This is page 95 of my graphic novel about the Iraq War.
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On a personal note, I recently learned that SFC Ricardo Young was killed in action in Ghazni last month. SFC Young’s overall excellence and unique attitude provided at least part of the inspiration for the unnamed NCO character in the story that I am just about to finish here, although it goes without saying that nothing I could write could come close to capturing the man’s tremendous personality.
I met SFC Young during a deployment to Iraq in 2008-9 and he was, without any question at all, the finest noncommissioned officer that I have ever served with and one of the best human beings I have ever met. He had my back for most of the deployment against everything from billion year-old knife-wielding Iraqi farmers, to mortar and small arms fire, to the COS Marez MPs. The Soldiers absolutely loved him and not a day went by when I wasn’t grateful to have him on the team. I would have trusted him with anything. As a Soldier and as a family man, in every respect, he was outstanding.
I do not know the exact circumstances of his death. I do note that no other American Soldiers were killed in that engagement, which I can only attribute in large part to his leadership. Alongside his children, all of those young men who came back alive are his legacy.
“If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.”
— Ernest Hemingway