Thursday, July 16, 2009

1st Lt. Brian N. Bradshaw: A Hero comes home


1st Lt. Brian N. Bradshaw is now back in the USA. For those of you who don't know about this amazing young man, there are many places you can read about him. None of those are in the msm, of course, but there are some among us who have made sure that 1st Lt. Brian N. Bradshaw receives a small measure of recognition as his rightful due. He earned it.

Troy of Bouhammer's has written on this hero extensively, some of which I have posted before.

His first post was titled:

Someone More Important than Michael Jackson Died,

and if you haven't read it, you really should.

Bouhammer ends his first piece with this:

...Brian Bradshaw, along with the thousands of other Great Americans who have sacrificed their lives for our country deserve the millions of people screaming their names too. But will never get it, and will never ask for it. Because they are serving this country out of personal motivation, not for fame and certainly not for fortune.

So to Brian Bradshaw this is my tribute to you. This is my wreath of flowers at your Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, this is me holding up a picture of you in Times Square with tears streaming down my face. You and all like you who have come home draped in the American Flag are and always will be more important to me than Michael Jackson.

God Speed Geronimo….Airborne, All the WAY!


One of Brian's aunts wrote a letter to the Editor of the Washington Post:

A Life of Worth, Overlooked

Sunday, July 5, 2009

My nephew, Brian Bradshaw, was killed by an explosive device in Afghanistan on June 25, the same day that Michael Jackson died. Mr. Jackson received days of wall-to-wall coverage in the media. Where was the coverage of my nephew or the other soldiers who died that week? There were several of them, and our family crossed paths with the family of another fallen soldier at Dover Air Force Base, where the bodies come "home." Only the media in Brian's hometown and where he was stationed before his deployment covered his death....(go here to read about Brian, written by one who loves him)

The msm may have overlooked Brian, who so lived a "life of worth", but we in the blogosphere have not, will not, overlook him.

Following on from that letter, the crew who escorted Brian on the first part of his return home, also wrote a piece, which was also shared all over the blogosphere (including Monkey in the Middle here)..

Bouhammer has that up:

The start of Brian Bradshaw’s Journey Home

Posted By Bouhammer on July 16, 2009

Bouhammer Note- H/T to about this story being published. Since this is a letter from the aircrew to the Washington Post and not a article written and owned by them, I am re-publishing it here. The WaPo likes to remove stories from their website after a few days and I don’t want this one to be missed. I originally wrote about LT Brian Bradshaw HERE. I have follow up blog posts HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE. This letter to the Bradshaw family is a powerfully unsolicited piece from the Air National Guard crew that started his last journey home.

On July 5, The (Washington) Post published a letter from Martha Gillis of Springfield, whose nephew, Lt. Brian Bradshaw, was killed in Afghanistan on June 25, the day that Michael Jackson died. The letter criticized the extensive media coverage of Jackson’s death compared with the brief coverage of Lt. Bradshaw’s death. Among the responses was the following letter, written July 9 by an Air National Guard pilot and a fellow member of the crew that flew Lt. Bradshaw’s body from a forward base in Afghanistan to Bagram Air Base. Capt. James Adair, one of the plane’s pilots, asked the editorial page staff to forward the letter to the Bradshaw family. He and Brian Bradshaw’s parents then agreed to publication of these excerpts.

Dear Bradshaw Family,

We were crew members on the C-130 that flew in to pick up Lt. Brian Bradshaw after he was killed. We are Georgia Air National Guardsmen deployed to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom. We support the front-line troops by flying them food, water, fuel, ammunition and just about anything they need to fight. On occasion we have the privilege to begin the final journey home for our fallen troops. Below are the details to the best of our memory about what happened after Brian’s death.

We landed using night-vision goggles. Because of the blackout conditions, it seemed as if it was the darkest part of the night. As we turned off the runway to position our plane, we saw what appeared to be hundreds of soldiers from Brian’s company standing in formation in the darkness. Once we were parked, members of his unit asked us to shut down our engines. This is not normal operating procedure for that location. We are to keep the aircraft’s power on in case of maintenance or concerns about the hostile environment. The plane has an extremely loud self-contained power unit. Again, we were asked whether there was any way to turn that off for the ceremony that was going to take place. We readily complied after one of our crew members was able to find a power cart nearby. Another aircraft that landed after us was asked to do the same. We were able to shut down and keep lighting in the back of the aircraft, which was the only light in the surrounding area. We configured the back of the plane to receive Brian and hurried off to stand in the formation as he was carried aboard.

Brian’s whole company had marched to the site with their colors flying prior to our arrival. His platoon lined both sides of our aircraft’s ramp while the rest were standing behind them. As the ambulance approached, the formation was called to attention. As Brian passed the formation, members shouted "Present arms" and everyone saluted. The salute was held until he was placed inside the aircraft and then the senior commanders, the sergeant major and the chaplain spoke a few words.


Members of Brian’s unit approached us and thanked us for coming to get him and helping with the ceremony. They explained what happened and how much his loss was felt. Everyone we talked to spoke well of him — his character, his accomplishments and how well they liked him. Before closing up the back of the aircraft, one of Brian’s men, with tears running down his face, said, "That’s my platoon leader, please take care of him."

We taxied back on the runway, and, as we began rolling for takeoff, I looked to my right. Brian’s platoon had not moved from where they were standing in the darkness. As we rolled past, his men saluted him one more time; their way to honor him one last time as best they could. We will never forget this....

There is much more, and you can find that here...If you read nothing else today, you should read this.

Bouhammer also posted a slideshow of Brian's memorial service, in which his dad read a thing that Brian had written at 17 years old.. Yes, at 17, Brian already knew what matters. Go look at that here. It will take less than a minute of your time.

That this man is a hero is without question. What I DO question is why so many do not "get" that every day we have such fine young men and women paying the ultimate price to defend even the ignorant among us. What I DO question is why our country can give a moment of silence in homage to an entertainment figure, but ignores - and often denegrates - heroes like 1st Lt. Brian N. Bradshaw.

I thank God that such men as 1st Lt. Brian N. Bradshaw lived.

As long as I breathe, 1st Lt. Brian N. Bradshaw will always be remembered and honoured.

Rest in Peace.


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