Thursday, September 21, 2006

38,000 Bronze Stars

I read Sharkman Six last night, really good book BTW. Owen West has a great sense of humor and does some really interesting character development. In the book the main character makes the observation that most people in America couldn't name a single soldier fighting in the war he was writing about under the rank of four-stars.

I was thinking about that last night. I keep up with the war more than most people and I'm not sure how many I could name. What's most disturbing to me is that when I was trying to think of names, the first one that came to mind was Lyndie England.

Thankfully the second I came up with was Chuck Zigenfuss (Chuck and Carren, I'm sorry if I butchered the spelling), then I started thinking of those I knew personally who are there. But the larger point is one that Free Frank Warner made a couple of weeks ago and INDC Journal brought to my attention today. There have been 38,000 Bronze Stars issued in OIF. I wonder how many heroes from this war your average American can name.

I had trouble coming up with their names and I've written about them. Why was I able to come up with Lyndie England's name and not
Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith, who was killed April 4, 2003, just as Baghdad was liberated. Sgt. Smith jumped atop an Armored Personnel Carrier and machine-gunned at least 20 of the 100 Iraqi Republican Guard troops who were closing in on about three dozen of his fellow soldiers near Baghdad’s airport. So far, Smith is the only soldier whose Iraq service has been recognized with a Medal of Honor.
Another hero is Army medic Pfc. Stephen Tschiderer, who on June 2, 2005, in Baghdad was shot in the chest, got back up, chased and captured the sniper who shot him. When Tschiderer discovered the sniper was wounded, he gave him first aid.
Do yourself a favor and go read about a few more of these guys either at INDC Journal or at Free Frank Warner. For a more exhaustive list, see Blackfive's list of "People you should know."