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I am a former Geronimo and very proud of my service there and the unit. I spent four years in the 1/501st and got to jump into all sorts of cool and not so cool places. I am glad to see the Battalion keeping up the standard by showing their capabilities and might by quickly deploying and jumping into anwhere around the Pacific Theater.
I have blogged about LT Brian Bradshaw many times on this blog. My readers have written in guests posts and the comments on the blogs about him have been more than I have ever received on any other posting.
I am so honored and flattered to have had this blog visited by dozens of Brianâ€™s family and friends, to include his own parents.
The video below was produced by CBS and I think it is a great testament to not only Brianâ€™s life but also how this country has become so misguided in its priorities.
NOTE-You may want a tissue handy before watching this.
As all who have been following this blog or following me on twitter know, I have been following this missing soldier issue ever sine it has happened. I have had multiple sources in and outside of Afghanistan feeding me info that I have pretty much been keeping to myself out of respect for the soldierâ€™s safety, OPSEC, and the family.
A week or so ago my fried PJ Tobia put up a blog story about this soldier which told how it is referred in country by the soldiers as Operation Whereâ€™s Waldo. Of course that is not the official name of the operation looking for this soldier, but it is what all the troops on the ground have been calling it.
Within a day of putting up my posting which pointed to PJâ€™s, I took it down. In hindsight and after much consideration I decided to not spread the word on this yet. There was something in me that knew many, many family members of deployed service-members read this blog and I didnâ€™t want my blog to be the conduit of more pain in this familyâ€™s life.
However now that the video is out and it is very clear that the soldier is not under any duress, stress, strain, etc. I think it is safe to call it like it is. I have said from the onset that this was a very fishy case and it did not add up.
After seeing the video, I feel even more so now. The rumors of desertion and walking off his base voluntarily have been out there for the last 10 days. The video speaks volumes if you know what to look for and I donâ€™t mean having to be trained to read body language, etc. It is common sense.
He has no marks, no visible wounds, he is eating well (not scarfing it down), he is talking in a calm demeanor and overall looks very stress free. He is even sporting one nice looking Taliban haircut and beard. The Taliban and most in the rural areas of the mid-east shave with straight-razors. They donâ€™t have Gillette and Schick out in the middle of nowhere. This kidâ€™s head has been neatly shaved with a straight-razor yet he has no cuts, or scrapes. Even a twitch or a shake of the head would guarantee a slice of the scalp somewhere. So what that tells me is he was calm and still as they shaved his head. Just something to think about.
I know exactly the area he went missing and I know the base he went missing from very well. I, along with many others I am sure, are trying to figure out how he ended up getting off the base and nobody seeing this soldier with apparently no tactical gear walking in the open. I am sure there are a lot of questions being asked of his chain of command. Regardless of how this turns out for this soldier, I think there are many leaders in his unit whoâ€™s careers are over. I hope not (unless they are guilty of negligence). I think one must also look at the mental state of this soldier and evaluate if he ever showed signs that would cause those that know him to think he would be capable of this.
He came in the Army just one year ago. He enlisted in June of 2008, went to basic training, AIT, and airborne school before being assigned to the Geronimos of the 1/501st ABN. We now know he was home-schooled, and was very active in the ballet and in fencing. Not exactly the type of person that wants to excel and be part of a high-speed Airborne Infantry Unit, if you ask me. Could it be his fellow soldiers knew of his past and harassed him? Could they have made him feel like an outsider? Who knows, and really it does not matter as what he did (if desertion as PJ implies) is inexcusable. I am confident that as the past comes to light we will see this soldier demonstrated behavior that would be considered outside the norm.
I saw an AP report that stated this soldier lagged behind on a patrol and it implied he was kidnapped that way. But the same article said he was not noticed missing until a formation the next day. I can tell you that story is complete BS. No leader of any kind takes his unit on dismounted patrol and then comes back into the base without knowing he has everyone. Afghanistan is not the type of environment where everyone walks â€œRanger Fileâ€ or â€œDucks in a Rowâ€ and you lose someone because they are walking slow. Were not talking about triple canopy jungle here, we are talking about desert. Regardless, that story is completely false and shame on the Associated Press for even thinking about printing it, much less actually printing it.
Overall this is a sad case for all except the enemy. This is a huge IO (Information Operations) campaign for them and they will come out smelling like a rose to those they can influence.
This is sad for the soldier, sad for his unit and the chain of command (whoâ€™s careers are probably over), sad for all the soldiers in Afghanistan who are working non-stop night and day looking for him and not doing their regular missions, sad for Afghanistan whom should be using the American assistance to get ready for the national elections one month from today. I can guarantee that in this area of Pakitika, Ghazni, and Paktia provinces they arenâ€™t focusing on election preparation and probably are focusing on nothing but finding this soldier. It is also very sad for the Afghan and US family members of soldiers who have been killed or wounded as a result of the exhaustive and extensive searching that has been going on.
Most importantly it is sad for his family, who is probably getting no sleep or rest ever since they found out it was him missing back on June 30th (when they were first notified). If he did break ranks or if he does go to the other side it will even be more painful for them.Â They will suffer forever because of this. Unless our military is able to rescue him, I doubt he will ever be released alive. The Taliban will use him for everything they can to sway Afghan and US public opinion.
As a parent of a combat vet myself, I cannot imagine the heartbreak or anxiety they feel. I am very sorry for them if the indications and allegations are true. With all that said, I will close this posting for now. Stay tuned here to Bouhammer.com as I will post updates as they become public knowledge.
Yes I agree that MJ was a great dancer, singer, songwriter, and artist in general. I grew up on his music and would have loved to see him in concert when I was a kid. But that was then and this is now. I have lot of his music on my iPod and still enjoy it today, but he was a weird dude that did some weird stuff and I am not sure what all he was guilty of in life and it is not my place to judge. I think he got any judgment coming to him on Thursday evening as he stood at the pearly gates. I do know that I would never ask him to babysit.
So yes it is a loss for the music world that he died on Thursday, but you know someone a lot more important to me than him died Thursday. His name was Brian Bradshaw from Steilacoom, Washington. And I have never even met Brian Bradshaw or would recognize him had I saw him. Have you ever heard of Brian? Have you heard millions scream his name? Have you seen people and media flocking to his house?
No, you probably havenâ€™t. Even though Brian was contributing a ton more to this country than Michael ever did, but will never be known like Michael. You know why? Because 1LT Brian N. Bradshaw was a soldier, an Airborne Soldier who gave his life serving this country and defending it. An American Airborne Soldier who was in Afghanistan, unselfishly trying to give the people of Afghanistan the freedom to live without oppression. So to me, Brian Bradshaw is a real Hero, a real Role-Model and someone who was real and in touch with reality.
Brian Bradshaw, along with the thousands of other Great Americans who have sacrificed their lives for our country deserve the millions of people screaming their names too. But will never get it, and will never ask for it. Because they are serving this country out of personal motivation, not for fame and certainly not for fortune.
So to Brian Bradshaw this is my tribute to you. This is my wreath of flowers at your Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, this is me holding up a picture of you in Times Square with tears streaming down my face. You and all like you who have come home draped in the American Flag are and always will be more important to me than Michael Jackson.
God Speed Geronimoâ€¦.Airborne, All the WAY!
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 460-09
June 26, 2009
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
1st Lt. Brian N. Bradshaw, 24, of Steilacoom, Wash., died June 25 in Kheyl, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska.
For more information the media may contact the U.S. Army, Alaska, public affairs office at (907) 384-1542.
The Bouhammer [boo-ham-er] blog is owned by a 22-year Retired Army First Sergeant. It is now one of the leading and award-winning blogs written primarily on operations in Afghanistan and other military related topics. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy what you see. If you care about what is happening in the land where the attacks of 9/11 were planned and if you care about our military, this is the blog for you. Click Here to Contact Bouhammer
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