Editorial:Service members are still sacrificing
It was about a week after Memorial Day 2015 when Krissie K. Davis, a 54-year-old property disposal specialist from Alabama, was killed during an indirect fire attack on Bagram Airbase.
"When she smiled at you with that big grin, you just had to smile back,” co-worker Gail Haas told AL.com. “Krissie's strong Southern drawl in the way she said 'Hey, y'all,' her conversations, laughter and her friendship will live deep in our memories for a long, long time."
She was the first of 11 Americans to be killed in combat since our last Memorial Day observance.
Master Sgt. Peter A. McKenna Jr. was killed during an attack on Camp Integrity, a special operations forces facility in Kabul, Afghanistan. The Special Forces soldier from Rhode Island was 35.
Staff Sgt. Forrest B. Sibley and Matthew D. Roland were both killed in a so-called “green on blue” attack in which U.S. soldiers are killed by the Afghans they are trying to help. Sibley was a combat controller on his fourth deployment. Roland was an Air Force Academy graduate and special tactics officer.
By far the deadliest attack in the past year came on Dec. 21 when Maj. Adrianna Vorderbruggen, Tech. Sgt. Joseph G. Lemm, Staff Sgt. Michael A Cinco, Staff Sgt. Peter W. Taub, Staff Sgt. Chester J. McBride and Staff Sgt. Louis M. Bonacasa were all killed by a suicide bomber at Bagram.
Vorderbruggen, 36, was an openly gay officer who had advocated successfully for repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy. Lemm was an NYPD detective deployed as a member of the Air National Guard. Cinco was a San Antonio native who enlisted after graduating from high school. Taub, 30, left behind a wife and 3-year-old child, and was awaiting the birth of a second child when he was killed. McBride helped lead his high school football team to the Georgia state championship and played college ball before enlisting. Bonacasa was a father from Long Island who had met his wife Deborah during boot camp.
Matthew Q. McClintock, 30, was killed during an extended firefight in Helmand Province. Originally from Albuquerque, he had joined the Army in 2006 and served as a Special Forces engineer sergeant. He leaves behind a wife and infant son.
We take time this Memorial Day to think about them, and all of the others who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation. Before they were soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, they were all sons, daughters, husbands, wives and trusted friends. Our thoughts are with those left to grieve the terrible loss.
This Memorial Day finds U.S. soldiers on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq. Earlier this year, hundreds of new troops were deployed to Afghanistan as part of the ongoing effort to root out the Taliban. In Iraq and Syria, U.S. forces are taking more of a leading role in assisting local forces fighting against ISIS.
There will undoubtedly be debates here at home as to the wisdom of these actions and the best path forward for our nation. It will surely be part of the consideration as voters choose our nation’s next commander in chief this fall.
The men and women listed above, and all of those killed or wounded in action, must be top of mind for our leaders as they consider what role we must play in a dangerous world.
This editorial was written by the Las Cruces Sun-News.