Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Warrior Souls – In Memory of Our Fallen Mates

These past few days have been very difficult ones. It is a rare occassion when so many SEALs and Air commandos are killed in such a large number. These are very small and tight knit communities within the Armed Services. Thier loss is significant. They will not be forgotten. They preformed their duties with honor and a vigor that only those in those communities can understand. They will be sorely missed, but others will fill their shoes and the cause will go on and victory will be won. Mark Devine has an essay on these brave Warriors that is a must read. I am posting it, in it's entirety, without comments. There is nothing I could possibly add. - Sailor

"Warrior Souls – In Memory of Our Fallen Mates
Mark Divine

We imagine the reconnaissance team getting over-run on the ground in a hail of bullets after being compromised by a goat, or dog. It is bitter cold and snowing on the Afghanistan – Pakistan border. The four man team has been there for 3 days after intelligence indicated a gathering of Al-Queda and Taliban fighters in the region. The team scampers out of their hide site when spotted and scrambles with all they have in them up the side of the rugged mountain. The OIC grabs the handset of the radio and keys his mike…”Bravo One, Bravo One, this is Bravo Three, over. Bravo Three, this is Bravo One, send your traffic. Bravo One we are taking effective fire, I say again, we are taking effective fire. Request immediate support. Over.” The voice is tense, but controlled. The distinct sound of incoming rounds – like branches of a tree snapping – is heard. Then nothing more.

The Quick Reaction Force (QRF) is launched – comprised of US Navy SEALs from an East Coast SEAL Team and an Army Special Operations transport Helo Squadron (MH-47’s). Three birds are launched. 45 minutes after the call they are nearing the drop zone and start taking fire themselves. One bird is hit with a shoulder fired RPG. Lucky hit. The helo limps for a mile, then collides into the side of the unforgiving mountain. It slides, end-over end, to the bottom of the ravine. 17 of America’s finest SEAL and Air commandos are gone, forever.

It could have been me, I think. But then, that was years ago. But I play it over and over in my mind – what it must have felt like – to each man.

The fear. The pain. The intense anger at this injustice. Their families will miss them terribly. It was not supposed to happen to them – not here, not now. NOT ME! Their thoughts spin out of control along with the dying helicopter. Then it is over.

Soon…17 warrior souls are seeing each other for the first time – with questioning eyes…whoa. What now? They see their physical bodies in the wreckage – but they are still here. Is this what death is? They are motionless, unsure, seeking answers. A light shines above them, and an angel comes down to them – beckoning them to come. The angel is dressed in a WWI style infantryman’s uniform. He tells them, without words, not to worry. Warriors take care of their own in Heaven, he says. They have been expected, and there is a big reception planned. He asks if they would like to visit their loved one’s before going to Heaven. They all say yes. The angel takes them instantly to their homes – where word of the tragedy has not yet reached. They see their wives and children sleeping, playing. They see their parents, friends, and teammates. They tell them not to worry, for they are going to a safe place. They pray that their loved ones will understand that life is fleeting, and that death is part of the warrior’s path. Do not grieve us they say…we died an honorable death. Honor our memory. Tell our story. Teach our children how to live with dignity and honor. Teach our teammates how to live well, and die honorably. Mourn us for a time, but then celebrate our lives.

The words settle into the hearts of their loved ones, providing comfort. An uncanny feeling comes over them that they are not alone. Later, the loved ones smile through their tears – knowing intuitively that their warrior is in a good place.

Tears also run down my cheek as I write these words. So sad. So many young men and women dying for a cause they do not understand fully. But they are not alone. Every generation and every culture has warriors. It is the warrior souls that have given us the freedom to read these words, and live in comfort. We owe them a debt of gratitude that is almost indescribable. Warrior Souls - they do not question the why, but serve honorably, and die.

God Bless them all.

Mark Divine is a former Navy SEAL officer. He founded NavySEALs.com to provide news and information about the SEALs and other Special Operations Forces, as well as assist recruiting efforts.He is CEO of US Tactical, Inc. "

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