Monday marks the seventh Memorial Day since the United States invaded Iraq and the eighth since American troops went to war in Afghanistan. At latest count, 4,299 American servicemen and women had lost their lives in Iraq, and another 686 had died in Afghanistan. Since the last Memorial Day, nine Marylanders have been killed in those two wars, four in Iraq and five in Afghanistan.
Two of them were just teenagers. Pvt. Charles Yi Barnett, 19, of Bel Air, was a sweet kid, a mama's boy, who joined the Army shortly after turning 18. His family said he wanted to better himself and go to college in a few years. He died Nov. 20 from non-combat-related injuries in Tallil, Iraq.
Army Pfc. Michael Edward Yates Jr., 19, of Federalsburg was in a military counseling clinic in Baghdad on May 12 when, authorities say, a fellow soldier who had been sent there for treatment opened fire. Yates and four other soldiers were killed. Yates left behind a 1-year-old son.
The oldest Maryland casualty was Marine Col. Michael R. Stahlman, 45, of Chevy Chase. The Naval Academy graduate was serving as a judge advocate general in Iraq and died Oct. 5 from injuries sustained months earlier in Anbar province.
Sgt. James R. McIlvaine, 26, of Olney, died April 30 along with three of his fellow Marines while supporting combat operations in Anbar province. He left behind a wife and two children. "He was full of life," said his grandmother, Patty DeSimone.
The four Maryland deaths in Iraq since last Memorial Day were the fewest the state has seen since that conflict began. However, this year was the state's most costly in Afghanistan.
Army Lt. Col. James J. Walton, 41, of Rockville was killed in Kandahar when his unit encountered a roadside bomb and small arms fire on June 21, just shy of his fourth wedding anniversary. He was a West Point graduate.
Sgt. Ryan P. Baumann's mother said she wasn't at all surprised when he joined the Army - he'd grown up for a time on a military base in Germany. Sgt. Bauman, 24, of Great Mills, was killed Aug. 1, when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device.
Army Staff Sgt. David L. Paquet died while on combat patrol in Afghanistan on Aug. 20. Sgt. Paquet, 26, of Rising Sun, was "one in a million," said his wife, Katie. "There'll never be another Dave."
Capt. Jesse Melton III "was a Marine all the way," said his mother, Janice Chance. Capt. Melton, 29, of Randallstown, was killed Sept. 9 by a roadside bomb while training Afghan soldiers.
Army Capt. Brian M. Bunting, 29, died Feb. 24. The West Point graduate was killed by a roadside bomb while helping train Afghan police. He is survived by his wife, Nicole, and son, Conor.