Iraq Biographies

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HORNEDO, MANNY (1978-2005). Sergeant, 1569th Transportation Company, New York Army National Guard. Manny Hornedo was born in Brooklyn on March 17, 1978, to Evelyn Crespo (born on December 11, 1956). No records for Manny’s father could be found. His family was of Puerto Rican ancestry per a news report in the July 8, 2005 New York Daily News. Manny’s older half-sister, Carmen Cruz Rodriguez, daughter of Evelyn Crespo and George L. Cruz, was born in 1974.

The family lived in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, at 4002 3rd Avenue, when Manny was a child. In 1993, Manny was attending John Jay High School (now John Jay Educational Campus) in Park Slope, Brooklyn. He was nicknamed “Chino.”

Manny married Melissa E. Nieves (born in September 1978) on April 8, 1998, in Brooklyn. According to Manny’s July 2, 2005 obituary in Newsday, they were high-school sweethearts. They were living at 437 44th Street in Brooklyn when they welcomed their two sons, Manny Hornedo Jr. in 1999, and Marcus in 2001.

According to his obituaries in the July 3, 2005 New York Daily News and the July 24, 2005 Journal News, Manny was employed as a loss prevention/security manager at a Gap clothing store in Herald Square, Manhattan, when he enlisted in the National Guard on February 26, 2002. His widow was quoted in the Journal News obituary that the tragic events of September 11, 2001 encouraged him to enlist. Manny received a National Defense Service Medal in 2002 and was discharged on June 28, 2002.

On March 1, 2004, Manny returned to active National Guard service, He was deployed as a transportation specialist in Operation Iraqi Freedom III in January 2005 with the 42nd Army Infantry Division. The employees of the Gap store where he had been working sent care packages to Manny every month while he was stationed in Iraq, according to his obituaries. In early June 2005, he returned home for a two-week leave to celebrate his son Marcus’s fourth birthday and an early Father’s Day with his family.

On June 28, 2005, per his obituaries, Manny was serving as a turret gunner on an escort Humvee west of Tikrit, Iraq, when a suicide bomb exploded next to the convoy, killing him. He was interred in Green-Wood with full military honors. The employees of the Gap store where he worked set up savings accounts for his two sons. Manny received the Bronze Star and Purple Heart Medals, as well as the Iraq Campaign Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, and the New York Operation Iraqi Freedom Service Ribbon. Manny’s mother died on January 10, 2023. Section 96, lot 44805, grave 37.

New York Daily News, June 30, 2005, page 5.

VINCENT, STEVEN CHARLES (1955-2005). Author and journalist. Born in Washington, D.C, Steven’s family soon moved to northern California. The family spent four years in Palo Alto before moving to Sunnyvale in 1960. According to “Steven Vincent, Murdered in Iraq, E. Village Legend,” an article written by Lizzy Ratner in the August 15, 2005 Observer, Steven’s father worked for the United States General Accounting Office. Of Armenian heritage, many of Steven’s grandmother’s family were killed in the 1915 Armenian genocide.

Steven graduated from Homestead High School in 1974, went to the University of California, Santa Barbara, then to the University of California, Berkeley, from which he graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English and Philosophy in 1980. He hitchhiked his way to New York City in 1980, where he worked as a waiter, security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and cab driver.

In 1982 he met his wife, Lisa Ramaci, and they lived together in the East Village. Married in 1992, they lived at 534 East 11th Street since 1994, per the Index to Public Records.

According to, Steven’s first journalistic experience was editing a local newspaper, The East Villager, where he wrote, edited, laid out, and oversaw the publication of each monthly issue from 1984 to 1991. During this time, he used the newspaper as a forum to influence neighborhood politics. In the late 1980s he began writing fiction and essays, publishing in various literary magazines and booklets. In 1990 he was hired by Art+Auction magazine, where he became the senior writer, specializing in investigative reporting of art theft, fraud, counterfeiting, and other aspects of malfeasance. After a six-month stint at The Wall Street Journal, he returned to Art+Auction as a freelancer until his death. He also contributed to Art in America, Harper’s Magazine, and the Christian Science Monitor.

A turning-point in Steven’s life came after watching United Airlines flight 175 crash into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, and the subsequent collapse of the Twin Towers. He was determined to go to Iraq, where he operated freely as a journalist, traveling through the country and interviewing locals. In 2004, he published the book, In the Red Zone: Journey into the Soul of Iraq, as well as a blog about his travels. He reported from Baghdad and then Basra, in southern Iraq, for The New York Times, National Review, Mother Jones, Reason, Front Page, and American Enterprise.

On August 2, 2005, he became the first American journalist to be murdered in Iraq. Steven and his translator Nouriya Itais Wadi (also known as Nooriya Tuaiz or Noor al-Khal) were kidnapped off the street in Basra, bound, gagged, and taken to an undisclosed location where they were beaten, interrogated, and then shot. When they were found, Vincent was dead, shot in the back at close range. Nouriya survived despite having been shot three times. An August 3, 2005 New York Times article about his death relates that Steven wrote about the rise of conservative Shiite Islam and the corruption of the Iraqi police, and it is generally accepted that he was murdered because of his criticism of religious extremism in the area. He detailed how Shia militia had infiltrated the police force in Basra and of the “death cars” driven by off-duty police cruising the streets.

Two months after Steven’s murder, according to an article in the August 2, 2006 issue of Reason magazine, his widow established the Steven Vincent Foundation in his memory to donate money to the families of indigent journalists, translators, drivers, and other media workers killed while doing their jobs. Lisa Ramaci-Vincent was also successful in bringing Steven’s translator to safety and asylum in New York in 2007. Section 73, lot 44939.

Steven Vincent