One Year

Sgt. Nick Tomko

Before long, Tomko was Mr. Popular. He could walk into a crowd of a hundred and have an inside joke with everybody in the room, said Spc. Erik Hamza, 24, of Greensburg.

Gathered in Jack Tomko's apartment Tuesday in Evans City, members of Nick Tomko's platoon from Iraq described him as a consummate professional with a wicked sense of humor.

Nick Tomko was the guy everyone knew was in the military for life.

"He was really proud to be in the service 100 percent of the time," said Spc. Javier Orona, 23, of Murrysville.

Col. Christine Stark said Tomko had all the elements that make a fine soldier: intuition, leadership, loyalty, dedication and smarts.

"He took care of us," said Spc. Luigi DiSilvestro, 22, of Republic, Fayette County.

Tomko would step in on behalf of others when their rank forced them to remain quiet, he said.

Tomko and his fellow soldiers befriended Iraqi children. One young boy, whom they called "Petey," earned a special reward from the sergeant -- a private dance lesson. Tomko was known around the platoon for his very bad -- but amusingly persistent -- dancing.

His sense of humor kept the platoon's mood light in Iraq.

"There couldn't be tension when Nick was around," Orona recalled.

Tomko earned a reputation as a prankster who would start a massive shaving-cream fight or tack a soldier's beloved stuffed animal to the wall.

"He was always the instigator," Hamza said.

In October 2003, Nick Tomko sent his dad a black flag with "You're in Steelers Country" painted on it in Arabic for his birthday.

From my personal journal, 09 Nov 2003. This may be a bit personal for some, too self-involved, too melodramatic, and will probably get pulled later, but I want to include it, so here it is.

The saying goes that there is no Athiests in foxholes, but that saying is wrong. In a firefight, all that exists is you, the people around you, the gun, and the bullets. Nothing is real beyond a 50 ft. radius, much less some celestial god.
And when a soldier dies, the suppossed god is not caring, nor cruel, nor watching. The reality of a neverending death comes crashing down, all other concerns and possibilities outside of friends and enemies are blown away.
Sgt. Nick Tomko died from rifle fire tonight, 1905, doing the night sweeps I described as "routine" last night.
Tomko and I were frinds, not super close but we lifted together and played video games and such...he sleeps 10 ft. away. At first I didn't like him, I thought he was just another meathead, but under the gym finished physique was acutually a fairly clever sense of humor, and we actually started getting along together very well.
Nick was younger than Eric, and left no wife, but he did have a small son. I remember the first time I met him was sitting in a corner with him & Peters playing with his son. I don't know what the mother's up to, but I hope she takes good care of him.
He had alot of friends here, and one particularly close girlfriend. They've been together since the beginning and she is a true wreck tonight...Jen's trying to help her, but...shit. what to say.
What follows is I guess even more personal, and then moves on through the next several days, some of the worst that my usually lucky company had to put up with. The now-classic "Veteran's Day Firefight", the day my tl finally snapped out, and so much more, only a short while before coming home.

As usual, I wish I had some eloquent way to close this, but hey. what is there to say. This veteran's day, while veterans appreciate being recognized, if you know someone that has lost a friend or relative overseas in any war, thank them. They sacrifice more than anyone.


howdy, thanks for stopping by. what you're looking at is the intermittent ramblings of an iraqi vet, college student, goth-poseur, comic book reading, cheesy horror loving, punk listening, right-leaning, tech-obsessed, poorly typing, proudly self-proclaimed geek. occasionally, probably due to these odd combinations, i like to think i have some interesting things to say; this is where they wind up.

"I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us...We need the books that affect us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside of us.

ace o spades hq
bargain-basement allahpundit
a small victory
army of mom
babalu blog
beautiful atrocities
being american in t o
belmont club
blame bush!
castle argghhh!
citizen smash
the command post
common sense runs wild
curmudgeonly & skeptical, r
curmudgeonly & skeptical, pg-13
dean's world
drill sergeant rob
exit zero
enjoy every sandwich
feisty repartee
fistful of fortnights
free will
four right wing wacos
ghost of a flea
half the sins of mankind
the hatemonger's quarterly
hog on ice
house of plum
id's cage
ilyka damen
incoherant ramblings
in dc journal
the jawa report
knowledge is power
lileks bleat
the llama butchers
memento moron
the mudville gazette
naked villainy
nerf-coated world
those damned pajama people
professor chaos
professor shade
the protocols of the yuppies of zion
protein wisdom
the queen of all evil
seven inches of sense
shinobi, who is a f'n numbers ninja, yo
tall dark and mathteriouth
the nose on your face
the thearapist
this is class warfare
texas best grok
tim worstall
way off bass

other must reads: