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Thu November 29, 2012
65: The number of Michigan soldiers killed from the war in Afghanistan
This afternoon, Zachary Shanafelt's body will arrive at the Gerald R. Ford airport in Grand Rapids.
Shanafelt's family says they will meet the plane, and there will be a procession to the Pederson Funeral Home in Rockford where a visitation will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. prior to tomorrow's funeral service.
Shanafelt leaves behind his wife, and 13-month old son, according to his obituary.
His son Daniel was truly the “apple of his father’s eye,” and his wife Marina was the “love of his life.” For him to have had that, we are all very humbly grateful.
Shanafelt became the 65th Michigander to die as a result of the war in Afghanistan, according to iCasuaties.org.
The average age of those killed thus far is 26.
160 Michiganders died while serving in the Iraq War with an average age of 27.
In 2012, the following 15 servicemen with ties to Michigan have died in Afghanistan:
Army Spc. Zachary Shanafelt, 24, of Grand Rapids died Nov. 21, 2012, at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington of injuries he sustained in a 2011 accident while serving as a combat medic in Afghanistan's Fariyab province.
Army Sgt. Robert J. Billings, 30, a 2001 graduate of Morley-Stanwood High School in Mecosta County, Mich., and a resident of Clarksville, Va., died Oct. 13 when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device in Spin Boldak, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
Army Pfc. Shane W. Cantu, 20, of Corunna died Aug. 28 in Charkh of wounds suffered when he was hit by shrapnel. Cantu was assigned to 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Caserma Ederle, Vicenza, Italy.
Navy Petty Officer David J. Warsen, 27, of Kentwood was among seven Americans and four Afghans killed in a Black Hawk helicopter crash northeast of Kandahar, Afghanistan, on Aug. 16. He was assigned to a West Coast-based naval Special warfare unit.
Army 1st Lt. Todd Lambka, 25, of Fraser died Aug. 1, in Paktika province from injuries suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated. Lambka was assigned to 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kan.
Army Spc. Kyle McClain, 25, of Macomb County's Shelby Township, died Aug. 1, in Salim Aka. McClain was assigned to 1433rd Engineer Company, 507th Engineer Battalion, 177th Military Police Brigade in Kalamazoo.
Marine Gunnery Sgt. Daniel J. Price, 27, died July 29 while conducting combat operations in Badghis province. The military listed his hometown as Holland, and his parents live in the Zeeland area nearby. He was assigned to 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion at Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Marine Sgt. Justin M. Hansen, 26, of Traverse City was killed July 24 in combat operations in Badghis province. He was part of the 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion from Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Army Staff Sgt. Matthew J. Leach, 29, of Ferndale died June 26 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The cause of death wasn't immediately announced. He was part of the 1/334th Regiment, 1st Brigade, 104th Training Division based in Fraser.
Army Staff Sgt. Robert A. Massarelli, 32, a 1998 graduate of East Kentwood High School in Kentwood, was killed June 24 in an explosion in Kandahar. His parents live in Hamilton, Ohio. He was part of the 96th Transportation Company from Fort Hood, Texas.
Marine Pfc. Steven P. Stevens II, 23, of Detroit died June 22 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province. He was assigned to the 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Army Sgt. Joseph Lilly, 25, of Flint died June 14 from injuries he sustained June 12 when he was hit by an improvised explosive device while on patrol in Afghanistan. He was a combat engineer serving with the 18th Engineer Company from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
Army Spc. Vilmar Galarza Hernandez, 21, of Salinas, Calif., died May 26 in in Kandahar province when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. His wife is from Muskegon, Mich. He was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment of the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the 2nd Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state.
Army Capt. Bruce Kevin Clark, 43, a former resident of Spencerport, N.Y, and Addison, Mich., died May 1 in Tarin Kowt. He was a nurse assigned to A Company, Troop Command at William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, Texas. His wife was in Texas chatting with him via Skype when he collapsed.
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Matthew S. Schwartz, 34, of Traverse City was killed Jan. 5 along with two other airmen when insurgents attacked their vehicle with an improvised explosive device in Helmand province. He was part of the 90th Civil Engineer Squadron from F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo.