FORWARD OPERATING BASE KALSU, Iraq – A 72-year-old man stopped a suspected suicide bomber from detonating himself at a checkpoint in Arab Jabour Oct. 14.
The man approached a checkpoint where Mudhehr Fayadh Baresh was standing guard, but did not make it very far.
Baresh, a tribal commissioner and member of the Arab Jabour Concerned Citizens program, said he ordered the man to lift his shirt – using training received from Coalition Forces – when he did not recognize him as a local villager.
The suspect refused to lift his shirt. Baresh repeated the command again, and the suspect exposed his suicide vest, running toward the checkpoint.
Baresh opened fire which caused the vest to detonate, killing the suspect.
“I did it for the honor of my family and the honor of my country,” said Baresh, when he met with Col. Terry Ferrell, commander of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division.
Lt. Col. Kenneth Adgie, commander of the 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment presented Mudher with a battalion coin for his valor Oct. 16.
A few weeks ago Sergeant Bellavia’s book, “House to House,” finally made its way to the first person who took me up on my offer to give it away. My only proviso was that he, in turn, pass it on to someone else, someone who would be likely to do the same. The idea of Sergeant Bellavia’s book making its way across the country has great appeal.
The Baron and I reviewed the book separately; even though we went in different directions and paid attention to different elements in the story, we were both moved by this soldier’s part in Fallujah II.
As promised (though late as usual) I sent the Sergeant’s book to the person who’d asked first. In fact, his response was almost immediate -I’d hardly put the post up when he made his request. Now, having read his own take on the story, and his background in the military, I see why he was so prompt in asking for it.
Here’s O.W.’s response to Sergeant Bellavia’s tale. I am sure it is one many of our ex-military readers will understand:
Finished it tonight. I wasn’t able to read any of it Saturday night because I am taking an on-line course that I need to keep my flight instructor rating active. I actually have until the end of November to complete it, but… I just like finishing things way ahead of time if possible.
Anyway. That book was great. It will set the bar pretty high for non-fiction coming out of the war in Iraq.
As for the war itself, I am in complete agreement with the outlook expressed in Gates of Vienna, that we are in for a long run and Iraq is just another stage in the first phase. I do wonder if the West has the determination needed for this. It seems as if far too many people accept the surface manifestation of the struggle, but want someone else to bear the burden of actually moving to the sound of the guns. I believe that this is like no struggle that we’ve seen in a long time. The closest thing that I can compare it to is the Israeli fight for survival.
In 2002 when recruitment seemed to be way down, I attempted to join the active Army. After being turned away there (age), I tried the reserve and the National Guard in Texas and New Mexico. It was of no use really. I am just too old to be taken seriously. That is unfortunate in a way since I would likely be a better soldier now than I was before.
As for qualifications, before, all I had to offer was youth and a high school degree….
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Now, I am a licensed commercial pilot, a flight instructor, an architect with a master’s degree, an NRA ranked high master in highpower rifle and long range marksmanship. Plus, for a geezer, I have staggeringly good health (luck of the draw and clean living). I have always maintained a fairly high level of physical fitness and would likely max the physical fitness test for the Army.
The only reason that I mention this is that even the military hasn’t recognized the long term seriousness of this war much more than have the politicians. If they had, they might understand that older soldiers who can perform certain functions can free up younger soldiers for other duties. By the time that they do realize this, the well may have dried up in terms of young enlistees.
Back to the book, I have already decided who to forward it to and will emphasize that it is to be passed on when it has been finished.
They say old soldiers never die, they just fade away. Now I understand that – their experience and expertise is wasted. Surely in Fourth Generation warfare we are wantonly disregarding the pool of men who could be of great use to their country.
Well, as I said to OW, should the time come when the war comes to the home front, men such as he will no longer be sidelined. They will be desperately needed.
And there are a lot of such men spread through this country. On a recent comment thread to this post on Hillary, I facetiously asked people where they were planning to emigrate should Miz Rodham be elected. Several such men stepped forth to say their oath to serve was a permanent state of affairs, one that did not end with their discharge. Thus, they weren’t going anywhere, thankyouverymuch.
If we can use old generals taking up room in the Pentagon, why do we squander older men who would willingly serve in the ranks?
What a terrible waste of perfectly good soldiers.