31 May 2011
26 May 2011
Honoring the Warriors who fought their final battles at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center since last Memorial Day.
Where no rockets fly nor bullets wing,
Our broken brothers let us bring
To the Mansions of the Lord
June 16, 2010 - Specialist Nathan W. Cox, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division
July 3, 2010 - Private First Class Jacob Anthony Dennis, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division
July 13, 2010 - Specialist Christopher J. Moon, 2nd Battalion, 508th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division
July 16, 2010 - Sergeant Jesse R. Tilton, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 508th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division
August 8, 2010 - Corporal Kristopher "Daniel" Greer, Company D, 4th Combat Engineering Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve
August 30, 2010 - Corporal Brian Pinksen, 2nd Battalion, The Royal Newfoundland Regiment, 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group, Canadian Forces
October 6, 2010 - Corporal Stephen C. Sockalosky, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force
October 27, 2010 - Lance Corporal Terry E. Honeycutt Jr., 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force
No more fight,
No friends bleeding through the night,
Just Devine embrace,
In the Mansions of the Lord
October 29, 2010 - Specialist Diego A. Solorzano-Valdovinos, Company A, 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division
November 11, 2010 - Specialist David C. Lutes, 1st Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)
December 16, 2010 - Corporal Sean A. Osterman, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force
February 19, 2011 - Lance Corporal Andrew. P. Carpenter, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force
March 14, 2011 - Corporal Valeri Verskiani, 32nd Battalion, Republic of Georgia Armed Forces
March 31, 2011 - Specialist Dennis Cullen Poulin, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 181st Infantry Regiment, Massachusetts Army National Guard
April 10, 2011 - Private First Class Brandon Thomas Pickering, Company C, 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division
April 18, 2011 - Sergeant Sonny J. Moses, 101st Special Troops Battalion, 101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division
And no children weep,
We shall stand and guard
Though the angels sleep,
Oh, through the ages let us keep
The Mansions of the Lord
We will remember you always.
25 May 2011
From Major Brodeur's obituary:
Prior to deployment to Afghanistan, Major Brodeur served as Executive Officer, Eleventh Air Force, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.
Major Brodeur was an experienced F-16 pilot with deployments to Iraq where he flew combat missions during the initial days and months of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Among his commendations and awards are the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, and Combat Action Medal.
Major Brodeur was an F-16 instructor, Flight Commander, and Weapons ADO for the 18th Aggressor Squadron. He was a Senior Pilot with more than 1600 flight hours in fighter aircraft. He had a fascination with aviation as a child which turned into the goal of becoming a fighter pilot and led eventually to his career as an aviator and Air Force officer.
Despite David's passion for flying and pride for his country, his greatest love in life was his family. He was a devoted husband to his wife of 11 years and proud father of Elizabeth and David. He was a loving son and brother who placed the needs of others and service to God and country before self.
Though tragic to have lost him so young, it is comforting to know that his kind, humorous, and courageous spirit, with which he touched so many, will live on through his children.
For those who may wish to pay tribute to David, a scholarship fund has been created to benefit his children at the Air Warrior Courage Foundation, care of the Major David Brodeur 529 College Fund, Air Warrior Courage Foundation, P.O. Box 877, Silver Springs, MD 20918. The Foundation can be reached by phone at (877) 921-2923; by fax at (301) 587-2923, and by e-mail at email@example.com
24 May 2011
Veteran stands for fallen soldiers
Updated: Sunday, 22 May 2011, 5:51 PM MDT
RIO RANCH, N.M. (KRQE) - A Marine veteran from Indiana was on a special mission Sunday in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.
Mark Dolfini started the "Standing for the Fallen" program to raise money for wounded service-members from Iraq and Afghanistan, undergoing medical treatment in Germany.
He started the program one year ago Sunday.
Dolfini and a rotation of other veterans stood at attention at 28th Street and Southern Avenue in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Money raised will go toward the purchase of comfort items for wounded service members.
Starting with his first stand last year, which initiated a series of weekend events culminating with a 24-hour July 4th Stand, and through many of his special brand of events since then, Mark Dolfini has raised donations which have benefited many hundreds of wounded warriors at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center through Soldiers' Angels Germany.
Assisted by local resident Karrie Bota, Mark's Standing for the Fallen event this past weekend in Rio Rancho, New Mexico was one of the most successful ever. On behalf of Soldiers' Angels and our wounded warriors at Landstuhl hospital, we'd like to thank OUR Angels Mark, Karrie, and the generous folks of Rio Rancho for their support. Semper Fi and God bless!
Supporters across the country can participate in Dolfini's "Standing for the Fallen" by making monetary donations through the Marine Corps League, P.O. Box 53, Lafayette, IN 47902.
For information about future events, follow Standing for the Fallen on Facebook.
23 May 2011
Soldiers’ Angels calls on all Americans to actively observe Memorial Day this May 30 by participating in an official Moment of Remembrance or undertaking other acts in honor of the over 1.3 million service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.Established by Congress, National Moment of Remembrance asks Americans to pause in an act of remembrance for one minute on Memorial Day at 3 p.m. local time. The Moment can be as informal as ringing a bell, a moment of silence, a prayer or singing at a concert, etc. Additional acts of Memorial Day remembrance can include the following:
- Visit a local VA hospital to learn the stories of patients’ fellow soldiers who never came home
- Use blogs, Facebook or other online resources tell the stories of family members who died in service to the country
- Read the names of fallen heroes on websites such as Honor the Fallen.
- Throw a care package party or write letters of encouragement for a hard-hit unit or the Mortuary Affairs units that care for America’s fallen heroes (for info, email firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Visit a local military cemetery or memorial to stand in quiet solidarity with those who have lost their brothers and sisters in arms on the battlefield
- Attend a local parade
- Fly the American flag (at half-staff until noon and then full height until dusk, if possible)
- Use Angels Mail to tell your story of a fallen hero (send it to email@example.com and we will post it for you)
- With conscious awareness of those who have made our safety possible, enjoy a weekend vacation or celebration in “the land of the free because of the brave”
Please make a commitment to observe the National Moment of Remembrance and other Memorial Day activities. This is a time to come together in honor of those who have given their lives so that we may continue to live free. In this shared remembrance and shared activities, we connect in gratitude as one America.
22 May 2011
Another terrific article in a series by Donna Miles of American Forces Press Service.
Landstuhl Provides Advanced Care for Wounded Warriors
By Donna Miles, American Forces Press Service
LANDSTUHL, Germany, April 27, 2011 – The pace never slows at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center here, the largest U.S. military medical facility outside the United States and the first stop for wounded troops evacuated from the war zones.
More than 61,000 U.S. and coalition service members, civilian employees and contractors have been flown here since January 2004, public affairs officer Chuck Roberts reported. And with operations beginning to escalate in Afghanistan as spring sets in, the pace sees no sign of letting up.
About 12,700 of Landstuhl’s patients since 2004 have been battle-injured, about that same number have been able to return to duty “downrange” after treatment here, Roberts said. But for the vast majority of patients who arrive here, Landstuhl serves as a way point on the trip from the war zone to higher-level medical care in the United States.
This en route hub, where patients receive the most advanced “Level 4” medical care, is critical in the process of continually moving combat wounded to ever-increasing levels of care, Air Force Lt. Col. (Dr.) Raymond Fang, director of trauma care here, told reporters.
“Downrange, they have limited holding space, so they have to move people,” he said. “If they don’t move people quickly, they will quickly be overwhelmed.” Most combat casualties arrive here within three days of being wounded, Fang said, noting that Landstuhl has “the luxury of keeping people a little longer and being able to surge for a little bit longer.”
The goal, he explained, is to stabilize patients until it is safe to move them to the United States or, in the case of coalition forces, their home country, for continued care.
“We try to ensure people don’t move from our facility until they are truly ready to be safely moved,” typically within about three days, Fang said. “We look at them, we make sure no injuries are missed, … [and] we keep them until we feel from our experience that it is safe for them to move onward.”
Experience is one of the most important qualities Landstuhl’s 3,000-member staff brings to the mission. Unlike in the combat theater, which experiences constant personnel turnover as medical staffs regularly deploy and redeploy, Landstuhl’s staff members typically serve at least three years.
“We take our role very seriously, acting as the corporate memory [and] corporate knowledge,” Fang said.
After seven years as trauma director here, Fang brings a nearly unprecedented level of expertise to the table as he oversees the care of the most seriously wounded incoming patients.
That’s critical at a time when Landstuhl is seeing some of the most severely wounded patients of the war, based on the Injury Severity Scale index used in civilian trauma centers. “In the past year or so, our average ISS score for our [intensive care unit] patients -- who we really focus on, because they are the most significantly injured –- have been the highest in the war,” Fang said.
“These patients are young, they are fit and they have the best protection available right now, but their injuries are very severe,” he said.
Civilian trauma patients typically suffer from blunt trauma from a car or motorcycle accident or a penetrating trauma from a gunshot or stabbing, Fang explained. Combat wounded troops frequently suffer both, he added, as well as blast injuries.
“With these blast injuries, you get the blunt part of the concussive wave, you get the penetrating part of the fragment, you get the heat part with the burns,” he said. “You also get the blast component: the shock wave, the pressure wave of the blast itself. So we have four mechanisms in one. It’s our most common mechanism of injury here.”
Despite the severity of their wounds, Fang reported an amazing survivability rate among wounded warriors who arrive at Landstuhl. “You have a greater than 99 percent chance of survival if you can make it to us,” he said, citing 2010 statistics. “That is really unprecedented.” Most of the fewer than 1 percent who have died after arriving at Landstuhl suffered nonsurvivable injuries, but were brought to Germany to reunite with their families, he added.
Fang attributed the striking survival rate to a well-developed medical system that gets battlefield casualties medical treatment faster and closer to the point of injury than ever before and moves them to progressively more-advanced care facilities. That, he said, is an important factor.
“These patients, by our grading scales, are much more injured, and yet they are doing well,” Fang said.
21 May 2011
19 May 2011
Gretel Kovach of The San Diego Union-Tribune reports from a recent visit to the combat hospital at Camp Bastion, adjoining Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan's Helmand Province. She and her photographer, Nelvin Cepeda, arrived on a busy day on which the hospital staff worked until well past midnight, operating on 18 patients for a total of 38 hours of surgery in four operating rooms.
Quantum leaps in battlefield medicine made during a decade at war have contributed to a more than 90 percent survival rate at the British-run facility, which includes a rotation of U.S. Navy doctors among its international staff. The hospital is on the British base in Helmand province adjoining Camp Leatherneck — headquarters for 20,000 U.S. Marines who make up the bulk of the NATO coalition in southwestern Afghanistan.
Many Camp Pendleton Marines have gotten their last look at Helmand from Bastion hospital, which is the busiest trauma hospital in Afghanistan.
As the U.S. military was ramping up in Afghanistan two years ago, Defense Secretary Robert Gates promised troops stationed there that medical providers would be pushed closer to the point of injury so they could administer critical care within an hour, as they were in Iraq.
Today Pentagon officials say that “golden hour” standard has been achieved in Afghanistan, where patients are transported to advanced stateside military hospitals in as little as three days, versus a month or more on average during the Vietnam War.
At Bastion, fresher blood products administered in a one-to-one ratio to replace lost blood reduce the risk of lung problems associated with using saline. Two powerful 64-slice CT scanners produce three-dimensional images of the organs, bones and vascular system, helping doctors pinpoint the most severe injuries rapidly.
[U.S. Navy Cmdr. Angela] Earley and her American team began their deployment at Bastion in October the same month that Camp Pendleton’s 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment took command in Sangin, an intensely violent area of Helmand province.
They performed about 60 leg amputations and more than a dozen to the arm, hand or groin in October. “We had trial by fire very quickly,” Earley recalled. “We had to step it up... to get over the shell shock of what we were seeing and try to save these guys’ lives.”
For them, the perseverance of the 3/5 Marines despite heavy casualties was heroic inspiration. “It kept us motivated to keep going,” Earley said. “No one should have to lose so many.”
The U.S. medical team at Bastion was fortified during their tour that ended two weeks ago with the knowledge that they saved lives and improved battlefield care each day they served in Afghanistan, when they helped rewrite treatment guidelines.
“It is unfortunate we have to see so many young men getting hurt for this,” Earley said, but as a trauma surgeon, “this is professionally the most rewarding thing I have ever done.”
That's just an excerpt - there's much more at the link.
Harry & David Teams up with Soldiers’ Angels for the 3rd Annual “Support Our Troops with Moose Munch®” Bars
May 19, 2011, MEDFORD, Ore. -- Today Harry and David kicked off the 3rd Annual “Support Our Troops with Moose Munch®” Bars, which allows families, friends and supporters of the U.S. military to purchase the popular Harry & David Moose Munch® treat and ship them to war zones, for sweet enjoyment by our men and women in service.
The leading gourmet gift retailer has once again teamed up with Soldiers’ Angels, a non-profit agency that ships care packages to U.S. soldiers in combat, to deliver the sweet taste of chocolate to our troops. Last year over 38,000 Moose Munch® bars were shipped to soldiers in Afghanistan and other regions, through the “Support Our Troops with Moose Munch®,” Bars, which this year ends on July 4.
Harry & David stores nationwide will offer customers the opportunity to purchase Moose Munch® Bars and gift them to soldiers with a personalized greeting message. Each bar and note is packaged with a plastic spoon and boxed for pickup via Soldiers’ Angels. The 100-degree heat melts the signature chocolate, caramel corn and nuts confection into a lusciously gooey treat that makes it easy for our soldiers to enjoy the sweet taste of home. With most perishable dessert items not capable of being sent into war zones, this program Delivers Happiness and a feel of home, as it’s been noted that Moose Munch® Bars are one of the most requested items from soldiers serving in combat.
Moose Munch® Bars retail for $2.50 each or $4.00 for two. For Harry & David store locations nationwide and for more information, visit our web site.
About Harry & David
With a 75-year reputation for genuine farm-to-table freshness and unsurpassed artisanal quality, Harry & David is legendary for exclusive gifts such as the Fruit-of-the-Month Club® collection, featuring top-quality fruit, pampered on the tree, picked at its peak; Royal Riviera® Pears, prized for their lush juiciness, melting texture and exquisite flavor; Oregold® Peaches, the biggest, juiciest, sweetest-tasting peaches you're likely to taste; and Moose Munch® gourmet snacks made exclusively in our own confectionery in flavors for everyone - some with nuts, some sweet, and some savory. Gifts from Harry & David, and its brands Cushman's and Wolferman's, are designed for festive occasions, entertaining and self enjoyment throughout the year. Through its stores, catalogs and website, Harry & David offers an affordable "best-of-class" experience as part of everyday life. Happiness Delivered! Harry & David is a dba of Harry and David. www.harryanddavid.com
About Soldiers’ Angels
Soldiers' Angels is an award-winning 501(c)(3) with hundreds of thousands of volunteers providing aid and comfort to members of the U.S. Armed Forces, veterans, and military families through a wide variety of hands-on projects and volunteerism. For more information, visit our web site or call 615-676-0239.
As part of the event, Harry & David is also donating a Moose Munch® Bar for each new “Like” on Facebook, up to 1,000 additional Bars. Thank you for your support, Harry & David!
14 May 2011
11 May 2011
International and collaborative efforts result in first-ever aortic procedure performed at Landstuhl
Another terrific story by Chuck Roberts of LRMC Public Affairs about how the international and collaborative efforts of the hospital's medical staff provide world-class care for its patients.
First-Ever Aortic Procedure Performed at LRMC
by Chuck Roberts
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center Public Affairs
5/9/2011 - LANDSTUHL REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER, Germany -- The international and collaborative nature of medicine at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center resulted in a first-ever procedure that also prevented the need for open heart-bypass surgery.
Dr. Paul D. Haser, a vascular surgeon from the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, repaired a hole in the aorta of a patient injured in a training incident by inserting a wire through the groin area, threading it through his body to the aorta just outside his heart, and inserting an aortic graft to cover the hole.
The incident began in Africa where a metal fragment entered the back of the patient and led to his medical evacuation to LRMC where a CAT Scan revealed a blood clot in the aorta. However, LRMC doctors were uncertain how the metal fragment travelled to the opposite side of the body from where it entered the body, so the patient was sent to a German hospital in Homburg that LRMC partners with for cases requiring specialized care not available at LRMC.
Doctors at Homburg advised against immediate surgery and recommended placing the patient under observation. The patient was placed on blood thinner because of concern the clot might travel to the kidneys, intestine or other sites causing injury.
As a result, the clot disappeared but revealed a hole in the aorta. The wound did not present an urgent life-threatening situation to the patient, but it presented the LRMC staff with three basic choices, said Air Force Lt. Col. (Dr.) Raymond Fang, LRMC Trauma Medical Director.
Because LRMC serves as the evacuation center for all servicemembers injured in Afghanistan and Iraq, the medical evacuation process is designed for patient stays of an average of three to five days or until the patient is stable enough for a medical flight to the U.S. Fang said that this option was ruled out because doctors felt wary of placing the patient on an aircraft where emergency hospital resources would be unavailable for the duration of flight should a rapidly life-threatening complication develop.
The second option was open chest surgery but Fang said that because of the location of the injury, it could have unnecessarily placed the patient at risk for potential paralysis or circulatory arrest.
"The injury wasn't so bad, but getting to the location of that hole meant having to move mountains," said Fang.
The third option did not exist at LRMC until the arrival of Haser for a two-week stint as part of the Society for Vascular Surgery's Visiting Vascular Surgeon Program. A requirement doesn't currently exist for a full-time military vascular surgeon at LRMC, so stateside civilian surgeons voluntarily serve at LRMC during times of need.
"If it weren't for our Visiting Vascular Surgeon Program, it wouldn't have been an option at all," Fang said. And not only did Haser possess the skill for the procedure, but he also knew the contacts for the German companies to access the necessary surgical supplies.
Haser said the endovascular aortic graft implantation procedure has been around for about a decade, but that it is primarily performed in the civilian setting for the treatment of disease such as aortic aneurysms and injuries such as an aortic tear sustained in vehicle accident. It is an uncommon procedure for penetrating injuries and it was a first for Haser.
With the assistance of two LRMC physicians, Haser said the two-hour procedure proceeded uneventfully. The patient was medically evacuated a few days later to the U.S. where his is expected to make a full recovery. The patient, Haser said, expressed a clear desire for the internal procedure versus open surgery.
As a result of the shared experience, LRMC will keep supplies available in case the procedure should be required on an emergency basis in the future.
The procedure was a first for LRMC as well as for Haser, but it wasn't the first time for the surgeon to practice medicine at LRMC. He served a similar two-week stint two years ago.
Although a veteran surgeon, Haser describes LRMC as a "learning experience" where he said the level of trauma far exceeds the amount and severity seen at stateside civilian hospitals. And because of the continued experience in treating battle wounds such as severe chest and lung injuries, military trauma medicine is able to provide lifesaving care to Wounded Warriors not found in many civilian hospitals.
LRMC is the largest American hospital outside of the United States and the only American College of Surgeons verified Level II Trauma Center overseas. It is only one of two medical facilities in the Department of Defense verified as Trauma Centers by the American College of Surgeons. LRMC provides medical care for more than 245,000 U.S. military personnel and their families within U.S. European Command. LRMC is also the evacuation and treatment center for all injured U.S. servicemembers and civilians injured in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as servicemembers from 48 coalition forces.
10 May 2011
03 May 2011
Wounded Warrior on the death of Bin Laden: "The only thing I was upset about is that I couldn't do it."
"A lot of people were upset we celebrated the death of another human being. I told them the only thing I as upset about is that I didn't do it. They've got to understand that people have to do terrible things so that things like 9/11 don't happen again."
- Sgt. Christopher "Kit" Lowe, wounded in Afghanistan, 2009.
Words like "grateful," "relief," and "calming," were words local veterans at the Soldiers' Angels Support Center in San Antonio, TX used when they talked about the "most wanted terrorist" Osama Bin Laden being taken down. The words hardly describe the peace and closure many military men and women and veterans say they're feeling.
Here are more reactions from Wounded Warriors and Gold Star families.
"While bin Laden may be dead, America still must defeat the Taliban and the rest of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. We're still not through losing soldiers on the ground over there. There's still a job that we have to do. And we need to complete that job before we come home."
- Donn Edmunds, Gold Star father of Army Ranger Spc Jonn Edmunds, who was among the first combat casualties in Afghanistan in the fall of 2001.
"I always believed in the cause; whether it was against fighting Al Qaeda, or the Taliban, or whoever, but I really think it means a lot more now that we've actually stuck with this war and caught him."
- Robert Riley, former Navy Hospital Corpsman wounded in Afghanistan in 2010.
“I feel like celebrating, but I don't feel like celebrating his death. But I think it's a huge relief that he died for anyone involved in 9/11-- every American, you know.” Nearly 10 years after the 9/11 attacks, he says the U.S. mission is not over.
- Marine Cpl Todd Love, wounded in Afghanistan in 2010.
"A lot of thoughts ran through my mind, with a pounding heart and some relief that this just may be the beginning of the end of what was started with our country’s biggest assault... September 11th. My grandson Seth would have been so proud to see the demise of bin Laden.”
- Ron Garceau, Gold Star grandfather of Army Sgt. Seth Garceau who died at Landstuhl hospital in 2005 of wounds sustained in Ramadi, Iraq.
"I was personally happy to see that. Any time evil is defeated, that's a great thing and it's something to be happy about. Do I take a lot of satisfaction, a lot of semi-quiet satisfaction, in knowing that bin Laden is dead? I do. I guess a small part of that is personal. But for me, it's for my country."
- Layne Morris, former Army Special Forces wounded in Afghanistan in 2002.
"I'm more proud than ever to be an American. There is no better military in the world than ours. I remember after the 9/11 attacks, when Bush said we will not falter and we will not fail. This event speaks to the commitment, intestinal fortitude and perseverance of our military."
- John Walter Wroblewski, Gold Star Father of Marine 2nd Lt. John Thomas "J.T." Wroblewski, who was killed in Ramadi, Iraq in 2004.
"For guys like me who have lost personally so much, and friends, it's like, are we going to be there forever?" He hopes the county's leaders learn something from the costly wars.
- Retired Staff Sgt Joe Beimfohr, wounded in Iraq in 2005.
"When you're fighting an ideology, you're not facing off with a nation-state that can surrender. The only way we can beat them is to stop them from conducting their actions. And we do that by showing them that they will pay an ultimate price."
- Former Staff Sgt. Phillip Baldwin, wounded in Afghanistan in 2006.
"I have a vested interest in what happens in Afghanistan. I feel like (bin Laden's death) hopefully will be a turning point and I know it will be a great morale booster for our troops."
- Linda Ferrara, mother of MAJ Marcus Ferrara, who served in Iraq, CPT Matt Ferrara, KIA in Afghanistan in 2007, 1LT Damon Ferrara, just returned from Afghanistan, and 2LT Andy Ferrara, deploying to Afghanistan in May.
"What can you say? Everything I signed up for is finally completed. I was instantly emotional. It was amazing."
- Former Army Spc Rob Kislow, wounded in Afghanistan in 2005.
"The first thing that went through my mind was elation. And relief that everything that we're going through hasn't been for nothing, because it kind of feels like that sometimes."
- Leslie Kammerdiener, Silver Star Mother and caregiver of former Army Spc Kevin Kammerdiener, wounded in Afghanistan in 2008.
"In war, the only cause for celebration, in the eyes of a warrior, is its victorious end. There will still be the empty chair at the table, the salt of tears, the bitterness of friends and family no longer among us, and the emptiness that comes from their loss. We will continue this fight, and so will our enemy."
- Major Charles Ziegenfuss, wounded in Iraq in 2005.
02 May 2011
Thank you to the US military and intelligence communities. Your dedication, professionalism, and courage have lead to this day. We will always remember your sacrifices.
YOU did not tire, YOU did not falter, and YOU did not fail.
The fight will continue, and you will continue to do us proud.
God bless our troops, and God bless America.