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Readers Write – Completing the Mission


Because a thing seems difficult for you, do not think it impossible for anyone to accomplish.  – Marcus Aurelius


TSGT Ron and the Flag

One of the most well received ever posts on the blog was the recent Readers Write – A Decade of War.  The entry tells the story of TSGT Ron and his commitment as a member of the United States Air Force to complete his mission.

I have been studying lately on how a young person in the service of the US Military can draw from way down deep and exhibit such selfless courage.  I have self-doubt that I would  have enough grit to stay the course if so called upon.   The admiration and respect I have for these stellar young people is boundless.

A Prized Possession

During the course of my email exchange with TSGT Ron he asked for my address because he had something to send me.  It showed up last week and I have been trying to wrap my brain around it ever since I opened the battered box. A draft has been sitting here simmering for a week or more but the words were not in me.

I knew the box was from way out somewhere because it was worn and scuffed and crumpled.  The return address was an APO.   I had told my Cait that TSGT Ron was sending me something and she said ‘ Daddy, he is going to send you something ultra-cool.’   What it actually contained was the flag TSGT Ron had flown on board their JSTAR on 9-11-2011.  The flag.  That flag.  I was non-plussed to say the least.  3 patches and 2  handwritten notes accompanied the flag.  The notes said in part:

This flag flew 10.8 hours over Afghanistan on September 11, 2011. On this day our aircraft took part in a raid that captured 3 suspected insurgents and hopefully made the world safer for mankind.



I have flown only about 7 flags in my 15 years in the USAF.

This one is by far the most important as it flew on the 10 year mark of 9/11 and hung proudly in our aircraft for 10.8 hours.

Please keep it safe for me.


A seeming lifetime ago - Cait and Dad

My Cait called a bit later – the box with the Flag was still open on the counter.  I told her what had come in the mail today and both of us got a little choked up about the whole deal.   I think she was proud to be wearing her uniform that day and I think she was proud of her brother in arms for honoring her Dad in such a fashion. She said ‘Dad, that is so BAD ASS.’  That and more Cait.  That and much more…

I do not know what I did to deserve as high an  honor and the respect of such a hero as TSGT Ron.  It conflicts me to think he serves at the whim of rich old men and politicians.   My Cait tries to help me understand why I am so conflicted.  She reminds me of the solemn oath she took when she enlisted.  TSGT Ron took the same oath; an oath that reaches back unbroken to 1789.

I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

70 brief words my friends. Words so powerful and so binding every generation of young people our Nation has birthed has laid their lives on the line to fulfill that oath. My Cait tells me she never questions the Mission.  She is well in her heart with it and I should do as well with my strength of faith and sense of duty.

Of one thing I am sure.  I owe TSGT Ron and all of those who serve an insurmountable debt that I can never hope to re-pay.

God Speed.


End Note: West Texas by Doug Smith from the Live cd.

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1 comment to Readers Write – Completing the Mission

  • don

    You are sure right about how much we owe those men and women who are in our military. I sure don’t believe in ‘my country right or wrong’ but I do believe that when the order comes down, if you’ve sworn to go, you go. They are all doing a hell of a difficult job and I admire their intestinal fortitude immensely. I salute every one of them.

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