A letter forwarded to me from Humayun’s Commander.


The grave site of U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan at Arlington National Cemetery. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

By Dana J.H. Pittard August 3

The writer is a retired U.S. Army major general.

I am a former soldier who served our nation in uniform for more than 34 years. I was also Capt. Humayun Khan’s combat brigade commander inDiyala province, Iraq, in 2004. I came to know Humayun after taking command of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, in Germany in 2002. The motto of our unit was “No mission too difficult. No sacrifice too great. Duty First!” Humayun was a wonderful person, liked and respected by all who knew him. I used to joke with him about the tank platoon he once led, which I had led 20 years earlier. I often told him that we were kindred spirits. I remember clearly the day he died.

9 takes on Trump’s reaction to Khizr Khan’s speech


Play Video3:46
Both Republicans and Democrats are publicly responding to the row between GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump and Khizr Khan. Khan’s son was killed while serving in Iraq. Here’s what politicians from both parties said. (Monica Akhtar/The Washington Post)

Humayun was a great officer. The 201st Forward Support Battalion, Humayun’s unit, was the most motivated and combat-oriented logistics unit I had ever seen. It supported our 4,000-person brigade, protected wheeled convoys and was responsible for guarding the gates at our large forward operating base: Camp Warhorse.

We employed more than 1,000 Iraqi citizens at Camp Warhorse. We were slowly making progress in the province, the economy and security were improving, and the insurgents were losing steam. Security at Camp Warhorse was extremely tight. Unfortunately, we had killed or wounded several innocent Iraqi drivers at our gates over the previous month for failing to heed our warning signs and our gate guards’ instructions. Each of these incidents potentially hurt our relationship with local Iraqis. Humayun had fostered a warm relationship with our local workforce, and he and his unit were determined to break the cycle of violence by reducing or eliminating unnecessary deaths and injuries at our gates.

On the morning of June 8, 2004, the gate guards alerted Humayun to an orange-and-white taxicab slowly moving through our serpentine barriers during the “rush hour” of Iraqi day workers coming onto camp. Humayun probably moved toward the suspicious vehicle to avoid killing the driver unnecessarily, but at some point, he concluded that something was wrong and ordered his men to hit the dirt. The driver detonated his car bomb, killing Humayun and two Iraqi citizens. Humayun died trying to save the lives of innocent Iraqis. His brave effort to approach the vehicle probably saved American lives as well.

I raced to the gate upon hearing the huge explosion. It was an awful scene. Battalion commander Lt. Col. Dan Mitchell and his soldiers had resecured the destroyed gate, but we lost more than a gate, we lost a member of our team — of our family. Humayun’s death caused sadness throughout our entire brigade combat team. There were three memorial services for him — one with our soldiers at Camp Warhorse, a second with our rear detachment and family members at our home base in Vilseck, Germany, and a third with the Khan family in United States. We named the 201st Battalion headquarters on Camp Warhorse the Khan Building in his honor.

Humayun was one of 36 men and one woman in our brigade who died during our year in Iraq. Our fallen comrades were of all races, religions and genders. They represented sacrifice, service, duty and the essence of what makes our country great. And, yes, it is a great country right now. Despite our flaws, the United States remains a beacon of hope around the world.

Blue Star families are those with a member deployed to combat in the service of our country. Gold Star families are families that have lost a loved one in a combat zone. In our military culture, we hold Blue Star families in the highest regard. But we have absolute reverence for our Gold Star families.

I join all those who stand in support of the Khan family. This family is our family, and any attack on this wonderful American Gold Star family is an attack on all patriotic and loyal Americans who have sacrificed to make our country great. Any politically or racially motivated attack on the Khans is despicable and un-American.

About Zakiah

I write poetry and some fiction, have a book that was published in 2012. . . Stray Thoughts/Winged Words. I have four grandchildren, ages 16 and half to almost 16 months. I love the ocean, and grew up along the Indian Ocean in South India. I am a retired physician. Don't know much else to say. Thanks for reading. That has been my profile for so many years. My daughter Saadia a great poet and story teller, has two sons; the oldest grandson is now 21 years old, doing architectural engineering at Missouri S&T in Rolla MO. His younger brother is almost 16 and taking driving lessons seriously and is in High School. The other two grandsons, children of my son Sayeed, are 9 and 5. I have recently published another book titled Gulistan, A home of Flowers. It has stories and memories of my childhood and of a distant land which I still consider as my HOME., even though I have lived here in the US for more than fifty years. Hope to see you on my blog.
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9 Responses to A letter forwarded to me from Humayun’s Commander.

  1. Humor_Me_Now says:

    American politics has hit another new low. The Kahn family are great citizens of our country. It is a shame what they have been trough–the loss of their son and the Trump repspone.

  2. It really galled me what Trump did. Yet there are still supporters of his that cheer him on.

    • Zakiah says:

      I knooow! It is unbelievable. He feeds the frenzy of idiots.

      • I just saw what Trump said about the 2nd Amendment folks stopping Clinton. His defenders on CNN said he didn’t mean it that way, he says things differently, he’s not a politician etc… I think he knows what he is doing. He’s smart, calculating and clever. He knows how to say things veiled with a thin layer of ambiguity that he can hide behind.

        I should also thank you for sharing that article. In my haste and anger at criticizing Trump, I neglected to do that.

  3. slmret says:

    It’s looking very much as if Trump’s bad week last week may have done him in! In large groups, leading Republicans are announcing that they will not vote for him. Today’s group was 50 high level security officials from both parties and several administrations. I hope they can influence the voters!

  4. slmret says:

    It is appalling that Trump would attack a gold star family, even if they publicly stated that they didn’t support him for President. The Dems seemed to practice restraint during the Rep convention, but that certainly was not reciprocated!

  5. That whole situation was so maddening and so sad. 😦
    I feel such pain and sadness for Capt. Humayun Khan’s family…especially his mom. 😦
    Trump Is a Rump! Grr! 😡

  6. We are between a rock and hard place as far as the choices for president. It’s a sad, sad time for the USA.

  7. This post puts some people on the right way whatever the country..
    Love ❤

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