Faces of the Fallen (washingtonpost.com)
April 13, 2006 6:07 PM   Subscribe

Faces of the Fallen is a browsable database of U.S. service members who've died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Created by Adrian Holovaty (chicagocrime.org, django), the site lets you browse by age, death date, home state and city, military branch or multiple search criteria. Each soldier gets his or her own page, as does each date, American city, age, military branch, etc. There's an RSS feed for recent casualties, a feed for each state and a feed for each military branch (also features Google Maps on several pages to highlight service members' hometowns). An amazing project that puts faces and stories behind the statistics we hear every day. [via mefi projects]
posted by mathowie (55 comments total)
 


this is excellent-- and unbelievably sad. Seeing those my own age or from my home, etc, who've been killed there brings it home in many ways.
posted by amberglow at 6:16 PM on April 13, 2006


Nice to see this one the blue--it's been an important part of the WaPo the last few years.
posted by bardic at 6:23 PM on April 13, 2006


It'll be great when someone does one of these for all the Iraqis who've died in this criminal war. I'm going to start holding my breath right now.
posted by Decani at 6:23 PM on April 13, 2006


.
posted by odinsdream at 6:29 PM on April 13, 2006


.
posted by quite unimportant at 6:38 PM on April 13, 2006


God, what a staggering waste and testament to the stupidity of mankind.
posted by Nicholas West at 6:46 PM on April 13, 2006


They should add a feature that emails you each time someone dies. Both military and civilians.
posted by Mr_Zero at 7:21 PM on April 13, 2006


Any dead generals in the list?
posted by Rumple at 7:23 PM on April 13, 2006


this is a fantastic resource, thanks.
posted by Busithoth at 7:26 PM on April 13, 2006


Support our troops -- suppress this information!!
posted by LordSludge at 7:41 PM on April 13, 2006


They should add a feature that emails you each time someone dies. Both military and civilians.

I think the RSS feed is kind of creepy myself, but that gives you updates when someone in our military dies. I suspect it is tough to open it up everyday and hear that 1, or 5, or 25 people died in the past 24 hours.
posted by mathowie at 3:12 AM on April 14, 2006


makeshift bombs = bad
posted by lemonfridge at 2:25 AM on April 14, 2006


Make shift bombs are largely responsible for these senseless deaths, it appears. Very terrifying.
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:26 AM on April 14, 2006


"An amazing project that puts faces and stories behind the statistics we hear every day."

It's a good site, but I wish it *DID* have stories behind the statistics. I have a few friends on that list, and I wish that their stories were told.
posted by insomnia_lj at 3:29 AM on April 14, 2006


Thank you - this hasn't been updated to the time of my cousin's death (3/12, and yes, as as result of an IED) but that's soon to come, I imagine

Incredibly touching. And a little scary - I don't know who-all I'll find here.
posted by kalimac at 4:37 AM on April 14, 2006


related: 5th retired general calls for Rumsfeld's ouster

A big reason why they're taking this step, unheard of step, is because of the faces of those poor guys who died in this terribly managed and ill-conceived war.
posted by cell divide at 4:48 AM on April 14, 2006


I hope that son of a bitch in the Oval Office is proud of what he's accomplished.
posted by pax digita at 5:33 AM on April 14, 2006


Great site.
Thanks for posting it.

I think a similar site with all the maimed/injured soldiers from this invasion would also be appropriate.
People without arms or legs is somehow just as frightening as the deceased.
posted by nofundy at 6:26 AM on April 14, 2006


I am sorry about the loss of your cousin, kalimac, and your friends, insomnia_lj. Sorry seems like such a weak and feeble thing to say in the face of all this loss.

This site is truly a worthwhile effort - we need more of this, a reminder of the real human cost of this foolish adventure.

kudos, adrian_h - I've been viewing this site every now and again for awhile now - it's interesting to learn that there's a mefi member behind it. I'm glad mathowie posted it!
posted by madamjujujive at 6:38 AM on April 14, 2006


I lost it when I looked at the page of just 18 year olds. It breaks my heart and makes me so angry.
posted by thekilgore at 6:43 AM on April 14, 2006


There was one guy on there from my home town. He was 42 years old and died when his F/A-18 crashed in Iraq. A pretty depressing, but important, site.
posted by ludwig_van at 7:11 AM on April 14, 2006


pax digita writes: "I hope that son of a bitch in the Oval Office is proud of what he's accomplished."

Yes, but it's not only him. War requires the agreement with him and willing participation of thousands of people. It's stupid all 'round. It's mass stupidity.
posted by Nicholas West at 7:19 AM on April 14, 2006


They aren't too clear on their methodology. The title and search categories make it seem like it's restricted to Iraq and Afghanistan and yet the first name I clicked on, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jody L. Egnor, died when his Chinook crashed into the sea off the Southern Philippines although it says he was taking part in Operation Enduring Freedom which is Iraq right?
posted by Jenga at 7:27 AM on April 14, 2006


He could have been on his way there from the Philippines. That operation required mobilization from all points.
posted by Nicholas West at 7:31 AM on April 14, 2006


Thank you for this.
posted by ND¢ at 7:37 AM on April 14, 2006


He could have been on his way there from the Philippines.

You'd assume so eventually. He's listed as dying in a training exercise. I clicked on his home town and saw one other casualty. Same incident.

I think the assumption many people will make is that all these people were killed by IEDs and snipers in and around Iraq and Afghanistan. It seems they've included everybody who died because they were in a situation that was related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan whether that be in country or on the way. I wonder if it covers car accidents and bar fights where the deceased was in that area due to this here war on terror.
posted by Jenga at 7:39 AM on April 14, 2006


Jenga: It does include non-combat deaths like car accidents, people falling from buildings, heart attacks etc.
posted by matthewr at 7:47 AM on April 14, 2006


Oops. Enduring Freedom is Afganistan. No disrespect to the fallen was intended.
posted by Jenga at 8:01 AM on April 14, 2006


Great, moving site. I was actually surprised by the number of non-combat deaths I saw. One poor kid died from head injuries rolling off his bunk on an aircraft carrier. That made me feel particularly sad for some reason.
posted by brain_drain at 10:33 AM on April 14, 2006


very sad, and it really does put a face to the war.

Although I wonder why sex wasn't a search criteria. This is the war that has killed more female soldiers than any other, correct?
posted by drstein at 10:51 AM on April 14, 2006


I'm not sure what the connection is between this Washington Post's Faces of the Fallen and the art exhibit called Faces of the Fallen, which is on display across the river in Arlington National Cemetery for the next five weeks or so. The latter is a more interesting, less complete version of the same idea, I guess — and unfortunately, describing the same lives lost.

I was at the exhibit last December with some schoolkids from Maine, and the chairwoman came out to meet us and speak about the portraits.
posted by LeLiLo at 10:56 AM on April 14, 2006


"Enduring Freedom is Afganistan."

Not exactly. Only in part, as there are US casualties of Enduring Freedom in several different countries besides Afghanistan.

Originally, the military response to 9/11 was known as Operation Infinite Justice. This name was changed to Enduring Freedom as it was somewhat incendiary with Muslims.

A few months after the invasion of Afghanistan, Enduring Freedom was renamed by location, perhaps so that casualties in one theatre would not refllect negatively on the casualty totals elsewhere. In other words, Enduring Freedom - Afghanistan, Enduring Freedom - Philippines, etc.

The invasion of Iraq was originally under the auspices of Enduring Freedom, but soon after the invasion, it became known as Operation Iraqi Freedom. Each subsequent year became known as OIF II, OIF III, OIF IV...
posted by insomnia_lj at 11:04 AM on April 14, 2006


I think the thing that I find most frustrating/disturbing about memorials like Faces of the Fallen -- and most military memorials in general -- is how the dead are presented.

They are shown in their uniform, in a very generic kind of way... or as a list of names on a monument... or as a long, generic series of tombstones, row after row... or as lines and lines of boots... and we are told as a society that this is how we should honor and remember dead soldiers. Generically. Replaceably.

We don't see pictures like these:



That's Cpt. Tim Moshier. Tim was a friend of a soldier I know, and died on Apr. 1st when his helicopter was shot down over Baghdad.

He leaves behind his wife Katie, and young Natalie, who just turned 10 months old.
posted by insomnia_lj at 11:32 AM on April 14, 2006


The only thing I think about this is that these things didn't just "happen" to these people as they were innocently raising their children or tending their gardens.

These people were not drafted or forced at gunpoint to go to war. These are people that made a fully independent choice to go off and do the most dangerous job there is; and a lot of these guys enjoyed the hell out of it. If they were not busy being killed they were busy killing others.

I have limited sadness for people who choose to do extremely dangerous activities and then get hurt doing it......maybe that's just me.
posted by Nicholas West at 11:43 AM on April 14, 2006


This is the war that has killed more female soldiers than any other, correct?

For American women, I believe so. But off the top of my head the Soviets lost thousands in WWII.
posted by bardic at 11:50 AM on April 14, 2006


Nicholas, you're right--they all enlisted. But how many of them died after they were "stop-lossed" or forced to extend their deployments? How many of them ever dreamed that our leadership would send them to war based on lies to go kill people who never did a thing to us and weren't a threat? How many of these people expected to be so cruelly and tragically used that way?

Whether they were soldiers or not, they're still people who should have never been used this way, for the most part. (I'll also throw in all the extensive lies recruiters tell, and that some were not even citizens yet, and went in for the fast-tracking, or went in for college money, etc)
posted by amberglow at 12:00 PM on April 14, 2006


ALL militaries and ALL administrations use their cannon fodder in whatever way pleases them.

People have this weird idea that life is "fair" and that only good things will happen to the "good" guys. A lot of these guys expected to be only in a peace-time military and draw a paycheck and go home.

But it's the MILITARY. Maybe they didn't understand the meaning of the word. That means that once you're in it, your basic purpose is to fight. That means you take orders and accept extended deployments without argument. That means you take an automatic weapon and go off and face enemy gunfire when a conflict begins.

Like that Capt. Tim Moshier up there with his daughter. Call me zany, but I think the smarter decision would have been to wait until my tour of duty was over and I was sure I was still alive before I started having children, so that my daughter would not be deprived of a father. Did that guy give that any thought? Who knows? But I'm one of the worlds hardasses.....
posted by Nicholas West at 12:12 PM on April 14, 2006


The really sad part of this exercise is that these are the ONLY pictures you're gonna get of these warriors. There'll be no Dover AFB coffins, no "OMG, my leg!" battlefield pictures, no extensive visits to all the maimed and injured, just yearbook photos.
Or what insomnia_lj said better above
posted by nofundy at 12:26 PM on April 14, 2006


He's not on the list, but one of my cousins had been to Iraq. I'm opposed to the Iraq war, but I admire and respect the men and women in the military who serve and protect our country, and one of the worst things about the war is how the administration has misused their courage and patriotism.

I often think of what Michael Moore said at the end of Fahrenheit 9/11:
I've always been amazed that the very people forced to live in the worst parts of town, go to the worst schools, and who have it the hardest are always the first to step up, to defend us. They serve so that we don't have to. They offer to give up their lives so that we can be free. It is remarkably their gift to us. And all they ask for in return is that we never send them into harm's way unless it is absolutely necessary. Will they ever trust us again?
posted by kirkaracha at 1:09 PM on April 14, 2006


soon after the invasion, it became known as Operation Iraqi Freedom
Actually you forgot Operation Iraqi Liberation (logo).
posted by kirkaracha at 1:15 PM on April 14, 2006


Michael Moore has a very idealistic and rosy view of people.

I think a majority of the poor who join the military do it for the steady government paycheck, a chance to learn some skills, and, although it's not often discussed, because they feel more secure having their major life decisions and daily routines dictated by others.

Some join for the chance to be legally violent.

I think patriotism is not at the top of the list of why people join the military, and I think that you can have the most corrupt administration on earth and people will still join the military. Trust is not a big part of this equation.
posted by Nicholas West at 1:36 PM on April 14, 2006


Of course that "Faces of the Fallen" is incomplete. It should include these people as well.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 4:24 PM on April 14, 2006


The really sad part of this exercise is that these are the ONLY pictures you're gonna get of these warriors.

Apologies up front to insomnia_lj is this comment is gruesome, but I'm pretty sure the date Cpt. Tim Moshier went down coincides with that insurgent video that made the news recently. You know, that one.

And I watched it. It's a complicated thing. My brother flew an Apache over Baghdad for a year. Three of his friends died over there, and every time I see a site like this one that shows the faces of those who didn't come back I'm compelled in a way I don't really understand to look at the faces of those three men (I have their pictures taped up next to the inside of the door out of my office. Sometimes you need to be reminded that there’s worse things that can happen than a Windows BSOD.) The first one who died went down on a PIC (Pilot In Charge; the guy who flies in the back seat of an Apache) check flight before they even "flew over the burm" and left Kuwait. He was the Captain of my brother's platoon, and my brother made sure my family and I shook his hand on the night they left.

There's no way I'm ever, ever, going to forget the day in June 2005 when I'm just about to pull into the parking lot at work and NPR tells me a helicopter was shot down over Baghdad. The don't say what kind it is. Hell, a lot of helicopters fly over Baghdad. I don't freak out right away. But then I get to my office, fire up a news site and MSNBC already knows it's an Apache.

Thus began a day of abject, soul-shredding terror. Frantic phone calls to people who are supposed to be in the loop, but don't know anything yet. I simply can’t make it through if something happens to him.

I know this.

I come home for lunch and get deliriously drunk. It was well into the dark (and the drunk) that night before I found out that my brother wasn’t one of the men who went down (there was a notification fuck-up. The communication apparatus that’s supposed to notify you of such things and tell you if your soldier is OK broke and the families of the solders that were single didn’t get called like the ones with families did. I’m told there was a mini-rebellion the next day when the single guys found this out.)

But I still watched the insurgent video. I felt like I owed it to the guys who went down that day. It was awful and it was ugly, but there for the grace of [whoever] could easily have been my brother.

Call me zany, but I think the smarter decision would have been to wait until my tour of duty was over and I was sure I was still alive before I started having children.

You're not zany. There's a file line between badass and asshole, and you're giving yourself too much credit.

Cpt. Tim Moshier would have deployed to Iraq around January-ish of this year. Let's see, four-ish plus nine is thirteen... So they would have decided to have this kid sometime in 2004.

Nevermind that a lot of military couples decide to have a kid just because the want something to be left of the man if something happens to him, you've done nothing in this thread but display a total, elitist ignorance of the men and women who serve.
posted by Cyrano at 6:53 PM on April 14, 2006


I'm not elitist. I want humans to stop making war and attaching some kind of bullshit glory to it. All of them, all sides. I'm fed up with it.
posted by Nicholas West at 8:20 PM on April 14, 2006


Nicholas, I'm with you. The problem is that it takes two sides to make a peace, but only one side to make a war. If we give up but the other side doesn't, if we stop fighting but the other side continues to fight, then the war continues -- only it'll get fought here instead of there.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:00 PM on April 14, 2006


So you feel the Iraqis will turn around and invade America if your country pulls its troops out?
posted by Jenga at 3:42 AM on April 15, 2006


I don't think a simple memorial page is really about glory, but remembrance....they didn't even call it "our fallen heroes" which makes me mad (tv does that all the time--everyone's a hero). These people lived and died young--they existed and were sent off in our name by our government. Whether the reason they were sent was right or wrong (i say wrong, of course) is really beside the point once they're dead--it's pretty much too late, except that they all add up to many lives gone which can help people realize the losses on all sides. The blackout on coffins, the absence of daily pictures and video of the war and occupation--people need to see, so at least they're seeing this.

Also, why they joined too is beside the point too, by this point.
posted by amberglow at 4:35 AM on April 15, 2006


They joined the military. The miltary sends people off.

They sent themselves off.

When will people start taking friggin' personal responsibility for what they do?
posted by Nicholas West at 6:14 AM on April 15, 2006


Jenga: that's an irresponsible comment. He was talking about war and conflict in general.

If you don't belive that it takes two sides for peace, but one side for war, please go get a clue and come back when you've taken the flowers out of your hair.
posted by WetherMan at 7:00 AM on April 15, 2006


It's not at all clear whether he's making some general statement on the philosophy of war or whether it's about this one in particular. I have heard this view from a number of Americans as relating to this one specifically though.

Sure, there's some truth in the platitude but it seems you think the Iraqis are the one side for war that America needs to stand firm against. It looks like the other way around to me.

Do you call everybody who disagrees with you a hippie when you know nothing else about them?
posted by Jenga at 7:34 AM on April 15, 2006


This war is the biggest bunch of bullshit I've ever seen in my lifetime (the other one was VietNam ;^) ).

With the money and manpower we've spent so far on this we could have strengthened our security so that it would be doubtful that a 9/11 would ever happen again, weeded out terrorists in our own country, developed alternative energy sources, strengthened our borders, AND found Bin Laden 2 years ago, with enough left over for a nice dinner and a movie.

I suppose I am somewhat of an isolationist, and I am also one of those that considers acts of terrorism to be more of a criminal matter than a military one. Certainly I admire the way the Brits handled their London bombings more than I admire the way we reacted to 9/11, which was to let some delusional clowns start fucking up the whole world.

What I meant is that I'm fed up with the way humans attach a glory to something that they profess to hate, and something which is in their power to do or not. I personally do not attach any glory to this situation at all.
posted by Nicholas West at 8:43 AM on April 15, 2006


I agree with you almost entirely, Nicholas (except the Brits have been upping their surveillance, and killed an innocent Brazilian guy by overreacting, and are introducing id cards and databases, etc--they're overreacting in their way too)

I'd say the "glory" they've pushed is that fake blond soldier story--Jessica someone?, and the Pat Tillman lies, etc, not this simple listing and pics.
posted by amberglow at 11:56 AM on April 15, 2006


Also, why they joined too is beside the point too, by this point.

A point which I agree with you totally.

With the money and manpower we've spent so far on this we could have strengthened our security so that it would be doubtful that a 9/11 would ever happen again, weeded out terrorists in our own country, developed alternative energy sources, strengthened our borders, AND found Bin Laden 2 years ago, with enough left over for a nice dinner and a movie.

Again, a point which I totally agree.

I'd say the "glory" they've pushed is that fake blond soldier story--Jessica someone?

Do you really not remember her name or are you trying to be clever? Because if you don't know who Jessica Lynch is you're no better than those on "The Other Side" that you rail against (I'll bet you know who Lyndie England is, though...)
posted by Cyrano at 1:38 PM on April 15, 2006


i really didn't -- i got the Jessica part right tho. sorry i don't recall the full name of the people in every fake story peddled to us these past 5 years--- you do?
posted by amberglow at 1:44 PM on April 15, 2006


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