Each Memorial Day we try to focus on the lives of a small number of individuals who gave their lives for our country, and whose stories we have followed for several years. In this way we put human faces and life stories honoring all those who paid the ultimate price.

Click on each hyperlinked heading for prior posts about the person.

CIA Officer Johnny “Mike” Spann


[CIA Officer Johnny “Mike” Spann on horseback in Afghanistan]

Last Memorial Day we noted the unfortunate news that ‘American Taliban’ John Walker Lindh was released from prison.

In November 2019, the Washington Post had a story about Mike Spann’s son Jake, who was just 6 mos. old when his father was killed. There has been almost nothing written about Jake previously.

Jake knows his loss is different from theirs — and different from that of his sisters, Alison, 27, a television anchor in Mississippi, and Emily, 22, a senior at Auburn University.
“It’s tricky and confusing to think about these experiences at the funeral or with my dad, which I really can’t describe as ‘experiences’ because I haven’t retained those memories,” Jake said. “A lot of sadness comes from just growing up wondering what it all would have been like. You feel kind of robbed of that emotional catharsis that comes with mourning.”


Lt. Roslyn Schulte

A few days ago, an article about Schulte was published by Jeffrey Blonder in the Jewish Journal, Remembering a chance encounter with a Jewish war hero:

May 20 marks the 11th anniversary of the death of Air Force First Lieutenant Roslyn L. Schulte. She was killed by a roadside bomb while traveling to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. She was only 25 and was the first female graduate of the Air Force Academy to die in combat.

Her death has had a profound effect on me over the years. I met her briefly the day before she was killed, and did not know her name until after she died.

In 2008, I was mobilized to Camp Mike Spann near Mazār-i-Sharīf in northern Afghanistan for a period of 15 months. I was assigned to the base as a Navy reservist and my mission was to be a combat adviser to the Afghanistan National Army. I was also the senior enlisted leader for the Navy personnel on base….

When I got to the staging point, I noticed three unfamiliar faces. I was curious why they were on the base so I went over and started a conversation with them. One of the people was Lt. Schulte….

Read the rest. Note she was posted to Camp Mike Spann, which was named after Johnny “Mike” Spann. Small world.

Cpl. Jonathan Daniel Porto

Be sure to reread the post at Legal Insurrection by Cpl. Porto’s wife, I am proud to be the widow of Cpl Jonathan Daniel Porto, USMC.

I found this video of Cpl. Porto’s return home, I don’t think I’d seen it before.

Capt. Billie Taylor Presson

Christopher David Horton

Be sure to reread the post at Legal Insurrection by Jane Horton, “My husband, like many fallen service members, would want to see you live”.

Cornell Class of 1944


The fallen, known and unknown

May their memories be a blessing.


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