Killed in Action – Our American Hero

100_0599I’ve been trying to figure how to post the photo of our entire family taken three months before Buddy (on left holding baby Cooper) was killed in Afghanistan.

If you don’t know his story you can look at my previous posts on “Death at the front door” (Parts 1 thru 3)

Our Family Photo100_05991

Have you ever wondered why it is when anyone dies it is always said of them “They were a good person”.  Well if you Google “Sgt Buddy James Hughie” you will see  his official story and know that he really was more than a “good person”.

What you will see in the official accounts of our American Hero’s death is that he “left his position of cover” to render aid to wounded soldiers.

What you won’t see in the official accounts is the reason Buddy left his position of safety.  I personally spoke with two different army officers under two separate commands who were there that day.  In fact one of the officers was in the other up-armored Humvee that recovered Buddy’s body after he was killed by a Taliban sniper.

Buddy and two other soldiers, while traveling in an up-armored Humvee,  were embedded with the Afghan Army Nationals on a patrol one morning.  There were two Humvees on that patrol.  The one Buddy and the others were in was at the head of the column with the ANAs.   The other Humvee was that of the 10th Mountain Division in the middle of the column.  That Humvee was the one with all of the communication antennas on it.  Which in military terms means “Hey, we are the target.  If you knock us out nobody will be able to communicate.”  The ambush began by a rocket propelled grenade being fired at the “communication platform”.  At that point all hell broke loose.  The ANAs dismounted their vehicles (they travel around in Ford Rangers) and went up the mountain after the Taliban insurgents.  Upon seeing wounded ANAs Buddy (being the medic) left the safety of the Humvee and covered 300 meters of open ground to get to the wounded soldiers.  He was killed by a single shot just above the flack jacket in the arm pit.  The trajectory of the projectile was from up high to down low.  The bullet pierced Buddy’s heart killing him instantly.  Buddy was credited with saving two ANAs before making the ultimate sacrifice.

According to my “off the record” sources… remember from two different army officers, in two different units, at two separate times… the reason Buddy got out of the Humvee and decided he had to cover those 300 meters, under constant fire, to get to those wounded ANA soldiers is that the other two American soldiers that were in the Humvee with Buddy REFUSED TO ENGAGE THE ENEMY!  That’s right they “chickened out” to put it nicely.

I asked the officer in Buddy’s command what happened to the Sgt in charge of the Humvee that refused to engage the enemy.  He told me that he was sent back to his unit.  I asked if there had been any disciplinary action and he had the nerve to say to me “Well Mr. C, you know… he has to live with that for the rest of his life”.  Wow, no kidding.   He has to live with the fact that he is home every day snuggling up with his wife, playing with his children and living his life.  You know what Lt. WE HAVE TO LIVE WITH IT EVERY DAY FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES TOO!!!

So what is going to happen the next time these guys come under fire and freeze up?  What happens to the next husband and father?  How many more widows will it take before this guy is held accountable?

Of course I haven’t told my daughter about this… she thinks they are all her friend.  And since I am not Buddy’s “next of kin” I can not be granted access to any official reports.

It seems to me that what Buddy did in the face of death deserves more than two Bronze Star with Valor medals and a Purple Heart medal.  Buddy could have turned back.  He could have crawled back into that up-armored Humvee… toO safety.  After all he only had three months until he would rotate home to his wife and 3 month old baby son.  Seems to me he earned more than that.  But that’s just me not understanding how the army does things.

It’s been nearly nineteen months since my 23 year old daughter was widowed and little Cooper’s daddy was killed.  On one level it seems like just last night.  On another, it seems so, so long ago.  We miss Buddy terribly.

6 Responses to Killed in Action – Our American Hero

  1. Amber says:

    Nothing I can say will be appropriate right now. I know that you have a strong and deep faith in God. He has a plan. Trust him. Thats all I have for ya.


  2. These guys are ‘friends of the family’? And you have to see them while carrying this emotional burden around? That’s…incredible…and such a heavy weight on your heart.

    I hope you can eventually come to a place of forgiveness towards them. I can understand why you would be livid though. You can always be proud, though, of Buddy’s immediate response to help others. He didn’t even have to think about it.

  3. mssc54 says:

    Amber; thank you for your kind words.

    Hayden; actually “these guys” are in OK and we live in SC.

    After Buddy and Alexis were married they moved to his home town for a year so she could get to know his family. When he was activated they moved back in with us.

    It has been pretty difficult but I have “deliberately” forgiven these guys. That doesn’t mean that they should not be heald accountable.

    On some level it seems like a cover up. Not on the order of the Tillman cover up but a cover up none the less.

  4. Joy says:

    What incredible pain you have to live with each and every day. I can’t even imagine. I agree it would do no good to tell your daughter what you know. She’s in pain one way or the other so what would be the point of angering her on top of everything else? I’m sure she’s been angry enough. You too though are living with to much. Thank goodness you have Cooper. I’d love to see that family pic but it’s not working for me.

  5. I’m so sorry. Those words are not enough and can never bring the needed comfort. I’ve read back through your older posts and am amazed by your grace and strength. Who could blame you for being angry over the cover up?

    It is a wise choice to protect your daughter, it must be horrible to know this and not share it though. My prayers for you and your family. Thank you is not enough. I’m glad you have Cooper. Children have an amazing way of pulling us forward with grief. Wishing you blessings.

  6. psychscribe says:

    Oh! I am so very, very sorry…

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