Son your work on earth is done
Go to heaven a-shoutin'
Look for the Father and the Son
Rest in peace, Jamie.
US soldiers save boy’s life in Kushamond district
By U.S. Army Maj. Joseph Buccino, RC-East PAO
PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan — Once in a while, an event occurs that develops the human perspective of warfare into the mission in Afghanistan. The soldiers of Blackjack, or Company Bravo, Task Force 3-66, 172nd Infantry Brigade, Task Force Blackhawk, participated in such a life-changing set of events from March 14 through March 25.
On the afternoon of March 14, soldiers from Blackjack responded to a blast in Kushamond district in the qalat of Saduzi. An improvised explosive device, stored for a planned attack on Coalition Forces and Afghan National Security Forces operating within the district, detonated prematurely.
Upon arriving at the scene, the soldiers realized that the detonation killed four children who appeared to be playing in the area and may have unwittingly engaged the trigger device.
They did not know it, but one child, Saduzi’s 8-year-old son, Matten, survived the blast.
Within minutes, a man named Sultan who lives in a neighboring qalat, carried the severely injured Matten to Combat Outpost Kushamond.
U.S. Army Sgt. Anthony Merino from Basstrop, Texas, senior medic for the company, reacted immediately, treating the surviving child at the entry control point.
“I assessed and stabilized the patient while we called in a medical evacuation,” said Merino. “He was losing his airway. Had we not been able to treat him when we did, his wounds would certainly have been fatal.”
The boy was prepared for movement on an aircraft. Sgt. Michael Torres from Amarillo, Texas, and Pfc. Cody Sandstrom, along with Sultan, escorted the boy from Kushamond to the Sharana Medical Treatment Facility and then to the Craig Joint-Theater Hospital at Bagram Air Field.
Torres, Sandstrom, and Sultan remained with Matten in Bagram for 10 days while surgery was performed on his multiple facial lacerations.
According to Maj. Bradley S. Putty, CJTH deputy-commander for clinical services, a complex procedure was performed to remove a ball bearing from the boy’s eye socket. Additional surgeries were performed on both sets of eyelids.
Finally, according to Putty, “The boy’s eyes were injured beyond repair and a follow-up surgery was performed to implant prosthetic eyes.”
Craig hospital staff noticed the boy’s clothes and shoes were destroyed by the blast, so they donated new clothes, sneakers and toys.
This action was a stark contrast to the reports of recent events in Kandahar.
“This was a deliberate outreach effort,” Putty said. “This child was a victim of this war.”
On March 24, the boy was released from the hospital and flown to Forward Operating Base Sharana and on March 25, he was flown back onto COP Kushamond with Torres, Sandstrom, and Sultan.
He was greeted on the COP by Adam Khan, a representative from the office of the Kushamond district sub-governor, and Capt. Giles Wright, the commander of Company B.
“Matten was stable and in excellent spirits and even offered a few jokes,” Wright said. “It was evident; he was a child willing to live for the future of Afghanistan.”
Although blind for life and severely scarred, Matten is grateful for his life. Matten has since been escorted to his village by Adam Khan, who has accepted guardianship and responsibility for the boy on behalf of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. The Afghan Uniform Police intend to maintain persistent watch over him and the villagers have vowed to protect the boy. Matten’s father, Sudazi, is believed to be hiding outside of Paktika province and is currently a wanted individual.
All those involved were greatly moved by the boy’s spirit and the humanity of the event.
“It demonstrated the human side of this conflict,” Torres said. “The compassion of the American soldiers here and [at] Bagram and of the local villagers really showed the pain of all of this.”
"There are no words that can describe what this last week has been like knowing that my husband and I would never have a life we always dreamed of," Melissa wrote. "Last Thursday Jamie was placed in a comfort care or hospice setting."
SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Scores of U.S. Army Rangers were recognized for extraordinary acts of courage Friday at Hunter Army Airfield.
10 Silver Stars, one of the highest awards for valor, and 16 Purple Hearts, honoring those wounded in action, were among the medals earned by almost 80 Rangers with the First Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. In a deployment last year, they conducted 900 missions and killed or captured more than 2,000, yet none of the Rangers seek singular recognition.
"It's for individual valorous achievement, but I think it is more of a collective achievement because we have had so many across the whole Battalion," said 1SG Michael Eiermann, 1/75 Ranger Battalion, Silver Star recipient.
Two Silver Stars were awarded posthumously to families of fallen Rangers.
Crowds Cheer As Cleveland War Hero, Amputee Walks Parade Route
By Brandi Ball, NewsOn6.com
CLEVELAND, Oklahoma -- Cleveland welcomed home a favorite daughter Saturday. U.S. Army Specialist Ashley Jones returned to a hero's welcome, including a parade in her honor.
The young Purple Heart recipient served in the Oklahoma National Guard's 45th Infantry Brigade in Afghanistan. She was in a convoy on December 18, 2011, when it was hit by an IED.
The parade began at 10 a.m. with Patriot Guard bikers, the Cleveland High School Band and military veterans escorting Jones down Broadway Street from Caddo to Pawnee Streets.
With a block to go in the parade route, the vehicle transporting Jones stopped in the street, and she walked on a prosthetic leg in front of the car and waved to supporters.
Amid loud cheers and a lot of tears, Jones walked the rest of the way, to where folks gathered to shake the hero's hand.
As Cleveland Mayor Ron Shipman presented Jones with a proclamation declaring it "Ashley Jones Day," he got a little choked up.
"When she came walking down Main Street it was a beautiful sight," he said. "It was just beautiful."
Saturday was also Jones' 21st birthday, so after the crowd recited the Pledge of Allegiance and the "Star Spangled Banner," it serenaded her with a chorus of "Happy Birthday."
In the IED explosion, Jones broke her back and pelvis, and her right leg was amputated at the knee. She has been recovering in a San Antonio military hospital.