SPC Stephan Mace has come home. SPC Mace was one of the soldiers who lost their lives at the Battle of COB Keating in the Nuristan Province of Afghanistan. He was fighting the Taliban and al Qaeda and he was doing it for us. He died doing that for us. Three days after losing his life in an all out, knock down, gunfighters brawl in that dusty valley in one of the most remote posts in Afghanistan SPC Mace came home. His mother, Vanesse Adelson, was there to greet him like any good mother would do… one last time. She accompanied her son home on a plane to Leesburg, Virginia and then on to his home town of Purcellville, Va. Today he goes to be reunited with other fallen soldiers at Arlington National Cemetary. SPC Mace is now with his brothers in arms and he’ll remain there forever.
This particular casualty of war hits me harder than many others. Maybe it was because I’ve been following the COB Keating story so closely, maybe it’s because the airport that was his final destination was only a half mile from my old unit, maybe it’s because we both served in the 4th ID, or it might even be that his home town is about 20 minutes from mine. Those are valid reasons, but the part of the story that struck me the hardest was recognizing the backdrop in the last scene of the video and its significance. The mill in the background is a nice restaurant called Magnolia’s. It’s in Purcellville and it just happens to be the last place that I saw my friend Uncle Chuck alive. Chuck is in Arlington now, too. SPC Mace and SSG Burton will, no doubt, be entertaining each other for eternity.
RIP SPC Stephan Mace and thank you for everything.