Mark Phelan and I went to Upper Darby High School. Back then in ’79 we were more concerned about chicks and hanging out down at Naylors Run Park. Three Mile Island was looming just west of us, Khomeini took over Iran from the Shah, and a gallon of gas had just gone over a dollar. Why am I posting this? Well after graduation Mark and I and a lot of others went on to different careers. Me? I became a Dad, had different relationships, started working for an electrical contractor and looking back now I would have changed some things.
Mark went on to West Chester University, then became a cop for a short time, then joined the Army reserve. He volunteered for two tours in Iraq. He was a Lieutenant Colonel based out of Norristown’s 416th Civil Affairs Battalion. What he did I do not know. But remembering Mark from school I’ll tell you that he was proud to be helping others.
Mark was killed on October 13th of last year in Mosul by one of those “improvised explosive devices”. I do not know if this devise was detonated by remote control or by a pressure switch, but either way I’d have no problem shooting the scum bags who placed it there. A lot of you may respond with “We have no right to be in Iraq”, and I’d agree with you. But we ARE in Iraq, and our fellow friends, sons, daughters, husbands, wives, brothers and sisters are being horribly wounded and killed by these so called “Insurgents”.
Never serving in the Military, I cannot tell you what it’s like. But I do know that one must take orders. Like the movie “Band of Brothers”, they develop a camaraderie, and will do anything for a fellow brother. So I say to all you over in Iraq and other countries who are defending the United States: God bless you and may God protect you. You are thought of and prayed for every day by both myself and millions of others here.
To Mark’s wife Brenda and family, I am saddened for your loss and feel for you. May God be with you in your grief. Mark will always be remembered as a great guy by all of us who went to U.D.H.S.