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August 23rd, 2010
02:18 PM ET

A soldier's goodbye

It's hard describe how thankful I am to Sgt. Randy Shorter and his family for allowing us into their home the day before his deployment. Any soldier's family who has gone through this will tell you every minute is precious and we clearly saw that when we visited Shorter at Fort Campbell. As per tradition, they held a dinner inviting a small group of soldiers in his unit that did not have family nearby they could spend these final hours with before deploying. Randy made BBQ, his wife Sherryl made an amazing rice dish (I almost ate two helpings). One of the most difficult moments was when I spoke to their daughters.They cried, already familiar with the pain of being separated from a parent.

This is Randy's third combat tour of duty. This time, it will be a year in Afghanistan. During his last deployment to the region, his convoy came under attack. Randy helped the wounded men while returning fire earning the Silver Star for bravery. One of the men he helped two years ago was Specialist Frank Whorton. He was Randy's gunner on the convoy. I met Frank at the BBQ and he told me now that his wounds have healed he's headed back with Randy on this deployment. I asked if he had second thoughts. Frank told me he wanted to serve and felt Randy was the type of leader he wanted to serve under again.

We're following these band of brothers as they head to the Paktika Province in Southeast Afghanistan. We've taken the 20 plus hour flight touching down in Shannon, Ireland; Bucharest, Romania for refueling. Currently, we're at Manas Transit Center, in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Next stop is Bagram Air Force base where we'll catch a flight to Paktika Province. The place where Sgt. Shorter and the rest of the men in his unit will start their mission.

Filed under: A Soldier's Story
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. seadog1911

    Protect these brave men, as they defend our rights, May our leaders remember who fights to keep us free. Its men like this. 101 st Airborne Vietnam 69-70

    September 6, 2010 at 10:06 am |
  2. Kendra

    My son is at Fort Campbell also. I worry daily that he will deploy. He has not received orders (yet), but when? is the question. I feel the pain for all the families of the soldiers that are headed out. I hope our President really means to end it and send these guys home to their families. If we spent more engery trying to find a different fuel type than oil mabey a lot of this could be avoided? At any rate I just want our kids home.


    September 5, 2010 at 2:14 pm |
  3. OldSailor

    Thank you Sgt Shorter...thank you and your family for your sacrifices. May God bless and protect you and your fellow soldiers!

    September 3, 2010 at 9:09 am |
  4. Ruth

    Thank you Sgt Shorter! See you in a couple of months! I trust your family will be safe in the hands of us in the rear! "Drive on, Rock Steady!"

    September 1, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
  5. kelli in decatur, ga

    God bless and godspeed. Simply Thankyou for your bravery and sacrifice.

    September 1, 2010 at 11:07 am |
  6. Hernandez Suzanna

    I like to say thank you for putting the voice to the person i've talked to about my son.The Shorter Family has been so good on letting me and my husband know whats going on and being there for my son since we can't,because we are so far away.And to see him on your piece and my younger son who misses his brother so much,was so happy to see his big brother that he is so proud of as we all are.Thank you for showing what these families go through to protect us all.God Bless each and everyone of them.
    Mr.Pedro and Suzanna

    August 25, 2010 at 1:33 pm |
  7. Eva Mitchel

    An amazing story Jason and you're an amazing person, i don't know if you remember me from the Eric Mitchel discrimination lawsuit in Texas with Allied Aviation.....i was Mr. Mitchel's wife at that time. We have been divorced for over 41/2 years now. But it's so good to see you are still doing a magnificent job staying on top of the lives of others. You are truely a blessing from God in my eyes. May God continue to bless you and all of the people who hearts you touch. And Sgt. Shorter i wish you and all of the military thats serving our country many blessings and i pray that God protect each and everyone of you and your familys. Stay strong and keep God in your hearts always.

    August 24, 2010 at 1:41 am |