Today is the 6 year anniversary of one of my greatest friend's death in Mosul, Iraq.
He had been on rear detachment of 1-23 Infantry, he was an 11B. He was getting ready to ETS (get out) since his contract was up and he was going through a pretty bad divorce, and had a lot to deal with with 2 of his own children and a step daughter he had raised since she was an infant.
However, he was stop-lossed (made to stay in the Army past his active ) contract in November '03 due to we being the only Stryker unit and there were pretty much no people trained on the vehicle and doctrine at the time except those of in 3rd BDE 2ID and those in 1st BDE 25 ID, but they were training up to be our relief.
He went to Iraq with no arguments, no trying to get out of it. Nothing, he quietly did his duty as an NCO in the US Army. He didn't even complain when he was placed in 1-14 Cavalry to do the job of a 19D because there were too many 11B20s and not enough 19D20s.
On the 14th of September 04, his platoon was ambushed, and he was shot up pretty bad, his femoral artery had been hit amongst other things by an RPK. Knowing he was going to die, he still didn't complain and suppressed the machine gun position with his M-4 to allow for less seriously wounded soldiers to get to safety. One of which was another of my friends PFC Mullins who was acting as an RTO and while missing parts of his hand called for a KW (Kiowa Warrior) to hit the position.
Jake died on the ramp of the Stryker, but his actions in death were just as they were in life - selfless.
I miss him everyday and the 14th of September is hard for me.
Here is a video of one of his NCOs talking about his death. I can't watch it without having tears go down my face:
Now I need to go tie one on.