WASHINGTON -- The U.S. military on Thursday released the names of the seven soldiers from the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, based in Fort Lewis, Wash., who were killed Tuesday in a sophisticated Taliban attack in southern Afghanistan.
President Barack Obama saluted one of the soldiers, Sgt. Dale R. Griffin, 29, of Terre Haute, Ind., early Thursday as his flag-draped coffin returned to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware for the "dignified transfer."
In February, Obama partially lifted an 18-year-old ban on photos and videos of the flag-draped coffins of fallen soldiers at Dover, allowing images to be taken if a fallen soldier's family gives permission.
Griffin's family was the only one of the 18 families whose fallen retuned on the C-17 flight Thursday to allow cameras.
All seven soldiers, including Griffith, were members of the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment.
The remaining six were: Staff Sgt. Luis M. Gonzalez, 27, of South Ozone Park, N.Y.; Sgt. Fernando Delarosa, 24, of Alamo, Texas; Sgt. Issac B. Jackson, 27, of Plattsburg, Mo.; Sgt. Patrick O. Williamson, 24, of Broussard, La.; Spc. Jared D. Stanker, 22, of Evergreen Park, Ill., and Pfc. Christopher I. Walz, 25, of Vancouver, Wash.
The brigade, which arrived in Afghanistan at the end of July, has been particularly hard hit. So far, 26 servicemen from the brigade have been killed in the effort to dislodge Taliban fighters, who've faced little resistance in southern Afghanistan since the war began eight years ago.
Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, has requested more than 40,000 additional U.S. troops for Afghanistan, and Obama is weighing the request.
October was the deadliest month for U.S. troops since the war began, raising concerns about how Taliban tactics are evolving.
At least 56 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan in October, and since August, 2009 has been the deadliest year of the war for U.S. troops.
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