Friday, April 25, 2008

What an Honor

A friend, PO1 Hansel, Darrel, Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group, has returned from Kuwait. He has been there for over 9 months.

Back here, I won this contest and had Sparrow send the care package to him. Over Christmas, his wife organized a couple large boxes of donations of Christmas decorations for them to use. His duty involved processing all (yes ALL) outbound (and inbound, I think) soldiers from Iraq or Afghanistan. During the holidays, all that passed through were treated to a very American Christmas, complete with decorations all over the offices, mess hall and sleeping quarters. He says it made many a soldier smile.

Darrel has been greatly missed by family and friends but especially his wife, my friend and co-worker, Debi. So much so that she drove to Bethesda to pick him up and bring him home.

My thoughts regarding a welcome home surprise for them surrounded her initial plan (so she had said before she left) was to hang out there for a few days, leisurely drive home spend some time in the mountains ‘sight seeing’... (yeah, right). Then be home Saturday. I was making plans to meet them on the road just outside of Indy and escort them home, set a bunch of flags around their home and welcome him home proper.

BUT NOOOooo!!! Once on US soil and processed out, the Hansel Express drove home like... like he hadn’t been home in 9 months. Something about a new grandbaby, (phft, whatever) I heard later. Anyway, they got home about 4 yesterday (Thursday) afternoon.

Best I could do was ride over and welcome him home personally. Not quite the honor he deserves, so we’ll have to see about something big at a later date.

After the hugs, ‘glad your back’, ‘you look great’, ‘great to be back’, ‘thanks for the care package’, etc., we got to talking about my vest and some of the patches on it. Across the top, on my back is a patch of a folded flag that says "IN MEMORIAM”, surrounding it are patches of some of the most meaningful rides, or events I have been on. All are in memory of a veteran that is no longer with us, one from Vietnam, one from Iraq, one for Greg Bowman.

*deep breath*

While there [in Kuwait], just before Christmas, they, the Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group, lost their only, every, war time fatality. PO1 Jeffries, Victor W., 52, Honolulu, HI.
PO1 Jeffries “...died of injuries suffered during a vehicular accident in Kuwait.”. The Support Group designed a patch for Victor.

So, we’re standing there talking and Darrel disappears, andI can here him mumbling something about a patch. I look around the corner and he is digging through a sea bag, he pulls out a patch and says as he hands it to me... *deep breath* “I was wondering on the way home what I was going to do with this. I can think of no better honor than to give it to you and for you wear it on your vest.”

Sweet baby Jesus, I’m still all teary.

Good God what an honor!!!
(as soon as I can get a scan, I'll post it)


Related:




IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 1445-07
December 31, 2007


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DoD Identifies Navy Casualty



The Department of Defense announced today the death of a sailor who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Petty Officer 1st Class Victor W. Jeffries, 52, of Honolulu, Hawaii, died Dec. 31, 2007 as a result of injuries suffered Dec. 24 in a vehicular accident in Kuwait. He was permanently assigned to the Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group, Kuwait.

For further information related to this release, contact Navy Public Affairs at 011 (965) 389-6335 or DSN (318) 430-6335.

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Petty Officer 1st Class Victor W. Jeffries' awards include;

The Navy Reserve Meritorious Service Medal,
National Defense Service Medal with bronze service star,
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal,
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal,
Armed Forces Reserve Service Medal with mobilization device and bronze hourglass,
Navy Unit Commendation Medal, Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon,
The Army Achievement Medal and
The Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal.


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(If you read nothing else, read this first one)
Unites States Army Central - Coalition Forces Land Component Command
Faces of The Fallen - Wahsington Post
Honolulu Advertiser

6 comments:

Sparrow said...

I'm so glad he's home safe! What a wonderful homecoming. Pass on my thanks for he service to our country, and my gratitude for his safe return.

B Matthews said...

WELCOME BACK PAPA HANSEL! God I'm glad he's home. And I bet Debi is ecstatic. Give her a hug from me. And tell Papa I said, "welcome home".

DNR said...

Sparrow - It was wonderful! I will pass it along.

B - *GRINS* I don't think ecstatic quite covers it. I will tell him!

Pink Icing said...

That's very good to hear.

Doubly sweet when you hear of the ones that never made it.......

MrsJoseGoldbloom said...

DNR it's been a while...btw you've been tagged. :)

DNR said...

Mrs. JG... is it really you?? or has drags hijacked your blog and is now making mischief tagging folks?

Good to hear from you again. On my way over.