Thursday, January 28, 2010

For Capt Meadows and Sgt Haney

I am a C-17 pilot in the Air Force. On my first mission as an aircraft commander I arrived at Bagram to find a welcoming party with instructions for a "fallen heroes" ceremony. I had the sad honor of carrying Captain Joshua Meadows (USMC) and Sgt Randy Haney (US Army) out of the combat zone in the beginning of September 2009. Those ceremonies are always a sobering moment and we see far too many of them. It was evident that they were loved members of their units and they were honored as such on the ramp in the middle of the night at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. I have carried heroes home before and I know that I will, again, but I thought that it would be a fitting way for me to honor all of those that have lost their lives downrange by wearing these 2 names on my arm. I will never forget that night. God bless their families and all of those that have lost a loved one in the fight.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

For Maj. Curtis Dan Miller

My first cousin Maj. Curtis Dan Miller was shot down over Laos on March 29, 1972 while flying a C-130 gun ship. Their mission was to search out and destroy supply trucks on the Ho Chi Ming trail in Laos, a supply line to North Viet Nam when they were hit by a missile called a flying telephone pole. There were reports of beeper signals from parachutes, so our hope was always that Dan would be found alive someday. Although the chance of him escaping the flight deck of a C-130 was highly impossible from the reports of nearby support aircraft of the severe hit the C-130 received from the missile.
My first POW Bracelet was silver and I wore it throughout High School and at college, which was followed by a red one and it always received attention from people not sure of its meaning. This past year Dan was identified through bone fragments that the USAF had excavated from his crash site after his immediate family protested the planned burial of several unidentified bone fragments in a grave with the names of the five members from his aircraft that had not been personally identified from previous tests. Since they have now identified a bone fragment as Major Curtis Dan Millers, his service is scheduled on the day he went missing 38 years later. By wearing the Killed In Action bracelet at his Funeral/Memorial service it will give me a chance to take a step forward in realizing that he like many others will never return and wearing the KIA bracelet will always remind anyone who asks, that there are sacrifices that we endure for the freedom that so many take so lightly.
Kevin M.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

For My Grandson PFC Brian R. Bates Jr.

I have ordered the Memorial Bracelets to wear in honor of my Grandson PFC Brian R. Bates, Jr. who was killed in action in Afghanistan on October 27, 2009. He leaves behind a wife and 2 beautiful children who will never know what their father did for them and all Americans to keep us free. Brian has received the Bronze Metal of Honor and the Purple Heart along with numerous other medals and awards. He will never be forgotten.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

For Charles Cartwright

Charlie was my nephew and lost his life in Afghanistan 07 Nov 09. He was considered a true warrior. Charlie had only been married 11 months. I will NEVER forget this brave young man. I wear the Memorial Bracelet so others will ask why, and I can share my story of our beloved Charlie.

Monday, January 04, 2010

For James C. Kearney III

This weekend was my first training assembly with my new platoon. I really enjoyed getting to know the guys, and training was successful, but perhaps the moment that left the most lasting impression was walking through the Bravo Company awards room. The room is full of history, from photos of Bravo Company, 168 Infantry Regiment soldiers in WWII to awards received as an exemplary unit throughout the various campaigns. My unit’s history is truly spectacular.

The 168 Infantry Regiment most recently deployed to Ghazni Province, Afghanistan in 2004, where SGT James C. Kearney III was killed-in-action on November 1 of that year. SGT Kearney was manning the gunner’s hatch of his vehicle when his convoy was ambushed by small arms and RPGs on that day. Though “Task Force 1-168″ operated mainly in Ghazni, this particular convoy had taken them into Paktika province and towards the border with Pakistan when they were attacked. The sign in the photo was taken from “Kearney Base”, a Forward Operating Base which was eventually absorbed into the new Forward Operating Base Salerno. SGT Kearney was a member of 1st Platoon – the platoon I am currently assigned to – and his memory will be carried with us into Afghanistan.

Gabe Haugland