Michael's Dispatches

The Texan Who Would Be King



02 August 2011

Zhari District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan
With 4-4CAV, Task Force Spartan, Regional Command South

You meet the most interesting people in war.

War draws a “Who’s Who” of national leadership and central figures from the President on down.  “Everyone who is anyone” is somehow involved.  The higher leadership funnels down by gravity to the conflict.  And there another funnel is created, only this one is like a funnel cloud, a tornado, that rips through the young generation serving.  It also lifts many of these younger members into the clouds, to heights they never would have reached without military service, especially in war.  Many young people who are serving now will go on to do big things as they leap over boundaries that no longer exist in their minds or in reality.  They’ve faced death again and again and again.  Day in and day out, their responsibilities are routinely matters of life and death, success and failure.  Their decisions, good or bad, have national implications.  After this kind of responsibility, what else is there?

2011-07-30-001408-full-sizeLT Treadway before sunrise during the mission.

Colonel Patrick Frank, commander of Task Force Spartan, said that Zhari District is the most active district in Afghanistan.  And it was in Zhari that I met the Texan Who Would Be King.  His name is Lieutenant William Treadway and he has a solid reputation here.  A few days ago, 4-4CAV, also known as “The Pale Riders,” conducted an Air Assault attack and over the next 48 hours the squadron’s various elements got into 27 firefights.  We lost one Soldier killed in action.  He was shot.  Two others were shot, one seriously.  Body armor stopped the bullet that hit the third Soldier and so he walked away with very sore ribs.


Why is this small dispatch about LT Treadway?  It’s simple: in addition to being a combat Soldier, he is a writer.  He has a blog.  And so instead of seeing dispatches filtered by me or anyone else, why not get it straight from the Texan Who Would Be King?

2011-07-30-155652-full-sizeDuring the mission, the Milky Way drifted slowly across the sky.

The Texan Who Would Be King is not a feel good blog.  It’s just war:

“I hear pretty abhorrent tales about how the Pashtun Taliban sympathizers treat their children as well. For instance, a few kilometers north of us sits another COP where an injured child was dropped off at the front gate by his father, who then left. The young man presented with a skull fracture and exposed brain matter. He was still conscious and able to speak to an interpreter, but was fading fast. The terp asked him what happened. The boy said that his father had ordered him to go out to the road, count American convoys and mark the times they came past. The boy refused, and his father took to beating the child in the head with a hammer. After the bludgeoning, the father put the kid on his motorcycle, drove him to the COP that he was gathering intelligence against and left him there. The kid died before the medevac bird touched down.”

Click for more of The Texan Who Would Be King.

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Brooke Mackie-Ketcha · 9 years ago
    Heroes come in all nationalities, and ages.
    RIP young Pashtun child. Maybe he was one of those children who were given a soccer ball, a piece of candy, a smile by an American soldier. And the kid didn't have the callous heart his father had.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ron Peery · 9 years ago
    the alledged father? Remember his face, you will see him again. Here's hoping you catch "dad" toting an AK-47
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Marvin L · 9 years ago
    LT Treadway is one of the many young lieutenants that are excelling under the Army's "mission command" whereby leaders on the ground have more freedom to make decision rapidly to exploit success. What else is there you ask? The possibilities are endless, but one thing is for sure- this LT will make a difference no matter what he does.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Willard Cushman · 9 years ago
    LT Treadway can lead AND write well, too. I have his blog in my Favorites and check it often. It must be challenging for him to find time to write and post.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mike · 9 years ago
    I have alot of respect for this guy, but I'll have to say he does seem to have a bit of misunderstanding towards the Chinook world. I used to be in the unit currently supporting his AO and while there is a certain "rock star" attitude in a few of those pilots, that unit undoubtedly contains some of the very best pilots I've ever rode/worked with. There are some serious heroes in that small group that were cutting their teeth in that theater long before he chose his undergrad major.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Maryanne · 9 years ago
    Agree with Mr.Cushman. That Texan can write! Good stuff... thanks for giving him some exposure.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    sean peters · 9 years ago
    Remember that photo of a "shit-hook" hovering ass end over that POS mud hut in some valley while our guys climbed aboard???
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Roger · 9 years ago
    ... right from wrong. And in that environment it got him killed. Sad commentary, sad ending to a good lad. RIP

    Stay Safe Lt and crew!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Rick Schwab · 9 years ago
    These are the kinds of guys that need to inspire you each day to find ways to thank and support them. They are valient troopers and can do even more with your support and encouragement. God Bless the Troops! And God Bless America!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Fthomas · 9 years ago
    This LT is not only a soldier, but a leader with a conscience. I pray that he recovers from his wounds quickly. God only knows that we need leadership on the ground like him.

    He reminds me of another LT from long ago that I served with: Lt. John Gardner. Johnny had done three tours in Nam before he came home, finished a degree and re-entered the Army. Johnny passed away from bone cancer, far to young and with far to much promise in the possibilities of his future and the impact that he had on those around him.

    LT! I salute your service and pray that you and your men will all come home safely! It has to be a gut wrenching and soul searching place to make sense of the brutality and inhumane treatment of children in your area of operation.
    Keep up the good fight. Right and truth are with you and your men!

    God Speed!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ralph Butcher · 9 years ago
    Michael, what you said about kids who join the military is the absolute truth. Yes it's dangerous, but those who return home will probably reach heights that they've never envisioned.

  • This commment is unpublished.
    Karen · 9 years ago
    My heart goes out to that young boy who did the honorable thing and lost his life in a barbaric way as a result. . . Will check out LT Treadway's blog. . . Rick Schwab, thanks for your service in Vietnam! You guys got a bad deal and I hope you're getting more appreciation now -- a long time coming!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tammy · 9 years ago
    I will grieve for this poor child, but I am very proud of our troops for trying to take better care of him than his father did. I wonder, did his father suffer grief?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Violette · 9 years ago
    Less the happy calvacades in the plains and he rodeos...
    Guess some kind of others chevauchees !
    GREAT GUYS ! !
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Violette · 9 years ago
    TORTURE AND MURDERED HIS OWN CHILD,because the boy WOULD NOT SPY on Americans ...
    Says it all about Terry !
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Michael · 9 years ago
    How very sad and sickening that minds can become some perverted and warped that a parent would kill their own child. A heart wrenching story but thank you for telling what mainstream media ignores. It hurt like hell when I was in Iraq to want to help the kids but knowing that helping them could mean torture or death for them. Maybe we need to create a series of mini-Berlins (WWII) to foster the benefits of being kind and good global citizens and protect the innocent. Concrete doesn't cost as much as an innocent and brave child's life or our military personnel's.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Barry Sheridan · 9 years ago
    Clearly the father was warped and beyond redemption. Perhaps he will get his comeuppance via something travelling rather fast. And to think we are losing lives and squandering treasure to help these people.
    Keep up the good work Michael.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Peter T in Mn · 9 years ago
    Michael, thanks for telling about Lt Treadway. I grieve the small boy. "let the little children come to me" is lost on the rest of the world.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Vanessa · 9 years ago
    In the present tense, they are already making a difference. As for the future, IMHO, these young people will make a difference in our country and I bet most of them will vote. It seems senseless to me not to take 5 minutes at the polls when our young people are voluntarily giving 100% of their time to advance the cause of freedom for people who may have never had the right to vote. If even one eligible voter doesn't show up at the polls to exercise the RIGHT TO VOTE, it makes a huge difference--not just to the outcome--but to the process which I consider almost an "Holy Obligation" to our country and as an example to "the masses yearning to be FREE..." Please don't sit out any election. Just go and VOTE!! Thank you.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    James Wells · 9 years ago
    Michael, thank you for the heads up about Lt Treadway's blog. I have subscribed.

    Rick, I just sent a note to your last known email address. It bounced back to me. Please email me.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Sandra · 9 years ago
    Thanks for recommending The Texan Who Would Be King. He's great with great writing from a horrifying situation for us civies. Tells it straight but with humorous insight.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Rick Schwab · 9 years ago
    Emailing you as requested. My cell number is 817-992-2080.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ted77 · 9 years ago
    Well done, I will support your effort.

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