Thursday, December 31, 2009

Local Soldier Gets Capitol Flag that Flew in Her Honor

It's always good to see this kind of story, as it shows the kind of commitment our soldiers have to their jobs. Whatever your opinions about the wars we're fighting, I hope we can all agree that it's pretty incredible to have these kinds of people serving in our armed forces. From Monday's Martinsville Bulletin:

Army Maj. Sherri Sharpe was honored recently for defending the United States and protecting Americans’ freedoms, while helping the citizens of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Sharpe, who grew up in Martinsville, was given an American flag that flew in her honor over the U.S. Capitol on Dec. 2 at the request of 5th District U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello. “I’m overwhelmed. I’m honored,” Sharpe responded Wednesday, as her parents watched the ceremony at Perriello’s office uptown. Kimble Reynolds Jr., regional director for Perriello, read a letter from Perriello, who was unable to attend.

Sharpe will be redeployed to Iraq in October 2010, and it will be her fourth tour of duty in combat.

Sharpe will be redeployed to Iraq in October, and she called that part of her job. She has been in the United States since 2007, and during that time, some soldiers have had two tours of duty.

“It’s my time to go again,” she said. “I believe in what we do there,” Sharpe said, adding that she has seen positive results.

This will be her fourth tour of duty and her third to Iraq. She also did a tour in Afghanistan, she said.
Hats off to Maj. Sharpe, and 'attaboy Tom for recognizing her accomplishments. Here's a brief list provided in the article. Again, these are quite impressive:
•Serving as a platoon leader in Afghanistan, predominantly stationed at Bagram Air Field, in 2002. She remembers the first day little girls were allowed to go to school because it had been illegal under the Taliban, and she remembers American soldiers handing school supplies to boys and girls. According to Internet reports, many schools had been closed for years because of civil war and political unrest.

• Serving as a platoon leader in Iraq in 2003, moving several places while providing air support for the U.S.-led ground invasion of Iraq and finishing in Balad. She remembers flying “hero missions” in which KIAs (those killed in action) were flown to Kuwait so they could be transported back to the United States. She said it was a meaningful mission. “We were taking care of our own,” she said. She also remembers flying a man who had been exiled from Iraq for 18 years back to his homeland. He didn’t know whether his family was alive or dead but was grateful to be able to find out. And there were others like him, she said.

• Serving as company commander in Taji, Iraq, in 2006, in which she said her main responsibility was to bring all the soldiers in her command home alive. Everyone under her leadership did make it back alive in all three of her tours, she said. She led about 65 soldiers as a platoon leader in her first tour in Iraq, about 65 in her tour in Afghanistan and 83 as a company commander in her second tour in Iraq.

• Flying Chinook CH 47 helicopters, the largest the Army uses, for most of her career.

• Serving as an assistant professor of military science at Virginia Military Institute from December 2007 to December 2009.
When you raise your glass to the New Year tonight, give a nod to people like Maj. Sharpe. Here's hoping 2010 will be the year we get closer to peace.

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