James D. Boelk, 24
We are a close family. James was there for each of us. He always gave his siblings attention and had fun with them. He called home often and [would] text his siblings daily. He would always say 'I love you' at the end of all phone calls to us.
— Cilicia Boelk, mother
Boelk was killed Oct. 15 by a roadside bomb during a foot patrol in Helmand province, a Taliban stronghold. A rifleman, he enlisted in March 2009, and was on his first combat deployment. Boelk's death marked the eighth fatality in his battalion, Camp Pendleton-based 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, in one week of combat in Afghanistan.