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On Memorial Day, Give Thanks To Those Who Sacrifice So We May Live In Freedom

May 25, 2014

Memorial Day Remembrance

A young Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army worked hard to make the medical supply warehouse on Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo the best there was.  He built a cohesive, high-performing team that always succeeded and never let us down.  His dream was learning to fly.  After jumping through all the hoops and with my signature and blessing, he went to flight school and was a shining star.  He also married a former Soldier and they were a wonderful couple.  He deployed to Afghanistan and performed admirably, working hard to gain a spot in the 160th Special Operations Aviation unit.  When a quick reaction force was needed to fly into a hot landing zone on the night of August 6th, 2011 Bryan was selected to fly the mission.  Bryan’s Chinook was filled with 31 Americans including Air Force and Navy Special Operations personnel, his air crew, and 8 Afghan military personnel.  On the way to reinforce a U.S. Army Ranger unit engaged in a fierce battle, the aircraft was hit by two rocket-propelled grenades and crashed, killing all aboard.  It was the largest loss of life in the war and the largest loss of life of special operations personnel in a single incident.  This Memorial Day, I will remember each and every one of the crew of Extortion 17 and their families as they go on with life.  Here’s a toast to Chief Warrant Officer 2 Brian J. Nichols, one of the best, and all of the Warriors lost that day.

Many of our members served or are serving in the military of their respective countries as the United States of America celebrates Memorial Day.  Some serve at home while many serve abroad, spending month after month, year after year away from their families.  On this Memorial Day of 2014, let us give thanks to our families for their sacrifices so we may live in freedom - - the missed births, the missed graduation ceremonies, the missed birthdays, the missed band concerts, and more.  For those who paid the ultimate price, there are no adequate words to express our thanks to you.  No words . . .

Pause a moment this Memorial Day and give thanks.  NAEMT wishes you a happy and safe Memorial Day.

– Ben Chlapek
NAEMT Board Member and Military Relations Committee Chair