Hundreds remember fallen Sky Soldiers in Afghanistan

By MARK ST.CLAIR | STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 30, 2007

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the date of the attack as June 23, 2007. It was July 23, 2007.

Mideast edition, Monday, July 30, 2007

FORWARD OPERATING BASE ORGUN-E, Afghanistan - On July 23, four well-loved members of Task Force Eagle paid the ultimate price, sacrificing their lives in combat.

On Sunday morning, hundreds of brothers in arms came to say goodbye.

First Sgt. Michael Seafred Curry, Sgt. Travon Travis Johnson, Spc. Adam James Davis and Pfc. Jessy Scott Rogers, members of “Havoc Company,” or Company D, 1st Battalion, 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, were killed in Sarobi, in southeastern Afghanistan, when a roadside bomb detonated near their Humvee.

A fifth soldier, Pfc. Matthew Taylor, who was manning the truck’s gunner hatch, was wounded, and is in stable condition at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, according to Sgt. 1st Class Hilario Velasquez, his platoon sergeant.

Curry’s commander, Capt. Joe Curtis, described him as an “incredible soldier and unequaled warrior” and credited him for bringing Havoc Company together, molding them into what they are today and setting an example for what they can become.

Described by a friend, 1st Sgt. Randy Collins, as an Army Ranger who embodied everything the elite soldiers stand for, Curry was a 20-year veteran and on his third deployment with the 173rd since 2002.

Originally from Hollywood, Fla., Curry, 37, is survived by his wife, Lucia Maccatrozzo; sons Taylor and Kevin; and sisters Niki Curry and Keisha Robinson.

He also is survived by his soldiers, who loved him.

Spc. Russell Humphries, a friend of Johnson’s, said Johnson was “a man of humility; he treated all as equals. If someone had a problem or was upset, he wouldn’t come down to your level to talk, he would bring you up to his.”

Called “Big J” by his platoon, Johnson, 29, from Palmdale, Calif., was serving as a squad leader when he was killed. He was also on his third deployment with the brigade.

Big of stature and big of heart, Johnson had an infectious laugh, a love for USC Trojan football and love for his family above all else. He is survived by his wife, Sara Faresin-Johnson; mother and stepfather, Billie L. and Michael Shotlow; and two children from previous relationships.

The youngest of the fallen, Davis died four days before his 20th birthday. Born and raised in Twin Falls, Idaho, Davis had been a “Sky Soldier” with the 173rd for slightly more than a year.

His friends Pfc. Jason Stewart and Spc. Michael Preston told of Davis’ ability to jump into any conversation and just talk.

Whether he knew what he was talking about was immaterial.

“He always had some input, even though some of the most senior guys would look at him all crazy and stuff,” Preston said. He is also remembered for his love of the outdoors and poor driving skills.

Davis is survived by his father, Timothy J.; mother Tracy L. Carrico; brother, T.J.; and sister Stephanie.

Born in Texas but raised in Copper Center, Alaska, Rogers, 20, was an avid snowboarder and would teach anyone who wanted to learn.

“At first he was a quiet type of person, trying to keep to himself. But as soon as one of the guys was able to break him out of his shell, he was on the loose. But from time to time, he would get his time alone,” said Spc. Brody Hall.

As the eighth of 13 siblings, Rogers’ alone time was important, but so was his family. His dream was that when his tour with the 173rd was up, he would be stationed in Alaska to be closer to home, Hall said.

Rogers is survived by his father, David D.; mother, Donnetta C.; and siblings Billy D., Ricky S., Tommy R., Sammy L., Gracie R., Abbey M., Emily A., Frankie R., Buddy M., Ruby L., Henry D., and Sonny D. Rogers.

Nine Sky Soldiers have died in the three months the unit has been deployed to Afghanistan, including Pfc. Juan Restrepo, who died July 22 from small-arms fire.

The unit, which is on a 15-month tour, is scheduled to return to Bamberg, Germany, and Vicenza, Italy, next summer.

An honor guard of 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team soldiers stands at present arms during a memorial ceremony at Forward Operating Base Orgun-E, Afghanistan, Sunday for four members of 1st Battalion, 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment’s Company D, also known as Havoc Company.

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