While writing the newsletter this month for the local VFW, my heart is breaking for all the troops lost during this timeframe, especially on Saturday, August 6, 2011 in the fighting in Afghanistan. Details are still sketchy; reportedly, 22 Navy Seals have been lost, nevertheless, as a former military wife, I await the news, curious if any are from South Carolina and if any are female. Reportedly, ‘the remains of the soldiers’ [how I detest that expression ] are scheduled to arrive home today, August 9, 2011. The expression of ‘the remains’ seems to dehumanize just who and what these individuals were. Regardless of where their home of records is, all of these soldiers are comrades-in-arms. They are sons, daughters, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, cousins, and so on. America will miss them. Nothing we say will make their loss easier, but as American citizens and Veterans we can say a prayer, in hopes that one day soon, America will have peace. Rest in peace dear soldiers. We mourn your loss.
The Naval Special Warfare community is experiencing “shock and disbelief” after 22 died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. Also killed eight additional U.S. service members, a civilian interpreter and seven Afghan soldiers.
“The CH-47 Chinook crash, which occurred during a raid in Wardak province, is believed to be the biggest single loss ever suffered by the NSW community or in the 24-year history of U.S. Special Operations Command.”
Reportedly, 17 were SEALs and five were direct support personnel. Two of the SEALs were from a West Coast SEAL unit, but the others were from Gold Squadron of Naval Special Warfare Development Group, or DevGru, sometimes known as SEAL Team 6. As a writer and someone who has a special portion of my heart reserved for the military, I would like to extend my deepest sympathy to all the family and friends of these brave soldiers.
From Jim Davis, Founder of Veterans-for-Change:
“The DoD announced the deaths of the following soldiers who were supporting OEF. Marine Sgt. Daniel D. Gurr, 21, of Vernal, Utah, died Aug. 5 while
conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, II Marine
Expeditionary Force (Forward), Okinawa, Japan. Army Spc. Jinsu Lee, 34, of Chatsworth, Calif. died Aug. 5, in Kunar province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Army Spc. Mark J.
Downer, 23, of Warner Robins, Ga. died Aug. 5, in Kandahar province,
Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with a
rocket-propelled grenade. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry
Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y. Marine Sgt. Daniel J. Patron, 26, of Canton, Ohio, died Aug. 6 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C. Rest in peace, and thank you for a job well done! Please keep these families in your prayers during this their time of need and comfort!”
Normally, the Navy Seals are a classified group of our military; however, these are not normal times. Below, I have listed a few of their names, according to http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/1036327–profiles-in-courage-a-look-at-some-of-the-seals-who-died.
The article is worthy of reading, but please have tissues nearby.
- Michael Strange, Philadelphia, PA, on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan.
- Kevin Houston, carried an American flag under his body armor, with exception of this date. On his fourth tour of duty, recipient of a Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars.
- Patrick Hamburger, Grand Island, Nebraska – only in Afghanistan for less than two weeks. Had future plans to propose marriage to his girlfriend.
- Aaron Carson Vaughn, deeply religious, joined the Seals after boot camp.
- Kraig Vickers, Hawaii, father of three, wife is expecting their fourth child.
- John Tumilson, Rockford, Iowa
- Matt Mills, father of three, served missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. His grandfather served with the Marines after Pearl Harbor.
- Jason Workman, Blanding, Utah.
- John W. Brown, Little Rock, Arkansas, a paramedic. His mother called him “Rambo with an attitude.”
- Brian Bill, Stamford, Connecticut, desired to become an astronaut after his military service.
- Matthew Mason, Kansas City – refused to allow an arm injury stop him from serving with the Seals. After losing part of his left arm, he returned to his Seal unit. Father of two toddlers.
Every loss of a soldier leaves a hole in the hearts of the loved ones; it is tragic when so many lives are lost in one battle. As the news reports continue, the five stages of grief leave this editor asking why. Will we ever accomplish the missions we must to end terrorism and war? Perhaps only a Veteran can answer that question, but the grief I feel for all the losses in August, 2011, along with the additional lives we have lost previously in Iraq and Afghanistan and in other wars leaves me with such grief that I truly cannot express. My prayers are with all of our soldiers, past, present and future. We pay an extraordinary emotional price to have freedom in America.