I met Joe about 4 years ago while we served as recruiters in the east Tennessee area, Kingsport to be exact. He had a young lady named Jen he wanted nothing else but to marry, he did. They were the perfect match for one another and had life by the tail and knew it. They loved their pets and treated them as their children. Jen and Joe had a bond that overcame the stresses of the job.
Joe knew that one day he was going back to the infantry, his first love and second to Jen. Mission was to make it day by day in Kingsport and get back to the job he had joined the Army for in the first place, lead infantry soldiers. He as an Active Duty recruiter an me as a Reserve Recruitier worked together to make out lives in USAREC bearable. I heard Joe say many times, "I can't wait to go back to the real Army", he wanted a squad of infantry soldiers to lead. I looked up to Joe even though he was an E6 and me an E7, I knew he had what it took to be a leader. So many good soldiers end up on a tour like recruiting and it makes them doubt their abilities. Joe was not a person to doubt his abilities.
All Joe wanted was to lead an infantry squad. The last thing I remember him saying on a tv interview was "My biggest fear is losing a soldier in battle". We lost a great soldier, giving his life for his soldiers and the American people. Jen we love you and you will survive. Joe we miss and love you with all that is in us. You will forever be in my family's heart. I pray for you every day. I pray for healing for your family. You are a true American hero. Jen you are a hero as well, never let anyone take that away from you. You have stood beside a great man, a true Warrior, not a paper soldier you seen in his previous command
Memorial Bracelets, you give us the means to hang on to that patriotism. Thank you for the things you are doing and I can assure this bracelet will never leave my wrist. I ordered two so on can be placed in the most special place to me. It will be displayed next to my Bronze Star earned during Desert Storm. It will always come before any award I have ever been given.