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Sunday, July 08, 2007

On Those Who Have Served in Afghanistan

Moving piece by an OEF vet in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

Afghanistan is littered with literally millions of unexploded mines from decades of war, and many foreign nationals work there clearing these mines -- by hand. When two African nationals got careless one day, one was blown in half, and the other lay mortally wounded. One of our troops nearby charged into the minefield and carried the wounded man out. When I asked him later if he had been put in for a citation for bravery, he shyly replied: "I don't know, sir. I'm just kinda happy to be alive."

After an explosive ordnance team set a timer on a controlled detonation of captured munitions in Afghanistan's Farah province, members quickly exited the area. When their Hummer hit a land mine, the entire engine compartment was separated from the rest of the vehicle.

Without thinking, four of our troops -- part of a security team -- climbed into their vehicle and sped in to help, knowing that a huge explosion was imminent. When they reached the disabled vehicle, they realized that there was no room for the casualties in the Hummer. Thinking quickly, they stacked the wounded EOD soldiers on the hood and scrambled away from the danger. Only after the explosion did they consider that where there was one mine, there were surely more.

These are only a few snapshots of the soldiers I had the privilege and honor to serve alongside overseas. Having witnessed their courage and dedication firsthand, I have had to reassess my view of the "Greatest Generation."

The men and women who've fought for this country -- in any conflict -- deserve this distinction. And the soldiers with whom I served in Afghanistan are the greatest of the great.

I'd heartily agree.

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