A Unit Full of People You Should Know
1st Leutenant Robert C.J. Parry of the California Army National Guard's 1-184th Infantry, now home from his tour in Iraq, wrote of the honor and valor he witnessed among his brothers-in-arms. It has been published in the Los Angeles Times' Sunday Edition. In The war you didn't see, 1LT Parry expresses frustration that these were not (and are not) the stories reported of his unit and others.
You might also ask anyone from our ranks about Staff Sgt. Steve Nunez. Broken and bloodied by an IED, he was ordered home to recuperate after refusing to go voluntarily. He rejoined us to carry the fight forward, refusing the chance to stay home.
There were no front-page headlines for Kruger, Nunez or even Sgt. 1st Class Tom Stone, who covered a wounded subordinate's body with his own to protect that soldier from a secondary attack that could have come at any moment...
...Our unit — supposedly just a band of weekend warriors from the National Guard — was selected by the Army's renowned 3rd Infantry Division to take on its primary challenge: taking control of a sector of south Baghdad that was home to leading Baathists and Al Qaeda fanatics. In that capacity, we conducted more than 7,000 combat patrols totaling nearly half a million man-hours. We captured more insurgents in one month than did whole brigades. We stand nominated (with the rest of our brigade) for a Valorous Unit Award.
But instead, people who didn't know the first thing about us trumpeted the misdeeds of a handful of young men who scoffed at the concepts of honor and duty that our commander invoked.
(Thanks to The Barnyard for the tip.)
It is indeed a shame that the honor and valor of so many is obscured by the more scandalous story of a few. The question that begs is: Had the abuse scandal never occurred, would those stories of valor been told by those who instead ran with scandal?
Who knows, but we are lucky to have people like Matt at BlackFive who work tirelessly to make sure you are aware of Someone You Should Know.