11 November 2009

Veteran's Day 2009

So we come to another Veteran's Day where we are at war.

Reguardless of your views of these two wars, you have to honor and respect those who are willing and able to stand up and fight injustice where ever it may be.

There are a few things I'd like to do this day:

1. Honor those who have and those who are currently serving. I found this video and it sums up everything perfectly.

2. I wish to honor a great soldier and a great friend; SGT Bryan L. Freeman.

I met Bryan when I was "cross-leveled" to the 443rd Civil Affairs Battalion in 2004. I first met "B-Free" when we went to Ft. McCoy, WI for pre-mob training. To say this guy was "squared away" doesn't begin to describe it. He was a true soldier to the bone. Those who knew Freeman remember his motto, "Squared away!" Everything he did was squared away.

Bryan began his Army career on active duty at Ft. Drum as cannon crew member in 1993. In 1997 he left active duty and joined the New Jersey National Guard. Still a "cannon-cocker".

He joined the Army Reserve in 2003 as a member of the 404th CA Bn at Ft. Dix.

He too was cross-leveled to the 443rd CA Bn.

On 4 Nov 2004, then SPC Freeman was on a mission with his CA team; doing a SWET accessment (pronounced as sweat - which is an acronym for Sewer - Water - Electricty - Trash. The basic utilities we were trying to get going in Baghdad back then.).

Bryan was with his battle buddy SPC Aaron Meade, they were providing security for the team seargent.

They had stopped a car to do a brief visual check of the interior and ask the occupants what their opinions were of the current level of utilities their town had.

As Aaron leaned forward to look into the car, a shot rang out.

A 7.62mm round glanced off of Aaron's helmet and struck Bryan in the face, killing him instantly.

I wasn't on his team, not even in the same company, when Bryan was taken from us. But the impact he had on me was inmeasurable.

Bryan inspired everyone he met. He was always smiling, always willing to help those around him. He was everyone's battle buddy.

Even when we were stuck at Ft. Bragg in July, in the old 82nd Division buildings. No windows, no screens, no a/c, no fans, snakes bugs and everything coming in the windows at night. He never once complained.

I always remember him standing at his bunk at Bragg playing video games on his laptop.

Not a day goes by that I don't think of Bryan.

By the way.....

Veterans - you can eat at Applebee's today for free! Check the link for details.


JB2D out.

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