"We served with honor. We served with valor. We earned distinction."
Lots of folks had lots of theories about why the Army made such a big deal of it. Mine is that the Army wanted to get out in front of "another Abu Ghraib," and a group of "nasty Guard" soldiers made good poster children. It was sound PR, but lousy teamwork.
I had been made aware of the details during the summer, but could not comment on them until they became public, so instead I seethed quietly, knowing how heroic this unit truly was and how unfairly their image was being tainted; not so much by the actions of a few stupid men, but instead by the "real" Army trying to protect their own image, not to mention the asses of their 'career soldiers'.
The truth is finally out in this piece, "The War You Didn't See" written by 1st Lt. Robert CJ Parry who served with The Nightstalkers, and while I can only hope that this will finally spotlight the many accomplishments and heroic actions of this unit, nothing will ever make up for the hell they and their families suffered at the hands of an ignorant self serving media aided by an Army PR office determined on making scapegoats of brave heroic selfless men who exemplified the virtues of duty and honor.
Our unit — supposedly just a band of weekend warriors from the National Guard — was selected by the Army's renowned 3rd Infantry Division to take on its primary challenge: taking control of a sector of south Baghdad that was home to leading Baathists and Al Qaeda fanatics. In that capacity, we conducted more than 7,000 combat patrols totaling nearly half a million man-hours. We captured more insurgents in one month than did whole brigades. We stand nominated (with the rest of our brigade) for a Valorous Unit Award.
Capt Dan Bout, 1st Lt. Russ Currie, Major Greg Krapperman, as well as S.Sgt Nuzez, 1st Lt.Cheng, Sgt.1st Class Chebatah, Sgt.1st Class Tom Stone, 1st Lt. Robert C.J. Parry, and 600 Soldiers of California National Guard 1-184th, including those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, served with courage, with honor, with valor, and earned distinction.