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Bios of Oklahoma soldiers killed during the war on terrorism

Fifteen soldiers who fought for the Oklahoma National Guard have been killed during the war on terrorism, which began shortly after Sept. 11, 2001.
By Andrew Knittle, Staff Writer Published: April 21, 2014
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Fifteen soldiers who fought for the Oklahoma National Guard have been killed during the war on terrorism, which began shortly after terrorists hijacked four commercial airliners and flew three of them into high-profile targets on the East Coast on Sept. 11, 2001. With the exception of one, all of the soldiers were killed in 2011. All were killed in Afghanistan, mostly by improvised explosive devices, or IEDs. The soldiers, many of them with families, are:

Sgt. Anthony Del Mar Peterson, of Chelsea, died Aug. 4, 2011, in Zurmat District, Paktya Province, Afghanistan, when insurgents attacked his unit with “small arms fire,” records provided by the Army show. Peterson, 24, joined the Oklahoma National Guard in December 2003. He was first deployed to Afghanistan from February 2006 through June 2007, serving as an infantryman.

In June 2011, Peterson deployed for a second time to Afghanistan, serving as a fire team leader. He was killed roughly two months after he arrived back in the combat zone. Peterson had a son, Dakota.

Sgt. Bret Daniel Isenhower, of Seminole, died Sept. 9, 2011, in Zurmat District, Paktya Province, Afghanistan, when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire. Isenhower, 26, enlisted in the Oklahoma National Guard in November 2006. He served a tour in Iraq, from October 2007 through October 2008, as an infantryman. He deployed for a second and final time in June 2011, serving as a scout. Isenhower, who had no wife or children at the time of this death, had been in the combat zone for about three months when he was killed.

Spc. Christopher Drew Gailey, of Collinsville, died Nov. 1, 2011, in Paktya Province, when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device. Gailey had first enlisted in the Oklahoma National Guard in June 2004. He served his first combat tour in Iraq, from October 2007 through October 2008. He died about five months after he arrived in Afghanistan. Gailey had a wife, Courtney, and a daughter, Allison. He was promoted to sergeant after his death.

Pfc. Sarina Nicole Butcher, of Checotah, died Nov. 1, 2011, in Paktya Province, when her vehicle struck an improvised explosive device. Butcher, who was only 19 when she died, joined the Oklahoma National Guard in April 2010. She was deployed to Afghanistan in June 2011 as a material control and accounting specialist.

Butcher left behind a daughter, Zoey. In death, Butcher held two dubious distinctions. According to the Army, she was the first woman serving in the Oklahoma National Guard to be killed during wartime. Butcher also is the state’s youngest guard member to die during the war on terrorism.

Spc. Christopher David Horton, of Tulsa, died Sept. 9, 2011, in Paktya Province, when insurgents attacked his unit using small weapons. Horton, 26, enlisted in the Oklahoma National Guard in March 2008. His first and only combat tour began in June 2011. A trained sniper, Horton had been in the Afghanistan combat zone for about three months at the time of his death. Horton had a wife, Jane.

Staff Sgt. Kirk Avery Owen, of Sapulpa, died Aug. 2, 2011, in Paktya Province, when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device.

Owen, 37, first enlisted in the Oklahoma National Guard in September 2004. He had completed a tour of duty in Iraq, from October 2007 through October 2008, before his final deployment in Afghanistan. His final deployment came in June 2011 as a scout team leader. Owen left behind a wife, Tiffany, and two daughters, Kylie and Kayci.

Spc. Joshua Michael Seals, of Porter, died Aug. 16, 2011, in Paktya Province, in a a non-combat related accident, according to the Army. Seals, who was just 21 when he died, enlisted in the Oklahoma National Guard shortly after graduating from high school, in August 2008. He deployed to Afghanistan in June 2011 as a supply vehicle driver. Seals had been deployed in the Afghanistan combat zone for only a few weeks at the time of his death.

Spc. Francisco Javier Briseno-Alvarez Jr., of Oklahoma City, died on Sept. 25, 2011, in Laghman Province, after insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. Briseno-Alvarez, 27, had enlisted in the Oklahoma National Guard just a year before he was killed in action. He’d been in the combat zone for about three months before he was killed. A native of Mexico, Briseno-Alvarez graduated from U.S. Grant High School in Oklahoma City in 2003.

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