Although I wear a silver bracelet every day that is inscribed with his name, the location and the date he died, September 29th is always the day I try to remember the personal conversations and bitch sessions we had together....and the little girls he left behind. Three years ago today, Jim Doster lost his life to an IED. Three years ago today, he died in the company of his men, but his last thoughts were surely of his women.
Although my encounters with IED's were close and personal, the IED that detonated three years ago today in East Baghdad will be the one I remember most. In a strange twist of irony, today I found myself training Explosive Ordinance Disposal soldiers in Puerto Rico....EOD being the guys who most often detect and eliminate IED's. Continuing the Irony, the Company Commander of this unit was a Platoon Leader supporting my Brigade in Baghdad during the surge. We spent quite a bit of time talking........I did more walks down memory lane today than I had counted on when I awoke this morning.
I'm not sure if I had ever posted this before, but I ran across a Proclamation issued by the Governor or Arkanasas (Jim's home state) a week after his death:
TO ALL TO WHOM THESE PRESENTS COME – GREETINGS:
WHEREAS: Sergeant First Class James Douglas Doster, born on November 19, 1969, in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, was a dedicated and courageous soldier, who was deeply loved by his family and many friends, died September 29, 2007, while serving his country on combat duty in Iraq; and
WHEREAS: James was the beloved son of Billie K. and Charles C. Doster, Jr. of White Hall, Arkansas; the loving husband of Amanda Doster of Wamego, Kansas; the adored father of daughters, Kathryn and Grace; the devoted brother of Robert Doster of Albuquerque, NM; as well as a cherished member of his family and a loyal friend to scores of people from across the world; and
WHEREAS: James graduated from White Hall High School, where he was known to be caring and well-organized, and joined the United States Army during his second year at Hendrix College, serving in Operation Desert Storm in one of the first tanks to cross the battle lines; and
WHEREAS: As a Sergeant First Class and convoy leader, Doster sacrificed his life in Iraq as a member of the United States Army, assigned to B Company, 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division out of Fort Riley, Kansas, receiving numerous awards and decorations; and
WHEREAS: All Arkansans and United States citizens owe James a lasting debt of gratitude for his bravery and his heroism and should pay tribute to his faithful service; and
WHEREAS: Citizens of this State and Nation extend deepest sympathy to the family and loved ones of Sergeant First Class James D. Doster;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, MIKE BEEBE, Governor of the State of Arkansas, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the laws of the State of Arkansas, in tribute to the memory of James Douglas Doster and as an expression of public sorrow, do hereby direct that the state flag of Arkansas be flown at half-staff on Thursday, October 11, 2007.
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of Arkansas to be affixed this 8th day of October, in the year of our Lord 2007.
MIKE BEEBE, GOVERNOR