Tribute to the Soldiers of COP Mizan


I am currently at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, going through the ‘demobilization’ process before returning to Minnesota. It is funny, in a disappointing way, that I had better internet access in Afghanistan than I do here. But no worries, in a couple days I will be on the internet from the comfort of my own home.

My first ‘real’ post since arriving on US soil is written with a heavy heart.  I have struggled, not knowing if I should do it or not.  But after thinking about it for the last week, I decided it was important to recognize the sacrifice of these young men.

For me, Sunday, 16 September 2012 began like any other; I woke up around 0400 and talked to my family via Skype. I then checked the weather & flight schedule to determine if we would be leaving. At that point, around 0500 it was unknown if the birds would fly, but we were scheduled for 0800. I went ahead and packed everything up with the hopes that the air would improve and it would be my last day on FOB Apache.

Around 0700 we learned that our flight was on weather-hold, but a tentative fly time of 1000. A short time later I learned that there had been an incident, with ISAF casualties, up at COP Mizan during the night. As you know, COP Mizan was my favorite place to be in Afghanistan and I had been lucky enough to spend several weeks up there over the past 11 months.

Although I don’t claim to know the Soldiers there well, it is a very small place, so I knew most of their names, so I wanted to know what had happened & to whom. It was heartbreaking to find out that four young Soldiers lost their lives early that morning (read DoD Press Release). I ‘knew’ 2 of the 4 killed and have included a few pictures of SGT Nena & PFC Bedoy here.  Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures of SPC Nelson or PFC Townsend.

It is never easy to read of the loss of a Soldier, but it is that much harder when it is someone you know, even if it is not much more than a casual acquaintance. I had met them, talked to them, took their pictures…these four young professionals were my kids’ age. They could have been my sons…their deaths really struck me in a way I would not have predicted. I was not only sad for the Soldiers and their families, but also for their buddies that will continue the mission with a significant hole in their ranks.

The weather finally did improve and we were able to leave Apache around 1630 that afternoon, but my excitement for leaving was overshadowed by the loss of those four young men and how it would impact the small ‘family’ of Soldiers continuing the mission at COP Mizan.

Please take a moment in memory of these four young Soldiers, their families and the Soldiers still serving without their buddies at their side.

I was able to find information for memorial sites for SGT Nena, PFC Bedoy & PFC Townsend.

R.I.P Sapp Nena

Our Hero, Genaro Bedoy

Out of Town please send checks to
Amarillo National Bank
P.O Box 1
Amarillo, TX 79125

Hometown Hero ~ Jon R. Townsend

Family of Jon Townsend
17910 S. 4170 Rd.
Claremore, OK 74017

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37 responses »

  1. i’m so very sorry. my heart goes out to you, their families and their comrades.
    Glad you are almost home.

  2. free penny press says:

    This news saddens me…You will find now that you are back, the media hardly (if ever) reports these losses to the citizens.. Why not? We need to mourn & pray..
    Welcome Home!

  3. Saying a prayer for the families. I thank them for their service. Thank you for bring this to light. I am so glad to hear your are safely in the states. God bless and thank you once again for your service.

  4. Yes it is so sad that so many young people have to lose thier lives and my heart does go out to them and their families……………Also it sucks that you had better internet reception in Afghanistan talk about odd and annoying………..Wonderful photos as usual

  5. artsifrtsy says:

    So sorry to hear this.

  6. cinandjules says:

    The tribute to your comrades of COP Mizan was sincere. I’m sorry for your loss.

    Whether it is a casual acquaintance or a buddy…it is a “special bond” that can’t be explained. I’m sure their families will not only appreciate the pictures they would be touched by the tribute.

    Four families have just lost a son, father or brother and now have to find the strength and courage to cope with the loss. Their buddies who are still on their mission have a difficult task of staying focused and grieving at the same time.

    SGT Nena, SPC Nelson, PFC Bedoy, PFC Townsend and all the others who have not made it home safely……………….may you rest in eternal peace.

  7. shar says:

    This was a great loss for 2nd Infantry Division and the Army. Thank you for your story and photos.

  8. kathyruth says:

    Our prayer go out to their families. God Bless them all. Thanks Dan

  9. I’m so sorry for your loss and for the family and friends of these young soldiers Dan. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  10. How heartbreaking. Prayers for their families. Thank you for sharing, that we continue to pray for every soldier’s safety.

  11. Ray's Mom says:

    A sad day for our county – again. So glad you are home safely, sorry the families of these young patriots will suffer the loss of a son.

  12. My thoughts and prayers are with you, their families and their fellow soldiers. Love & Light.

  13. manty67 says:

    It is so sad when you read or hear of people dying, but when they are so young and have so much to offer, it makes their deaths seem 100% worse. Sending lots of love to their families. Wonderful photo’s x

  14. SillyG says:

    thank you for sharing about the young men. welcome back.

  15. I’m sorry. I hope your family and friends hold you a little closer. I am sure they wont be able to let you go now. Welcome home.

  16. Stuart says:

    Tough job you guys have been doing out there. You have my greatest respect.

  17. I am glad you are safely home. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Thank you for your touching tribute to these soldiers. Beautifully done. 🙂

  18. John Bohmer says:

    Dan,

    I hope you’re able to get home soon and are able to resume some ‘normalcy’ again. Thank you for writing the blogs and sending pictures – I enjoyed them.

    John Bohmer

  19. so sorry this marred your flight out–but good for you for taking the time to write up a tribute to these brave young men

  20. mushypeas says:

    thank you for writing of these brave, young men with such touching regard, dan. we will keep all our military families in our prayers.

  21. Reggie says:

    I rarely listen to the news, but happened to be in the car when this news item came over the radio (our local radio stations don’t often mention stories like this). I thought immediately of you and wondered whether you were okay or whether you had been hurt. Over the last months that I have followed your blog, I have gotten to know more about the lives of you and your fellow soldiers, so it has become more personal, not as far removed as it had been. So I am very relieved that you have made it safely back home, and I grieve with you for the death of those who stayed behind. Blessings to you all.

  22. Margarita says:

    Dear Dan,
    When I heard of this incident, I wondered if you knew the young soldiers killed. After reading your post, I realize we all know the young men and women who are risking and sacrificing their lives daily, courageously living up to their ideals. They’re the kids who went to school with your kid. They’re the neighbor down the street. They’re the best that each one of us has to offer…only they actually offer it selflessly and courageously. Thanks for your post. xoM

  23. Bob Mack says:

    Thanks for your service, Dan. Remember the fallen. Adding your site to my blog roll.

    Bob Mack
    1st Sig. Bde, RVN ’67-68

  24. Thanks, Dan. And yes prayers for them and their families.

  25. pathwriter says:

    So sad to hear of this loss…prayers for the families and comrades they left behind.

  26. Dan, So honored that you have shared all that you have with us. I am glad you are safely home. The story of the sadness surrounding your fly out is a good reminder to us all of the ultimate sacrifice that is made on our behalf is made of by real men and women and I thank you for sharing their pictures. Blessings and peace to you. May your re-entry be made more gentle by the love of your family, friends, and community. much love.

  27. I appreciate the way you have expressed what we all feel at some time or other. Our team lost several soldiers the day before our departure so I can relate very well to your situation. Even though it may seem surreal being at Atterbury and that no one else in the mix can understand your inner turmoil, we are here and we are lsitening and feeling with you.

  28. My prayers go to the families and friends of these soldiers. My father never forgot his “buddies” that rest in Europe (WWII), nor has my husband or his brother forgotten their friends who never made it home from Vietnam. They will live on through the memories of family and friends. We should never forget. Patty

  29. Johnson Zhao says:

    Hey sir. I just wanted to thank you for this. I will make sure inform the others about this blog.

    -Spc. Zhao. COP Mizan medic.

  30. […] post I would like to be the most viewed is Tribute to the Soldiers of COP Mizan because those guys should always be […]

  31. April Robles says:

    Sapp Nena was a very close friend of mine, I’m glad you had the chance to meet such a special person. my prayers are with you and with the rest of the families of our brave soldiers. Thank you for sharing this.

  32. maryann b nena says:

    thank u for the tribute u made for these brave young men….Sappp Nena is my son and I want to thank u for remembering him and his comrades…may they all rest in peace

  33. Brandon says:

    Life goes on brother, I spent some time at mizan. .Largest firefight I was in was there in late 2010. Remember the ones that are lost, but don’t dwell on the past.

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