- Associated Press - Thursday, August 7, 2014

As of Thursday, July 24, 2014, 72 U.S. service members with Nebraska connections have died in Afghanistan or Iraq since the beginning of military operations following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, according to the Department of Defense and family members. Two military-employed civilians who had Nebraska connections also were killed in Iraq.


Latest Nebraskan reported to be killed, according to the Department of Defense, the Nebraska National Guard or families of the victim:

- Staff Sgt. Benjamin Prange, 30, who was raised in the Hickman-Roca area, died July 24, 2014, of wounds suffered when his vehicle struck an explosive device in Mirugol Kalay in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province. He was based in Fort Collins, Colorado, with the 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.


Previous deaths in Afghanistan or Iraq with Nebraska connections:

- Petty Officer 1st Class Caleb A. Nelson, 26, a native of Omaha, died Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011, when his vehicle was struck by an explosive device while on combat patrol in Zabul province, Afghanistan. Nelson was assigned to Naval Special Warfare united based in Norfolk, Va.

- Marine Sgt. Joshua Robinson, 29, of Omaha, died Aug. 7, 2011, while on combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. Robinson was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, which is based at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

- Master at Arms, Class 1 John Douangdara, 26, of South Sioux City, was among the 30 American troops killed when a military helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan on Aug. 6, 2011, family members said. Douangdara was a 2003 graduate of South Sioux City High School.

- Sgt. Patrick Hamburger, 30, of Grand Island, died Aug. 6, 2011, in eastern Afghanistan when insurgents show down a U.S. military helicopter. He was a member of the Nebraska National Guard. Hamburger arrived in Afghanistan less than two weeks before the crash.

- Sgt. Omar Jones, 28, died July 18, 2011, of a noncombat-related injury in Afghanistan, the Nebraska Army National Guard said. His death at a base in Balkh Province is under investigation by the Department of the Army. The Nebraska National Guard said Jones was an electrician assigned to the 623rd Engineer Company in Wahoo.

- U.S. Army Capt. Matthew Nielson, 27, of Jefferson, Iowa, died June 29, 2011 in Badrah, Iraq, during a fire attack by insurgents. He was assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment at Fort Hood, Texas. Nielson was born in Omaha and lived in Lincoln before moving with his family to Iowa.

- Spc. Joseph Cemper, 21, died April 16, 2011, in Afghanistan after being injured when a man posing as an Afghan soldier detonated several grenades, killing himself as well. He was assigned to the 101st Special Troops Battalion, 101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division. Cemper moved from the Omaha suburb of Papillion to Warrensburg, Mo., before he began high school.

- Army 2nd Lt. Mark Noziska, 24, died Aug. 30, 2010, in Malajat, Afghanistan, after an improvised explosive device went off, according to the military and family members. Another soldier from Noziska’s unit was also killed. Noziska graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2008 and from Papillion-La Vista High School in 2004. Noziska was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo. He was posthumously promoted to first lieutenant.

- Staff Sgt. Michael A. Bock, 26, died Aug. 13 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan, according to the military. Bock grew up in Springfield, Neb., and spent most of his childhood in the state before moving to Leesburg, Fla. when he was in high school. Bock was assigned to the 3rd Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif.

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