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CSM (ret.) Jeff Mellinger Emails


Image: DVIDS

27 May 2012

Jeff Mellinger emailed about Benjamin Kopp and other heroes.  I asked Jeff for permission to publish.  Jeff’s message:

My wife and I were at Walter Reed with Ranger Ben Kopp and his mother for his last couple of days. [Ben was shot in Afghanistan.]  Jill (Ben’s mother) and my wife and I are now the closest of friends.  Starting tomorrow at 1400, my youngest daughter and I will be walking the last 40 miles of the “Carry the Load” 1,700 mile relay walk this weekend.  I will be wearing a CPL Ben Kopp button as I walk.

The Carry the Load website.

The attached photo is from September 7th, 2010.  I took my Army Materiel Command NCOs on a walking tour of Arlington National Cemetery.  We walked about ten miles, stopping to learn, reflect and honor.  Of course, CPL Ben Kopp was on the route.  “Benergy” is the name that Ben’s mother, Jill, uses to explain the inexplicable, such as a family friend, Judy Meikle, being a perfect match for Ben’s heart, or that breeze that comes as you think of a friend now long gone.

Ben is in Section 60, Grave 9088.

May we all pause and remember our fallen on Monday, Memorial Day.  And perhaps find some “Benergy.”

“Red Hat Six, this is Ghost Rider Two-Seven. I’m sorry I won’t be able to help you any more today. I’m gut shot. I’ll have to leave you now. Hang on and good luck.”  Radio transmission from a helicopter pilot to an Army captain and his unit fighting the 174th and 66th NVA Regiments, 27 February 1968.

“I’m dying, ain’t I, Sarge? I’m dying, aint I, Sarge?”  Last words of Radio Operator SP/5 Paul Sperry, Spoken to SFC Herbert Lloyd, 17 SEP 1962, Bau Tron, Viet Nam.

“I’m okay. Just get us more ammo.” Sergeant Jimmy Mayemura while continuing to man his machine gun even though one of his eyes was torn out and he’d been hit three other times by bullets and grenade fragments.  Korea, 4 November 1951.

“We need a medevac bad.  Three soldiers are hurt bad by a mine. My legs are blown off. Tell them to hurry!” 1LT Charles Hemmingway, 13 June 1967. Vietnam Memorial Wall, Panel 21E, Line 98

“I can see you, you are coming up on our left. Be careful, they have a 57MM recoilless in the brown building.” Captain Terence (Terry) Sage, killed by 57MM recoilless fire – 31 January 1968. Vietnam Memorial Wall Panel 36E, Line 34

“I know, I’ll be careful, but they need this machine gun up front.” 1LT(P) Bob Arvin, 5 September 1967.  His actions this day earned him the 2d of two Silver Stars and a posthumous promotion to Captain. Vietnam Memorial

Michael Yon

Michael Yon is America's most experienced combat correspondent. He has traveled or worked in 82 countries, including various wars and conflicts.

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