Thursday, April 14, 2011


It couldn't have come at a worse time.  As many in the state of Iowa are still trying to come to grips with the death of Spc. Brent Maher, today, we hear the first details surrounding another soldier's death.

National Guard officials have scheduled a 7 p.m. news conference today at Camp Dodge in Johnston. They haven’t said what the subject is, but there has been confirmation through a relative that it will concern the death of Don Nichols, a 2009 graduate of Waverly-Shell Rock High School.   Nichols was a member of  the Iowa Guard’s 1-133rd Infantry Battalion.  Nichol's mother, Becky Poock, was notified of her son's death Wednesday night. 

Reflective Time Provides Strength
Last week we spoke of the countdown to homecoming for the 2,800 Iowa troops that deployed to Afghanistan in late July, 2010.  Those were to be special times.  Now, we need to be specially guarded in our thinking.  Iowa Guard officials had warned of increased insurgent action this spring.  Looking back, perhaps we all "distanced" ourselves from the danger our soldiers face each day, into a false sense of security.

I teared up seeing the story mentioning Nichols death.  I can't help but think selfishly of my son today.  I'm tremendously proud of him for his sacrifice and commitment to duty.  This has been a hard week for anyone connected to military life.  First the thought of withholding pay to our soldiers and then two deaths.  Our anxieties are going to continue, I fear.  With the end of deployment in sight,  forces seen and unseen will be rearing their ugly heads.  Now, we need to pray.....

We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.-II Corinthians 4: 8-9




  1. My son, Lt Justin Foote was on foot near the vehicle when the IED was detonated. He is the platoon leader for this scouts/sniper platoon. We are grieving the loss of Donny and praying for the gunners recovery. My son escorted Donny's body back to Bagram along with the injured gunner where he will wait for Donny's brother who is another part of Afghanistan to arrive to take Donny home to his family. God Speed to the brave men and women. Life is so fleeting.

  2. son is with the 133rd, so this hits close to home, but not as close as what you have described. Thank you for sharing. Prayers for Justin and his platoon as they try to continue their duties. I can not imagine their mindset right now.

  3. My son, Spc. Jacob Johnson was 2 trucks behind Don's. Jake went through basic & AIT at Ft. Benning with Don, drills, NTC and the same squad in Afghanistan. We talked to Jake shortly after the incident and he said he carried Donny to the chopper.

    My heartfelt sympathy goes out to the family and Chelsey. I cannot imagine what they are going through and how their lives have changed forever. God bless them and God rest Donny at peace in Heaven.

  4. Mark and Tonya....your thoughts bring us closer to Don and Don's family and additionally what you and your son's must be dealing. It's not just family, but girl friends that have had their hearts torn. Peace to you and your family and to Don's family as well.

  5. As Chelsey's parents we like like to extend our thanks to all the 133rd families and friends that have reached out to Chelsey. She is a strong woman with a strong family and friend base. We will make it! Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the family members of the 133rd and their soldiers on their safe return home.

    Thank you ,
    Marvin & DeAnn Bliss

  6. Thank you more than ever, Mr. Bliss. I have a lump in my throat as I think what your daughter is going through. May God take care of her and you and your wife and Don's family. May he comfort you and open your minds and hearts to an outpouring of human kindness.