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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitcheni
X
September 22, 2014 11:42 AM
With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid