This Week at War: Caring for Others
From fighting the war on coronavirus to battling terrorism, the brave men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces are risking their lives to keep us safe.
With the U.S. military still at war, combat readiness is as important as ever. This week, training exercises tragically claimed the lives of two American heroes.
According to Stars and Stripes, U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Kenneth “Kage” Allen was killed on Monday when the F-15C fighter jet he was piloting crashed in the North Sea off the coast of England. He was just 27 years old.
The young fallen hero was remembered in a series of emotional Facebook posts by his wife, Hannah Allen.
He is gone. I’m shaking, I got a priesthood blessing and was told Kage is so sorry ❤️ typical Kage to apologize even…
“He was so Christ-like in how he cared for others,” the grieving military widow wrote. “I feel beyond blessed to have loved him in this life and can’t wait to love him for eternity.”
Hannah and Kage got married in April, but were unable to do so in a church full of family and friends due to COVID-19.
“Now we don’t know how or when everything will come together, especially us, so we wanted to announce the joy we feel in having found each other and our excitement for our life ahead together,” the new bride posted on April 26.
Please pray for Hannah and the entire Allen family during this hour of unimaginable pain.
“Our sincere thoughts are with the family during this difficult time,” said a @USMC spokesperson. “MARSOC is providing care and support to them as they grieve this tremendous loss.” https://t.co/ZRkgUSo3rK
— Stars and Stripes (@starsandstripes) June 18, 2020
In Georgia, a U.S. Marine Corps special operations warrior was killed on Tuesday during a Fort Benning airborne training course commonly referred to as Jump School.
“Our sincere thoughts are with the family during this difficult time,” United States Marine Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) said in a statement. “MARSOC is providing care and support to them as they grieve this tremendous loss.”
On Thursday evening, the Department of Defense identified the departed warrior as Sgt. Wolfgang Kyle “Wolf” Weninger. The 28-year-old Marine was just days away from graduation.
“The thing that you want as a parent is that your kids grow up to be a decent human being and to find their niche. To have the fullness of life and explore all these things that God gave you the talents to do,” the Marine’s father, Ernst Weninger, said in an interview with Associated Press reporter James LaPorta. “And he did, he found his niche that he’d always been looking for.”
Please say a prayer for Sgt. Wolf Weninger’s family, friends and fellow Marines.
With tens of thousands of American troops still battling a deadly pandemic, the coronavirus is also having a huge impact on the way soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines wage the ongoing war on terrorism.
The below video by Sarah Blake Morgan of The Associated Press shows how deploying U.S. service members are not just required to quarantine after an overseas combat deployment, but beforehand as well.
VIDEO: 2,200 @82ndABNDiv paratroopers are deploying to the Middle East amid the #coronavirus pandemic – but a 2 wk quarantine is required *before* they leave. Married soldiers can hunker down at home off post, while those who are single quarantine in a secluded area on @FtBraggNC pic.twitter.com/DuDIoDgMy3
— Sarah Blake Morgan (@StorytellerSBM) June 17, 2020
“I volunteered for this. We don’t have a draft. No one forced me to enlist in the military,” U.S. Army Spc. Amy Cloud told Morgan. “I did it of my own choice.”
The report goes on to say that the 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers will all be screened for COVID-19 again upon arriving in the Middle East, with any soldier testing positive placed in another quarantine.
We thank these brave Army paratroopers and pray for a safe arrival and return from the Middle East. America supports you!
Here at home, National Guard service members are facing unprecedented challenges amid the coronavirus, civil unrest and hurricane season. As the military’s war on COVID-19 continues, brave troops are on a variety of missions helping with testing, contact tracing, nursing home security, mental health checks, unemployment aid, and food and supply distribution.
— National Guard (@USNationalGuard) June 18, 2020
One of my favorite stories this week was about a mother and son who are both helping the territory of Guam fight its war on coronavirus. Both are members of the Guam Army National Guard.
“I’m very proud that we’re able to work alongside each other,” Lt. Col. Marleen Tarusan-Legaspi said. “For me, I was more concerned about his safety, because COVID-19 is different than anything we’ve seen before. I’ve worked several state active duty missions before, but this response is different due to the unknown variables of the pandemic.”
“It’s a good feeling to serve with my mom; I always have a mentor,” Pfc. Nikolas Legaspi said. “Whenever I have a question that I don’t know the answer to, I can always turn to her.”
Thank you to each and every member of the National Guard for allowing us to turn to you during this time of continual crisis.
U.S. Navy sailors aboard the USS Lassen returned this week to Jacksonville, Florida, after a deployment overseas.
Welcome home, heroes! Thank you for your service to our country.
Tom Sileo is a contributing senior editor of The Stream. He is co-author of 8 Seconds of Courage, Brothers Forever, Fire in My Eyes and the forthcoming Three Wise Men. Follow Tom on Twitter @TSileo and The Stream at @Streamdotorg.