A few months back I got a call I was not expecting. It was a soldier who served with my son and who had come home after being injured. I could tell he was scared to call me. He and I had not emailed but one of the Sgts. had told him he should give me a call. Later the Sgt got an ass chewing for tell this young man to call me without knowing first hand what kind of reception that call would receive. This particular Sgt. had not spoken with me personally and had no sure way of knowing what this young man was walking into. Not every family is prepared to talk to the men their loved ones served with.
But anyway.. I talked to the man for some time. He is a very kind person and we hit it off. Later I got to meet him when I went to the Homecoming. He spoke of my son but never in any details. So when I heard a story from my son’s commander I was floored.
This man was my son’s gunner. He was on the gun the day my son’s vehicle was hit. He never told me. Nor did he tell me that because there was incoming fire he stayed on the gun to lay cover so that my son could safely receive medical attention. keep in mind the vehicle was on fire. this man stood with his legs burning to make sure the Medic and others could safely attend to my son. He did not leave that gun until there was no other option. He was doing his job. That is what he was trained to do. I don’t give a crap how much training you have it is take HONOR and COURAGE to stay in a burning vehicle on the gun to make sure that others are safe. I was told that the others in the vehicle received minor scratches etc. No one ever mentioned this man’s burned legs. My heart cries thinking about what this man did. No one person that day deserves more credit than another. They all did their jobs and did them well. But I have this imagine in my head of him on that gun, flames around his legs, waiting until they could safely move my son before he relented. He gave my son part of the chance he had to live. His cover fire, the medic’s incredible skill, the team effort and speed of which that got my son to the hospital… all adds up to Pokey had a chance because of these men. It was a flicker of hope. And no one.. NO ONE.. can ever say they did not do everything to save him. I can find peace in knowing that. It is something I have known from the start. But hearing stories like this brings home the humbling fact. And if you ask them.. They were just doing their jobs.