Sunday, November 9, 2008
November 11, 2008: Veteran's Day
Here is the Veteran's Day message from Lieutenant General Jack Stultz, commanding general of the Army Reserve:
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"Veterans Day is set aside to thank and honor all men and women who served honorably in the military - in wartime or in peacetime. Veterans Day is largely intended to thank living veterans for their service, to acknowledge their contributions to our national security, and to underscore the fact that all those who served - not only those who died - have sacrificed and done their duty.
While we recognize and value each Soldier's contributions, our heroes motivate and inspire us. Four Army Reserve Soldiers have been awarded the Silver Star medal for exceptional heroic actions while supporting the war on terror:
PFC Jeremy Church was credited with saving the lives of at least five Soldiers and four civilians when his convoy came under attack from opposition militia. Under heavy artillery fire, Church maneuvered his vehicle to a security perimeter and led his troops to rescue wounded Soldiers. Church was the first Army Reserve Soldier to be awarded the Silver Star in the Iraq war and the first Army Reserve Soldier to earn this distinction since the Vietnam War.
SGT James Witkowski made the ultimate sacrifice when he smothered a grenade that was lobbed into his gun turret when his convoy was attacked by the enemy in Iraq. Using his body to stop the grenade from entering the vehicle and to suppress the blast, Witkowski saved three Soldiers in the truck. Witkowski was the only Soldier killed during the attack, but he saved the lives of his fellow soldiers.
During the opening of a medical facility built by his provincial reconstruction team, SSG Jason Fetty identified a suicide bomber and placed himself in direct contact with the attacker. Fetty maneuvered the man away from the crowd to a clearing near the hospital, where the terrorist ultimately detonated his bomb. Fetty was wounded by shrapnel, but Provincial Government officials, hospital staff, citizens, and Fetty's team members were safe.
SPC Gregory Ruske was awarded the Silver Star for his actions when a much larger enemy force attacked his 11-man platoon in the mountains of Afghanistan. During the initial contact, both Ruske and two Afghan National Police officers were wounded, and one wounded officer remained under fire in the open. Under cover from his platoon, Ruske and another Soldier ignored withering enemy fire and sprinted 30 meters to drag the wounded officer to safety.
Today's Warrior-Citizens, like these Silver Star recipients and all who served before them, are great American heroes who put their lives on hold - and on the line - to defend our country and our freedoms. Army Reserve Soldiers and their Families sacrifice every day to make a difference in people's lives.
On Veterans Day 2008, I join with all Americans to honor their commitment, selfless service and personal courage."
LTG Jack Stultz
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Please take time on Tuesday, November 11, to remember all the men and women who have served our nation in uniform.
Charles M. Grist