Friday, July 08, 2005

We are the Boys of Old Florida...

One of the soldiers killed in the ambush of the rescue mission of the missing SEAL team in Afghanistan was a graduate of the University of Florida, my alma mater twice over. Here is an excerpt from a good piece on this brave young man in a recent edition of the Gainesville Sun:

A Navy SEAL killed in an Afghanistan helicopter crash June 28 fostered his hopes of joining the elite special forces branch while studying statistics at the University of Florida.

After his first year of college, James Erik Suh came home for summer break transformed from a skinny teenager to a muscular man, said Linda Cleveland, a Boca Raton woman whose son was best friends with Suh growing up in Deerfield Beach.
SNIPSuh graduated from UF with a bachelor's degree in 2000, then enlisted in the Navy in 2001. His SEAL training began about five months later.

The 28-year-old was ranked petty officer 2nd class when he deployed to Afghanistan this year.

He was not allowed to tell anyone where he was, but Cleveland "had that feeling in the pit of my stomach" when she heard that a Chinook helicopter carrying a special forces unit was shot down last week in eastern Afghanistan. Suh's sister, Claudia Suh Bown, of San Francisco, later called and confirmed that James Suh was among the 16 soldiers killed. A rocket-propelled grenade hit their helicopter during a rescue mission above the mountains of Kunar Province.

Shortly before the attack, Suh's father, Solomon Suh, found a Father's Day gift hidden in his bedroom with a letter from his son that said, "When we were growing up we were poor. But we never felt poor because you took us to the beach every day, taught us how to play tennis and took us to the library."

Rest in Peace, Soldier. May Heaven be covered in Orange and Blue for your arrival.
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