31 random men and women who signed up at anysoldier are now gone from this world.
31 families are missing a loved one.
31 units are still mourning the loss of their brothers- and sisters too.
31 out of the 3,000-plus dead in Iraq and Afghanistan were anysoldier contacts.
The oldest was 51; the youngest, 18. Two have been women, including the 2nd-youngest, SPC Carrie French, who was only 19. (you may recognize her name for other reasons- Fred Phelps and his so-called church staged a protest at her funeral, one of the first that made national headlines)
I remember the first one lost at anysoldier. CW2 Travis Grogan was 31 years old when his helicopter crashed in Bamian, AFG, almost exactly 2 years ago. I remember sending Marty an email, thanking him for reporting the loss. I remember how emotional it was to lose an anysoldier contact- even one I'd never had contact with.
It wasn't easy two years ago, and it isn't any easier today. But I'm just as supportive, and just as proud of them now as I was back then.
Rest in peace, Mike. Your fellow Marines will carry on the fight for now.