Oh how the past two weeks have impacted my life. By simply wanting to honor one of my childhood friends I have gathered a collection of tear-shedding comments for our fallen hero, and witnessed such a great appreciation of his name. I have also seen real patriotism at it’s best leaving me with even more American pride than I could imagine.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Brad Gaudet has made the long journey home and will be laid to rest tomorrow. Hundreds of friends, family, and fellow soldiers have paid public tribute to the life he led. It was my goal to inform readers around the world just how proud I am to have known such a great person & leader, so that they may live their life in a similar way. I have to believe that we have accomplished this.
I have always admired our brave soldiers and felt like us civilians cannot fully relate to the pain and sacrifice they make. I think that is what gives me such a great deal of respect for the men and women of our military. Just what they have to go through and why they put their lives on the line. Have you ever thought about it? I’m sure they exist, but I have never met a soldier without, pride, honor, and brotherly love for one another.
These comments, tributes, and memories of Brad have literally moved me into an even higher appreciation of our soldiers. I could not be more proud of that fact that fellow aviators in Brad Gaudet’s troop, and other soldiers whom he has served with, trained with, and impacted in general, have joined in to share their thoughts. One man in particular I feel has given us something special. CW2 Bobby Guffey who has served the past two tours of duty with Brad provided a detailed look into just how much compassion they have for each other when a brother is injured.
He also explained how he begged to be the one who would speak on behalf of Brad and his co-pilot CW3 Ken White, another American hero, at the Afghanistan memorial. I am so honored to share with you CW2 Bobby Guffey’s exact speech which was given in Afghanistan before all who attended on base.
Here is what Crew Chief Spc Wayne Montgomery who also served with Brad in Iraq had to say about the tribute over-seas.
“I was privileged to get a flight to Brad’s base to be at the memorial. The show of love and support for Brad and Ken was amazing. Mr. Guffey gave a wonderful speech and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the place.”
Without further adieu, here is CW2 Bobby Guffey as spoken in front of our soldiers currently fighting in Afghanistan.
Bradley Justin Gaudet;
Days like today never seem to get easier. Days like today are just a bitter reminder of the things we have lost and will never get back. A wife lost her husband, daughters lost their father, a mother lost her son, a soldier lost a brother, and the world lost an amazing person.
Brad left behind an amazing wife and a best friend. Brad loved nothing more than to talk about his daughters Addyson, Tealie, and his adoring wife Ginny. No matter what, he would brighten up and walk taller just by thinking about them; this was obvious to many people.
If he had a spare second during a break in mission, you would catch him pulling out his phone, looking at pictures of his family…and…if you stuck around long enough he would make you sit there and look at them too. That was the thing that mattered most to Brad you see, his family.
Brad asked me just before going on R&R for any advice on the arrival of the newest addition to his family, while he was at home. I told Brad that no matter how hard he tried, that new little lady would steal his heart in the first minute he met her. I remember Brad just laughing and going off into thought about it. He just sat there and smiled.
Brad made Pilot in Command while on this deployment, his goal since becoming a winged aviator. Life was looking pretty good from Brad’s point of view. Here he sat, a beautiful wife, two wonderful daughters, and a career that was booming. Not bad for a boy from Texas he said to me one time. I don’t know that I have ever been more proud for any fellow pilot than him. He worked very hard and listened to the advice of those who wanted to help him. Brad was on track to become a great aviator.
He constantly wanted to learn more and more about the airframe he flew. Leading up to his Pilot in Command ride, he studied hard and chased Mike Maj and me around the flight line asking as many maintenance questions as he could.
I was so proud of the man he had become.
Brad loved his job. He aspired to help others. He made friends with our local UAV rep’s here on FOB Salerno. One of his great friends Jason sits here today. He thought the world of Jason and his guys. He made countless trips to keep in touch with them on almost a daily basis. He worked with the guys to better understand the area in which he worked. He loved to work with every ground unit our AO. I’m sure that many of the RTO’s in the AO, knew Brad’s voice and could hear his smile that poured through the radio. They could have picked him out of a police lineup, just by seeing him smile.
Life isn’t fair. Life doesn’t always let you choose the time to say goodbye. I don’t understand why God would choose these two men to leave this life so soon. I can’t try to feel the pain their families are feeling at this very moment. I couldn’t begin to imagine the loss that this will have on all the ones that Brad and Ken left behind.
But I do know this.
I am a better person for having known them. I am a stronger man for having fought beside them. I am a more humble person for knowing their loved ones loss. I am blessed having just known them.
Air CAV, and Scouts Out!