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, December 06, 2005

Day 321 - It's Bout Time

Four weeks ago, I received an unexpected email from Captain Danjel Bout, Company Commander of A Co, 1-184 IN, 3ID in Southern Baghdad.

Like Wayne, Bout enlisted in the military to help pay for college. The Californian is also a relative newlywed, a son and a brother. And he likes coffee.

Here’s his message:
Last week my company commander’s vehicle was destroyed by an IED, killing CPT Michael Mackinnon and injuring the two brave soldiers serving as driver and gunner. I can say without any shame that I loved CPT Mackinnon. He was a superb officer, a loving husband, and a concerned father and my friend. His loss was a terrible blow to A Company.

That blow was only magnified when our Battalion Commander, COL William Wood responded to the scene and was killed by another IED attack. I can't express how difficult it was to arrive on the scene and have to evacuate these two great men. It is something I have already sealed away in a locked corner of my soul.

Several days later, CPT Ray Hill and SPC Shakere Guy were killed by another IED. They were on a mission to bring educational supplies and gifts to the local children. One again I found myself responding to the scene, and once again two had the sad duty of securing two colleagues for their final trip home.

In the aftermath of all this tragedy, I was given CPT Mackinnon's command, and I am writing this as the new company commander of A Co, 1-184 IN. I’ve wanted to serve as a combat commander for as long as I remember; there is no greater honor than to serve as the Company Commander of an Infantry Company. But I would give it all up if it meant my friend Mike could come home to his loving family. I know that my fervent wishes cannot bring him back to us and that he now rests in God’s hands.

Please keep his wife, daughter and son in your prayers. Because COL Wood, CPT Hill, and SPC Guy all had families they loved dearly, please keep them in your prayers, also. If you have any time left at the end of your prayers, please say a prayer that I may be granted the fortitude and wisdom to lead the men of Alpha Company in our difficult mission, and return them safely home to their own families. From this point on, my every waking breath belongs to the soldiers in my command, so I will not be able to return emails as frequently. But I will do my very best.

Yours in Friendship,

If you’re one of the half million readers who trusts CPT Bout’s blog for real news from Iraq, you already know about the father who recently entreated Bout’s compassionate Army medics to to help save his son's life. Read the story here.

So how in red blazes does John Kerry get away with trash talking American soldiers on Face the Nation?
And there is no reason, Bob, that young American soldiers need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, you know, women, breaking sort of the customs of the–of–the historical customs, religious customs. Whether you like it or not……
Get your barf bag and watch the video.

Now, send Kerry a message from the mainstream voters!