31 January 2012
A Gold Star Mother is one who lost a child in service of the United States. Ms. Keyko Clark-Davis is a recent Gold Star Mother. I was present when her son Chazray was mortally wounded. We have communicated many times. Chazray’s mother is strong and inspirational. She sends this letter in hopes that other Americans will take a few minutes to absorb her message.
The letter from Chazray’s Mother:
U.S. Army Evacuation Policy Change Request Letter from the Mother of a fallen soldier:
Hello to all American Citizens at home and abroad. My name is Keyko Clark-Davis and I am a military parent whose first-born son, Army SPC Chazray Clark was killed in Kandahar, Afghanistan on 18 Sept 2011.
The fact that my son decided to risk his own life to protect the basic freedoms so many of us take for granted makes me extremely proud in spite of the devastation and sadness that his untimely death has caused us as a family. Chazray was only 24 years old. He and I had a long discussion prior to his decision to enlist; and like the majority of mothers I reluctantly agreed and reassured him that I supported his decision 100%. I even went with him to be sworn in after signing up.
I am having a very difficult time dealing with his death and as are his four siblings. Although this is not the sole content of our conversations, my maternal instincts causes me to feel their pain; just as they can feel mine even in the absence of words. My difficulty in coping is compounded by the fact that the US Army has failed to provide me with honest, full disclosure of ALL the facts that caused the death of my son. Although not the official next –of-kin on behalf of my daughter—in law I have requested a complete copy of the Army investigation, autopsy reports, photos, etc., which at the time of this letter I have not yet received.
Thus, after several failed attempts to obtain honest official answers to my many questions from the US Army, I began conducting my own research into the circumstances surrounding my son's death. My grief began to give way to anger when I viewed video footage shot by a reporter named Mr. Michael Yon, who was there at the time my son was injured. Casualty Assistance Officers advised us initially to not believe possible rumors or media propaganda which we might be exposed to prior to us having any knowledge of Mr. Yon. When I thought about that, it actually raised even more unresolved questions with regard to the US Army's "Golden Hour" and "9-line" evacuation policies involving rescue missions. Mr. Yon's footage makes him an eyewitness to what happened to my son, and not just a media person spreading rumors.
It has come to my attention that there was a PEDRO that was operational and could have responded to the 9-line call the day my son was injured; thereby alleviating the 59minutes that my son had to wait for a MEDEVAC. However, due to policies and/or politics within the US Army with respect to other branches operating under CENTCOM the MEDEVAC was delayed.
The loss of my son has become the most life-altering event that my entire family has ever experienced. I feel that the United States Army, has an obligation to every soldier, every family and every US citizen to re-evaluate current protocol and implement WHATEVER CHANGES are needed to save the lives of wounded soldiers by whatever means necessary.
The Army’s contention that they are following protocol of the Geneva Convention is fallacious and without substance. Not only are the Taliban not signatories to the Geneva Convention but the Geneva Convention does not mandate that a MEDEVAC transport identify itself with a Red Cross.
I do not want another family to feel excruciating pain and suffering from the devastating loss of a loved one while policy makers and high ranking officers continue to turn a blind eye to the inherent failures in existing policies. With vivid images of my son's final moments of life FOREVER BURNED into my mind, closure can only be made possible by doing everything in my power to bring about these much needed changes in current policy.
In the name of my fallen hero, SPC Chazray Clark, I am making a personal appeal to ALL United States Citizens who enjoy the freedoms for which he unselfishly gave his life, to join me in this crusade to bring about an immediate change to an Army Policy that requires alerting the enemy the MEDEVACs are unarmed.
God bless you all and thanks in advance for your prayers and support.