News / USA

Militant Advance in Iraq Blow to Families of US Fallen

Militant Advance in Iraq a Blow to Families of Falleni
X
June 24, 2014 7:42 PM
The rapid advance of Islamist militants through key cities in Iraq is forcing many Americans to re-examine the eight-year-long war that killed nearly 4,500 U.S. service members. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the loss of lives is on the minds of many who took part in the 2014 Illinois Motorcycle Freedom Run.
Kane Farabaugh
The rapid advance of Islamist militants through key cities in Iraq is forcing many Americans to re-examine the eight-year-long war that killed nearly 4,500 U.S. service members.  The loss of lives is on the minds of many who took part in the 2014 Illinois Motorcycle Freedom Run.

This is more than just a motorcycle to Kory Thompson.  It is a moving tribute to his son, Army Corporal Michael Thompson, who died in a helicopter crash near Talil Air Base in Iraq in 2008.

“Their call sign was Red River 44. When Red River 44 banked to go into Talil, they lost altitude, and the guys from the other helicopter say it look like they flew right into the ground,” he said.

It was Thompson’s second time in Iraq, a mission his father said he enthusiastically volunteered for, based on his experience during his first deployment.

“Michael’s proudest moment he told me was when he was guarding a polling site during the Iraq elections, and he says his proudest moment was seeing those Iraqis walking around with that blue ink on their finger.  He said that was his proudest moment so.....,” said the father.

The deteriorating situation in Iraq is on the minds of many at the 2014 Illinois Motorcycle Freedom Run.  

The rolling tribute to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice ends at the MidEast Conflicts Wall Memorial in Marseilles, Illinois.  There, in a solemn ceremony, the newest names of the fallen carved into the black marble blocks and are read by family members.

“It’s to let everybody know that our troops overseas are not forgotten, and the ones that have fallen are never going to be forgotten,” said organizer Raymond Prokaski, president of Illinois Motorcycle Freedom Run.

Prokaski disagreed with President Obama’s decision not to send more combat troops back to Iraq.

“I don’t think it’s a smart thing to say if we’re going to try to get them back on their feet again.  We see what’s going on over there.  And they’re already sending troops over there.  So it was a wrong statement for him to make,” he said.

“I think advisors and special ops is not what he is considering ground troops.  I think its important to do this and I think airstrikes is going to be important on top of it,” said Illinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger, an Air Force pilot and veteran of several Iraq combat deployments.

He believed airstrikes and drone attacks would help reverse recent gains made by militants.

“We have to push this very evil group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) back and I think that’s going to be very important to honor the sacrifice of those who made it,” said Kinzinger.

“The best option to me?  Pull everybody out, and let them kill each other - they’ve been killing each other for millions of years, nobody’s going to stop it, we’re not going to stop it,” said the father of Army Corporal Michael Thompson .

Thompson said if his son Michael, who died fighting in Iraq, were watching the militants advancing today, he would be profoundly disappointed, but he would not have regrets.

He said, “I’ve heard Gold Star fathers say ‘Our sons died for nothing’ and I tell them ‘My son didn’t die for nothing.  He believed in what he was doing.'”

It is a belief that ultimately cost his son his life, a sacrifice Kory Thompson wishes Iraqis would honor by protecting their own freedom.

You May Like

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More