- Operation Enduring Freedom
- Operation Freedom’s Sentinel
- Operation Inherent Resolve
- Operation Iraqi Freedom
- Operation New Dawn
- Operation Odyssey Lightning
- Operation Spartan Shield
- U.S. Africa Command Operations
- U.S. Central Command operations
- The People Behind The Sacrifice
Army Spc. Shawn D. Gajdos
Died June 6, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom
25, of Grand Rapids, Mich.; assigned to 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.; died June 6 in Baghdad of wounds sustained when his unit was attacked by insurgents using improvised explosive devices and small-arms fire.
Granholm orders flags lowered to honor Grand Rapids soldier
The Associated Press
LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Jennifer Granholm has ordered that U.S. flags in Michigan be flown at half-staff on Friday to honor a soldier from Grand Rapids who was killed in Iraq.
Army Spc. Shawn D. Gajdos, 25, died from wounds suffered after his unit was attacked in Baghdad by insurgents using improvised explosive devices and small arms fire.
Gajdos was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kan.
Families, friends say Michigan Marine, soldier killed in Iraq
The Associated Press
CHARLOTTE, Mich. — A Marine and a soldier from Michigan have been killed in Iraq, their families and friends said.
The military on June 7 notified the family of Ronald Kestner, of Charlotte, of his death, WILX-TV in Onondaga reported. The circumstances of the death and where he was stationed weren’t immediately available.
Spc. Shawn Gajdos, 25, of Grand Rapids, was killed June 6 in a roadside bombing and artillery shelling, friend Kay Shepard told The Grand Rapids Press.
The U.S. Department of Defense had not confirmed the deaths of either Kestner or Gajdos by early afternoon on June 8.
Kestner has a wife, three children, two stepchildren and one grandchild, the TV station said.
Charlotte is located about 17 miles southwest of Lansing.
Gajdos enlisted about 18 months ago. He had been in Iraq since February after shipping out of Fort Riley, Kan., Shepard said.
He repeatedly told people that enlisting in the Army was the best choice he’d ever made and that he was helping people who needed it most, she said. His favorite movie, “Pay It Forward,” is about a movement to perform good deeds with the belief that those who are helped will do the same for others, eventually improving the world.
“To some people, Iraq seems like a big, bad, ugly place, but Shawn was willing to do whatever it took to help,” Shepard said. “He saw it as a place that he could make a difference.”
Gajdos’ interests included biking, swimming and climbing mountains.
She said only hours before her friend was killed, he had called Shepard to say that he loved and missed her. It sounded to her as if there was a hint of concern in his voice.
“You wonder if somehow, some way, he knew,” Shepard said. “It was one of those calls that I think he felt like he had to make because there wasn’t going to be a tomorrow.”
Family, friends remember soldier killed in Iraq
The Associated Press
Army Pfc. Shawn D. Gajdos’s desire to assist others less fortunate always shone through. His favorite movie was “Pay it Forward.”
He had a morning ritual of sharing a glass of milk with a cat.
He’d take a drink and then give a drink to the feline. In Iraq, he and another soldier briefly adopted a camel spider, giving it food and shade.
“He’d do anything for anyone,” said Kay Shepard, whose home was like a second one for Gajdos.
Gajdos, 25, of Grand Rapids, Mich., was killed June 6 in a roadside bombing and artillery attack in Baghdad. He was a 2000 high school graduate and was assigned to Fort Riley, Kan.
His interests included biking, swimming and climbing mountains.
He recently became addicted to Soduku puzzles but held a long fascination with video and role-playing games.
In Iraq, Gajdos yearned for Andes mints and Trident strawberry-kiwi gum. He was taking online courses from Central Texas College.
“He told us that he never regretted going into the service,” said Shepard. “He told us it was the best decision he ever made.”
He also is survived by his mother, Brenda Richards, and father, Anthony Gajdos.