Indomitable American spirit

MIKE RENDOS

Lock Haven

The front page article in The (Lock Haven) Express edition of June 19, 2019, written by Lock Haven native Eric Hoover (U.S. Army, Retired), “Ordinary men do extraordinary things,” is a terrific essay on the indomitable American spirit of courage and commitment to duty.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to read the article, I urge you to do so, as it is a very thought-proving essay.

In the article, former Army Sgt. Hoover describes the action of the platoon he was leading on 1 June 2012 in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, specifically the action of 22 year-old Sgt. Jose Rodriguez.

Under enemy attack, Sgt. Hoover went down with a serious injury, but had the presence of mind to rally the platoon into a defensive position in preparation for the ensuing enemy follow-up attack.

Before lapsing into unconsciousness, Sgt. Hoover called out for help to stabilize his injury, and the first person to show up was Sgt. Rodriguez, a young soldier who was not particularly fast or strong, but demonstrated perhaps the most important characteristics of a soldier – courage and heart in the face of fire. Throwing caution and his own safety to the wind, Sgt Rodriguez crawled to Sgt. Hoover’s position and provided the first-aid help necessary, staying at Sgt. Hoover’s side until Sgt. Hoover was safely evacuated from the field. Less than three weeks later, Sgt. Rodriguez lost his life in a further battlefield skirmish, undoubtedly once again displaying courage and heart under fire.

American military history is filled with individuals such as Sgt. Rodriguez, people who are basically ordinary types, but, when the occasion warrants, tend to step up and display extraordinary courage. How does our country continually produce such people as Sgt. Rodriguez, people willing to be completely selfless in the defense of America and totally devoted to the well-being of those around them?

People such as Sgt. Rodriguez must never be forgotten.

For sure, Sgt. Hoover has not forgotten him!

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