Friday, May 25, 2012

Freedom is Never Free

Memorial to the seven Seabees KIA
This Memorial Day weekend we remember those who have died for our country. Many times we hear about the number of fallen troops in the history of our country but seldom do we put faces to those who have given all for our freedom. I am doing something I have never done before now, I am writing about some of those men who I am proud to have served with.
   Early during the Iraq War (2003-2004) I was deployed to Iraq with a Seabee unit, which is basically a Combat Engineer group for the Navy and Marine Corp. We were originally tasked with bridge, road and runway repair and construction but this was early in the war and the battle of Fallujah was raging in the Sunni Triangle and needless to say it was a bad neighborhood. Our battalion was attached to the MEG (Marine Engineer Group) and the MEF (Marine Expeditionary Force) and we were split up into smaller units / squads to work in convoy operations, base defense, force protection etc. I was first assigned to a Special Ops base in North Iraq working on force protection in a FOB (forward operating base) It was a lot of closely guarded ops and to this day if I pull the compound up on Google Earth the area is blurred out. Later our unit was sent to Ramadi to work with the MEG.
As I said earlier, in 2004 Anbar province was a bad area and little did we realize that when we boarded that DC-10 in Gulfport Mississippi that 7 of us on that one aircraft would not return alive. Apart from the seven KIA there were others of us to return in wheel chairs, stretchers or on crutches. Some of us had visible wounds and some not so visible but without a doubt we were all forever marked by our service.

On this Memorial Day weekend I will offer no details but rather honor to the seven men in my unit who made the ultimate sacrifice.

KIA when his vehicle was hit by an IED, Anbar province, Iraq. 
33 years old, survived by wife and children.

EO2 Trace W. Dossett

Orlando, FL.
KIA,  hostile fire in Anbar province, Iraq.

37 years old survived by wife and 2 daughters. 

SW3 Ronald A. Ginther

Auburndale, FL.

KIA as a result of hostile fire in Anbar province, Iraq.
37 years old survived by wife and 2 children

BU2 Michael C. Anderson

Daytona, FL.

KIA as a result of hostile fire in Anbar province, Iraq.
36 years old, survived by wife and daughter.

Stuart, FL.
Died as a result of hostile fire in Anbar province, Iraq.
35 years old, survived by wife.

SW2 Jason B. Dwelley

Apopka, FL.

KIA when his vehicle was hit by an IED, Anbar province, Iraq.
31 years old.

CM3 Scott R. McHugh

Boca Raton, FL.

KIA as a result of hostile fire in Anbar province, Iraq.
Died 3 days past his 33rd birthday. His mother's care 
package had not arrived before he was killed.

"When I die, I desire no better winding sheet than the Stars and Stripes, and no softer pillow than the Constitution of my country." -- Andrew Johnson

PS, I have always had a policy of responding to all comments and questions. I will not do so on this post unless I really feel the need to. Please feel free however to show your support and respect for our fallen and their loved ones.


  1. Dear Duke - thank you for sharing your story. i look at the pictures of each individual man - strong, brave patriots each! my heart breaks for you, and for their families. my eyes are filled with tears for what you must have went through. and i can't thank you enough for your service and your friendship.

    i have lost some friends, too, but i wasn't actually with them when they gave the ultimate sacrifice. the Boxtop Flight 22 crash in Alert is still painful for me as there were friends of mine on that flight. and i still have friends in the sandbox, some of whom didn't return.

    i remember all who have given the ultimate sacrifice today. i also remember all of those who served with them. those who served with them carry scars forever. but they also carry memories and it is only through sharing memories that we can remember.

    thank you my dear Duke. thank you.

    your friend,

  2. that MUST have been really hard to write duke. i feel for you.

    thank you for sharing.

  3. Dear Duke, thank you for your service to your country and thank you for this post. It brings it much closer to our hearts to see the young faces of those that gave their lives for our country.

    God bless you, Duke

  4. Thank-you for giving faces to the memories of these warriors. I would like for the families, friends, and fellow service men and women who lost so much to know how much the sacrifices are appreciated.


  5. thank you bro.

    the rat

  6. Duke, I imagine that was not easy for you to share, but I thank you for it. Thank you for your service and your sacrifice.

    God bless!

  7. Pre-sent, ARMS! Ready, FIRE! Ready, FIRE! Ready, FIRE!

    Order, ARMS!

    Rest easy, sleep well my brothers.
    Know the line has held, your job is done.
    Rest easy, sleep well.
    Others have taken up where you fell, the line has held.
    Peace, peace, and farewell...

  8. Thank you for sharing this. I am grateful for their sacrifice and yours. Whenever I see someone in uniform I make a point to stop and thank them for their service. We would not be here without the sacrifice of so many.

    You have honored the memory of those strong, brave men and their families. God bless you Duke.


  9. Thanks, Duke. You're a good man.

  10. Well done, my friend. Like Hillbilly said, you're a good man.

  11. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

  12. Dear Duke - Thank you for your heroic service. You have truly honored the memory of these great men and their families.

    Take Care

  13. Thank you is just not enough for you and them. War is hell.

  14. Well said, indeed! I agree with the other posters. Thank you are very poor words for your post.

    God bless to all

  15. Duke,
    God Bless you and all Veteran's who have fought for this country and our freedom.

  16. Well said, well done Duke. These men have been well honored by you.

  17. Today is a day of tears for many. God Bless our troops

  18. What a lovely post. My husband was with the Scouts/snipers in Ramadi in 2005 and was wounded in an RPG attack in July of that year.He now has TBI and PTSD. Ramadi was a horrible place. Thank you for such a lovely tribute...and thank you for serving.Bless you!

    1. Thank you Donna and thanks to your husband for his service. You are correct Ramadi was a bad place.

  19. all who is in this unit knows that other than fate there is a person to blame for this lost... Kubic ring a bell? Rest in peace my brothers... we continue to honor you with our service in 14... the pride of Dixie

    1. Anon, I remember Kubic, ran into him in theater more than once. Thanks Brother.

  20. I just came across this very written post. Thank you for remembering my husband's unit. We will never forget.