This Marine was a brand new SSgt when I was a reasonably salty Gunny. He was the hardest charging young Staff NCO that I was charged with training. Since he was, at that time, a Reservist we only saw each other on drill weekends unless someone was visiting the others town. But he often came around the reserve center to keep up on traffic and made sure his Marines were always locked on. Over the three years that I was on the Inspector-Instructor Staff, Ken matured into a fine example of what Marines require in thier Staff Noncommissioned Officers. He was promoted to Gunnery Sergeant just before I rotated back into the FMF. I was (and still am) definitely proud to have known him. I got the word today that he was killed in action in An Anbar on 5/5/07. His funeral is tomorrow and there is no way I can get from here to there in time. I met his wife several times and his kids as well. I'm fairly ashamed to admit that I lost contact with them after we parted company. I was really proud when my unit returned from Iraq in 03 with no casualties. Unfortunitly since then, several Marines who were either subordinates of mine, friends, or both have died in this war. I am going to light another candle. And then I am going to drink one more time to his memory. And then I am going to send this to as many members of Congress as I can and ask if they will please take off the gloves and let us win the damn war. Sorry guys. Just had to blow off some steam.