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1LT Daniel Hyde -- Putting others before himself is how Dan lived his life. I first met Dan during our basic training at West Point and was immediately impressed by the three sport all-star from Modesto, CA. Even though he was your peer, you just wanted to look up to Dan and ask him for guidance. I still remember Dan throwing himself down on the gauntlet and volunteering for the worst duties just to give his peers breathing room to recover.
Dan graduated in the top 3% of his class at West Point and went on to earn the Ranger Tab in the Army. No matter how bad a situation, you would never find Dan without a smile or without an optimistic outlook. Taking the burden off of others’ shoulders and bearing it himself is how he thrived. At such a young age, he understood how his positive energy could change the attitudes of those around him and that influenced his leadership style as an Infantry Platoon Leader. Dan was willing to help anyone at anytime and he made such a positive mark on every life he touched.
Dan was killed in action on March 7, 2009 in Tikrit, Iraq of wounds sustained when an explosive device hit his vehicle. He was with the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Dan is survived by his parents and a sister. A portion of all sales will be donated on behalf of 1LT Hyde’s Gold Star Family to the 1LT Daniel Hyde Memorial Scholarship Fund at Thomas Downey High School in Modesto, CA.
Army PFC Austin G. Staggs -- Was born on January 11, 1991 in Fort Worth, Texas. One of his favorite places to go growing up was Deer Camp where he could fish, camp and hunt. As his mom Kaye says “Austin just loved being outdoors.” This is only one of the many memories that will be passed along to Austin’s son Kallen. Kallen was 2 when his dad was taken from him, but by keeping his memory alive, he will grow up knowing that his dad was an American Hero. Austin was assigned to the1st Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He deployed August 25, 2010 for his first duty overseas. Austin was killed In Action on November 29, 2010 in Afghanistan. He was 19 years old.
A portion of all sales will be donated on behalf of Austin’s Gold Star Family to the memorial in Soldier Springs Park in Weatherford, Texas http://www.parkercountymemorial.com/.
Marine LCpl Colton W. Rusk -- Was born on September 23, 1990 to Darrell and Kathy Rusk. He grew up alongside his older brother Cody and younger brother Brady in a small Texas town called Orange Grove. Colton was an impressive athlete making all-district as an offensive lineman in 2008 and was known for having a great sense of humor.
From a young age, Colton knew he wanted to be a Marine. Although he was aware of the risks involved he still chose to serve his country and enlisted shortly after his high school graduation. After boot camp, Colton was sent to South Carolina to become a bomb dog handler. It is here where he met his new best friend, a black Labrador Retriever named Eli. In 2010 Eli and Colton were deployed to the Helmand province in Afghanistan. On December 6, 2010 Colton was killed in action by a sniper. Eli rushed to Colton’s side and protected him even when a fellow Marine came to help.
Colton was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, California.
Eli was adopted early in 2011 by Colton’s family. Donations will be made on behalf of Colton’s Gold Star Family to the Colton Rusk Semper Fi Scholarship.
SSG Jeffery Hartley -- Was born February 17, 1983. He was a quiet, level-headed child, with my dry sense of humor. Once he put his mind to something he kept at it until it was done and done well. He played football and was a member of the powerlifting team in Texas at Hempstead High School while holding down a part-time job. All his accomplishments were on his own and because of his wonderful character. He joined the Army at the age of 17 in his junior year of high school but had to wait until graduation to enlist.
SSG Hartley became an Army Ranger and deployed three times with 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment before transferring to the 3rd Infantry Division. He always put others first, especially those in his unit. He made his men feel like family, earning the call sign Protector 6. During his service, SSG Hartley earned eight Army Commendation Medals; one with valor, two Bronze Stars; one with valor, and two Purple Hearts.
On April 8, 2008, SSG Hartley, 25, died of wounds sustained when an improvised bomb exploded near his vehicle in Kharguliah, Iraq. SSG Hartley was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Benning, GA.
A portion of all sales will be donated on behalf of Jeffery's Gold Star Family to the memorial in Soldier Springs Park in Weatherford, Texas http://www.parkercountymemorial.com/.
SSG Brian Piercy -- was born on March 11, 1983, in Visalia, California and spent the majority of his life growing up in Clovis, CA. In the Army, he was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.
Brian attended Buchanan High school, graduating in 2001. As a student, he played drums in the marching band, loved to play piano and loved his Volkswagen Beetle. He is remembered as a dedicated, gifted student and all-around great guy who was friendly with everybody. After high school, he attended Fresno pacific University for two years where he met his wife.
Brian loved being a soldier and believed in the importance of service to his country and his fellow soldiers. He was known as a man of integrity and was well respected by all those with whom he served, including his superiors. He took his responsibilities seriously, making every effort to always have things "squared away", doing what needed to be done with honor. He proudly served his country through two deployments totaling twenty-seven months as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom. At the time of his death, Brian was less than a month from completing his second tour of duty in Afghanistan, after which he would serve the remaining fifteen months of his enlistment at Fort Bragg.
He died July 19, 2010 in Arghandab River Valley, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device. He is the ninth Clovis resident and the seventh Buchanan High graduate to die in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Proceeds from sales will go to support the non-profit Legacies Alive.
CPT Torre Mallard — Torre was born in Anniston, AL into an Army family. As an Army brat, he called many places home. He developed an outgoing, humorous personality and beamed with an infectious smile that helped him make friends quickly. Despite a lighthearted nature, Torre had a relentless focus on the things that mattered to him: faith, family, academics and his Army career.
Torre attended the United States Military Academy at West Point where he earned a degree in Computer Science. He displayed leadership qualities early, captaining the Sprint Football team during his senior year. While Torre entered the service at a time of peace, he and his classmates observed the events of September 11, 2001 during their senior year. They would become the first class to graduate into an active war in decades. Torre knew exactly what he had signed up for when joining the military and was very proud to serve his country. He considered it a privilege to lead America’s sons and daughters in service.
While stationed at Fort Hood Texas, Torre first deployed to combat as a young Second Lieutenant. He completed his first tour successfully and returned safely with all of his soldiers. He was on a fast-track and was quickly promoted to Captain. He took Troop Command in the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. It was during his second deployment to Iraq that Torre’s vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device. On March 10, 2008, in Balad Ruz, Iraq, Torre paid the ultimate sacrifice when he was killed in action.
Torre was married to the love of his life, Bonita Mallard, and was a devoted, loving father to his two sons, Torre Jr. and Joshua. Proceeds from Captain Mallard’s socks will be donated to help rebuild the Light of the World Church in Slidell, Louisiana, the place where he and Bonita were married.