A soldier returns home from Afghanistan


This afternoon I witnessed something at a CONUS base I had not seen in my 26 years of service.  With less than 48 hours notice of the dignified arrival of Staff Sergeant Michael A. Bock, USMC, KIA in Afghanistan on 13 Aug 2010, well over 1000 people from across the base turned out for the arrival ceremony. I was stunned when I drove through the Base Ops gate, rendered speechless by the sight of row upon row of Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines and their family members standing on the ramp. I was told that hundreds more people were lined up inside and outside the Kenney gate to pay final respects to Staff Sergeant Bock.

Staff Sergeant Bock was a Marine. He was a warrior. He was one of us. He gave his life for his country. Today was not about a wing, a COCOM, an Agency, or a squadron. It was about a Marine and his family.  I want to thank all of you across the base for turning out this afternoon. While the arrival ceremony itself was simple and short, it was emotional. I could not think of a better way to honor Staff Sergeant Bock and pay respect to his extended family.

Thank you.

Brigadier General Jack Shanahan
Commander, 55th Wing