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, October 04, 2005

Day 258 - Death of a Daily Journal

SGT Wayne West and SFC Kevin Kelly

Well. it started over the weekend when First Sergeant Kevin Kelly posted this entry to his Daily Journal:
I finished eating and then went back to my can to relax a few minutes and then to try to pack up some more stuff. I had been in there about 10 minutes when I heard what sounded like a hiss and then an explosion. We had someone shoot a rocket at us. It didn't get close to anyone, but it sure got everyone moving around getting into the bunkers. Everyone was safe and sound. Hadn't had that happen in a while so got everyone's senses back. I'll be glad to be back home and be in my house and not worry about something being shot over my house and exploding in my yard. After everything had cooled back down I went back to packing.
And it ended like this:
October 03, 2005 -

This morning CPT Cager woke me up early to tell me that he and I needed to go see the battalion commander. I got up there to find out that I had alarmed some people by writing about us getting the rocket fired at us. I guess some of the families didn't want to know about that and I apologize if I alarmed you. That is why I said it didn't get close to anyone. There were also some concerns about operations security and what insurgents could gather to use against us.

I honestly didn't think that I was saying something that would cause problems or I wouldn't have said it. I have known people that have been reduced in rank for something similar and that is something that I can't afford for writing an email. No one told me I had to stop writing the journal, but I just can't take that chance of anything being taken out of context or cause someone to be killed or injured. What I think of as not being a security concern could be by the battalion commander or someone else and that would put my career in jeopardy. I will continue to write my daily email but only to my family and close friends back home.

I have been blessed to have met so many people on here that have sent me emails. I have joked around a lot about writing a book and I plan on doing it when I get home. I may only sell 1 copy, but it is something that I have always wanted to do and I think that this is my opportunity. I can promise you in the book though I will give a lot more details than I have on here. I once got an email from my wife after we had talked about a mission one time and then she read my journal entry and she said it was like two different things and it was nice not to alarm people. I have got emails from people from MS, AL, TN, TX, CA, NV, NY, MO and many more states. I will never forget when we had the 36,000 people hit the website in one month. It's great that we got so much support for the battalion.

I have always added to my email that I will write more later or tomorrow, but I won't be saying it in the journal. I hope that everyone has a great week. Thank you for the many thoughts and prayers for the battalion as well as myself. It has truly been a pleasure, but I value my career a lot more than a journal and hope that you understand. May God bless you and look forward to meeting some of you when I get back home. God Bless, Kevin

This is my email address if you ever get the chance to send an email to keep in touch. KevinGolfs AT aol DOT com
No, Kevin. I want the address of the battalion commander.

(Note: For our new or casual readers, SFC Kelly was our lifeline to Camp Dogwood. As I often commented to Wayne, Kevin told us all the things Mommas want to know: What did you have to eat today? What’s the weather like? Sleeping arrangements OK? Did you go to church? How are your adopted children doing? Other soldiers doing OK?)

It’s going to be awfully, awfully quiet now. And now a very long and lonely wait until January. Unless maybe Phil can pick up the slack.

We’ll miss you, Kevin. More than you know.

(Also posted at Mudville Gazette.)