Sunday , July 21 2024

Soldier Stories

There is some truth to the accusation from some anti-war partisans that those who argue for the War on Terror in general and the war in Iraq in particular – myself included – think only in generalities and don’t pay enough attention to the very real human beings fighting and dying for our cause.

For that I apologize.

Here is a site from the U.S. Army dedicated to profiling those very real individuals who are serving in our behalf:

    Nurse thrives on patient care during OIF

    1st Lt. Sarah Grivicic wanted a challenge when she joined the Army three years ago. Now, she’s an intensive-care nurse assigned to the 28th Combat Support Hospital, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

    Grivicic, 25, from Louisville, Ky., has the responsibility and challenge to ensure the most critically-injured patients, both American and Iraqi, have the best medical care in the heart of Iraq.

    “The hardest part is also the best part of my job — being with a dying Soldier,” Grivicic said.

    Grivicic said she feels extremely privileged to be with a Soldier during the Soldier’s last hours. “I never understood what ‘an angel with a face’ meant until my arrival in Baghdad,” she said. “We are the last ones that they see or the last voice that they hear. It is our privilege to ensure that they are pain free in their last hours, that they are not alone and are never forgotten.”

    Just at the hospital barely over a month, Grivicic has already proven her abilities to the hospital’s chief of nursing, Lt. Col. Theresa Sullivan, from N.J.

    “She is motivated to do the job here,” she said. “She truly cares for her patients. This little girl is what an Army nurse is all about.”

    Wounds, surgeries don’t keep paratrooper from Iraq

    After three surgeries, Spc. Christopher Taffoya has three pieces of shrapnel in his legs from a grenade blast. But his commitment to service keeps him fighting in Iraq.

    On the evening of May 16 in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, Taffoya and two other Soldiers were on a neighborhood patrol only a few hundred meters from their unit’s safe house.

    The trio was talking to a neighborhood woman who was warning them to keep an eye on her neighbor who was a member of Saddam Hussein’s regime before it fell. This warning would be an eerie forecast of what was to come. Not five minutes after, that neighbor’s son threw a grenade from the rooftop landing about three feet behind Taffoya.

    “After it blew up and I realized what happened, I made sure my two buddies were ahead of me and we started heading back to the safe house,” Taffoya remembered.

    “With all the thick smoke, I couldn’t see anybody or see where it came from; I just knew a grenade went off. As I was walking back I could see the kids crawling on the ground.

    “When it happened, my adrenaline was pumping at full speed. I kept my wits about me and was fully alert. Everything that we usually do in training just came as instinct. I knew I got hit, but I didn’t know the extent of it. Nothing hurt, but I saw some blood and was walking funny so I knew something had happened.”

    The injured Soldiers hobbled the short distance back to the safe house where Taffoya was evacuated to Kuwait and then to Landstuhl, Germany. While in Germany, Taffoya was presented the Purple Heart from U.S. Army Europe commander, Gen. B.B. Bell.

    Taffoya had nine shrapnel wounds to his feet and ankles and spent the summer recovering in Vicenza, Italy.

    He’s just returned to Iraq and is finishing out his unit’s rotation with his comrades.

    Fort Riley commander awarded Silver Star for Operation Iraqi Freedom

    “I try to bring calmness, an ability to bring everything together – bring the indirect fire where I need them, bring the attack aircraft where I need them, and that’s not just me,” said Lt. Col. Jeff Ingram. “All I’m doing is directing things. I have people on both ends that actually do the work. I’ll just say, ‘I need indirect fire here,’ and my fire support officer makes that happen.”

    Ingram, commander of the 1st Infantry Division’s 2nd Battalion, 70th Armor, received the Silver Star in Baghdad for conspicuous gallantry in combat during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

    “It has nothing whatsoever to do with me. It has to do with the soldiers that I lead. They’re the ones that earn the medals. I merely represent them,” he said during a live interview on MSNBC moments after receiving the award.

    “In this case, I received the Silver Star on behalf of them,” he added referring to the nearly 600 soldiers that he commands.

    The Silver Star is the Army’s fourth highest decoration awarded to those who are cited for gallantry with marked distinction while serving in action against a U.S. enemy during conflict.

    During the battle to secure Al Hillah, Iraq, March 31, 2003, Ingram’s unit, attached 101st Airborne Division, was moving on the city to divert the enemy’s attention from the 3rd Infantry Division so they could move forward to Karbala, said Ingram.

    “We knew there were some light forces in the area, but once we crossed the line of departure, there were a lot more there than we anticipated.”

    Ingram said his unit encountered dismounted forces and artillery and rocket propelled grenades from a Republican Guard battalion

    The Iraqi RPG and small-arms fire merely scratched the tank and left an occasional burn mark on the surface, he said.

    “The battalion commander trails the lead company, so as the lead company went in and engaged, I just happened to be in a spot between two buildings where a counterattack company tried to come down and get in behind my lead company,” he said.

    According to the award citation, Ingram calmly and skillfully directed the efforts of a combined arms task force in destroying the Iraqi battalion as multiple rocket propelled grenades bounced off his tank, massed artillery fire exploded all around and intense small arms fire was directed at him.

There are many more soldiers and their stories, all worthy of our attention, respect and admiration.

About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: Twitter@amhaunted,, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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