Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist

Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist
Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Md Troopers Assoc #20 & Westminster Md Fire Dept Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The last words of SPC Jordan Shay

April 20, 2017 by Kevin Dayhoff

I awakened early this morning to an odd email that enigmatically resulted from a series of events from 2009 – August, late summer 2009. On any given day, I can barely remember what I had for breakfast, much less, recall events from eight-years ago.

But it came to me quickly. The email came from a commenter on a post on one of the several ‘milblogging’ conflict-blogs that I followed a number of years ago. Some of which involved writers, and folks I knew, or areas of the world in which I was somewhat aware, or had colleagues, or friends, or friends of friends who were participating in operations in the area.

Many of them were sad, and often reminded me in many ways of reading about the events involved in the Boer War, as depicted in the Bruce Beresford, 1980 cult classic, “Breaker Morant,” about un-real events in 1901, in South Africa - or Peter Weir’s 1981, “Gallipoli.”

Storytelling about unremarkable specific events in a character’s life that are compelling because they provide an insight into a larger narrative about war, conflict, heroism, empire – and ordinary folks involved in ordinary events who step-up to accomplish extraordinary accomplishments that defy any reasonable explanation.

Through Aber Lenses,”, was written by SPC Jordan Shay who was serving as an infantry fireteam leader in the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment in Iraq; placed like Diyala Province.

Shortly after his post, “The Promised ‘Real’ Post,” was published in August 2009, he was killed in action on September 2, 2009. He poignantly left behind, dedicated friends, avid readers who had gotten to know him through his excellent writing, and a loving family and girlfriend.

This reminds one of the great writers that were killed in World War I. Spc. Shay had gifted voice that brought to life the moment by moment otherwise unremarkable daily events that would become a part of greater collage of a war zone – that made sense, because it made no sense.

To be certain, I did not know Spc. Shay, but to be reading his writing, just before his death, quickly became a touchstone that gave you chills and a pause for thought – a trigger event, if you will, for all the folks on the Carroll County Vietnam Memorial that I knew – or knew of through mutual friends and family. Carroll County was much smaller in those days and in many ways, much-much more closely knit.

I learned early in life, by way of writing experiences, leadership events, the Marine Corps, the Vietnam War, advocating for Civil Rights, sports, or binge-reading southern gothic literature; that success in life is hinged upon how well one deals with tragic setbacks, extreme difficulty and abject failure. The unexplained sudden loss, and totally unpredictable random setbacks that seem to have no relationship to how hard you tried.

During the Vietnam War, we did not talk about the war, our military service, or G_d forbid, our feelings. Even those of us, like me, who never deployed and stayed stateside. And we sure as heck did not write about our experience on a website that could be accessed from all over the world. We kept to ourselves to ‘protect ourselves’ against all the folks in society who brandished the peace symbol, burned the flag, and plead for tolerance for their point of view, who heaped scorn upon us.

The post, “The Promised ‘Real’ Post,” is compelling – as are the heartfelt and meaningful comments, for a change, that filled-in many of the missing pieces of the puzzle. One writer wrote, “This is very painful. We writers take loss very hard, especially when one as young as Jordan passes. We realize that he had so little time to share his gift, and regret he didn't get to share more. But these words --what he saw, how he thought, what he felt, will be with the world forever. Writing was part of his legacy…”

We seem to have some sort of primal-programming to accept loss, and move-on quickly. I guess when the dinosaur ate your best friend, you were not going to survive, if you hung around wallowing in grief when the dinosaur choose to chase you for dessert.

Rest in peace brother, your watch is over we will take it from here, you duty is done here, God has your place in heaven.

Or better yet, paraphrased from someone far brighter than me, “God will be merciful to his good soul. Thank you for your service, dedication, and sacrifice. Rest in Peace. Semper Fidelis from an old Marine. Now for the last time, set that weapon down on pods, on the deck of Heaven's chow hall.”

There are no guarantees in life. Every morning I put on the “The Whole Armor of God” God will be merciful to his good soul. Thank you for your service, dedication, and sacrifice. Rest in Peace. Semper Fidelis from an old Marine. Now for the last time, set that weapon down on pods, on the deck of Heaven's chow hall.

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— Ephesians 6: 10-18



The last post of 5/20 Milblogger Jordan Shay KIA Iraq Sept 2 2009



Thank you Jordan for all your work. Rest in peace, your labor is done. We salute you. Your sacrifice will not be forgotten. Kels, let us know if there is anything you need. 


Amesbury soldier killed in Iraq by Marie Szaniszlo |Friday, September 4, 2009||Local Coverage

A 22-year-old Amesbury soldier was killed this week on his second tour of duty in Iraq, town officials said.

Jordan Shay, an E4 leader in an attack company assigned to the 5th Battalion of the 20th Infantry regiment, was killed Tuesday, said Kristen LaRue, director of veteran’s services.

Details about how Shay was killed have not yet been released. But he belonged to the 3rd Stryker Brigade, based in Fort Lewis, Wash., and was on his third tour of duty, LaRue said.

The day before he was killed was the last time he logged on to his MySpace [website] page, where a clock counting down how many days he had left in the Army is still running.

“Our hearts and our prayers are with the Shay family,” she said. “As a community, we are standing together to assist the family in any way.”

Flags have been lowered to half-staff across town in memory of Shay, who graduated from Amesbury High School in 2005.


Friday, September 04, 2009

At times he must have been no more than two hundred feet from me, but I never had the privilege to meet Jordan Shay. Together we chewed up the most inhospitable terrain on earth, and back on Ft. Lewis, we worked daily in the same dilapidated Korean War era barracks. The only connection I shared with Jordan was through the comments section of his blog, which I keep linked on the top of the page under our unit crest. Though our companies faced a heated inter-battalion rivalry, Attack Company was always in the thick of combat with my company, Battle. They shouldered a far greater burden than us, sustaining eight KIAs to our two. Jordan, at 22 years old, saw more combat than a lot of crusty old vets before he could legally buy a beer. For his third combat tour with the 3rd Stryker Brigade, Jordan started a blog to chronicle his experience. He named it Through Amber Lenses, the color of his sunglasses. He wanted to explain to the world what he saw with a bright amber tint.

What I read when I checked his most recent comment section hit me straight in the gut. "RIP Jordan." I rushed to the DoD announcement page and found nothing. Through a Google search I confirmed my worst fear: Jordan Shay, 22 years young, killed in Iraq.

Be sure to check out Spc. Jordan Shay’s blog:

Here, pasted below, I want to preserve his last post:

Be sure to go here: to read the comments – and perhaps say a few words of thanks and condolences.  Keep his family and Kels in your prayers as you enjoy Labor Day, brought to you by the sacrifice of Spc Shay and too many others like him…

2009 (16)
August (7)
July (3)
June (4)
May (2)

20090905 sdsom last post 5 20 Milblogger Jordan KIA Sept 2 2009 The last post of 5/20 Milblogger Jordan Shay KIA Iraq Sept 2 2009

Be sure to go here leave TY & condolences

Keep his family & Kels n your prayers as you enjoy Labor Day brought 2 you by t sacrifice of men & women n uniform


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