Today We Honor Mothers Who Have Died Serving Our Country
Memorial Day 2013
At MamaWorks, we sometimes focus on the sacrifices we working mothers make and also the sacrifices made by our families.
But what about those mothers and families who have made the ultimate sacrifice? I am talking about those mothers, and prospective mothers (mothers in waiting), who died serving the citizens of these United States of America in order to protect all that we hold dear, but frequently take for granted.
I am also talking about those mothers who lost their children to war. What is more difficult, to give your life to your country or to be the ones left behind? Parents are not supposed to outlive their children.
Only recently, have women served in positions where they were directly exposed to many of the same risks as men.
During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan thousands of men and women in United States Armed Forces have been killed in action or died in the line of duty. Women in the line of fire are a fairly recent development in the history of the United States.
For centuries, men dying in war have left families behind.
But women, and mothers is particular, have been the constant—the glue that kept together families who, because of war, lost their husbands, their fathers, their sons and their brothers.
For better or worse, U.S. Armed Forces policy, as implemented during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, has changed that dynamic. Now wives, mothers, daughters and sisters are dying, too.
On this Memorial Day 2013, MamaWorks salutes and thanks all of the men and women of the Armed Forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of these United States.
But because we are MamaWorks, we want to shine the spotlight on mothers in the Armed Forces who have been killed or died during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. If we have left any mother out, please tell us.
The following list of the names of deployed mothers killed since 9/11, should be viewed with somber reflection and sincere gratitude for the courageous women who gave their lives in service to America. Unless otherwise indicated, all were soldiers in the Army.
Today, we honor:
USAF CAPT. VICTORIA PINCKNEY, 27, military refueling plane crashed in Krygystan, wife, mother of 7-month old son, May 13, 2013.
MARINE SGT. CAMELLA STEEDLEY, 31,supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan, wife and mother of four children, Oct. 3, 2011.
ARMY PFC. LORI ANN PIESTEWA, 23, the daughter of a Vietnam veteran and granddaughter of a World War I veteran, and one of the very few Hopi women in the military was killed in an ambush near Nasiryah, Iraq, on March 23, 2003. 4-year-old son and a 3-year-old daughter.
The mother of two was with Pfc. Jessica Lynch [who joined the military, according to her father, because McDonald's wasn't hiring] when their unit was ambushed on March 23rd near Nasiryah.
AIR FORCE 1ST LT. TAMARA ARCHULETA, 23, co-pilot Pave Hawk helicopter, crashed while picking up two injured Afghan children, Mar. 23, 2003.
Note: Lt. Archuleta was not yet a mother in the official sense of the word, but she certainly acted like one in her attempt to save two injured Afghan children.
SPC. SARENA N. BUTCHER, 19, vehicle was attacked with an IED in Paktya province, 3 year old daughter, November 1, 2011.
SGT. MAJ. BARBARALIEN BANKS, 41, Chinook crash, Ghazni, Afghanistan, married, one son, 19, Apr. 6, 2005.
SGT. SIMONE ROBINSON, 21, IED attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Feb. 28, single mother of two year-old daughter, Mar. 1, 2009.
NAVY LT. FLORENCE B. CHOE, 35, killed by Afghan soldier while running at Camp Shaheen, Mazar-e-Sharif, 3 year-old daughter, March 27, 2009.
STAFF SGT. TARA J. SMITH, 33, Bagram, Afghanistan, mother of two boys, 8 and 6, August 4, 2009.
SGT. EDUVIGES G. WOLF, 24, rocket-propelled grenade attack on vehicle, FOB Bostick, Afghanistan, wife and mother of two girls, ages 3 and 1, October 22, 2009.
PFC. BARBARA VIEYRA, 22, IED, rocket-propelled grenade attack near Kunar province, Mother of a little girl, Evelyn, Sept. 18, 2010.
PFC. MELISSA J. HOBART, 22, collapsed while on guard duty, Baghdad, mother of 3 year-old, June 6, 2004.
SPC. JESSICA L. CAWVEY, 21, vehicle hit by mortar, Fallujah, Iraq, single mother of 6 year-old, Oct. 6, 2004.
SGT. PAMELA OSBOURNE, 38, when two rockets impacted her camp, Baghdad, three children, ages 9 t0 19, Oct. 11, 2004.
SPC. KATRINA L. BELL-JOHNSON, 32, truck overturned, Baqubah, Iraq, mother of 1 year-old, Feb. 16, 2005.
NAVY PETTY OFFICER 2ND CLASS JAIME S. JAENKE, 29, Humvee struck by IED, Iraq, mother of 9 year old girl June 5, 2006.
PFC. HANNAH L. GUNTERMAN, 20, mother of a 2 year-old boy, killed by a fellow soldier in a vehicle accident in Taji, Iraq, Sept. 4, 2006.
SPEC. MICHELLE R. RING, 24, mortar fire attack in Baghdad, mother of two young boys, July 5, 2007.
STAFF SGT. ALICIA A. BIRCHETT, 29, non-combat related accident in Baghdad, mother of 3 young boys, Aug. 9, 2007.
STAFF SGT. LILLIAN CLAMENS, 35, rocket-propelled attack near Baghdad, mother of 3 young children, Oct. 10, 2007.
STAFF SGT. CARLETTA S. DAVIS, 34, IED attack in Tal Al-Dahab, Iraq, mother of three sons, Nov. 5. 2007.
Thank you to all of these women and to their families.
Memorial Day is the day we honor those brave men and women who died in service of this country. As Andy Rooney, the popular CBS 60 Minutes pundit said, “We use the phrase ‘gave their lives,’ but they didn’t give their lives. Their lives were taken from them.” Here are his observations with respect to Memorial Day in the 60 Minutes episode that originally aired on May 25, 2008.