In February of 2007 my wife and I had the privilege of meeting Allen Lynch. We were doing some work at Fort Hood Texas and the hotel we were staying in was hosting a reunion of Vietnam era 1st Cavalry Division veterans. Allen, a quiet unassuming gentleman, was very interested in our work and he shared with us that he worked with various veterans groups in Illinois. After a pleasant conversation we called it a night. The next morning we went down for breakfast. Walking down the hall way we came upon Al. It became apparent quickly that hanging around Al’s neck there hung a Congressional Medal of Honor. Needless to say our conversation the evening before took on new meaning. Later we were able to spend a few more minutes with Al and he shared his story.
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After several hours of heavy fighting Al saw three fellow Soldiers who were wounded and under intense enemy fire. Al immediately dropped his radio and went to help. Despite the intense enemy fire he reached the men and one by one Al reached the men and carried them to a trench that offered some protection. Allen Lynch received the Medal of Honor on May the 14th 1970.
My point in sharing Allen Lynch’s story with you today is simple Al didn’t leave his wounded comrades behind the tenant of “Never leaving a fallen comrade behind” from the Soldiers Creed. Today the enemy we face is different. It wares no uniform, it attacks are always on Soldiers who are seemingly alone, and the threat is constant. We train and prepare Soldiers to face this vial foe and yet it still is successful. What is the threat, it is Suicide. The Army has spent millions of dollars developing an effective program that informs and educates Soldiers and while we have made tremendous headway the threat remains the same and strikes when we least expect. There is hope! For the Christian the words of Christ in John Chapter ten verse eleven gives us the hope and offers the encouragement to continue the fight: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” The shepherd knows and loves his flock and purses them. We as leaders in the Virginia Army National Guard must never grow tired of doing what is right to encourage and equip Soldiers and Airmen to strive for excellence and assistance when necessary and like Specialist Fourth Class Allen Lynch get the wounded to safety.
God Bless you and keep you.
CH Bob Patton
2d Squadron 183d Cavalry, 116th IBCT