Dad: "That mission i went on 2 days ago yeah that turned into an overnight mission.. we got ambushed and took rpg, ak47, and pkm fire from all around us and i called in 27 mortar rounds on the taliban that were in a village, in a valley, and on a ridge. I took gunfire and rpg fire 3 different times and we had fighter jets on site to drop bombs on those guys. It ended up being a 7 hr long gun fight and we ended up staying the night out there and i got no sleep what so ever but i am fine. This is the first time since then i've been able to tell you guys but i thought i'd let you know. I love you guys."
So I read it, re-read it and tried to fully comprehend the situation, but I couldn't. Moments later I saw that Kris was on Skype so I sent him a message. His FOB does not have webcams so we can't see each other, only text. Our conversation lasted roughly 5 minutes. I started asking questions then I remembered what Rosemary Giunta had told me last week......."don't ask questions about what's going on, unless your soldier wants to talk. More often than not, they want to forget what's taking place and hear what's going on back home". So I said, "I won't pry anymore Kris, tell me what you want". He proceeded to tell me in more graphic detail what took place, then our line went dead. We've had no communication from him since which is somewhat confusing. No email text, no Facebook chat, no Skype communication. Nothing. Again, I recalled Mrs. Giunta telling me they once went 28 days after their son, Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, called home and spoke about an ambush before their line went dead. What she and her husband, Steve, hung onto was faith in God to provide protection for their son. That's where I'm at today. (UPDATE: We did Facebook chat some 18 hours later with Kris and all is well.)
|Troops In React Mode|
I said earlier I was kind of prepared for this. Here is how. Let's go back to a paragraph in my "letter to the editor" from the Des Moines Register that began this travel:
"What does deploy mean? I had to look it up to make sure. Google had a short definition which stated, “to move into a position of readiness or availability.” Okay…that makes sense. Yet, I feel there is one important word that was left out. REAL. There will be Real bullets and a Real enemy for REAL. And it’s all for Real life and Real death in a region that I‘m still trying to get my mind wrapped around. Is Afghanistan all that important? Are we fighting on level terms"?
Battle lines are almost nonexistent in Afghanistan. More often than not, our troops encounter the enemy as they are patrolling their particular provinces. And that usually happens in the form of an ambush. Frankly it is amazing to me that we don't suffer more casualties.
Sunday morning I finished reading Chuck Larson's book, "Heroes Among Us". As I set the book down, little did I know that Kris and his mission buddies were waging a gunfight with the Taliban. Larson's book depicts 29 Heroes who were cited for bravery and valor during Iraq and Afghanistan. It is amazing to me how many of those 29 stories dealt with soldiers who were ambushed and the heroism they exhibited that day. How weird is that, reading about ambush after ambush and then my son is involved in one? I'll be profiling Chuck Larson in the coming days about his book. This experience of ours, will no doubt help in talking over the backyard fence about the duties and acts of our serviceman.
As I said, I was kind of preparing for this. Probably not this soon but I know I have been for a reason. Part of that reason is to share this with you and the other is uncertain, for now. I've felt all along this mission, this journey has been God-directed. I'm in no hurry to find out the why's, because I know at the proper time the real reason will be revealed. Until then, God keep our troops safe each and every day and keep my thoughts and my families thoughts in line with you.