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 (1,695 Responses)
  1. Kevin Shofner

    What happen to supporting our troops, have we forgot them and what they do on a daily basis for our ensure our freedom. We need to see more media about the war and how we can make life better for the guys and gals overseas, they need to pack Sheen's and Lohan's butt up and send them to bootcamp and get them dryed out. Hey news guys show America what is really important for a change.

    March 11, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Selene Garcia

    This is very sad for all those soldiers and their families. I strongly agree with the fact that the media rather publish pointless things like the situation with Charlie instead of honoring our troops like we should honor them. God bless them and their families, God will give them the strength they need to go on with life the best they can.

    March 11, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dayna

    It's a sad situation, the things people think are "important" in life. Listen to the song "Real" by James Wesley...it's about what some people think of as "reality" (as in TV) and then talks about what true reality is. Very touching song. People are all upset because there will be "no more 2-1/2 men", but they don't even think about the fact that there will be no more Rudolph, Andrew, Chauncy or Brian...or countless other servicemen who have lost their lives protecting the freedom of others. God bless each and every serviceman or worman who has lost their lives, and protect all that are still in the battle and let them come home safely! My condolences to the families of these brave soldiers.

    March 11, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Rob

    It's pathetic what the news outlets consider news. I couldn't care less about a surfing dog etc. How about some real news? Is progress being made in Afghanistan? Uprising in the middle east...how we're helping how it affects us, etc.

    March 11, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  5. gold star mom

    I am the mother of a fallen hero. He was killed 3/15/09. I will never understand why the media does this. The media should be ashamed of themselves. It is the soldiers who give us our freedom of speech not the drug addicts in Hollywood, so start showing your respect to those who gave you the opportunty do do what you do for a living

    March 11, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Wilfahrt

      Gold Star Mom,
      The saner voices on this post would be quick to add that your loss is "our" loss. The left in this country talks in terms of "we", the right in this country talks in terms of "me". We're all in this mess together. Your family, our family and THOUSANDS of others form a small, minuscule fraction of the 308 million U.S. Citizens who paid in full. But there are tens of thousands with wounds, maiming and psychological damage that will have to live out their lives among us, and they must pay day by day by day.
      CPL Andrew C. Wilfahrt father, Jeff Wilfahrt

      March 11, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
      • Gus Bailey

        Thank you Jeff, and GSM please accept my condolences for your loss, a grateful nation can never repay you.

        March 11, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jpink

        Thank you, Jeff, for being one of the "saner ones on this post." As father of CPL Andrew Wilfahrt you could be bitter about your loss, but instead you continue to speak out to make things better. By articulating your beliefs and pride in Andrew and others, you and Lori continue to honor your brave son's memory.This " tsunami of responses" would never have occurred if you and Lori had not been vocal about your loss and your son's courage to join the army as a gay man. It's obvious Andrew was raised "right." Be so proud. We thank you and all families for the sacrifices you and yours have made and continue to make. As you pointed out to the Gold Star mother...your loss, and those of others are truly "our losses."

        March 11, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
      • the reverend Charles Warden

        Every soldier, sailor, airman signs a blank check when he or she holds up their hand and says they will serve our country. That check is up to and includes giving their lives for all of us. I am a veteran of the US Army, my father served 23 years active duty in the USMC, my little sister served 20 years active and reserve in the USAF, my son served 4 years and 8 months active in the US Navy and 3 years in the Army Reserves. I protested the Viet Nam war, and understand your son's choice to serve in spite of his personal opinion of war. "We sleep sound in our beds, in peace because rough men in forgotten places are willing to place their bodies between ourselves and those who will do us harm." Nothing can be as devastating as the loss of a child. As one who has been in the place of having to make those sacrifices and not had to pay out the check, I salute your son and your family. My father told my brothers he had served enough for all of our family, and was proud of me for my choice in spite of our disagreements. I am glad yor son knew you were proud of him and wish to say he is proud of you as well. He is a true hero. God bless you and keep you safe.

        March 12, 2011 at 5:58 am | Report abuse |
  6. mike

    This entire article is the very definition of "false dichotomy".

    March 11, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • FatSean

      Where were these concern trolls 5 years ago? 8 years ago? Someone is starting the culture war early for the 2012 elections.

      March 15, 2011 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
  7. Authentic patriot

    My prevous post didn't make the censor cut. A little bit too much truth, I guess. The big picture is that news corporations dispense anesthesia to us in the form of useless drive-with the intent to keep us entertained and distracted while they determine our country's policies and fill their coffers. Charlie Sheen is but one of countless distractions that will fade as the next and the one after that come along. War is profitable and creates a stabilizing force with the economy so you won't hear about the true cost of war in our media. Maybe NPR, oh that's right, the corporations and their gutless lackeys, the politicians, are after NPR now too.. The stock market loves war. America loves the stock market. We are all so "touched" and feel so "bad" for these brave servicemen and their family-and we should. But if we really cared, we would turn off the idiot box, educate ourselves and others, and mobilize to action before the corporations completely destroy us and the planet. The big picture is very scary but drinking the kool-aid and being content to do nothing will only make things worse. I want to know more about these soldiers, about their lives and their dreams. CNN here is your chance. My deepest condolences to Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt's family and friends. You our utmost respect for the truth you are not afraid to speak.

    March 11, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Wilfahrt

      Authentic Patriot, those are the sentiments of this family exactly. Thanks for laying it out clearly.
      Andrew's father, Jeff Wilfahrt

      March 11, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Wally

    CNN, are you listening? This is what is important to see as news, not self important rantings from delusional people.

    March 11, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      CNN please give us more Charlie Sheen... we do not care about fallen assassins.

      4 dead soldiers? that's not news. I hope to see 400 next week.

      FY US Army.

      March 11, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mary

    Thank you Matt for posting this. Our military personnel is the best and they should all be honored.

    March 11, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Rich

    there's no video there, just a black screen.

    March 11, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. DC

    Our band decided to make a similar staement several months ago in a music video, oddly enough featuring Charlie Sheen for exactly the same reason, people ignoring what is really going on in favor of entertainment news.

    March 11, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sussay

    Thank you for doing the research and posting this.

    March 11, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Gloria

    Rudolph Hizon was a very good friend of my nephews Sgt.Josh Dumaine who is still serving his country.You are all very brave men and women come home safe GOD willing.

    March 11, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  14. D-Port

    Also I love how people argue on a page where someone wrote an article about my fallen battle buddy and others have the disrespect to not care. If you want to blast famous people do it on your own time. Respect the Fallen soldiers on this page. The whole reason of this article was to show people are giving people like Charlie Sheen more publicity. Well for those who are arguing about him... thanks because your just as bad as they are. Arguing about famous people over a couple of fallen soldiers page. Congrats. You just proved the author right. But its all good. Not one battle buddy I have will ever ask for the publicity like that. We have our own spotlight. We call them family and friends when we get home. SPC Hizon you will be remembered!!! RIP

    March 11, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  15. oldsaxman

    I'm an old veteran. My thoughts are with the families and loved ones of these brave soldiers. I personally am anti war but I am no less saddened . I truly hope the families and loved ones of of these soldiers will someday find peace and comfort. Please know that our country regardless of our politics grieve with you.

    March 11, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  16. roy

    I too have a son in afghanistan. I feel for the families of the men lost and my heartfelt sympathy goes out to them. I think of all the men and women serving especially those in combat. Every day their are those in afghanistan who get up and patrol dangerous areas and risk not coming back that day. Many of us would never have known about the 4 men above if this was never posted. It is sad that their lives ended so early. Maybe we can all pause and reflect a moment on what is really important and not dwell on actors and actresses who despite their ability keep messing up.

    March 11, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  17. D-Port (Battle Buddy)

    I apologize in advance. This is not the best thing written. So please be nice on the comments.

    (Battle Buddy)

    Civilians when we start
    Soldiers when it ends
    AIT's Lovely training
    MOS Certified in the end

    off to your first duty station
    Left arm patch blank as fuzz
    Can't wait to get deployed
    So your right patch isn't green fuzz

    I said "I'll stand beside you battle,
    Through this hard en devour,
    Side to side with you through all these battles
    Knowing they can't possibly last forever

    When the noises seem to fade
    Of gunfire all around
    I look at what WAR made
    Bodies and Tears on the ground

    so I opened my eyes
    to see what was wrong
    to face the fact of life
    of realizing that your gone

    but you see its why we do it
    train hard gear up and protect
    even if the man Charlie Sheen
    gets more measily media respect

    for we know we have each other
    when its thick or thin whenever
    The ones we call our battle buddies
    our comrades, our brothers forever.

    Miss you bro. RIP. Seems like only yesterday we were at Fort Benning together.

    "We don't need the media respect and recognition. We already have each other, our friends, and families. Let the rich and the famous live as they need to, as we soldiers and our friends and families will live as WE need to."

    March 11, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • 4SILVAS

      MAY GOD BELSS YOU ALWAYS D-Port (Battle Buddy); your words were perfect.

      March 11, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Frank Dunnn

    A. May the good Lord watch over these brave soldiers and Marines.

    B. May their families and loved ones be comforted by their bravery. Just as importantly, may their wives and children be spared the loneliness and financial hardships that come with the loss of a bread winner.

    C. In addition to the 13 dead US, there are surely another 6 to 10 more recovering from severe wounds / loss of limbs / eye sight at Walter Reed Hospital. They face long, arduous recoveries and altered lives for the next 35 to 65 years.

    D. We should all forward this article to President Obama, who never mentioned these deaths and who has only visited Walter Reed once in his presidency while golfing 60 plus times. He apparently doesn't like to see military amputees or their families.

    God protect the other 100,000 soldiers fighting in this forgotten war.

    Frank Dunn

    March 11, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      E. Oh lord please take with you 4 more US Soldiers every day so this can be important enough to be on the media.

      F. Do not worry god, if you are busy somebody else will do it.

      G. AMEN

      H. FY US Army

      March 11, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  19. TTSAHM

    Really this is what is wrong with this country. Keep the peopole busy and distracted so they don't realize what is really happening. We fall for it each and every time. Who cares what happens to a spoiled drug addict movie star who can afford to send himself to rehab? Yes it makes amusing tv but really who is going to support these poor families who lost their loved ones. There needs to be a change in this country! We need to wake up!

    March 11, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  20. Misswittah

    infidel your a moron. If I knew where you were in the world I'd run you over with my car.

    March 11, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  21. SCHWARTC

    Its sick too think our men are over fighting protecting idiot celebrities like Charlie, and they get all the glory and news.

    March 11, 2011 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  22. plisrael

    God Bless them all. And the families and loved ones. True heros and newsworthy. Each day when I hear the story of another fallen soldier it brings tears to my eyes. Thank you CNN and Nancy Grace for personalizing each of their lives for us, showing us who they were on this earth.

    March 11, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  23. Ann

    Please read the book by Eric Blehm, The Only Thing Worth Dying For. This gives us an up close and personal look into the lives of our Green Beret, Special Forces stationed in Afghanistan. He was with the ODA-574 troop. I salute all of our Military for what they endure for us.

    http://www.onlythingworthdyingfor.com

    March 11, 2011 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  24. Military Family

    I would like to start by expressing my sincerest condolences to the families of these fallen Heros and all of our Fallen Heros. I would like to take a moment to remind all the ignorant men and women on here that without the selfless sacrifice of our Military Service Members you would not have the Freedom to spew such crap and verbally degrade what our Military members do for us. I would challenge those of you who believe you are better then our Military to put your money where your mouth is and serve your country as selflessly as the men and women who now protect you, your families and your ignorance.

    March 11, 2011 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  25. Rebecca

    All Soldiers are brave. They leave their families, they don't get 2 weeks to decide their fate. They don't get to sue because they get moved. We have Soldier's that need real help after coming home. PTSD hits them all. We need to reteach them to function in the home life again. How to drive, act. how to socialize. Yet these celebrities are getting all the help and attention they don't need. I say throw them to the wolves! Charlie is crazy,and Lohan needs to go to JAIL!

    March 11, 2011 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  26. mejazzbo

    America is a freak show. We have gotten so far away from what is important and focus on the insane. The media's motto seems to be, "Let's get sensational. That's where the money lives".

    March 11, 2011 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  27. Sgt. Decker

    To the families of the fallen servicemembers; I am so sorry for your loss. Your family members were better people than Charlie Sheen or Lindsey Lohan ever thought of being.

    March 11, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  28. Sgt. Decker

    To the families of the fallen soldiers, I am so sorry for your loss.

    March 11, 2011 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  29. Freedom has never been Free

    Ignore the ignorance of many, keep focus on what's important, and pray for all our military personnel, their families, and their supporters. Having been over their myself, hearing a single thank-you from a stranger made it all worth while. God bless this country we proudly call America. Thank-you in return to all the support given to the American and coalition troops. If you have nothing but rude comments to make, be my guest and go live somewhere else.

    March 11, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  30. terri

    my heart gos out to the family

    March 11, 2011 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  31. Nicole

    I didn't realize that one of these boys are in my son's unit. My son has not mentioned anything about this to me, but I guess he is doing that so as to not worry me. I have not been able to stop crying since reading this article. These young men are so brave and selfless to fight to protect US and what recognition do they get? They are overshadowed by the Sheen's and Lohan's of the world. Our poor soldiers who make the ultimate sacrifice do not even get the respect of a quiet burial because that stupid group that protest at military funerals has been validated by the US courts as having a first amendment right to continue these protest. REALLY??? It makes me ashamed to be an American

    March 11, 2011 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      I am ashamed that the US soldiers are killing women and children.

      March 11, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
      • Mike

        Salerno I'm glad you are expressing your rights. But if I did know you personally I would ask why you are such a horrible person. You should know this by now I am an American soldier. I did fight out there, I did lose a very good friend names Matt that got shot in the neck, I'll tell you one thing we didn't go out to kill babies, or any innocent people.. we shot when got shot at.. It's called Rules of Engagement. You can only shoot when shot at. Simple enough? Try to fight a non conventional where the bad guys try to blend in with the general population.

        March 11, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
      • salerno

        Mike – you get shot as you invaded another country. this Always end up with killing women and children, so you are the horrible guys, I am not killing anyone. You invaded countries after heavy bombings. Do you know how many innocent died in those bombings ? Obviously when you go you are shot, idiot !

        March 13, 2011 at 1:28 am | Report abuse |
  32. Gary Overman

    Let's not forget the others as well. Chris Stark was killed at the same time as my nephew Chauncy Mays.

    March 11, 2011 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  33. Dave in SoTex

    Our society in decay. When those who contribute little get attention and are paid to much. Those who do the real work get little attention are not paid enough.

    March 11, 2011 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
  34. Jennifer

    THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! To all of the soldiers and their families for the sacrifices they have made in honor of our freedom and safety. They are brave heroes who deserve our respect and recognition for the honorable lives they are leading and the sacrifices they have made. You are in my thoughts every day! I wish there was better coverage of your bravery and heroism because that's the kind of coverage we can be proud of!

    March 11, 2011 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
  35. Army Infantrywife

    As a wife of a disabled vet who deployed 3 times..it makes me sad and disgusted that these "people" get the attention that our soldiers and families need...Yes the war is not as interesting as the train wrecks these people cause and make us watch but our soldiers and families are living a life that 95% of the population would never want to live or could honestly live...I am one of the lucky ones, my soldier came home to me...he's disabled and considered "damaged" by people but he's home and he's alive...the soldiers and their families that give the ultimate sacrifice deserve more love and attention and RESPECT then Charlie Sheen, or any other train wreck celebrity that is out there...

    March 11, 2011 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer

      Please give your hubby a hug and a THANK YOU from me and my family! Thank you both for your service and sacrifice to our country. I wish you all the best – you deserve it!

      March 11, 2011 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      Soldiers have a lot of benefit and help compared with other people.

      March 11, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Taunya Rose

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I am so glad to see that these men got their story told to. I was very happy to post them on my face book page and I wish I could post the names of every single one of the brave men/women that gives their life for our country . I think we owe it to each one of them and their families after all they are over there fighting for us!!! Even though people don't like to hear about it, there is a war going on and we need to honor the people fighting for us!! THEY DESERVE the headlines not idiots who like who like to screw up there lives. Just because they can read some lines off a script and into a camera does not mean they are any better than the guy down the street who drinks and does drugs. I have never seen him on tv. WHO CARES!!! But we should ALL care about the brave men and women fighting for US!! I personally love them all and pray for their save returns home to their families. GOD BLESS EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEM!!!!!

    March 11, 2011 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      Taunya – you seem to be very happy when people die !

      March 13, 2011 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
  37. roland

    In order to prove that we are tolerant, we have to listen/read/see the messages of those who would demonstrate such stupidity as to prove themselves unworthy of it. The media has become the next generation's parent and educator. I stood in my classroom watching the towers fall kicking students from other classes out because they were excited about what was happening like it was part of a movie. Certain posts have been speaking out in ignorance against the soldiers who fight in this war for their motives. Our soldiers did not create our country's policies, they are the tool that enforces it. They are fighting for themselves, their brothers, sisters, families, and not for the greed and corruption that upsets those who speak before thinking about what they are saying. They deserve our thanks and our respect. And at their end, their families deserve our sympathies, for they have made sacrifices those who condemn them will never have the courage to recognize. It bothers me on a visceral level that as a country we have forgotten to honor both those who came before us and those who sacrificed for us.

    March 11, 2011 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  38. Proud Army Mom

    My son, Spc Trevor Groetken had the honor of serving with Spc Brian Tabada (one of the four fallen heroes mentioned in the fb post) Today he and Sgt Steven Thunderhawk will have the honor of standing next to their fallen brother as family and friends gather to grieve the loss of a son, grandson, brother, and cherished friend. My love, thoughts, and prayers are with the family. Life for them will NEVER be the same. To his brothers in arms the loss they feel is deeper than any pain they have ever felt. Their lives are forever changed as well. Spc Tabada will forever live on in the hearts and minds of those who understand the price he paid on behalf of their freedom. NEVER FORGOTTEN

    March 11, 2011 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
  39. PFC James Crawn

    Finally! I am currently deployed on my second tour in my three years of service. 08-09 to Iraq and now I am in Kandahar Afghanistan for another year. It makes me so angry to hear from my wife and family that people are protesting military funerals and basically spitting on the grave of a fallen soldier. Now the media has always been the devil and will continue to be the downfall of humanity but to cover some washed up degenerate like Charlie Sheen and not even blink at the lives lost so this man can stuff as many drugs up his nose and drink all the alcohol in the world simply disgusts me. We are here fighting and supporting the war fighters of many different countries and there are casualties unfortunately. The media needs to forget about everything else and focus on real people facing danger every day. Forget the gossip of who is sleeping or cheating on who or who is buying a brand new hummer 5 or whatever the new craze is and look at the lives of people driving the real battle forged machines. Everyone who buys a new hmmwv should be clubbed in the head and flown over here to wake up with a uniform on and an m-16.
    I am not a huge fan of facebook but for this one thing I am grateful and hopefully this will open the eyes of AMERICANS and focus more on the real issues and not celebrity garbage.
    Sincerely,
    An American Soldier

    March 11, 2011 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
  40. Oliver

    Thank you for this story and reminder CNN. It still gives me hope that one day you will again be a reputable newsource. The media is so screwed up. We are stuck in a this generations Vietnam and the media is helping us be there in this fight on terror. God help us all!!!

    March 11, 2011 at 8:02 am | Report abuse |
  41. scott

    are they seriously bringing up one of these fallen soldiers as being a gay? are they fckinggggg serious? i dont even know what to say about anything the press does/says anymore its beyond apphauling and disgusting that they can try and swing a story with a few choice words and sentences...i hate the press with a thriving passion.

    March 11, 2011 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
  42. WhiskeyMedic13

    Mr. Wilfahrt,
    I would just like to express my deepest sympathy for the loss of your son. As a veteran myself, I am appalled that someone as undeserving as Chalrie Sheen takes precedence in the media over your son's sacrifice. It is because of people like him that we enjoy the freedoms we have and I think way too many people have forgotten that. However, you can rest assured that your son's memory will live on in the hearts of countless people accross this country and that his sacrifce was not made in vain. God Bless you and your familiy.

    March 11, 2011 at 7:55 am | Report abuse |
  43. Christopher Drake

    While this article made a great point in how society prioritizes events, or rather the media, it falls a little flat when the article link on the main page is below yet another story link about Sheen.

    March 11, 2011 at 7:52 am | Report abuse |
  44. Kristen

    The focus is being lost. The point is that the news media typically pays more attention to actors and their drinking/drug use/clothing than they do actual news. Like people dying, or the wars we've been involved in for a decade. No one cares what your politics are, whether you love or hate soldiers, or how you feel about 9/11. This issue is about the news turning into entertainment reports. Thankfully, the slip into non-essential stories has annoyed the people to such a degree that they finally got their message to someone at CNN – now all we need is for the other outlets to pick this up and use it as a springboard to change their reporting. PLEASE. – LIFT http://likeitfortime.wordpress.com

    March 11, 2011 at 7:49 am | Report abuse |
  45. bob

    Rudolf, Andrew, Chauncy and Brian. All heroes in my book.

    March 11, 2011 at 7:39 am | Report abuse |
  46. Get a Grip America

    LISTEN EVERYBODY!

    Americans are capitalist. It is sad that our brave men and women die to protect our freedoms and way of life. I am a disabled veteran and I know the sacrifice. I know how it feels to loss your job, your home, have to make chooses on either buying food or medications, having the stresses of my disabilities destroy my family ending in divorce. I'm not complaining. These are consequences of making a choice to defend a country that I love and am willing to protect with my life. I have limited functionality due to brain injuries and my day to day life is difficult, but if I could change my chooses to serve in the military, I wouldn't. And 999 out of 1000 other veterans would say the same thing. We didn't join to get the honor to be on TV someday. We did it to protect our way of life so our news companies can make money on Charlie Sheen. If America wants to do something useful, put tons of money into the VA so they can help us when we return. I don't care about being on TV, I need help with medications, medical care, rehabilitation, educational benefits, etc. Honor our troops by guaranteeing that they will be taken care of if they make it home. Also, quit trying to cut Social Security. Our young troops that can't work when they get home doesn't have IRAs, money market accounts, stocks, etc. Trust me, they can't afford to invest when they serve. Trust me, we don't protect our freedoms because of the pay.

    March 11, 2011 at 7:39 am | Report abuse |
  47. bob

    Rudolph, Andrew, Chauncy and Brian...All four of you are quiet heroes in my mind.

    March 11, 2011 at 7:36 am | Report abuse |
  48. Quincey9

    To quote Reuben Blades, "I went to my home and sat and waited for tears to come. But suddenly I changed my mind, got up and played my favorite song. I wanted to show myself that death could not take my heart and I'd rather celebrate all the good times that we had. How lucky two fools can be to be friends like you and me".

    March 11, 2011 at 7:34 am | Report abuse |
  49. Adam V.

    Id rather not even waste my time saying one word about Charlie Sheen. Instead Id like to honor these four brave soldiers that we lost. I am myself in the process of enlisting in the Army to serve my country for our people and I feel the deepest sympathy for the families of these fallen soldiers. It takes an amazing and strong willed personality to put your life at risk each and every day you wake up like you four have and Id like to just take a moment to honor all the amazingly talented blessed and honorable young men and women of the armed forces who are still fighting for our country each and every day. So thank you, because its the men and women like you who are going to be giving me the strength to do the same thing in no time, when its my turn

    March 11, 2011 at 7:32 am | Report abuse |
  50. JGates

    I believe that lest we forget the sacrifices being made moment by moment by the members of our military, by our very own sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, that each death be posted on the front page of every news paper and during every TV news broadcast of our Nation, everyday. That each death, and each name be spoken out loud and recognized at the beginning of every day Congress and the Senate opens their doors for business.
    That at the end of each week the President of the United States goes into his Press room and reads to his people the names and ages of the fallen.
    Unless in impacts your life directly, on a daily basis, it is far too human to put such "news" into a dark corner. Unless it is your sibling or your child, you just don't get it, you don't get the loss, or the cost of volunteering to serve. The price that has been paid, and is being paid, by countless families across our country everyday, every week, every year.
    J. Gates~Mother of A1C Austin Gates Benson

    March 11, 2011 at 7:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Wilfahrt

      JC Gates, I'm with you.
      Jeff Wilfahrt, CPL Andrew C. Wilfahrt's father

      March 11, 2011 at 7:41 am | Report abuse |
      • JGates

        I extend my deep heart felt condolences for the loss of your beloved son..
        May he rest in Peace~
        I understand your loss..

        March 11, 2011 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  51. guest

    The personal stories of these young men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice leave me in awe. I am a parent of a son who is currently deployed in that hellhole of a country but I know they are there doing all the good they can. I will keep them and their families in my prayers, as well as the Sheen family, who I fear its just a matter of time that they will also be losing their son and brother to a different war.

    March 11, 2011 at 6:57 am | Report abuse |
  52. Just Say No to WASPs

    I don't support war so I don't feel bad for soldiers dying. They volunteered; and if they want to protect America's illusion of freedom, go and take care of the gang members down at the local convenient store bothering innocent families with children. Then you can call yourself a hero.

    March 11, 2011 at 6:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Rocco

      Are you living in the US? If you are, get the f*** out. What do you do for this country? You sound like a scared little b****.

      March 11, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • CaliAF

      You know what? You're right; we're not heroes. We chose this job and career path of our own free will. But, in the mean time–we'd appreciate if you'd stop being a complete jerk. Thank you.

      March 11, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
  53. BiggFinn

    Hello everyone. Let me start by saying my most heartfelt condolences to you and your families on the loss of your loved ones! I fully empathize with you. I am a retired U.S. (Navy) Sailor. I served during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. My oldest in now serving in the iraq region. Our military service and sacrifices should ALWAYS be more important than the trash that the media puts out about a lot of the selfish spoiled-assed celebrities!!!!!

    March 11, 2011 at 6:53 am | Report abuse |
  54. nailwytch

    My heart goes out to all of these families and these young men's battle buddies. I have a son being deployed soon and I pray every day that I never have to feel your pain Jeff. God Bless all of our troops and Praying for all our lost soldiers! I pray for all that are protecting us daily! I am truly Sorry for your loss of Another one of America's Hero's.

    March 11, 2011 at 6:53 am | Report abuse |
  55. valkyries

    Great article about our young soldiers who have paid the ultimate price while serving their country. Thank you for making the war, the lost lives and the soldiers stories part of the news cycle. They are heroes and their stories need a loud voice that should be heard by America.

    March 11, 2011 at 6:48 am | Report abuse |
    • jlugz

      Reality Check. What's more important to the American people, pointless media coverage of famous people, or supporting those that fight and die for our country?

      March 11, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  56. been_there&done_that

    Wayne Drash is such a hypocrit! He doesn't want us to focus on the troops in Afghanistan...he wants to push his "let's have gays in the military" agenda! Look Wayne, if you want to push that ideology, then fine, write a story about it and don't hide your message in a human interest story! Clown!

    March 11, 2011 at 6:48 am | Report abuse |
  57. ALbeham

    Holly-weird is that, all of that. Media is off there f***en rocker if I give a S*** about the Charlie Sheens of the world. I have walked the walk and I can the talk the talk, that many are walking today in these wars. I served 20 yrs with heroes like these. CNN pull your head from your fourth point of contact and let the Holly-weirds die off. Get back to the real matters of this great country. Many folks really do believe the crap these charlie sheens do really matter. Sad, if we the readers don't hit on these un-real stories, then CNN will stop covering them. But then again that's my though. Too all that have loss, I walk with you in your time of sorrow.

    March 11, 2011 at 6:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Rich

      It's not the media's fault. It's the American peoples' fault. Look at coverage of Iraq/Afghanistan versus Vietnam. The majority of American's don't want to see lifeless bodies, civilians blown apart, Humvees wrecked from IEDs, soldiers screaming in pain. Then you have the Bush administration ordering coverage of the returning of the dead to be blocked. While some may not care for the Charlie Sheen's, how many actually contact a media outlet directly and say, "I want coverage of the war and the pain it causes"?

      March 11, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  58. Thank you

    Mr. Wilfahrt, I am truly sorry for your loss of this Soldier. I am Senior NCO in the Army and everytime I have to attend a ramp side ceremony it rips me apart thinking about the Fallen's family. We love each and everyone of these men and women that work for us. I've lost a lot of friends and Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan and we will never forget our Fallen. Know sir that your son did not die in vain and that there are Afghan Soldiers who share the same patriotism for their country as did your son for his. Soldiers is what keeps me going Mr. Wilfahrt thank you for yours.

    March 11, 2011 at 6:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Wilfahrt

      Thank You,
      The dignified transfer of our son was one of the most stirring moments of my life. In all confidence I tell you the U.S. Army did one hell of job helping Andrew into manhood, and an even more impressive job dealing with this family in it's grief. Our respect for men like you who take on this most grievous of ceremonial duty has no bounds.
      Andrew's father, Jeff Wilfahrt.

      March 11, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  59. Trudy Miller

    My heart goes out to all of the families who lost loved ones in the war. It truly saddens me. There is NEVER any war coverage in our newspaper heree in St. Augustine, FL. My Mom wrote a letter to the editor of the The St. Augustine Record about the lack of coverage of our courageous soldiers a while back. Nothing has changed. Charlie Sheen is a disgrace and should be arrested. I want to hear about our soldiers and how we can help.

    Sincerely,

    Trudy Miller
    St. Augustine, FL

    March 11, 2011 at 6:27 am | Report abuse |
  60. whatthehey

    The Afghan war is a political human tragedy of which the true core causes and reasons for its existence will probably never be known to the average person. The heroism of either side's combatants is contingent upon which nation the observer is from. Charlie Sheen's meltdown is much more fascinating to people because it is a non-politically biased insight into a person's descent into madness which few are ever privy to. It is utterly fascinating and somewhat incomprehensible that someone who apparently has or had the world as his oyster could so completely come unravelled thus demonstrating that fame and more significantly fortune do not ensure happiness, security or well-being! An old lesson yet one we never seem to truly realize without reminders such as Sheen. Americans are also quite accustomed to the fact that there have been and will be continuing U.S. and other casualties as long as U.S. troops are engaged in Afghanistan, Iraq, wherever so the fact that soldiers are dying is not particularly news. Also with Bush no longer there to be kicked around and blamed the impetus to show casualty rates for U.S. soldiers is largely absent since it can no longer fuel the "Bush is the cause for all the American and world woes" campaign.

    March 11, 2011 at 6:19 am | Report abuse |
  61. US ARMY SPECIALIST

    I am currently serving in the armed forces in Afganastan, and while I do not support the overly aggresive foul language and insulting comments, I do value the ability to express your opinion. I have to agree that yes having armed forces fighting in other countries does not impact a great many of us on a day to day basis ( families of fighting men/women being excluded of course) and yes it doesnt do a lot to your freedoms in the small picture or the short term view. You have to understand a lot of the men and women are not in this for the short term or for the small picture. We are in the armed forces for the long term and for the fact we wnt to make the world a better place and to make a difference. We are sacrificing alot to do that and we are willing to give our lives so we can make someones world a better place and maybe ensure that the freedins we enjy now and also enjoyed by our children and the children of tommorrow. Like it or not I think that deserves a little repect.

    A personal side note to Jeff Wilfhart, there are days that my dedication is lacking and my ability to perserver in a world of honor and respect is hard to maintain due to the things I see. Your son is an example of the type of person we should allstive to be and his story is inspiring and and has done a lot to restore my belief that there are still good people who "get it" out there.

    My condolences for your loss. . . . Take him for all in all for there shall not be another like him. . .Salute.

    SPC WTG

    March 11, 2011 at 6:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Wilfahrt

      He died a soldier with his boots on. He carried candy and pens in his pockets to hand out to the children. He was the platoon sniper, he was a gunner, his PT score was perfect, he aced his firing range trials... and yet he carried that candy.
      He was ninth in an eleven man foot line. He took the IED. It is a myth that soldiers die for some cause, soldiers die for the soldier next them, on their right or left. Let me acknowledge the balance of the 3rd platoon who have to sort this out in their heads and hearts. Then let me acknowledge you for knowing the significance of a combat theater. Thet me salute you.
      Jeff Wilfahrt, Andrew's father

      March 11, 2011 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      NO RESPECT FOR BABY KILLERS, NEITHER SHORT TERM NEITHER LONG TERM.

      March 11, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  62. NottheKing

    So let me get this straight, If we don't fight in Iraq and Afganistan, then I'll lose my freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to assemble and so on down the line? I had no idea that the Afgan Talaban and the Iragi Insurgents were so powerful. I must be living under a rock or something. Here I was just being affraid of our own politicians. Every HONEST american should ask themselves, Who threatens me most?

    March 11, 2011 at 6:17 am | Report abuse |
    • CJ

      Well get out from under that rock and read a book; because in 1996 that is what was being arranged. Maybe nobody told you. well here's a short history lesson: Taliban leader Omar takes over most of Afghanistan, starts torturing and killing those who don't believe the whole world should follow a strict muslim faith, Omar then invites Osama into the country to set up training camps for al queda so they can attack countries who are not prodominently muslims, pakistan starts sending citizens over to afghan to train and send money to help support Omar. Osama declares a holy war on United States, US Embassies start getting blown up, USS Cole gets attacked, then September 11th happens. Just curious what part of that did you miss, or what did you think was going to be next?

      March 11, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  63. Miss NJ

    These men and their families have give the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Thank them everyday and hope they rest in peace.

    On a second note though, CNN, after looking through your site, in the Justice section the first story with a huge picture is of Lindsay Lohan. On the first page of the US section first story under Don't Miss is Charlie Sheen and not this story.

    March 11, 2011 at 6:10 am | Report abuse |
  64. jobaltimore

    My heartfelt condolences for the family of these gentlemen that gave their lives so that our quality of life is better. I appreciate each of their sacrifices and pray that God would have mercy on their souls. I am so happy to see this coverage. People spend way too much time on Linsey Lohan and Charlie Sheen when these are the real heroes we should be focused on. Thank You for your selfless sacrifice and may heaven forever shine down upon each of you and your loved ones.

    March 11, 2011 at 6:07 am | Report abuse |
  65. Natch

    How sad is it, that today's society will honor the spoiled sons and daughters of Hollywood.....the "celebutantes", if you will......and ignores the honorable sons and daughters of regular folks, who are the real heroes?? And then we wonder why the kids grow up so badly??
    In my day, we looked up to people like John Wayne, or Jimmy Stewart......now it seems they look up to idiots like Charlie Sheen and Britney Spears. What's next? People wanting to be more like Charles Manson? God help us all!!

    March 11, 2011 at 6:06 am | Report abuse |
  66. Kristen

    This story is absolutely phenomenal. The fact that it was written, that is. Now what's needed is for the same story to be followed up on TV by not just CNN, but MSNBC, FOX NEWS, and all other news outlets. After that, the major news outlets need to revamp what they consider "news" and leave the Sheen and Lohan and Bipsy Doodle (or whatever the Jersey Shore names are) to E!, Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, and all the other many, many, many programs that tell non-essential stories. PLEASE. If a change isn't made, this BS will go on and this story will be little more than a feel-good blip that passes by next week. Kristen, LIFT (http://likeitfortime.wordpress.com)

    March 11, 2011 at 5:50 am | Report abuse |
  67. Ed Austin

    What a shame that this has degenerated into a slanging match. I am so so sorry for the loss of these fine soldiers. A British soldier was blown up in Afghan yesterday, and yet the news here was full of model Kate Moss on a catwalk in Paris with a cigarette in her mouth.

    For those who risk their lives so we here in the United Kingdom can be free, I have the greatest admiration and respect.

    March 11, 2011 at 5:35 am | Report abuse |
  68. teddy

    No matter on which side of political ideology we are, we should be thankful and respectful for our soldiers. may God rest your soul in peace

    March 11, 2011 at 5:21 am | Report abuse |
  69. levi

    Actually Wilfahrt is pronounced 'Vil-fart'

    March 11, 2011 at 5:04 am | Report abuse |
  70. Vohaul

    Thank you!!! I hop you aren't the only one at your network who gets this. CNN is as much to blame as anyone!

    March 11, 2011 at 4:43 am | Report abuse |
  71. DUH WINNING

    fucck all this, i want more sheeeeen

    March 11, 2011 at 4:42 am | Report abuse |
  72. Mother of a marine

    We instill the love of country to our children. They defend our country with their life. People like Sheen, Lohan get away with things the rest of us would not and all because they entertain us. Our priorities are really messed up and people like CNN and other media feed on that. I am proud of my son and others like him.

    March 11, 2011 at 4:37 am | Report abuse |
  73. Zephyr2011

    Time to weigh in...First of all – I can't think of anyone who hates War more than those that we ask to go fight (and sometimes die) in them...Our Soldiers are Warriors – but Warriors that Hate War, nonetheless. I have yet to meet a TRUE Soldier, past or present, that doesn't despise War – and wants nothing more than Peace and to be able to come back Home to their friends and families. Our Military is primarily geared for One Thing – to End Wars Quickly, and (hopefully) Victoriously. Secondly...while I STRONGLY-disagree with salerno, and a few others – please consider these words..."I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." Indeed, that's what Our Soldiers and Our Military does, in a literal-sense. We may hold salerno's words and opinions to be utterly-offensive – but such is the Strength and Greatness of This Nation that he has the RIGHT to state this opinions, in this forum – as long as it isn't clearly Illegal – without fear of arrest, imprisonment, or death. So, God Bless Our Troops, God Bless Our Military, and God Bless the U.S.A...

    March 11, 2011 at 4:34 am | Report abuse |
  74. Moges

    these soldiers: losing

    charliee sheen: WINNING

    this story is idiotic. i'm going back to watching Sheen's Korner

    see you later, trolls

    March 11, 2011 at 4:33 am | Report abuse |
  75. Dick

    And CNN tries to run a "the media is awful" story, except they continue to ramble on about Charlie Sheen on Twitter while one of the worst earthquakes in recorded history creates a tsunami that will likely have killed thousands.

    March 11, 2011 at 4:17 am | Report abuse |
  76. Jackie

    What a true hero. Today's media and the comments left show what people in our country have become. I am for the first time ashamed to be an American. I used to be so proud of our country, and now I see it for what it is. How did everyone become so ignorant? I hope I never hear the name Charlie Sheen again!

    March 11, 2011 at 4:15 am | Report abuse |
  77. scndnv

    Charlie's way more interesting than the state of the military in Afghanistan, no offense..

    March 11, 2011 at 3:33 am | Report abuse |
  78. USAF Retired

    RIP brothers in arms.

    March 11, 2011 at 3:31 am | Report abuse |
  79. dave mlla

    charlie sheen should be sent to Iraq or afganistan to join and fight alongside americas finest , to earn some real tv coverage, and respect and not embarass himself and his country as he has done!!!
    G-d speed boys ,,, hurrah!

    March 11, 2011 at 3:26 am | Report abuse |
  80. Echo Lima

    First, CNN needs to start getting its act together – daily, every hour, for at least 10 minutes have a tribute to those who died serving overseas, not just Afghanistan. Pay homage to those who volunteered to protect and defend our freedoms daily. Second, this is a great article because it should be an example to those who oppose DADT that who someone sleeps with does not make a difference in their mission capability. As a closeted gay soldier I have to violate the "Honor" factor of the 7 Army Values, because there are knuckle heads who think that who I sleep with makes me a bad soldier – maybe they need to talk to my First Sergeant and CO, then they may think otherwise. Lastly, to the father of Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt: There are no words that can bring you comfort, but I thank you for raising a good man. I hope those words will give you some peace.

    March 11, 2011 at 3:23 am | Report abuse |
  81. djorge

    What the hell has Charlie Sheen done for this country? Besides giving Americans a drug induced and crazed perception to the world. To Hell with Sheen and Lohan, both are spoiled and don't care, try to morph the world around them. Yet men and women die daily fighting for their freedoms, human rights, and will to live. I say that the US Media and World Media should not do reports on Celebrities and crazed reality shows. That is all I see and hear about on TV, in Newspapers, and on the tongues of people about reality Shows or some drama that has no bearing on their lives.

    March 11, 2011 at 3:22 am | Report abuse |
  82. Anon

    Wait, so, due to everyday people generating a meme regarding soldiers dying in another country, you decided to switch from reporting Charlie Sheen to actual news? Honestly, what do we need CNN for anyways? You certainly aren't covering the news... Oh, I mean, welcome to the party latecommer.

    March 11, 2011 at 3:18 am | Report abuse |
  83. Goosie

    Don't forget about PFC David Fahey and SPC Jason Weaver of the 170th that gave the ultimate sacrifice this week. Forever in our hearts, American Heroes!

    March 11, 2011 at 2:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Wilfahrt

      Goosie, I know of them, and they are not an oversight. There are thousands of dead soldiers. Their voices can only be heard through us. "If all the war dead came back, it would end!"

      March 11, 2011 at 5:05 am | Report abuse |
  84. Alex

    Sir,

    I am terribly sorry for your loss. May God bless you and keep you and your family. Please know your family will be in my thoughts and prayers. While I cannot imagine the grief you are going through, may you find comfort knowing that I believe we have tragically lost a hero on Earth, but God has gained one in heaven. May God bless and keep you and your family safe. I am forever grateful to your son for his sacrifice for my freedom. God bless!

    March 11, 2011 at 2:43 am | Report abuse |
  85. Jaren

    After sitting here for several hours and reading the posts... I am flabbergasted. No one likes war. No one "starts" a war just for the hell of it. Our soldiers are there to protect the ideals of democracy. My son, who is no longer with us, was a Marine and I am very proud of him. My daughter is currently serving her third tour of duty in Afghanistan... because she goes where her skills are needed. I am so proud of her, but I also know that she is in imminant danger just by being there. I would rather have her at home, but she feels the need to serve our country. When ignorant people say things like some of the previous posts... I am ashamed for them. I am furious that they don't appreciate the soldiers who give their lives, to give them the right to talk like an idiot. Yes... our American soldiers protect everyone's First Amendment right to say what they feel. In America we have more freedom than most of the world. I know this because my father was a "lifer" and I grew up as a "brat", traveling around the world where ever his country needed him. And I am damn proud of it and him. But... you better not ever show up at my door spouting your anti-America or anti-soldier retoric, because the men and women in service to our country also defend my right to bear arms.... and I will fight to the death to defend that right....

    March 11, 2011 at 2:42 am | Report abuse |
  86. Jesus_Loves_You!

    Would you all some cheese with those whines??

    Gimme a break.

    Sorry, but these peoples are dying while they are foolishly engaged in fighting illegal wars and terrorizing people who have done them no wrong. You all are going to feel real stupid when everyone understands finally that all this terrorist BS is a product of our very own government's CIA and its attempts to control everything.

    Pitiful.

    March 11, 2011 at 2:36 am | Report abuse |
  87. Gerry

    This inspires me to make a video about the # of Americans lost in the war, versus the # of people killed in the war by the hands of Americans.

    March 11, 2011 at 2:36 am | Report abuse |
  88. j krank

    As a mother of 3 teenage boys, my heart goes out tho the parents of these soldiers. It makes me angry that we still have politicians fighting to not allow gays in the military and we still have soldiers that have had their medals stripped and have been kicked out of the military because of don't ask don't tell. These men were hero's, and who cares if one man was gay. His soldiers didn't care, and if it were up to some of these politicians, he could have been kicked out of the military.One of my closest friends leaves in June for her second tour . God Bless all of our soldiers!

    March 11, 2011 at 2:28 am | Report abuse |
  89. adonistigerbloodwarlock

    why focus on quad-losing when you can focus on bi-winning?!?! too bad these guys didn't have any tigerblood!!

    March 11, 2011 at 2:07 am | Report abuse |
  90. navycorpsman84

    I am sorry to hear about the loss of all these brave men. There are so many people deployed right now that die on a daily basis, and they don't get the recognition they deserve. You really won't know how it affects you until you have it happen to someone in your family. I am active duty and have done 2 deployments, and will definately see a 3rd. I hope I never have to give my life for this cause, but at least if it happens, I know my family would be proud, and there are people that still do care about the military. I got thanked today for serving in the Navy, and didn't know what to say. I feel like I am just doing my job, but to someone else, it's much more than that. My deepest sympathy goes to the families of fallen service members.

    March 11, 2011 at 1:58 am | Report abuse |
  91. USAF SrA deploying

    @KING kardashian! I got another 30 days state side before i get deployed to the desert Again! I wish to god I could meet you before I left. I would love to put your sorry ungrateful ass 6 feet under..

    March 11, 2011 at 1:43 am | Report abuse |
    • CaliAF

      Not sure what your job is, but I can tell it's not OPSEC related. Ignore this guy and don't threaten anyone–especially when you have a name that relates to the AF. We're better than that, and you know it.

      March 11, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  92. Tommyyfn

    Good job Obama more Soldiers have died in Afghanistan since your first 2 years than in 8 Years under Bush..

    March 11, 2011 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
  93. brucemo

    I've seen a few complaints in here that CNN is evil or whatever for reporting on the Charlie Sheen nonsense. I'd support the idea of remembering these and other soldiers, and I think the Charlie Sheen nonsense is pretty stupid, but the blame for the existence of coverage of the Charlie Sheen nonsense is with us. CNN gives us what we want, and as much as we argue that we don't want that, enough of us are at least slightly interested in that kind of garbage that CNN telling us about it is just giving us what we want.

    If there are two stories, one of which says that Charlie Sheen had a melt-down, and the other of which says that a soldier died in Afghanistan, it's completely obvious which is going to get more hits. CNN knows this.

    March 11, 2011 at 1:28 am | Report abuse |
  94. Northener

    Mericans couldn't care less about their soldiers, it interferes with their good times, everyday all the time. Look at the gluttons you are producing, stuffing their faces, watching their favourite reality TV. Proud creators of Huckabee, Palin, Limbaugh and Beck. A once proud nation has become a country of fat people and clowns.

    March 11, 2011 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Suck it

      Go and hug a tree you leftist liberal.

      March 11, 2011 at 3:45 am | Report abuse |
  95. rowfu

    You want to block out Sheen news? Try this.

    http://fffff.at/tinted-sheen/

    March 11, 2011 at 1:09 am | Report abuse |
  96. jeff hertrick

    Hey CNN, your Facebook LIKE link is broken.

    March 11, 2011 at 1:08 am | Report abuse |
  97. ALYSON KIRKLAND

    People need to wake up and support our troops whether you are for or against the war!!!!!

    March 11, 2011 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
  98. JustAnAmericanSoldier

    To Jeff, and all other parents of these brave men, my heart sinks with your loss. I had lost my best pal back in June in Logar, and several other buddies throughout my deployments. I just left active duty to come back to a wife I've spent 8 months with since 2006, and a 3 year old son I don't know. I've discovered this world just kept spinning. The endless days and nights I've spent over there will never really mean too much to anyone. How could it? How would I know about Katrina? I wasn't there. What do I really know about starvation in Africa. I haven't been through that. Coming back home, I've found it's really hard to believe everything you read.....especially from a CNN, or Fox News bias. If this is where our anti-war bloggers are formulating their opinions about what's going on, then please allow me to shed some light on the "real" world/war, because honestly....I've been there. It's a bad situation, but EVERYTHING happens for a reason. Maybe some of America can't see it yet, but the pieces on the chess board are moving strategically into position. We are keeping close tabs on these anti-American/Christian/Jew Nazis. They hate you so much. They want you dead in the name of their god. One day pretty soon they'll be laying IEDs down on your street, or in your mall. They are here. They're just sleeping right now. I hope you're not sleeping America, or too captivated with Charlie. Personally, I think he's pretty funny, but who gives a crap about what I think. I've also realized since I came back to my smug, self-serving nation is apparently, no one really cares about any of you, or what any of you think other than your family. It is just the consensus in our God mocking land. Wow, I just realized.....I really need to get on with life myself.

    March 11, 2011 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      People like you are dangerous, idiot. The Tucson shooter is just one example -

      March 11, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  99. stirge

    Isn't it CNN's fault that we read about Sheen and not about Afghanistan daily? I just find it rather funny they are touting this story as important when they, the largest news organization in the world, are the ones who are responsible for the practice.

    March 11, 2011 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
  100. hmmmm

    Slightly off-topic...
    I will say this much about the Sheen/LiLo coverage, and why I for one am reluctantly glad to see it get airtime:

    Not enough people in our society today know what mental illness looks like. Too many people believe it only affects poor people, or uneducated people, or unsuccessful people, or "weirdos." Too many people miss too many warning signs. Too many people (and I envy them) have never had a loved one experience a psychotic break, or struggle with a seemingly unbreakable addiction. Too many people are reluctantly half-convinced that their child, spouse, parent, friend, co-worker, neighbor, must really BE "winning" if s/he insists loudly enough that it's the case, and are too willing to ignore the alarm bells.

    People – often innocent bystanders, often children – DIE because mental illness is still shrouded in such secrecy and confusion. "Well, he goes to work every day, he can't be crazy!" or "She's young and beautiful and makes a ton of money, I guess she has the right to have some odd opinions now and then" – and the disease grows.

    I ABSOLUTELY agree that it's shameful that Sheen (et al)'s antics get priority coverage, especially over the men and women who have died in the course of their service to our country. I also oppose the war in Afghanistan, and most other military actions, but I completely honor and sincerely grieve for the fallen, lost, and wounded (physically, mentally, and spiritually) soldiers who are doing a job I know I am incapable of doing.

    But let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater here – it's my opinion that there IS some good coming out of the Sheen frenzy, and the LiLo frenzy when it was hot news, and the Britney frenzy back whenever. There are simply too many people who don't believe mental illness can happen to "nice" or "successful" people, or that it's only "mental illness" if you're drooling and naked on the street corner, shouting to people about the space monsters.

    I would like to see the media handle the Sheen situation (and others like it) with more discretion and less glee, and wish they would get their priorities straight in terms of what's more truly news-worthy, but I think it would be a dreadful mistake for these meltdowns to get NO coverage at all. People need to see what it looks like, how it sounds, how much (seeming) sense it can occasionally make, how rapidly and devastatingly it can accelerate, and how completely resistant the afflicted person can be to the suggestion that there's anything wrong. People need to know how, when, and why to get help, and to feel that they're not alone.

    March 11, 2011 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
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