For the past five years, I have been subscribing to the Pentagon's news release e-mail list. While it has many functions, like updating general officer assignments and releasing recruiting statistics, its main purpose is to notify the media of casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan.
After speaking with several military families and servicemembers, getting one of these e-mails has become a difficult moment. It's not like any other message in my inbox, because everytime I see "DOD releases casualty," that means a family has been notified that their loved one has died for our country. A husband isn't coming home, or a mother will never hug her children again. The volume of these e-mails during this past October, for instance, when 48 U.S. troops were killed in action in Afghanistan, is sometimes unbearable.
The last Pentagon casualty e-mail I received was on Monday, announcing the death of Pvt. Jhanner A. Tello in Baghdad. Here's to hoping my inbox stays empty.