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Sunday, Apr. 20, 2014

Email provides humble reminder we are still at war

Posted Friday, January 7, 2011, at 12:32 PM

Since Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom started in the Middle East in 2001, I have been subscribed to an email service from the U.S. Department of Defense that gives me notification every time there is a U.S. military casualty.

I try to open each email and pause for a brief moment in prayer for the fallen hero.

I don't say this to bring any personal glory, because the act I do is a very simple one that really doesn't take any effort. I do it in the deepest respect and honor that another brave United States soldier has paid the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our freedoms.

The emails that I receive are usually very simple and not very personable.

They simply present the facts.

Here is one I received Thursday. It was the 6th of the new year:

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Sgt. Eric M. Nettleton, 26, of Wichita, Kan., died Jan. 5, in Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan of wounds suffered in Dehjawz-e Hasanzay when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, Vilseck, Germany.

For more information, media should contact U.S. Army Europe public affairs office at 011-49-6221-57-5815 or email ocpa.pi@eur.army.mil.

Casualties actually started in Afghanistan in 2001 and have numbered 1,449. Last year, 449 servicemen or servicewoman lost their lives in Operation Enduring Freedom. Indiana has had 34 deaths and 183 wounded in theatre.

In Operation Iraqi Freedom since 2003 there have been 4,750 U.S. deaths, including 94 from Indiana.

The deaths keep occurring and there have been two so far in 2011. The peak years for casualties were 2004 (849), 2005 (846), 2006 (822) and 2007 (904).

To learn more about U.S. casualties and those wounded go to http://icasualties.org/OEF/Index.aspx. The website is updated often and contains many graphs and charts that track military deaths and wounds.

Greene County has a long-standing alliance with war operations in Iraq and Kuwait and the Linton-based Army National Guard unit has been on notice since last September that they may be mobilized again some time next year.

Members of Indiana Army National Guard Company A, 1-151st Combat Team have been advised said that they may be called back to Iraq for an "advise and assist" mission in early 2012.

If mobilized, the Indiana 76th Combat Team would support Operation New Dawn, the successor to Operation Iraqi Freedom, which President Barack Obama concluded earlier this summer. The U.S. military has handed off combat responsibilities to the Iraqi army, with American troops now serving in support roles.

It is estimated that about 3,000 Hoosier Guardsmen would be a part of the possible next call up.

The Linton unit is comprised of about 130 soldiers who continue to train every other weekend for their upcoming assignment.

First Lt. Justin Meinhardt, of Indianapolis, took over command of Company A -- The Avengers -- from Capt. Andrew Wood, of Coal City last March.

The unit did a 13-month deployment in 2003 and was last mobilized in early December 2007.

Alpha Company returned back to Indiana in late November 2009, the day after Thanksgiving.

The unit was blessed in both deployments and suffered no deaths.

You know on most day our conversations concerning the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are sadly missing in action.

We talk about the war as if it were some kind of electronic video game that we do not want our children or grandchildren to play. We think it is there and not here in southern Indiana.

Let us be aware, mindful and prayerfully concerned that the war is still real and U.S. citizens are dying almost every day.

I'm given a humble reminder nearly every time I open my email.

Nick is assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or 1-800-947-4487; by e-mail at schneider.nick@gmail.com or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages....

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My husband is currently serving in the Linton Unit 1-151 and has been there since September of 1999. His time in with them will be over September of 2011 and will no longer be a part of that unit. I will always remember them in my prayers and support them no matter where they go. Everyone of those soldiers in that unit are brave and have great personalities. I have gotten to know a lot of them a lot better over the years. I pray that they all make it home from their mission in 2012 safely as well.

-- Posted by frankijohnny on Fri, Jan 7, 2011, at 3:32 PM

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