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, August 5, 2011

Leaving on a Jet Plane

“All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go”

Except there were no packed bags, only an Army backpack swung over the shoulder of my son.

Two years ago today, Shane boarded a plane that took him to Fort Benning. A plane ride that would forever alter the course of his life. A plane ride that forever altered our lives. A plane ride that turned Shane from a young man into one tall Soldier.

I am ever so proud of PFC Shane M. Reifert, my son, my Shane Michael, my Moe.

I might stumble today, but I will continue to “put one foot in front of the other.”

Always and forever,
Shane’s Mammy and Beth’s Momma

A Package in the Mail

A couple of weeks ago, we received a box from Fort Campbell - priority mail, medium flat rate box. I was not expecting anything so it caught me off guard. The contents of the box entered my mind and heart, which are already overflowing with so many unanswered whys.

Memorial Ceremony
1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment
101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)

1400___________________________________09 NOV 2010
PRELUDE                                    “Leave No Man Behind”
                                                ~Blackhawk Down
INVOCATION                              CHAPLAIN
BENEDICTION                                      CHAPLAIN
LAST ROLL CALL                          1SG R.
POSTLUDE                                  “Freedom Theme”

Almighty God, Father of all mercies and Giver of all comforts, deal graciously with us who mourn, that casting all our cares on You, we may know the comfort of Your love and presence. Make us all aware of the brevity of life and the need to live it with a noble purpose. Keep us in this hour of need and enable us to find your strength sufficient. AMEN.

PFC Reifert was born on 27 October 1987 in Detroit, Michigan. He enlisted as an Infantryman on 05 August 2009 and attended Basic Training at Ft. Benning, Georgia. Upon completion of Infantry training, on 17 December 2009, PFC Reifert was assigned to the “Bushmasters” Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment.

While serving with the “Bushmasters,” PFC Reifert held various duty positions to include; rifleman, radio telephone operator, and grenadier. Prior to deploying to Afghanistan, PFC Reifert participated in the Company’s pre-deployment training at JRTC.

During the deployment, PFC Reifert participated in four Air Assault Missions which included; Operation Azmary Fury I and II, Operation Strong Eagle II, and Operations Bulldog Bite II A. In addition, PFC Reifert participated in over 100 dismounted and mounted patrols while serving with Bravo Company.

PFC Reifert’s awards and decorations include: The Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the NATO ISAF Medal.

The program’s back cover is Psalm 23.

Also, included in the box - the flag, certificates, photos, and items that Shane’s Bushmaster Brothers left in his honor. There are dog tags, patches, emblems, coins, and para-cord with a cross and dog tag. My fingers lingered or grasped the items, as if I could gather strength for the upcoming days.

I reached again and again for the para-cord necklace. I closed my eyes and gently placed the cord in the palm of my hand – there rested the cross and dog tag. The cross was worn; it is pitted from wear and tear. The dog tag is marked and scuffed from metals hitting each other. I knew in my heart that this cross was something very special. The dog tag and cross belong to SSG Dustin Campbell.

I emailed or messaged the men that I could give credit for the items. Unfortunately, there are items in the box that are not distinguished by a name. This is my thank you for your thoughtfulness and caring.

I sent Dustin a message thanking him for his gift from the heart. Dustin gave me permission to share his response, which tells the history of the cross.

You are welcome for that, it was just something for me to give after Shane giving so much to us, that cross was worn throughout Vietnam by my dad and through Iraq in my first deployment and then again through Afghanistan. Thank you for all that you have done for our platoon as we are all starting to head in different directions I think that Shane's memory will hold us all together for a lifetime.

I told Dustin that I did not feel right keeping the cross – that this cross belongs in his family. I mentioned that I would like to keep the cross for a bit, but then return it to him. I have worn the cross a time or two; hoping for an understanding of this brotherhood of the Bushmasters. 

Some people might say that the package contained fabric, paper, metal, and cord. True, it contained fabric, paper, metal, and cord – but to me, it contained so much more. It contained courage, duty, honor, strength, and this damned thing called the brotherhood of the Bushmasters.

I will forever cherish these gifts – they help me in my dark hours as I continue to “put one foot in front of the other.”

Always and forever,
Shane’s Mammy and Beth’s Momma