Memorial Day, 2018 finds American forces deployed around the world, engaged in ongoing combat with various Islamic Jihadist militant groups, including al-Qaida, the Taliban, ISIS/ISIL, Boko Haram, al-Shabbab, and others. Over the past year and a half, American forces have incurred casualties not only in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, where the American media tends to focus, but also in such little-known battlefields in this shadow war, including Yemen, Niger, and Somalia.
As of Memorial Day, 2018, the latest U.S. military fatality overseas was Staff Sgt. Conrad A. Robinson, aged 36, of Los Angeles, California, who died May 24, 2018 at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, from a non-combat related incident. Sgt. Robinson was deployed in Kosovo as part of the ongoing NATO-led Operation Joint Guardian. Robinson was assigned to the 155th Medical Detachment, 261st Medical Battalion, 44th Medical Brigade, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
What, you don’t remember that operation? It is the effort by NATO (and, yes, the U.S. is still the most powerful member of NATO), to secure the borders and the peace in Kosovo. We fought a short war there in 1999 to help the Kosovars free themselves from Serbia. And we are still on the ground there. In fact, while the U.S. did not incur any combat casualties in the Kosovo War, since the peace, and the start of Operation Joint Guardian, a total of 18 U.S. troops have died there. Mostly in accidents, but still, these American service personnel died in service to America while deployed overseas.
The latest combat fatality to occur in 2018 (as of Memorial Day again), occurred on April 30, 2018 in Afghanistan. Remember the War in Afghanistan? We have been at war there since October of 2001, making that America’s longest actual war. Spc. Gabriel D. Conde, aged 22, of Loveland, Colorado, was killed in action April 30 as a result of enemy small arms fire in Tagab District, Afghanistan.
The point of this article is not necessarily to make Americans feel guilty about wars and casualties that they don’t think about every day, but to make sure that we, as Americans, continue to remember that our men and women continue to do their job, and continue to fight and to die on our name every day, in far-flung battlefields far from home, and in many parts of the world that the average American rarely considers.
Memorial Day is when we remember the fallen. And we should also remember that the fallen, our American military casualties, continue to add their names to the list of those we should remember every day, not just on Memorial Day.
Sources for this article on American War Casualties: