The fourth of July is an opportunity to remember both those who fought for America’s independence and those who have worked to maintain the freedoms we experience every day.
Utah has a long history of sending soldiers to serve in all branches of the Armed Forces. Below is a list of Utahns who sacrificed their lives for their country since 2010.
Army Spc. Cody J. Towse, 21, of Elk Ridge passed away on May 14, 2013 in Sanjaray, Afghanistan after sustaining injuries from an explosion. Towse was nicknamed “the candy doctor” due to his habit of handing out candy to children in Afghanistan. He was survived by parents and siblings.
Navy Information Systems Technician Petty Officer First Class Jared W. Day, 28, of Taylorsville passed away on August 6, 2011 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, from wounds sustained from a helicopter crash. Day left behind many relatives.
Navy Chief Special Warfare Operator Jason R. Workman, 32, of Blanding passed away on August 6, 2011 in Wardak province, Afghanistan when his helicopter was shot down. Workman knew he wanted to be an elite soldier around age 14 when his brother graduated from West Point. He left behind a wife and young son.
Marine Sgt. Daniel D. Gurr, 21, of Vernal passed away on August 5, 2011 in Helmand province, Afghanistan while performing combat operations. He is survived by family.
Army Cpl. Raphael R. Arruda, 21, of Ogden and a native of Brazil passed away on July 16, 2011 in Kunar Province, Afghanistan from wounds sustained during an explosion. He is survived by several relatives. According to relatives, Arruda enjoyed having fun and making people laugh.
Marine Lance Cpl. Norberto Mendez Hernandez, 22, of Logan passed away on July 10, 2011 while performing combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. Mendez-Hernandez was a husband and the father of two young children.
Army Specialist Preston J. Suter, 22, of Sandy passed away on July 5, 2011 in Paktia province, Afghanistan when his unit was attacked with an explosive device. Suter was survived by a wife and many relatives.
Army Pfc. Jordan M, Byrd, 19, of Grantsville passed away on October 13, 2010 in Yahya Kheyl, Afghanistan when insurgents attacked his unit. Byrd was survived by a wife and many relatives.
Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Matthew G. Wagstaff, 34, of Orem passed away on September 21, 2010 in Qalat, Afghanistan in a helicopter crash during combat operations. He was survived by his wife and children.
Army Sergeant Aaron K. Kramer, 22, of Salt Lake City passed away on September 16, 2010 in Kandahar, Afghanistan when insurgents attacked his unit. Kramer left a family and brother who called him his best friend.
Army Captain Ellery R. Wallace, 33, of Salt Lake City passed away on August 28, 2010 in Nangahar province, Afghanistan in a grenade attack. Wallace was a husband and father of four.
Marine Lance Cpl. Nigel K. Olsen, 21, of Orem passed away on March 4, 2010 in Helmand province, Afghanistan during combat operations. Relatives stated that Olsen fulfilled his childhood dream of serving in the military.
Marine Lance Cpl. Carlos A. Aragon, 19, of Orem passed away on March 1, 2010 in Helman province, Afghanistan during combat operations. He was remembered as a humble young man and a solid friend by friends and relatives.
Sergeant 1st Class, James Thode, 45, passed away on December 2, 2010 when his unit was attacked while clearing landmines in Khowst, Afghanistan. Thode was from Kirtland, N.M. but was a member of the Utah National Guard. He served in both Iraq and Afghanistan and was survived by a wife and two children.