November 25, 2006


As with every day around Casa del Ensalada, thoughts of our dear friends Drew and Susan and their boys were always in our minds during Thanksgiving. Their family always celebrated the holidays with great joy and fervor, and Thanksgiving was no different.

It wounded our hearts to think of Susan at home in Hawaii with the boys and Drew thousands of miles away standing in in harm's path in Iraq, but we knew that Drew is where he is because he feels a deep sense of service. Not to make him into a Red Cross character, but where there's a need - be it hurricane relief or a neighbor who requires a helping hand - there you'll find Drew. I've seen it firsthand.

The November before they redeployed to Hawaii, Drew and Susan were planning to drive to South Florida to spend Thanksgiving with his family in Jupiter. But they wanted to have a dinner at home here in Valrico. What did they do?


They did both.

They invited neighbors over, cooked a gigantic bird and had a tremendous feast for everyone.


The kids had their own table. Which, you know, was good for the kids and the adults.


Drew conducted operations forward at the head of the table.


A toast was raised to our hosts.


And then Drew redeployed to the recliner.

Good times.

Then this year, we got another surprise: Susan had shipped us a turkey fryer.

Now, I have a turkey fryer, but mine runs on LP gas. And as long as I've had it, it's made my family worry that I was going to either immolate myself or the house or the entire ZIP code with a fiery grease ball of flame.


This year, because of Susan and Drew's thoughtfulness, we had a wonderful - and safe - tool at our disposal.


The damn thing worked like a charm. Unlike my Flintstones-style gas fryer, this one had no open flame. You could program the cooking time and tempearature. And it has a drain nozzle that helps you get rid of the grease instead of pouring it out like a bucket.

The result?



So when I say that Drew and Susan were with us even though they were thousands of miles away, you can see what we mean.

All of which made this letter from him during the holiday even more special. It sounds like he helped make Thanksgiving as memorable for his soldiers as he did for us in Valrico.

It's one of the most moving letters I've ever read:

Family and Friends of the Wolfhounds;

Thanksgiving Day was a singularly unique holiday for the Wolfhounds. Our plan was executed perfectly and provided everything you would expect from a Thanksgiving back home: We were not back home!

The Forward Support Company did more than anyone could possibly ask in
providing a meal that would make any family proud. They worked tirelessly throughout the night to prepare everything from the Turkey down to the decorations on the table. We had steak, ham, stuffing, all sorts of pies and the list goes on and on. The Soldiers had a feast prepared to the highest of standards, but that is the only standard that Wolfhounds know.

There were multiple events available during the day. We had the Wolfhound Turkey Shoot where men competed for the right to be the best shot in the Battalion. We played soccer with our Iraqi Army counterparts and continued to build on our strong friendship and mutual respect for each other. And of course, we watched football, but we did it on an outside projection TV as we warmed ourselves sitting next to a nice warm fire. We executed a great
Thanksgiving Day and made the most of our time as the deployed Wolfhound Family. Our Wolfhound families and friends were never far from our minds.

Our mission here does not stop because of a holiday. This is the sole
reason for this Thanksgiving being singularly unique. The enemy might have expected us to have our guard down because of this holiday, but the enemy hasn't figured out what being a Wolfhound is all about. This Thanksgiving, the enemies bullets were silenced by not only the ruthlessness of the Wolfhounds bite, but also by a capable Iraqi Army and Police Force that share equally in our ability to provide a safe and secure environment for the innocent people of Iraq. The police and army are becoming more and more proficient every day simply because they are learning it from the proudest and most professional Regiment in the United States Army. Our Thanksgiving was interrupted at times with enemy fire, but the fury and ruthlessness that 105 years of tradition provides us, gave us the opportunity to burn off some of that great Thanksgiving food and come back for seconds.

Our area of responsibility is learning about not only the Wolfhound's
ruthlessness, but also our compassion. This Thanksgiving Day marks the
first time since we have deployed here that a civilian has come to us for care and help. The terrorists that brutalize and oppress these people had thrown a grenade a week back that blinded a 4 year old girl in one eye. The father had heard of us taking care of innocent people and came to us for= help. He learned first hand just how compassionate we can be. At the same time, we forced another woman who was injured today by a fragment from one of these grenades to be brought to our base. The Iraqi Police, who know all about us, brought her in and we not only rendered her the medical attention
that she needed, but also let her and her cousin share in our feast. She was completely confused by the whole situation and left our base not afraid to tell us that all she had ever "heard" was how mean Americans were and that all that she has "seen" love, care, and compassion: Now that is a Thanksgiving!

I want to extend everyone in our Family and Friends network of Wolfhounds a blessed and happy Thanksgiving. We love and miss you all, but this holiday has provided us with memories that we will never forget. More importantly, it provides the Iraqi people with memories that they will never forget.

Iam so proud to command such an incredible bunch of Soldiers. I sleep well at night knowing that the future of our Army and our Nation is bright because of these young men and women that work tirelessly every day in completing our mission. We are truly thankful for all the love and support we get from back home. We all are eternally thankful for the sacrifice of our fallen Wolfhounds and their memory is always in our hearts and minds.

We continue our mission here with more determination than ever living in their memory and by the motto that continues to make this the most powerful Regiment in our Army: NO FEAR ON EARTH!

Respectfully Yours;

Commander, 2-27 Infantry "Wolfhounds"

Drew and Susan - if you're reading this - we want you to know how proud we are of you and how much we love and miss you.

Posted by Jeff at November 25, 2006 09:22 AM | TrackBack
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