45 Years Old From Toledo, Ohio
Commander, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division
Since being deployed to the Diyala province of Iraq in November 2006, Col. David Sutherland, along with brigade Chaplain Maj. Charlie Fenton, pictured on the right, has made it a point to visit every wounded soldier and say goodbye to each and everyone of his men who've lost their life. Four of his soldiers died on one day in April 2007 and the bad news arrived at his office in waves -- a knock on the door, a note handed in by an aide, heads bowed, knowing glances exchanged. Aides say Sutherland walks to the mortuary affairs tent at his base and embraces the dead bodies of his men. "I hug all my fallen soldiers", said Sutherland. "They are my own".
Diyala province is one of the worst places in Iraq. Public beheadings of Iraqi police, tribal wars, sectarian wars and al-Qaida. "I didn't come here thinking it'd be easy. No one told me, 'You're gonna get 9 hours of sleep a night and you're not gonna lose soldiers'. But I believe this is the place for me."
These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives
This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll.