Another Fallen Guardsmen....
Unfortunately one of my duties as a staffer for Joint Forces Headquarters is to handle some of the processes that are in place when our soldiers die. Today I went to my first funeral for a KIA (killed in action) Soldier. The Soldier's name was SGT Ryan Montgomery. Montgomery was from Greensburg, a small town in Central Kentucky. Montgomery was in a Field Artillery oufit that was tasked with force protection and convoy security missions around Baghdad. On July 3rd Montgomery fell to a roadside bomb. Very sad, but not as sad as the disruption that almost occurred at his funeral.
Last night I went to a bar to unwind after work, a guy at the bar wearing a suit and a tie struck up a conversation with me, and we inevitably started talking about "work", he was intrigued when I told him that I was a Second Lieutenant. He immediately started asking whether or not I had heard about, or knew the latest soldier from the Kentucky Guard that had been killed. I told him no, but I was planning to attend the funeral. He told me that he planned to go to help keep the protestors away from the family. When I asked him what he meant, he stated that a nutcase from Arkansas who claims to be a Minister is picketing the funerals of deceased servicemen in a celebration. Essentially, because they claim that someone blew up their church, now God is punishing our servicemen by killing them with IED's. I later learned that this is the famous lunatic who picketed Mathew Shephard's funeral.
When I got home, I called the SGS at home and told him about what I heard, but he was already in the loop. I was shocked to learn that they had picketed a funeral of another KY Guard soldier. I wondered why I had not heard about it, but apparently a group called, "Taskforce Omega" had intervened and stumped any attempts that the members of Westboro Baptist Church made to disrupt the funeral. These brave and patriotic people decided to attend this funeral in order to ensure that the Church did not disrupt the funeral.
Luckily, the protestors declined to set up when they saw the big group of Task Force Omega members. Task Force Omega is comprised of bikers, many of whom are Vietnam Vets. They are a rough and tumble looking group, but I really admire their resolve. They plan these "counter-protests", and sometimes travel hundreds of miles to attend funerals. After this funeral was over, I walked over to the group and shook each one of their hands and thanked them for their service. Great Americans they are....each and every one of them.