Chopper Down -- The Phone Call You Never Forget
This weekend, we lost 30 members of our U.S. military in Afghanistan in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. Many of those who perished were Navy SEALs. Whether their deaths were caused by the Taliban or a simple mechanical failure, it doesn’t matter how they were killed. What matters is who they were and they all have families of their own.
These military families need assistance. They need comfort. And most importantly, they need assurance that their sons, brothers, and or teammates will never be forgotten.
The debt crisis continues, yet so does this war.
Some of these men have made incredible sacrifices while some Americans move on from this weekend's news as if nothing is even wrong or as if little has changed. Politicians on the right and left continue with their agendas.
Yet not enough Americans realize many are suffering today.
The news media has covered this tragedy with the most updated information available yet there is another side to this tragedy very few are covering: the phone calls.
Many members of the extended military family are in tears, sad, angry, and confused.
I received a devastating phone call this weekend. Others, too, received a similar call.
In my case, a voice cried out; “We lost three.” The statement was in reference to three of America’s best and brightest Air Force warriors. “Who were they?” I asked. Only one name was blurted as the other two were still unknown within the community.
My purpose during conversation was to comfort the caller. There was no time for my own sobering grief simply because I knew the fallen.
My friend on the other end of the line needed a shoulder to cry on. It was critical to compartmentalize my own thoughts and do my best to bring comfort and ease across the phonelines as I heard my godson and his sister enter the room. -- The children didn’t need to see their mommy in such distress.
But how does anyone comfort a persons in these trying times? How do we give them that warmth of a hug when they need it most yet are halfway across the country?
How do we make sure their emotions don’t impact the babies and the young children in the home?
It’s tough, and it sucks. All we can do is try to do our best.
Maybe it would be good for all of us to stop for a minute and forget about our nation’s debt crisis, unemployment, or any other political problem.
Now is a time to pray, a time to pray that heaven’s gate has been opened allowing entry for some of America’s greatest warriors so they can now serve as the guardian angels to those who remain behind on this God forsaken earth. They shall never be forgotten.
Kerry Patton is the co-founder of the National Security Leadership Foundation, a non-profit organization with a pending 501c (3) status. He has worked in South America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe, focusing on intelligence and security interviewing current and former terrorists, including members of the Taliban. He is the author of "Sociocultural Intelligence: The New Discipline of Intelligence Studies" and the children's book "American Patriotism." You can follow him on Facebook