Monday, November 13, 2006

The Crew of Alpha 3/2

On Oct. 15 of last year five men from our company were killed by an IED. This Veteran’s Day weekend I thought of them as well as the other two men from Able Company killed last year.

The following words were spoken by our Battalion Commander, Col. Roggeman, at a memorial service honoring their lives.

Combat Outpost, Ramadi Iraq

“Today we mourn the loss of five or our own, SSG Summers, Spc. Byrd, Spc. Hardy, Spc. Corban, and Spc. Watkins, heroes, one and all. They were killed on 15 October fighting for freedom, here around a city called Ramadi. They died patrolling the streets on Iraq’s historic election day, allowing the citizens to vote for peace. They died so others could live free and today we collectively mourn their loss. We lost some or our nation’s greatest resources, young men who had the courage to serve their country, young men who answered our nations call to duty. Yes, today we mourn the loss of some of our nation’s greatest resources, young infantrymen, the crew of Alpha 3/2.

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers, for he today who sheds his blood with me shall be my brother. These famous William Shakespeare words from Henry V so accurately describe the camaraderie and brotherly love that is evident in our formation. It’s clearly evident here in Able Company and especially in Alpha 3/2. SSG Summers, Spc. Byrd, Corban, Hardy, and Watkins were indeed a band of brothers. The ultimate bunch, for they lived, slept, worked, fought, and died together as a band of brothers, never hesitating, never doubting, always full of courage, always full of hope. Alpha 3/2 was always up front, always leading by example, and always leading their platoon.

I will always remember the heroic words of SSG Summers of the Alpha 3/2 crew during the 3 October enemy attack on ECP 5. Alpha 3/2 was called upon to lead the Blue platoon on a casevac mission up what turned out to be a heavily IED’d, enemy guarded Rt. Apple. Driving in, around, among, and through 4 IED’s, and an SVBIED, fighting and defeating the terrorists the whole way up.

Able Blue platoon led by Alpha 3/2 accomplished their mission bringing relief and hope to fellow wounded soldiers, all the while defeating the terrorists. Yes Alpha 3/2 accomplished their mission that day like they always did, without much fanfare and bravado but with the quiet confidence of true professionals.

Their Bradley survived hits of over 30 enemy rounds, even lost turret power, but once they returned their only concern was to get back into the fight, to re-arm to re-fit, so they would be ready to go again when called upon. Yes Alpha 3/2 never hesitated nor ever wavered to answer their call to duty. This band of brothers gave selflessly and on 15 October they paid the ultimate sacrifice.

They were true American heroes. SSG Summers, Specialists Byrd, Corban, Hardy, and Watkins, you lived the life of selfless service to the fullest. You touched all of us here today with your undaunted courage and quiet words. You led by example, you fought the good fight, you ran a good race. Well done and be thou at peace.

We, Able Company and the entire Panther Battalion will carry on your fight so that your death will not be in vain. We will continue to take the fight to the enemy. We will continue to close with and destroy our nation’s enemies so that your memory will live on forever, in the Able Company scrolls as well as the Panther Battalion scrolls. That’s our mission, and we will be Victorious, for the memory of SSG Summers, Specialists Byrd, Corban, Hardy, and Watkins, but also for Spc. Mathew Bohling, SSG Jason Benford, those other Strikeforce Able Company soldiers, as well as the rest of the Panther Battalion soldiers who have given their all to this conflict.

Today we mourn the loss of some of our nation’s greatest resources, American Infantrymen. Their families mourn the loss of the most loving and devoted husbands, fathers, sons, and brothers. Collectively we are saddened by their loss, but collectively we know that without Alpha 3/2 we must go on, for that’s what they would want us to do.

I don’t know why they were taken from us on 15 October, but I do know that Heaven rejoices with the addition of the crew of Alpha 3/2, five courageous soldiers, five brave infantrymen, and five, most importantly, beautiful young men. May God bless you and keep you, you few, you happy few, you band of brothers.”

22 Comments:

Blogger devildog6771 said...

Now I understand Michael. I thank you for sharing that very difficult time. I thank you for sharing your loss. I thank you for remembering them on this day.

When Mike died, our greatest fear was that he died alone and on one was there to hold his hand at that final moment or care. Once again you have helped ease my heart, and the hearts of others who have lost a loved one! I hope that we do some of the same for you.

I will always honor their memory too. I also grieve with you all and their families.

There is nothing else I could or would try to add here. You have already said it all so very well! God Bless you.

2:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Testing a post. You should consider moderated postings instead of allowing anyone to post.

4:32 PM  
Anonymous seaurchin said...

Michael, I am so glad to see you posting again!! I found your blog right around the time this happened. I read your entire blog..yes, there was a lot, but I learned so much by reading it. I was very concerned for you when I did not see any more posts.

I'm sorry to hear about this loss from your company. That was a very dificult time period for quite a few who were in Iraq. We will never neglect to remember those who gave all. For them, we will always be grateful.

12:00 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

I just stumbled onto your blog today. Tim Watkins was a personal friend of ours, and our Pastor's son when we were stationed in CA. God Bless you...and thank you for this post.

5:57 AM  
Anonymous Kathleen said...

Michael,

I decided my comment was too long and too personal to post publically, so I've emailed it to you via the email posted on your profile.

~Kathleen

8:04 PM  
Anonymous Kathleen said...

And by the way... I nominated your blog for the 2006 Weblog Awards for miliblogs. :)

8:05 PM  
Anonymous roguewarrior100 said...

HUA, my brother

12:24 PM  
Anonymous Williams said...

Thank you... It will not be the same without you this coming deployment.

11:51 PM  
Blogger Janar said...

I am writing a book about a Marine Rifle Company in Iraq. I have posted some of the interviews for the book at www.lima37.com. Any comments?

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1:05 PM  
Blogger Lee said...

Thanks for the post, it brought back some memories, good and bad. Things definately are not going to be the same this go around....headlamp in the eyes @ 2 a.m..... miss you brother

5:29 PM  
Blogger ArmyVet said...

From one veteran to another I want to say thank you for everything you have done for me and for our great country.

I understand your loss and I want you to know that your not alone.

Rakkasan!!

11:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

micheal, i do not know you and may nver know you, but i now know your story and i have never been prouder to be an american. if i am in the same country as ppl like you and who you write about, there is nothing better.

i pray that you find happyness and know that there are millions praying for you and a million behind you.

god bless american soldiers like yourself.

8:27 PM  
Anonymous Dan, Brookeville, MD said...

There are still alot of Americans who understand as I do that this war has to be fought and won - thank you for your service to your country and always view it as one of the greatest accomplishments of your life - God Bless the USA!

10:37 AM  
Anonymous Beth said...

I'm so happy to have stumbled across your blog again and find that you're posting. After the last 2005 post, I never saw another post and even though I didn't know you, I was scared to death you had died. I'm glad to see you're still there. Hang in, I'll pray for you.

8:05 PM  
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6:33 PM  
Anonymous gwtpn said...

how are you, my friend?

5:53 PM  
Anonymous PSM said...

you blog is crap...

alot of north american speak about 9/11 ... that was made by terrorist not by civilians in iraq... is true you are killing inocent people there...

2:01 AM  
Anonymous PSM said...

and something else... you will never win the war...

the war end when all the soldiers were killed... you are making a war with a country now...

if you kill a family member the rest of the family will try to kill you..

that is called payback...

is a bad luck i leave in the other side of the world (almost) and don't have enougth money to go there and tell that in your face...

YOU KILL INOCENT PEOPLE!!!!!!!

USA sucks ¬¬

2:05 AM  
Blogger Some Soldier's Mom said...

Mike -- Hope you're doing well. Stopped by for the first time in a while... glad to see you put some other posts up. Hope you post again soon with the perspective of "re-integration" (don't you hate that word?) after all the Hell that happened that deployment.

3:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10/29/07 Michael, you do not know me but we just want to let you know that no one has forgotten you and all of your brothers you lost. Not a day goes by that our family does not remember and say prayers. There are not enough words to thank you for your service and sacrafices.

8:54 PM  

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