Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Another soldier falls

Once again I write about the recent loss of one of my brothers in Charlie Battery. It is with a deep regret I mention the death of Specialist Chirasak Vidhyarkorn who was posthumously promoted to Sergeant.

V, as we called him because most of us southern boys can't pronounce fancy words, was killed on September 29th, 2007. He was due to go on his two weeks back to the states just six days later. I was in my "Birthday Mode" as it was still my birthday in the states. A few of us in Operations were laughing and joking as things started to settle down for the day when the alert came that something had gone terribly wrong.

I can't talk about what happened because it is still under investigation, but I will say that the official Department of Defense release states he was killed in "a non-combat related incident". I can't tell you how badly that chaps my ass as I feel that statement completely disregards the fact that he was in a Combat Zone, conducting a mission when he was killed. I feel it completely takes away from his sacrifice and service by being with us. I may be angry and unjust in my distaste of that phrase, but I am.

My other brothers that paid the ultimate sacrifice volunteered to come back. All of Charlie Battery's losses have been serving multiple tours in Iraq. After the loss of Sergeant Massey, Sgt. Vidhyarkorn spoke with a member of his team and said if he was killed, he wanted it clear that he was not happy about being here. He did not volunteer, he was "drafted" which is what the guys who were called up from the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) call it. In a time when many IRR soldiers shredded, burned or disregarded the "draft", he dropped everything and immediately reported for duty.

To some of us, we don't have a lot of "everything" to drop. For V, though, this was quite different.  Chirasak moved to New York to work on his Master's Degree in Environmental Engineering in 2000 and did a two year enlistment in the Army. In 2003, he was recalled and did a year in Iraq, then returned to a job as an Engineer with the state of New York. In 2006, he was called again and joined us in Camp Shelby, Mississippi. V was recently offered a six-figure job and was eager to get home in a couple days to tell his family about the good news.

Whether it is a prestigious job, a new child, new girlfriend or family and friends; all of us have something to come home for. All of us do the best we can and fight hard to make it back home. Chirasak, was a Buddhist and I don't know anything about his religion.

So, as much as I know he was upset about being here, I hope that V is at peace wherever he is.