By Alexander Thymmons
Written in August of 2007
(then, a rifle platoon leader in the 3RD Stryker Brigade Combat Team“Arrowhead”, 2ND Infantry Division)
On Patrol South of the Haifa Street Outpost during the Surge
Salhiya Neighborhood, Karkh District, West of Tigris
On the side of the blood-soaked road, just west of river Tigris,
A woman soothes a naked child to sleep. She stares.
From under her niqaab, her dark brown eyes encircle us
With pity, as we descend from heavy armored Strykers
That swallowed all the midday heat that scalding day of August.
Again, that stench of sewer and death have occupied our senses.
Within the hour, the silver salt of sweat, and grime, and dust
Covered our boots, fatigues, and even our ballistic vests.
As grunts are marching down that blood-soaked road,
One faints from dehydration; another from fatigue.
No enemy in sight, but nature’s pure distaste
Of armed but silent brotherhood of men.
SENATE RESOLUTION 8709
By Senators Franklin, Benton, Berkey, Schoesler, Parlette, Holmquist, Shin, Hewitt, Brandland, Honeyford, Spanel, Tom, Kauffman, Kastama, Rasmussen, Regala, Roach, McCaslin, Pflug, King, Delvin, Morton, Kilmer, Swecker, Hatfield, Haugen, Prentice, Marr, Brown, Eide, Carrell, Zarelli, Hobbs, McAuliffe, and Kohl-Welles
WHEREAS, The soldiers of the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, were sent to Iraq for what was to have been a year-long deployment; and
WHEREAS, The 3,800 soldiers of the 3rd Stryker Brigade stayed for fifteen months in Iraq, after seeing action in Mosul, Baghdad, and many other parts of that country considered among the toughest and most dangerous; and
WHEREAS, The troops of the Arrowhead Stryker Brigade, as they are also known, moved farther, faster, and fought harder than any other unit in today's army, according to commander Col. Stephen Townsend; and
WHEREAS, The soldiers of the 3rd Stryker Brigade were credited with saving and changing the lives of Iraqi people; and
WHEREAS, Through the bravery and dedication of the 3rd Stryker Brigade, areas of Iraq that had been abandoned by civilians due to extreme danger were repopulated; and
WHEREAS, Through "Operation Arrowhead Ripper" to clear al-Qaida insurgents in Iraq, soldiers from the 3rd Brigade captured hundreds of enemy fighters and cleared dozens of bombs and booby-trapped houses, making it possible to then launch humanitarian relief efforts; and
WHEREAS, The 3rd Stryker Brigade lost 48 soldiers, and suffered the wounding of 700; and
WHEREAS, Ten soldiers of the 3rd Stryker Brigade were awarded the Silver Star, the nation's third-highest award for combat valor: Staff Sgt. Mark Grover; Staff Sgt. Shawn McGuire; Staff Sgt. David Plush; Sgt. Steven Peters; Spc. Gildardo Cebreros; Staff Sgt. Ismael Iban Cordero; Staff Sgt. Jon M. Hilliard; Maj. Brent Clemmer; and Spc. Curtis Lundren; with one awarded posthumously to Sgt. Jason Harkins; and
WHEREAS, The members of the 3rd Stryker Brigade were redeployed to Fort Lewis in September 2007;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, That the Washington State Senate honor the sacrifice and valor of these Soldiers who served their country with great distinction and honor, and express its appreciation to their families for the sacrifices they made during the deployment of their loved ones; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That a copy of this resolution be immediately transmitted by the Secretary of the Senate to the commander of the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.
I, Thomas Hoemann, Secretary of the Senate, do hereby certify that this is a true and correct copy of Senate Resolution 8709, adopted by the Senate February 1, 2008
Secretary of the Senate