First off, when I first joined the National Guard, back in 1996, I had no idea that I would be here today. I do remember making the decision on Christmas Day when I was about 20 years old and felt like I was going nowhere with my life and needed to take a new direction. As my father and mother had stated earlier, I was always fascinated with history and the military, and was amazed at some of the hardships my grandfather endured in both WWI and WWII.Trust me, I left enough of the letter out so you should go read it, but I did try to give you a sense of who Capt. Bruno de Solenni is and was.
Eventually, a few years after joining, I did decided to go back to college at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Ore., where there was a GOLD (Guard Officer Leadership Development) program that allowed me to earn a federal commission as an Army officer while I continued to work toward my degree (which the National Guard also paid for).
In a sense, I was doing exactly what the National Guard said I could do if I joined … Finally, on May 11, 2001, I received my commission as a young, immature, 2nd lieutenant full of piss and vinegar still not knowing exactly what I was getting into.
When Sept. 11 happened, it was then that I realized that things were going to be very different for me and the rest of this country. One month later our battalion received the alert order that we would mobilize the following year to fill in on the current MFO (Multi National Force and Observers) mission in Sinai, Egypt. After returning from Egypt, I was home for eight months before volunteering again to go to Iraq for OIF II. It was there I truly (became) an infantry officer and learned a lot about myself and people in general.
Something that still upsets me is the fact that they exploited some of the crimes soldiers committed over there as a reflective view to the rest of the world of what our armies stood for. I am not saying that we didn't make mistakes, we did make them and we have painfully corrected them.
Our true problems here are definitely reflective of the Pakistani border and the lack of troops covering it, which has been an issue for years and is being exploited by the Taliban as they train freely in Pakistan, unopposed by anyone.
In my opinion, Afghanistan does need a troop surge of American soldiers as well, otherwise we will only be able to sustain combat operations with minimal effect of containing Taliban insurgents. As I speak about this, these are only my views and opinions based on my experiences.
The good days over here are when we are truly sticking it to the Taliban in a firefight that is in our favor and you just drop ped 130 105mm rounds on their position. Or when a ... hot F-15 pilot flies over your head strafing the Taliban with his Vulcan cannons.
The (bad) days are whe n you are covering up your your sergeant major from being exposed to the dust-out of a Chinook helicopter that is landing to medivac him out. At the same time he cries because he doesn't want to leave his team as he lies there half paralyzed with shrapnel in him, while fluids are coming out of his eyes and ears signifying severe brain trauma, (meaning we can't give him morphine).
The bad days are when you put your buddy in a body bag and you don't even recognize him because his limbs are missing and there holes in him everywhere. The miracles are when his last words are, "tell my wife and kids I love them," before he dies in his best friend's arms after struggling for several agonizing minutes to get the words out because there is a fist-size hole in his head.
And last20but not least, the best days are when an Afghan comes up to you thanking you for everything that you have done to help them and for making their (home) a better place now that the Taliban are gone.
If anything, this is probably the biggest reason why I proudly enjoy being over here. I can't explain it to anyone and there is no description of what it feels like, but it was the same feeling I got when I was in Iraq as well. And I am sure it's the same feeling that generations of American soldiers before me have gotten as they fought and sacrificed their lives for the freedoms that we enjoy today.
Perhaps the biggest thing that has made being over here much more bearable, is the amount of public support that we have received from people. Getting a care package or a letter of support when you are out in the middle of nowhere from a complete stranger, thanking you, does make the day seem a little better.
I would especially like to thank my Aunt J an Martin, and The local Troop Support organization who have provided care packages to soldiers serving overseas and have volunteered endless hours of their time and energy making our lives easier. The British soldiers (who don't get anything) are extremely grateful as well.
Once again, I cannot thank everyone enough for their support and all that they have done …
Capt. Bruno de Solenni [Read the whole article, please.]
Capt. Bruno was expected home for Christmas, but he will not be able to make it this year, nor any other year. September 20, 2008, Capt. Bruno de Solenni was killed in action by an IED in a far away place named Afghanistan fighting for our freedom and theirs.
What better sacrifice is there than lay down one's life for another? God bless the de Solenni family and all those who loved Bruno. May you find Peace and Strength through these difficult day, months, years. May God bless you, too, Capt. Bruno de Solenni. Thank you for your sacrifice. May your all of your troubles be gone and all your joys be complete in Heaven.
May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.
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8. Mark My Words: Ann Althouse vs. Katie Couric.
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Cross-posted @ The Talon and Rosemary's News and Ideas. Digg!