I received this letter today: I wanted to share it with you as we must be ever mindful of the need to pray.
I am back from my most recent mission. The length of our rest is still unknown, but I will certainly enjoy the time I have to sleep in a bed at Kandahar Air Field (KAF) instead of on the ground. This last mission took us back into the lion's den of the Helmand Province, Afghanistan. It began with great sorrow as a Chinook was shot down with the first lift of our air assault killing 7 soldiers. The toll continued as another soldier in one of our sister companies lost a young sergeant. We paid a heavy price on this mission, but we made the enemy pay a heavier one. At least 5 Taliban leaders and in the hundreds of enemy fighters were killed through our efforts and the efforts of our coalition partners.
My platoon again saw direct contact with the enemy, but by the grace of God no one was hurt. We treated civilians on the battlefield, who were caught in the crossfire, and detained a suspected terrorist facilitator. We brought humanitarian aid to the locals and gave them a sense of increased security. I pray that our efforts will help show these people that a better life is possible for them. Afghans in the Helmand Province have been held at the will of the Taliban for so long that they are too scared to come forward and help us. Those who do often find themselves in great danger. Finding a body without hands or a head drove that point home. Death in this land is as normal as apple pie back home. It was not uncommon to see men pushing wheel barrels with dead bodies in them. What a stark contrast this scene was to anything we would see in the United States. It truly makes you appreciate home.
We continue to be placed in dangerous places because that's where we are needed. We are breaking the back of the Taliban. They are not able to recruit as many fighters as they would like and estimates indicate that we have killed about 30% of their forces in the Helmand Province. This has been considered a pivotal year for the war in Afghanistan. If this is the case, then things are in our favor.
Thank you all for your love and prayers. Truly God has been with us throughout these missions. He will never leave me nor forsake me. How comforting that is to know. The words of King David in Psalms 23 have never been more true when he said, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for you are with me." I was in the valley of the shadow of death; it's name was the Upper Sangin Valley. I literally walked through it and feared no evil for Jesus Christ was with me.