May 22, 2005

Paying A Debt

Company B of the 141st Combat Engineer Battalion was my hometown National Guard unit when I was growing up. Many of the local guys were in the company, and toward the end of high school many more of my friends joined up. B of the 141 was a descendant of companies from Jamestown that had served in the Spanish-American war, World Wars I and II and Korea.

B/141 spent over a year in Iraq, losing two men, including Phil Brown, son and nephew of some family friends.

This morning's Strib has a coda to their Iraq story that you need to read.

The widow of a friend B Company made in Iraq has come to North Dakota:

Late Friday night, his widow and seven children stepped off a plane in Fargo, where soldiers of Company B, 141st Engineer Combat Battalion, mustered again to welcome the family to a new home.

Specialist April Rohrer cried with joy as she rushed into the arms of the slight Iraqi woman she last saw in a remote village near Tikrit.

Each woman had news for the other.

"Remember this guy?" Rohrer asked, and Mrs. M smiled and nodded at Specialist Paul Rohrer.

"We got married!" April Rohrer said.

She then touched the cheeks of children whose cuts, ailments and bruises she had tended as a medic.

And she saw for the first time Mrs. M's seventh child, a girl born four weeks ago, three months after her father's assassination by insurgents.

Mrs. M handed the baby to April Rohrer and told her, through tears and an interpreter: "Her name is April."

Through the interpreter, [Sergeant First Class] Beckert had several long talks with Mr. M as the rest of the platoon savored respites from the tension of patrols.

"He told me he had been a wealthy man under Saddam, working security at a big grain terminal. But a relative had said something bad about Saddam and was punished, and Mr. M lost his job and was thrown into prison, too. He was tortured there -- at the Abu Ghraib prison. He was freed from Abu Ghraib by us."Wow. I'd never heard that Iraqis were torured at Abu other Iraqis. Who knew?

"I didn't see a soldier or a CIA guy or anything like that when I looked at him. I saw a father and a friend. He liked us very much, and they were our family away from home.

"We told him a number of times to stop doing what he was doing. The intelligence work was helpful to us, but we worried about him."

The platoon wasn't far from Mr. M's home on Jan. 16 when gunshots sounded from over a ridge, out of view.

"We hunkered down, but we couldn't tell where the shots came from," Wilz said.

The attackers "pulled Mr. M from his truck and shot him in the arms and legs, head and chest," Beckert said.

"They made his 11-year-old son get out of the truck and watch. They wanted his son to see: 'You help the Americans, this is what's going to happen to you.' "

The battalion, as well as Lutheran Social Services, are helping them settle in Fargo.

Read the whole thing.

Posted by Mitch at May 22, 2005 09:16 AM | TrackBack

So what's your military service record Chickenhawk Berg? Or are you just a member of the 101st Fighting Keyboardists?

Posted by: Dump Bachmann at May 24, 2005 04:18 PM

So what's your military service record Chickenhawk Berg? Or are you just a member of the 101st Fighting Keyboardists?

Posted by: Dump Bachmann at May 24, 2005 04:18 PM

Hey Mr. Tough Talk, still waiting to see your DD 214 (proof of military service). Surely someone who blathers on like you do about supporting guns and war has a distinguished military record, right? Surely you didn't stand on the sidelines while your high school buddies signed up with Company B to serve their country.

Or do you just hate freedom, Mr. Gasbag?

Posted by: Dump Bachmann at May 25, 2005 01:29 PM

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Posted by: Food Recipes at December 3, 2005 09:43 AM
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