Over past year, 11 Missouri service members killed in action

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Over the past year at war, while the nation was ending a decade’s long conflict in Iraq and preparing to wind down another in Afghanistan, nearly a dozen Missouri service members were killed while serving in action.

Gov. Jay Nixon, in a statement, called on Missourians to remember those who lost their lives serving their country.

“Especially on Memorial Day, I ask Missourians to take time to honor the memory of those military men and women who have given their lives defending our freedom,” said Gov. Nixon. “On this solemn day, I urge Missourians to pray for the families of these fallen heroes and to give thanks to the veterans still with us for their service to our country.”

The 11 service members who lost their lives over the past year were:

Specialist James Roland Burnett Jr., age 21, was a soldier in the U.S. Army serving in support of efforts in Afghanistan. He died on Nov. 16 of wounds he sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.

Staff Sergeant Edward F. Dixon III, age 37, of Joplin, was a soldier in the United States Army serving in support of efforts in Afghanistan. He was killed on June 18 while serving his country in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan.

Private First Class Matthew Joseph England, age 22, of Gainesville, was a soldier in the United States Army serving in support of efforts in Iraq. He died on June 8 of injuries sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device in An Najaf Province, Iraq.

Specialist Jordan House, age 19, of Independence, was a soldier in the Missouri National Guard who stepped forward to serve the citizens of Missouri affected by recent flooding. He died on July 25 of injuries sustained while on state emergency duty service.

Staff Sergeant Jeremy A. Katzenberger, age 26, of Weatherby Lake, was a soldier in the United States Army serving in support of efforts in Afghanistan. He was killed on June 14 by enemy forces during a heavy firefight while conducting combat operations in Paktika Province, Afghanistan.

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Matthew D. Mason, age 37, of Holt, was a sailor in the U.S. Navy serving in support of efforts in Afghanistan. He died on Aug. 6 of injuries sustained when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter was attacked while conducting special operations combat in the Wardak Province, Afghanistan.

Private First Class Richard Lewis McNulty III, age 22, of Rolla, was a soldier in the U.S. Army serving in support of efforts in Afghanistan. He died on May 13 of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his military vehicle in Khost Province, Afghanistan.

Chief Warrant Officer Bryan J. Nichols, age 31, of Kansas City, was a soldier in the U.S. Army serving in support of efforts in Afghanistan. He died on Aug. 6 of injuries sustained when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter was attacked while conducting special operations combat in Wardak Province, Afghanistan.

First Sergeant Billy Joe Siercks, age 32, of Lincoln, was a soldier in the U.S. Army serving in support of efforts in Afghanistan. He died on Oct. 1 of wounds he sustained on Sept. 27, 2011, when insurgents attacked his unit using indirect fire in Logar, Afghanistan. First Sergeant Siercks was buried that day at Arlington National Cemetery.

Staff Sergeant Tyler James Smith, age 24, of Licking, was a soldier in the U.S. Army serving in support of efforts in Afghanistan. He died on April 3 of wounds he sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.

Specialist Jeffrey Lee White Jr., age 21, of Catawissa, was a soldier in the U.S. Army serving in support of efforts in Afghanistan. He died on April 3 of wounds he sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his mounted patrol in Khost Province, Afghanistan.

Over the past decade, through the end of official conflict operations last year, 91 Missourians lost their lives serving in Iraq. In Afghanistan, where the nation is beginning to phase out military conflict, a total of 48 Missourians have lost their lives.