- Dec 9, 2005
- Reaction score
- Political Leaning
Here at home, the now familiar three letter abbreviation ricochets around the television and print news nearly every day- but for U.S. troops stuck in Iraq, they're facts of life.
"Gary W. Walters Jr., 31, of Victoria, Texas, died April 24 in Baghdad, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV. Walters was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 9th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga."
He was the only American soldier to die that day, so they promoted him to Corporal a week later. And that was all the Pentagon had to say.
Exclusive from The Daily Background.com comes the story and photos of one soldier- and how his life could easily have been saved.
"Dad I can't believe this happend to such a good man and a great dad. I wish that what happend to you wasn't true and your still here but I know that whats done is done. Dad you are a hero and very FAMOUS just like you said you always wanted to be only I wish not in this way. Dad I want you to know that I will always have you in my heart and prayers and untill the day we will reunite I will cry until I get to see the hansome look in your eyes. Dad I love you and your the dad I always wanted."
That was the first thing Walters' daughter Kelsey wrote after he died, on an internet message board dedicated to her father. She has faith that he reads her messages, and months after his death still writes to him every now and then.
Her father didn't have to die. He was sent off to war and accepted his calling in good faith that the cause was just. He was paid wages lower than those working stateside in fast food restaurant. His job was one of the most dangerous in the world. But he didn't have to die.
Gary was in Iraq, driving driving a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle- commonly known as a Humvee on the morning of April 24th, 2005. It was a Sunday.
Gary's Humvee happened- like so many others before him to drive near enough to a makeshift land-mine- called an "Improvised Explosive Device" to detonate it.
In the larger context of the war, this is an unusual story. Sadly, things like this happen on a practically daily basis to American troops. Thousands of U.S. men and women have been killed in Iraq, and tens of thousands wounded (though the Pentagon refuses to admit it, their efforts to cover up the numbers of those wounded in the Iraq War were recently exposed).
Operation Truth writes:
In fact, after Rumsfeld was publicly shamed about hillbilly armor (the type of armor soldiers make out of scrap metal on their own, because the humvees the pentagon gave them were too lightly armored), troops still didn't get the armor they needed.Estimates indicate that anywhere between one-fifth to one-half of the 1,320 troops killed and 9,000 troops wounded in Iraq were victims of hidden roadside bombs that penetrated poorly armored Humvees or trucks ambushed on military convoys.
You can watch a video of rumsfeld being hammered by a soldier (to thunderous troop applause) in a press conference, along with an interview with an OPTRUTH leader here.
A USA Today reporter notes that the pentagon knew about the humvee armor shortage since 2003 here.
And Newsweek first reported on the issue more than a year ago.
NYT News Service reported that the Pentagon promised to have humvee armor kits that troops could attach themselves ready and available in iraq by March of 2005.
Gary Walters died April 24, still with no armor kit.The kits to add extra protection to vehicles already in Iraq are being produced by the U.S. Army Materiel Command, where officials said yesterday they were scrambling to speed up the work and complete the most recent order from Iraq before the previously stated goal of March 2005.
And things are still not fixed. The troops still don't have the armor they need, and when two embedded journalists recently took photographs of humvees, documenting holes in their thin armor, they were actually kicked out of the embed system on Dec. 15.
The following is the most recent message Kelsey has written to her father this year:
"WELL YESTERDAY WAS THANKSGIVING AND I WAS UPSET BECAUSE YOU WERNT THERE TO SHARE THE LAUGH OR THE JOY. THINKING OF YOU I WROTE THIS POEM.
I THANK YOU FOR BEING THE BEST DAD
THE MEMORIES OF YOU WILL ALWAYS LAST
I WILL COUNT EACH DAY AS IT PAST.
UNTIL OUR FAMILY IS IN HEAVEN I WILL KEEP YOU IN MY PRAYERS.
I LOVE YOU YOUR IN MY THOUGHTS
AND I MISS YOU WITH ALL MY HEART."
Story reprinted with full permission from The Daily Background.com has compiled the most comprehensive online collection of photographs documenting the destruction upon "thin-skinned humvees" in Iraq.
You can find the gallery of humvees here.
You can also find an extensive collection of photographs taken of Walters' destroyed humvee here.
You can read Kelsey's writings to her father, as well as others written by those who knew Walters here.