This Week at War: Four of Our Own
The Stream's weekly look at the ongoing sacrifices of U.S. troops and military families around the world.
The 17-plus year war in Afghanistan is touching more communities across the United States.
This week in Lancaster, Ohio, hundreds of mourners lined city streets to pay their respects to U.S. Army Sgt. Joseph Collette, who was killed last month in Afghanistan’s Kunduz Province.
“How could you not come out for him?” U.S. Navy veteran Rusti Dipierro, 83, told The Columbus Dispatch. “He’s one of our own.”
Sergeant Collette, 29, had just gotten married before deploying overseas. An explosive ordnance disposal specialist who undoubtedly saved many lives by disarming enemy bombs, Collette was posthumously promoted to his current rank and will also receive a Purple Heart, according to the newspaper. Funeral services are scheduled for Friday.
I didn’t personally know SPC Collette but he paid the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan which shows the kind of person he was. I’m so proud of the procession that was held today. Lancaster did a great job honoring him. RIP brother. pic.twitter.com/mqckJnITn7
— Grant Bickham (@Gbizzy24) April 3, 2019
The same day in Colorado Springs, the American flag-draped casket of U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Will Lindsay was met by loved ones and dignitaries at Peterson Air Force Base. Police officers then “escorted the motorcade through the city and firefighters saluted as it drove past” on Wednesday afternoon, according to Colorado Public Radio.
Sergeant First Class Lindsay, 33, was from the small Colorado city of Cortez. American flags throughout the state have been lowered in the fallen Green Beret’s honor. The highly decorated soldier, who was killed during the same March 22 battle as Spc. Collette, leaves behind a wife and four daughters.
— CPR News (@CPRNews) April 4, 2019
Please continue to pray for the Lindsay and Collette families, as well as the friends and fellow soldiers of these departed warriors. May God comfort them during this unimaginably painful week of mourning.
Honor the Fallen
In Yuma, Arizona, the Marine Corps community is mourning a tragic Saturday night training crash that claimed the lives of two U.S. Marine AH-1Z Viper pilots.
The two Marine pilots we lost this weekend in an AH-1Z Viper accident have been identified as Maj. Matthew M. Wiegand, 34, of Ambler, Pennsylvania and Capt. Travis W. Brannon, 30, of Nashville, Tennessee. pic.twitter.com/Br2wneuoAa
— U.S. Marines (@USMC) April 2, 2019
The helicopter crash that killed Maj. Matthew Wiegand and Capt. Travis Brannon, which Military.com reports is under investigation, sent shock waves from Arizona to Pennsylvania and Tennessee, where the fallen Marines respectively hailed from.
“It is a somber day for the entire Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command as we mourn this tremendous loss,” U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Roger Turner Jr. said in a statement, as quoted by Military.com. “Our thoughts and prayers remain with their families and loved ones during this extremely difficult time.”
All of us at The Stream join the Marine Corps community in praying for the Wiegand and Brannon families.
During another solemn week at war, this image of a U.S. Air Force wife embracing her husband upon his return from a Middle Eastern deployment brings us happiness and hope.
Welcome home, hero!
Tom Sileo is a contributing senior editor of The Stream. He is co-author of three books about military heroes: 8 Seconds of Courage, Brothers Forever and Fire in My Eyes. Follow Tom on Twitter @TSileo.