Viral post pits coverage of Sheen, fallen soldiers
From left, Army Spc. Rudolph Hizon, Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt, Staff Sgt. Chauncy Mays, and Spc. Brian Tabada.
March 10th, 2011
03:19 PM ET

Viral post pits coverage of Sheen, fallen soldiers

By Wayne Drash, CNN

It started with a Facebook status update. Upset at the media's coverage of Charlie Sheen, someone took up for American soldiers dying in Afghanistan.

"Charlie Sheen is all over the news because he's a celebrity drug addict," it said, "while Andrew Wilfahrt 31, Brian Tabada 21, Rudolph Hizon 22, Chauncy Mays 25, are soldiers who gave their lives this week with no media mention. Please honor them by posting this as your status for a little while."

The status update has since gone viral, shared by tens of thousands on Facebook. An abbreviated version is on Twitter.

When a friend of mine posted the message on her Facebook page, it was a sobering reminder of the news media’s failings of covering the Afghanistan war. I kept returning to the names of the four soldiers. Who were these men? What’s their story?

I started by calling the father of Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt (pronounced WILL-fort) in Rosemount, Minnesota.

“I think it’s spot on,” Jeff Wilfahrt said of the viral post.

His 31-year-old son was killed while on foot patrol outside Kandahar on February 27, around the same day the Sheen media blitz kicked into high gear.

“From the Charlie Sheens to Lindsay Lohans, who are these people and what good have they done in society?” Jeff Wilfahrt said. “What are we collectively doing as a society? How do you wake people up?

“In part, sir,” he said, “I blame the press.”

Andrew Wilfahrt was a Renaissance man with an infectious laugh. In his obituary, his parents described him as “compassionate, smart and witty. He was an admirer, composer and player of music who believed deeply in art and humanity. Andrew was fascinated by math, palindromes, maps, patterns, mashed potatoes and the absurd.”

He was also anti-war - part of a “strong family of lefties” from Minnesota, his father said. Andrew stunned everyone when he announced two years ago he was joining the Army.

“He didn’t have a child and a wife,” Jeff Wilfahrt said. “In a way, he went over so that somebody with a young family wouldn’t die.”

The grieving father added, “He was a gay soldier.”

His son agonized over the decision to join the military because Andrew knew he’d have to keep his sexuality a secret. He kept quiet when he first signed up, but his fellow soldiers knew.

“Andrew told me one of the reasons he wanted to enlist was that he felt guilty as a civilian when so many men with wives and children were separated from their families," one of his comrades posted on Facebook. "He joined the fight so that guys like me didn’t have to. He is my hero, my friend, and I miss him. Sleep well, buddy. You earned it.”

Andrew’s younger sister, Martha, said the “least interesting thing” about her brother was his sexuality.

“Quite frankly,” the father said, “nobody gave a s*** he was gay. He was a good soldier.”

His mother, Lori Wilfahrt, told Minnesota Public Radio her son was an “interesting, wonderful young man” who joined the service because he was “looking for a purpose.” Andrew wanted to be with a “group of people that would be working together toward something.”

In a recent letter home, he told his mother that “everybody knows … [and] nobody cares” about his homosexuality. In combat, he rode with two other soldiers. One was African-American, the other from Hawaii. The unit called them "Team Minority."

“He was a gentle soul and he was very kind and compassionate,” said Lori Wilfahrt.

As Sheen’s every comment was dissected on TV and plastered across the internet, the Wilfahrts quietly buried their son.

“In exchange for a son, we got a flag and a bunch of medals,” his dad said. “That’s a helluva tradeoff.”

He’s torn by all that’s happened. Jeff Wilfahrt said he’s always been a peace activist and staunch opponent of war, yet he added, “I’m so proud of him and his service.”

His voice breaks. It’s likely his son is among the first gay soldiers to die in combat since Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was repealed in December. “I’d do anything to honor my son.”

'Truly an American hero'

From Texas to Nevada to California, three other families mourned loved ones mentioned in the viral post. I was unable to reach those families, but I pieced together these snapshots from local reports and Army news releases.

Spc. Brian Tabada was the youngest soldier honored in the Facebook status update. A fire support specialist with the 101st Airborne, he was killed February 27 in northeastern Afghanistan when his patrol was ambushed by insurgents using small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades.

He joined the Army in 2008 and quickly earned an array of medals, including the Army Achievement Medal.

His mother met his flag-draped coffin at Dover Air Force Base and escorted her son’s body home to Las Vegas. Nevada’s governor ordered flags at half-staff.

“Tabada made the ultimate sacrifice and we are forever grateful,” Gov. Brian Sandoval said in a written statement. “I believe it is right to honor his life, service and his sacrifice.”

Spc. Rudolph Hizon, a 22-year-old Los Angeles native, was killed when insurgents attacked his brigade with the 10th Mountain Division in Afghanistan’s eastern Logar province.

A Bronze Star recipient, Hizon was best known for his radiant smile and love of life. Hizon enlisted with the Army in January 2009 and was deployed to Afghanistan last October.

“I will always think of him as the happy and cheerful person he was,” Spc. Joshua Gonzales told Task Force Patriot public affairs. “I’m going to miss him dearly.”

“He is truly an American hero,” Tito Pong wrote on a Los Angeles Times obituary tribute page. “We are very proud of him and we are very much going to miss him.” Added Pfc. Lorien Rilate, “You had such a big heart and you always knew how to make someone feel better.”

In the eastern corner of Texas, residents in the town of Cookville honored Staff Sgt. Chauncy Mays, a father of two young girls. Mays, a member of the 10th Mountain Division, was killed February 28 in eastern Afghanistan’s Wardak province.

A highly decorated soldier, Mays worked as an explosives ordnance disposal technician; the Army credits him with saving countless lives for disarming hidden bombs in the region.

“He was a leader who led from the front,” Army Sgt. Chandara Hak told Task Force Patriot public affairs. “He was always careful, but never fearful. I will do my best to follow in his example.”

Army Capt. Aaron Teller said Mays epitomized the best of the American soldier. “He would give you the shirt off his back without hesitation.”

Those were traits Mays displayed even in high school. "He cared about people and worked hard to encourage them," his teacher, Josh Stegall, said at a memorial service. "He lived to serve."

Since February 26, when the Sheen story began dominating headlines, at least 13 U.S. troops have died in support of the Afghanistan war. Besides the four honored in the Facebook post, seven others were Sgt. Kristopher Gould, 25; Spc Christopher Stark, 22; Pfc. David Fahey, 23; Spc. Jason Weaver, 22; Cpl. Jordan Stanton, 20; Staff Sgt. Mark Wells, 31; and Pfc. Kalin Johnson, 19.

Senior Airman Nicholas Alden, 25, and Airman Zachary Cuddeback were killed in a March 2 attack on troops at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany.

Italian Lt. Massimo Ranzani, 36, and British Lance Cpl. Liam Richard Tasker were also killed in Afghanistan in late February and early March. Another British soldier whose name has not been released was killed Wednesday.

As I looked at the names of those who’ve died in the last two weeks, I thought about my phone conversation with Jeff Wilfahrt.

“Get this on the front headlines,” he said, “and make people aware of what’s going on.

“That’s what I’d do if I was king. But I'm just an unemployed 58-year-old man in Minnesota who misses his son.”

Check out CNN.com’s Home and Away special dedicated to fallen troops


Filed under: Casualties • Kandahar • Troops
soundoff (1,694 Responses)
  1. upstate-ny

    People in all walks of life do great things, are admired. The most admired are those who do great things anonymously. It saddens me to see a man who has entertained us in serious roles and has made us laugh for many years is found to be entertaining during what apparently is some type of illness. I have much admiration for soldiers and those who give their all, having grown up during the Viet Nam war where kids dreaded the "draft lottery", watching and hearing about many going and many not returning. In that day we fought for what was right or wrong we weren't so self absorbed. Kudo's, thanks, prayers and thoughts who fight/fought for our country, for those who have lost their way....for everyone who has made a difference in some one's life. God bless all you my friend.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dr.K.S.Sumakanth, PhD

    Amazing Article, hope Press realizes the importance of folks and heroes like these and bring them to light. My prayers are always there.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. L.O.B. Toe

    Don't be shy CNN, go ahead and take the credit!. It's ok to say that this person was not upset about "coverage of Cahrlie Sheen", but in fact the pisz-poor excuse for journalism that CNN perpetrates every single day. Luckily, now that there is a Facebook page about fallen soldiers, you can do a story about it. I guess whatever it takes to get you to cover soldiers getting killed in Afghanistan is good enough, but you might still learn something from the glaring irony of this whole scenario.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
  4. kathleen

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. As an Army mom I am so happy to see that people are finally noticing how pathetic the media has become. Please keep the soldiers front and center in the news, in your hearts and in your prayers.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ethan

    The "media" is only as powerful as we make it. The consumer dictates what works, not the other way around. More people are interested in watching coverage of Charlie Sheen that actual news. You only have yourselves to blame.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Audrey

    Finally. Why does there have to be a social media uproar for media outlets to realize that Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan (among others) are sick and want the attention. By continuously reporting on their stories the media becomes the enabler to their drug and media addiction. People don't want to read this news day in and day out. Ratings go up because the public has no other choice when editors deem their antics front page worthy. Perhaps by NOT feeding the media egos of these celebrities, they may finally get the help they need.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. NavyCorpsman

    God Bless these Heros and their families. Thanks CNN for bringing this story to the front pages where it belongs.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bre

    We shouldn't be over there in the first place.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Andrew D

    The picture of these brave young Americans reminds me what this county should remember it was ,and is to be made of , people who would give there all for the welfare of another regardless of culture or skin tone , but the right to live unsurpressed by anothers disstorted dysfunctional beliefs. May there families be at peace with there sacrifice for equality of life for another. God bless

    March 10, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. alexmgr

    I am one of the proud that re-posted the bravery of our men/women in uniform. Yes Sheen...get over yourself, get into a treatment program..beyond the boundaries of your home...you are far from being a winner...duh. Thank you to our armed services. I fly my flag proud every day and thank all of your for our freedom.

    March 10, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ED HAMMAN

    WHO CARES ABOUT CHARLIE SHEEN WAKE UP CNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 10, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dave

    If you actually want to make it a week, there were eleven killed during that week from the 27th of February to the 5th of March.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  13. dmm

    God bless the men & women (and their families) who put themselves out there for peace... Fighting for our human right, freedom.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • KING kardashian

      @dmm
      oh please they join the Forces because of all the benefits and because America s Army is powerful and they know the changes of dying is extremely minimal
      i don t buy this BRAVE B.S

      March 10, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. dan

    Hearing this type of story really puts things into perspective. Rest in peace soldiers.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. David S

    I am so proud of all these soldiers, and I am especially proud of my fellow Asian Americans. You define what is a great American in the 21st Century. Thank you Rudolph and Brian for your service and sacrifice. I will be thinking about you and praying for your families tonight.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  16. K

    its about time that our comments and blogs about the coverage for Charlie Sheen finally sink in to the heads of tv executives. give more time to our men and women in war.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Shannon

    CNN might post the article, but obviously missed the point. Under "We Recommend" at the conclusion of the article they have the following link posted: "Sheen issues half-apology to Jon Cryer, CNN Entertainment". If the editors of CNN agree that Wayne Drash's point is worthy of posting front page, maybe they should consider not contributing to the problem...

    March 10, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Amy

    I do not know Chauncy Mays personally, I never met him, but he is from my hometown here in Texas and his body came home yesterday. You can sure bet no one in my town is talking about Charlie Sheen.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Greg

    I'm sorry but comparing Sheen's news coverage to that of war casualties is apples to oranges. War casualties are sad, depressing, but, and perhaps most unfortunately, expected. In war people die. Yes, they are heroes and we should honor them. But unfortunately we live in a throw away culture with a very short attention span. My heart goes out to those that were killed, and to their families. The deserve respect. But, and I know this sounds in poor taste, I don't want to read about every person who died. I work 9-5 in a boring job, have several debts, and I've got a parent with cancer- and I'm far from being alone in a situation like that. I don't want nor need to read sad story after story of solders dying. News outlets know this, and so they go with guilty pleasure stories people want to read. The go with the unexpected, shocking news that'll get more reads. Charlie Sheen's sudden insanity fits into that category perfectly.

    I wish we were not at war. I wish those brave men and women were still alive. I wish their families were not grieving. Make a plan for a memorial and I'll support it. Build it and I'll visit to pay my respects. But read about casualty after casualty of a war I didn't support in the first place? I don't need that. Force the politicians and bureaucrats that sent them to war to read those names.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  20. the_dude

    Thanks CNN in 30 minutes it will be back to ladya gaga and her adams apple and charlize sheen the druggie.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shannon

      Exactly

      March 10, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  21. annoyed by celebrity

    Our political views are overshadowing what is really important. We should be celebrating the lives of the 4 men who lived and fought for a country they loved and mourn their deaths. Unfortunately the media is focusing on a POS like Charlie Sheen, who cares about his rants against his boss and his "winning" lifestyle. The media is will never give the coverage that our servicemen and women deserve and do a mini biography on them because those stories don't give them high ratings. What gives them ratings is reporting on these celebrity cry babies and their stupidity. We can all change the way the media acts and thinks by changing the channel when a story comes on about one of these idiots.

    To all of the servicemen and women who may read this story, I salute you for your service and the sacrifices that you make everyday.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  22. ASSASSINews

    THANK YOU! This is the entire reason that my website exists (ASSASSINews). Please stop reporting on meaningless fluff and start reporting on things that actually matter. Rekindle that old journalistic integrity that we miss so very much.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Rob Renfrew

    What a great way to spread the word of brave and heroic people, I have watched two and a half men since episode one, since the interview on TV with Charlie Sheen I haven'y watched an episode, these stories are far more interesting and these people giving their lives for all of us back home are 100 times the people that someone like Sheen is.
    It's great to recognize these brave soldiers and have a chance to get to know the people they were and are, my heart goes out to the loved ones of all soldiers but as little as this means be proud of these soldiers for they are heros and are highly thought of by everyone.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  24. falcondown01

    All,
    To my fallen bothers in arms, peace be with you. To your families the only comfort I can give is from another former military member myself, you all have given the sacrifice that any of us would have given your fateful day. Your family, please be in comfort that id I was still serving would be in their place. I as a veteran will honor their names. They gave for a great cause and their memories will continue to serve as a remembrance of themselves and what they stood for.

    just a vet.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  25. MartinLouie

    Just the mere Fact that Charlie Sheen has to be mentioned in order to give this story any type of push speaks volumes in it self, when OUR TAX dollars have gone to nothing more than a shame of a WAR that was based on outright lies to BEGIN WITH. You people are silly our Government sold us out a LONG TIME ago to the Military Industrial Complex! Read abt and then comment on that!

    March 10, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Celtic-Mom

    America has not forgotten its soldiers!

    While you fight for our Freedom, the Republicans take it away in WI.

    When you come home, fight for America. If you dont, we will never forget your sacrifice and love of AMERICA!

    And then we will FIGHT for the AMERICAN DREAM!

    March 10, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Paige

    Thank you CNN for reporting on something that actually matters. The war is not covered enough anymore. I can only hope that we get our soldiers home soon!

    March 10, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel R.

      What war? We never declared war... we're on a rebuilding campaign to improve our bombing ranges.

      March 10, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  28. kyle

    Please pray for all these soldiers who served couraguesly and made the ulitmate sacrfice.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Aaron

    Thanks for highlighting the problem but CNN also needs to be part of the solution. What passes for "news" or "heros" is anything but (news and heros). We don't need shallow musicians, entertainers, or sports figures held up as headline material. Shame on the public for the obsession but shame on the media for it's part in failing to expose us to, or educate the public, on examples of true virtue and integrity. Whether it's Charlie Sheen or the Westboro Baptist Church – it's not news . . . it's a train wreck and likely a personal tragedy. The fact the media sees it worthy of coverage is a sad part of the problem. Play your part in restoring dignity.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  30. holly

    this is awesome!!! I love CNN for this

    March 10, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Ray Porter

    It's unfortunate that the fallen soldiers don't have Charlie Sheens star power,even though he's a mediocre actor.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Boo-Yah

    Great article. Hopefully more people will read this and get their priorities straight. We should do a better job at honoring our brave men and women (alive and fallen; gay or straight). Now if we could just end the war altogether.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dindy

      BOO -YAH BEST POST IN THIS COMMENT PAGE.

      March 10, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Marta

    FINALLY. How disgusting that this pathetic bozo who makes millions of dollars gets so much publicity. WHO CARES. Let's hear about our heroes who gave up everything just so bozos like Sheen can be a pathetic drunk media wh**es.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  34. stef

    War is just like hunting, only more sporting since the game shoots back. There is no better test of men, and no better adrenaline rush!

    March 10, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  35. abby

    I have absolutely no use or respect for Sheen, but I pray nightly for our brave men and women in uniform. These are the real heroes and the ones worthy of multi-million dollar salaries and fame, not some drug-addicted lunatic. I am sick and tired of hearing about Sheen; however, I will always honor our men and women in uniform and never tire of hearing about their courage and tenacity. I wish they were all home safe and sound with their families. God be with our courageous soldiers.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  36. MartinLouie

    @ Suzy

    Duh He's Winning

    March 10, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Suzy

      Silly me, I should have known that.

      March 10, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Paqra137

    Salerno – you are so wrong. Deplore the war, do not deplore the warriors. Those men and women are doing what they are told to do. Your anfger should be at those who are giving the orders, in the safety of Florida, Washington and wherever. You are truly an insensitive human – how would you feel if your daughter was the one who died?

    March 10, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  38. T

    It's about time someone pointed out the disgraceful thinking the media sometimes uses to select what should be covered. Thousands of families have been affected and thousands of soldiers have died. They deserve more time than any "celebrity". CNN, please reconsider some of your coverage.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  39. diane

    We/I SALUTE them all,for there Bravey and Commitment to there Service, lets not support the Charlie Sheen tatrum

    March 10, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  40. true-messenger

    CROWDS CROWDS CROWDS ARE IN THE VALLEY OF DECISION!
    ALL THE BLOODGUILT IS BEFORE THE ALMIGHTY!
    HE WILL AVENGE!
    JESUS SAYS, "YES I AM COMING QUICKLY"

    March 10, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  41. CLP

    Thank you Mr. Drash for your effort here. Very sobering and well written. Thank you to Mr. Willfahrt for sharing your thoughts with us at what must be an overwhelming time. Condolences to all of these families.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Craig

    So you can't just put a front page article up about just the fallen soldiers? You have to report it in a way that it relates to Charlie Sheen?

    March 10, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  43. capn'canuck

    your country is in a sad, pathetic state, and most of you simply need to really come to terms with that fact...SO many real and important issues, just as this, your economy, helathcare, violence, poverty, education are passed over day in day out to focus on NEWSTAINMENT, celebrities, gossip, materialism and consumerism...forgotton soldiers laying their lives down on the line aren't even EVER in the media attention...lest you remeber there's a few thousand dying off among you and growing and realize there are two bloody wars going on, ya too hard to be reminded of the truth...hard times call for a country to face facts, change and grow the hell up, harsh criticisim, yes, but deserved nonetheless....and TRUST me I'm JUST as harsh with the situation up here....but at least when our soldiers die in Afgahnistan there is a natioanl bringing home and coverage on EVERY single one

    March 10, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      You make valid points, and if you're ANYTHING other than French ancestry, I'll agree with you. However if you've got French blood, you should be thanking this country, and the British, for the fact that you're not speaking German right now.

      March 10, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  44. combatvet

    its about time cnn posts a tribute to the fellow!!!

    March 10, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • combatvet

      fellow fallen soldiers!

      March 10, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Deborah

    Salerno, your remarks are half true, I agree. But I recently spent time at Fort Bragg, and heard many first hand stories about what is going on over seas and you are very wrong for thinking they are "badly armed". The Afghan insurgence have a knack for macgyvering explosives out of anything they can get their hands on and leave thousands of roadside bombs for our hum-v's, maiming, dismembering, and killing our soldiers. I'm not even going to get into other types of weaponry. My advice to you is to do more research with your mouth shut, and your ears open.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Tom

    To all my fellow veterans:

    We all have our different reasons for serving. Mine many years ago was to avoid the draft. It still didn't stop me from going someplace I didn't want to go, but I did it and I have no regrets. It even turned into a career.

    Whatever your reason(s) for serving, thank you for what you do. You are the true heroes in this country

    March 10, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  47. kini elizabeth

    This is really sad... everyone is talking about Charlie Sheen and his messed up life when people are dying to protect our right to talk about Sheen in the first place. And yet no one really stops to think about it anymore.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Megan Larson

    In every war we have lost loved ones and gave their lives so we could be free.I grew up military and married military as did my sister. Our three brothers were in the military. These guys and woman have too to keep the war away from our country. I am shamed that you think otherwise or do you forget 9-11. Think of those that lost their lives that day.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  49. anonymus

    Some of you people should be ashamed of yourselves you are tlking trash and cursing people out when these soldiers died to give you your freedom do you have any sympathy tworads these men and women?

    March 10, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed Bermeo

      please tell me what freedom they protected...........as far as i know this "war" has cost us more freedoms.....
      what do people think happen in battle ..someone dies.....and just because they fight in the name if "freedom" does not make them invincible

      March 10, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Bravo

    SALERNA is just an alias for CHARLIE SHEEN, stealing the spotlight once again.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  51. wm vet

    Nicely done CNN. Please do more stories like this. As you can see by the hudreds of posts, we are interested in our military members and their stories.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  52. MEGGAN

    This is why I go to the BBC.
    US news is starting to resemble TMZ...

    March 10, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  53. Suzy

    I'm a military wife and I actually welcome the unimportant news of Charlie Sheen's personality disorder and Lindsay Lohan's latest adventure through our legal system. I don't want to sit here and dwell on lives lost and all the pain and tragedy in the world. Yes, it is news and it should be reported. And our military is certainly far more important and near to my heart than wayward celebrities. But come on, both can and do coexist.

    That said, my heart goes out to the families who have lost a loved one to war. Every one of the men and women who have fought for this country deserve the respect and honor of a hero.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  54. RETUSAF

    The military use to be used to defend the country, now they are being used to secure profits. The government's cover story of protecting the country but how else are they going to sell a war to it's people. Pull out of Afghanistan and Iraq today and tomorrow you'll still be able to go online, or go to the mall or a football game. Goering said it's easy to get people involved in a war even if they don't want to it does not matter what government system they are under. The US could end the wars any day but there's too much money involved.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  55. Lou50

    I saw the issue come across, we need to drive the media out of this country and replace it with a responsible set up. this last needs to stop.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed Bermeo

      so you want to block freedom of speech. have fun with that.lmao

      March 10, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  56. Wil

    It is good to know that there people who care about real life situatoins .Rather then seeing go bad celebs who do not care about there own self esteem.If the celebs do not need there money why don,t send some to the fallen soldiers familys to help put lifes back together since they do not care about there own life . The advertisers of the shows that air this go bad garbage should stop advertiseing in those spots also.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  57. Shawn

    One thing not mentioned in this article, is that it's not 'media' in general, but rather CNN that the on-line community was trying to call out.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  58. Sean

    Well, the Warlock Assassin should head overseas to put his skills to good use.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  59. jessName*

    Thank you for this .

    March 10, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  60. Bravo

    My wife had a bunch of girlfriends over the house,...as they start chatting it up, the first topic that comes up is "Do you believe what is going on with Charlie Sheen", to which I had to interject as the only guy there by saying "Do you believe what is happening in the middle east?" There was dead silence,...because not one of those women, including my wife, had any idea what was going on anywhere in the middle east,...but they sure as hell know what is happening with The Housewives of Orange County,...

    March 10, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  61. cynthia Dominguez

    Thank You for bringing us home. The realization is war is all too real. Charlie is just a fantasy that we live in to take our focus off our own problems and the problems of this country. We need to focus and support our young men in active duty. We need to bring them home and give them the support they deserve.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  62. Alan

    I'm not a pacifist by any means but it is way past time to bring these men and women home ... enough is enough.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  63. Paul

    Its all about money. The only reason the press puts up these stories is to get readers to look at their sites read their papers. Its all about money for them not about whats right and whats wrong.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  64. Brian

    It's about time... there are other outlets for celebrity news. No family should have to endure this. The headline of every newscast should highlight progress in Afghanistan and how much we spend on defense each day. Congress is cutting spending for teachers and education while we police the world. Time for term limits.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  65. anonymus

    Thank You to all the service that these woderful soldiers gave us and many more we love you all and hope you come home safe

    March 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  66. LTC Hendricks

    Interesting. On Jan 2nd a fellow named Major Dick Winters died. Not much fanfare. Most folks just didn't take note; he certainly didn't get the publicity that Charlie Sheen and others have. Most folks that watched Band of Brothers don't even remember his as the leader of East Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, and winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor. I'm sorry to say it, but as a society we too often choose (and give publicity to) the wrong heroes. By the way...the folks that served with Major Winters didn't volunteer. Hmmm....on the notion of interesting Hollywood types...not much mention of Jimmy Stewart (retired as a USAF Brigadier General – B52 qualified), good old Ed McMahan (USMC fighter pilot), Lee Marvin (intererred at Arlington – USMC – Okinawa)...that list could go on a bit. But, I'm not familiar with any of the Hollywood types that today have those kinds of histories.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  67. Kathy

    Hi, folks,
    The original Facebook post came from Commander Brook DeWalt, Director of Strategic Communication at Office of the U.S. Defense Representative to Pakistan. He's one of the finest men any of us could hope to meet, and loves his country more than a lot of us could possibly realize. CNN, I'm glad you followed up.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  68. Ed Bermeo

    THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT WANT TO SHOW OR TALK ABOUT THE WAR.......REMEMBER VIETNAM AND HOW ALL THE REAL COVERAGE LED TO MASS DEMONSTRATIONS .........................NO AMERICA FORGETS EASILY

    March 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  69. Lauren Diamond

    I feel that the hideous stories about Charlie Sheen should be put on the last page, if

    any newspaper. How could we possibly forget about our soldiers that have given their

    lives to save thousands of others. SHAME ON THOSE WHO HAVE DONE THIS.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  70. BobDole

    Salerno is a FOB in Afghanistan. My guess is that (Salerno) is a solider just messing with all of yall or a contractor. Either way its a joke.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  71. Jerry

    Charlie Sheen is a delusional, self-absorbed addict, but what does that say about us as a society who follow his every rant. I understand we cannot follow every death in the war, but the scant recognition of those who have sacrificed their lives is a sad comment about all of us. The Roman empire failed from within. I sometimes think we are doing the same thing. I hope I am wrong.

    Our values lie in the sacrifices of many individuals which of course include the founding fathers. It is those ideals that made us great, despite out many mistakes, and injustices to others. I still believe American can and should be the guiding light for the world. Lest we forget.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  72. Died for no reason

    I HAVE NOTHING AGAINST THESE MEN, HOWEVER THEY DIED FOR NO CAUSE! THEY WERE FOOLED INTO GOING INTO AFGHANISTAN WHICH EVENTUALLY TOOK THEIR LIVES. THE US GOVERNMENT IS THE TERRORIST THAT RECRUITED THEM TO GO OUT THERE AND GET KILLED BY THE SAME PEOPLE THE US IS STILL FUNDING! MORE AND MORE OF THESE BODIES WILL RETURN (IF LUCKY) IF THE US DOES NOT WITHDRAW WHICH UNFORTUNATELY THEY WILL NOT UNTIL WORLD WAR3 ...sorry to say the truth

    March 10, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fallout

      Phuck off, Troll! A US soldier NEVER dies without a reason.

      March 10, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
      • nick

        True Arkie. Dick Cheney has a heckuva lot of shares in a certain company and an awful lot of "reasons" in his bank account for why he sent kids off to be killed.

        March 10, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • PT

      Really you have no clue!!!

      March 10, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dindy

      SHAME ON YOU FOR THE PEOPLE WHO HAS ABUSED SOME OF THE GOOD POSTS HERE ON COMMENT PAGE. IT IS THE MOST EASY THING TO DO WHEN ON HAS AN EVIL SOUL. I AM WITH THE PARENTS OF THESE SONS . MY WORDS WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH TO SHARE THE PAIN. YET MY RESPECT AND THOUGHT ARE WITH YOU ALL TODAY!!! MAY THEY ENJOY THE PRAISES AND WORSHIP IN THEIR ETERNAL HOME!!!

      March 10, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dindy

        MY RESPECT AND THOUGHTS ARE WITH THE PARENTS OF THESE BRAVE SONS **** SHAME ON YOU SOME THE PEOPLE WHO HAS ABUSED SOME GREAT POSTS HERE.

        March 10, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • guest

      Dear sir: I was going to report your comment as abusive, but knowing that the father of one of these men will be reading your comment, I think it is much more effective to let it stay on because we all are aware that its because of heroes like his son, you have the gift of spouting off your troll comments, which nobody cares about anyway. Sit at your computer, anonymous person, and thank these soldiers for the fact that you can do so without being dragged out of your house and found beheaded in some alleyway.

      March 11, 2011 at 7:06 am | Report abuse |
  73. jimmy Lau

    This war games has gone too far... TOO FAR !!!

    March 10, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  74. Matt

    Hey CNN...why dont you actually cover fallen soldiers instead of Charlie SHeen. And then you wouldn't have to write stories about how the media is covering Charlie Sheen more than fallen soldiers. You are the media! You are the reason its happening! You don't need to write stories about yourself! "Next up on CNN...why are female CNN news anchors always attractive?"

    March 10, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  75. Anthony

    It's ashame to see these people such as lohan that degardes our society with her stupidity yet these people gave up so much to support our country's freedom. They do not get the media coverage they should and yes the media is to blame.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed Bermeo

      Really? its called capitalism bud. whats gonna sell ..another solider dead or a star goes crazy.... blame society not the media.

      March 10, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  76. Eric

    Thanks to all the military folks who go unnoticed, thanks to all the facebook posts that recognize these young men.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  77. Mary

    To all the families my sincere sympathies. To the MEDIA and your desire for money you are disgusting. Edward R. Murrow must be turning over at rapid speed. Shame on all you hateful people with your disgusting posts. Hate the war, hate the money being wasted, the lives and innocents being killed but don't hate the soldier. I don't know why i read the posts because I know idiots are writing hateful things but I keep hoping. I wonder if we could actually see you would you be so brave to write the garbage you write on these posts?

    March 10, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      Mary – you are too violent. Soldiers are killing people. It is not enough to be against the war if you support the soldiers. I need to be against the soldiers.

      March 10, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Arkie

      Mary,

      These soldiers CHOOSE to go to other people's countries and kill them. That what the US military does: it goes to countries that can offer very little in real resistance, they put down its military bases, takes the resources, kills those who don't agree with their policies, and stick in a puppet who will what he is told. It is astounding to see how ignorant so many people are of the reality of American foreign policy. Now the soldiers who sign up either are willful ignoramuses or they are sadistic people who get a thrill out of terrorizing others. There is no "honor" in either case.

      March 10, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  78. Duane W

    May your souls rest in peace, your are missed

    March 10, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  79. DisgruntledGrrl

    FINALLY – this is now on the front, in the center. As it SHOULD BE.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed Bermeo

      why? soliders now that hey can die when they sign up..its called war for a reason....
      however i dont care about sheen ether...'
      how about more articles about home issues like that little thing called our economy

      March 10, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  80. ernest

    Hmmmm. I guess CNN did not have any coverage of Sheen.... so CNN has the right to throw stones at glass houses....

    March 10, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  81. mike

    Let me try and explain:
    the afgan war has now lasted longer that WW1 and WW2 put togeher. With no end in sight, folks have come to the conclusion that this is un-winnable. With no draft, only a certain class of people even know anyone fighting in Afganistan. And with no war tax to pay for it, every day just plunges us deeper into dept.
    And you wonder why folks don't want to think about it?
    The republicans are now drooling over the possibility of a war with Libya – who do you think will pay attention to the deaths after that? Answer: not one person who doesn't have a family member over there.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  82. stargazer0413

    Sounds like a lot of folks who've commented here are off their medications. Time to go back to the shrink for a tune up.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  83. MichaelCNH

    oh, WOW! Big effin' WHOOP!

    The media covers these people, what.... NOW? After being shamed into doing so? After obsessively slavering over the trainwreck that is Charlie Sheen?

    This does NOT redeem them.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  84. Audrey

    FOCUS CNN, FOCUS. It's a pity that you are turning into the likes of a celebrity rag. Serve society a bit better, ok?

    March 10, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  85. Flyboy7588

    This war should have been won long ago. Instead we have the Obama administration forcing our troops to fight with one had tied behind their back because of restrictive ROEs. Loose our legions and finish this thing with extreme violence on the enemy.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  86. cori

    I would like to stick Charlie sheen and Lindsay Lohan on the front lines and let them be ambushed with a RPG!

    March 10, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  87. Ed Bermeo

    what a solider died in war!!!! im shocked neither sheen nor dead soliders are news that deserve much coverage

    March 10, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  88. Drakonis

    I understand where people are coming from.... but this is nothing new.... our society has always held entertainment over real life... thats why all these actors and actresses get paid millions to do movies and tv shows where returning soilders are lucky to get the help they may need or get the assistance they were promised. Our views are so horrible these days on whats news that the right people will rarely come before the wrong ones.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  89. stargazer0413

    Please, NO MORE SHEEN; NO MORE LOHAN! The premise of this article is so important. What have we become as a nation if its more meaningful for major news networks, hey MSNBC & Lawrence O'Donnel, and Faux News pander to this celebrity crap? The wonderful guys mentioned here who gave up their lives for those of us who remain behind, and the women too, not mentioned, deserve more, much more than to be preempted by substance addicted, worthless (OK, so they have money...) nothings? Come on news people, honor the fallen.

    A Vietnam Era Vet.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  90. salerno

    Sappersix – you totally wrong. My mother is dead and I am graduated.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Infidel

      well... how is she making chilimac then?

      March 11, 2011 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
  91. denise

    Well I will say THANK you and God Bless you all! 🙂

    March 10, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  92. surfer

    ok guys...i've come to realise that i'm a pretty stupid guy. i don't even know what satire means!!! i found a sticker on my dead mothers adult blow-up doll box and thought i would sound intelligent to use it.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  93. Riley

    My sympathy goes out to our fallen soldiers. I too was once a soldier for our cournty and was fortunate enough to never be involved during a time of conflict. It's sad, but there are so many aspects of our value system that are screwed up...... all the exposure that Charlie Sheen is getting is a good example.... Where's the medial coverage of our military heros; or the millions of volunteers who work to make others lives better... When did we decide it was more important to pay a sports player millions of dollars while we pay the people who teach our children peanuts... We are decaying and there's no end in sight.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  94. JC

    I lost a great friend feb 20th in Afghanistan. He got injured from an IED and refused to go get treatment because he didn't want to leave his soldiers. 2 weeks later he hit another IED and lost his life. Just remember the sacrifices and bonds that they build. The U.S. Media only caters to what people want. the US wants to feel better about themselves so they like to read about the downfall of other people. Reading about these brave people that raised their hand to protect their country (regardless how they feel about the war) makes people (i know there are exceptions) realize they haven't done squat to better their country.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  95. MAJ K

    Army dude here, and on facebook now and again throughout the day. I haven't seen this "viral" post, and I will tell you that all of us here think Sheen is pretty good entertainment. Don't pull our fallen comrades into this debate. I wouldn't be surprised if "Andrew Wilfahrt 31, Brian Tabada 21, Rudolph Hizon 22, Chauncy Mays 25" all enjoyed Sheen's antics.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • JC

      Sheen is extremely entertaining, but when people only focus on entertainment in America, and not world problems, or problems in the US that actually affect our future, a problem will build...

      March 10, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  96. paul

    we are grateful for their sacrifice. However, hope that these wars will end soon. It is costing
    about one billion dollars daily and we , as a country , cannot afford it. we are borrowing money to
    fight these two wars.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  97. Sonya

    Thank you for this article, Wayne Drash. This is one of the best articles posted on CNN in a long time.

    March 10, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  98. Emma

    I am absolutely disgusted by half the comments on here. It's a sad thing in life that people sit here arguing pointlessly on an article honoring fallen soldiers. If you don't care; done comment, if you don't support soldiers; feel free to stand in front of him. But you CANNOT sit here and disrespect any man or woman who has died in service. Times like these I am ashamed to be an American. Why can't we just get it together for like three seconds and focus on those families of lost ones?

    March 10, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  99. Nowletssee

    Funny, I seem to recall that CNN kept a running tab on our fallen soldiers with regular updates on casualties all during the Bush administration. Once Obama took over, there was not a story to be found. It was as if the war had stopped. At least they got around to posting this one, even if it is not their own story.

    I'll be impressed when CNN provides the same coverage, and pressure, on teh war that they did before Obama.

    March 10, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  100. DisgruntledGrrl

    “In part, sir,” he said, “I blame the press.”
    So do we, sir.

    March 10, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
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