When You Think You Know Someone
"I speak for all my Soldiers when I say that we sleep well at night because we know you are all out here keeping us safe."
Is that a quote from a Captain or Major of the Iraqi Forces thanking the service of our US Army or Marines? Could this be a quote you read when you were just skimming the news bytes from the MSM and a reporter forgot that this is something positive? Do you think that this one sentence is a training command leader speaking about the active Soldiers protecting them as they learn their new duties? Well, actually, this is one of those real life statements that is spoken in true thanks and appreciation from someone who "knows soldiering".
The speaker is US Army Colonel Victor McCagnan, commander of the 16th Corps Support Group and Logistical Support Area Adder, Tallil Iraq.
The 30 folks he is thanking are the US Air Force Security Police Airmen from Tyndall AFB, Niagara Falls ARS, and Seymore-Johnson AFB.
Surprised? Colonel McCagnan isn't. Everyone serving over seas and here at home are not surprised. The families of our US Military are not surprised one bit! The President of the United States is not surprised. And, I'm pretty sure, if you read my blog once in a while, you aren't surprised and I didn't surprise you one bit.
Yet, it's not just the quote above but the actions taken by Colonel McCagnan that should not go unreported. Colonel McCagnan was speaking at a ceremony where he was awarding 16 of the 30 US Air Force Security Police with United States Army Commendation Medals! US Army Commendation medals are rarely awarded to other service members outside the Army. Generals of both branches need to approve the medals.
US Air Force Senior Master Sergeant Marc G. Melcher wrote:
"Receiving the decorations was a very exciting and a very proud moment for me personally. I have over 25 years of military service and this was the first time I was involved with another service performing a mission. To be recognized by the Army for my service and contributions to the garrison was a great moment."
SrMsgt Melcher said something that really struck me. He said that he has served for 25 years and this is the first time he has been involved in a joint services mission. Now, I know he doesn't mean we've never worked together - we always do. But, today's forces are really working closely together to achieve mission success. The last time that the US Army and the US Air Force worked this closely was before the Army Air Corps became the United States Air Force. People, we were the same branch of the service some 58 years ago!
The US Army's little brother has grown up, moved out of town far away, and picked a life that is very, very different from his older brother. For many years they just never saw things the same way. When problems came about and "Mom and Dad" needed help, yeah, of course they'd pull together and get the job done! Let's be honest, we are family after all! Yet, when things got back to normal, both brothers would sorta drift off to their respective regular lives. The younger one is a major nerd and into all kinds of techie-things - the older one would just shake his head, "What sorta gadget is he messin' with now?" The older one is completely at home in the outdoors where the air is clean and there are no traffic jams or annoying cell phones - the younger one would just shake his head, "He never reads my e-mail."
Colonel McCagnan recognizes that we are all working together for one cause. And, it's good to hear him say:
"I hope the next guys are at least half as good as these guys because they were great."
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