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.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Day 235 - Flags and Farewells


Soldier blogger SFC Kevin Kelly is stunned by a September 11 order to remove all but one American flag at Forward Operating Base Dogwood.
They put out today that only one flag is allowed to fly on a military post. It doesn't matter if it is a personal flag or not, we can fly only one flag. I thought this was one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard.

I know that originally we weren't suppose to fly the American Flag because it looks like we are occupying the nation, but they did allow us to fly them on our own FOB since this is an American post. I know right now there are a lot of angry people. There weren't a lot of people who had them up, but people are still mad because of the circumstances. Most are saying that we are over here bleeding and dying for this flag, but when we try to display it, we are told we can't fly it. I removed mine today, but wasn't too happy about it.

I heard one person say that someone should leave it up; then, when they tried to give someone an Article 15, to ask for trial by court-martial. Everyone was joking, but serious. Then they said, "The judge will ask 'Why are you here?', and the person will answer, 'Because I wanted to fly my American flag!'"
As FOB Dogwood says goodbye to their flags, we join Mudville Gazette in sending best wishes to Blogger Extraordinaire Arthur Chrenkoff who is moving on to other career pursuits. A new team will continue to post Good News from the Front.

Quoting LTC Erik Kurilla, journalist blogger Michael Yon emphasizes the need for good reports like those from Chrenkoff.
Lying in his hospital bed at the Madigan Army Hospital in Fort Lewis, Washington, recovering from gunshot wounds suffered in combat in Mosul last month, the Commander watches television news, increasingly frustrated by what he sees as a clear, and inaccurate, negative bias. “When you get the news back here in the states, it’s all doom and body counts. I only wish the American public could see the incredible progress that is being made every day in Iraq, particularly in places like Mosul.”
While not yet in the clear, Yon says (Mosul) is much closer to security and prosperity than anyone would have considered possible eight months ago.

Last night, Lauren forwarded several precious pictures taken by folks standing nearby at DFW Airport when Wayne arrived. The photos arrived with this sweet message:
We sincerely hope you and your soldier enjoy his R & R to the fullest! We will keep you and him in our prayers, as we do all our soldiers. We can never thank them enough for their service, commitment, and sacrifices, as well as the sacrifices of the loved ones left behind. Take care and God Bless! Jim and Terry Averett
Now that he's back in Iraq, we say again, 'Until, Son. Until...'