11 January 2008

Army aviator returns to Iraq after battle with cancer

Army Sgt. Jared Squires reviews his pre-flight checklist Jan. 4, 2008. After conquering cancer, Squires joined his unit deployed to Iraq. Photo by Pfc. Monika K. Smith, USA

Sgt. Jared Squires, a Blackhawk crew chief with Company A, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, now back in Iraq after over a year of debilitating treatment following his diagnosis with malignant melanoma in July 2006:

“I had the opportunity to stay in rear detachment, and I chose not to,” Squires said. “I told them ‘No, I want to go.’ It took a lot of me, from my side, to get them to say, ‘Hey, yeah, you’re good to go.’ They tried to med-board me, and I had to get my oncologist to say, ‘He’s fine.’ They thought I was crazy. My wife knew I wanted to go and that I missed the guys. I missed my friends. We’ve been together so long, they’re my family.”

Sheesh. Compare him with one of your favorite whining, pathetic oxygen thieves.

Update, related: The nobility of three soldiers

Our preoccupation with the current political scene caused many of us to overlook a tragic and noble event that took place in Iraq on January 7.

According to the most detailed account, in [UK] Times Online,

It was a day of ceremony, pride and hope. Dancing Iraqi soldiers celebrated the country's national army holiday with a new chant: "Where is terrorism today?"

In the central Karrada neighbourhood, an elderly man placed flowers into the gun barrels of three recruits. And then the suicide bomber struck.

Four policemen, three soldiers and four civilians were killed, and many more wounded. The death toll would have been much higher were it not for the three soldiers who threw themselves at the bomber when they became suspicious. They absorbed much of the blast. Without their action, many more would have died...

The names and photos of these three [Iraqi] heroes should have been on the front pages of all the newspapers in the world. What could be a more compelling human story? It would have been a welcome change from the too-familiar faces of the candidates.

To sink momentarily into politics, these three men, by giving their lives, gave the lie to the canard, common to all the current Democratic candidates, that our involvement in Iraq has been a pointless mistake. To most or all of our politicians, the war in Iraq is merely a bargaining chip for getting votes. But to these three, it was a matter of life and death.

No comments: