Grand Islanders
In The Service 2006

Previous In The Service Pages

   This page is for the purpose of posting news and addresses of Island
residents who are serving our country in the military.
Be sure to click back to the original page -
In The Service Page
In The Service Page 2
where the bulk of the submissions and entries are located.

Feel free to add to this new page by emailing to

News and photos may be email to

News and photos may also be dropped off at the office
1871 Whitehaven Road (between Hairitage Hair Salon and DeSignet Jewelry)

Service Persons from Grand Island, New York

Click "Service Person From Grand Island"

Service Persons from Grand Island, New York

By Rank, Name, Service Branch
Ranks will be updated as submitted. The goal of the list is to include only Grand Island, NY residents.
Corrections are welcome
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In The Service

Add Your Loved One's Address - December 2006
   Readers, we need your help! If you are the parent or spouse of, or closely related to an Islander who is serving his/her country, please forward information to us so that others may write to them and boost their spirits as they fight for our freedom.
   Send us a photo of your serviceperson in uniform with his/her rank and service, full name, where stationed, year graduated from Grand Island High School if this applies, and an address (email and/or U.S. mail) where we may write and let them know how proud we all are that they have volunteered to protect our country. Information may be mailed to or sent through by U.S. mail C/O Teddy Linenfelser -, 1871 Whitehaven Road, Grand Island, NY 14072.
   For this column to work, it is also very important that servicemen and women and their families update the biographies and especially the mailing addresses and ranks that have previously been submitted. Changes sent to will be made immediately.

EM2 Kristopher Bennett - December 2006

Click photo for larger view

   EM2 Kristopher Bennett was recently deployed for a 6-month mission aboard the submarine USS Greenville. Kristopher, a member of the Grand Island High School Class of 2000, is pictured saying good bye to his daughter, Skyler Phoenix.
Posted December 14, 2006

Staff Sergeant Brent Helman To Deploy To Iraq - 2006

   Dec. 2006 . . .Staff Sergeant Brent Helman is in the final stages for a 10-month deployment to Iraq. His team will depart Ramstein AB Germany in the beginning of January 2007 for two months on ILO or "In Lieu Of" training at Fort Dix, NJ. ILO missions are those primarily filled by the US Army, but have asked the US Air Force to help fill in their troop numbers. Then in March 2007 his team will proceed directly to Iraq to run convoys, route sweeps and town patrol with the US Army. The exact location in Iraq is classified until the team arrives. His team is not due back in Germany until October 1, 2007.
Grand Island High School Class of 2001
Posted Thursday, December 14, 2006

Tokash Promoted - November 2006

William Tokash (right) with Battalion Executive Officer MAJ Eric Ogborn.
Click photo for larger view
   CW3 William J. Tokash Jr., U. S. Army, was promoted to Chief Warrant Officer 3 on September 1, 2006. Bill, a member of the Grand Island High School Class of 1987, joined the Army in 1992. He has been stationed in Bamberg, Germany for the past three years and will move to Fort Campbell, Kentucky around Christmas 2006. Bill, who served in Iraq, was the recipient of a Bronze Star Medal in 2004, "For exceptionally meritorious achievement while assigned as a personal security officer for the Director, Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom."
Posted November 28, 2006

Help Us Update Our Troops List - Send New Addresses For Holiday Mailing - 2006

   November 2006 . . .From time to time since 2003 has provided information about Islanders serving our country here and overseas. To help us keep addresses and information up-to-date, especially at this holiday time of year, we ask that you take the time to send us current information and U.S. mailing and email addresses to
   For those submitting articles to this page, be sure to include the service person's rank, service and year entered (Army, Navy etc.), location, graduation year from Grand Island High School, and parents' or spouse's names (optional). Photos (in uniform) may be included.

2LT Erin M. Fred - August 2006

   The Department of the Army has awarded the Army Commendation Medal to 2LT Erin M. Fred of Bravo Company, Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 2d Infantry Division, Camp Hovey, Korea, for meritorious and outstanding service while serving as the small extension node platoon leader. The award was presented on July 10, 2006 by Christopher E. Queen, Colonel, Armor Commanding.
   According to the certificate, "2Lt. Fred's leadership ability and exemplary professionalism led to her teams earning the right to call themselves the best SEN team in the division. Her unrivaled leadership is in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflects great credit upon her, the 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion, the 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, the 2d Infantry Division and the United States Army." Erin, who has been serving our country in South Korea with the 2nd Infantry Division of the U. S. Army Signal Corps, is the daughter of Joan and Skip Fred and the late Marsha Fred of Grand Island.
Grand Island High School Class of 2000
Posted October 5, 2006

Staff Sergeant Brent Helman To Deploy To Iraq - 2006

   Sept. 2006 . . .SSgt Brent Helman is preparing for a deployment to an undisclosed location in Iraq.
He is set to deploy in late February to run convoy operations with the U.S. Army. His home station is Ramstein AB, Germany.
Grand Island High School Class of 2001
Posted Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Air Force Airman Brian Judkins - August 2006

Current Address - November 2006
A1C Brian Judkins
49 Spruce St.
PFC #939
Langley AFB VA 23665

   Air Force Airman Brian Judkins recently graduated from Basic Training in Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas. His mother and his girlfriend, Alicia Neutz, went to Texas for the graduation ceremony. Currently attending Security Forces Technical School at Lackland AFB, he is due to graduate in October. He will be home on Grand Island for two weeks before heading to Langley AFB, Virginia. Brian followed the family tradition of joining the Air Force just like his dad, mom and older brother, Bill Gormady, did. Brian is the son of Jimmy and Mary Judkins of Grand Island.
Grand Island High School Class of 2005
Posted August 31, 2006

STS2 Sonar Technician Jeff Wansart
   Jeff Wansart is currently serving a six-year enlistment in the United States Navy as an STS2 Sonar Technician aboard the USS Texas which is the newest submarine to the United States Navy. Construction of the USS Texas was completed a few months ago and it is being commissioned in Galveston, Texas in September 2006. Jeff and his wife, Elizabeth, and children, Gabriel Lawrence, 2, and Jeffrey Scott, 1, will be relocating to Whidbey Island, Washington State where Jeff will serve three more years of shore duty.
Grand Island High School Class of 1999
Posted August 31, 2006

Seaman Apprentice E2 D. J. Foote - Naval Basic Training Graduate - August 2006

   D.J. Foote, son of former Islanders Dana and Dave Foote of Nokomis, Florida, graduated from Great Lakes Naval Base in Great Lakes, Illinois on Friday, August 18, 2006. He completed basic training and is now in A School studying engine room engineering and firefighting. Along with his parents and brother Ryan, attending his graduation were Islanders Marie Long (aunt) and grandmother Nancy Hayes. D.J. follows in the footsteps of his cousin, Bryan Smith, who joined the Navy in 2003.
Posted August 24, 2006

Mother Of Marine Addresses Media Coverage Of Iraq War - May 2006

Robert F. Buzby Jr., Lieutenant Colonel, USMC, is shown in front of Saddam Hussien's seized bombers at Camp Fallujah - Click photo for larger view

by Judy Buzby

   Why are we being given the negative news about Iraq, in print, on television, and on the web? This irresponsible and biased reporting is truly doing a disservice to our brave men and women who are bringing a new standard of living to the Iraqi people and who are risking their lives for our country’s ideals. This past month has brought us very negative news about the strife in Iraq. With the anniversary of the war, and the talk of Civil War, we were inundated with news that was very discouraging.
   As the mother of Lieutenant Colonel Robert Buzby, USMC, who is serving in Iraq, I began to feel that he put himself in danger for people who do not want us there and are actively seeking to send us home. Several weeks ago I received the following letter from my son in Fallujah with an article, by Ralph Peters, attached. Rob has helped me feel much better about what is going on in the country and how the people are reacting to our presence. Hopefully this letter and the comments from Ralph Peters will help others who have become disenchanted with our presence in Iraq.
   "I have gotten quite a few notes from yašll asking how things are going. Thanks for taking the time. I have got to say we have had a relatively quiet first (7) weeks out here.
   "Typically, I have been politically agnostic about some of the stuff I have read but Jen (my wife) sent me an article from Yahoo that got me a little frustrated last night. It appears that the news back home (and on the web) is rife with talk of civil war as the political process marches closer to a democracy here. Every now and again I spend time talking to the Iraqi interpreters that we employ here. When I asked them last week about a possible civil war they told me that the Iraqis they speak to daily have said that since the bombing in Samarra, the local Imams in Fallujah and Ramadi have told Sunnišs to show support for Shia by praying in Shia Mosques and vice versa. This show of support is taking place. They also tell me that, to a tee, most Iraqis they speak with do not believe there will be a civil war. Here is the best article that I have found that helps with clarity here.
   "Hope this finds you well. S/F, Buzz"

Click "DUDE, WHERE'S MY CIVIL WAR?" for the New York Post online edition of Ralph Peters' story.

Links for more information on the War in Iraq:
Operation Iraqi Freedom official website of the Multi National Force. Interesting articles about US/Iraqi co-operation. Gives an Operations summary of the week for all joint forces advances against the insergents. ("insergents" - dictionary states: "nonbilligerant revolt against government or civil authority. Terriorist "one who uses terrror, violence, and intimidation to achieve an end.")
The official Marine website that Lt. Col. Robert Buzby helps manage. Click on the Eagle and Cresent, to access the on-line newsletter that tells what the Marines are doing for Operation Freedom.
Articles about what the U.S. Army is doing in Iraq.
Articles and Fact Sheets that give the history of "Operation Iraqi Freedom" for the last three years.

Lt. Col. Robert Buzby is a graduate of Grand Island High School, Class of 1983 and resides in San Diego, CA with his family. He who will be at home in California for a month in June/July and then returns to Falluja until Thanksgiving. For more information about what the Marines are doing in Iraq, click, a link forwarded to his family by Lt. Col. Rob Buzby.
   The author, Judy Buzby, appeared on "Crossroads," on Channel 13, Adelphia on Thursday, May 18, 2006 when she discussed her opinion about the media coverage of the war. Click for "Previous Stories & Family Photos."
Posted Tuesday, May 22, 2006

Airman Brent M. Helman Promoted To Staff Sergeant - 2006

   May 2005 . . .Brent M. Helman, on April 19, 2006, arrived at Ramstein Air Base, Germany to begin a two-year tour of duty. He PCS'd from Osan AB, Korea where he was stationed on a one-year remote tour at the end of March. While on Consecutive Overseas Tour leave back on Grand Island, Brent was promoted to the rank of SSgt/E-5 and now joins the Air Force's corps of Non-Commissioned Officers. "Germany is extremely beautiful, unfortunately I won't be able to spend much time here. Our Ops tempo is extremely high, so I'll be heading down range," Brent wrote to While stationed at Osan, SSgt Helman distinguished himself as a Security Forces Desk Sergeant and his quick and decisive actions and control helped save the life of an Airman who attempted suicide, earning him his second Air Force Achievement Medal. While at home base on Ramstein, SSgt Helman will pick up where he left off as a Security Forces Patrolman/Desk Sergeant. Once again, SSgt Helman would like to thank all the Island's residents for their unwavering love and support.
Posted Tuesday, May 22, 2006

1st Lieutenant Sarah McMahon - May 2006

U.S. Mailing Address
130th EN BDE
APO AE 09391

Email Address
   1st Lieutenant Sarah McMahon, United States Army, is currently serving in Balad, Iraq. Sarah graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2004 and received her commission as a 2nd Lieutenant through the Reserve Officer Training Corps Program at the University of Notre Dame in May 2004. She graduated from the Engineer Officer Basic Course at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo in January 2005 and was recently promoted to 1st Lieutenant while deployed at Camp Victory, Baghdad, Iraq. Sarah will be home on Grand Island May 13th through the 28th for two weeks of R&R and is scheduled to return to Hanau, Germany in late September.
Holy Angels High School Class of 2000
Posted Tuesday, May 9, 2006

SrA/E-4 Christopher Wright, USAF

U.S. Mailing Address
Christopher D. Wright, SrA, USAF

Luke AFB, AZ 85309
Email Address
    SrA/E-4 Christopher Wright writes: "This is SrA Christopher Wright from Iraq. I am currently deployed with the 886th ESFS for about six months. I should be here till about mid September or so. I am still originally out of the 56th Fighter Wing in Phoenix AZ. Not too bad here so far. I can't tell you exactly where I am at, due to security reasons. We did lose one of our guys during training. His name was SrA Leonard Hankerson."
Grand Island High School Class of 2003
Posted April 5, 2006

From Iraq To Grand Island: Thank You
Lt. Colonel Terrence Crowe Remembered, Appreciated - 2006

(Posted at Channel 2 News - February 22, 2006)

   The 98th Army Division is headquartered in Rochester. "A lot of our soldiers are looking at this and are really honored and touched by such a letter," says Maj. James Lincoln, General Staff Secretary of the 98th Division.
   The letter is from the mayor of Tal' Afar, Iraq. It says in part, "Courageous men and women ... are avenging angels sent by the God himself to fight the evil of terrorism."
   Lt. Colonel Terrence Crowe of Grand Island was from the 98th Division, and trained the Iraqi military in Tal' Afar. "It made me feel better," his mother Mary Ann tells us. "At least, what they were doing there was appreciated," she says. Her son Terry was killed last June. In Tal' Afar.
   "Terry would have been happy that the mission was accomplished," says his father, George, also a military man. He and Mary Ann consider the letter an affirmation of their son's devotion to duty.
   The mayor's letter also said, "From the bottom of our hearts, we thank the families. They have given us something we will never forget."
   We asked George Crowe, "How do you take this letter, is it an attempt to express gratitude, or is it something else?"
   "I think the mayor was expressing gratitude, but he was also, in effect, asking, I believe, that the 3rd Calvary regiment (to which my son was attached) be extended in his area, and I don't believe that occurred."
   In fact, the unit was disengaged from Tal' Afar. The letter might have been both an expression of gratitude and a cry for help, more help from the US military.
   At Rochester Airport last November, the 98th Division paid tribute to the unit's fallen, in a Veterans Day ceremony. A band played solemnly, and the narrator read: "Lt. Col. Terrence Crowe, Grand Island, New York. Killed in action on June 7th, 2005, Tal' Afar."
   In that ceremony, George Crowe saw his son in a new light. "I saw Terry taking his role really, in the Division's history," he says.
   "You're thinking about posterity and his legacy?" we ask.
   "Yes, indeed," comes the reply.
   It's a legacy that's now written in part, in a letter from the mayor of an Iraqi city Terry Crowe tried to save.

Capt. John E. Lechner - Feb. 2006
   Capt. John E. Lechner, United States Air Force, is currently stationed in Baghdad for six months.
His family is now in Mannheim, Germany. He has been in the service since he graduated in 1986
and is currently with the 4th Sqd. Air Support Operation Squadron.
John was an enlisted man for 17 years before he became an officer.
Grand Island High School Class of 1986
Posted Monday, February 13, 2006

Robert F. Buzby Jr. Lieutenant Colonel, USMC
To Return To Camp Fallujah - 2006

Group photo shows Rob Buzby's father, Bob; his mother-in-law Kathy Clark; Rob; his mother, Judy Buzby;
and father-in-law Ron Clark; (front) Rob's daughters Charlotte, Maddy and Kate and his wife, Jennifer.
The photo on the right shows Rob's wife, Jennifer, and their children, Kate, 4; Charlotte, 2 and Maddy, 7.
Click photos for larger view

(For Rob's complete biography, scroll down to article below)
   February 2, 2006 . . .LtCol Rob Buzby, United States Marines, has returned to Fallujah this week and will remain there for seven months. His wife, Jennifer and three daughters remain in San Diego. This is his 3rd deployment since the War started and the second time in Fallujah. Before leaving, Rob told his parents, he will be "in the rear, with the gear." Rob was recentlly promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.
   For previous stories on Lt Col Rob Buzby, click "December 9, 2004" and "December 30, 2004"
Grand Island High School Class of 1983
Posted Thursday, February 2, 2006

SrA/E-4 Christopher Wright, USAF

U.S. Mailing Address
Christopher D. Wright, SrA, USAF

Luke AFB, AZ 85309
Email Address
    SrA/E-4 Christopher Wright writes that since the last time he emailed, he has met the President of the United States in August, was promoted to SrA/E-4, and is about to deploy to Iraq in February for about six months. Chris was also overseas from September 2004 to March 2005. At this writing, he is still stationed out of Luke AFB in Phoenix AZ.
Grand Island High School Class of 2003
Posted January 11, 2006

SGM Wesley W. Schutt
SGM Wesley W. Schutt - United States Army

Click photo for larger view
Click photo links below

Wes Schutt In Afghanistan
Wes Schutt - Russian tank ruins
207th RCAG
Herat, Afghanistan
APO AE 09354
DSN: 231-7471
Sergeant Major Wes Schutt is in the Army National Guard, serving a year's service in Afghanistan. He is teaching the locals how to defend and protect their country and helping restore some form of civil life for them. Born on Grand Island in 1967, he moved with his family to Florida at the age of three. His family, wife, Jennifer, and daughters, Natalie and Katie, is in Clermont, Florida. Wesley is the son of former residents Fred Schutt of Montana and Paula Clements Kelso of Florida
Posted January 4, 2006

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