The Sandbox

GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.

REST IN PEACE, CROOKSTON |

March 06, 2008

REST IN PEACE, CROOKSTON
Name: Gruntshit
Posting date: 3/6/08
Stationed in: Iraq
Hometown: Clarkston, Washington
Milblog: The Angry American

Framed_gruntshit_crookston_1_2 Recently, Duncan Crookston passed away. He had been severely wounded in the EFP attack that killed Joel Murray, David Lane, and Randy Shelton, and also wounded Joseph Mixson. When Duncan was evaced that night they had told us that he wouldn't make it through the night. He fought hard for five months. He had the Doctors at BAMC* perplexed.

Duncan had come to my squad late in the year in 2006 right before we deployed to Iraq. The first time I met him everyone was like, "You gotta check this guy out he is the smartest dude ever." I walked down to one of the barracks rooms where he was hanging out and watched this kid complete a Rubik's Cube in under 56 seconds.

His knowledge of computers and iPODs and PSPs and electronics were unchecked in the platoon. If you had a computer problem you called Duncan. You wanted games on your PSP, take it to Duncan. Right before we left I had to have him come and fix my home PC because my wife couldn't get online to do her homework for college.

Because of his technical prowess he was moved to the Radio Telephone Operator position in the Platoon. That pissed me off because I knew that Duncan was a good Soldier and I hated losing him, but overall it was the best decision because he was the most qualified Soldier for the job.

Duncan was many things to a lot of people. He was a son, a friend, and husband to a woman that stayed by his side the whole time he was at BAMC. My heart and prayers go out to her and Duncan's family. He is definitely a hero, and a warrior.

You fought so hard, Duncan, now you can be at peace. You made an impression and impact on all those whose path your life crossed. We will remember your humor, your caring, your genius, and the bread you used to make with your bread maker. Anytime anyone picks up their PSP, or iPOD, or opens a program that you got for them on their computer, they will always think of you and remember that no matter what you were always willing to help them. I will remember the Fedalayah water. Just a drop.

I know that when he went, Murray, Lane and Shelton were waiting for him, and because God called for him there isn't any better group of guys that he could be with.

Duncan will be missed but Never Forgotten.

Here is a letter that his mother sent out to us about the battle that Duncan fought:

Dear Friends and Family,

It is with great sadness I write to you today -- Duncan passed away at 3:46 p.m. today after the decision was made to stop heroic measures. Duncan developed another infection over the past two days, the effects of which were causing him a great deal of pain and causing him to run a fever of 108* F overnight. The doctor who treated Duncan said he had never heard of anyone surviving such a high fever, and that normally the body did not allow itself to sustain such a high temperature for even 15 minutes, let alone the two hours Duncan suffered with it. The doctor said it was an indication the hypothalamus of the brain, which regulates body temperature, was damaged.

He also advised us that even though Duncan survived, he would have permanent and widespread brain damage that would eventually cause his organ systems to fail, and that his kidneys were already dialysis dependent, and he was quickly becoming ventilator dependent. Meaghun and I were asked to make a decision, and we chose to allow Duncan to die a dignified and peaceful death, so he was given a morphine drip and taken off the ventilator. He died about 45 minutes later surrounded by his beautiful wife, his mother, his battle buddy Joe Mixson and the hospital chaplain he had come to know during his stay. It is the closest thing to a "good death" one could ask for a young man who fought so hard and long, only to have the limits of his body betray him. Once we knew there was no chance of any sort of quality of life, we felt we could not ask this brave young man who lived life to its fullest to spend his remaining days hooked to machines with no chance of recovery.

Words cannot express the gratitude we feel towards all those who offered support and prayer to Duncan and our families during the past five months. We can take away from this experience the knowledge that good people exist in this world, that evil is worth fighting for that reason, and that Duncan was a proud example of a good person who did not stand by and allow it to flourish by doing nothing. Duncan would have been 20 years old tomorrow -- he will be forever 19 now, and forever missed.

Love, Lee

*BAMC: Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston

Comments

I've lost 2 patients this past month. 2 wounded soldiers, similiar to your friend, who fought valiantly and who fought long and hard. There are no words to take away your pain and I am very sorry for your loss. I wish I could do more.
Sincerely,
Clara Hart

great eulogy for your buddy. choked back tears on this one- reminded me of my buddy who was KIA in A-stan.... i dont need to tell you to drive on, you'll do it anyways
HUAH

That much talent, so much love and he will be missed, even by us that until we read the letters never knew him. May his spirit soar and find the wind beneath his wings.

There are some good people in this world, Gruntshit, and you are one of them. God Bless you, buddy.

He was a good man, your really honored his memory.

Could not choke back tears on this one. What a loss, to his family, friends, and the world. I know this kind of kid--he's bailed me and other teachers out of many a tech conundrum at Santa Cruz High.

sometimes, I dunno what to react everytime I come to know such news..it's just making me really sad.

I know they're with our creator now and they've fulfill their purpose. Just want to thank them for their bravery. May they all rest in peace.

GOD BLESS HIM AND ALL WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE AND WILL BE GONE AFTER...IT SO SAD. GOD BLESS YOU ALL AND SAFE TRAVELS

After several months in prison and having been transferred from Villa Marista to Combinado Del Este Prison, on April 2003, Dr. Biscet was charged in a summary judgment with violation of Article 91 of the Cuban Penal Code which refers to crimes against state security. This time he was sentenced to a 25 year prison term. Presently, this peaceful human rights activist and devout Christian, follower of the philosophies of H. D. Thoreau, Ghandi, the Dalai Lama, and Martin Luther King, Jr., remains in prison due to his struggle for justice in Cuba.

We believe Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet deserve the Nobel Peace Prize due to his peaceful Human Right Activisms, not only in Cuba, but wherever the rights and liberties of human beings are disregarded. We hope to count with your support.

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