Michael Yon and LTC Kurilla

Hello all – I am tickled at the chance to do a little guest-blogging here while AnalogKid takes some quality time off.

If you don’t already have Michael Yon’s Gates of Fire post tattooed onto your consciousness, then hie yourself over to his blog and catch up to the rest of us. You’ll understand the image below better after reading…

Michael Yon

(cross-posted at Righty in a Left State)

I mention that amazing piece of front-line reporting to set the stage for an update on the activities of the 1st Battalion / 24th Infantry, AKA the Deuce Four. Since LTC Kurilla was wounded the unit has redeployed to Washington, and last week unfurled the unit flags at Fort Lewis.

When I saw this picture the other day, I wanted to cheer for joy at the site of the commander leading his men out onto the field, crutches and all!

I recently read a comment in another blog which posed a ‘chicken or the egg’ kind of query:
* Are there people like this because we are a great country?
– OR –
* Are we a great country because of people like this?

Right now I think the answer is obvious – great soldiers like LTC Erik Kurilla, and every one of his troops – many of whom gave the ultimate sacrifice – make us great.

So what’s next for the Deuce Four? A visit from Michael Yon, who is spending the week in the Seattle area. Then there’s the Ball this Saturday, to which Michael Yon and Bruce Willis have been invited as well.

Paying Respect to Those Who’ve Earned It

Bruce Willis is one of the finest and most successful actors in the world. Further introduction would be redundant. Mr. Willis has been to Iraq with his band and the USO, and has been following the events in Mosul through my dispatches. He has expressed his desire to support our troops to me on numerous occasions. One need only read his website to see how strongly he feels about this: www.brucewillis.com.

And so, Mr. Willis wanted to personally thank American soldiers for their successes and sacrifices in Iraq, and made plans to fly to the Fort Lewis area and thank soldiers who fought so well. Mr. Willis will attend the “Deuce Four” Ball near Fort Lewis, on November 5th, 2005.

The soldiers of the Deuce Four have earned the right to relax, to spend a night of pleasure with their friends and spouses. So has Mr. Yon – whose amazing blog has brought the war front directly to our desktops.

He is also taking the time to honor those who died, and I’ll leave you with his thoughts …

…Nearly 600 soldiers were killed or wounded from the 1st Brigade (Stryker), 25th Infantry Division, while fighting in Iraq. I visited the newly built 1st Brigade Memorial, and as I read the names of the fallen etched in the granite face of the memorial, I was humbly reminded of the great price our soldiers continue to pay for my freedom to write and to speak.

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