Wednesday, April 13, 2011


When I first saw the news last night my heart jumped...then it felt heavy and sad.  Spc. Brent Maher, 31,  of Honey Creek, Iowa became the first Iowa National Guardsmen killed in action since the group deployment some eight months ago.

Just this past week I reported on the fortunate "Grace" our Iowa Guardsmen had received in their days in Afghanistan.  While this puts a spin on that assertion, I still feel we have been blessed to have suffered so few casualties.  For the Maher family, I'm not sure they'd come to the same  That's why it is so important for us.....all of us to think, pray and act as a support system for them in the days, weeks and months ahead.

I was uplifted to read a statement from the Maher family this morning.  Despite the suffering they are  undergoing, they see the big picture.  "Brent died doing what he loved, serving his country and protecting the freedom that we enjoy and providing the people of Afghanistan with the opportunity for freedom," the statement said.
Spc. Brent Maher
Maher was killed when his armored truck struck an IED as he stood in a gun turret.  It takes an amazing amount of personal courage to get up and do that gunner's job every day," Col. Gregory Hapgood said at a Tuesday night press conference.  Hapgood said the bomb blew up under the armored truck in which Maher was riding during a patrol near the city of Gardez in eastern Afghanistan.

Three other soldiers in the truck were injured. They were identified as Sgt. 1st Class Nicholas Jedlicka, 31, of Council Bluffs; Spc. Justin Christiansen, 24, of Nebraska City, Neb.; and Spc. Dustin Morrison, 20, of New Market.  Their conditions are not known at this time, but Hapgood said they would be transferred to a hospital in Germany.  The four guardsmen were stationed at Combat Outpost Dand Patan, a location next to the border of Pakistan.  They  were members of B Company of the 1st Battalion of the 168th Infantry Regiment based in Shenandoah.

Maher is survived by his wife, Brenna M. Maher, of Honey Creek; daughters Kaitelyn, Elizabeth and Hannah Rose, and a son, Matthew Douglas, 8, all of Niles, Mich.; his mother, Cheryl L. Tyner and step-father Mick Tyner, both of Essex, Ia.; a brother, Greg Maher, of Biloxi, Miss.; and grandparents Roy and Wilma McGraw, of Essex, Ia.  He was preceded in death by his father, Matthew Maher.  Funeral arrangements are pending for the Maher funeral. 

Back on the battle front, I'm sure there is a different set of emotions being experienced by Iowa National Guard troops than one week ago.  Our servicemen and women will remain steadfast in the duty they've accepted.  Missions will continue.....ambushes will also be a part of the day......and of course IED's will remain in their hidden traps.  My prayer would be for safety in these next months.  The loss of one life is one too many to have to endure......




  1. Really sorry to read about Spc.Maher's death at the hands of insurgents. Heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.Thank you for your sacrifice and helping make this world a better place.

  2. i just found out i was close to brent and his kids when they lived in minnesota i used to live/babysit for him. i am so sad to just find out today that the man that i have looked up to for all these years has passed away. prayers go out to his kids Kaitlyn (kata) and Mathew (matty) i miss you and i have always loved you.

  3. That in itself is a true testament. Thanks for sharing Emily!!!!