Michael Yon is back in Iraq and says he'll: "spend the entirety of 2007 with our troops at war, until sickness, wounds or worse send me home, or the military tires of my presence and catapults me over the wire."
His first dispatch details his flight back into the country and then later on in the lengthy post, Yon describes Command Sergeant Major Jeffrey Mellinger, the senior enlisted soldier in Iraq. Here's just part of what Yon has to say:
"With nearly 35 years of continuous military service, Mellinger is the senior most active duty draftee; yet he cruises Iraq like an Infantryman...
...One young sergeant, a team member on CSM Mellinger’s crew, told me the CSM’s team has been hit 26 times so far, and when I asked the CSM, he shrugged and said, “Sounds about right.” Five of his Humvees have been destroyed by IEDs, two that he was riding in at the time. Astonishingly, nobody in his crew has even been seriously wounded. He goes into combat, but you’d have to see how he rolls to understand why nobody has been killed so far. Experience multiplied by luck."
I wish that we heard more about these amazing soldiers. From time to time, stories of heroism will be told in the Washington Post or other national papers about soldiers who have been killed or wounded. Very few articles are written, however, about the 140,000 living and honorable troops that are serving in Iraq.
If you're the praying kind, offer a little prayer of gratitude for men like CSM Mellinger, and one for safety for Michael Yon.