Mom pushes for veterans' retreat after son dies in Iraq
By Jake Armstrong
Record Staff Writer
A Tracy woman plans to tap companies that have profited from a war that claimed her son to help fund a $25 million retreat center designed to soothe veteran
soldiers' souls.
Nadia McCaffrey, whose son Sgt. Patrick McCaffrey was killed in Iraq in 2004, is finishing proposals to pitch to about 10 companies - Halliburton, Bechtel and Dyncorp,
among them - that have made money through reconstruction and other contracts in Iraq. McCaffrey said she hopes the companies will make donations to her goal of
creating a retreat to help veterans settle back into their lives through counseling and health and wellness activities ranging from art to massage.
"I think they should think about it seriously, if they haven't yet," said McCaffrey, 61.
She just might find eager ears.
Nearly 10 percent of the $143 million Halliburton gave to charities and nonprofit groups in 2005 went to U.S. military related sponsorships and donations, according to
spokeswoman Melissa Norcross. However, the company receives thousands of requests for donations each year and cannot accommodate all of them, she said.
The recruiting of corporate sponsors for the center is just part of a larger fundraising campaign the Sgt. Patrick McCaffrey Foundation plans to launch this year. The
nonprofit group is planning a celebrity-studded benefit in Los Angeles in late February or early March. Nadia McCaffrey is still lining up celebrities concerned about
veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan but said she cannot divulge names yet.
The group is also starting an Internet-based drive seeking $1 donations that will hire a professional fundraiser, McCaffrey said. She said 207 companies, apart from those
that have contracts in Iraq, will be asked to assist with funding.
Veterans groups in North Carolina, where McCaffrey spoke and found interest in the retreat, are also working to start fundraising there, she said.
With several military bases in the state, North Carolina is home to a number of veterans, and the idea of a retreat where soldiers can transition from war back to civilian life
has caught on with members of the Asheville Chapter of Veterans for Peace.
"There's a real crying need to set up a system to someway let the Iraq war veterans decompress and get their feet back on the ground in American society when they come
back," said Ken Ashe, a 58-year-old Vietnam veteran and past president of the group.
The transition can be abrupt, he said, adding that he re-entered civilian life just 48 hours after finishing a patrol in Vietnam.
"It's just a surreal situation to happen to a guy," he said.
Asheville is proposed as the roughly 200-acre retreat portion of the village, with a main campus between Durham and Charlotte. Powered by wind and solar power, the
village would have temporary housing for 195 veterans. They would keep the center self-sufficient through farming and selling arts and crafts pieces while there.
McCaffrey vows to have the center up and running this year. Satellite centers in cities around the country could follow.
McCaffrey's son was killed in June 2004 by the Iraqi soldiers he was training. She began planning a center for veterans 10 years ago and settled on creating it after her
son's death, applying care methods she learned while running a hospice for 20 years.
Veterans would have the opportunity to talk with other veterans who understand what they've been through.
"They need to talk about this. When you bottle up something for too long, it's going to explode," McCaffrey said.
Contact reporter Jake Armstrong at (209) 833-1141 or
Posted on Tuesday 29 June 2004

A mother in Sacramento isn’t letting
Bush’s press blackout keep her son
hidden from the world.

The mother of a soldier killed in Iraq invited news
coverage of the arrival of her son’s flag-draped casket
at Sacramento International Airport.

Nearly a dozen reporters, photographers and
television crews were present when the coffin of Army
Sgt. Patrick McCaffrey, 34, was transferred to a hearse
outside a cargo terminal late Sunday.

McCaffrey “did not die for nothing. … The way he lived
needs to be talked about. Patrick was not a fighter, he
was a peacemaker,” his mother, Nadia McCaffrey, told
the Los Angeles Times.

PTSD home opposed for fear of ‘deranged’ vets

By Scott Lindlaw - The Associated Press
Posted : Sunday Mar 23, 2008 10:01:06 EDT

GUERNEVILLE, Calif. — Merry Lane, a cul-de-sac shaded by redwoods in Sonoma County wine country, would seem a pleasant place to recover from
the psychic wounds of war. Nadia McCaffrey’s dream is to set up a group home there for veterans plagued by post-traumatic stress disorder.
But she is running into stiff resistance from the neighbors. They not only object to the brand-new structure itself, which looks like a four-story apartment
house wedged amid their cabins, they are also worried that deranged veterans will move in.
At a community meeting in December, “one person was concerned that even firecrackers would set these people off,” said Andrew Eckers, 54, who lives
across the street.
McCaffrey, whose son was killed in Iraq in 2004, said she has tried to reassure the neighbors, but “they are afraid of it because they don’t want to
understand it.”
Projects similar to McCaffrey’s have cropped up in other communities across the country, with some also raising concerns from neighbors, in part because
of the many news accounts of traumatized veterans committing suicide or murder.

“We’re all, frankly, failing in properly educating society about what PTSD is and what its effects are,” said Jon Soltz, an Iraq war veteran and chairman of, a veterans advocacy group.
McCaffrey wants to set up at least three group homes around the country where vets with PTSD could live temporarily, and virtually for free, while they study
at a college or work at a farm. Donations are paying for the projects, she said.
In Guerneville, a community of about 2,500 where the Russian River draws tourists in the summer, the light green building nestled into a carved-out hillside
stands empty.
The county issued a stop-work order because the project exceeded the scope of the plans that were filed, said Shems Peterson, Sonoma County
supervising building inspector. Among other things, the project had unauthorized plumbing. Also, a wall meant to divert landslides was deemed insufficient.
Neighbors have raised complaints about the cutting down of several redwoods to make way for the home, the lack of parking and the size of the building,
which would house a half-dozen veterans.

“They are inappropriate buildings for the neighborhood. They’re not single-family residences,” said Mark Mondragon, 41. “This could have been
Grandmothers for Harmonious Peace, and it wouldn’t have made a difference.”

Jan De Wald, who lives a couple houses down Merry Lane, said too many questions remain unanswered about the project, including who sits on the board,
who is the president and what is the staffing.
Most residents said worries about unhinged veterans are not driving the opposition. Eckers emphasized that his primary concern is that the project would
open the door to more apartment buildings. But he also raised questions about the screening and supervision of the veterans.
“Generally PTSD guys are normal people,” Eckers said. But he added: “Some are shell-shocked, and they need to be in an institution.”
McCaffrey said screening would be done by veterans and a psychiatrist, and supervision would come from volunteers from a nearby veterans clinic.
“We will not accept anyone who’s not completely functional,” she said.
Rogelio Martinez, 26, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan as an Army Airborne Ranger, said he was diagnosed with PTSD and sought counseling at the
urging of his older brother, a military officer. But he said he would have benefited from the type of group housing that McCaffrey is proposing.

“If it wasn’t for my brother, I might be one of those homeless vets on the street,” Martinez said in a telephone interview from San Antonio. “A place like that
would be ideal for a person like me or a person in my shoes who didn’t have someone to lean on, like an older brother, to get help.”

View all web results for NADIA McCAFFREY

Group home for PTSD troops opposed, VA
- 15 hours ago
Nadia McCaffrey’s dream is to set up a group home there for veterans plagued by post-traumatic stress disorder. But she is running into stiff
resistance ...

Group home for PTSD troops opposed, VA - 16 hours ago
Nadia McCaffrey’s dream is to set up a group home there for veterans plagued by post-traumatic stress disorder. But she is running into stiff
resistance ...

Neighbors oppose refuge for traumatized vets
Tri-Valley Herald, CA - 17 hours ago
Nadia McCaffrey's dream is to set up a group home there for veterans plagued by post-traumatic stress disorder. But she is running into stiff
resistance ...

PTSD home opposed for fear of ‘deranged’ vets
Marine Corps Times (subscription) - Mar 23, 2008
Nadia McCaffrey’s dream is to set up a group home there for veterans plagued by post-traumatic stress disorder. But she is running into stiff
resistance ...

Army News, opinions, editorials, news from Iraq, photos, reports ..., VA
- Mar 23, 2008
Nadia McCaffrey’s dream is to set up a group home there for veterans plagued by post-traumatic stress disorder. But she is running into stiff
resistance ...

Toll has been heavy for county families
Trading Markets (press release), CA
- Mar 21, 2008
Few local residents understand personal suffering stemming from Iraq more than Tracy resident Nadia McCaffrey, the mother of Sgt. Patrick
McCaffrey. ...

Group Housing for Vets Raises Concerns -
Mar 21, 2008
Nadia McCaffrey's dream is to set up a group home there for veterans plagued by post-traumatic stress disorder. But she is running into stiff
resistance ...

Fear, misconceptions raise concerns about transitional housing for ...
Amador Ledger-Dispatch, CA - Mar 20, 2008
Nadia McCaffrey's dream is to set up a group home there for veterans plagued by post-traumatic stress disorder. But she is running into stiff
resistance ...

Tracy activist meets resistence
Tracy Press, CA -
Mar 20, 2008
By Scott Lindlaw / AP / Thursday, 20 March 2008 Nadia McCaffrey, president of the Patrick McCaffrey Foundation, sits in front of a proposed
housing site for ...

PTSD shelter in wine country raises fears
Belleville News Democrat,  USA
- Mar 20, 2008
Nadia McCaffrey's dream is to set up a group home there for veterans plagued by post-traumatic stress disorder. But she is running into stiff
resistance ...
President Bush supporter Jim Mizener, right, holds a photo of his son, Jesse Mizener, as he hugs anti-war demonstrator
Nadia McCaffrey, left,
during a rally outside of a fundraising campaign breakfast for *
Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Tracy) with President Bush in Stockton, Calif. on Tuesday,
Oct. 3, 2006. Both McCaffrey's and Mizener's sons died in Iraq. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
I was in Belgium,
on a speaking tour,
that particular day,
I was sharing a panel
Fadwa Barghouti
(Palestinian woman-leader)
the audience was large,
intense and mixed
with people from diverse
part of EU,
a third was Muslim.
I was The
"Bad American"
at first...
and, someone,
a Mother,
wrote this...
while another mother hugged me...
Nadia McCaffrey
Anti-war demonstrator Nadia McCaffrey holds up a photo of her son, U.S. Army Sgt. Patrick Ryan
McCaffrey, during a rally outside of a fundraising campaign breakfast for *
Republican Richard Pombo (R-Tracy) with President Bush in Stockton, California, on Tuesday,
October 3, 2006. McCaffrey died in Iraq in 2004.
(AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Anti-War Demonstrator
President Bush Supporter In Stockton
Stockton, CA -- President Bush came to Northern California yesterday to help a pair of incumbent Republican Congressmen in
their re-election efforts. The president spoke before a crowd in Stockton yesterday morning at a fundraiser for Congressman Richard
Pombo. Bush claimed that Iraq is the "central front" in the struggle against terrorism. Outside of the event, there were a number of
people who demonstrated against the president and his policies. Among them was Nadia McCaffrey, whose soldier son was killed
while serving in Iraq. She told reporters she would turn her back on Bush if he tried to speak to her. In the afternoon, the president
spoke at a fundraiser for Sacramento-area Congressman John Doolittle in El Dorado Hills. Representatives Pombo and Doolittle are
facing tough competition to keep their House seats this November.Original message

Two faces of women
Two faces of mothers
Wearing marks of grief
Wearing veils of pain
Wearing scars of loss
Coming from different worlds
Bearing the burden of
Different conflicts
One from Palestine
One from the USA
United in their strength
United in their struggle
United in their hopes
For a more peaceful world
I hold their hands and
Inside weep with them
For I'm a woman
I'm a mother
They are my sisters

For Fadwa Barghouti  &  Nadia McCaffrey

From the Times

Sgt. 1st Class Norman Valdez, Staff Sgt. Dennis Sarla, Sgt. Timothy McClurg, Cpl. Patrick McCaffrey Sr.,
and SPC Scott Aponte were part of the four humvee patrol conducted that night. These soldiers are all a part of the A/579th
Engineers attached to TF Tacoma of the 81st BCT.
While conducting their patrol, outside the perimeter, a report came over the radio there had been enemy rockets launched.
They discovered the suspected Point of Origin (POO) was not far from their location. Minutes later, two Iraqis were seen by a
dismounted patrol, riding a motorcycle away from the suspected POO.
The humvees maneuvered into position to intercept the two Iraqis. Valdez stood on top of his Humvee and gestured for the two
Iraqis to halt. They were then instructed to leave their motorcycle far away and walk back to where the soldiers were standing and
they complied obediently.

One of the Iraqis told the soldiers he was part of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps, calling out "ICDC",
also providing identification to prove it.
TF Tacoma headquarters ordered Valdez and his crew to detain them. Sarla, McClurg,
Aponte and Gonzalez approached and detained the two Iraqis. Only one had identification on him.
One man appeared to be extremely nervous, smoking excessively,
while the other one remained calm and appeared to be smiling.
Sarla and his men took the Iraqis into custody. The soldiers' small group, calling themselves the
"Double Deuce," remained calm and performed their duty to perfection.
The team reflected the entire ordeal had been a "reality check" for them.
The detainees were taken in the gate by the Fire Support and Scout humvees that were also on the patrol.
The FISTERs (fire support soldiers) and Scouts blindfolded the two Iraqis upon taking possession of them.
They arrived back at LSA Anaconda for residue testing.
Spc. Heather Gardiner is the unsung hero of this detainment.
Gardiner is trained to test potential criminals for residue indicating contact with any sort of explosive device.
These two Iraqi Nationals tested positive;
one for TNT and the other for both TNT and an explosive known as RDX.
Gardiner said of her results, "This test is what would convict them (of launching rockets).

" She explained presenting her findings, stating "I submitted a sworn statement, which my commander requested."
This sworn statement could be used in an upcoming trial; a trial that Gardiner may be testifying at.
Although Gardiner's job is not one of glory such as the various patrol groups,
but without her, the work done by Valdez, Sarla, McClurg, McCaffrey, and Aponte would be for nothing.
The "double deuce" team with the help of the FISTERs and Scouts did an amazing job of capturing the alleged criminals.
Without the test results from Gardiner, the team would not have enough evidence to hold and convict the
alleged criminals and their hard work would be lost.

The Gatekeeper
President Bush In Stockton

Engineers to Infantrymen:

Soldiers of A Company, 579th Battalion Show their Strength and Versatility

Like other elements of the 81st BCT, the soldiers from A Company of the 579th EN Bn have demonstrated their ability to be
both forceful and flexible. Although they were trained as Combat Engineers, the 579th soldiers work in security and
support operations at Logistical Support Area (LSA) Anaconda.

Sgt. Patrick McCaffrey is a team leader for the 579th, and works to provide support and security for patrol groups like the
Fire Support Teams (FISTERs) and Scout Teams. During the patrols, McCaffrey's team occasionally runs into potentially
hazardous situations.
Recently he and the rest of his team were involved in the apprehension and capture of two anti-coalition fighters. Another
time, McCaffrey and his men ran into a cache of rocket fuses while on patrol. In addition to providing support for the
FISTERs, who they were accompanying, McCaffrey and his team also escorted Explosive Ordinance Demolition (EOD)
specialists back to the site. The 579th soldiers maintained security of the area while the fuses were destroyed with a
controlled blast.
Although he sometimes has to confront and overcome dangerous situations, much of McCaffrey's job involves staying
prepared and on-guard. He and his soldiers maintain a strong stance, bracing themselves to defend Anaconda against any
crisis that may arise.

He and his team have also served as convoy escorts, providing security for shipments of the various classes of staple
items--food, water, and fuel.
At home, McCaffrey worked at two auto body shops, where he manages 30 people. Although he is only a corporal in the
Army, his experience in the civilian world has sharpened his leadership skills, helping him as he pilots his team.

McCaffrey and his fellow 579th soldiers have shined during their brief time at Anaconda. According to McCaffrey, their
company is the spearhead for the 81st Brigade, even though they are working in security operations instead of combat
engineering. "We have accomplished everything and more the Brigade has expected of us," says McCaffrey. "During the
Transfer of Authority, the 82nd (Airborne) was very impressed with us."

2nd Lt. Andre Tyson praises McCaffrey's skills and solidness as a soldier. According to Tyson, McCaffrey has a good head
on his shoulders, particularly outside the gate. "This is one of my best soldiers," Tyson says.

McCaffrey is modest, however--for him success is a result of group effort. "It's not just one guy--it's the whole team."

He chalks up his company's success to hard work and training. "We want to excel," he says. "The only way to do that is to
do a good job at everything we do."

February 12, 2007
I think Ms. McCaffrey's idea is fantastic. Something the
government should have thought about. As to the remark
by the Hallibuton representative who stated,"Nearly 10
percent of the $143 million Halliburton gave to charities
and nonprofit groups in 2005 went to U.S. military related
sponsorships and donations, according to spokeswoman
Melissa Norcross. However, the company receives
thousands of requests for donations each year and
cannot accommodate all of them, she said." Halliburton
was making and may still be making a BILLION dollars a
month off of the U.S. Government, yes that is a BILLION
dollars, and they cannot afford to donate more than 10 %
to the welfare of returning veterans?...
A Message From Nadia McCaffrey
Heroes at Home
A Mother Story, A Wife Story
First Lieutenant Andre D. Tyson
Sergeant Patrick R. McCaffrey Sr.

Both of these men were killed by enemy fire yesterday June 22, 2004.
Last night we loaded their bodies onto a C-130 for the last trip home.  We saw them off as the warriors they are.  
The entire Task Force was in two ranks facing each other as the flag draped coffins were led onto the airplane,
carried by the palbearers.  As they past the entire unit, some 200 soldiers, came to attention and saluted them out
of respect, and loss.
After they were loaded onto the plane, the task force dispersed.  Despite being on an airfield you could hear a pin
drop.  Not a word was spoken, whether out of grief or reverence I know not.  I am not sure why, but I stood at the
direct rear of the plane and watched as the loadmaster raised the ramp to seal the aircraft.  I did not have a camera
with me, nor would it have been appropriate despite being a moving picture, but my mind has taken a snapshot of
the two flag draped coffins lined up in the rear of the aircraft.  It is a mental snapshot I will carry with me, and will
not forget.
I hope this is the only time we will have to do this.  To date there are four men of the 81st brigade who will not be
coming home to their families. As anyone who has served in the military knows the respect that is due to a fallen
comrade, we gave them nothing less last night.  They have taken their place among our honored dead, who have
given the ultimate sacrifice in answering a call that only they knew the reason to.
Yesterday was not a good day.

A Soldier Reports From Iraq
By Chris Murphy

Tuesday 13 July 2004

81st BDE - Balad, Iraq - June 22 was a day I'll never forget. The week before it, six long-range rockets hit the base
here - Camp Anaconda, about 50 miles north of Baghdad - and one of them hit the PX, killing two soldiers and
wounding 25 others. I had a feeling something else bad was going to happen.
It's one of the hardest things to deal with: knowing that incoming rockets and mortars come in on a regular basis.
I've learned to deal with it, though, just like everyone else around here. Sometimes we don't even hear the boom;
all we hear is the alarm going off to tell us to get to hardened shelter. But what I saw and what happened on June
22 will be something much harder for all of us here to deal with.
The day started off with a 3 a.m. wakeup. No one had gotten much sleep because they didn't put the mission out
until 11 the previous night. So at best most of us slept only four hours. This wouldn't have been too much of a
problem because this sort of thing happens a lot. But usually we would only go out and do mounted patrols and
area coverage. On this day we were walking through about eight different places. It was way too big of an area to
cover on foot with just two squads. We were at the first site around 5 a.m. Everyone who was going on the foot
patrol dismounted from the vehicles. Since I'm a driver, I usually have to sit with the vehicle. I did for an hour or two,
and when we met up with the group the lieutenant - Andre Tyson of Riverside - decided to switch me out with
another specialist. I didn't mind too much. I actually wanted to go stomping through the terrain. I also carried the
mine detector, along with my M203 [grenade launcher] and all my grenades. The areas we walked through were
densely vegetated. The ground wasn't flat, and there were small canals every 25 feet. We're walking through brush
neck high, trying to keep our footing and hoping our next step doesn't land us in a canal.
'It's like being in Vietnam' was the running joke. After an hour and a half of searching this area we finally got out of
the 'jungle.' It was at this point where we linked up with a platoon of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps (ICDC). They're
the new Iraqi Army that we've been training. I've heard on the news that they're more than ready to take over after
we're gone.
But from what I've seen, that news couldn't be more wrong.
For the two weeks leading up to June 22, our 'off' days had been spent babysitting the ICDC and giving them some
training. As if we didn't have enough to do already. But on this day, they were going to be patrolling with us.
Up until now, my squad and another squad were sticking close together. Since each squad had a radio and we
could cover more area, Lt. Tyson split us up.
He sent the first squad back through the 'jungle' and then it was to head east along the Tigris River. We headed
south towards the Tigris. This area wasn't much better. It was tall grass, dried wheat fields and big spiky weeds. I
don't know which terrain was worse. We ended up marching through some farmers' crops. We linked up with the
vehicles to get resupplied on water and to get a little food in us. By now it was 10:30 a.m. It had been go, go, go
since 5 this morning with no breakfast.
It was getting hot, and my squad leader, Staff Sgt. Sarla, had already come down with heat exhaustion. Specialist
Patrick Ryan McCaffrey gave him an IV bag. McCaffrey, from Tracy, is a combat lifesaver, whose job is to help a
victim until a medic arrives. Meanwhile, our medic, PFC Woodbury, treated another member of our group for a mild
case of heat exhaustion. I talked with medics later and they said they should've ended the mission right there.
They took Sarla back to base and switched out the other heat stroke victim with Spc. Hemmelright, who was a
gunner in first squad's humvee. We only got a 20-minute break and then it was back on again. So now it's myself,
Lt. Tyson, Spc. McCaffrey (who was carrying the radio), Spc. Camaya, Sgt. Antonio, Spc. Hemmelright, Spc. Ulen
and about 12 ICDC along with an interpreter.
We headed southeast towards a town. We walked across large dirt clumps for awhile and then came to a stop and
circled around the lieutenant. The ICDC wanted to know why we were out walking around; they didn't think there
was anything here. Of course, they were talking through the interpreter and all the questions and gripes were
aimed at the lieutenant.
Lt. Tyson explained to them that we had to search these areas for caches of rockets, mortars, weapons or anything
else that they might be hiding. He said they wouldn't be in these open areas and that we were going to search
where it was more dense to the southeast where some tall palm trees were. From here the lieutenant decided to
split us up. One group would go north towards the town and the other would head into the dense area towards the
I wasn't sure which group to go with; I stopped and looked at Lt. Tyson. He looked at me as if he were going to tell
me to come along with him. He didn't say anything so I went with Camaya, Ulen and Antonio along with some of
the ICDC towards the town. Lt. Tyson, McCaffrey, Hemmelright and the rest of the ICDC went southeast towards
the palm trees.
We were supposed to meet back up where the palm trees were. I remember McCaffrey saying (and he said this a
lot): 'This is b--------, man. They're not going to stop pushing us until someone gets hurt or killed. Then maybe
they'll let up.' That was the last thing I remember him saying.
As my group headed towards the town, I could still see the other group, and they were still heading towards the
trees. We then went east along the right side of the road. We started making our way off the road into the fields
where we were to link up with the other group. We were all wondering why the lieutenant split us up like this. Our
group didn't even have a radio. It didn't make any sense, but a lot of the things we undertake rarely do.
We came to a wall and started yelling for Lt. Tyson and the other group. We asked a farmer if she had seen any
other Americans in the area. She said she saw some walking towards the town. I didn't think it was the other
group. They shouldn't have been walking back that way.
Besides, we had already covered that area. Soon after that we heard some automatic fire, followed by some single
shots. At first I thought it was the police shooting off their guns or an attack on the police station. We knew it came
from the police station. We all got on our knees and looked in the direction of the fire. Some more single shots
went off. From the way it sounded, I knew it was an M16.
Then I saw a bunch of Humvees speeding towards the police station. We decided to get back on the road and go
back towards the police station. After a while I knew something bad had happened and we started to run. I ran
through some vehicles and saw McCaffrey on the ground. He was all pale and almost green. He wasn't moving
and his eyes were wide open.
I rushed to pull his mine detector equipment off and throw it in a truck. From what I saw, he didn't look good and
was shot up pretty bad. I didn't see much bleeding, but I saw a large wound in his leg and in his stomach. Ulen,
Antonio, Camaya and the driver of the five-ton truck lifted Mac up onto the vehicle.
I got on the radio trying to tell the task force what was going on. It was total chaos. I didn't see the lieutenant or
Hemmelright anywhere. I was wondering why it was just Mac. I grabbed a weapon and a bloody Kevlar helmet I
saw lying on the ground and threw it in the truck. Ulen started CPR on McCaffrey in the back of the five-ton while
Camaya and Antonio were holding pressure to the wounds. I was directly behind the five-ton while we were
escorting them back to base. I had to watch them try to bring Mac back to life while speeding back to base. From
the way he looked, I didn't think he was going to make it.
Then we had to return to the police station to get the rest of the vehicles and the ICDC. This whole time I'm trying to
stay focused and not break down. A million questions are going through my head. Why did the lieutenant split us
up? What if I had gone with that group?
I'm trying to hear what is going on over the radio. The reason I didn't see the lieutenant or Hemmelright is because
they had already been evacuated from the scene before I got there. The Kevlar I threw in the back was the
lieutenant's. I found out that he was shot in the back of the head twice. He probably died almost instantly. I looked
at the helmet and knew it was his.
He got hit right under where the helmet stops. I also found out that Hemmelright was wounded, but he was going
to be OK. I guess he took four shots to the body armor and one got him in the ass. By now, the entire task force
was out and there were Humvees and tanks everywhere surrounding the town. There were vehicle checkpoints on
the main roads to inspect all vehicles.
I guess three of the ICDC are missing, and there is some confusion as to whether or not they did it. The captain
got the names of the three ICDC and we headed to the town where they supposedly lived to talk to the sheik to find
out where exactly they lived. I'm not exactly sure what was said because after he talked to the sheik we went back to
the police station.
By this time it is confirmed that Lt. Tyson and Spc. McCaffrey are KIA - killed in action - and SPC. Hemmelright is in
critical condition. It's just sad that it had to be Mac. No matter how strong he was or how tough he was, he couldn't
stop all the bullets that hit him. McCaffrey was hit on both sides of his body where there was no protection from the
body armor. There was nothing the medics could do for either of them. Mac had too much internal bleeding and Lt.
Tyson had a serious head wound. It was an ambush, plain and simple.
When we came back in we dropped the ICDC off at their camp and searched all of them because Mac's watch was
still missing. Antonio said that he had thrown it in the back of the five-ton. We weren't able to find the watch.
There were a lot of sad faces and folks crying. We could all finally break down. Sgt. Maj. Menard said to go back to
the headquarters tent and that the chaplain would be over. We went back to the tent and tried collecting ourselves.
Later that night the task force went to the airfield and stood on each side of the plane as they loaded McCaffrey and
Lt. Tyson. It's going to be hard for those of us that were close to these individuals. McCaffrey was in my squad and
was a good friend of mine. I spent a lot of time with Lt. Tyson since I was his driver.
We still have to keep on fighting and continue the mission. We still have at least nine more months here. I can only
take it day by day here. June 22 was definitely the worst. I hope no more will have to die. It looks like it's going to get
worse before it will get better.
But what is done is done, and there is no going back. I just pray for the families that have lost their loved ones and
for the soldiers here who lost their friends. And I know these friends are in a better place.
© 2007-2016 Nadia McCaffrey