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Harold W. Kretz


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Eugene Aaron was a man I knew for a short time over thirty years ago. Aaron was one of my best friends while in country. I was there when he died ... after all these years I am still saddened when I think of him and the other two that were killed that day. Aaron, I don't recall ever calling him by his first name, so I will refer to him here as Aaron. If you were to describe him today you'd say, "this is Eugene Aaron, a nice man". That's mostly how I remember him, a nice guy that didn't hesitate to lend a hand if you needed help. Bottom line, Aaron was someone you could count on.

Something tweaks my memory that Aaron didn't have to be a part of the mission the day he died. Something about his vehicle needing maintenance and volunteering to replace an inexperienced crew member on the other track (21??) - I don't remember the vehicle #'s well any more). His friends needed an experience crew member so he traded places with a new guy. Anyway, that was the type of trooper Aaron was. I don't remember the drivers name, he lost a leg but the others on the vehicle and those that died with Aaron were Brent Sveen, Eddie Padilla, and Glen English.

English received the Medal of Honor trying to save these men.

This is not the place to describe their last moments, I'll keep that to myself but what is important here is knowing that Aaron's, and Sveen's and Padilla's, and English's loss touched everyone within E Troop 17th Armored Cavalry. His platoon was especially moved by the events of that day. I myself learned how to cry that evening. I remember finding myself a spot where I could be alone, I sat down, looked up at those super bright stars the way they would be sometimes in that country, wondered why at least a million times and cried uncontrollably and unashamedly until I exhausted myself, curled up and fell asleep. The image of that day does not visit me as often as it once did but still, thirty plus years latter at times like Thanksgiving and Christmas when I look at my child and how blessed I have been, thoughts of Aaron and the others return and I am back on that bunker, weeping unashamedly for fallen friends.

I am sorry Aaron, Padilla and Sveen,
I am sorry for all the things you've never seen.
I am sorry Aaron, Padilla and Sveen,
I am sorry just to young you'll forever be.
I've been sorry sometimes because why not me
But I for one will never forget- never forget you three.

If any relative by chance reads this please know that many liked Aaron and he wasn't alone when he died. To some of us he will always be remembered. When, on the occasion you pray for him, please remember the other three who fell with him for they were truly "A Band of Brothers" who have become immortalized in American military history.

  


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