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, Godspeed to you on your missions in Afghanistan. I was chosen to do a portrait of James Kearney, whose bracelet you wear, for the "Faces of the Fallen" exhibit in Washington DC back in 2005. I feel a connection to him that will be forever---and although I never met him (nor have I met his family) I am grateful to you for keeping his memory and spirit alive. May you always be safe--
With deepest gratitude,
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