Showing posts with label Blogs Milbloggers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blogs Milbloggers. Show all posts

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The last post of 5/20 Milblogger Jordan Shay KIA Iraq Sept 2 2009

The last post of 5/20 Milblogger Jordan Shay KIA Iraq Sept 2 2009

HT @Michael_Yon Milblogger Through Amber Lenses Jordan Shay 22 KIA Iraq 5th Battalion 20th Inf Reg See

Through Amber Lenses



Thank you Jordan for all your work. Rest in peace, your labor is done. We salute you. Your sacrifice will not be forgotten. Kels, let us know if there is anything you need.


Amesbury soldier killed in Iraq By Marie Szaniszlo Friday, September 4, 2009 Local Coverage

Article URL:

A 22-year-old Amesbury soldier was killed this week on his second tour of duty in Iraq, town officials said.

Jordan Shay, an E4 leader in an attack company assigned to the 5th Battalion of the 20th Infantry regiment, was killed Tuesday, said Kristen LaRue, director of veterans services.

Details about how Shay was killed have not yet been released. But he belonged to the 3rd Stryker Brigade, based in Fort Lewis, Wash., and was on his third tour of duty, LaRue said.

The day before he was killed was the last time he logged on to his MySpace [
website] page, where a clock counting down how many days he had left in the Army is still running.

“Our hearts and our prayers are with the Shay family,” she said. “As a community, we are standing together to assist the family in any way.”

Flags have been lowered to half-staff across town in memory of Shay, who graduated from Amesbury High School in 2005.

Article URL:

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Friday, September 04, 2009

Through Amber Lenses, A Light

At times he must have been no more than two hundred feet from me, but I never had the privilege to meet Jordan Shay. Together we chewed up the most inhospitable terrain on earth, and back on Ft. Lewis, we worked daily in the same dilapidated Korean War era barracks. The only connection I shared with Jordan was through the comments section of his blog, which I keep linked on the top of the page under our unit crest. Though our companies faced a heated inter-battalion rivalry, Attack Company was always in the thick of combat with my company, Battle. They shouldered a far greater burden than us, sustaining eight KIAs to our two. Jordan, at 22 years old, saw more combat than a lot of crusty old vets before he could legally buy a beer. For his third combat tour with the 3rd Stryker Brigade, Jordan started a blog to chronicle his experience. He named it
Through Amber Lenses, the color of his sunglasses. He wanted to explain to the world what he saw with a bright amber tint.

What I read when I checked his most recent comment section hit me straight in the gut. "RIP Jordan." I rushed to the DoD announcement page and found nothing. Through a Google search I confirmed my worst fear:
Jordan Shay, 22 years young, killed in Iraq.

Read the rest here:

Be sure to check out Spc. Jordan Shay’s blog:

Here, pasted below, I want to preserve his last post:

Be sure to go here: to read the comments – and perhaps say a few words of thanks and condolences. Keep his family and Kels in your prayers as you enjoy Labor Day, brought to you by the sacrifice of Spc Shay and too many others like him…

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Promised "Real" Post!

The back ramp of the Stryker dropped to reveal a dusty, rundown Iraqi Police station in a nondescript Baqubah suburb. We stepped out of the truck onto the ramp, and took the two foot drop to the ground in stride. Todd took off for a walk around the compound; I motioned for the rest of our squad and followed after him. The walk revealed a typical IP station, a large walled courtyard surrounding an average size building. The courtyard was filled with trash, sewage, broken generators and spare parts to nonexistent machines.

Leaning up against the back of the building we discovered half of a rusted Russian heavy machine gun, and another piece of a Cold War era anti-aircraft gun. No big deal, except both weapons had been used against our company two years prior during the retaking of the city of Baqubah. Pretending this find meant the IPs were doing their job and taking dangerous weapons off the street and not that they were the average two-faced insurgents, we rounded the last corner of the compound and headed for the front gate.

Thanks to the hand-tying status of forces agreement between Iraq and the United States, American soldiers are not allowed to operate in urban areas without having the Iraqi Police or Iraqi Army present. Exceptions apply, but they're few and far between.

By the time our squad had regrouped around the front of the building, our IA escort forces from outside the city had exited their humvees and stood around smoking and joking with each other. They were dressed in USMC desert fatigues, military body armor, and commercial tactical vests. They were also carrying clean weapons outfitted with modern American optics and flashlights. Apparently, Iraqi Army Special Forces are fairly well funded.

We passed them by and headed out the gate, since our absurdly strict platoon leader wasn't around to stop us. One lonely IP stood guard just outside the entrance to the station. He remained rooted to the ground while we moved past him and out into the neighborhood. We figured he'd count as our Iraqi escort if someone important came along. Crossing a small lot with a few scattered cars and trash piles, a pack of four or five dogs picked up our scent and barked to alert the area to our presence. We held up at the far side of the lot, less than a hundred meters from the IP station. A group of kids had been playing around in the street, but had scattered as soon as we left the station. In previous years, that was a bad sign. Kids scattered and plugged their ears before roadside bombs detonated.

This time around, it's a different war. "War" is hardly the word to describe the current situation. Anyway, the unit we're replacing didn't spend a single second of their tour mingling with the locals around this particular IP station. It had been months since the last American foot patrol through their village. They peeked around corners and out from behind courtyard gates. Families weaving around rubble and small rivers of sewage eyeballed us suspiciously, rarely returning a wave.

Two young boys crept closer, stopping about ten meters ahead of us. I motioned to them to come closer while Todd called to them in broken Arabic. Cautiously, the older of the two darted up to us. Todd pulled a pack of gum from his pants pocket and handed a piece to the boy, who looked confused but optimistic. Todd pulled out another piece for himself, and popped it in his mouth. The boy smiled and darted back to the safety of his house. When he stuck his head out a moment later, he was chewing happily and surrounded by a new group of local kids.

I motioned again to them, and a younger boy came running up over the broken bricks and dirt littering the street. I handed him a little pack of Sweet Tarts as my squad started moving back to the police station. He accepted happily and ran back to the house. I turned and followed the squad out of the neighborhood and back through the guarded station entrance, offering the lone IP a wave as he closed the gate behind me.

We walked up to the front of the building, wondering where our blundering platoon leader was. The Iraqi Army Special Forces soldiers were still lounging around, smoking cheap cigarettes in the scorching afternoon sun. Approaching them, they welcomed us with open arms and all sorts of broken English. Cigarettes were offered all around, we removed our helmets and gloves, and relaxed. The language barrier is always difficult to overcome, but through the few Arabic phrases I remember from my first deployment and creative sign language, we got to know each other. We examined each others rifles and pistols, resisted the pleas of the IA soldiers to trade watches and jokingly traded insults. An American private from Guam was played up as an Iraqi who forgot how to speak Arabic, and the sexual preference of all involved was questioned. Some things are funny to soldiers no matter their nationality.

A number of the Iraqi soldiers pulled out mobile phones with built-in cameras to take pictures with us. In true Iraqi style, they showed us pictures of their wives and children and poked fun at each other before finally settling down to pose for pictures. Todd took a few pictures with my camera, then moved into the group for a few more.

Our platoon leader emerged from the station a short time later, and ordered us back onto the trucks. We said goodbye to our new friends and loaded up into our Strykers. As our convoy pulled out of the compound onto the bumpy village roads, we offered the locals a final wave. Surrounded by young kids, even the parents waved back.


It's scary to think the few minutes my squad spent outside the police station interacting with the local kids, showing that we're there to be friendly and help the Iraqis, and proving we're not afraid to wander the streets alone may set the tone in KBS for the rest of our deployment.

Also interesting to note: According to the interpreter we had along with us today, the citizens of Baqubah (and most of Diyala Province) fear the men who wear the patch with the Indian head and star on a black shield (2nd Infantry Division.) When asked about 5-20 Infantry, they talk of the grey phantoms (rough translation) who appear in the night, move without sound, and rain incredible destruction down upon their enemies. At the same time, they praise our battalion for driving Al Qaeda out of their city, out of their neighborhoods, and out of their children's lives.

We are respected in Baqubah. We are also feared. Our battalion has a fantastic opportunity to use these facts to our advantage and make a real difference before the withdrawal of all combat forces in the summer of next year. We made a difference in 2007, we could do it again in 2009. I fear we will not.

From Diyala Province,



Jordan is currently serving as an infantry fireteam leader in the somewhat infamous but downward spiraling 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment. He's fed up with the Army life, but probably won't be able to succeed in the civilian world anyway.View my complete profile

2009 (16)
August (7)
The Promised "Real" Post!
The New Guys...
Same FOB, New Faces
it's been three days...
Be Prepared...
D-Day + 6ish
Live From Kuwait...
July (3)
The (Second) Day of Reckoning
Catch you...
June (4)
grey lenses
the new theme
Not really a post...
May (2)

20090905 sdsom last post 5 20 Milblogger Jordan KIA Sept 2 2009 The last post of 5/20 Milblogger Jordan Shay KIA Iraq Sept 2 2009

Be sure to read Through Amber Lenses, A Light

Be sure to go here leave TY & condolences

Keep his family & Kels n your prayers as you enjoy Labor Day brought 2 you by t sacrifice of men & women n uniform