Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Sword & Grant

A Hero Flight is the simple ceremony we conduct to honor fallen Soldiers' remains prior to loading the body onto a helicopter. When the remains are loaded and unloaded into the ambulance that takes them to the airstrip, we are called to "present arms"; at "order arms" I offer a brief, appropriate prayer. We do this at night, usually the same day the Soldier is killed. It's not for a few days later--after we've had time to prepare--that we conduct the Soldier's memorial ceremony.

This week a civilian interpreter at COP Sword, who goes by Adam, was killed while accompanying our Soldiers on a combat mission. We wanted to honor Adam as we would a brother-in-arms, so the Commander, a platoon leader, and I made comments in addition to the traditional elements of the Hero Flight ceremony. Adam's father was an Iraqi Air Force general under Saddam, who went into exile with his family when he refused the order to bomb a village. Adam shared the vision of a democratic Iraq.

A couple of days after Adam's Hero Flight, we went out to visit the Soldiers at COP Sword to see how they were handling their loss.

I want to share a few pictures from our visit to our Soldiers at COP Sword. Our trips out to the COPs are never routine. We always look forward to seeing the Soldiers who work/live out there.

We left with 1SG Balcer and his convoy of up-armored gun trucks, and returned with 1SG Delgado and his convoy of Bradleys. (Pictures inside the Bradley are below.) 1SG Balcer's gunner, PFC Swain, is coolly pictured here from his gunner's hatch.
I have also included pictures of children playing in an alley (which 1SG Balcer has identified as an area we always receive enemy fire) and a bullet and bomb-ridden building along our route.

This is the view of COP Sword as we approach it from the East--it's the one with a guard tower on the roof. We got there in time to see EOD (the Emergency Ordinance Disposal) team disarming an IED (Improvised Explosive Devise, or road-side bomb). I took a picture of their defusing explosives, which didn't work. Our guys ended up setting it off by shooting at it. It was probably good I wasn't on the roof to take that shot.
After cutting hair all day and night, SGT Tremain and I accepted the Twins' (not real twins) challenge to a game of spades. Word has gotten out that we can't be beat, and these two snipers were doubters. So far, my skill and SGT T's luck at spades has left Soldiers demoralized and in desperate need of counseling. I appreciate they choose to seek that counseling elsewhere.

1 comment:

Bobbi Hayes said...

I can beat you!! ah haha I am glad to see you guys are able to somewhat "relax" in this time of stressfulness. You guys are constantly in my prayers. Try not to beat those guys too bad. ;o) Stay safe and hurry home!!