This weekend was a sad weekend. For the faithful blog readers out there, you know that I belong to a Yahoo Board of other National Guard wives. There are a lot 155 wives/significant others on that board and I woke up Sunday morning to an email that one of our wives lost her hubby. Her son is also serving with the 155 BCT - and he actually was home on R&R - she had just picked him up on Friday, and her husband was killed on Saturday.
Her name is also Melinda - and her husband is Sgt. Larry Arnold, they have three sons and this was Larry's second deployment. A hero has been lost - but he is being welcomed home by His Father. We pray that God's grace, mercy and healing protection would be extended to the Arnold family during this sad time. We also pray for the family of Spc. Terrence Lee and for the family of the Iraqi Interpretor, Ron, that was also killed. There were also injuries involved in the explosion, and we lift up those who will need physical and emotional healing from this tragedy.
This excerpt is from Kevin Kelly's blog - he is at the location that the events happened at:
June 12, 2005 - ANOTHER SAD DAY AT DOGWOOD
June 12, 2005 was a terrible day because we had 2 great American soldiers killed and another soldier injured from B Co. SGT Larry Arnold and SPC Terrence Lee were killed by an IED that struck their vehicle. SGT Landrum was injured and sent to Baghdad by medevac. There was also an interpreter named Ron who was killed. I will not go into any details of what happened. I was blessed to have known both of these great warriors and they will be missed terribly. I'll miss the always smiling SPC Lee. If you had a frown when you walked past him, you would have to smile back because he just made you smile. He was always out there doing a wonderful job at whatever task he was assigned. I had known SGT Arnold before, but when we got to FOB Hotel, I really got to know him. A truly special man. One of the hardest workers I've ever known and no matter what he was doing, he would always stop to say hello and ask how you were doing. I didn't know SGT Landrum that much in a personal way, but everyone I've talked to has said he was just as an outstanding soldier as the other soldiers that have been killed or wounded over here. These men went outside the wire daily to fight these insurgents. There was never any complaining, just "Yes, Sir". They don't come much better than these three. At last update, SGT Landrum is in stable condition. As we hear more, I will update you. SGT Arnold and SPC Lee may be gone from here, but they will be with us every single day the rest of our lives for being a better person by knowing each of them. Ron was an interpreter that joined us right as we got here. The soldiers of B Co. considered him one of their own and he was well respected throughout the FOB. A very outgoing and adventurous young man that will also be missed by this FOB. Please take these families in your prayers every night and ask that God comfort them to help them get through this terrible tragedy. I know there will be lots of information flowing through the news soon, but just remember that SGT Arnold and SPC Lee paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom at home and SGT Landrum was seriously injured and each of us is a better person for having been blessed to know and serve with them.
When something like this happens, you never know how you will react. Every heart here was heavy as we heard the news. Many gathered in groups outside, others inside to listen on the radio as all lifesaving techniques that could be performed were carried out by true heroes and others just walked around by themselves to gain some kind of understanding. As I said earlier, you never know how you will react and will you be able to gain your composure. 1LT Marty Davis was at the area of the explosion and he acted as professional as anyone I've ever known in being able to gain his composure and update the TOC in what most would call a chaotic incident. He is the type of soldier that every soldier would like to follow because of the way he handles tragedy and every day combat missions. He is a great leader and because of his actions we were able to get SGT Landrum to the hospital for surgery. There were many more soldiers that were doing everything they could and acted like true heroes, but I will just always remember that voice of Marty Davis on the radio on any mission that I go on.
As far as the earlier part of the day, this will be very short. It was a cooler day (115) because of the steady dust storm that we had all day and even through today. For the most part, we had at the most 200 yards of visibility. We traveled to a school to meet with people about what is going on in the village and what we need to assist them. When we drove up, we had approximately 60 kids run to us. While the meeting was going on, we had someone firing around us that hit buildings around us. No one was injured. We spent a lot of time with the kids and really are starting to know them by name. We then went to another village and we handed out boxes of cereal, rugs, book bags and quilts. It was chaos. It was hard to control these people. There was one little girl around 5 that came up to me and grabbed my hand and just sat there and held it waiting in line. She got her boxes and then I was able to get her several more things. I'm sure she knew what she was doing when she grabbed my hand, but one of the nicest things that has happened to me over here. I was given a green apple and some kind of orange juice in a can that was cold and had lots of pulp. It was actually very good. We then went to another area and found some farmers that we had to discuss giving seed and fertilizer away. We found the biggest watermelon patch I've ever seen and they were just about ready. They told us that when they get ready they will sell them to us for less than 50 cents a piece. Their garden was also full of tomatoes, peppers, okra, turnip greens, squash and peas. 1SG Stiles had a tomato and said it was absolutely delicious.
I was able to use my Misty Mate that a soldier's mother sent to me. Her son is in the 2/114TH, but sent me a box with it inside. This thing is wonderful. It gives just a fine mist of cold water that you can spray on face and neck and give you some refreshing coolness. If you truly want to give someone something that a soldier can use on a very hot day, may want to look at sending them one of these. I was pleasantly surprised at how great it was.
I will tell you briefly about the church service. There was a larger than normal group in church this morning. Responsive reading 478. Then sang Baptist Hymn 61 Come, Christians, Join to Sing. We were then read some letters from 6th and 7th graders who wrote to us. One was from Decatur, MS and another was from Fresno, CA. The prayer request today was only about SGT Landrum and the families of SGT Arnold and SPC Lee as well as Ron. It's not that no one wasn't thinking about SGT Wong or SFC Galatas, but it just was a very emotional time. They are still in our prayers daily as well. We then sang Baptist Hymn 481 - Just A Closer Walk With Thee. The sermon came from 2 Kings 6:24 - 7:2. Based upon when something is going wrong with a situation (like yesterday), you can't lose your faith or hope. You have to trust in God and allow him to work with you till you're through it all. We then sang a song A Mighty Fortress Is Our God. Communion followed and then sang He is Lord.
I really don't feel like writing anymore. I'll try to write more tonight or tomorrow, but just don't know what kind of mood I will be in. Please continue to pray for these families, our families and all of the soldiers over here. We can't thank you enough for all your thoughts and prayers. May God Bless You, Kevin