We Remember Staff Sgt. Joshua Melton
- by Jeff Rose
Monday was not the easiest way to start a week. Writing this post is not the easiest thing to do.
This morning I caught a news feed that read “Two Illinois National Guardsmen Killed in Afghanistan”. Immediately my heart dropped.
Having safely returned home from Iraq in March 2006, I felt so blessed that I and every soldier from C 2/123rd Field Artillery returned home safely. A few scares but nothing more than close call stories that you can share with friends every now and then. After nine years of National Guard service I retired. It’s hard to walk away from something that’s been part of your life for so long, but I knew it was time. Others that deployed with me felt they had more to offer. More to sacrifice. One of those soldiers was SSG Joshua Melton.
SSG Melton was only an E-4 Specialist when we were in Baghdad. He quickly jumped up in rank upon arriving home showing his loyalty and love for his country. He didn’t have to go back. He could be home with his wife and his one year old daughter. Many of my buddies that were previously deployed didn’t have to go. They volunteered. They sacrificed. SSG Melton made the ultimate sacrifice.
26 years of age, SSG Melton’s vehicle was hit while on a convoy in Afghanistan. He wasn’t the only killed that day. I also learned that another was killed and two other soldiers were injured including one that deployed with me. He was flown to Germany. At this time I don’t know the extent of his injuries. All I can do is pray.
The American Spirit Mustang is sad to announce that Bill Riechmann died on Friday June 3rd 2011. Bill Riechmann was instrumental in the development and application of the body wrap on the American Spirit Mustang and as a 20 Air Force Veteran is placed on the front bumper of the American Spirit Mustang.
When I first approached Bill with the idea of the American Spirit Mustang Bill understood the project but didn’t show much interest…I later learned of Bill’s military background and his service to our country and I understood the memories that hunted him from his time in the military. Bill once told me that the American Spirit Mustang idea was just too close and the memories to strong that he did not feel he could do the project no matter how much he wanted to. Bill later told me that realized that he could not walk away from this project he could not trust someone else with this project it had to be done by someone who understood the meaning, who lived the life, who served and understood this car had to be perfect and nothing less would be acceptable.
Over time Bill and I became good friends…and he took enormous pride in the American Spirit Mustang, and he once told me that the car was the crown jewel achievement in his career. I know the car brought Bill a lot of happiness and the work that Bill did on the car is second to none, Bill will be missed as a friend but I believe his spirit will live on in the American Spirit Mustang. Bill is going to be buried at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis Missouri with full Military honors…he will be remembered every time the American Spirit Mustang is on the road. Rest in Peace Bill…and thanks for all the memories!
Air Force Master Sergeant Jeff Shrewsbury served with the 235th CEF and recipient of a Bronze Star.
CPL. Glenn H. Pennington
Rifleman in Company G,
Reagan, Roscoe R. "Rocky," 90, passed away Friday, Jan. 6, 2012. Rocky joined the Army where he served as a 1st lieutenant in the Army Air Corps. He was a flying instructor and a B-29 bomber pilot in World War II. After serving his country, he attained a bachelor's degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Wichita State University and subsequently worked as a design engineer for Douglas Aircraft in Tulsa, Okla.