color: SOME SOLDIER'S MOM: Deaths In Our Family

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Deaths In Our Family

There were four fatalities over the weekend in our son’s Army division. We learned of these deaths in an email from our son’s brigade’s Family Readiness Group (FRG) officer. The Division is large, but it fosters – and is rewarded with – a kinship. A big extended Family. And each unit has it’s own branch of the family – battalion, brigade combat team, company... Each of the family groups has people – flesh and blood – in common. They have skin in the game. It's a bond no one else could understand. And every death is hard. When one of “our” soldiers dies, we (both the soldiers and the family of those soldiers) call it a “hard day” – and we hope out loud that there won’t be many hard days in this deployment.

And while the four deaths were hard and we were truthfully saddened, the soldiers were not from my son’s Brigade Combat Team (BCT) or his battalion or his company or his platoon. Four steps removed. And then, to try and find one more measure of reassurance – clawing for every extra shred of peace of mind, we consulted the map of Iraq and determined that the attacks occurred many miles from our son’s FOB. It wasn’t him. It wasn’t “us”. We still hurt. We still worried. But there is an uncontrollable need to isolate – to insulate – your soldier and, thereby yourself, from that imminent danger. You mutter, “There, but for the grace of God…”

That changed first thing this morning. We received another email from the brigade’s FRG. This one informed us that a non‑commissioned officer (NCO) had been killed by an IED… He was from our son's division… his brigade… his brigade combat team… his battalion… in the town where his FOB is located! Not from his company, but a sister company…

But our son drives for or rides with the NCOs all the time... I was overwhelmed by waves of emotions, starting after my initial audible gasp when I saw the unit designation. My eyes and my thoughts jumped around like ricochets and my heart raced. Then I saw the name… the family had been notified… no one had been at my door, so it was not my son… not my “adopted” sons either. Do I know him? No the name’s not familiar. I mentally wailed in relief, and was immediately repulsed by a wave of guilt when realization dawned on what I had just thought! I had been holding my breath and exhaled.

Later in the day, I told a high school friend, “Of course, you know in your mind that this is war and soldiers die, OTHER soldiers, not YOUR soldiers. It was just too close to home. Deployed just 30 days and less than 2 weeks in the box. This sucks.” My friend, a Vietnam vet, replied, “Yes this one was too close to home. Time to ramp up the prayers a notch or two.” Or three.

“Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need. I ask this in the name of our merciful and caring God.”
Update: The NCO was SFC David Salie. Sgt. Salie leaves a wife and three children to mourn his passing... and celebrate his life. SFC Salie was one of Noah's Airborne instructors.


At 2/16/2005 9:44 AM , Blogger Sean Dustman said...

I'm sorry to hear that but like you I'm glad to hear your son is alright.

At 2/16/2005 9:48 AM , Blogger The Violin Duchess said...

Whew! What an emotional time you are haning. Just know that you and your family are in my prayers. I really enjoy reading your posts so keep us informed. Tootles.

At 2/20/2005 7:00 AM , Blogger Jen said...

I can only imagine how your heart must stop when you hear news like that. I pray that you won't have to experience that very often while your son is gone.

At 2/22/2005 11:33 AM , Blogger DP's mom said...

I cannot even begin to imagine what you're going through. Please know that I am praying for you, your family, all of them. I know that no amount of prayers will make it better until they all come home, but hopefully if we lift enough prayers up to God, He'll protect as many as possible. And please, thank your son for his service to my country, his country, our country.

He, and his other family members, are my heroes.

At 5/18/2005 8:10 PM , Blogger Rachelle Jones said...

We will continue to pray harder for those that are in dire need, Godspeed to those good and brave men.


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