Western New York Women Who Died for Us All

Yahoo Contributor Network

Devin Snyder was a lanky, athletic young woman. From a family where military service was a tradition, she joined the Army and in March deployed to Iraq with her military police unit. On June 4, while patrolling in eastern Afghanistan, her vehicle hit a mine and she along with the three young men in the vehicle with her were killed. She is being buried on Saturday.

For the last 30 years opportunities have increased for women in every branch of the military. The basic combat roles are the only ones still forbidden them by law. War is no respecter of job title and women have given their lives in combat throughout both the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan.

In Iraq, about 111 female members of the military have died due to hostile causes. 150 men and women from New York have been killed in action there, and two are women.

Cari Gasiewicz was from Depew, N.Y., near Buffalo. She was killed early in the war in Iraq, Dec. 4, 2004, when her vehicle was struck by two improvised explosive devices. She was 28 at the time of her death.

Renee Deville was in the Army Reserve, serving with a Webster, N.Y., unit. In August 2006 she was injured in a mortar attack and evacuated to Walter Reed Army hospital in Washington. She passed away two years later, still being treated at Walter Reed. Her work during those two years left a legacy for families visiting the hospital in a playground where children such as her two grandchildren can play.

In Afghanistan, 17 American military women have been killed in action. 51 New Yorkers, one woman, have died in that war.

Devin Snyder grew up in the small upstate New York village of Cohocton. Her father, a Navy vet, served as Mayor several years. Her sister, Natasha, currently serves in the Navy and her brother, Damien, serves in the Army. She is also survived by an older brother, Derek and her mother, Dineen.

Snyder is the third woman from New York, the third from western New York, to be killed in combat in the two wars. Western New York was also home to Jason Dunham, a young Marine awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in combat in Iraq.

Upstate New York resident Charles Simmins brings 30 years of accounting and finance experience and a keen interest in military affairs to the news of the day. His years of experience working with the personnel of the Secretary of Defense's New Media activity on Bloggers' Roundtables provide insights often overlooked by other reporters.

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