By John Rutherford, Producer, NBC News, Washington
Army casualty assistance officers fanned out across America last week to notify the families of 13 soldiers that their loved ones had been killed in Iraq.
Larry West was met at the front door of his Green Springs, W.Va., home and told of the death of his son, Army Staff Sgt. Laurent West. Victor Verdugo of Douglas, Ariz., learned his kid brother, Army Staff Sgt. Ernesto Cimarrusti, had also been killed.
"I just got out of work and I got a phone call from his wife," Verdugo told KVOA Tucson. "She told me the news that he had been killed. It's hard for us right now."
Moses Mallard Jr. of Anniston, Ala., was devastated to learn of the death of his grandson, Army Capt. Torre Mallard.
"It broke my heart when I heard it," he told The Oklahoman. "I was so proud of him."
The 13 soldiers - eight of whom died in one day - are among nearly 4,000 American service members killed in Iraq since the war began exactly five years ago today.
And there is no end in sight.
1. Army Sgt. Phillip Anderson, 28, of Everett, Wash.
2. Army Spc. Donald Burkett, 24, of Comanche, Texas.
3. Army Capt. Torre Mallard, 27, of Slidell, La.
4. Army Sgt. 1st Class Shawn Suzch, 32, of Hilltown, Pa.
5. Army Staff Sgt. Ernesto Cimarrusti, 25, of Douglas, Ariz.
6. Army Staff Sgt. David Julian, 31, of Evanston, Wyo.
7. Army Cpl. Robert McDavid, 29, of Starkville, Miss.
8. Army Cpl. Scott McIntosh, 26, of Houston.
9. Army Staff Sgt. Laurent West, 32, of Raleigh, N.C.
10. Army Staff Sgt. Juantrea Bradley, 28, of Greenville, N.C.
11. Army Spc. Dustin Jackson, 21, of Arlington, Texas.
12. Army Pfc. Tenzin Samten, 33, of Prescott, Ariz.
13. Army Staff Sgt. Collin Bowen, 38, of Millersville, Md.
14. Army Spc. William O'Brien, 19, of Rice, Texas.
Washington Producer John Rutherford is a decorated Vietnam veteran. He also posts stories on the military at www.fieldnotes.msnbc.com (click on "John Rutherford" under "categories") and at http://john-rutherford.newsvine.com/. The tribute gallery can be found at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22802019/.