Guest Posts

This is with the permission of my friend COL. (Ret) Jerry Custin


It was a beautiful Saturday morning about 9:30 am.  Peggy Knox was just finishing breakfast and planning for a wonderful family day celebrating her and Pete’s 25th Wedding Anniversary – the big Silver step – when she heard her doorbell ring.  They were Windsor chimes and she loved the sound.  As she hurriedly approached the door she saw what looked two military officers.  Immediately her mood changed from one of joy to one of concern.  Are they military men?  Why are they here?  Had anything happened to her son Pete Jr., an Air Force fighter pilot, who had recently been deployed to Afghanistan – his first deployment?

She instinctively called to her husband, “Peter please come here there are two gentlemen at the door.”  Pete was just finishing breakfast with their two other children, Melissa, 18 and Tom, 16.  He immediately came to Peggy’s side and opened the door.  “Good morning is this the Knox family?”, Major George Hardwick introduced himself  and Master Sergeant Don Wilder.  Pete nodded yes and had a sinking feeling that he knew where the conversation was headed.  Pete was an Army veteran of four years and had deployed to Iraq during Desert Storm in the early ‘90’s.   Melissa, or Missy, and Tom had also joined their parents in the living room.

Major Hardwick solemnly reported that it was his duty to inform the Knox’s of the death of their son, Captain Peter B. Knox, Jr., who was killed in action while performing an important close air support mission in support of ground troops in the Kandahar region.  He offered the family his sincere condolences and Master Sergeant Wilder provided them a letter signed by General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., Commander United States Central Command.

The letter read:

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Knox

On behalf of the Secretary of Defense and the President of the United States I regret to inform you of the death of your son, Captain Peter B. Knox Jr., who was killed in by enemy action in the line of duty while performing a critical mission in support of ground troops engaged in combat action in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan on June 23, 2018.  Additional details are unavailable at this time.  You will be contacted by the Mortuary Affairs Office from MacDill Air Force Base and a casualty assistance officer will also be in contact to set up a personal appointment attendant to your needs in this time grief. Again, on behalf of the Secretary of the Defense and the President of the United States I want to thank you for the heroic actions of your son in saving numerous lives of his fellow comrades in arms and offer you our deepest condolences for your tragic loss.

Signed Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr,  General , USMC

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