Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

What Price Glory?

Some would say this is a bittersweet story. Few could say it is a happy one.
My old Army outfit, the 4th Infantry Division, has pretty much completed its return from a 15-month tour in Iraq, the third it has made to that war torn country. As one 200-member unit from the 1st Brigade Combat Team stood at attention on a Fort Hood, Texas field, family members waited nearby to greet husbands, sons, brothers and sweethearts.
Then came the command: "Sgt. Rosa! Rejoin your formation!"
To do so he needed the help of a friend who assisted him from a wheelchair. Sergeant Luis Rosa-Valentin had returned to the States earlier than his friends. Or part of him had. He left both legs and part of his left arm behind in Iraq. He had lost his hearing and his vision was impaired. The Army fitted him with artificial limbs but they couldn't make him hear again or do much to make him see a little better.
When he awoke from a coma in a Maryland hospital more than a year ago he made one thing clear: He wanted to be there when his unit returned home. The Army flew him to Fort Hood for the occasion.
You don't hear too much about the Sgt. Rosas. People don't want to know about things like that. They'd rather hear the bands play and see the flags wave. In every war and every country it has been that way down through the ages.
A reporter for the Killleen Daily Herald, Amanda Kim Stairett, wrote about Staff Sgt. Rosa. Bob Babcock, who has supplied details of the Ivy Division's three trips to Iraq several times each week, passed it along. The networks and the news channels and the wire services apparently didn't feel it was worth repeating. Not surprising since it doesn't do much for the average person's image of war. Hard to find the part about glory in this account. Difficult for those who weren't there, but like to say what "we" did, to pick out something to boast about.
Sergeant Rosa will never stand on his own two feet again. He will never pick something up with both hands. He will never hear the sound of music. His wife and children will be a blur when he looks at them. Many return from every war like that.
An old song says it all, "Johnny, we hardly knew ya." Some call it unpatriotic.


Blogger STAG said...

I've been spending some time at our National Defense Medical Centre, chatting with the wheelchair bound guys in the big south hall. I don't spend as much time there as I should, and there are not as many congregated there as there has been in time past since we now spread most of our wounded vets out across the country.
Hard on the emotions.

10:54 AM  
Blogger Dick Stodghill said...

Yes, it is hard on the emotions. I was at the VA Clinic again yesterday for an annual eye examination and it's tough to see the condition some guys are in. They may be thinking the same thing about me, of course.
Sometimes an ambulance arrives because someone is in really bad shape. Yesterday rhere were two at the same time. Sad to see,

1:47 PM  

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