Staff SGT Donald Wayne West, Jr., enlisted in the United States Army National Guard on September 11, 2001. As part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Company A of the 150th Combat Engineers served active duty Aug 29, 2004, until Dec 30, 2005. SSGT West returned to college in January, 2006. He married Lauren Ritchie June 9, 2006, at Seaside, Fla., and they have three children. SSGT West completed military service at Camp Minden, LA on Aug 23, 2009.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Day 209 - Another Cache Deal

An unexpected news alert last night brought this good report about Wayne’s battalion:
FORWARD OPERATING BASE KALSU, Iraq - Soldiers of the 150th Engineer Battalion, 155th Brigade Combat Team, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) recently discovered a weapons cache near Forward Operating Base Dogwood.

Items seized and subsequently destroyed include 36 individual SA-7 surface-to-air missiles and 4,480 rounds of 14.5mm heavy machine gun ammunition.

The 155th BCT is a U.S. Army unit assigned to II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Yesterday's headlines also reported string of car bombs. Embedded journalist Michael Yon makes a case for using the term ‘homicide bomber’ to describe perpetrators of such crimes. "A fanatic who straps a bomb to his chest and walks into a market crowded with women and children, then detonates a bomb sometimes laced with rat poison to hamper blood a mass murderer."
“There is nothing good to say about mass murderers,” he continues, “nor is there anything good to say about a person who encourages these murders. Calling these human bomb delivery devices 'suicide bombers' is simply incorrect. They are murderers. A person or media source defending or explaining away the actions of the murderers supports them. There is no wiggle room.”

Yon argues that calling homicide bombers ‘martyrs’ is verbally offensive and flagrantly inaccurate. (Read more…)
"The only martyrs I know about in Iraq are the fathers and brothers who see a better future coming," he emphasizes, "and so they act on their beliefs and assemble outside police stations whenever recruitment notices are posted. They line up in ever increasing numbers, knowing that insurgents can also read these notices. The men stand in longer and longer lines, making ever bigger targets of themselves. Some volunteer to earn a living. This, too, is honorable. But others take these risks because they believe that a better future is possible only if Iraqi men of principle stand up for their own values, for their country, for their families. Theses are the true martyrs, the true heroes of Iraq and of Islam. I meet these martyrs frequently. They are brave men, worthy of respect."

In a similar rant, soldier blogger Dadmanly posts required reading for anybody that even uses the term ‘exit strategy.’
Even if we could create a comprehensive Exit Strategy and timeline, we could never make them public. As soon as we set an ironclad date for withdrawal of forces, we have communicated the limits of our endurance to our enemies. We've given them a date to mark on their calendar -- hold out until this date, and you win. (More...)