I get a lot of emails from the Marines in Fallujah. Some are about Chance Phelps and I haven't posted them in order to respect his family - I don't want them to see new information here first. Suffice it to say that there are Marines on patrol in Iraq with pictures of Chance on the dashboards of vehicles or taped inside their wallets. Even in death, he is an inspiration to them.
I posted a recent email from Marine LtCol. Kyser, Warlord Six, and it was originally posted at a private site for Marine families of his battalion. LtCol Kyser just sent another email and I will post it below. It'll both make you so damn proud of our Marines and it'll also rip your heart out.
I now know several people who are friends of LtCol. Kyser and, to a man, they all think the world of him. No one better could be leading our young Marines. Here's the message from Warlord Six:
Since the letter's mailing we unfortunately lost another of our fine young men. Another amazing story in and of itself. He was a Marine from Chelmsford Massachusetts, a LCpl, with a four year degree who enlisted as a grunt because of his dedication to our great country and because he wanted to make a difference in the war on terror following September 11th.As LtCol Kyser said, please keep the Zabierek family and friends in your prayers as well as all of those who have lost loved ones fighting for us.
He considered officer programs, but wanted to be led first and be where the action was. Older than most, he became known as "Uncle Zip(pity)" to his platoon mates because he was so committed that even when he had literally walked the skin off of the bottom of his feet, he never complained and continued to press on.
He was at once courageous, funny and compassionate. His intellect and easy way with people made him one of our first choices to send to additional language training and accordingly, he became one of the platoon's keys to interacting with the locals...especially the children. So as you see, he was a grievous loss not only to his fellow Warlords, but to the people here in Iraq who look to us for hope of a better future.
Andrew J. Zabierek was a young man who had all the advantages of a loving home, the benefits of a four year degree and a comfortable lifestyle, but he chose to serve. He chose to stand when many others remained seated. He died unhesitatingly responding to a mortar attack in order to protect the lives of his fellow Marines. The measure of a man is not just how he dies, but how he lives...and as you can see, this young man made a difference in both ways, and in two languages with two peoples left a legacy in the finest traditions of our Corps and our Country.
As I have said before, I and we as a nation are so incredibly blessed that young men like this answered the call to duty. He represents the best of America's youth. We will miss him, and we will not forget him.
Please remember him and his family in your prayers.
This weekend, while you have your BBQs and picnics and parades, please take a moment remember our Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen that are still out there fighting the war on terror.
And if any of you are Clemson grads, you could organize something to remember Andrew Zabierek.
From the Chelmsford Independent.