Tuesday, August 12, 2008
During my year in west Afghanistan, we lost two American military from our base to hostile activity. One was a soldier who died in a firefight far to the south just before Memorial Day. The other was a Navy Corpsman (our version of medics) within the last week during activities far to the north. The first made our Memorial Day on Camp Stone that much more profound. The latter was observed even here in Camp Phoenix. Over 100 assembled to pay respects. Two of our Navy enlisted, one a corpsman, formed the honor guard. The National Anthem was played; the chaplain, another senior officer and the senior Navy Chief Petty Officer all spoke of this fine young man. The role was called; 3 others from Herat answered "Here, Chief"; the fallen sailor's name was then called three times with no answer. 21 gun salute was followed by taps. We could then each go forward to give our respects with a slow salute. Many left mementos to be forwarded to his widow and parents. I left a Command Coin from Herat. God bless this young man, his family, the suffering people of Afghanistan and our great country that believes in things worth dieing for.