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In memoriam: Remembering the Gwinnett troops who have died since 9/11

A look at the lives and deaths of 22 troops with Gwinnett ties killed since the 9/11 attacks thrust the nation into a war on terrorism.

Pfc. Brian Marshall Smith, 21

Died June, 17, 2005, at Camp Lejeune, N.C., while preparing for a basic reconnaissance course for the Marines.

A third generation military man, Smith was a 2002 Central Gwinnett High School grad.

Cpl. William Alfred Long, 26

Died June 18, 2005, in Baqubah, Iraq, a day after his Humvee was attacked by enemy forces using rocket-propelled grenades

A Shiloh and Berkmar High attendee, Long had been assigned to the Honor Guard at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, participating in more than 700 military funerals before re-enlisting and being sent to Iraq. He is interred in Arlington National Cemetery.

Sgt. 1st Class Charles Houghton Warren, 36

Died Aug. 3, 2005, at Camp Striker outside of Baghdad, Iraq, at a traffic checkpoint when a vehicle-born IED detonated near his personnel carrier.

The pediatric intensive care nurse who lived in Duluth would have celebrated his sixth wedding anniversary on the day of his funeral. He left behind a 22-month-old son and a 6-week-old daughter who was born while he was deployed.

Sgt. Paul Anthony Saylor, 21

Died Aug. 15, 2005, in Al Mahmudiyah, Iraq, when he Humvee accidentally rolled over into a canal. The Bremen native moved to Norcross to be close to his fiance.

Sgt. Michael James Stokely, 23

Died Aug. 16, 2005, in Baghdad, Iraq, after stepping on an improvised explosive device.

The Bronze Star recipient attended Rebecca Minor Elementary School in Duluth before going on to graduate from Loganville High School. He married his high school sweetheart Niki Yancey 10 days before his deployment to Iraq.

Sgt. 1st Class Lonnie James Parson, 39

Died Sept. 2, 2005, in Baghdad, Iraq, when his Bradley Fighting Vehicle was struck by an enemy explosive device

The Alabama native lived in Norcross when he enlisted in the Army in 1988. Parson was a Calvalry Scout who performed reconnaissance-type missions during two tours in Iraq as well as Operation Desert Storm. He was awarded the Silver Star "for gallantry in action" in the mission where Saddam Hussein was captured. During the end of his first rotation in Iraq, his stepson's tour was beginning, allowing the two to spend a few days together in Kuwait.

Staff Sgt. Philip Lamar Travis, 41

Died Dec. 2, 2005, in Tallil, Iraq, when his truck accidentally turned over.

The Louisiana native lived in Snellville when he was deployed. The Bronze Star recipient was the father of a 16-year-old and enjoyed helping the children of Iraq and giving them gifts.

Lance Cpl. Kun Young Kim, 20

Died April 2, 2006, in Al Anbar Province, Iraq alongside two other Marines when a roadside bomb exploded near their Humvee.

The Korea native grew up in DeKalb and Gwinnett counties. He had attended Norcross High School and lived in Norcross when he was deployed. He was serving his second tour in Iraq.

Pfc. Kenneth E. "Aaron" Kincaid IV, 25

Died Sept. 23, 2006, in Riyadh, Iraq, when an IED detonated near his Humvee.

The Lilburn resident, who graduated from Faith Academy, left behind a wife and two daughters. The Five Forks Trickum Road bridge over the Yellow River is named in his honor.

Lance Cpl. Stephen Franklin Johnson, 20

Died Oct. 6, 2006, in the Al Anbar Province of Iraq while conducting combat operations against enemy forces.

As a sophomore in high school, Johnson wrote that "patriotism is one of the most important laws of life." A Pope High School graduate who moved to Dacula, he quoted John F. Kennedy in a letter to his family: "It is not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."

Sgt. Michael Rijn Hullender, 29

Died April 28, 2007, in Iskandariyah, Iraq, when he stepped on a roadside bomb while working as a medic preparing injured soldiers for medical air transport.

The Norcross High graduated parachuted with other soldiers into Afghanistan soon after the Sept. 11 attacks, earning a Bronze Star. The Army Ranger and medic was planning a June 2008 wedding with his fiance Kyle Harper.

Staff Sgt. Stephen John Wilson, 28

Died June 20, 2007 in Saqlawiyah, Iraq while conducting combat operations.

The Duluth athlete who participated in soccer, hockey and, after he moved to California, bull riding. He served in Japan, Finland and the Ivory Coast before volunteering for deployment to Iraq.

Spec. Cristian Rojas-Gallego, 24

Died Aug. 2, 2007, in Baghdad Iraq, of wounds sustained when an IED detonated near his vehicle.

The Colombia native was working to become a United States citizen at the time of his death. He served three tours in Iraq as a Marine, then re-enlisted in the Army. The Phoenix High School graduate was a new father to a 10-week-old son.

Spec. Christopher Gabriel Patton, 21

Died Sept. 1, 2007, outside Baghdad, Iraq, while conducting routine patrol.

The 2005 Central Gwinnett grad had been involved in drama and football. He was inspired by the Sept. 11 attacks to join the Army as an infantryman.

Sgt. 1st Class Donald Theronnie Tabb, 29

Died Feb. 5, 2008, in Sangin, Afghanistan, after his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device.

Serving his fourth deployment, the Lawrenceville man worked with a military dog named "Bo." In a ceremony at the Gwinnett Fallen Heroes Memorial, Tabb's brother Willie Smith adopted Bo.

Cpl. Jonathan Ryan Ayers, 24

Died July 13, 2008, in Wanat in Kunar Province in Eastern Aghanistan, along with eight other soldiers, in an intense firefight when hundreds of insurgents attempted to overrun a newly built U.S. Army outpost.

The Snellville resident died three weeks before he was due to arrive home in Georgia. Ayers was posthumously awarded the Silver Star, and the intersection of U.S. Highway 78 and Killian Hill/Bethany Church Road was named in his honor.

Cryptologic Technician Third Class Petty Officer Matthew James O'Bryant, 22

Died Sept. 20, 2008, in Islamabad, Pakistan, when a suicide bomber rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into the Marriott Hotel, killing 53.

The Alabama native who lived in Duluth studied to be a movie producer at the Art Institute of Atlanta. He had been overseas less than 30 days, working to install, configure and repair computers, network hardware and software systems.

1st Sgt. John David Blair, 38

Died June 20, 2009, in Mado Zayi, Afghanistan, when a rocket-propelled grenade tore through the armored vehicle where he was a gunner.

A member of Lawrenceville's National Guard unit, Blair had served as a Gordon County sheriff's deputy and was attached to the local drug task force as part of the Georgia Army National Guard's counter-drug operations. He was a father of two and a grandfather.

Staff Sgt. Alex French IV, 31

Died Sept. 30, 2009, in Kwhost, Afghanistan, when enemy forces attacked his unit using an ID.

Originally inspired by his love for the cartoon character Popeye to join the Navy, French later joined the Amry National Guard as he worked for the Bibb County Sheriff's Office. A father to twins and another child, French earned good conduct medals and commendations from both the Army and the Navy, as well as a Bronze Star.

Lance Cpl. Joseph "Ryan" Giese, 24

Died Jan. 7, 2011, in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan when an IED was triggered during combat operations.

The former Lawrenceville resident met his wife Brittany when he insisted she give him a military haircut at a hair salon. She botched the job but won over the man. Giese died three weeks before he was set to come home and celebrate their first wedding anniversary.