When the Patriot Guard was very busy, I would watch the DoD News Releases to be aware of KIAs that might be within my range. Currently the most recent listing is USA PFC Daniel, June 12, more than a month ago. The next one is USA SFC Ruiz, May 24. nearly two months ago. Third is USN PO3 Doyle, May 16, two months ago. Fourth is USAF TSgt Salazar, April 13, three months ago.  None were nearby.

All that to say this: Business has slowed. In has been thirteen months since I participated in a KIA mission. And certainly that is a good thing.

But I don't think it is ghoulish to admit that I miss it.

Seven years ago, Carson Holmquist graduated from Grantsburg High School in Northwest Wisconsin -- where his photo is displayed.

One year ago, Carson returned from his second deployment to Afghanistan.

Today, July 16, 2015, Carson was killed by the enemy. The attack was pre-announced from Syria by ISIS tweet and carried out by Kuwaiti-born Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez. Since the fight occurred in Chattanooga and not Mosul, we will have a discussion of whether this was “domestic terrorism,” as if that is something less than the international type. Or maybe it was just “workplace violence” and we will debate whether a Purple Heart was earned.

MOH winner Dakota Meyer is on the left; Carson is on the right. They are sheepdogs. Sheepdogs understand. From American Sniper: “There are three types of people in this world: sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. Now, some people prefer to believe that evil doesn’t exist in the world -- those are the sheep. And then you got predators who use violence to prey on the weak. They’re the wolves. And then there are those who have been blessed with the gift of aggression, and the overpowering need to protect the flock. These men are the rare breed that live to confront the wolf. They are the sheepdogs.”

Carson was blessed with a gift of aggression and was driven to protect the flock.  So Carson gave his life to the Marine Corps and ultimately to his country. His wife and his son sacrificed during Carson's life and ultimately sacrificed him.

Wisconsin State Captain:

Mission report – A difficult mission but when we remember what the family is facing, we keep going. Before the mission I fielded at least a dozen calls from groups and individuals asking what to do about what we refer to as “uninvited guests”. The escort back was delayed 3 times and the escort itself was through construction at rush hour. Unfortunately, the many agencies involved were reacting to a post on a website and it wasn’t until Friday night that I brought them to understanding of the law and the logistics needed to make the days uneventful. Members of at least 5 different organizations attended and stood with us to a maximum count of 148 on the line. I truly appreciate those who came from as far as Janesville, Watertown and Kaukauna and especially Assistant State Captain Mark Goebel who kept one hand on the rudder when things changed by the minute, Senior Ride Captain Ed Bergey the expert on cemetery etiquette, Chico Johnson who helped bring the Sgt home, and a new member Mike who (as Mark would say) “gets it”. I hope all are home, safe. Thank you to all and may God bless you and the Holmquist family.