Michael's Dispatches

Important Letter from Gold Star Mother


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.


Keyko Clark-Davis

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mike Barnett · 9 years ago
    Ms. Keyko Clark-Davis, I am honored to share the same country as you, and to have been defended by a soldier such as your son. His loss hurt us all, but the circumstances made it a true tragedy. I can only hope that, in his memory, horribly outdated and dangerous policiesw will be changed, and Chazray's compatriots better protected against such a needless loss of life. Thank you for your bravery, thank you for your son, and thank you for your honest appraisal of the situation. The best of all wishes to you and your family.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Rudy · 9 years ago
    Heartbreaking but motivational.. I will write my representatives and the DoA today. V/R
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Steve Baldwin · 9 years ago
    Thank you Ms. Clark-Davis for the character you helped install in your son. And thank you Mr. Yon for your devoted loyalty to the troops and the truth.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Barry Sheridan · 9 years ago
    A sad read.

    I readily appreciate that most of us have little chance of altering the direction of the world events, indeed the profound negativity that now envelopes most of those intent on influencing or setting public policy threatens to erode the chances of a brighter future for almost the entire world. Nonetheless, hope is an essential component of the human condition, one whose core revolves around the belief that no matter what the adversity the spirit can rise and make something out of it. Chazray Clark was denied his chance to demonstrate how he might have accomplished this because of the attachment of the powerful to what is indefensible. They should be ashamed of themselves.

    RIP Chazray, may your loss not be in vain.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Scott Klimczak · 9 years ago
    M(r)s. Clark-Davis,

    Any words of mine feel insufficient to adequately express the gratitude and empathy I feel toward, and for, you and your family. As parents, our greatest fear is the loss, too early, of a child. I only pray, should I know this pain, that it is tempered with an Honor such as your son carried. Our vocation is to raise them to be the best and responsible adults. I think you've met that challenge. The rest is up to God. May He grant you and your family Peace and Comfort, and may the suffering you and yours bear be just payment for a change that saves many more.

    God be with you.

    Scott Klimczak
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Arnold L. Goldman · 9 years ago
    Condolences on the loss of Chazray. Thanks to Michael Yon for exposing the issue and the Army policy and sticking with it. I have written to senator Richard Blumenthal who is on the Armed Services Committee and is my Senator and asked that he look into it. If enough of us do likewise, it can only help. Thanks for looking out for our heros Mr. Yon.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ed Parent · 9 years ago
    Ms. Clark-Davis,

    My heart hurts for your loss. As a retired Navy Chief Petty Officer, I will be writing my representatives today. Thank you and your family for allowing your warrior son to serve our great country! He is a true hero.

    Very Resepectfully,

    Ed Parent, RMC(SW), USN, Ret.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Peter · 9 years ago
    As the father of a pending Marine officer, I bless you Mrs Clark. Thank you for your sacrifice. I join you in this effort.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Robert J. Mack · 9 years ago
    Ms. Clark-Davis, please know that you are not alone in this fight to change the deadly procedures of the Army. I have contacted all of my family and friends about it, written about it on American Thinker, and have contacted my Congressional representatives, the Secretary of the Army, the CENTCOM Commander, and will send a letter to Leon Panetta tomorrow. May God bless you and your family in your time of grief. We are all praying for you and doing whatever we can to change the Army's insanity.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Warren Ellis · 9 years ago
    Ms. Keyko Clark-Davis,

    I honor your sons sacrifice for our country and for our freedoms. I have written my two Senators and Congressmen and have urged them to get invoived in this issue.

    Thank you for your letter.

    My God Bless you and your family and may he provide His peace and comfort.

    Warren Ellis
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Heywood Jablomi · 9 years ago

    Please accept my most respectful and heartfelt condolences.

    I am profoundly sorry for the loss of your son.

    Please know that there are many good Americans out here who are working to change this inexcusable policy.

    We will not stop.

    With my very best regards, I will pray that you and your family can heal from this sacrifice.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Debbie · 9 years ago
    Dear Ms. Clark-Davis,

    Please know how sorry I am for the loss of your son, your Hero. I, too, am a Gold Star Mother; My son, SGT Nicholas D. Turcotte, was KIA in Iraq on 12/04/2006, he was 2 years old and in the MN Army Nat'l Guard. I can't tell you how sorry I am to hear what you have been going through with the Army, I can not imagine...Please know that we support you 100% in working to change these policies! We will do whatever we can to help you make this happen! I know your son is looking down on you with a tremendous amount of pride...

    God Bless you & your family...And thank you from the bottom of my heart for your sacrifice. May your son rest in eternal Peace...
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Linda Osburn · 9 years ago
    As I sent here and read & cry thinking what more needs to be said to protect & save our soldiers? What is the military not understanding? Not only are our wounded dying - have you stopped to think about those that are in the helicopters lives are at stake too! The answer is easy - do what is best for those who take care of us and that is not the politicians!!! IT IS THE SOLDIERS - I WOULD NEVER PUT MY LIFE IN A POLITICIANS HANDS BUT I WOULD NOT THINK TWICE TO TRUSTING A SOLDIER. AMERICAN SOLDIERS I HAVE YOUR BACKS!!!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    FThomas · 9 years ago
    The letter written by Mrs. Clark is not only touching, but a moving testimony to the impact that this type of loss has on the family. Through her eyes I can hear Taps being played at Spc. Clark's funeral.

    We will never know for sure if Spc Clark would have survived had Medieval responded immediately. What we do know is that he never was given that opportunity. That is not only upsetting, but I share his Mother's anger over the loss of Spc Clark.

    Mrs. Clark has my full support and I believe the US Army owes her an explanation along with every detail surrounding his death.

    We all hear about that "Golden Hour". Actually, it can boil down to mere minutes if not seconds that a wounded soldier can survive if medical intervention is taken as soon as possible.

    As a former Dust Off Pilot I believe that someone at the highest levels of the United States Army needs to take ownership of this issue and show some leadership.

    Mrs. Clark deserves an answer and our troops deserve the best and fastest medical attention as possible! Don't put one more soldier at risk or allow the grief that Mrs. Clark and her family is suffering to be visited on another family.

    Correct the problem NOW!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    DJ · 9 years ago
    There but for God's good grace go I - and millions of other mothers. My heartfelt prayers are yours. May this rally the families off all other soldiers who either are or could have been walking in your shoes to abide by your call to rally to this cause - and contact your congressman. It is an election year and having worked several campaigns in the past I can tell you that you can get a whole lot more attention from these politicians right now. Lets all pledge to use this base to get the point across -- firmly that this should not have to happen again.
    May God Bless Your Family.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Marie · 9 years ago
    As a mother of a EOD team leader stationed not far from this tragic event. My heart and prayer go out to his family. Our sons and daughters put their lives on the line everyday. The Army should do everything in there power to fix this situation now. When I first read this blog I asked my son if these things where happening, he comfirmed it and said there is nothing that will change this policy. I beleive that if the general pubic was aware of this, there would be a huge outcry. The american people should be told. If you are not an Army family, you have no idea. Every major televison network should carry a story about this outdated policy. It should be front and center during this election year. Soldiers on the battlefield have enough to worry about, they dont need the added fear that no one will be there to get them if they are injured. Keep up the good work Mr. Yon, God bless the Clark family, and may their son rest in peace.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Barbara · 9 years ago
    God bless you Clark-Davis family . Every military family, ours included, hurts right along with you, though your grief must be so profound. I cannot imagine it. Letters to Wash.D.C. are on the way.
    Michael, I have read every post re. this policy but could you help us by reducing the issue to a well worded paragraph,(or at a minimum, the bullet points?) so we will have our facts correct and be articulate in our letters ? Thanks so much for all you do.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Eric Wipfler · 9 years ago
    I agree. God Bless you and your agenda. In 2004, 1st Cavalry sent a couple helos to support myself and other Marines pinned down on ASR Lincoln (they were able, and never questioned why, to be first responders until Marine support was available). I know that the personnel do everything within their individual abilities to do the best for all (even the enemy once disarmed and in need). To have a policy that prevents admirable and able men and women from doing their capable best needs review ASAP. Thank you and Mr. Yon for making this policy failure known to each and every Patriot that believes we can always do better, even in the face of success. Perfection is always the goal.

    My sympathies and thanks to you Ms. Clark-Davis
    Also to you Mr. Yon for being the vehicle in which this info is delivered.

    Eric Wipfler
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Michael Yon Author · 9 years ago
    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/hurry_wait_and_die_wyLvNsCxiZKASR4ePF VyK
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Maggie · 9 years ago
    Thank You for saying what everyone needed to know!. My husband Michael Joe Beckerman died 1 Dec 2010 while we were serving in Afghanistan.... I was the NOK being his wife but also being deployed with him i had the honer to escort him back to our country. Ms. Keyko.... Your words seem to have quoted my husbands mother and father aswell as many other family memebers with this article. We too waited too long it seems and still have half answered comments from higher officials. I decided to continue my service in the military to help in the same way u feel. I dont want another spouse,parent,child or family member to feel this dier pain. Its your soul that aches without there presence I do understand many of the feelings you stated! I will do my part by upholding the values my husband and your son showed me aswell as the army taught us! There are us selected that only understand still. I will do my best not ceasing to fight for what my husbands family, my family and your family believes in! I pray Gods hands stay in this for u can do anything thru Christ who strengthens you!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Pam · 9 years ago
    so sorry for your loss. my son is also a soldier and soon to deploy again. we must stand together and ensure that our soldiers are provided with the best care possible. thank you for not backing down and bringing this issue in the open.
  • This commment is unpublished.
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