Duty, honor, country: Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying point to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope when hope becomes forlorn.
Unhappily, I possess neither that eloquence of diction, that poetry of imagination, nor that brilliance of metaphor to tell you all that they mean.
The unbelievers will say they are but words, but a slogan, but a flamboyant phrase. Every pedant, every demagogue, every cynic, every hypocrite, every troublemaker, and, I am sorry to say, some others of an entirely different character, will try to downgrade them even to the extent of mockery and ridicule.
But these are some of the things they do. They build your basic character. They mold you for your future roles as the custodians of the Nation's defense. They make you strong enough to know when you are weak, and brave enough to face yourself when you are afraid. (Reprinted in DoD Pam GEN-1A)
This weekend brings about two occasions that have meaning to the author and to many people in our great country. On December 5th, 2001, we lost three men from 5th Special Forces Group in combat operations in Afghanistan when they were killed by a 2,000 Lb bomb. The bomb, meant for the enemy, hit their position instead. The three Soldiers believed in what those three words - Duty, Honor, Country stood for and they died defending our country. They were part of the response to the attacks That Usama Bin Ladin launched on our country on 9/11. The best way to accomplish that was to help the Afghan people escape the clutches of the Taliban and what the Taliban stood for. They truly epitomized the Special Forces Motto of "De Oppresso Liber" or simply put - to Free the Oppressed.
On December 7th, Our world was rocked by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. As President Franklin D. Roosevelt called it, "a date which will live in infamy" in his declaration of war again Japan on December 8th, 1941.
These event are not combined, but the spirit of the American Warrior and the responses to both 9/11 and Pearl Harbor demonstrate that while America is a nation that truly wants to help others, when she is attacked, she has the resources and will to respond. Those resources and that will is the American Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine, and Coast Guardsman. God bless our American Service Members and their willingness to sacrifice all for us.
MSG Davis, SFC Petitory, and SSG Prosser were the first American Active Duty Service members killed in hostile fire in Afghanistan. SSG Ammerman is the most recent when he was killed on December 3rd, 2014.
First casualties of Operation Enduring Freedom
Til next time...