In memory of SFC James Priestap (my platoon sgt.). Killed by a sniper at Checkpoint 17 while distributing food and water to the Iraqi Police. Moments before his death, he was smiling and giving candy to the kids in the area. He was a man with a wife and 2 kids, ages 11 and 9.
Kim say’s that he wasn’t even supposed to be at that post when he died:
We found out a couple of days after his death that he actually wasn’t supposed to be at the checkpoint at the time, but the generator blew out. Apparently, two other guys were assigned to go out and restart it, but, since Jim was in charge of the platoon, he went out instead because he felt responsible for his men. It was then that he was shot. That was Jim, always putting the well-being of his men before himself. And helping others was what Jim was all about. After Hurricane Katrina devastated the gulf coast region, he traveled to New Orleans and spent a month there to help rebuild the area and assist those whose lives had been turned upside down.
I’ll end with this sentiment from one of the men who was with him when he was shot:
This incident may have dented our morale here, but we will NOT stand down and we will NOT back away. We will be back out at Checkpoint 17 soon and those motherfuckers better be ready to die. They may think they’ve had a victory on thanksgiving day but they haven’t seen the wrath of my squad and the sheer anger we now have growing inside us all. After we took SFC Priestap’s weapon we divided up the rounds in the magazine to everyone in the squad. The first round in the chamber of our M4 rifles is one of his tracer rounds and it will be the first round out of the barrel in his name. He will not have died in vain.
Sounds like SFC Priestap trained some very good men. A sign of a great leader.
Rest in peace James.