In placing Felipe’s latest email in context, remember that Mosul is one of the safer regions of Iraq. You gotta make it home, Felipe, I owe you many beers. [PS: To those of you who have asked, once Felipe gives me the okay, I will post his address. I am reluctant to do so until Felipe gives explicit consent.]

Date: Monday, 18 October 2004

Subject: Wednesday, October 13th…

Dear Friends,

On the afternoon of Wednesday, October 13th, while returning to base, our small Civil Affairs convoy was was struck by an ambush. Despite heroic efforts on the part of a few courageous souls, we lost two of our brothers, and three more were seriously injured.

Though deeply shaken, I am unhurt. Please keep the three survivors in your thoughts and prayers, wishing them a speedy recovery. And please join me in remembering two kind, loving, generous men of honor, both of whom came here wishing only to do good. Both are survived by their wives and young children. I pray that we here will honor their memory by completing our mission as they would have, not heavy with hate but motivated by hope.

During these difficult days I have found strength in faith, in the company of my colleagues, and in the experience of loving and being loved by the most amazing group of family and friends a man could ask for. Thank you. Despite not being able to reach out to you during these days, out of respect for those injured and killed, I nonetheless found solace in our friendship.

Hard as this may be to understand, in some ways I feel more secure today, firm in the conviction that I am surrounded by men and women, brothers and sisters in arms, who will go to any length to bring me home. Please share my faith in the fact that we have many good times to share yet ahead of us.

With love and gratitude,

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