Some posts are easier to write than others, and some are hard in parts and easy in others.
It is easy to honor Lt. Col. James C. Gentry, who retired in 2008 from the Indiana National Guard. He was the cousin of someone I work with and consider both colleague and friend. He was much loved by his family, and well regarded by those with whom he served. If you go here, you can read more about this part of him and his life.
You will also read why part of this is hard to write. His death, and the death of at least one other and other health issues, appears to have been caused by his service. He and his men were apparently exposed to hexavalent chromium while providing security to KBR employees in Iraq. There is a lawsuit underway in regards this, and on that subject I will have nothing to say. I will say that if and when we send ours into harms way, no matter what the harm, we need to stand by them and do right by them. Col. Gentry kept faith with his men, and was leading them in a very different fight at the end. One result of which is proposed legislation, the Health Care for Veterans Exposed to Chemical Hazards Act of 2009 that is currently starting its way through Congress. I would want to read the bill before saying anything for or against it, but I will say I applaud the sentiment behind it, for we do need to take care of our own because the enemy is not always a bullet or explosive. This should be a given, but...
Godpseed Colonel. Thank you for your service and your leadership.