As some of you may know (wrote he, having no idea whether or not anyone is going to read this...), I resolved some months ago to report at every Council meeting on the Oregon National Guard during its entire deployment to Iraq. They are part of our community and I believe we should stay mindful of them, as we would if a particular soldier was a personal friend or a relative.
For a couple of months the news was pretty tame. Then at the August 4th meeting I reported that one of the Guard's vehicles had been hit by two IEDs (road-side bombs). Fortunately no one was hurt.
But Friday, Aug. 14th, I was reading the Oregonian online and found this:
As I read down the column I was stunned. And I realized the reporter was trying to do the complementary part to what I'm trying to do: keep us back in Ashland aware of what really is happening to the troops. Only I just wasn't prepared for it.
In retrospect I think it's worth mentioning how the Oregon soldiers quickly rushed to this soldier's side as he was carried from the scene; an Oregon medic rode in the helicopter with him in addition to the regular medic on duty and his fellow soldiers set up a rotation so that someone was always with him in the hospital until they evacuated him for further treatment and eventually to come home.
One of those soldiers who took turns sitting by his bed was the Colonel in charge of the entire Brigade. I met him at the deployment ceremonies in Central Point. At the time I didn't understand his sober demeanor. Now I do - he feels personally responsible for every soldier.
As do we.