Friday, June 10, 2005

Knock, knock...

I rose to the sound of someone knocking on the door of my tent at about 2230 hrs the other night. I opened the door to find the Operations Sergeant Major standing before me. I was surprised it was him, and instantly curious since this was an unusual visit.

"What's up?" I asked.

"We've got a KIA coming in," he replied with a deadpanned face.

I looked down and cursed the air. "Is it one of ours?" I asked before I could stop myself. As soon as the words left my lips I began chastising myself internally. "What the heck difference does that make, Upperman? Is a soldier from another unit somehow less valuable?" A life was gone and a family would be getting a dreaded phone call. That's all that mattered.

"No. It's not one ours," he replied. "Another unit had a vehicle accident north of here and they're evacuating the body to our location."

I cursed the air again. Every life cut short over here is lamented. But losing soldiers because of an accident is particularly painful because we're so certain it was preventable. Either a procedure wasn't followed, or a detail was overlooked. Something could have been done to keep it from happening.

After this short and painful conversation I quickly realized that the Sergeant Major wasn't looking for me. Rather he was there for my roommate. A fellow captain who is also a funeral director back in his civillain life. Unfortunately, this isn't the first time he's been called upon for this sort of thing. This happens about once a month because of our location on the route. All of them from different causes…

but all equally painful.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

GOD BLESS HIM and I grieve for his family. I will say a prayer for him. Thank you for keeping us safe back here and for the good work your doing over there.

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Rachel said...

I'm still so glad I found your blog. Your writing is so vivid that it reminds us of what is happening over there and of all that is at stake... I will not forget. Prayers, as usual, for you and all of the others.

2:40 PM  
Blogger Maggie45 said...

John, I'll pray for his family. He's at peace now.

Bless your and everyone there for keeping us safe here.

10:44 PM  
Blogger Lexie said...


5:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

big brother,
not everyone is in the military and understands your accronyms you need to start putting () after your KIA to let people know what they mean,also its time to call in the air force and end this thing, start one city at time pull all of our troops out and drop a bomb, if the insurgents dont stop you move to the next city, no need to have 1600 and counting KIA over some oil, another vietnam we are heading that way, good thing im not in charge isnt it

lil bro justus

oh by the way how many times have you put the gas mask on over there? just to let you know my unit was in it for 3 hours in hot and humid florida on thursday, we had 6 heat strokes and from what ive heard from your sister most people dont even have it over there, good training dont you think!!

1:57 PM  
Blogger Mandy said...

Thank you again for your wonderful blog, and your stories that tug on the heartstrings. I'll be sure to say a prayer for this soldier's family, who otherwise would be a prayer short tonight.
Thank you.

7:59 PM  

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Austin, TX