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Corrections and reflections

Note: SPC Wood was not transferred to B Co. SPC Jason Ford was killed in the assault on CPT Kurth's HMMV. There was a SNAFU that I will avoid in the future.  My apologies.

16 Mar 2004

Hello,

It was a better day today.  We conducted a SIR (Surveillance, Intelligence, Reporting) patrol in sector this morning.  We went to a place known as [edited out].  I don't know why the outgoing unit nicknamed it that, but I believe it has to do with illegal arms trafficking in our sector.  Anyhow, it is an interesting little road.  It is directly next to the Tigris River.  We saw a large black plume of smoke coming from from the far side of the city last night as we returned from FOB Omaha.  I guessed that someone sabotaged the oil refinery and we would be receiving an alert to investigate.  That was not the case.  The river actually caught on fire.  There is so much oil dumped into the river that it actually burns.  It appears that the Iraqis are ill-equipped to deal with these fires.  Hell, I can't even recall seeing a fire station while on patrol.  Anyhow. Yesterday was a hard day for us.  My soldiers and I packed up in the Hummers and went to FOB Omaha for the memorial service for CPT Kurth and SPC Ford.  (The initial report said it was a soldier named Wood)  It was a very dignified ceremony that helped us deal with the loss.  I talked with the squad leader who was the TC (Truck Commander) of the vehicle behind CPT Kurth when they were attacked.  He said that they went down the road that 4ID told them not to travel at night.  SSG Paulos is not a guy who likes to be told to stand down.  When they were told that there was a road that the Iraqis have a firm grip on, I cannot imagine CPT Kurth and or SSG Paulos just rolling over ignoring it.  I bet that our unit won't travel it again at night without Bradleys.  Another NCO, SGT Kalous, who was in the Hummer when the IED (Improvised Explosive Device) was detonated, had to have a foot amputated just below the knee.  He was riding with his foot dangling out of the door, another TTP (tactic, technique, and procedure) that 4ID said not to do.  If he had kept his foot inside the door frame (there are no doors on that Hummer), he might still have his foot.  SPC Press was the driver.  He is the soldier saluting in the picture I am attaching.  He received some lacerations to his right arm and some other minor injuries.  The radio in between him and CPT Kurth saved his life.  He is taking it pretty hard.  My soldiers are more focused now because of this incident.  They looked 200% more professional and aggressive while outside the wire today.

If you guys want to send stuff, hard candy is good, beef jerky is better. Ramen is also good, but canned Chili is better. Chips Ahoy! are good, homemade Bundt cake is better. (just kidding, homemade chocolate chip cookie are better). A snub nose .38 would be nice, a Glock 9 better. just kidding.  This could go one for a long time. The stuff I really miss can't be put in a box.  Samuel Adams will taste that much better after this. Smokey Bones BBQ ribs, nuff' said.  I cannot even describe how it will feel to hold Monika in my arms, pet Saba, or twist the throttle of my Harley. I will take the time to enjoy every single luxury that I encounter. But most of all, time spent with the people I care about will have more meaning to me.  The minute hand on the clock is the fastest item in any house.  After this, I will have over 29 months deployment time away from Monika.  It has come to my attention that THAT is entirely too damn long. I am going to be an Army Recruiter.

Later

Philip Jarvis
SSG, USA
Section Leader

This is the second time I typed this.  Therefore I will send this now and send the pictures in a different E-mail.

Posted by Critt Jarvis at 02:01 PM | Permalink

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Comments

Hang in there Philip! We are all thinking and praying for you everyday. I hope the time goes quickly for you and that you can soon be back with Monika and enjoy the simple pleasures of each day that we all take for granted.You've helped me to not take them for granted in my own life. We are proud of you and thank you for your service so that your cousins can live in a safer world.I will try to email you a recent picture of them! Love, Laurie

Posted by: Laurie | Mar 17, 2004 6:45:12 AM

Dear Philip,

I went to High School and played football w/ Hans in Columbus, Wisconsin. I hope you don't mind but I've shared your weblog with a lot of our teammates, and some of Han's classmates.

Hans was a very integral part of our 1990 State championship team. Even way back then Hans was using military motivation to help us as a team. Hoo-ya was our rallying call for our team that year, and no doubt Hans was responsible for that. He was easily the most intense, motivated individual I've ever met. Our coaches labled him "stud" Kurth, as that was what he was!

It's tough to have lost such a special person. Your weblog has given me at least a picture of what happened, how the men he served with regard him, etc... Needless to say it's helped a lot. I'm happy to read that you guys are even more focused, as surely that's what Hans would've wanted. Stay strong, and know that you've got much love and support from back here in the U.S. I'd love to organize some things to send over to your specific unit as well. Not sure how to do that. Maybe if someone could e-mail me the procedure on that we could get something organized from us here back in Columbus. Thanks Philip for your updates.

Posted by: Colin Shepard | Mar 17, 2004 11:02:28 AM

Phillip, I cannot tell you how much my heart literally hurts reading your posts, because my son is there also with the HHC 1/18th. My prayers go out to all of you, our "sons and daughters", with every breath I take. Words cannot describe the gratitude and debt I owe to the ones who have gone before my son, who have laid their lives on the line, to ensure safety for the others who will follow. If Soldiers Kurth and Ford could hear me right now, I would tell them "I owe my life to you, for teaching my son the seriousness of being ready, how listening to the lessons the 4th Infantry about not travelling down certain roads at certain times, about not sticking your legs out of vehicles may save life, and for letting my son and others know, perhaps for the first time in their young lives, that they are not invincible; that life is fragile and others will mourn and cry when they are gone.
When I lost several family members a few years ago, I thought I would never be the same, and in fact that was true. But what I also discovered, is that I learned to savor the intense incredible beauty that can be found in the mundane events of life; a spider's web, the swirls in the bark on a tree trunk, a sunset. Try to see beauty at moments when your mind wants to scream out, when your heart fails you; look at the world, and allow your eyes to not only see death and destruction, but also the incredible beauty of a child in his mother's arms, a friends' smile, patterns in the sand from blowing winds. If you can do this, you will find that it does not matter where you are; peace and contentment are a state of mind, and these attitudes will halp you keep your sanity. I will pray for your safety and health.
Another soldier's mom, Kim

Posted by: Kim, PFC Jonathan's Mom | Mar 17, 2004 2:17:52 PM

Today is not going to be a day with no news, Unfortunately...Baghdad Hotel has been distroyed killing who knows how many. I watch the news as I work at the computer.

Why do all those young soldiers look like my son?

I can not imagine the desparation of those people ..digging with their bare hands to try and save any survivors. I try to cry silently as not to worry my younger son here at home, but I cannot contain all these emotions. Worry, Fear, Confusion and PRIDE for these soldiers I watch who are seeing things no one should have to see.

Phillip, your post made me smile at the list of things to send. If they would allow Mothers there, you would see a caravan of us bringing all things possible for you precious children of ours.
God Bless and keep you all and all innocents suffering through this War.

Posted by: SGT Mike's Mom ( Brenda) | Mar 17, 2004 3:24:21 PM

SSG Jarvis -- Thank you so much for this blog. I have been searching for weeks for a Captain that is with either the 1-18 or the 1-26... I haven't found him yet, but reading your entries has given me comfort... at least I know a small piece of what is going on there.

I am grateful to all of you that put your life on the line everyday so that we can enjoy freedom. I am also so very sorry for the loss of your Captain -- he sounds like he was an amazing person and leader.

Thank you again for your service and sacrifice.

Chula

ps i'm looking for Capt. Jose Ocasio-Santiago if anyone knows him.

Posted by: Chula | Mar 17, 2004 10:42:10 PM

SSG Jarvis; Your log entries were forwarded to me by a work collegue.

I'm sitting here staring at my keyboard not knowing what to say. Some things never change.

In a few weeks I retire after 36 years in the Navy Reserve. Those years include 9 years enlisted; two tours to Viet Nam; too many "good-byes" but, fortunately, just as many "welcome homes".

Why am I telling you this? Because I want to assure you that I know...I REALLY know...the pain of seperation. However, I don't know what it's like to risk my life on the ground (I was in the Gulf of Tonkin for both tours). Thank you for this glimps into your life. Thank you for being there.

I can assure you that you will appreciate your loved ones more for the rest of your life. My wife and I were married just five months when I enlisted. I now retire as an O-6. But we haven't forgotten. We both choke up when we see troups deploying or coming home. You will never forget. You and those who share this time with you will be forever changed.

If I may suggest something...the best way to honor CPT Kurth is to keep his leadership style alive. It's obvious that he led by example. You do the same! Be the best NCO that you can be. If possible, go for a commission. The military has a great need for officers that have "been there, done that".

Last of all, we share the name "Jarvis". Where are you from? My family is from Utah (Mormon Pioneers).

May God bless you and your family,

CAPT Kenneth (Ken) A. Jarvis, USNR
703.445.1947
703.927.9825

Posted by: Ken Jarvis | Mar 29, 2004 9:27:44 AM

Dear SSG Jarvis,

Today is May 24, 2004 and I was surfing the web as I usually do since my brother Spc. Jason Ford was killed in Iraq. Thank you for providing the information on this page. Is there any other information that you can provide to our family? I miss my brother so much. He was a good person and I am very proud of him. Thank you and the other soldiers for being there and fighting for the freedom of others. Please let me know if there is anything I can do or send over for you and the unit.

Thank you.
Francine Harley

Posted by: Francine Harley | May 25, 2004 4:08:28 PM

Francine
My sympathies to you and your family. Your brothers sacrafice for the freedom of others, we thank him for it. My son is there in Iraq, at Camp Summerall...
Know that my thoughts are with you and your family, there are no words, no phrase to give you comfort at this time.. all I can say is..

Thank you... Robynn Levesque... proud Mom of PFC Scott Levesque

Posted by: | Jun 6, 2004 1:22:49 PM