Why you are a panzy

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Oct 6, 2009 4:40 pm

Because you're not this guy.


http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/02/19/heroes.roy.foster/index.html

Oct 6, 2009 4:58 pm

WOW, that was moving to read.  Thanks for sharing that Somewhere. 

 
It drives me crazy that this can happen in this country.  I'm not just saying this because I'm a Veteran myself but something has to be done when someone volunteers to serve this country.  They shouldn't have to worry about crap like this.
 
I was in the elevator the other day and I heard these two older women complaining about how they got turned down for a job because a disabled Veteran applied as well.  It was a Defense Contractor.  They complained that he didn't have the requirements for the job.  They just got off after they said that and I was really close to laying into them.  No requirements, coming from two fat chicks? We dodged IEDs, RPG's and machine gun fire, there is nothing else that can compare to that.  Everything else is easy. 
Oct 6, 2009 8:46 pm

Awesome story. Thanks for the reminder that I am in fact a steaming pile of crap. I also was reminded of that last month after reading the book Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell. I read stories like this and say to myself that I need to commit myself to a cause greater than just providing for my family, but I never do and it pisses me off.

Oct 9, 2009 9:53 am

Good story. This should be a recurring theme. I'm going to post a story about an incident that I witnessed firsthand. There is a comment on race involved here as well that I think should be noted. I am not a person who feels that race holds you back, but there are exceptions. This is one. This is the story of Sergeant First Class Chad Stephens.



Anybody who has met Sgt. Stephens knows that he is plain-spoken, intelligent, but often ghetto-like in his manner and speech. I didn't like him. I still don't like him. But the man is a hero, and he has been wronged yet again. But we'll get to that later.



The reports of that day are hazy, as most of the imbed reporters covered the active duty units, and of course Sgt. Stephens unit was a National Guard unit, or Nasty Girls as some active duty units called them. Nasties for short.



The setting: Baqubah, Iraq. June 24th, 2004. A terrorist stronghold populated by Al-Quaeda and other terrorist groups.



I was at FOB Warhorse, on a convoy with two other guys who were going on a 3-day pass. Our convoy was to leave at 0600 hours. Prepped with our vacation gear, light ammunition and body armor, we waited like it was any other day, getting out to the motor pool at 0500. Laughing and joking about what we were going to do once we got to Doha, Qatar. An oasis is the middle east, we thought.



Sitting in the back of a five-ton truck, at approximately 0545 we heard the radio traffic. 3rd platoon, A Company, 1st Battalion, 120th Infantry, had been ambushed. Keep in mind for the most part this is a quiet part of the country. The active duty commanders likely did not want the Nasties in any REAL fighting.



However, fighting had come to them. Captain Christopher Cash, a Ranger-qualified, prior enlisted company commander rallied 1st platoon to reinforce 3rd platoon. Captain Cash was well-liked by his men. Short, but powerfully built, he had an easy smile and incredible patience. Immediately after leaving the FOB, Chris Cash was killed. The driver of the Bradley, hearing that Captain Cash had been killed and that the gunner was hurt, broke through the ambush by driving the vehicle into a house. That Bradley, along with another, returned to the FOB.



1st Platoon continued to advance, despite the loss of one-fourth of their firepower and their commander.



Immediately another Bradley was hit in the buzzel rack, a thin, lightly armored area where the turret turns. The RPG shrapnel cooked off the 125 mm rounds, injuring the gunner, SPC Desens.



Briefly keep in mind that Bradley turrets are confining, and National Guardsmen are not very svelte. It is nearly impossible to fit in with body armor.



As the other BCs (Bradley Commanders) buttoned up their vehicles. Sergeant First Class Chad Stephens leapt from his vehicle, and with no body armor, NO weapons, moved under heavy enemy fire to SPC Desens vehicle. With the strength of a bull, Sgt. Stephens pulled SPC Desens from the vehicle and carried him to safety so that the platoon medic could treat him for his injuries.



Back in his Bradley, SFC Stephens resumed command and continued the fight. However, the initiative that he had created was hampered by maintenance issues with the Bradleys as they began to break down and become immobile.



At Warhorse, myself and several others could hear the need for reinforcements. It would take time to get AC-130 gunships, Apaches and UAVs to the fight. However, Warhorse housed only one company of Bradleys, and the other platoon was miles away dropping off prisoners. A few of us decided to take the five-ton and give whatever aid we could, lightly armed as we were. Our heaviest weapon was an M-16, as those on pass gave up heavier weapons to leave.



Three of us were in the infantry. The rest, a few artillerymen and tankers. We drove the five-ton to the perimeter of the battle. Sgt. Stephens was now dismounted directing fire from the dismounted infantrymen. We was moving among the buildings, screaming orders and epithets towards the insurgent terrorists. Heedless of his own safety he began to charge towards the enemy once again, screaming, "I'll kill you all!".



I managed to tackle him before he could expose himself further. At which point, he promptly rolled on his back and tried to choke me. I managed to get words out has he squeezed the breath from me. "Sgt Stephens, your men need you alive.". His eyes, full of bloodlust and rage and loss, cleared a little. "Get the fcuk off me, Moraen.".



I did. Sgt. Stephens led his men to victory that day, despite the tragic loss of life. He ran under enemy fire to save three more soldiers, including one of mine.



Sgt. Stephens and his men had killed nearly 100 insurgents. But the price was too high. Only later would we know how high. Alpha Company had lost it's commander, Captain Christopher Cash. Specialist Jocelyn Carrasquillo, Sergeant DeForest Talbert, Staff Sergeant Michael Voss were killed as well. The man Sgt. Stephens had saved, Specialist Desens, died of his wounds as well after being evacuated by helicopter.



The Battle of Baqubah carried on until 3 a.m. the next morning. Final tally of dead insurgents was a lot higher than reported. Reported numbers were around 60 for those who care. Still, an extremely lopsided battle in which American soldiers distinguished themselves.



A few lessons before I get into Sgt. Stephens. This battle, and others are one of the reasons I hate it when people call the football field, "the field of battle" or brokers talk about "getting their next kill" and that this business is a "battle". Even the judge's 500 day war pisses me off, despite all of the good in it.



Now, Sgt. Stephens took a while to come down off of his high. He was still talking about killing "everybody" days after the battle, muttering to himself over and over. He received no psychological counseling for the remaining six months of deployment. His injuries were treated, but the psychological burdens of being unable to save his men left him scarred.



Sergeant First Class Stephens was awarded the Silver Star for his bravery. To put that into perspective, most E-7's and above garnered Bronze Stars (one step below Silver) for doing their jobs.



In my most humble opinion, as someone who dislikes Sgt. Stephens, he deserved the Medal of Honor, or at the very least the Distinguished Service Cross. The citation should read,   At the risk of his own life and above and beyond the call of duty, Sergeant First Class Stephens, without regard for his own safety and under fire, left his vehicle and charged across the battlefield to rescue SPC. Desens from his stranded Bradley. Three more times Sergeant Stephens exposed himself to enemy fire to save his men. Sergeant Stephen's actions are in keeping with the best traditions of A Co, 1st Bn/120th Infantry, the 30th Brigade, and the United States Army.



I wrote that citation (although longer) when I submitted him for the Medal of Honor. Others did as well. One downgrade is common. Two not so much.



I attribute this to two factors: One, Sergeant Stephens was the most heroic man in the Brigade, but was also black. No other soldier had done what he had in the unit. An example of blatant racism in my opinion. Two, Sergeant Stephens had something similar to a psychotic break and repeatedly talked of killing the "ragheads".



The reason I'm telling this story is that I have recently found out that Chad Stephens will be forcibly retired from the military, the only career he's ever had. Sgt. Stephens is now divorced, unable to meet his child support payments and is an alcoholic. He has been drinking on duty, in uniform. A weak salve for the pain he carries with him every day. The inability to save his men. The inability to return to deployment with them and keep others from dying.



As a country, as a military unit, we have marginalized Sergeant First Class Chad Stephens and others like him. It is a sad day when we turn on those who have been the most heroic.





Oct 9, 2009 11:41 am

Did a little more spellcheck. Probably painful to read for the grammar Nazis.



For anybody who is interested, and those who would like to do more, here is the link to the IAVA website for those who have not served, but want to help those who have participated in OIF and OEF. Scroll down to the bottom.



http://iava.org/take-action

Oct 9, 2009 10:48 pm
Moraen:

Did a little more spellcheck. Probably painful to read for the grammar Nazis.



For anybody who is interested, and those who would like to do more, here is the link to the IAVA website for those who have not served, but want to help those who have participated in OIF and OEF. Scroll down to the bottom.



http://iava.org/take-action



Wow . . . That just pains me to read that.  I know IAVA very well, as I'm a member as well.