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Liberty University gives honor to those heroes who have gone before us, having paid the ultimate sacrifice to secure freedom for us and for those who could not attain it themselves. Below are the biographies of Liberty University students and faculty members who served in the U.S. Armed Forces and have paid that ultimate sacrifice. Please join us as we keep the families of these heroes in our prayers and their memories alive.
November 20, 1972 - September 16, 2014
Major Michael Donahue, 41, U.S. Army, died on September 16, 2014 after a suicide bomber drove a vehicle laced with explosives into a foreign military convoy on a U.S. military base outside Kabul, Afghanistan. He served three tours of duty, was stationed in South Korea, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and served as an assistant professor of military science for Liberty University’s Army ROTC program from August 2008 to July 2010. His numerous military decorations include the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Korean Defense Service Medal, the Combat Action Badge, and the Senior Parachutist Badge. He is survived by his wife, Sherri, and their children Victoria, Seamus, and Bailey.
December 20, 1977 - October 15, 2012
Sergeant First Class Justin Eric Strom, 34, U.S. Army, died on October 15, 2012 after his vehicle was hit by a train at Joint Base Lewis McChord base. He was attached to Alpha CO, I Corps JBLM, Washington. He served in the Army for 12 years which included two deployments to Iraq and 1 deployment to Pakistan. He is survived by his mother and step-father, and step-mother, his wife, Tonya, and children Shyanne, Peter, Michael, and Jackson, along with brother Will and sisters Stephanie and Angie.
April 27, 1982 - October 13, 2012
Sergeant Robert J. Billings, 30, U.S. Army, died on October 13, 2012 in Spin Boldak, Afghanistan while attached to the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, from Joint Base Lewis-McChord base in Washington. He loved life, enjoyed people and valued his family and friends. He was a dedicated and intuitive soldier. He is survived by his parents, Kelly and Hope Billings of Amarillo, TX and his wife Christy Lynn Tilghman Riley Billings, two daughters, Kaili and Naomi, and two sons, Isaiah and Elijah, as well as two sisters, Heather Billings and Deleina Wilcox and a brother Chad.
July 13, 1969 - March 18, 2011
MSG Jamal Hasan Bowers died due to complications from a medical condition on March 18, 2011 while serving at Camp Lemonier, Dijibouti, Africa. He served as an instructor in psychological operations with the 6th Battalion, 4th Military Information Support Group, U.S. Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg. He is survived by his wife Kwana, and his children Jamal II, Surita, Clarice, and Denise. His wife received his Bachelor of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies posthumously at Liberty University on May 14, 2011.
September 18, 1980 - September 18, 2010
SFC Ronald Aaron Grider was KIA (killed in action) on his 30th birthday when he was struck by enemy machine gun fire in the providence of Kunduz of Afghanistan. SFC Grider was a U.S. Soldier through and through and had received many awards and had been to Iraq seven times and Afghanistan twice. He was posthumously awarded his 3rd Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. SFC Grider leaves behind a wife, Brittany, and his daughter Catie-Anne.
December 18, 1976 - October 15, 2009
Capt. Nicholas Giglio gave his life in service to our country when he was tragically killed in a training exercise and his F-16 collided with another jet. Capt. Giglio was 32 years old when the accident occurred. He leaves behind a wife, Leigh, and his daughter Grace. Giglio also has a son, Caleb who was born shortly after he was killed.
January 7, 1966 - November 12, 2008
MSG Mocabee died while serving as a member of 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group at Panzer Kaserne, Germany. He joined the Army in 1985. Sean applied for duty with the Army Special Forces. He completed his training and became a Green Beret. His duties took him to Europe, Africa, East Asia, and the Middle East, including tours to Iraq and Afghanistan. He was in his senior year at Liberty University. Sean is survived by his wife, Jane Elizabeth and their two children, Hayley and Michael.
August 21, 1981 - April 6, 2005
SPC Chrystal Stout was 23 when her helicopter crashed in the city of Ghazni in Afghanistan. SPC Stout had joined the National Guard a month prior to the events of 9-11 and was called to duty shortly after enrolling at Liberty University. SPC Stout leaves behind her parents Tony Stout and her mother Julia Shores as well as her brother Jeremiah and her sister Sonya.
November 24, 1980 - January 26, 2005
SGT Jesse Strong was a U.S. Marine who had a passion to serve our country that was equaled by a passion to tell others about Christ. His father was a minister, and is dedicated to serving Christ. SGT Jesse Strong was KIA when his convoy was attacked in Iraq by RPG’s (Rocket Propelled Grenades). SGT Strong leaves behind his parents Rev. Nathan Strong and Vicki Strong. Both of his parents have continued to take his story and use his dedication to our country to share the message of Christ. Dr. Jerry Falwell gave the message at SGT Strong’s funeral and his uniform and some of his personal effects are placed in the DeMoss hall on display.