Pfc Shane M. Reifert

Pfc Shane M. Reifert
Shane during a sweep of the Shuryak Valley, approximately 3 weeks before he was killed. Photo Credit: PFC Sean Stromback

Friday, November 12, 2010


Shane mostly corresponded with everyone back home through Facebook messages. I was re-reading some of the messages we had exchanged, and I wanted to share a message that I sent to him right after he deployed to Afghanistan. I am sharing this so that others know what families experience when their soldier deploys, and what a soldier feels as he is about to begin fighting in a war.

From: Elizabeth Reifert
To: Shane Reifert
Date: May 8, 2010
Time: 1:23 p.m.

i don't know how often you will have the internet. but you were right i guess about me not really dealing with the fact that you will be gone for up to a year. i guess i hadn't really noticed because i had had people around me for the last few nights and didn't even have to sleep alone because there were just friends here and i didn't have to think about anything. but then last night i was all by myself. i didn't have any school work. there wasn't even anything really on tv. and it was just kind of sad and lonely. and then this morning i made the mistake of watching an episode of the pacific on hbo and i just cried and cried like a big baby. so i guess i won't be watching any more of that. although it was really good.

i think about you being in the desert. in a place that is unfamiliar and strange. i have no idea what you are going through. or what you are about to go through. i know that you won't be the same person when you come back from all of this. i don't think you could go through being through a war and not be changed. i know it will change me and everyone else who you hold in your heart, as well. but i can't imagine what it will be like for you.

this isn't a very uplifting email. i wish it was. i'm sorry. 

Click "Read More" to see Shane's response to me.

From: Shane Reifert
To: Elizabeth Reifert
Date: May 11, 2010
Time: 4:14 a.m.

Oh thanks for the uplifting email. just messing. im okay here, not at my final destination yet and ive got a chance for the internet so i thought id write you something. anyways dont worry about me alright? im gonna be fine, and im coming home. ill let you know more when i know more. its hot as fuck here though, i can tell you that. try and be strong for mom and dad. i know i wont be writing nearly as much as i did when i was in basic. 

its really okay bethie, im trained for this, i volunteered for it, shit i even want it. so dont worry, dont lose sleep, have fun and take all that shit for granted okay? im giving it all up so that you all can continue to live in that blissful ignorance. you dont want to see what i see or do what i do, and you shouldnt have to. i love you bethie, i couldnt ask for a better big sister.


  1. Wow, thank you for sharing that with us Beth. I hope the whole world reads this blog. It is the rawest most moving thing I have ever read. I think he is right, we live in ignorance and it because of him and people like him that we can.

    What you are doing with this blog is amazing. I check back at it numerous times of day. It is very brave of you to share your story and experience with us.

    I, like everyone else who graduated in 2001 and was in yearbook with your mom as our teacher, remember Shane as he was in 8th grade. It is hard for me to imagine how Shane made such a HUGE decision to join the Army and train for what he did. I am forever grateful that he did. He is a much braver person then most and his story is really awe inspiring.

    Beth, because of your huge heart and bravery to share your story, I (and I am sure many others too) am getting to know Shane like I never had the opportunity to. Through this blog you are keeping a part of him alive. This blog is so wonderful on so many levels. Not only does it make us wake up and see what is going on over there, not only does it give us the opportunity to help in the small way that we can, and not only does it make us aware of how truly brave these soldiers are, but you are also letting us get to know your brother, a man truly worthy of knowing. So thank you Beth for sharing your brother with us.

  2. Beth and family,
    First off, my sincere condolences to you. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain you are going through. I have visited the blog every day reading your wonderful memory filled stories. The strength you carry, to share the heart felt memories of you and your brother are truly amazing. When I heard the news, I was in complete shock. I don't know if you remember me, but we were in Elementary school together and we played at each other's houses when we were younger. I do remember your brother there at your house as well. We had some really good times and great memories. It has been so long since we saw each other last, but I hope you know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. You are a great person inside and out and the love for your brother really radiates through your writing. May the lasting memories you cherish in your heart help guide you through this difficult time. Thank you for sharing your stories. From reading them, I have gained a greater sense of the meaning, "live each day to its fullest."

    Thank you for that....
    Love and prayers,
    Katie Frank

  3. Beth, you do not know me. Our brothers served in Afghanistan side by side. He sent us an email 3 days ago telling me about you and your family and asked if we could send you his condolences and prayers. As I read through this blog tears are streaming down my face. This post in particular reminds me of the letters my brother and I have sent back and forth. The love your brother had for his country and family are evident and honorable. I cannot even begin to imagine what you are experiencing, the pain and heartache you must be feeling. I can tell from these posts how incredibly strong of a woman you are. I cannot offer words to console you only let you know people across the country are praying for you and your family. Your brother did not die in vain and will never be forgotten. God Bless and stay strong.
    Kristan Hinrichs

  4. Beth, my sincere condolences to you and your entire family & friends; I cannot even begin to imagine how this must feel; I live in New Baltimore and am a Military Mom; my son is now in Bagram, Afghanistan (my daughterinlaw Kendra & granddaughter Baby Alexia; we are all waiting for him to come home also) and I just want you to know that your brother did what he wanted to do; the honor for his country; he will never be forgotten and he will always be with you; God will always bless you also; you will be strong because of your brother; always no matter what; I have become like that since my son went there to that hot place called Afghanistan; I sometimes don't feel anything because I know that if I do, I will not know what to do with those feelings; so I wait and continue to wait and hope my son comes home safe; but we must all be strong; please I just want to let you know how strong you are; I cannot even begin to feel what you are feeling right now; I just want you to know that we are all praying for you and your family; God Bless you & your Family and Be Strong! Always for your Brother!

    Anna Siemen
    Main St., New Baltimore