Unsug Glory

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Unsug Glory

Post by Basti on Mon 17 Mar 2008, 10:14 am

Basti Note: I found this here http://www.nicedoggie.net/2008/

I posted it in its entirety. Absent comrades

Yesterday was Palm Sunday, the day which commemorates the entrance of Christ into Jerusalem, when the people laid palm fronds before him as a badge of honor.

On Palm Sunday, April 4th 2004, badges of honor of a different sort were being earned in Sadr City, the slums on the southern fringes of Baghdad.

The day before, Muqtada Al Sadr’s Mahdi Army had staged attacks on police stations and government centers, knowing the US Army would come. They were picking a fight, and were ready for it. American forces surrounded Sadr’s headquarters and the Mahdi Army got what it wanted.

On Palm Sunday Mahdi fighters blocked streets and set up barricades of burning tires. They attacked US vehicles every where they found them, whether they be on patrol or protecting Shia pilgrims.

A unit of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry became cut off and pinned down by intense RPG fire. While fighting off the attack they called for a QRF. Troops were pinned down and dying and the call for volunteers went out.

Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery answered the call. One of them was a Humvee mechanic named Casey Sheehan.

Specialist Sheehan was a devout Catholic who had served as an altar boy and a leader of his churches youth group. He had enlisted in the Army when he was 20 and had reenlisted in 2004, knowing that he would deploy to Iraq. When his sergeant had called for QRF volunteers he had just returned from Palm Sunday mass where he had been a Eucharistic lay minister. His sergeant asked him twice if he wanted to go, and both times he had answered yes.

The QRF formed and headed out into the mean streets of Sadr City to rescue the beleaguered cavalry troopers. Very soon however they were funneled into a dead end ambush. While Mahdi fighters lined the roofs and fired down on them with RPG’s and rifles, others blocked the exit.

Sheehan’s vehicle was hit with multiple RPG’s. He and Cpl. Forest J. Jostes were killed.

Specialist Ahmed Cason was wounded in the second QRF which went in to rescue the first. He continued fighting until he bled to death.

Eight soldiers died that Palm Sunday. They were;

2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas
Sgt. Yihjyh L. Chen, 31, of Saipan, Marianas Protectorate.
Spc. Robert R. Arsiaga, 25, of San Antonio, Texas.
Spc. Stephen D. Hiller, 25, of Opelika, Ala.
Spc. Ahmed A. Cason, 24, of McCalla, Ala.
Spc. Israel Garza, 25, of Lubbock, Texas.
1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas
Cpl. Forest J. Jostes, 22, of Albion, Ill.
Spc. Casey Sheehan, 24, of Vacaville, Calif.

The Catholic Chapel at Fort Hood, Texas named it’s Knights of Columbus chapter the “Casey Austin Sheehan Council” in his honor. He was also awarded the Bronze Star with V for his valor that day.

We should honor Specialist Sheehan and the others who died with him on that Palm Sunday four years ago not with palm fronds, but by remembering their sacrifice and the cause in which it was made.

(h/T Blackfive for the reminder of Spc. Sheehan and Palm Sunday 2004.

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