On 30 December I had the honor of attending a Dignified Transfer. For those who are unfamiliar with what this is, let me explain. When a Marine, Soldier, Sailor, or Airmen from any service is killed in action, the military places extreme reverence on the transportation of his/her body from the theater of operations to their home country. Because we are currently fighting with a coalition force, this ceremony is conducted regardless of the nationality of the service member.
Tonight we honored a Georgian soldier who made the ultimate sacrifice. I have never met this man; in fact I did not even know his name. But I joined approximately 100 other service members in honoring his service and sacrifice as his casket was loaded onto the C-130 that would fly him back to his loved ones.
We lined up in two formations on either side of the plane’s ramp and participated in the most solemn event I have ever been a part of. As the casket was carried onto the plane the commander gave the call to “Present Arms,” and everyone slowly rendered a final salute. The members of his unit then boarded the plane to say their final goodbyes and the formation was dismissed.
The news spends a lot of time focusing on the “bad” parts of the war. This is quite possibly the worst part of the war, but a part that cannot be forgotten. I’m grateful that I’m located on a relatively safe base where I have access to the Internet, regular phone calls, hot showers, a comfortable bed, and three hot meals a day. I’m grateful that I can run around the base without worry and go to the gym every day. Many people who are over here in Afghanistan do not have these luxuries.
To the man I saw being loaded onto the C-130 tonight, you will never be forgotten.
Source (not from Jessica's current deployment)