Military boots with American flags placed in them

 

Written by Jenny Goldade

 

Memorial Day is a time to honor and remember fallen soldiers who fought and died for our country.

 

While many people see it as a day off work to barbecue or go camping, it’s important not to forget about the meaning of the holiday. So remember to take a moment out of your day this Memorial Day to think about the fallen soldiers. After all, they’re the ones who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.

 

Last year we wrote a Memorial Day blog post honoring the most recent military deaths. This year for Memorial Day, we’re honoring more fallen soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country. The following 11 individuals are the most recent military deaths from 2017.

 

Senior Chief Petty Officer Kyle Milliken

Milliken died May 5, 2017, while serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

 

Photo of fallen soldier Kyle Milliken.

Military Times — Senior Chief Petty Officer Kyle Milliken, 38, of Falmouth, Maine, died May 5 in a remote area west of Mogadishu, Somalia. Milliken was assigned to a U.S. East Coast-based special warfare unit. He died during an operation against the Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab.

 

Kyle leaves behind his wife, two children, parents, brother, and extended family and friends. Funds can be donated for his children at the All in All Time Foundation by typing “Milliken Family” in the donation form.

 

1st Lt. Weston C. Lee

Lee died April 29, 2017, while serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

 

Photo of fallen soldier Weston C. Lee.

Military Times — 1st Lt. Weston C. Lee, 25, of Bluffton, Georgia, died April 29 in Mosul, Iraq of injuries while conducting security and assist support to partnered forces. Lee was an infantry officer assigned to 1st Battalion, 325th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

 

Weston leaves behind his parents and extended family and friends.

 

 

Sgt. Joshua P. Rodgers

Rodgers died April 27, 2017, while serving during Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

 

Photo of fallen soldier Joshua P. Rodgers.

Military Times — Sgt. Joshua P. Rodgers, 22, of Bloomington, Illinois, died April 27 in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan as a result of small arms fire while engaged in dismounted operations. Rodgers was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, based at Fort Benning, Georgia.

 

Joshua leaves behind his parents, three siblings, and extended family and friends.

 

 

 

Sgt. Cameron H. Thomas

Thomas died April 27, 2017, while serving during Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

 

Photo of fallen soldier Cameron Thomas.

Military Times — Sgt. Cameron H. Thomas, 23, of Kettering, Ohio, died April 27 in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan as a result of small arms fire while engaged in dismounted operations. Thomas was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, based at Fort Benning, Georgia.

 

Cameron leaves behind his parents, 11 siblings, and extended family and friends.

 

 

 

Staff Sgt. Mark R. De Alencar

De Alencar died April 8, 2017, while serving during Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

 

Photo of fallen soldier Mark R. De Alencar.

Military Times — Staff Sgt. Mark R. De Alencar, 37, of Edgewood, Maryland, died April 8 in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when his unit came into contact with enemy forces using small arms fire during combat operations. Alencar was assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), based at Eglin Air Forces Base, Florida.

 

Mark leaves behind his wife, five children, and extended family and friends.

 

 

Staff Sgt. Austin Bieren

Bieren died March 28, 2017, while serving during Operation Inherent Resolve.

 

Photo of fallen soldier Austin Bieren

Military Times — Staff Sgt. Austin Bieren, 25, of Umatilla, Oregon, died March 28 in northern Syria, in a non-combat related incident while deployed in support of combat operations. Bieren was assigned to the 21st Space Wing based at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.

 

Austin leaves behind his wife, father and stepmother, mother and stepfather, twin brother, sister, and extended family and friends. His family is requesting donations to the “Austin Bieren Memorial Fund” located at any US Bank to make remembrance gifts for his military friends.

 

Sgt. 1st Class Robert R. Boniface

Boniface died March 19, 2017, while serving during Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

 

Photo of fallen soldier Robert R. Boniface.

Military Times — Sgt. 1st Class Robert R. Boniface, 34, of El Centro, California, died March 19 in Afghanistan in a non-combat related incident while deployed in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. Boniface was Special Forces medical sergeant assigned to the 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group based at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

 

Robert leaves behind his wife, daughter, parents, sister, and extended family and friends.

 

 

Pfc. Brian P. Odiorne

Odiorne died February 20, 2017, while serving during Operation Inherent Resolve.

 

Photo of fallen soldier Brian P. Odiorne.

Military Times — Pfc. Brian P. Odiorne, 21, of Ware, Massachusetts, died February 20 in Al Anbar Province, Iraq in a non-combat related incident while supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. Odiorne was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, based at Fort Hood, Texas.

 

Brian leaves behind his father, mother and her fiancé, two half-brothers, and extended family and friends.

 

Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens

Owens died January 29, 2017, while serving during U.S. Central Command Operations.

 

Photo of fallen soldier William "Ryan" Owens.

Military Times — Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens, 36, of Peoria, Illinois, died January 29 of injuries sustained during a raid against al-Qaida in Yemen. Owens was assigned to a U.S. East Coast-based special warfare unit. He became chief petty officer in 2009.

 

William leaves behind his wife, three children, father, and extended family and friends. Funds can be donated for his children at the All in All Time Foundation by typing “Owens Family” in the donation form.

 

Army Spc. John P. Rodriguez

Rodriguez died January 12, 2017, while serving during U.S. Central Command Operations.

 

Photo of fallen soldier John P. Rodriguez.

Military Times — Army Spc. John P. Rodriguez, 23, of Hemet, California, died January 12 while at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait in a non-combat related incident. Rodriguez was assigned to 2nd Engineer Battalion, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, based at Fort Bliss, Texas.

 

John leaves behind his wife, parents, two sisters, brother-in-law, and extended family and friends.

 

 

 

Spc. Isiah L. Booker

Booker died January 7, 2017, while serving during Operation Inherent Resolve.

 

Photo of fallen soldier Isiah L. Booker.

Military Times — Spc. Isiah L. Booker, 23, of Cibolo, Texas, died January 7 in Jordan in a non-combat related incident while operating construction equipment. Booker was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 5th Special Forces group based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He was a military cook and had completed paratrooper training.

 

Isiah leaves behind his parents, three siblings, and extended family and friends. His family is requesting donations in Isiah’s honor to either The Fisher House Foundation, The United Service Organization, or Laus Deus Dance Ministry in Schertz, Texas.

 

These are just some of the many soldiers who gave their lives fighting for our country. On this day, we honor all who lost their lives and thank them for their service.

 

Do you know someone who sacrificed their life for our country? Share their name and information about them in the comments below to honor their memory.