Thursday, May 14, 2009


This is the hardest post I've had to write, I don't even know where to begin. I guess I'll start by saying that I am angry and incredibly saddened. I know this doesn't make any sense yet, but it will. Some of you know that I am a soldier currently deployed to Iraq. What none of you know is that I am with Task Force 3-66. Task Force 3-66 has been in the news lately, our unit lost...That's not accurate. Our unit had two of our soldiers taken from us by an individual that I am ashamed to call a soldier. SGT Christian Bueno and PFC Michael Yates were from my unit, from my company.

I've read a lot in the paper, and have been briefed on a lot more than has been released, but I still can't make sense of what happened. I know how it all went down, which I will not go into detail about, but I still am in shock. It still hasn't fully hit me that I will never see those two soldiers ever again. I knew SGT Bueno, I'd see him every day. We were both platoon sergeants when our unit was in transition. I'd never been a platoon sergeant before or even in the unit long, but SGT Bueno was there to welcome me to the family. He was always eager to lend a hand or offer advice. When asked to do something I never heard him say no. There was a couple of empty lines in Stars and Stripes about him this morning, but nothing that could attest to just how extraordinary of an individual he was. I hate talking about him in the past tense, for the simple reason that he always seemed to be there when you needed him, when you needed a hand. And I'm sad that he is gone, sad for his family, sad for his friends, sad because no one else will know just how great of a person he truly was.

I am also angry. I have read some of the comments made by the father of (I'm trying to think of what to call him here that isn't too vulgar) the person that murdered our friends and I am disgusted. This man, this Wilburn Russell, is ignorant. He is speaking about things he has never, nor ever will, know.

The purpose of the stress clinic is to find out what will break your spirit, what will break your will and one way to do it is to tell them, 'That's it. You don't belong in the military. Get out of here'
I don't know what this "stress clinic" is he is refering to, but if he is trying to describe the facilities of the Combat Stress Center he is very wrong. The combat stress teams are here to help soldiers, there is no testing to see what will break the spirit and to even suggest such a thing is ridiculous. I have met a lot of mental health professionals in my nearly 12 years of service. Yes, there are not enough of them, but on a whole, they are very hard working and caring people that only want to make things better for their patients. This man's words are a slap in the face to those that are trying to help soldiers that have problems.

I understand this father's pain, but I can't agree with him. I know it's easier to blame someone else for a problem instead of looking at someone you love for the truth. I know why he blames the military mental health institution. He blames the military because the alternative is just so horrific. His son murdered 5 soldiers. There are other details that will come out as the this story unfolds, and when those details come out you will see that this guy is not to be pitied. He knew what he was doing and he should be fully accountable for what he has done. He robbed the lives of 5 people. He deliberately shot each one of them. What he did was unforgivable and he needs to pay for it.

Each of us deals with loss in their own way, and this is mine. Goodbye Christian, you will be missed.

SGT Benjamin Sharp,
Task Force 3-66

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