Thursday, September 13, 2018

Who They Are, Part II

From left to right -
  • Arnaud Jean-Georges Beltrame, (18 April 1973 - 24 March 2018) Lieutenant colonel in the French Gendarmerie Nationale and deputy commander of the Departmental Gendarmerie's Aude unit, who was killed by a terrorist at Trèbes after having exchanged himself for a hostage. French President Emmanuel Macron said that Beltrame deserved "the respect and admiration of the whole nation" and Unites States President Donald Trump qualified him as a "great hero". For his bravery and adherence to duty he was posthumously promoted to colonel and made a Commander of the Legion of Honour. (Source)
  • Peter Wang, (09 November 2002 - 14 February 2018) Stoneman Douglas High School shooting: Cadet Wang was last seen in his Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) uniform, holding doors open so others could get out more quickly; Wang was unable to flee with the students when the assailant appeared and fatally shot him. He sacrificed his life for others and was called a hero. A White House petition was circulated, calling for him to be buried with full military honors. At his funeral, Cadet Wang was posthumously honored by the U.S. Army with the ROTC Medal for Heroism, and he was buried in his JROTC Blues uniform. On February 20, he was given a rare posthumous admission to the United States Military Academy. (Source)
  • Alaina Petty, (22 August 2003 - 14 February 2018) Stoneman Douglas High School shooting: Her family were surprised at the beginning of the school year when Cadet Petty decided to join the high school’s JROTC program. Later they realized she was anxious to follow “her brother Patrick’s footsteps” into the program. Becoming a cadet was also a way to honor her country and contribute to her school and community. At her funeral, Cadet Petty was posthumously honored by the U.S. Army with the ROTC Medal for Heroism. (Source)
  • Martin Duque Anguiano, (Not listed - 14 February 2018) Stoneman Douglas High School shooting: Cadet Duque was born in Coyuca De Catalan, Mexico. His parents brought him and his four siblings to the United States to give them a better life—and Martin had exceeded their wildest dreams. Friends and family described Martin as a fun-loving, church-going, happy teenager who loved “Star Wars” and soccer. But his proudest accomplishment was being an exemplary cadet of the junior ROTC. Martin had earned just about every award possible for a young cadet, including ribbons for personal appearance, perfect attendance, good conduct, athletics and leadership development. At his funeral, Cadet Duque was posthumously honored by the U.S. Army with the ROTC Medal for Heroism. (Source)
One man, middle-aged, a military veteran, went with eyes wide open into a situation which cost him his life. Three kids, teen-aged, perhaps with an eye to being in the military someday, went to school on a normal day, a day almost like every other day, but a day which would cost them their lives.

I added Colonel Beltrame to the masthead shortly after I read about his sacrifice -
At about 11 AM on 24 March 2018, a terrorist claiming allegiance to ISIS stormed a supermarket in Trèbes armed with a handgun, a hunting knife, and three homemade bombs. He shot two people dead and took others hostage. Police negotiated for release of the hostages, and Beltrame offered to take the place of the final one, a female cashier. Beltrame set his mobile phone on a table with its line open so that police outside could monitor activity inside. After a three-hour stand-off, the terrorist stabbed and shot Beltrame. In response, GIGN operatives stormed the supermarket at 2:40 PM and killed the assailant. (Source)
I am often dismayed at the lack of respect the men and women of the French armed forces and police services receive. Here, I thought, this man is representative of the valor of French arms and the bravery and beauty which is France at her very best. Colonel Beltrame epitomizes all that is good in France.

The three JROTC cadets weren't immediately added to the masthead, I don't really know why. But eventually, I was reading an article about those who lost their lives that day. That's when I realized that those three outstanding young people belonged up there, in the company of heroes so to speak. Because they were heroes. Young lives just beginning, cut short before their hopes and dreams could be realized.

To me, those kids represent every American who has ever put on a uniform and gone forth into the world, and never made it home. Whether they died in battle, in training, or in a senseless act perpetrated by a sick mind, their sacrifice deserves to be remembered.

Colonel Beltrame, Cadets Wang, Petty, and Duque, I salute you, I mourn your deaths, yet I thank my God that He blessed us with such people. If only for a short time.

See you on the other side.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.






28 comments:

  1. Yeah, Colonel Beltrame's action was certainly heroic, but the risk of potentially having to make that sacrifice was known to him as part of the job. The three cadets? Solidly above and beyond the call of duty. Absolutely no expectation of having to give your life to save others because your in JROTC.

    My admiration of them knows no bounds.

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  2. 2018 has been a tough year for masthead additions, especially for such young ones. Echoing Juvat and yourself Sarge, all four deserve to be there.

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  3. Four Badger Paw Salutes, and four names added to the List of Those Badger Approved! Such bravery can never be forgotten, and they have special places in Heaven, for none are so Blessed, as those who give their lives to defend their fellow men.

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  4. Those three young warriors make me cry every time I think about them, which is more than just when I see the masthead. Some of our future get it. I wonder if West Point will read Cadet Wang's name during the appropriate graduating class? I hope so.

    Beltrane is a perfect example of why the French don't deserve the leaders they have, in a backwards way, more like their leaders don't deserve them. Their will is strong, their equipment excellent, their politicals, not so much.

    Beltrane also should be an example to all those cops out there who worry more for their individual safety than for the safety of the populace.

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    1. Well said. I too hope that Peter Wang's name will be read at the appropriate West Point graduation.

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    2. I hope he is commissioned posthumously. He earned it. His family deserves it.

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    3. That would be incredible. Something to keep in mind down the road.

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    4. I vote yes to honor that young man's dream.

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    5. In about what, 7 or 8 years? Perhaps we could contact the Point. I know at least one grad.

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  5. Dang it - I know my emotions are a bit elevated with Florence very close now, but I didn't realize it had gotten so dusty in here. Must be time to change the AC filters!

    "I am often dismayed at the lack of respect the men and women of the French armed forces and police services receive. " While the French are often made fun of, sometimes ridiculed, we owe a tremendous amount to them, and not just for their support during our disagreement with our English 'masters' at the end of the 18th century. Their military and DGSE/DGSI have been staunch allies in the war on terrorism. The problem is they work for a government of idiots. What was it someone said? "The French as a people are incompetent and rude, but are wonderful friends as individuals", or something like that.

    As for the young cadets, may they be well remembered as heroes, and may their families take solace in their selfless actions. May they also rest easy and in peace. They truly represent the best of our youth.

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    1. Excellent points, Tom. Y'all stay safe down there, keep in touch if you can.

      We're praying for you folks in the path of that storm.

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  6. Thank you for bringing these fine people to our attention.

    I had no idea the three Cadets were so young, or even who they were. Truly brave young men and women.

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    1. The three Parkland heroes were the same ages as those useless anti-gun/socialist media hogs that also came out of Parkland, including the bald-headed girl(?) who openly crowed, after the shooting, of abusing the shooter for years and years prior.

      So, on one hand, we see the best of mankind, in the Cadets and students like Kyle Kushev, and then the worst of mankind, both in the shooter and in the many media prostitutes who sprung up.

      Sad, isn't it, to lose such bright lights. What could have been.

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    2. Yeah, drjim, they were oh so young. And oh so brave.

      Truly among the best our Nation can offer.

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    3. Beans - the brave don't match the Meejah's agenda, the ee-jits do.

      So much potential lost there, with those brave kids.

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    4. Two 14 year olds, and a 15 year old. Younger by many years than the Hogg, but much more mature. Man with a capitol M is the species, not the gender. That girl, and those two boys were the best Men in that part of Florida that day. From the response by BCSO, perhaps the only Men. Think of what they would have done as adults!

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    5. They will be missed. Hopefully they will inspire future generations.

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  7. It grieves me that bravery is too often noticed too late. No brave person wants to be singled out, but their presence in various cadres lends much to the success of any endevour. These three will be influencing youngsters for some time.

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    1. Sometimes, many times, it is because the opportunity for supreme bravery is rare, and often extremely fatal. Just look at the ratio of Medal of Honor recipients live vs posthumously.

      Plus, if they were alive, they wouldn't be on the masthead. Lots of live heroes out there.

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    2. Dave - As my Jewish friends say, "May their memories be a blessing."

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    3. Beans - There are lots of live heroes out there as well.

      Sometimes it's just doing your job, no matter what.

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