The war in Afghanistan claimed five from the Inland Northwest over the last year, lives lost to armed conflict in places most of us never heard of and probably can’t pronounce. Zharay. Zerok. Chaldovar.
Army Spc. Jarrod Lallier, a Mead High School graduate who loved animals and ran in Bloomsday, was killed just weeks before his 21st birthday when insurgents dressed as Afghan police turned their guns on his unit in Zharay, Kandahar province.
Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Stiltz, 26, talked about joining the military before graduating from Shadle Park High School and loved it so much that one family member expected him to stay in the service “until he was old and gray.” He survived two tours in Iraq, but died of wounds from an artillery attack on his unit in Zerok, in eastern Afghanistan, about 12 miles from the Pakistan border.
Capt. Mark Voss and Capt. Victoria Pinckney, U.S. Air Force Academy classmates who were both 27, and Tech Sgt. Herman “Tre” Mackey III, 30, were a Fairchild Air Force Base tanker crew whose plane exploded in midair over Kyrgyzstan and crashed near the foothills town of Chaldovar, not far from Kazakhstan. While only Pinckney listed Spokane as home for her, her husband and her infant son, Fairchild is such an integral part of the community that the rare loss of a tanker crew is felt throughout the Spokane region and we list all three in our annual Memorial Day tribute to the Inland Northwest’s fallen.