Letters from the frount...
Charles Odums II
Three names you do not know, three people whom you have never met, three heroes who have touched your lives without you being aware of it.
May 30th, 2004.
Charles Odums II, a medic serving with my platoon in southern Baghdad, was driving the lead vehicle in a patrol at night, keeping an eye out for the bad guys, and trying to keep our area safe for both ourselves and the people living there. As the patrol was wrapping up it's mission that night, preparing to head back in, Charles Odums' truck was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device, killing him instantly, and severely wounding the two other soldiers in his truck.
November 9th, 2004
Travis Babbit, a soldier from another platoon in my company, was manning the machine gun on top of his truck when his patrol came under attack from 3 different directions. In the first few minutes of the attack, Travis was fatally wounded by a sniper's bullet, causing him to slump down over his weapon. Somehow, Travis found the strength to stand back up, locate the sniper who shot him, and engaged and destroyed him and his position before any more soldiers were hit. Travis then fired several more bursts from his machine gun at another of the enemy's positions, suppressing them long enough for other members of his patrol to destroy the enemy, before he succumbed to his wounds, and fell into the truck.
November 12th, 2004
Raymond White, a scout in my platoon, was manning the machine gun on his truck as my patrol was ambushed by multiple RPGs, AK-47 fire, and heavy machine gun fire. Despite the fierceness of the attack, the likes of which have never been seen in our entire brigade area, Raymond managed to fire several bursts from his machine gun, before being struck in the head by a large caliber bullet, and being killed instantly. Without his quick reactions and his willingness to give the last full measure, the rest of my patrol may not have successfully disengaged and made it safely back to our camp.
These three soldiers, heroes all, probably will not recieve much attention, beyond those who care to look. Many young men and women have given their last full measure during this campaign, too many for me to list here. I have listed 3 whom I knew, respected, and loved as brothers. The words are true, even if you do not share my beliefs. "No greater love has a man, than to lay down his life for his friends." Odie, Babbit, Ray...I can never express my love for you with words.
Odie...we got ya man. We got ya.
"Hey Baaabbit...." you hated the Abbot and Costello reference...but I always thought it was hilarious, and I'll never forget.
Ray...don't worry, you're still ugly. You were closer than a brother to me, and I'll never be able to say it more clearly than this. I love ya, bro. Rest well. We got it from here.
For those of you at home, this war may not seem real, beyond reports from Fallujah, or the constantly growing number of casualties. And I thank God that this is true. What I have seen, no one deserves to see. What I have done, no one needs ever know what it's like to have done them. What I have felt, no one need feel. I love my country more now, than I ever have, and I thank God there are men like Odie, Babbit and Ray, and yes, myself, who are willing to keep these horrors away from our country.
I have never felt the power of these words more than I do now: God bless America, land of the free, and home of the brave.
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