Monday, December 26, 2011

US Navy Seal, Retired, Scott Brachmann

To honor a true American Hero, 17 men and women of the Patriot Guard first assembled in Northfield to stand for Scott Brachmann and his family during the Visitation and Funeral Services on a brisk Monday morning, December 19, 2011, and then many joined their fellow PGR members where 43 stood to continue this tribute to his service at the Interment services at Ft. Snelling National Cemetery that beautiful sunny (albeit chilly) afternoon. Although adopted at age 8 from Korea, Scott went on to be a very successful Navy Seal until his retirement from the Navy in 2004, after which he continued service to his country by working with the Department of State High Threat Ambassadors Protection Detail in Bagdad, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He had just returned from duty providing maritime anti-piracy security in the middle east, when he died of a heart attack at age 48. The family expressed their heartfelt appreciation for the participation of the Minnesota Patriot Guard during their time of mourning.

As Geno has said many times, to our active Patriot Guard Members attending missions. "You are the Patriot Guard. You stand for those who can no longer stand for us and our Country. Thank you all for coming out to honor a true American Hero"! Thanks also go to Mike Marotta and Genko Komarec for making this a successful combined mission.

-- Steve Cartwright (Chief)Metro SE Ride Captain

Saturday, December 24, 2011

CW2 Lucas Sigfrid, US Army, Metro

0430 (that’s AM) – On a cold December morning, yet balmy for Minnesotans this late in the year, forty-four Patriot Guard members assembled at Fire Station 1 just outside the gate at Mpls/St Paul Int. Airport. It was a very proud moment to see the dedication in these 44 people that early in the morning. Some had come from so far away they had to leave their home at 2 am.
We were there to bring home CW2 Lucas Sigfrid who was killed doing his duty while serving our country. We awoke one of the firefighters to unlock the door to the fire station so the volunteer from the Armed Forces Service Center could bring in his load of coffee and treats for the family when they arrived. As military personnel and family arrived they were awestruck with all the flags greeting them. Warrant officers from Lucas’ unit were, one being a pilot that was flying with him that night in another helicopter that had to go back and find him after the crash. Brought chills down your back that had nothing to do with the weather. The plane arrived early as the procession formed with escorts to go out on the tarmac to pick up CW2 Sigfrid. We had time to warm up in the fire station and then reform our flagline as the hearse and procession came out the gate and passed through our lines. The Armed Forces Service Center volunteer invited us in to warm up and enjoy the leftover coffee and treats. Seeing this, Lucas’ father, uncle, cousins and friends returned from their parked cars and joined us inside. They just wanted to thank us and talk with us. We all offered our condolences and heard stories about Lucas from a very proud father. This, more than being indoors, helped warm us. To see and feel that what we do has such a positive effect on the families and reinforces why we stand our flagline. We do help them get through these toughest of days.

That afternoon we again gathered at the funeral home in Brooklyn Center for the visitation. Lucas’ widow surprised us by arriving much earlier than scheduled. A hasty flagline was formed as she entered with other family and friends. Over thirty PGR members stood during the evening as many, many family, friends and others came to pay respects. We presented our MN PGR plaque and challenge coins to Lucas’ father and widow followed by the Blue Star Mothers presentation. Our flagline stood till 8:45pm honoring one of our Heroes.

The next morning twenty three Patriot Guard came out for CW2 Sigfrid’s funeral in Mounds View. Our flagline lined the front of the church as the procession from the funeral home arrived escorted by law enforcement officers. The funeral service had a huge attendance by family and guests, including our Governor. As the entire front and side of the church had large windows, our entire flagline was also visible from the church vestibule inside. We all stood tall and respectful and the sight of our flags from inside was impressive. As the service started we stood down and all but six of us left for FSNC. In the church provided warm up room, the church ladies brought us coffee, sandwiches and lemon bars as we waited to reform our flagline. As the military pall bearers carried CW2 Sigfrid from the church our flags blew in the breeze and we honored him with a salute. A couple of us then left to beat the funeral procession to the cemetery.

On arrival at FSNC we went directly to shelter #4 as the flagline was already set up. What a sight, to drive through 40 to 50 flags as we found a place to park. The funeral procession arrived as a brisk wind kept our flags flying proudly. Full military honors were given by the US Army Honor Squad. The Ft Snelling Honor Guard was also there to stand their line. Rest in peace CW2 Lucas Sigfrid. Thank you for your service.

To all of our active members who chose to attend one, or all of this four part mission, I want to thank you. Lucas’ father wants to thank you and said his love goes out to all of you. Remember, what we do matters to these families during their grief. In some way we hope to help them through this. Believe me, we do.

Larry Myslicki “Slick”
Ride Captain, Metro NE

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Jason Matson, 12 Dec 2011

This is the completed mission report for the interment of Warrant Officer Jason Matson on Monday, December 12, 2011 at the Mn Veterans Cemetery at Little Falls. Jason served during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the USArmy and had served more than 20 years in the military. Jason was diagnosed with cancer six weeks ago and passed away at Fort Drum New York at the age of 56.

With a couple of members that arrived a little late we had 24 members show up on this Monday morning. It appeared to me that everyone that showed up today was at the cemetery 2 days ago to place the almost 3000 wreaths in front of virtually every marker at the cemetery. Truly a dedicated group. It was great watching the interaction of the members at the staging as everyone seemed to know everyone and to an outsider I am sure it would have looked like a family gathering. I guess that patriotism really is the glue that holds all of us  together. 

Jason was given full military honors by the Color Guard and by the military. His family told us they were overwhelmed at the funerals they attended where the MNPGR was present and were so grateful that this time we were able to be there for them as Jason's illness took him so quickly and they were having a very difficult time of it. As usual many family members thanked us for being there but the most emotional for all of us was when Jason's wife went down the entire flagline to thank us while still carrying the US Flag given to her by the military

We were asked by the family to line up around the room where the service took place so we could be part of the family and because the family felt some security by our presence. After the service we formed two flag-lines to make an opening for family members to release doves. Some members had not seen that done before but we have been seeing that frequently lately. After the family left we debriefed at the Canteen.

RCIC James Parent