Thursday, August 25, 2011

"For those I love I will sacrifice"

Wounded Big Red One Soldier continues to serve Army family
By Mollie Miller, 1st Infantry Division Public Affairs
January 9, 2012
FORT RILEY, Kan. (Jan. 9, 2012) -- Love can make people do some crazy, unusual, heroic things.

A dance outside in a rain storm, a midnight flight across the country, a dash into a burning home, none of these are outside the realm of what people will do for those they love.

For one 1st Infantry Division Soldier, his love for his family and his country led him into an Army recruiter's office, onto basic training, up the road to Fort Riley, Kan., and around the world to Afghanistan.

And then that love led him right to death's front door.

Pfc. Kyle Hockenberry, 4th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, joined the Army in the fall of 2010 after a summer full of friends, dirt bikes and post high school graduation parties. Joining the Army was the realization of a dream for the young man from Marietta, Ohio.

"I always wanted to serve my country, protect our freedom, to keep the life that all the ones I love live safe," the 19-year-old said recently.

Hockenberry's enlistment wasn't much of a surprise for his parents, Chet and Kathy Hockenberry.

"Being a Soldier was all Kyle ever talked about, even when he was little," Kathy said of her youngest son. "I still have all his G.I. Joe guys that he always used to play with because he didn't want me to get rid of them."

Kyle graduated from basic training in January 2011 and was assigned to the Big Red One's 4th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment "Pale Riders." The Pale Rider team was already busy making final preparations for a deployment to Afghanistan when Kyle arrived and the new Soldier began his own preparations for this upcoming mission -- a mission that would have him leaving Kansas in less than six weeks.

First on Kyle's list of deployment preparations was a visit to a tattoo shop in Manhattan, Kan.

"I had wanted a tattoo for a long time and I wanted to finally get one before we left," he said.

One evening, shortly before the deployment, Kyle and a few fellow Soldiers "went under the needle." One of the Soldiers had his children's names or birth dates tattooed, some had a lucky number or special picture done but Kyle selected a seven word phrase that had been rolling around in his head ever since he decided he was going to be a Soldier.

That night, the tattoo artist etched, "For those I love, I will sacrifice" onto Kyle's right side.

"I thought since I was in the military that it would be a good one to get," he said. "'Those I love' is for everyone -- for my parents, my brother and all my family but it really for everyone in the country."
read more here
"For those I love I will sacrifice" pretty much sums up how they all feel. They are ready to face danger and ready to save a life even if it means they lose their own. If you want to see how much they care about each other, go to the link below and see the pictures going with this article. If you want to know why they are willing to do all of this, read it and know this isn't about killing. It is about caring.

Pfc. Kyle Hockenberry, of 4th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Infantry Regiment, 1st Heavy Combat Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, who was injured in an improvised explosive device attack near Haji Ramuddin, is treated by flight medic Cpl. Amanda Mosher while being transported by medevac helicopter to the Role 3 hospital at Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan on June 15, 2011. Laura Rauch/Stars and Stripes

Calm in the midst of chaos is lifesaving protocol for medevac crew in southern Afghanistan
Stars and Stripes
Published: August 25, 2011
FORWARD OPERATING BASE PASAB, Afghanistan — It was the worst of places, but the soldiers on the ground had few options when they marked the landing zone for the medevac helicopter. One of their buddy’s legs had been blown off by an Improvised Explosive Device near Pashmul South, and another had suffered a traumatic brain injury from the blast.

Grape rows, tree lines and mud walls surrounded the field. It was the perfect setting for an ambush.

Purple smoke billowed from the landing zone as the crew of Dustoff 59 sped toward a small band of 1st Infantry Division soldiers, waiting with their wounded. As pilot and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Marcus Chambers slowed for the landing, gunfire broke out and the all-too-familiar tat-tat-tat-tat, tat-tat-tat-tat pinged around them.

Chambers set the aircraft down and flight medic Staff Sgt. Garrick Morgenweck flung the door open to retrieve the wounded. As he stepped out, insurgents fired a rocket-propelled grenade from close range, striking a mud wall and narrowly missing the helicopter as it blasted through.
read more here

If you ask a Vietnam veteran why they did what they did, there are several reasons they may give to get you to stop asking them. The honest answer is "we did it for each other" and that is what they are all fighting for today in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Time had an update on this story

No Idle Boast: A Soldier's Tattoo Becomes Truth
Posted by Mark Thompson Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tattoos are as old as war. Lots of soldiers get them, with military motifs, girlfriend's names, or various guns, skulls or dragons adorning their skin. Some get something less ornate. Private First Class Kyle Hockenberry had For those I love I will sacrifice stitched into his flesh. He had no idea how prescient he was.

A member of the 1st Infantry Division, Hockenberry's world changed June 15. He was on a foot patrol just outside Haji Ramuddin, Afghanistan, when an improvised explosive device detonated nearby. In this photograph, by Laura Rauch for the military's Stars and Stripes newspaper, flight medic Corporal Amanda Mosher is tending to Hockenberry's wounds aboard a medevac helicopter minutes after the explosion.

Kyle Hockenberry, 19, lost both legs and his left arm in the blast.
read more here


  1. when I attended Gettysburg College, 1957-59, I was in Air Force ROTC with Earl Hockenberry...could this be the father of Kyle Hockenberry?
    the name is uncommon...any help?
    Todd Holden, Forest Hill, Md.

  2. I hope some reads this and answers you.

  3. Try There are two Earl Hockenberry's listed if you only put in the persons name and not location. It gives you a phone number. You can try calling to see if either is your Earl.

  4. Anonymous, found this site, Fathers name Chet.

  5. To the anonymous poster who asked, Kyle Hockenberry's father is Chet Hockenberry and his mother is Kathy Hockenberry of Washington State.

  6. This is a great story and very touching image... However it is just that a great STORY and an image meant to grab you. The tattoo is fake, but it is a great symbolic image. If you don't believe me, simply save the image and zoom in and you can see the pixelation that separates the words from the body.

  7. Anonymous, I guess you didn't read the report from Stars and Stripes or Time. Too bad because the story on the combat medics was amazing with a lot of other pictures that I bet you'd say were fake too.

  8. The actual tattoo on his side was in fact altered in some manner in multiple images on a variety of sites. That doesn't mean he didn't go get the tattoo. It's a simple fact of taking the image and analyzing it and seeing that the pixelation specifically around the text in multiple images from multiple sites where this image was published show a distinct pattern of extreme pixelation around the text under minor enhancements. However, it is possible that it was done by one of the publishers to enhance the tattoo. It is interesting to note that I've seen several images on TIME's website with a pair of photos; one that contained the pixelated tattoo image and another that contained a much cleaner image. I thought it was interesting that they called one of their images "nofailphoto." It's possible that this was meant for the fact that these soldier's we're indeed out to succeed at any and all costs, but when noting that they had multiple varying images it can be misconstrued as images that no longer fail to meet the image quality to pass as real. Again, all assumptions aside from whether or not they have been changed, they are both inspiring and it is possible that they are in fact real photos that had the text enhanced.

  9. Go the one right from Stars and Stripes and you'll see how real it is along with the others they took of combat wounded. I always put up the direct link and last time I checked Stars and Stripes still had the link active but the photos are now off a link to the article.

  10. Its not fake....I have the same tat but smaller around my ankle...its a military thing..i have a few friends who have it. true marines get it put on their wrist or forarm..soldiers tend to do ankles, calf or on their side. These words mean alot to use who served and who are still serving.

  11. Thank you Ruth! I remember the day I first saw it almost a year ago on Stars and Stripes. It was mixed in with other pictures they did and when I blew it up enough to read what it said, I cried. It is such a moving message and puts to rest any notion that any of them do it for any other reason than each other. That kind of love is hard for most people to understand.

    Christ said " No greater love has a man than this, that he lay down his life for the sake of his friends" but when you get right down to it, all of our veterans and troops were willing to do that for strangers too and that, that is the greatest love there is.

  12. I just happened across this blog. PFC Hockenberry, Kyle was in my platoon when the trajedy occured. I can attest to the accuracy and the realness of his tatoo. Hock, I still got love for you and Swamp Donkeys for life.

    SSG Grange

  13. I am so glad you did! I can't believe how many people thought this picture was a fake. I am also glad you made it back home. Do you know how Kyle is?

  14. I, too, served with PFC Hockenberry and SSG Grange. I personally saw his tattoo on many occassions before the incident and also saw the tattoo still on his body when I went to visit him in the hospital in San Antonio when I came home on leave. It's a disgrace that you are trying to downplay this Soldier's committment to his friends, family and country.

    -CPT Jones

  15. Thank you for the comment. Some people just can't believe anyone could be so unselfish.

  16. First and foremost Laura Rauch is one of the bravest person alive. It is one thing to commit yourself to serving your country but to be a combat photographer wow! I have never served in the military and like many people never really understood why anyone would want to go to Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. etc. These guys and gals are on a different level. If you think you are brave-you are not-of you think you are in good shape-they are in better shape-if you think you can handle pressure-you can't-if you think you can shoot a gun-good luck. Too all current members and former members of the military. She have my utmost respect. While I feel that I have given back (through charitable donations) I have done nothing. Your sacrifices are phenomenal! This story absolutely shows that. It is what you live everyday. I will continue to pray for all of you. Stay safe and please get help if you need it. You must be around to tell your story. It is so important believe me. I would also like to give a shout out to the spouses, girl-friends, boy-friends and family of all soldiers especially the ones that are in harms way. You have to stay strong and pick up the pieces as they say. You all are my heroes! God bless.


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