By John Rutherford, NBC News Producer, Washington
Violence is up in Afghanistan, down in Iraq. Last week, for the first week in memory, more Americans died in Afghanistan (4) than in Iraq (3). The death toll in Afghanistan for the first 10 months of this year (99) surpassed all of last year (98).
"The security situation in Afghanistan is assessed by most analysts as having deteriorated at a constant rate through 2007," a United Nations report said. "The numbers of incidents are higher than comparable periods in 2006."
In Iraq, attacks against U.S. forces dropped to the lowest level since early 2006. Thirty-seven Americans died in October, the lowest monthly total in a year and a half.
"This trend represents the longest continuous decline in attacks on record," the commander of day-to-day military operations in Iraq said.
Besides Afghanistan and Iraq, American service members died last week in Bahrain and the Philippines.
1. Navy Seaman Genesia Gresham, 19, of Lithonia, Ga., was murdered Oct. 22 by a fellow sailor at the Bahrain naval support base in the Persian Gulf. Her alleged assailant, described as a jilted boyfriend, was in critical condition after shooting himself. Gresham was assigned to base security. "My daughter, who was affectionately known to her friends and family as 'Snowflake,' was a wonderful person," her mother told the Bahrain Daily News.
2. Navy Seaman Anamarie Camacho, 20, of Panama City, Fla., was Seaman Gresham's roommate, also assigned to base security. She died in the same shooting. Camacho joined the Navy in June of last year because she did not have enough money for college. "She always tried to do things on her own," her mother told the Saipan Tribune from her home in Tinian, Northern Marinas Islands. Camacho had arrived in Bahrain in September.
3. Army Staff Sgt. Larry Rougle, 25, of West Jordan, Utah, served three tours in Iraq and was on his third tour in Afghanistan, assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, when he was shot and killed Oct. 23 in Sawtalo Sar Mountain, Kunar Province, Afghanistan. "He knew the stakes," his brother told the Salt Lake City Tribune. "He just said, 'If I get waxed, don't let there be any drama in the family.'" Rougle is survived by his daughter, Carmin Jade, 3.
4. Army Sgt. Edward Philpot, 38, of Latta, S.C., was a history buff who loved talking politics. He deployed to Afghanistan in January with the 263rd Armor Regiment and died Oct. 23 when his Humvee rolled over during a convoy. He is survived by his widow, Stephanie, and three daughters. A Latta business owner told WLTX how Philpot's "girls would climb over him, and kiss him on the cheeks and the back of the neck, and he would just smile and continue his conversation with people."
5. Army Staff Sgt. Robin Towns, 52, of Upper Marlboro, Md., loved family, friends, football, and food, especially the Philadelphia Eagles and barbecued chicken and ribs. "He was passionate about everything he did," his sister-in-law told the Washington Post. Towns, a National Guard MP, was killed Oct. 24 by a roadside bomb in Bayji, nine days after arriving in Iraq. He is survived by his widow, Sheila, and six grown children. Towns was the 11th service member over 50 killed in Iraq.
6. Army Sgt. Joshua Brennan, 22, played football, ran hurdles, and hunted elk growing up in Ontario, Ore. "He was such a responsible young man," his mother told the Oregonian. "I know he would have done absolutely amazing things in his life." Brennan, with the 173rd Airborne Combat Team, died one day after being shot in the chest in an Oct. 25 ambush in the Korengal Valley of Afghanistan. He had hoped to become a police officer.
7. Army Spc. Hugo Mendoza, 29, of Glendale, Ariz., liked to bowl and play with his brother's three children. "The older he got, the more loving he got," his brother told the Arizona Republic. Mendoza, a medic, was killed Oct. 25 throwing grenades at Taliban insurgents trying to drag a wounded Sgt. Brennan away. "If it weren't for that medic, horrific things could have happened to Joshua," Brennan's mother told the Oregonian. Mendoza had planned to become a firefighter.
8. Army Pfc. Adam Chitjian, 39, of Philadelphia loved barbecue and dirt biking. He joined the Army four years ago in response to 9/11. "He wanted to act, rather than just talk," his brother told the Philadelphia Inquirer. Chitjian, a combat engineer with the 1st Cavalry Division, was killed by small arms fire Oct. 25 in Balad, Iraq. He was due home this month and had thought of joining a private security firm. Chitjian is survived by his widow, Shirley.
9. Army Spc. David Lambert, 39, of Cedar Bluff, Va., was described as a "health nut" by his niece, Brittany. "He would run all the way up to the red lights and back," she told tricities.com. The red lights were three miles away. Lambert, a member of Virginia National Guard's 276th Engineer Battalion, left for Iraq less than a month ago and was killed Oct. 26 by a roadside bomb in Baghdad. He is survived by his parents and his fiancee, Heather.
10. Army Staff Sgt. Joseph Curreri, 27, of Los Angeles founded his high school water polo team and was captain of the swim team at the University of Southern California. He drowned Oct. 27 at Siet Lake in the Philippines while searching for a missing necklace. He was in the Philippines training Filipinos fighting terrorists. Curreri, a Green Beret, grew up in Baltimore, majored in history at USC, and joined the Army in 2004. He is survived by his widow, Athena.
Washington Producer John Rutherford is a decorated Vietnam veteran. He posts a weekly tribute to service members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.