Micheal’s best friend in his unit was Fagan. I remember the first time he told me about Fagan. I asked ” Like the Dicken’s character?” and got a “Yeah whatever” These two were soooo much alike. Both artist, both loved history, both were cut ups. In fact they were partners in crime when it came to making those they worked with laugh. From dressing up in silly outfits to running through the barracks in Santa hats and boxer shorts pull up their butt cracks to blessing everyone on Christmas morning with candy canes. ( the video of that is hilarious)
When Micheal was killed I was worried about Fagan. I knew it would hit him hard so I sent him an email. And he did respond but it was clear he was not comfortable talking to me. I reached out a few times but I tried not to push too hard. In February I had to go to Ft. Campbell for a Memorial Dedication and Fagan was assigned to be my driver. I had not met him yet because he came back a few weeks after the rest and wasn’t at homecoming. I got a call from one of the other guys telling me Fagan had come back after being told he was to be my driver and asked those who had met me if he should do it or ask to opt out. They assured him it would be ok and I was ” cool as hell” He doesn’t know the others told me he was nervous about meeting me. And you know I don’t blame him really. It takes a lot to face your best friend’s grieving mom. When I got to the airport he got hugs and realized immediately I was not as scary as he thought. I think he thought I was going to be all teary and crying. Even harden combat vets have a hard time dealing with a crying woman.
Most of the time I was there he talked about trying to get into Ranger school and video he was making for the Battalion. ( He makes the funniest videos. He is so talented) But mostly Ranger school. The Company Commander told me over dinner the last night I was there that Fagan was indeed going to Ranger School they were just waiting on paperwork. There was a wink and a nudge in the conversation. I called Fagan as soon as the dinner was over and told him.. You are going to Ranger school! I was so happy to be able to tell him that. He earned that.. no one gave it to him!
Fagan did go to Ranger school and graduated first time through. Only 20% of those who go accomplish graduating first time through. He text me a message a couple of days before graduation. Letting me know he was graduating. He had succeeded in his goal. I was as proud of him as a mom could be. You see he may not realize it but he is my son too. And the fact that he would think the contact me and let me know he had accomplished this meant so very much to me.
Yesterday we received a letter from Fagan.. included in it was one of his Ranger Tabs. One he had carried with him throughout Ranger School with the intention of sending to us. I placed it with Micheal’s things on his table. It was a gift we will cherish because of who gave it to us and because we understand what it took to earn that tab.