After watching the events of yesterday, General John Kelly with complete moral authority excoriating a Democrat congresswoman (Representative Frederica Wilson) for trivializing and politicizing the phone call from President Trump to the grieving Gold Star family of Sgt. La David Johnson, my soul hurts. General Kelly was the adult in that White House Press Room and he eloquently and soulfully spoke for the 1%. Those of us who have served. More particularly, he spoke for those of us who have lost friends, brothers, sisters, and who have had to make similar phone calls to grieving families.
1LT Michael K. Hodge, US Air Force Reserves, was my roommate, my friend, and a fellow pilot. On July 12, 1984, Mike made the ultimate sacrifice, along with his crew, when the jet he was piloting crashed in Sicily. I was the officer designated to call his family, his girlfriend, and to escort his body from Italy to his burial in his home of South Carolina.
The words I used when speaking with Mike's family were almost identical to those used by President Trump and those offered by General Kelly. Mike loved to fly and that's what he was doing, surrounded by friends who were there for the same reason, and they knew the risks when they volunteered to serve. It's goes without saying that nobody signs up to die. But we all know it's a possibility and always present.
In this time of extreme polarization, the politicization of literally everything, and politicians and members of the media who are held to absolutely no standards of truth or veracity, can we agree with General Kelly on one thing? Can we agree that some things still are and should be sacred? A young man's death in Niger is exactly that. And let's demand that smarmy politicians take their hands off of it! Immediately!
Lieutenant Colonel Robert "Buzz" Patterson, United States Air Force (Retired), is a military combat pilot, distinguished White House military aide, bestselling author, and popular conservative public speaker. Among Patterson’s literary efforts include two New York Times best sellers, Dereliction of Duty and Reckless Disregard. His most recent books include War Crimes and Conduct Unbecoming. Patterson was born in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He is a Distinguished Graduate from the Air Command and Staff College; he has his Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from Virginia Tech University and a Master's in Business Administration from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri. He, his wife and their three children currently reside in California.