Saturday, October 9, 2010

Guest Blog: Captain Jeffrey Kennedy

Hello from Georgia, everybody!  Hope you're having a great Columbus Day weekend.  Hope that test went well, even if I wasn't around yesterday afternoon.  I've had an awesome time here with Captain Kennedy, his girlfriend Laura, and two good friends from elementary school--Brendan and Seamus.  Almost as soon as we got to his house on Friday, Captain Kennedy sat down and wrote you a message.  I'll post it in two parts, especially since the message mainly replies to two messages, sent by Jennifer and Danny of 802.  So, first I'll post Jennifer's e-mail, then the first half of Captain Kennedy's message.

Dear Captain Jeffrey Kennedy,
We are very excited for your return! You have done so much for our country and I wish you the best of luck in your work. I would like to thank you for everything that you have done in order to protect the United States of America. There are many questions that I would like for you to answer. I would like to know if you sometimes you feel scared for what you are going to do. When someone asks you to do something do you think of any positive and negative effects that might happen? How do you feel when you have just survived an explosion?
Mr. Toomajian has told us so much about you. We all know that you are very good friends with him. I am very sorry for the friends that you have lost in Iraq. Once again I would like you to know that I am very thankful for all the things that you have done. We can’t wait to see you come back. One more question: do you believe that it is okay to be in war against another place and let people die in the war? Can you please come and visit us in school one day? We really want to meet you.
And now Captain Kennedy's message...

Mr. T’s History Students,

Thanks for all of your questions.  I’m sorry I haven’t responded to your questions earlier, but it has been a time-consuming operation to get from Babil, Iraq back to Fort Benning, Georgia.  Now that I’m back on U.S. soil, I’m excited to finally get to answer you all!

Jennifer, you asked a lot about what it’s like over there, and I can definitely tell you all about that.  Do we sometimes feel scared? Absolutely…there have been many times when I wasn’t sure what was going to happen.  I spent my first deployment leading a platoon through the hotspots looking for roadside bombs, and we saw a lot of combat, which is always a nerve-rattling experience.  During this past deployment, insurgents shot at our base with rockets and other explosives, and although it wasn’t as intense as it was two years ago, it is still frightening.  Whenever I get a mission, as a leader, it is my job to create the plan to accomplish that mission.  As I plan an operation, I always consider the effects of my actions and I consider the enemies.  The planning criteria we use are: action (what I’m doing), reaction (what the enemy will do in response), and counteraction (what I will do to confront the enemy’s response).  How do I feel after an explosion?  Blessed to be alive!  Usually you can’t see after an explosion because of the dust and smoke, and as that clears you do your best to make sure you’re still in one piece and make sure all of your men are all right.  Depending on what type of explosion it was, how close it was, and how it hit the vehicle, people usually have headaches afterwards and I now have some permanent hearing loss in my left ear and it is constantly ringing.  But after surviving such a violent ordeal, I’m not upset, just grateful to survive...not all of my soldiers and friends have been so lucky... 

More to come tomorrow.

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