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

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid