Local News

Fallen soldiers bring home impact of war

Posted July 18, 2010 6:06 p.m. EDT
Updated July 19, 2010 4:24 p.m. EDT

— Military officials say seven North Carolina-based soldiers have been killed this week in Afghanistan. Another died this week at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany from injuries sustained in Afghanistan.

All eight were from Fort Bragg.

The military identified the soldiers as Sgt. Zachary M. Fisher, 24, of Ballwin, Mo.; First Lt. Christopher S. Goeke, 23, of Minnesota;  Spc. Matthew J. Johnson, 21, of Maplewood, Minn.;  Spc. Jesse D. Reed, 26, of Orefield, Pa.; Spc. Chase Stanley, 21, of Napa, Calif.; Staff Sgt. Christopher T. Stout, 34, of Worthville, Ky.; Spc. Christopher Moon, 20, of Tucson, Ariz.; and Staff Sgt. Sheldon L. Tate, 27, of Hinesville, Ga.

The deaths of the soldiers have hit the Fort Bragg community hard as many face future deployments to Afghanistan. Some also worry about waning public support for the war.

"A lot of people don't realize that there are still people over there fighting and dying,” Sgt. Adam Smith with the 82nd Airborne said.

Smith will be deployed to Afghanistan next year. He will leave behind his baby daughter Skyler.

"She's the most beautiful girl in the world,” he said.

He missed her birth while serving 12 months in Iraq last year.

"I didn't know her for the first five months of her life,” he said.

Anthony Porreca, also with the 82nd Airborne, hasn't served overseas yet but worries about dying while deployed.

"I just hope it doesn't happen to me when I go because I've got a family to take care of,” he said.

Goeke, Stout and Tate died Tuesday repelling an attack on a police compound in Kandahar, the center of a push to drive the Taliban out of southern Afghanistan. Insurgents used a car bomb, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

Fisher, Johnson, Reed and Stanley died of injuries sustained Wednesday in the Zabul Province when insurgents attacked their military vehicle with an improvised explosive device.

Moon died Tuesday of his wounds at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. He was on patrol July 6 in Afghanistan's Arghandab River Valley when he was injured by an improvised explosive device.

Goeke and Stout were assigned to 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, while Tate belonged to the 782nd Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.

Moon was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division.

Stanley, Reed, Johnson and Fisher served with the 27th Engineer Battalion (Combat Airborne), 20th Engineer Brigade (Combat).