Thursday, July 12, 2007

Sad News For Our Angels

One of the things about angeling that we never get used to is the sad news that one of our men and women that we supported is injured or killed in action. As we support thousands of men and women in the military, it does happen. As Angels often become close to those they support, like best friends or members of the family, the news can be very devastating. At those times, we rush in with wings spread, not only to support the actual family, but the angels who supported them and the men and women of their units who may be hurting as well.

When we become angels, it is a risk that we have to accept. Sometimes it feels just like your own son, daughter, brother or sister has gone to war and you feel those twisted emotions that all families must feel knowing their loved one is going into danger. On the one hand, you wish, hope and pray that they do not have to go or do not ever have to suffer a moment's pain. On the other, you feel very proud of them. They work hard. They do hard jobs. They sacrifice time, love and comfort to serve our nation. They have made a commitment and that is why, as an Angel, you feel just as compelled to commit to supporting them.

Still, you dread hearing the casualty reports from certain areas. You wait for the confirmation. You are not the family so you may not know right away or until the official names are released. Then, there is that moment of disbelief and prayer that it is wrong.

Three days ago, we heard the news that one of our K-9 teams had given their lives in an IED attack. In the news, it was simply reported as "one soldier killed" in a general area: western of Baghdad. Pending notification of family and next of kin. Due to operational security and a commitment to allowing the military to do their job first in notifying the family and making the final, official release, we wait. We wait while our hearts are breaking and we prepare to support all those who ask or need.

On July 6, 2007 Cpl Kory Wiens and his MWD partner Cooper were killed by an IED while performing their primary function of detecting explosives and insuring that no one in their squad is injured or killed by these most deadly devices. They gave the highest measure of devotion; not only to their country, but to those they served with as their last act was protecting them.

Kory and Cooper posing with some goodies that their Soldiers' Angel had sent them

This message was received from one of our other K-9 Teams from Camp Victory where Kory and Cooper were stationed:

SSD team was doing a search in a villiage. MWD did respond only thing the team and the security element was to deep in the villiage. The whole area was wired and Cooper triggerd a pressure plate when handler called him back.[snip]

Please take a small moment to remember those who have fallen and those who are to replace them.

Sometimes, a place is so ridden with explosive residue from the many bombs and caches or because there is a "bomb factory" in the vicinity, the dog is unable to do his job. That's when the handler will call the dog back and other methods must be used to determine and clear the danger.

Our team reminded us that the threat is very real and that these teams are in the front every day, protecting others in their squad. Even more, the dogs that form the MWD part of the team continue to work for hundreds and sometimes thousands of days, even after their original handler has gone home. They save hundreds, if not thousands of lives by finding explosives, fire arms and ammunition that can be used to kill or injure many of our own men and women and many innocent civilians.

Our prayers go out to Kory's Family, friends, loved ones and all those he served with. Please help us support these wonderful teams who defend our nation with everything they have, even sometimes their lives. Join us at Soldiers' Angels and find out how you can support a K-9 Team today!

You can see more pictures of Kory and Cooper at Gazing at the Flag: Farewell

An original story about Kory and Cooper from March 2007: Man's Best Friend

Personal message: I thought that Kory would never want to be parted from Cooper. He raised him from a puppy, trained him in all things and loved him like a child. Now they will always be together. Now they have new angels to watch over them.

- May no soldier go unloved