MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS
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Nadia McCaffrey's Gold Stars Want America's World Service Corps Proposals to Save Future Lives
By Dwayne Hunn
"If Peoples Lobby America's World Service Corps had been running after 911, my son would have joined. He would be alive today."
Nadia McCaffrey, Gold Star Mom, lost Patrick in the high grass of Balad, Iraq on June 22, 2004.
After 911, Patrick told his Army Veteran father and hospice worker mother that he had "to do something." Both tried to change his mind. Assured of stateside stationing, the tough, Irish-French-Serbian joined Petaluma's 579th National Guard Engineering Battalion.
"Patrick called home every day. Soon his voice changed. It became heavy. He was concerned and devoted to helping the Iraqi children. When his humvee would go to town, where they didn't have running water and electricity, the children would rush to it, because they knew he would bring water and food from the camp."
Patrick's humvee was as you expected - lined with ply boards and sandbags. In Iraq, Patrick was as his friends expected - a caring leader. He was the one who:
á Paid phone costs of depressed soldiers to their loved ones.
á After several successive nights of little sleep and long patrols, argued to officers to give his "unit a break."
á After losing that argument, came back and said, "It's going to take some of us getting killed before they listen."
á "Had it all," according to an emotionally drained, barely audible Sergeant Michael Sundita at Patrick's burial ceremony. In an Engineering Unit not trained for infantry work, not prepared to train infantry, their unit was ordered to train Iraqis infantry. Protecting his wounded lieutenant, eight wounds, some 4"x3", ripped through Patrick's cheap Kevlar vest, ending his life. The report on his death, finally released June 21st, reflects that the Iraqis he was ordered to train killed him and Lieutenant Andre Tyson.
He left mom, dad, wife, two children, comfortable income, and hordes of friends for a tent in 125+ degree heat outside of Fort Anaconda. He came back in one of the few televised caskets Americans have seen on TV.
Retired General Anthony Zinni says in his Battle Plan For Peace that America can "win any battle. In today's world, however, he contends that "ultimate victory" only comes in building "stability," which comes only in winning "hearts and minds."
For thirty-four years, Patrick was the:
á Humorous boy with the infectious smile who found it easy to be kind to strangers and devoted to family.
á Body builder who was his unit's combat life-saver.
á Kind of American that won "hearts and minds."
á Ideal "citizen soldier."
In today's global village, Gold Star Moms like Nadia and smart generals understand we need another team of "citizen volunteers" to augment our Military and National Guard. We need a one million strong American World Service Corps band of brothers and sisters who build national and international stability.
Peoples Lobby's citizen-initiated America World Service Corps (AWSC) Congressional Proposals does that by having one million can-do Americans voluntarily serving in their choice of the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, Habitat for Humanity, Head Start, Doctors Without Borders, International Rescue committee, OxFAm, Mercy Corps, Red Cross, and State Conservation Corps.
To reduce the anguish of Gold Star Moms, donate 30 minutes a month to help make AWSC happen. To learn more visit www.WorldServiceCorps.us
and attend the July 24th Commonwealth evening forum "WORLD SERVICE CORPS:
MAKING INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PERSONAL AND EFFECTIVE."
Dwayne Hunn, Executive Director of Peoples Lobby has served in the Peace Corps, on several Habit Builds, and as a start-up member of the California Conservation Corps.
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