Anthony Ray Charles Yost
Master Sergeant, United States Army
November 21, 2005
Media Contact: Army Public Affairs - (703) 692-2000 Public/Industry Contact: (703)428-0711
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Master Sergeant Anthony R. C. Yost, 39, of Flint, Michigan, died in Mosul, Iraq on November 19, 2005, when a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated near his position during combat operations. Yost was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
For further information related to this release, contact Army Public Affairs at (703) 692-2000.
Thumb native killed in Iraq war
Soldier is 69th to die with Mich. ties
November 22, 2005
Penny Cairnduff heard the military chaplain's words over the phone, but she didn't believe them.
Her son couldn't be dead. He was coming home from Iraq in January. And, besides, she thought, doesn't the military notify family members in person?
When she heard the knock on her front door Saturday night, reality sank in: Cairnduff's son, 39-year-old Master Sgt. Anthony Yost of the U.S. Army Special Forces, was dead, killed in a suicide bombing while working with the Iraqi army last week.
Yost, a native of Millington in Michigan's Thumb, is the 69th member of the U.S. armed forces with known ties to Michigan to be killed in Iraq.
According to a news release issued Monday by the U.S. Department of Defense, Yost was killed Saturday in Mosul, Iraq, when "a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated near his position during combat operations."
Yost was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, in Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.
Cairnduff said she and Yost's wife of two years, Joann, were both notified Saturday.
"She was hysterical," Cairnduff said of her daughter-in-law, who lives near Ft. Bragg. "She was on her way to go somewhere, and when she opened the door, the chaplain was there with the news."
The same chaplain called Cairnduff at work Saturday afternoon. Another showed up on her doorstep to deliver the news in person that night.
Cairnduff of Linden said her son joined the military after a short stint at a technical college.
He graduated from Millington High School in 1984.
Kris Currie, 39, a secretary at Millington Elementary School, graduated with Yost and told the Associated Press that he loved playing on the school's basketball and baseball teams.
Cairnduff said her son also played football.
"He was a guy's guy," Cairnduff said Monday, describing Yost's passions for exercising -- "he was rock-solid," his mother said -- and motorcycling -- he owned a red Harley-Davidson.
Yost also loved to hunt, especially deer, and ran a small gun business from his home. He had planned to hunt with his father, Donald Yost of Millington, after he returned home this winter, his mother said.
Yost had two children: a 13-year-old daughter, Cheyenne, who lives in Clio, and 2-year-old son Anthony James, who lives with Yost's wife in North Carolina.
Cairnduff said her son spoke five languages and was a weapons expert.
He had been deployed to Iraq in the spring and was expected to end his nearly 20-year military career after his return.
"He was almost due to get out, and there you go," Cairnduff said, her voice cracking. "We have faith here that God plucked him out ...
"I try to find the answers for everything, and I just can't find it."
Cairnduff said her son is expected to be buried
in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Funeral arrangements weren't
MILLINGTON, MICHIGAN -Anthony R.C. Yost was two months away from retiring with 20 years in the military when he was killed, family members say.
"He was coming home (to Millington) in January; he wanted to get out so that he could be there for his 2-year-old son, A.J. (Anthony James)," said Yost's grandmother, Fern M. Yost, 79, of Clio.
A suicide bomber on Friday killed Yost, an Army Special Forces master sergeant, in Iraq, a federal Department of Defense Web site shows.
The vehicle detonated near his position during combat operations. Yost was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Yost, 39, and his wife, Joann, had lived in North Carolina where he was stationed.
"They said he was a hero, the way he died," Yost's mother, Penny Cairnduff of Linden, said of soldiers who on Saturday notified her of her son's death.
Cairnduff said her son, a 1984 graduate of Millington High School, spoke five languages and was a sniper expert. She remembered her son as a giving person who loved his children and family.
"He was a smart kid. He loved his job," she said.
Yost also has a daughter, Cheyenne, 13, by his first wife, Penny. Cheyenne attends Jake L. Meachum Junior High School in Millington.
The family decided to bury Yost at Arlington
National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, they said.
Anthony Yost will get a hero's funeral at Arlington National Cemetery this week, and his widow said she will remember him as a selfless soldier with unwavering dedication to both his country and his family.
"There will never be a man like that again, that's for sure," Joann Yost said of the Millington resident.
Yost, an Army master sergeant and decorated special forces leader, died November 19, 2005, in an explosion while serving in Iraq.
A memorial service will be held Wednesday at his base at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, followed by a graveside funeral at Arlington on Friday.
New information about his death indicates Yost, 39, did not die from the actions of a suicide bomber, as originally reported.
Yost was in the process of searching for insurgents in a building in Mosul, Iraq, when the explosion occurred, causing the structure to collapse, military officials said. The explosion was caused by a "mini-bomb," which often are similar to Molotov cocktails, according to the public affairs office for the Department of Defense.
Yost led some of the Army's toughest soldiers into battle. At the same time, the father of three declared it "daddy's job" to put his youngest son, A.J., 2, to bed and rock the baby to sleep every night when home.
Yost served in the Army for 18 years and five months and had recently decided he would re-enlist for another six years - a move he planned to tell his extended family when he returned from Iraq in two months, Joann Yost said.
As team sergeant, Yost led the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne). He also served as an instructor at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School when at Fort Bragg - teaching the Army's best how to be better.
He was fluent in Russian and was a master parachutist. His long list of honors includes medals for serving in Kosovo and Korea as well as on the war on terrorism.
"For a man to call me from Iraq and say he wanted to stay (in the military), ... he absolutely loved what he was doing. He absolutely died doing what he loved," Joann Yost said by telephone from North Carolina.
Yost graduated from a gunsmith course at a community college. His dream was to have a gunsmithing business on the side while continuing his military career, Joann Yost said.
Yost was the kind of dad who taught his stepson, Donovan Dean, 18, how to drive and took him on his first skydive. And when Yost asked Joann to marry him, he sought her son's permission first, and then he and his future stepson picked out the engagement ring together.
He also was father to Cheyenne, a 13-year-old daughter who lives in Clio and who he hated being so far away from.
After meeting at a gym and dating for years, Anthony and Joann married a year and 10 months ago. Joann Yost said she always knew her husband missed his family but understood his deep dedication to the Army and his country.
"When you are in the military, you have to make sacrifices," she said.
Yost is to receive the Bronze Star, the Silver Star and the Purple Heart for his service in Iraq, Joann Yost said.
The memorial service will be 10 a.m. Wednesday at JFK Chapel at Fort Bragg, with seating priority given to family and unit members.
Visitation will follow 4-8 p.m. Thursday at Murphy's Funeral Home in Arlington, Virginia, with the funeral at Arlington at 10 a.m. Friday.
A memorial service celebrating his life for
local friends and family was held November 26, 2005, at North End Baptist
Church in Mt. Morris Township.
The Sunday Times June 25, 2006
Zarqawi gunfight kept from US hero’s widow
Sarah Baxter, Washington, and Michael Smith
for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, was so secretive
that one special forces widow did not know her husband had died in a close
encounter with the terrorist until she read about it in The Sunday Times.
The Sunday Times referred to the incident a fortnight ago in an article about Zarqawi’s death in a US airstrike. We reported that Yost had killed three of the terrorist’s lieutenants in a firefight before Zarqawi blew up the house and escaped through a tunnel.
It was news to Yost’s grieving wife Joann. “I saw Tony’s name and thought, ‘That’s my husband’,” she said.
All she had been told by the US military was that a building had exploded with her husband inside. She learnt later that he had killed several insurgents, but Zarqawi was not mentioned. The information was top secret.
“I can live with the fact that Tony died doing what he loved,” Joann said. “But I want to fight for the right for my children to know what happened to him.”
Joann was discouraged from seeing her husband’s badly injured body before he was buried at Arlington national cemetery. She hopes to be buried next to him one day.
Joann, the daughter of a Vietnam veteran, still lives near Fort Bragg in North Carolina, home to Yost’s 3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (airborne). She was a 34-year-old aerobics teacher when she met Yost, a weapons instructor, at the local gym shortly before the 9/11 attacks in 2001.
They had both been married before and each had a teenage child, but they soon became inseparable. Yost secretly went to buy an engagement ring with Joann’s son Donovan before he proposed.
After their marriage, AJ — short for Anthony James — was born. He is two now and missing his father. Joann has taken him to see the memorial at Fort Bragg where Yost’s name is inscribed alongside those of all 965 special forces soldiers killed or missing in action since the Vietnam war.
She has told the boy his father will not be coming home. “He’s too young to understand. He still says Daddy is at work.”
Joann worries that Yost will be nothing more than a photograph to AJ. “I would like my son to be able to say one day, ‘This is what happened to my father’. The details may not matter to some people, but they matter to me,” she said.
Yost had served in the special forces for more than a decade when the Iraq war broke out. He was a deadly accurate sniper and volunteered for active duty.
“Tony was a special forces legend,” one source recalled. “There are many stories around about his prowess with a rifle. He was known as ‘the master sniper’.”
Another special forces soldier said: “He was a natural leader who was called chief. I remember him telling me that he carried his grandfather’s tomahawk with him.”
began closing in on Zarqawi last autumn as the tip-offs about his location
increased. On November 19, Yost’s “A team”, backed up by Iraqi forces,
surrounded the house in Mosul where they believed the terrorist was.
US Army Special Operations Command said later that Yost “was in the process of searching a building in Mosul for insurgents when an explosion occurred, collapsing the building. Yost was killed by the blast.”
But a source familiar with the operation confirmed it was a key moment in the hunt for Zarqawi. “They had good information that Zarqawi and three of his top subordinates would be meeting there,” the source said.
“The house was surrounded and a firefight ensued. Tony was able to get into the house. Forensics indicated that Tony killed the three subordinates. A tunnel and blood which proved to be Zarqawi’s was found. He apparently blew the house up as he escaped.”
Joann said: “I asked everyone I could whether Tony’s death had anything to do with Zarqawi and was told, ‘Well, Zarqawi wasn’t in there’.”
Major Jim Gregory, a spokesman for Special Forces Command at Fort Bragg, said he had no information on Zarqawi’s alleged presence. “We don’t hold things back from the wives, but it’s not something we would be typically made aware of.”
Joann is hoping the military will consider awarding Yost a distinguished service medal for “exceptional performance of duty”. He has already been granted a silver star, bronze star and purple heart.
to see my husband fully honoured,” she said. “It makes me more than proud
to know he was on that mission."
6 July 2008:
MILLINGTON, Michigan -- A local hero will finally have a permanent place in his hometown.
Bronze boots, a gun and helmet will soon stand above white granite in front of the Millington Cemetery to honor the town's fallen soldier, Master Sergeant Anthony "Andy" Yost.
After months of fundraising, a memorial for the locally famous Silver Star honoree who was killed in Iraq in 2005 will be unveiled July 19 during a ceremony for him.
"It just makes us feel like he's with us, like we've got him here," said Yost's aunt Linda Whitehead. "It's just a beautiful monument. We're just going to be so proud that his name will be on it."
Yost made international news amidst an unconfirmed story in a London paper -- which local family members now say was misreported -- that he was killed while hunting Iraq's onetime most vicious terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
According to official Army accounts, Yost, 39, volunteered to go into a house to help Iraqi soldiers in the midst of a firefight when an insurgent bombed the house in northeastern Mosul.
Yost was buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia and his local family -- which includes 15-year-old daughter Cheyenne, his parents and grandparents -- wanted a place to visit and honor him.
Whitehead said the family was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support that helped raise more than the $10,000 needed for the memorial. The monument, designed by Michigan's chapter of Lest They Be Forgotten, also will include the names of other Millington troops killed in Iraq or Afghanistan.
"It could never have happened without all of those wonderful people who came together," Whitehead said. "To see the patriotism of these people who came out ... I don't even know what to say."
"He would have loved every moment of this," she added of her nephew, who was known for enjoying attention. "It's been so emotional. It's like he's been with us on this whole journey."
Two large fundraisers, including a February benefit concert at Boomers Roadhouse in Waterford, raised the bulk of more than $12,000.
Leading the fundraising efforts was Flushing resident Georgeann Ricketts, who used her music and business connections for sponsorships and donations that made the benefits possible.
The family calls her their "angel," Whitehead said.
"I know the family has gone through a lot," said Ricketts, who did not know Yost's family before. "I looked into (Yost's) story. Not only did he deserve it but every man in that operation deserves it.
"It really touched me. I was thankful that they asked me and trusted me enough to help."
Cheyenne Yost of Clio said she's proud of her dad and wanted a memorial to make sure he isn't forgotten.
She plans to visit the new monument on holidays, the anniversary of his death and just when she wants to feel closer to him.
"It will give me a place to go when I'm sad and his friends can remember him and honor him there," she said.
YOST, ANTHONY RAY
Posted: 27 November 2005 Updated: 4 December 2005 Updated: 11 February 2006 Updated: 24 June 2006 Updated: 6 July 2007 Updated: 12 February 2011
Photo By M. R. Patterson, 4 July 2011
Photo By M. R. Patterson, February 2011