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Sunday, May 1, 2016

There are heroes among us

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Phillip and Glen Fenwick
When U.S. Army Spec. Glen Fenwick left with his unit Charlie Company, 17th Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade for Afghanistan last July, there were 14 men in his unit. Within six months, only four were alive. Glen is one of those survivors. Altogether, 21 soldiers died.

Glen's unit first saw action in Afghanistan on Aug. 14; six days later they had another encounter and his best friend Tyler Walshe was killed.

His father Bainbridge Town Marshal Rodney Fenwick recalled the story told to him by his daughter-in-law Shawna (Glen's wife) about his son's friend's death.

Walshe's wife, "Curt" was visiting Shawna in Tacoma, Wash. at the time.

"I know what it feels like to see two men in dress blues walking to your door. When I saw them I fell on the floor afraid to go to the door. I couldn't breath," she told Rodney. "I opened the door and they said it's not Glen. I had to go wake up Curt. I was crying so hard I couldn't wake her up. I felt sorry for the officers with two women on the floor crying, one because it wasn't her husband and the other because it was."

According to his father, from the time he could walk, Glen wanted to be in the military. After he graduated from North Putnam High School in 2000, he headed to college. But after six months, he realized it wasn't for him. He got a job at Ballcamp in Plainfield, married Shawna and grew his family. He continued racing his car in the NHRA with his brother Phillip.

Eventually, he realized something was missing. He came to his father and told him to sit down.

"I've got something I've got to do," he said.

He told his dad he had signed up to serve in the Army. At the same time, his younger brother Phillip also signed up in the Army Reserve. Phillip is in the process of changing his military status so he can work with Special Forces, specifically with the Army's "Zapper," a piece of equipment that can help build things or blow them up.

"As a parent, I back them 100 percent. Glen lost his home and just about everything after signing up. He couldn't afford it anymore, but he had to do what his country needed," said Rodney.

"The first nine months were really tough. He couldn't see his kids or wife but he handled it. Over time he has had many types of specialized training and he is headed toward where he wants to be, which is in the Special Forces," he continued.

About being deployed to Afghanistan, Glen is firm in his belief that serving in the military is right for him.

"I'm doing what has to be done to protect my family, protect your family, protect everybody's family," he told his father.

The deaths of so many men in such a short time frame in one division has caused a controversy within the army command. According to the Army Times, Stryker soldiers say commanders failed them in the Afghanabad River Valley where they were deployed.

It was July when the 1-17 deployed to Afghanistan, and August when the battalion moved into the Arghamdab. Within 48 hours, they were in combat with some of the 200-300 insurgents in the 'green zone' -- a 14-mile-by-4-mile patchwork of small fields, orchards and vineyards. The dense foliage and high mud walls offered insurgents ample hiding placed for the booby traps the military refers to improvised explosive devices.

The first soldier to die was Spec. Troy Tim. The casualties mounted steeply, climaxing Oct. 27 when seven solders and an interpreter died when their Stryker was destroyed by the force of an estimated 1,500 pounds of homemade explosive buried in the banks of the river. By early December, the battalion had lost 21 men.

U.S. Army Spec. Glen Fenwick is part of Charlie Company in the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade, and 2nd Infantry Division. He is on the far right. His unit arrived in Afghanistan in July and within six months only four of these men were alive.
The Army News article says that members of the I-17 had spent two years training for combat but for the wrong theater. They were training for Iraq. But in February their orders changed and they were headed for Afghanistan.

"The principles are the same, but the details are night and day, and we've learned that the hard way over the last almost five months," said one soldier in the article.

Rodney knows that Glen loves his job and he hates his job. He re-upped for another six years, knowing he will most likely be back in Afghanistan if he makes it home.

"He has gotten into it a couple of times with protestors. He didn't start anything but he responded to them because he feels like they don't want to hear what he has to say," said Rodney.

"They talk about rights and I have a right to my opinion. They get mad at me for my opinion but I'm not mad about theirs. I'd like to have them come over here for one day and see what the world is really like," said Glen.

He worries about the treatment of women and children in Afghanistan.

"They don't want us to leave. They don't want things to go back to where they can be treated so inhumanely. Women and girls there have no rights. They are abused, raped and killed," he told his father.

When asked how he feels about the danger his son Glen is in, and that Phillip may be in soon, Rodney is philosophic.

"Life is what it is. I've been a cop most of my life. I don't look at things the same way most people do. They are doing what has to be done in a world where there are a certain number of people to do what has to be done," said Rodney.

"If anything happened to any of my children it would be traumatic, but I know they are doing what they believe in. Glen is not scared to die for something he believes in. I've come to the realization that if it's his time, it will happen whether it's there or here," Rodney said.

When Glen returns to his home base in Tacoma, where Shawna and his three kids, 7-year-old Chase, 5-year-old Kadince and 2-year-old Jorja wait for him. He will go to several specialty training schools in preparation for a new assignment in Special Forces.

His brother Phillip is married to Robin and has a daughter Hayliegh, 23 months old. He will soon be leaving Terre Haute and heading to war.

"I believe when you are doing what you believe in and for the betterment of other people, God has his hand on you. But I always believe when it is time, it's time. My wife Kathleen and I both look at it this way," said Rodney.

"My sons still believe in what they are doing. I've taught them life is what it is. Are they patriots?" he asks. "Yes, they are."

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First of all, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. For protecting us, for protecting our freedoms that others seem to take for granted. The people that are protesting the war need to stop and think it is because of men and women like you that they even have the "right" to protest!!!! Thank you to your wives and family for supporting you and your decisions. It is wonderful to know that my children and family are safer because of what you do everyday and what you endure everyday. I am so sorry to hear about the other soldiers in the unit. But they fought and died for what they believe in. God Bless them and their families and God Bless you!!! Next time one of them protesters want to give you their opinion, show them the way to the front lines and let them form their protest lines in front of you. Again, God Bless all the soldiers of the Unites States of America both alive and deceased and their families. God Bless you too!!!

-- Posted by growupandgetreal on Wed, Jan 20, 2010, at 1:13 AM

I would like to thank Glen and Phillip and their families. But, I would also like to thank every military person and their families. I don't have the courage it takes to do the job.

-- Posted by Taxpayer5253 on Wed, Jan 20, 2010, at 8:14 AM

It's been almost a year, our troops are still not home.. we are now trillions of dollars in debt. women getting alot of years for stealing , and others get 2 months . Our country is still the greatest in the world.

We are helping other countries out when we Need help ourselves, We have homless, unemployed, parentless but we still find time and money to help others before we help ourselves. Good job thinking of others first.... and I'm proud to of served our country.

-- Posted by Sand mann on Wed, Jan 20, 2010, at 8:48 AM

I want to thank you for your service. I have had one son that served in Iraq and another one that is fixing to go to Afghanistan in a couple months. So we know what you and your family are going thru. We will keep you all in our prayers as we do all other military person's everywhere. You are serving and protecting our great nation and we thank you for the bottom of our hearts.

-- Posted by shortsk1959 on Wed, Jan 20, 2010, at 12:54 PM

I am Glenn Fenwicks wife, and I would like to thank all the wonderful blessings that our family has recieved. Although this has been one of the hardest things our family has had to go through, I am so proud of my husband and his brother Philip for doing what most people wouldnt be able to do. I completelty support him, and look forward to the day he gets to come home. Thank you again from my family to yours.

-- Posted by armywifey on Wed, Jan 20, 2010, at 1:30 PM

A note of thanks to the extended Fenwick family, from those serving in the miltary overseas to those serving locally in law enforcement.

-- Posted by ProblemTransmission on Wed, Jan 20, 2010, at 2:59 PM

I appreciate and thankful for all that the men and women do in the armed forces. My son (whom was born in Putnam County) has served two tours in Afganistan. I am proud of him and there is no mother or father who wants to lose a child, but if they feel they are doing something for their country, I feel the parents are to back them 100 percent. Thank You to all the men and women in the armed forces. Prayers go out to all of you every day from Alabama.

-- Posted by oifmom on Thu, Jan 21, 2010, at 8:20 AM

thank you all for your support and thank you all for your help. it been diffcult here but not as bad as it could have been. It was a nice artical and i thank you for be truthful about it here. when so many people dont tell the truth how people look at it. just to let you all know im doing good the family is good and im getting ready to go on leave soon and then come back to finish this tour and go home and get started on the future. thank you all again and god bless you all

spc glenn fenwick us army


-- Posted by glenn fenwick on Thu, Jan 21, 2010, at 1:50 PM

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