Monday, May 7, 2007

A Calling Like No Other

I saw this letter in the newspaper today. It really touched me, what the soldiers go through everyday so we can all be free. And since my brother is out there serving as well, it hits even more close to home.

From Iraq with gratitude: Your care packages give us a boost

I am deployed with VMFA (AW)-121 -- a Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron known as the "Green Knights" -- to Iraq for eight long months. This is my fifth tour of duty over here in the Middle East in six years. Our squadron flies close air support for tour brothers on the front lines. Originally from Boyers in Butler County, I am stationed in Miramar in San Diego when I am not over here defending our freedom.
I am writing because I got a chance to read Brian O'Neill's column "For Our Soldiers in Iraq, a Little Means a Lot" (March 22), about the work of the "Yellow Ribbon Girls" who send care packages and Girl Scout cookies to U.S. servicemen and servicewomen in war zones. The article arrived in a package sent to me from the Yellow Ribbon Girls.
I want to tell them publicly: Thank you for what you are doing to support your troops over here.
I am currently the division chief for my squadron's Airframes Division. We have hard-charging Marines who work 12 to 15 hours every day without moaning or complaining about why they are over here. For many of them, this is their first deployment. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else but with them.
When we get mail call out here, you can see it from the youngest Marine to the crusty old guys who have had their fair share of deployments -- it is like Christmas. When you hear your name called, you feel that pride that someone back home does care what you are doing out here. We all ask each other: What what do you want to trade? Most of the time, though, we put everything on the shelf and make it free for the taking -- the Airframes Division is like our family away from home.
During my first deployment my daughter, Kaitlyn, was born. She was 2 months old when I finally came home. I got married in July 2000, but we never did get to take a honeymoon -- I had to deploy again to get ready to head back over here to the area. I can only imagine how hard it is on my wife and my daughter with me gone so much. But the military is something I always wanted to do. There are some sacrifices that my family and other families have to make.
Next month will be my daughter's 7th birthday. I will miss it again. That is the hardest thing I think there is when it comes to being deployed -- not seeing my little girl's face when she wakes up in the morning.
Again, I want to thank Yellow Ribbon Girls ( for giving me a taste of home. You will be in my thoughts when I sleep on my pillow with your case covering it that you gave me. "SEMPER FI" (Always Faithful).

GUNNERY SGT. DAVID C. FREED U.S. Marine Corps Al Asad, Iraq

"The valor and courage of our young women and men in the armed services are a shining example to all of the world, and we owe them and their families our deepest respect."

-Bill Frist

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