Red Bulls patrol area around COP Najil

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LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Taylor Gingrich, an infantry officer from Cedar Falls, Iowa, with Task Force Ironman, draws a smile from an Afghan boy as Gingrich (click for more)

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LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Spc. Brian Stowe, a human resources specialist from Elkmont, Ala., with Task Force Knighthawk, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, sings a ballad he wrote and (click for more)

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PAKTYA, Afghanistan – Servicemembers defend the wall after an improvised explosive device detonates on Forward Operating Base Lightning Dec. 5. (click for more)

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KAPISA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan and French military chiefs conduct a briefing before deployment during a security operation. Afghan National Security Forces and French Task Force Richelieu conducted Operation Montevideo (click for more)

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PANJSHIR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Phil Compton, Doty, Wash., Panjshir PRT engineer, and PRT local Afghan engineer Abid Wardak check the structural integrity of the retaining (click for more)

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BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Sgt. Shawn Fouste, Decatur, Ill., noncommissioned officer in charge of the Freedom Restoration Center with the 455th Expeditionary Wing, Task Force Med, plays with (click for more)

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GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Left to right, brothers Daniel and David Bader, both Army staff sergeants at the time, pose in an old photograph in 2002. Now, U.S. Army 1st Lt. David Bader surprised his mom Sept. 19 through a video teleconference, talking to her from Afghanistan while she was attending an American Military Family fundraising event in Glendale, Colo. David lost his only brother Daniel when his Chinook helicopter was shot down over Fallujah, Iraq, in Nov. 2003. David is from Colorado Springs, Colo., and deployed to Forward Operating Base Ghazni. (Courtesy family photo)GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The sole surviving son in the Bader family surprised his mother Sept. 19 on a video teleconference that was meant to connect deployed Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen with participants in Glendale, Colo., for the American Military Family fundraiser, “Hoedown for Heroes.”


U.S. Army 1st Lt. David Bader, Ghazni Provincial Reconstruction Team security force platoon leader from Colorado Springs, Colo., sat in front of the computer camera and shocked his mother, Lona Bader, while she was enjoying the festivities of the fundraising event.

Debbie Quackenbush, the founder of the American Military Family, Inc., had asked the Ghazni PRT ahead of time not to tell David’s mom about the video teleconference since she wanted it to be a surprise.

The result was heartwarming.

“Hi mom,” David said, waving on camera to his mom and the crowd. Other PRT members were sitting in the background, holding their breath.

David’s mom was stunned to see her son on a large screen at the “Hoedown for Heroes” event, and she had a hard time finding words. They spoke about the food at Forward Operating Base Ghazni where David is currently assigned, to which he replied, “We’re either up or we’re down.” That comment brought a laugh from the crowd and PRT members.

This is David’s second deployment to Ghazni province. He was last deployed to FOB Vulcan, just north of FOB Ghazni, in 2007 as a police mentoring team leader.

David, a husband and father of four, apologized to his mom about not keeping in touch over the weekend. The Afghan parliamentary elections took place Sept. 18 and the VTC took place Sunday morning for those in Afghanistan.

David and PRT security force members were patrolling in Ghazni Province, providing security for Afghan voters late into the night, so the early wake up at 5:30 a.m. Sunday left him and others bleary-eyed from a lack of sleep.

The reunion between mother and son was a memorable sight to see, since David’s younger brother, Daniel, had died at age 28 in a helicopter crash with 15 other soldiers in Fallujah, Iraq, seven years ago. The Chinook that was shot down Nov. 2, 2003, was carrying Fort Carson troops home from Iraq on leave. Both brothers were staff sergeants in the Army at the time.

Daniel was a squad leader for the Fort Carson 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, and David was a Howitzer section chief for the 1st Battalion, 178th Field Artillery. Now, David is a Ghazni PRT security force platoon leader assigned to Charlie Battery, 1st Battalion, 178th Field Artillery, out of South Carolina.

The brothers were very close.

“Most brothers and sisters tend to fight a little bit, but not Dan and me. We grew up pretty tight. We were both Army Brats too,” David said, using the term to describe children who grow up with a parent in the military. In this case, it was their father.

Daniel’s sacrifice for his country left behind a wife, a daughter, a mother, a father and a brother. Staff Sgt. David Bader at the time met with former President George W. Bush in a private meeting with the families who lost a loved one in the Nov. 2 helicopter crash.

David recalled finding out about his brother’s death, staying positive despite the tragedy.

“The night before I went to work, I had heard on CNN news that a helicopter was shot down in Iraq, and I thought, ‘No, that can’t be Daniel,’” David said.

After the news on TV, David calmed his mother, assuring her that Daniel couldn’t have been on that flight.

“Just have some faith,” David had told his mom. “It’ll be OK.”

When David returned home, there were cars in front of his house, and his wife was crying while his minister told him to sit down, and David learned that his brother Daniel had died in the crash.

“I was like ‘oh my gosh,’” David said, remembering that sad night.

David still stayed positive about his brother’s death.

“Even though it sucked that my brother died, a lot of cool things happened,” he said.

He was able to meet former President Bush and received tickets to a Corn Husker’s football game at the University of Nebraska since he grew up there and moved to Colorado later. At the game, there was a tribute to his brother Daniel and other Nebraska soldiers who had died in Iraq. Daniel’s wife received a photo of Dale Earnhardt autographed by his son, Dale Earnhardt Jr., from Dale Earnhardt Incorporated because Daniel loved NASCAR.

“There was a lot of cool things that happened, but I would trade all those things in to get Dan back; don’t get me wrong,” David said.

Seven years later, Quackenbush kept the family together by inviting David to the VTC and keeping it a secret to surprise his mother.

“I am still in awe just thinking about it,” Lona wrote in an e-mail after the event. “I was so surprised and nervous that I couldn't think of anything to say. Someone told me later that, that was the first time they ever saw me speechless! That live feed meant the world to me, and again I thank you.”

 

تاريخ آخر تحديث: الخميس, 23 أيلول/سبتمبر 2010 20:43
 

    

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