Saturday, November 5, 2011

CJ writes about Brian

CJ Grisham writes about his friend Brian, and Doonesbury runs his column:


November 05, 2011

Name: C.J. Grisham
Returned from: Iraq
Deployed to: Afghanistan
Milblog: Afghanistan War Journal

It’s been a rough week. I haven’t written much because I haven’t been able to focus my thoughts. I’ve got a few drafts that just don’t make enough sense to publish. Plus, my momma always said if you don’t have something nice to say, shut your mouth. Not that I’ve necessarily heeded that advice over the years, but I thought it prudent recently.

I lost a good friend a week ago. SSG Brian Cowdrey died October 13, 2011, during combat operations in RC-East. Brian was a medic with the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade.

Framed Grisham COWDREY

That night he went in to get two severely wounded patients, and once they were onboard, he went back out to get one who wasn’t as bad.

He didn’t need to, but he did. He was hit on his way back into the helicopter. All the patients that Brian got that night are still living today. There were only two people who died in that firefight -- one being SSG Cowdrey, the other being an American Soldier who had already expired when Brian got there.

The shock was difficult to process. We had just been emailing each other that day and I was waiting on a response to question I had asked him about what he does. We were working on a blog post together about the great work that MEDEVAC troops are doing in Afghanistan in spite of some reports.

Then I read on his wife Jill’s Facebook page confirming rumors that he had died. Here I was in Afghanistan and had no idea this had happened and then the nearly 12 hours of silence from him hit me. The first thing I did was head to my email and shot off an email to Brian:

“Brian, you have to answer this. I think I’m seeing things and I need to answer this. I don’t care what you say or if you send me a blank email. Just reply to this email and let me know you’re ok.”

Nothing. Silence. Outlook just jeered at me in a pathetic lack of activity. Two days later, I was still not convinced. “I know now I’m talking to myself, but I miss you bro,” I wrote in a Facebook message to him. He always responded on Facebook. He didn’t respond this time....

If you read nothing else this weekend, this week, read this here.

Thank you, CJ, and my forever thanks to Brian and his family...

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