Maintenance Technician 3rd Class, Kenneth Eugene Clodfelter, 21, of Mechanicsville,
Va., was planning to sign up for another tour of duty in January. He was
the father of a 2-year-old boy, Noah. Clodfelter graduated from Lee-Davis
High School in Mechanicsville in 1997, and was described as a good student
who wrestled and played football. "He was a loving father who had patience
with his baby like you wouldn't believe," said his father-in-law, Kenneth
Andrews. "He could play with him all day long."
HT3 Clodfelter has been posthumously promoted to HT2.
Technician Chief Petty Officer Richard Costelow, 35, was from Morrisville,
Pa., a blue-collar suburb across the Delaware River from Trenton, N.J.
His wife and three children had been staying at the Patuxent River Naval
Air Station in Lexington Park, Md. One of his teachers and coaches
from Morrisville's high school remembered Costelow vividly. "He gave 100
percent everyday. That kind of kid doesn't come along too often," said
Bernard Derby. Ivan Colon, 35, graduated with Costelow and remembers him
as a prankster who wasn't afraid to be the brunt of jokes. "People say
there's always a bad side to everyone - I can't find one in him," Colon
said. Chief Costelow had been frocked to Chief Petty Officer in September,
2000. "Rich had played with the idea of getting out before he knew he was
selected as chief. But once he found out he was chief selectee,,, he had
no intentions of getting out," said his wife, Sharla. Chief Costelow is
buried at Arlington Cemetery next to his shipmate, SMSN Cherone Gunn.
Read this additional note about Chief Costelow and the posthumous promotions of the other crewmembers.
|Lakeina Monique Francis, 19, of Woodleaf, N.C., a mess management specialist aboard the Cole, graduated from high school last year and followed her father into the Navy. "She's a young African-American woman who was pursuing her career and continuing her education," said her father, Ron Francis. "I'm proud of how we raised her to be a Christian and a lovable person." Two of Francis' brothers, James and David, play football at West Rowan High School. "We're just going to work with the boys, help them through the day," said the principal, Henry Kluttz.|
|Information Systems Technician Tim Gauna, 21, of Rice, Texas, was a 1997 graduate of Ennis High School. Teachers said he was a quiet student who excelled in baseball and art. In 1999, he joined the Navy as a radio man. "He went there to better himself, to make a better life for himself," said his mother, Sarah Gauna. The family last heard from Gauna by phone a few days before the explosion. "He just kept saying, `We're in dangerous waters, Mom, but we're OK. I'll be OK. I promise you,"' Sarah Gauna said.|
Seaman Recruit Cherone Louis Gunn, 22, grew up in Virginia Beach, Va.,
but lived with an aunt and uncle in Rex, Ga., in recent years. He enrolled
in the Navy in January and wanted to be a policeman. "When he came here,
he was just a young guy out of high school and college wasn't for him,
at least not right away," said an uncle, Eldawn Taylor. "His game
plan was to go through the Navy, serve his country, get some experience."
SMSR Gunn has been posthumously promoted to SMSN, and is buried at Arlington Cemetery next to his shipmate, Chief Richard Costelow.
James Rodrick McDaniels, 19, of Norfolk, Va., was on his first overseas
deployment. He planned to stay in the Navy for three years, then use the
money he saved to attend college, said his mother, Diane McDaniels. "We
e-mailed each other every day, and he just loved it. He had never been
over there before," said his sister, Frederica Bess. "He was so excited.
He talked about it every day."
His fiancee, Novella Wiggins, is five months pregnant with McDaniels' son. "I don't know what I'm going to do now," Wiggins said.
2nd Class Marc Nieto, 24, of Fond du Lac, Wis., joined the Navy six years
ago and was just two weeks away from finishing his stint in the service.
His mother, Sharon Priepke, said Nieto worked in the engine room on the
Cole and loved repairing machinery. "His biggest joy in life was
his vehicles, working on the engines. He was always into engines and repairing,"
she said. "He had himself a truck and he had himself an '81 Camaro that
he had been working on and rebuilding the engine."
"He had goals to the sky and he was going to achieve those goals," Priepke added. "He was just starting to live his life."
Warfare Technician 3rd Class Ronald Scott Owens, 24, was a native of Vero
Beach, Fla., married, with a 4-year-old daughter. He graduated from Vero
Beach High in 1994, joined the Navy in 1998 and had shipped out in August
for his first tour. He planned to go to college and study computers after
serving his time in the Navy. On Wednesday, he e-mailed home about plans
for a vacation to the beach when he returned in February. "He told
me how much he loved us, and said at the end, 'Keep smiling. I'll be home
soon,"' said his 23-year-old wife, Jaime.
EW3 Owens has been posthumously promoted to EW2.
Recruit Lakiba Nicole Palmer, 22, of San Diego graduated in 1996 from San
Diego High, where she was a stalwart on the track team. She was married
with a young child. "It meant so much to her to wear that uniform," said
Shawana Phillips, a friend from the working-class neighborhood of Lincoln
Park. "She missed her family, but she was so proud of what she was doing,
seeing the world, serving her country." Palmer's family declined to speak
SR Palmer has been posthumously promoted to SN
|Engineman Fireman Joshua Parlett, 19 was from Maryland. He came from the small town of Churchville and joined the Navy last year after graduating from high school. "He believed in what he was doing," said his father, Leroy Parlett.|
Apprentice Patrick Howard Roy, 19, grew up in Keedysville, Md., a town
of 500 with a downtown boasting little more than a post office and a church.
Roy attended boarding school at the Storm King School in Cornwall-on-Hudson,
N.Y., where he was captain of the lacrosse team, managed the wrestling
team and acted in plays. He enlisted after graduating last year. "He wanted
to do something meaningful," said his stepmother, Anne Roy. "He wasn't
ready to go to college. And he was drawn to it (the Navy) by his love of
boats and the ocean."
FA Roy has been posthumously promoted to FN.
Warfare Technician 2nd Class Kevin Shawn Rux, 30, of Portland, N.D., "...was
career Navy. His dad was career Navy, his uncle was career Navy," said
his mother, Saundra Flanagan, of Bridgeport, W.Va. "He loved the travel.
He used to smile and he had a twinkle in his eye when he'd tell us about
a certain port he'd been in." Rux joined the Navy after high school, stayed
about 10 years, then tried being a policeman, but decided a year ago to
re-enlist. Rux was married; his wife lives near where the Cole is based
in Norfolk, Va.
EW2 Rux has been posthumously promoted to EW1.
|Petty Officer 3rd Class Ronchester Santiago, 22, of Kingsville, Texas, had been in the Navy since graduating in 1996 from H.M. King High School. He was scheduled to get out of the service in December and planned to study electrical engineering at the University of Texas in Austin. "He was attracted to the adventure in the Navy," said his father, Rogelio Santiago, a retired Navy petty officer first class. "He wanted to see the world. He just wanted the experience."|
|Operations Specialist 2nd Class Timothy Lamont Saunders, 32, of Ringgold, Va., was a former track and football star at Dan River High School. Saunders, a career Navy man, was married and the father of two daughters, ages 10 and 7. When he was young, Saunders dreamed of a place bigger than tiny Ringgold. "It was something he always talked about during his childhood," said his mother, Betty Saunders.|
|Fireman Gary Graham Swenchonis, 26, of Rockport, Texas, joined the Navy two years ago after four years in the Army. His parents, Gary and Deborah Swenchonis, said he planned to make the Navy his career.|
|Ensign Andrew Triplett, 30, from Macon, Miss., had been in the Navy for 13 years. "He was a good family man. He had two children and he was just a likable person," said his mother, Savannah Triplett, a cook at C&K Super Stop in the small Mississippi town of Shuqualak. "He just loved the Navy. That's all he used to talk about." Triplett will be buried in Norfolk, Va., where he lived with his wife, Lorrie, and their children.|
aboard the Cole for Seaman Apprentice Craig Wibberley, 19, of Williamsport,
Md., included raising and lowering the destroyer's small anchor. "He was
a good all-American boy," said the Rev. Anne Weatherbolt, the Wibberley
family minister. "Any time there's a loss on a small community everybody
feels it." His father, Tom Wibberley, said: "It's a terrible thing that
people would take human lives the way they did. They took a son away from
me." His mother, Patty Wibberley, is a nursing assistant at an assisted-living
center. "I'm just numb. It hasn't sunk in yet," she said.
SA Wibberly has been posthumously promoted to SN.
Images from AP &
ABCNews Website. Image of Chief Costelow courtesy of Sharla Costelow. Image
of SN Palmer from the Palmer family's memorial web page.
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