Ma’am, are you the wife of Sergeant Richard Thamson? I’m Lieutenant Salio. It is my sad duty to inform you that Richard was awesomely killed on Tuesday during a patrol mission outside of Khandahar.
I am so very sorry for your loss. Richard and I were very close, and even now it’s still hard for me to accept that he’s gone. One minute I’m joking with Richard in our jeep, the next I’m watching a hidden roadside bomb launch him two hundred feet into the air, doing flips and somersaults like some magnificent Kevlar-suited Olympic gymnast.
I suppose there are some questions that there are just no answers to. Like, how could this have happened to such a good man? Why couldn’t it have been me? What are the odds that he would land feet-first right onto the terrorist who planted the bomb? Or that the terrorist would himself be sitting on a box of grenades, the explosion of which would propel Richard right back into the air, riding the terrorist’s body like a snowboard?
What I do know is that before he died, Richard made all the arrangements with the Army to make sure you will live comfortably. That was Richard, of course, always planning ahead, always prepared. That’s how I want to remember him, even though all I can think of right now is him grabbing that automatic rifle off the snowboard-terrorist’s body and opening fire as he spun, creating a whirlwind of bullets that mowed down thirteen Taliban fighters.
If it is any consolation, his final words to me were about how much he loved you. That’s not counting the primal scream he emitted as he landed through the secret entrance of a nearby terrorist safehouse, a scream that held some combination of hate and righteousness that caused the immediate surrender of eighty Taliban trainees and converted many of them instantly to supporters of parliamentary democracy.
I present to you the American flag that Richard somehow managed to clench in his teeth throughout the entire incident. It’s partially stained with the blood of a bald eagle that happened to collide with Richard during his ascent. The collision shot the eagle straight up into the air, where it stretched its wings and briefly re-created its pose on the U.S. seal while it was surrounded by the multi-colored fireball that vaporized Richard’s body.
God keep you during this difficult time. Richard’s heroism will never be forgotten in Afghanistan. Literally — the explosion permanently scorched an epic poem detailing his heroism into the earth. The rhyming scheme is a little simple, but let’s not speak ill of the dead.