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Sgt. David L. Roustum Tribute to Sgt David L. Roustum, and all those that serve our Country.

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Old 11-21-2004, 10:27 AM
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Spec. David Roustum KIA 20NOV2004

My young friend David was killed Saturday in Iraq. No other details are known at this time. Please pray for his family, especially his mom and dad.
He had two months left to go on his tour.....I will post something more formal later. Picture is of David and his mom while home on leave in August. He took the early leave so that others with young children could go home at Thanksgiving or Christmas.
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Old 11-21-2004, 02:47 PM
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Re: Spec. David Roustum KIA 20NOV2004

Our prayer go out to his Family
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Old 11-22-2004, 01:01 AM
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Re: Spec. David Roustum KIA 20NOV2004

A true leader of men, thinking about the others by taking his leave early so others my enjoy thier children. My prayers and thoughts go out to this mans family.
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Old 11-25-2004, 12:56 PM
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Re: Spec. David Roustum KIA 20NOV2004

from another site......please read

Posted on: 11-22-2004 @ 10:41 pm

Top of Form 1

So I'm in the hotel in Boston this morning. I was there to hear Pierre (Terblanche, Ducati designer) speaking and I was having a great time with my better half. I'm enjoying my omelette, and we are discussing our upcoming trip to the U.S.S. Constitution and Bunker Hill before we head home.

My cell phone rings and it's my commander. He never calls me on Saturdays, much less at 8:30 in the morning. He has bad news. One of my soldiers was killed in Iraq this morning and 9 more were wounded. Three are classified emergency with multiple shrapnel wounds and flash/powder burns to their eyes and face. One has a broken leg. Their on the way to Germany for follow-on surgery and then a ticket home. Six more are injured. Status unknown.

I'm absolutely floored. I don't know what to say. What to do. Who to call. I'm staring at the omelette on my plate thinking "What the hell is this in front of me?" We grab the gear, pay the bill and break every traffic law known to man on our record-setting trip from Boston to upstate NY in under 5 hours. I'm working the phone, driving, and smoking cigarettes while the wife is listening on the cell phone speaker and taking notes. Families are called and updated on the wounded. The Family Readiness Group is activated. Wives start making casseroles and lasagnas and stews and desserts. The chaplain is writing prayers. The intel is coming hot and heavy. I'm screaming at the JOC (Joint Operations Center) at HQ for data. What happened? Where were they? Who else was involved? GIVE ME ANSWERS DAMMIT!!! Nobody knows anything but there's lots of speculation.

The family of the killed has been notified. I am the Casualty Assistance Officer but won't sit with them until tomorrow to discuss benefits and funeral details. The phone traffic takes the entire trip and it's not until the wife goes into the house that things start to calm down. I finally have 10 minutes to absorb what just happened over the last six hours.

I spent three years training soldiers for a mission I saw coming after 9-11 but prayed we would not get. Then we got it. And I was ordered to send only two of my platoons forward with no command element. My men were leaving but I was staying behind. They were to supplement a brigade out of Arkansas. Arkansas? This sounded bad. I went to my commander. I screamed. I yelled. I pleaded. I cojoled. I begged. I tried to make deals. I almost lost my commission and was almost relieved of my command. But in the end, they got on the plane and I watched them leave from the airport.

Did I try hard enough? Was there something else I could have done to make sure I was going with them? Was there something I could have done even if I was there? Did they have the leadership they needed? Was it lacking and did my man die as a result? Were their tactics sound? Did a weapon jam because it was dirty? What the hell happened? Why did it happen without me? I WAS SUPPOSED TO GO GOD DAMMIT! I AM THE COMMANDER! I AM EXPECTED TO BE THE FIRST IN, LAST OUT! One killed and 9 wounded. On one f**king mission! I know my men are better than that, so there was a failure somewhere, but where? I wanted answers.

So I'm in the car, sitting in the driveway where it's the only place I can get some privacy. I'm bawling my eyes out, feeling like I betrayed my men. The sames ones that were counting on me. The men I swore to lead by my own example. Example? Yea, right! They're over there and I'm over here. They're getting shot at while I sit in my family room and watch cable TV. I'm miserable. I'm wallowing in my own misery and failure. I'm supposed to support the troops, all of their families, my First Sergeant and my commander. Who the hell is supporting me?

Finally the answer comes at 1942 hours with the Combat Report through the JOC. All of my 10 soldiers were on a convoy patrol in downtown Baghdad. The lead vehicle runs over an IED which disables the vehicle. The blast punches through the floor, breaking both legs of the driver, who was eventually killed. Everybody else in the vehicle bail out of the right side since the enemy is putting suppressive fire on the entire convoy from the left. The hatch gunner jumps up out of the top of the vehicle and is shot in the leg before he jumps down the right side, breaking a leg. The driver, with both of his legs broken, ripped with shrapnel from the magnesium and fiberglass of the truck pulls out his sidearm and starts taking well-aimed shots at the advancing enemy. He smokes three before he is shot in the left thigh. He reaches behind him for his M-16 and nails another two before the RPG slams into the side of the truck, killing him instantly. He bought the squad enough time to find cover and return fire, killing another 10 guerillas. The combat action is over and MEDEVAC is called. Four soldiers have shrapnel to the face and neck. Powder burns in their eyes. And they kept firing, identifying targets before they pulled the trigger. Three have emergency surgery and are now on their way to Germany for more treatment, and then a plane ticket home. Three have minor injuries and are return-to-duty. One is accounted for, medical status unknown. But they are alive because of the driver and what he did. He wouldn't let them pull him out. He stayed where he was and put enough rounds down range to protect his squad. Not one civilian was hurt because of his marksmanship.

His name was David Roustum. He was 22. He was studying for a BA in Chemical Engineering and he was an average student. He was an amateur bodybuilder, health freak, and all around American Son. He had a lot of girlfriends but not one love. He had close friends and he served with most of them. He was helpful to his father, caring for his mother, and in the prime of his life. He was a natural leader, looked up to by his fellow soldiers, tutored by his NCOs, and one of the few I was actively recruiting for OCS. He had the potential to do anything, which is now gone. Gone because of these "freedom fighters" and their terrible, cowardly ways.

I resigned myself, long ago, to the idea that soldiers would die under my command. But I always envisioned myself far away, writing a letter to a young son's father at a makeshift table too busy with everything going on in a combat zone to really understand the depth of loss; too worried about the other soldiers I had left to place myself at a gravesite in my dress blues presenting a flag; taking solace in the fact that I wouldn't have to look someone in the eye and tell them why their child is dead. He is dead because I was in Boston, immersing my selfish id in Italian motorbikes. He is dead because he did his job the only way he knew how which was always the best way possible. He is dead because the Army didn't see fit to send me with the Company I spent three long and hard years training for bad days I knew were ahead.

Before they deployed I asked everyone to write down one thing they wanted me to know before they left. "Death Letters" were not allowed. They were to write something to me, personally, about them that I didn't already know. This young and intelligent man writes an essay, which was subsequently published in the newspaper after they deployed, and which I now post here in memoriam of his courageous sacrifice. To all of you who disagree with the motivations or reasons given for why our soldiers are in Iraq I challenge you to read his commentary and say afterward that he did not believe in his purpose. Damn to you who believe he died for a lie, or for oil, or for a New World Order.

Throwing Down the Gauntlet

I have something that I really, really, and I mean REALLY need to get off my chest. Islamic extremists, the same ones who are trying so desperately to fend off the eventual democratization of Iraq, the same ones who flew aircraft into the World Trade Center, the same ones who bombed the U.S.S. Cole, the same ones who bombed the Khobar Towers, the same ones who destroyed the Marine barracks in Beirut, are nothing but pure unadulterated cowards.

Letís be clear about something. Iím not talking about the normal followers of Islam. Iím not talking about the contractor that comes into work and sits in front of his computer all day, wears a tie (which makes you look really bad), and works 14 hours a day to send three-fourths of his paycheck home to his family. Iím not talking about the Muslims that are completely focused on making a better life for their children. Iím talking about Wahhabiists. For the uninitiated, Wahhabiism is the official and only religion of Saudi Arabia and bin Laden. Wahhabissm is the completely perverted interpretation of the Quoran that professes legality for a husband that publicly executes his wife if he feels she has dishonored him. Wahhabiism is the same belief that represses half of their population (women) and refuses to let them receive an education past the fourth grade. Wahhabiism is the same belief that will not allow women to publicly work, hold political office, or even go out in public without covering every piece of their body except the eyes. Is it just me or is there something wrong here?

How can any religion which professes to believe in a benevolent God, or any God for that matter, justify such acts? The answer is simpleÖit canít. And therein lies the true cowardice of its followers.

Why do I say Islamist extremists are cowards? Thatís easy. They run from a fair fight. They terrorize their own people with homicide bombings Ė all the while thinking that this will turn public opinion against the United States. The convince their own offspring, the future of their own people, that it is glorious to die with a bomb strapped to their waist, while they themselves hide behind a black mask and television camera. They bomb the buildings and facilities of military personnel who are not in an armed and ready status. They kidnap the innocent; policemen, women, and volunteer foreign aid workers. They parade their victims on Al-Jazeera and the Internet, threatening to behead their prisoners if countries will not completely withdraw from Iraq. Any normal person who has any control of their mental faculties will tell you that this nothing but a vain exercise in futility.

Guerilla tactics aside, their modus operandi is to use shadow tactics that go not only against the Geneva Convention and every international law regarding armed conflict known to man, but they target non-combatants as opportunities. They declare Jihad, or holy war, against the so-called infidels (a.k.a. ďusĒ) for violations we have committed against them. Where is their government declaring war upon us? Nowhere. Where is the U.N. outrage against the policies of the United States in the Middle East region when we bring in metric tons of food and water and promote a peaceful resolution between Israel and Palestine? Nowhere. Where is the world outcry against their war tactics that make the Nazis look like Boy Scouts? Nowhere. And yet we, the United States, the one country that donates more money in foreign aid per annum than the entire European Continent combined are decried as the instigators, the aggressors, the Great Evil that must be wiped off the face of the earth. We, the United States, the one country that had the guts, the gumption, to call out the Soviet Union onto the playground and face them down, are looked at as a people trying to keep our boot on world progress and freedom. And they, the cowards, honestly believe that they could do better.

Hereís a news flash, ladies and gentlemen. I am not a coward. I am not afraid of their scare tactics. I am the big, burly, gentle giant that stands ready to pulverize the mouthy, nerdy little mean kid in the cafeteria that tries to bully everyone. I am a trained, skilled, practiced soldier. I am a professional. I have honor, courage, dignity. I have spent my career training myself to be the best in my fieldÖkilling bad people, like Isalmist extremists, in new and interesting ways. I work for a commander who has earned my respect, and that hasn't happened often. His name is Captain Michael Batt. He is Crusader-6 and he is a leader, a killer in the first degree and he has trained me well. He has made me one of the best Infantrymen in New York. He has honed my skills and shown me what a real leader is all about. I have a bone to pick with the cowards after 9-11 and I am ready.

A message to the Islamists: Come to us and we will give you a true fight. Come to us and we will show you the nature of pain. Come to us and we will show you the face of your beloved Allah before we kill you. Come to us and we will rip your mask from your face and expose you and your cowardice to the world. Come to us and we will teach you everything we know up close and personal. Come to us and we will make the world a better place.

When we are done killing you we will teach your women to read and write, we will let your women go to work, and we will give your people the freedom to create whatever government they want as long as it is their own choice. We will show them that we are not the monsters you say we are. We will show them that they are better off without you. We will give them the ability to kill you themselves.

Donít kill your own defenseless people. Try to kill me. Donít kidnap the innocent. Try to take me. Donít drive a bomb into your own neighborhood. Try to drive a bomb into my neighborhood. Donít hide your face. Be a real man and have the honor of showing it to me before I put my fist into it. Donít threaten the innocent who are helping the people you are trying to control by killing them with your cowardly attacks. Try to kill the ones I love. Try to threaten the ones I love.

You are a virus upon the world. You take your religion and use it to justify your Neanderthal-like, barbaric acts that you commit against your own people. You wrap yourself in a blanket of religion when you act like the bigoted backwards people you are. You don't understand the value of peaceful faith combined with social evolution. You donít have the intelligence to form your own nation, create your own government, or become involved in the political process of the countries you inhabit. Your kind have a name where I live, La Familia - the Mob, gangsters, thugs, crooks and thieves - cowards all.

I am slapping you in the face and throwing my glove at your feet. Do you have the courage to pick it up and face me? Do you have the inner strength to drive the knife into my chest while I strangle you and release the hold you have on a suppressed people? I am ready to die for my country and my people and what I know is right and good. Are you?

We will see.

Specialist David Roustum is the last on the right. The other soldiers in this picture are his truck-buddies. This was taken just before they were reassigned from Tikrit to Baghdad, at the beginning of September. The ones that had the discipline to engage the enemy through their wounds and pain and blurred vision. The ones who screamed at him to get the hell out of the truck, not to shoot but just drag his ass out of the goddamned truck. They are the ones he died saving. They are YOUR National Guard. "Weekend Warrior"? My ass. They are Soldiers.

You will always have an empty spot in my formations, David. God speed, trooper, and I will see you on the flip-side. You better have your boots shined by the time I get there, too.

Excuse me while I now go contemplate my own worth.

Michael Batt

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