August 05, 2006


2nd Battalion27th Infantry.jpgMy buddy Drew called yesterday from Hawaii. He was just a few hours from taking his soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry into deployment in the Middle East.

His voice was ragged, and not because it was 5 a.m. in Hawaii. The past month has been an emotional bungee jump for his wife, Susan, and their boys and for the 800 soldiers and their families in his battalion.


After he became battalion commander (the photo of Drew on the left during the changeover-in-command ceremony is pictured above) Drew knew for two years he would be deploying somewhere for as long as 12 months, either to Iraq or Afghanistan. As the deployment date narrowed to summer 2006 and the destination was determined to be Iraq, he's had to prepare his troops mentally and emotionally as well as physically.

As the date kept being pushed back week by week, more adjustments were necessary. "We just want it to start," he said a month ago. "The sooner it starts, the sooner we can get back home." On Friday, six hours before flying to the staging area in Kuwait, he admitted, "Now, I'm just angry." He didn't specify the source of his anger. A man faced with a task of that weight, one with so much responsibility and for that length of time doesn't have to.

It's been a long path from Drew's days as a West Point cadet, a path that's taken him to Somolia, Afghanistan and Iraq. He worked at U.S. Central Command in Tampa at MacDill Air Force Base and was in the room during the teleconference when the president gave the orders for the Iraq invasion.

As Bob Woodward described it:

“They have all these TV monitors. Gen. [Tommy] Franks, the commander, is up on one of them. And all nine commanders, and the president asks each one of them, ‘Are you ready? Do you have what you need? Are you satisfied?’ And they all say, ‘Yes, sir.’ and ‘We're ready.’”

Yes, I said Somolia. As a member of the Ranger task force that was deployed to Mogadishu with the goal of capturing Mohammed Aidid and his top lieutenants in order to end Aidid's guerrilla war against the U.N.'s efforts to feed the Somali people, Drew was awarded a Silver Star for his and his rifle company's efforts to rescue other Rangers. The episode was documented in the book "Black Hawk Down" and dramatized in the movie of the same name. At one point, Drew survived a rocket-propelled grenade attack fired directly at him.

You can read about the rescue effort here.

An excerpt from the official report:

At 032300C OCT this ad hoc task force departed and moved east around the old port of Mogadishu and then north to National street. As the task force turned west on National street, the enemy once again initiated a deliberate ambush with extremely heavy rocket, mortar, and automatic weapons fire. The subordinate commanders, clearly understanding the gravity of the situation and the commander's intent, immediately returned fire and continued to forge ahead down a gauntlet of fire until they reached their respective release points. For three hours, Alpha company 2-14 Inf fought a pitched battle to finally link up with the encircled ranger detachment at the first crash site. Upon reaching the first downed aircraft site, LTC David was informed by CPT Drew Meyerowich that the remains of one of the aircraft pilots was trapped in the aircraft and that it would be very difficult to dislodge him. Still receiving intensive direct and indirect enemy fire, LTC David informed CPT Meyerowich that we would stay in the objective area until all personnel and remains were recovered. Charlie Company 2-14 Inf was then dispatched to the second crash site to determineif there was anyone or anything to recover. Immediately upon moving to thesecond crash site, Charlie company, under the command of CPT Michael Whetstone, came under extremely heavy rocket and small arms fire, yet continued to press forward to the second crash site. Upon reaching the second crash site, CPT Whetstone informed LTC David that there was nothing to be recovered. Realizing that CPT Whetstone was in close proximity to 2nd Platoon A Co 2-14 Inf, carried in Malaysian APC's, that had been separated from the main body at the outset of the battle, LTC David instructed CPT Whetstone to link up with the platoon to ensure that we did not leave anyone on the battlefield. Upon making radio contact with the separated platoon, CPT Whetsone was informed that two of the Malaysian armored vehicles had been destroyed by rocket fire and that there were numerous Malaysian and American dead and wounded. The Malaysian company commander was informed by his Battalion commander not to attempt to recover the dead and wounded for fear of sustaining additional casualties. LTC David reiterated to the company commanders, "stay the course, we will fight here as long as it takes. We will not leave any of our soldiers on the battlefield." The task force fought on for an additional four hours until all of the Rangers, the wounded, and the dead were recovered.

So the man knows something about being in harm's way. And so does his family.

Drew has had several chances to leave the Army. He's continued to serve, with the hope that he would eventually lead soldiers forward into the field.

He's part of a tradition that holds great history among his battalion.

The 27th Infantry Regiment (Wolfhounds) was organized on 2 February 1901 and saw its first combat action while serving as part of the American Force sent to quell the Philippine Insurrection on the Island of Mindanao.

During World War 1, the 27th Infantry served in the American Expeditionary Force sent to Siberia in 1918, This campaign has become an integral part of unit's history. The tenacious pursuit tactics of the regiment won the respect of the Bolsheviks, hence earning the name Wolfhounds. This emblem continues to serve as the symbol of the 27th Infantry Regiment.

On 1 March 1921, the 27th Infantry Regiment was assigned to the Hawaiian Division. It served proudly in the Hawaiian Division for over twenty years until it was relieved on 26 August 1941, and assigned to the 25th Infantry Division. After seeing extensive action in the Pacific theater during World War 11 and the ensuing occupation of Japan, the 27th Infantry Regiment earned the nickname "Gentle Wolfhounds" for their loving support of the Holy Family Orphanage.

Soldiers from 1st and 2nd Battalions return to Japan every Christmas, and two children from the orphanage have visited Schofield Barracks annually since 1957. The relationship was recognized by Hollywood in 1956 when members of the regiment were profiled in the movie, "Three Stripes In The Sun."

Today, Drew begins to reach his goal. We couldn't be more proud of him or more honored by his sense of service.


All our love goes out to Drew, Susan, D.J., Curtis and Bryan (pictured here with Kolchak, the wolfhound unit mascot).

Our prayers for his safety and for his family go with him.

Posted by Jeff at August 5, 2006 10:37 AM | TrackBack

Great story. My nephew just finished engineer school. We're holding our breath. My best to your boy and his family.

Posted by: Sandy at August 9, 2006 04:41 PM
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