Honor Where Honor Is Due

*Note, while Lawngren featured the recent loss of Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Goble of the 7th Forces Group below, before we start his article, we have a few more heroes we need to remember with honor…

Staff Sgt. Ian P. McLaughlin and Pfc. Miguel A. Villalon died last Saturdat after their vehicle struck an IED. Both soldiers were assigned to the 307th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg and both were on their first combat deployments. SSGT McLaughlin, 29, was from Newport News, Virginia, and Pfc Villalon, 21, was a native of Joliet, Illinois.

Also, this past Tuesday Army Green Beret Master Sgt. Nathan Goodman who was a 17 year veteran with 8 tours died during a routine military free-fall training exercise near Eloy, Ariz.  36 year old Master Sgt. Goodman was an experienced jumper from 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne). He had deployed four times to Afghanistan, once to Iraq, twice to Africa and once to Kyrgyzstan since enlisting in the Army in July 2002.

Our hearts and prayers go out to these exceptional men’s families, teams and friends.

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Those who know members of the US military know that our warriors don’t serve for medals or personal glory. But they earn them. They don’t talk about their awards and honors, but I think it’s right for those they defend to do so. The medals and recognition don’t make up for the deaths or wounds suffered in war, or for the personal sacrifices warriors and their families make to protect this nation. but they are one way “We the People” can LOUDLY say, “Thank you for your service!”

Here are some of the most recent awards. I’d bet some of us are acquainted with some of these warriors. These are some of our defenders, worthy Americans, who deserve much more than an award. Their names are listed at the link given below:

2nd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne):
Three Silver Stars
Nine Bronze Stars with “V” device for Valor
Nineteen Army Commendations

These are real awards for real, deadly, dangerous service:
” ‘The valor we are recognizing today happened at the most tactical level — face to face fighting, close quarters combat, hand grenade range,’ Col. Steven Marks, deputy commander of 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne), said in a statement. ‘This is a reminder that even in the modern age, warfare is still about courage under fire, having the mental sharpness to operate with expertise in the worst of times and taking action to protect your brother, your team and your partners.’ “

Their skilled, effective fighting prevented the enemy from capturing any territory of local Afghan governments.

We also need to remember and honor Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Goble, 33, 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, who died December 23rd of this past year from injuries he received while his unit was clearing a cache of Taliban weapons in Afghanistan’s Kunduz Provine. Rest in peace, warrior. We offer heartfelt prayers for his family as they deal with this terrible loss.

The US military doesn’t give out medals like confetti. You have to truly earn them. In April of 2019, the Army Times published a list of thirteen soldiers who had received the Silver Star award for their bravery in Iraq and Afghanistan, whose awards had been upgraded to the Distinguished Service Cross.

” ‘The soldiers are receiving the DSC “in recognition of their gallantry, intrepidity and heroism above and beyond the call of duty” ‘ Lt. Col. Emmanuel Ortiz-Cruz told Army Times in March.’ ”

This was the result of a review of more than 1300 awards ordered back in 2016 by then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter. I know that I‘m speaking for all of us here at The Positive Heartbeat when I say that honorable service in the US military is the act of a true patriot, and every man or woman who puts on the uniform, especially but not only those who go in harm’s way, deserves our respect and thanks. There are thousands of you whom we will never meet in this life, whose personal lives have been set aside for years, or lost, whose bodies have been damaged or ruined, because of your love for America. This is real love, not some sugary sentiment. King Jesus expressed it best when He said, “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

He understood. He chose to die a horrible death for those who would choose to believe in Him. Who would choose to be His friends.

Something for us civilians to think about and ponder and give due weight to: a Purple Heart is an important award in itself. When a warrior is wounded in combat and signs up for another tour, that is remarkable courage. He or she knows what it feels like to have your body torn open by an enemy’s weapons. Knows the pain and fear of waiting for Doc to reach them, waiting maybe for a medevac, knows the feeling of wondering if he or she is going to get out alive. Or be captured by the enemy. When with that physical experience lodged in the mind, a warrior goes back into battle on another deployment … that is a kind of courage most of us will never have to call on. It is extreme dedication, powerful patriotism, that keeps wounded warriors going back into battle.

The same is true to a large extent of every soldier who deploys for more than one combat tour. Even those who have seen but not suffered wounds know death and suffering in a way we who only read about it can never feel. Again, it takes a special kind of courage to go back into battle after the first experience of combat.

For those patriot warriors who haven’t been awarded official recognition, here’s something to keep in your hearts as well, from chapter 8 of the Old Testament book of Joshua:

So Joshua and the whole army moved out to attack Ai. He chose thirty thousand of his best fighting men and sent them out at night…” Joshua had a very large army (for that time) at his command. For this particular operation, he chose 30,000 of his best fighting men. In other words, only 30.000 of the available “best fighting men”. There were many more who rated the title “best fighting men” who weren’t assigned to this part of this operation. They had earned honor and recognition also. They just didn’t happen to be sent on this mission, and so weren’t mentioned.

I want you who are serving or have served honorably in America’s military to know two things for certain:

First, we who are Americans in our hearts recognize that you too have made sacrifices. You too are worthy of honor. We declare this boldly for all the world, and especially all America, to hear.

Second, God also knows your sacrifices, your danger, your sufferings of all kinds. He knows what you have given up for love of your country. He knows your achievements, and there is coming a day when He will honor you in front of everyone:

“Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.” (1st Corinthians 4: 5)

Thank you, Warriors.

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