Oklahoma Highway Patrol Lieutenant George Brown, who works out of the OHP's Tulsa post as a public affairs officer, sent News On 6 a moving Veterans Day memory.
He granted News On 6 permission to post it.
I felt compelled to share this with all of you, my colleagues, on this Veteran's Day.
I was a soldier serving as a combat controller in a rapid deployment unit stationed in Berlin, Germany, 1991. The war in the Persian Gulf had just kicked off, and my unit was called up after the ground war had begun.
I was a Private First Class assigned to an infantry battalion, HHC (headquarters) 6th Battalion, 502nd Infantry. My job was to call indirect fire, artillery and naval gunfire in support of forward ground troops.
When we landed in Iraq, our base was setup and our orders were to protect the Kurds from Iraqi aggression. It seemed Saddam Hussein had initiated a campaign to annihilate the Kurdish people through genocide.
I remember a 9-year-old Kurdish boy who came to my camp and sat with me on many occasions. I recall being impressed at how quickly he learned the English language and understood things. I would give him MREs (Meals Ready To Eat) for him to eat and take back to his family, who lived nearby in a tent made of bed sheets.
The boy would visit me daily, and I grew to enjoy his brief company. Through our conversations, I learned that he was forced to always be on the lookout for the Iraqi Republic Guard, who would surely kill him if he was caught traveling to our, (the enemy) camp.
After about two months, the boy stopped coming to visit me. I remember fearing that something terrible may have happened to him, and I recall performing night patrols and calling out for him in the desert, but was unable to locate him.
Nearly one week before my unit was ordered back to Germany, the boy showed up at my tent. I was so happy to see him! He spoke excitedly, and the best I could figure was that some enemy troops came through his area and he was forced into hiding.
I gave him a big hug and a military "high five" and the rest of my rations I'd saved for him and his family.
I think about that young boy often and pray for his safety.
I learned first hand the meaning of humanitarianism. Upon entering southeastern Asia, I wasn't sure exactly why we were sent to the Gulf, why we were there or what we were fighting for.
Let me tell all who question American involvement in the Middle East, sometimes there are bigger things at stake.
Hopefully somewhere out there, is a young man with a family who is grateful for their father. Because a few American soldiers stood between him and evil!
This is the first time I've shared my story. As I wipe away the tears, I remember the American men and women who have served so bravely. Please remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.