Cpl. Jones could have taken a disability discharge and a pension for his wounds. Instead, he fought to stay on active duty and to return to a war zone with those he calls his "battle buddies." When I asked him why, he replied: "These are my brothers. I want to be where they are and continue to make a difference." He is.
While we were embedded with 2/7, the battalion suffered a dozen serious casualties. Three Marines, Lance Cpl. Juan Lopez-Castaneda, Lance Cpl. Jacob Toves and Cpl. Anthony Mihalo were killed in action by improvised explosive devices. One of the wounded, Lance Cpl. Bryan Fisher, was flown to the British shock-trauma hospital at Camp Bastion. Here is an excerpt from a message sent to me by the battalion's chaplain, Lt. Russ Hale:
"I went to the hospital to see LCpl Fisher, the 'E' Co. Marine who was wounded in the IED attack and had the unenviable task of sharing with him the names of the KIA from his platoon that were med-evaced after him. Like any human, he broke down and began to weep at the loss of his friends and brothers-in-arms. We spoke for a bit about loss and grief and how these kinds of events are not something a person 'gets over,' rather, we 'get through' and with God's grace, we learn to cope in a healthy manner. As our conversation turned towards ways to honor the loss of his friends and his own future, LCpl Fisher floored me with his plans: 'I'm glad I'll be here at "Bastion" for awhile before I go back to the field. This will give me time to process my re-enlistment paperwork to stay in 2/7 and then I can return to my guys.'
"Here is a Marine who just lost three of his friends, could easily have been No. 4 of the KIA's, and his way of honoring his friends is to re-enlist to stay in the same battalion in order to return to the same place his friends were killed so that he can continue to carry the fight to the enemy. And what's most important is that his actions are not an act of vengeance but an act of love; a way to honor his comrades. He inspires me."
Stories such as these should inspire you, as well. Too bad the potentates of the press so rarely bother to cover them.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.