Dear Mr and Mrs Wheat:
Today is 22 November 2009. My wife and I found the laminated photo of your son, Robert this morning on a post in front of the Carolina Dunes (Myrtle Beach, SC).
I hope that it will be alright if he travels to Mississippi with us when we return home next Sunday. It seems almost appropriate that we found this, this morning. You see my wife and I are career Guardsmen and have both been members of the North Carolina National Guard (Air, 145th Airlift Wing) in the past. Now we are both members of the Mississippi Air National Guard. She is a Captain with the 186th Medical Group and actually flew Medevac during the first Gulf War returning wounded soldiers for initial care out of the battlefield theater. I flew C130's during the first Gulf War and my current assignment makes the finding of your son's photo even more poignant.
I currently command a TACP (Tactical Air Control Party) Squadron (238th ASOS) and have 74 young men under my command. We literally go and work, live, sleep and eat with the US Army. We are the guys who go forward with the Army elements and provide the Close Air Support (i.e. get bombs and steel on target from overhead) whenever the Army gets attacked or pinned down. My unit has done almost continual rotations since 2004 and we are on our first vacation since 2005.
We would like to take your son and place his card at Lake Lowndes State Park near Columbus, Mississippi. We go there to camp quite a bit and it is where we camped before my rotation to Iraq in 2008 for me to try and find a little peace within myself before I deployed. It is quite a beautiful and serene place near the Alabama/Mississippi border in Lowndes County.
Your son, Robert, looks like a very happy young man and I am sure he was quite a joy to you and to others. I know that you miss him dearly. Please e-mail me and let me know if it is alright with you that Robert travels to Mississippi with us. We will place his card in a special secure place in our favorite campsite so that he can continue his travels. I hope that you will honor our request and allow us to enrich your memories of your beloved son.
May God bless you and keep you ever in his care!