spring, Ga., June 4


* Army Pvt. Thomas Edward Lee III, 20, of Dalton, May 29, 2009

* Army Cpl. Michael B. Alleman, 31, formerly of Whitfield County, Ga., Feb. 23, 2009

* Marine Lance Cpl. James M. Gluff, 20, of Tunnel Hill, Ga., Jan. 19, 2008

* Marine Lance Cpl. Will Chambers, 20, of Ringgold, Ga., July 1, 2007

* Marine Lance Cpl. Kristopher Cody Warren, 19, of Calhoun/Resaca, Ga., Nov. 9, 2006

* Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua Scott, 24, of Ringgold, Jan. 23, 2006

* Army 1st Sgt. Aaron Jagger, 43, formerly of Rossville, Aug. 9, 2006

* Army Sgt. James D. Stewart, 29, formerly of Fort Oglethorpe, June 21, 2005

* Marine Lance Cpl. Juan Lopez, 22, of Dalton, June 21, 2004

* Army Spc. Marshall Edgerton, 27, of Rocky Face, Ga., Dec. 11, 2003

Source: Newspaper archives


Members of the "Charlie Troop," a Dalton-based unit of the Georgia National Guard's 1/108th Cavalry Regiment, were hit by an improvised explosive device while on patrol in Afghanistan May 17.

* Pfc. Shane Richardson was released from the hospital and returned to duty shortly after the blast.

* Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Boyles has been transferred to Eisenhower Army Medical Center at Fort Gordon, which is located outside Augusta, Ga.

* Spc. Andrew Sullens has been transferred to Eisenhower Army Medical Center.

* Spc. Anthony Landowski is still in rehabilitation at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

Rocky Face resident Judy McNelley is collecting cards to send to the injured soldiers as well as items for care packages to send overseas. For more information, call Mrs. McNelley at 706-673-3094.

Sources: Judy McNelley, Wanda Landowski

The last few weeks have been the deadliest yet for U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and that's been very evident to North Georgians.

Yet several war deaths and injuries suffered in the area recently seemed to have galvanize community spirit rather than break it, says David Pennington, mayor Dalton, Ga.

"At the moment, we hate this, obviously," Mr. Pennington said in the aftermath of four North Georgia losses in less than eight weeks -- the most recent two with ties to Dalton.

"But at the same time, it makes us proud as a community," the mayor continued. "We're proud of the fact that we've got so many men and women here willing to go over there and serve."

That pride has translated to patriotism, says Sgt. Maj. Shawn Lewis, who is in charge of Georgia National Guard recruiting for the western part of the state. Sgt. Maj. Lewis said recruiting is actually bolstered when tragedy strikes.

"Contrary to popular belief, it affects (recruiting) in a positive light," he said. "Michael Jackson and other things seem to outrank (military conflicts) in the media, and it makes people forget there's a war on. When we have an untimely death of one of our soldiers, it makes people think."

Judy McNelley, of Rocky Face, Ga., said she recognizes the community spirit as well. Mrs. McNelley has been sending care packages to troops overseas for the past four years and has recently begun collecting get-well cards as well.

She plans to collect as many cards as possible for the Dalton-based National Guardsmen who were injured by an improvised explosive device in May.

"I've really been impressed with the reaction through this program about how supportive the people are for the troops," she said. "I've found so many people who want to help."

Wanda Landowski's son, Spc. Anthony Landowski, was among those injured in the May blast. Mrs. Landowski, of Ringgold, Ga., said she appreciates the outreach from her fellow community members. Both she and her son have felt more patriotic than ever in the aftermath of the incident that broke both of his legs and may have caused mild brain trauma, she said.

"He was upset that he got injured and couldn't do what he wanted to do out there (in Afghanistan)," Mrs. Landowski said. "He wanted to make a difference, to finish what he started."