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Old 06-05-2002, 12:04 AM
Hambone Hambone is offline
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Default Enduring Freedom Memories

I am a 14 year active duty Air Force SSgt. I've been "here", a classified location, supporting OEF since 27 February. I have 2 vivid memories that I think of often. One sad, one happy. I'll share with you, and would like anyone willing to, to share with us.
Soon after arriving here, Operation Anaconda kicked off. A helicopter was downed and 8 soldiers were killed. Part of my job is flight following, being aware of missions in and out and to make sure it goes smoothly. These 8 began their journey home through us. It was very sad, sobering. A hard reminder of what we're doing here and the dangers associated with it. They made the ultimate sacrifice, and it struck home hard dealing with bringing this mission in, transporting them, then getting them back out and home.
The happy memory: One night, I stepped outside for a smoke. A C-17 was getting ready to leave, headed out with guys going home. Their time done. A young soldier walked up to me looking kind of sad. We started talking, and he said that he was supposed to get on the flight, but he was told that he showed up late and couldnt (he showed up when he was told to). I got on the radio, called the aircraft and asked if he could take one more passenger. The pilot said if he could get out there in the next 10 minutes, he'd take him. The soldier had such a happy look on his face. I borrowed a truck, took him to get his stuff and drove him to the airplane. I helped carry his belongings on board. Inside the belly of the C-17, hanging from the ceiling, was a huge American flag. Soldiers, Airmen and Marines going home were sitting there, watching us. We got his bags situated. He looked at me with the biggest happiest smile on his face and shook my hand for the millionth time. He said "thank you" and turned to go to his seat. I looked at the flag once more, then back at all the people going home as I got off the plane. I almost had a tear in my eyes. Even though I wasnt going home, he was and so was everyone else. I was proud to see the flag and so happy to send him on his way back to his family. With all the lousy stuff that goes on, it sure was nice to make a difference. He doesnt know my name, and I dont know his, but that doesnt matter. He's home, with his wife and kids.
War is hell. We all know that. But, there is always that little ray of sunshine that reminds us that we do matter, we do make a difference. When things seem pretty lousy, there is always a bright sunny road ahead.
Well...thats it. I dont know how to close this. I'm proud of what we're doing here, and when I leave and look back on it, I'll have mixed emotions of joy and sorrow. But, thats what makes it worth it. It's not easy, but the payoff is high. I'll stand tall and remember those that didnt make it home, always remember them. I'll also remember the faces of those leaving on that C-17 and especially the young soldier that got home and the flag hanging from the ceiling. I'll never forget.
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Old 06-05-2002, 01:19 AM
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Not being far removed from the Gulf War I am acutely aware that my very freedom now depends on your blood sweat and tears in the cz. I well remember the feelings I had at the airstrip as we prepared to come home. It was overwhelming and I wondered how it must have felt to be on the ground crews sending us off. We were now going to be ok, going to come home alive and yet so many were still waiting for that ticket home to ensure we made it out safely. Thank you and may God bless you and your fellow troops. May you all return safely to your loved ones and a country highly indebted to you for your service as soon as possible.
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Old 06-05-2002, 06:10 AM
DMZ-LT DMZ-LT is offline
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Never heard such a roar of joy when we took off from Da Nang to come home. Thank you hambone , that soldier will never forget you and I bet someday he will perform a random act of kindness, and help another person. Thanks , again hambone and wishing YOU a safe and speedy return home
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Old 06-07-2002, 10:04 PM
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Default Thank you for serving our country!

Dear Air Force SSgt, Thank you for serving our country! I appreciate your bravery, courage, and honor. You do make a big difference in allowing me freedoms that others are denied elsewhere in our world. As a nurse battling a rare medical condition even after 12 neurosurgeries I continue to battle forward for all of you who serve our country. The battle I face is no way near what you must endure. As a wife, a mother, a nurse, a patient, and someone who has never been in the military nor my husband or sons I strongly support all of you. I continue to write letters of support and encouragement to those now serving (prior to this war). I share responses with students and adults to make people aware of your value and all the sacrifices you and your family make for us. Thanks so much for all you do as I really appreciate the long hours you work without a day off, conditions you encounter and face as you have mentioned a few. Know that you are not forgotten by many of various ages. I have high school students giving me stationary to write all of you whom I do not even know and a 6 year old girl draw me 21 drawings to send those now serving our country as her mother is so doing. I have not met these people who strongly support your hard work and determination to end terrorism. Your strength and endurance inspire me. Your comradeship makes me aware that I am not in this battle alone although yours is far greater than mine. All of you serving give me a purpose or meaning to do something useful which helps not only take my mind off my pain but passes along time lying flat most often. My job is never ending as there are many of you to write. I send my letters to Operation Network Military Moms organization which then logs each letter from whom and to whom. This way if a servicemember decides not to reply back they do not need to do so. The writer has no idea who the letter will be going to or where. My main purpose is to tell you thank you for all you do. Your service is recognized and appreciated. Although I can't work as a nurse physically I can still try to help educate others as to your value and continue to keep patriotism high! If interested in this family military support group see www.milmoms.org. Sincerely, Rebecca, a wife, a mother, a nurse, a patient, and someone who cares about our military men and women and their families
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Old 06-07-2002, 10:44 PM
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Thanks for the Post. We who served during Nam know that being in the military can be lonely especially when not appreciated.

Thank you for serving! Thanks for the Post.

Keith
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Old 06-08-2002, 06:17 PM
Chris Mom Chris Mom is offline
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SSGt and all other military personal.
Thank you for defending my freedom. If it weren't for you we would not be able to enjoy all the pleasures we have in the USA.
I too am a member of Operation Military Moms. I joined because my son Chris will be in the Army in about a month. He resigned to go in earlier then his original papers requested. He will find out next Fri/Sat how much sooner he will be leaving. ONMM is a wonderful network of supporters for both those in the military and those left behind. We support each other by talking, giving advice, hugs, and whatever else we need. We also try to support you by writing letters, care packages, prayer, and again, whatever else we can do. PLEASE, do not thank us....by what you are doing is thank you enough. We do this because we chose to not because we have to. We enjoy what we are doing. This is OUR job...supporting you in spirit. To let you know that we think about you every waking moment. That you are not forgotten. And you will NEVER be forgotten. You guys and gals are OUR heros!!
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Old 06-15-2002, 07:49 PM
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Thumbs up Enduring Freedom

May God be with you as you proudly serve our country. My prayers are added to those who went before you. The flag still stands for freedom and always will as long as brave men such as yourself and women support the call to serve.
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Old 08-07-2002, 09:29 PM
EmbraceTheHate EmbraceTheHate is offline
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Wish I had never left. The time there passed entirely too quickly. 7 months that seemed to last but a few moments. I hate leaving things incomplete.
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Old 08-07-2002, 10:04 PM
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Hey you guys... We're gonna need some patriotism, I read the news and it's not good. Will we go to war with IRAN? Why are we asking that questin... I am fearful
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Old 08-07-2002, 10:05 PM
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As a mother this shit is not good
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