U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Joseph Anderson, 31, survived three tours of duty in the Middle East.

But on New Year’s Eve, while he was home in Marrero for the holidays, he was shot in the head by a carjacker and died at the home of his ex-wife’s parents.

Anderson’s parents, Kathleen and David, couldn’t hold back their tears when they and other families were honored during Military Family Day at the Louisiana Senate.

The father of three served in Kuwait in 2003, and in Iraq in 2004 and 2006.

Among his accolades were four Army Commendation Medals, awarded to those who display acts of heroism or meritorious service while in direct contact with an enemy; three Army Achievement Medals, also awarded for actions during combat; three Army Good Conduct Medals; and several service ribbons.

On Tuesday, the state Senate honored 12 servicemen who had died in the past year, who all were honored with a Senate resolution and whose families were presented with a state flag. Since the inception of the Military Family Day program in 2005, the Senate has honored 189 fallen soldiers from Louisiana.

“A good soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him,” said Sen. Robert Adley, R-Benton. “We should do no less.”

In addition to Anderson, the state Senate offered its condolences and honored the military service of the following fallen military personnel:

  • La. National Guard Specialist Christopher Drake.
  • U.S. Army Sgt. Stefan M. Smith.
  • U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Christopher Wooley.
  • La. National Guard Staff Sgt. John William Winsper III.
  • U.S. Army Command Sgt. Major Andre Johnson.
  • U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Richard Lee Vazquez.
  • U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Gregory Mullins.
  • U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Christopher O. Grant.
  • Retired U.S. Navy Seal Mark Kennedy.
  • U.S. Air Force Sgt. Derek Langford.
  • U.S. Marine Corps Pvt. Trey Jewell.