Come home safe and soon, Sean

The kid three houses down was always in trouble at school. He had a learning disability that got him picked out and picked on, but with medication it became apparent there that not every bad thing was his fault. As the only child in the family, he must have felt some extra pressure. He was a couple of years older than my kids, and that was enough to keep them from really being playmates. But Sean was still basically a good kid from a good home.

But college wasn’t for him. With some prodding from his Vietnam-vet father, Sean joined the Army right out of high school, did fine in boot camp, got a career and a lfie out of the experience, and found himself stationed in Korea, guarding the DMZ. That was fine with everyone, and all of us in the neighborhood were glad he had found a path, and didn’t seem to face undue risk. He even got rotated home before that situation turned sour.

Sean got himself transferred to the 173rd Airborne, his father’s old unit, shortly after it was reactivated, He was sent to their HQ in Europe, and the last his parents heard from him was the middle of March, right after they got their deployment orders.

Until late last week - the local big-city daily had a front page photo, taken inside a C-17 on the way from Italy to the Kurd-controlled area of northern Iraq, with an officer talking to a number of troops sitting on their parachutes. Yes, Sean was one - and that’s how we know where he is. The syndicate was kind enough to send a large-scale photo, and there’s no doubt who we’re seeing. That’s the only contact he’s had for 3 weeks now, and it’s more than most parents and neighbors have. We also know the Army is sending them the nighttime combat jump wings he has just earned, to match his father’s, but we don’t know if he knows that. We can’t even find much news about the 173rd, but we’re constantly looking (and any current links from any of you well-wishers would be very welcome, I assure you).

Spec 4 Sean R., keep your head down and come home safely. We all have the yellow ribbons out for you.

George, if you end up wasting his life, and destroying that family, you’ll have an eternity to answer for it.

Thank you for this story. Best of luck to Sean and his family.