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.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Wedding Day

By any stretch of the imagination, this is not an official recap of the wedding week, but one story deserves special treatment this morning.

During the rehearsal dinner last night, I was sitting next to Wayne when he phoned Patrick Bacon, his best man and battle buddy from Iraq, seated only two tables away.

"Dude! Did you hear the news today? They got him. Zarqawi is dead, as in d-e-a-d," Wayne reported.

Eyes wide, mouth open, head thrust forward, Patrick pulled his fist toward his chest with a defiant, "YES!"

Two men, two veterans - 'brothers from another mother,' as they say - nodded to each other, smiled, then lifted their glasses to acknowledge a great wedding present.

This is one mother who smiled with them.