SP4 Vincent Mannion - WIA TIKRIT 3-11-07 - Fort Bragg 5/22 and Memorial Day '08 Report
Special Report by Jeff Brodeur, KWVA National Director
I and my family just returned from Fort Bragg from the most memorable and momentous display of courage and sacrifice I have ever witnessed in my life - by not only my son, but the 82nd Airborne Division.
My son Vincent returned to his unit 14 months after being severely wounded. On hand were his friends to meet him: SP4 Andy Taylor, SP4 Jared Wardell, Sgt. Hart, and his whole company including Company Commander Captain Greg Sakimura; Friends from Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval; 82nd Commander General David Rodriguez and his wife Ginny; Colonel Paul Bricker who commands the 82d Airborne Combat Aviation Brigade; 82nd CSM Capel; 82nd Water Reed Liaison SFC James Babin and SFC Jonathon Mackey; LTC Michael Lopez; and 82nd Wounded Warrior Committee - Vincent's Brigade Commander Bryan Owens; Deputy Commander Edmondson and 319 FA Commander DiRuzza; 2-505th Battalion Commanders LTC Leung and LTC Zeisman.
Captain Sakimura provided us with 2 excellent escorts in LT Keith Weaver and SSG John Sastre. Bert Schmitz from the 505th Panther Association was on hand to greet us. Vincent also met MOH Recipient from the Korean War Rudy Hernandez... and President Bush welcomed all the families.
President Bush was on hand to review the troops and unveil the new Global War on Terrorism Monument. He also awarded Three Distinguished Service Crosses. Two of those medals were awarded to two members of Vincent's Battalion (2-505th PIR) - SGT Chris Corriveau and SGT Eric Moser, who were part of a 4-man sniper team surrounded by hundreds of terrorists. The trapped team killed dozens of insurgents and only half of them made it off the roof top (Corrieiveau and Moser) until reinforcements from the battalion came to their aid.
Five Silver Stars were also awarded by the President, one to SSG Peter Rohrs of the 82nd Aviation Brigade for rescuing 12 critically wounded soldiers while under fire in Afghanistan.
The courage and valor displayed by the 82nd was incredible. If the public ever knew the sacrifices these men and women make. You don't hear any of these soldiers complaining about the war or having to go back. They know their mission and they do it. The country is very fortunate to have a unit like this. President Bush was at Fort Bragg all day and gave outstanding praise to the division for its valor.
Guest Speaker LT Gen Vines couldn't have said it better when he said "I was watching the news and someone who made a last second basketball shot to win the game was described by the announcer as a hero for making the winning shot. What a laugh!!" The real heros were at Fort Bragg that day including my son Vincent.
God Bless America.