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SENTRY JOURNAL » afghanistan, iraq, Lance Cpl. Adam D. Peak, Lance Cpl. David R. Hall, Pfc. Bradley D. Rappuhn, Sgt. Preston R. Medley, Sgt. Robert J. Wilson, Staff Sgt. Chad A. Caldwell, thank you, Troops » The Best of Us

The Best of Us

by RightHandMan

Not every man has what it takes to be a combat troop, and not every troop is properly decorated.

For almost a decade we have taken men and women from their families and sent them to a dangerous land to face a dangerous foe. Boys left their parents and their girlfriends, fathers weren’t able to come home at night from work, mothers didn’t pack lunches, children were born without dad there to see it, and sometimes these same people never made it back at all.

I’ve recently moved and I’m trying to buy a used car. In that process I ran into a lady who lost her son in Iraq. Out of respect for the family I will withhold the details, but suffice to say, the story is interesting, tragic, and heart wrenching.

Her story peeked my interest and I started reading stories of other troops who lost their lives while serving in either Iraq or Afghanistan. has a section that has local stories, obituaries, and pictures of those who have lost their lives. I began to randomly click on different individuals and read about their lives. After I read for a while I found one common theme – they were all amazing Americans.

Both John and I have been in the military. We were fortune enough to not get thrown into a battle zone. When we laced our boots up in the morning we didn’t have to pray for our lives. We didn’t have to worry about being shot at, IEDs exploding, or losing our fellow co-workers. There are those who do – and those who do are special.

“If he were here right now, he’d be telling me to suck it up,” – mother of fallen soldier Army Pfc. Bradley D. Rappuhn.

“David, you could be dead in a year,” she said to him. “You have to understand, this is something I have to do.” – conversation between fallen Marine Lance Cpl. David R. Hall and his sister.

“If something ever happens, I don’t want a lot of articles in the paper.” – fallen Army Staff Sgt. Robert J. Wilson.

What kind of medal do you give someone for such bravery and selflessness? What do you pin on the chest to outwardly represent what these individuals had within?

“He is survived by his wife, Sarah, and a 1-year-old daughter, Raelynn. The couple is expecting a son on Dec. 14, who will now be named after his father.” – regarding Army Sgt. Preston R. Medley (Died October 14, 2008)

“During his tours, Caldwell earned two Army Commendation Medals, for saving the life of a pregnant woman found under a pile of bodies after the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad was bombed in 2003 and for saving the life of his lieutenant colonel, who was caught in gunfire.
He also is survived by another son, Coen, 2.” – regarding Army Staff Sgt. Chad A. Caldwell (Died April 30, 2008)

“Peak is also survived by his parents, Bruce and Diana Peak, and sister, Angela Peak, 14, all of Florence. His brother, Sean Peak, 23, is a Marine stationed overseas and will return home for the funeral services.” – regarding Marine Lance Cpl. Adam D. Peak
(Died February 21, 2010)

How do you properly thank someone who has given everything for our freedom? How do you thank their loved ones? What do you say to the woman holding two young children who are fatherless?

There is nothing, so we shed tears. I personally feel both proud and ashamed. I’m proud that we have such courageous men and women who risk everything for our freedoms, and ashamed that I reap the fruits of their sacrifice. I’m proud that I’ve worn the same uniform as those who bleed on the battlefield, and ashamed that I’ve received thanks for my sacrifice while wearing my neatly pressed fatigues.

Today I wish to honor those who have risked and given their lives for this country, our liberty, and our way of life. I will thank them the only way I know how, to say it, and to guard those things at home which they have defended abroad.

Finally, I will share here a video that celebrates the beauty of a troop coming home and hope that we have more happy reunions such as these rather than sad ones that have occurred too often.

Thanks for all of those who have to leave their loved ones so that we can be close to ours…and eternal thanks to those who never come home.


Filed under: afghanistan, iraq, Lance Cpl. Adam D. Peak, Lance Cpl. David R. Hall, Pfc. Bradley D. Rappuhn, Sgt. Preston R. Medley, Sgt. Robert J. Wilson, Staff Sgt. Chad A. Caldwell, thank you, Troops

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  • Gorges Smythe August 12, 2010 at 7:07 PM

    May God bless all of our troops – past, present and future; we owe them our very freedom, and maybe our very lives.

  • John Carey August 12, 2010 at 7:15 PM

    Great post Right.

  • Randy-g August 12, 2010 at 7:49 PM

    God bless all of military men and women everywhere, harms way or not. Very good post Right Hand Man.

  • John Carey August 12, 2010 at 8:36 PM

    Right never sell your service short my friend. You service to this great nation whether on the frontlines, or making sure the frontlines were never at our doorsteps, your service was and is something to be honored and respected. Thank you.

  • Right Hand Man August 12, 2010 at 9:51 PM

    Thanks Gorges, Randy, and John.

    I in no way meant to sell myself short. I also meant no disrespect in regards to your service. That said, I have an enormous amount of respect for those who "thump the ground". My words in this post aren't meant to show how lowly my service has been, but how highly I esteem the combat troop.

  • Ron Russell August 12, 2010 at 10:28 PM

    Thoughtful post John. I served between Korea and Vietnam, was fortunate! I have a newfew who has been in for some 8 years now and he has already pulled two tours in Iraq and is now waiting to go to Afghanistan! Doesn't seem to mind but I know he hates leaving the wife and kids, but manages to keep it to himself. We have always been blessed in that our young people step to the plate when they are needed. My best friend served in Nam and was spit on when he came back state side through Frisco. Sickening! Those freaks out their would no it again , but realize now it would turn the public again them even more, 9/11 did accomplish that anyway.

  • Right Hand Man August 12, 2010 at 11:27 PM

    Thanks for your post Ron, but I am not John. 🙂 I must also thank you for your service and I'm happy we have men like your nephew. You're right that 9/11 did turn the public sentiment toward our troops for many Americans. I think that people felt danger and therefore welcomed the buffer for their fear.

  • Steve Dennis August 13, 2010 at 4:39 AM

    First, thanks to you and John for your service!
    What a great post and video! These men and women sacrifice so much for us, there isn't a day that goes by that I do not think of them and hope that they remain safe.

  • LD Jackson August 13, 2010 at 5:33 AM

    Great post, Right. Those who put their lives on the line for our freedom on a daily basis are truly special. Too many times, they are overlooked and passed over, but not everyone is able to do what they do. God bless them all and keep them safe.

    I still remember what my Dad said when my older brother was mobilized for the first Gulf War. He hated to see him go, but he said someone had to do it. Very well said, in my opinion.

    Again, great post, Right.

  • Right Hand Man August 13, 2010 at 5:37 AM

    Steve, LD,

    Thanks for the comments. I'm glad that you two feel the way that I do about our troops. LD, it seems your dad had the same attitude as many of the troops that have gone to the desert.

  • LD Jackson August 13, 2010 at 6:08 AM

    I think you are right, sir. He had that same attitude in WWII when he left for Germany and my Mom was pregnant with my oldest brother. He still has it today at 83 years of age.