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Old 06-20-2010, 04:13 PM
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Senior Airman Benjamin White - ERWIN

Pararescueman Oath

“It is my duty as a Pararescueman to save life and to aid the injured. I will be prepared at all times to perform my assigned duties quickly and efficiently, placing these duties before personal desires and comforts. These Things I do So Others May Live.”

ERWIN — Senior Airman Benjamin Daniel White, age 24, of Erwin, was a Pararescueman serving with valor and honor in the 48th Rescue Squadron from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona. Senior Airman White was deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He died while performing a rescue mission on June 9, 2010, near Forward Operating Base Jackson, Afghanistan, as a result of injuries received from an aircraft accident due to hostile actions.


In other words, his HH-60 Pavehawk was shot down while on a SAR mission. Now for the part that chaps my ass. Read on...

The Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church has confirmed that members will be in Johnson City on Monday to picket the memorial service of Senior Airman Benjamin D. White, an Erwin resident who was killed in Afghanistan last week.

A flier from the group, headed by the statement “God hates America and is killing our troops in his wrath” and dated June 16, states: “Military funerals have become pagan orgies of idolatrous blasphemy, where they pray to the dunghill gods of Sodom and play ‘Taps’ to a fallen fool.”

The filer goes on to say that the “message” will be “preached in respectful, lawful proximity” to White’s memorial at Grace Fellowship Church, located on South Greenwood Drive. The flier states Westboro members will be at the service at 6:15 p.m.

White, 24, along with three other airmen, died June 9 when their HH-60G Pavehawk helicopter, assigned to the 55th Rescue Squadron at Davis-Mothan Air Force Base, Ariz., crashed in southeastern Afghanistan.

The Westboro Baptist Church is headed by the Rev. Fred Phelps and is known for picketing funerals of military service personnel in their crusade against homosexuality, displaying signs with such messages as “God Hates America.”

Keisha Shoun with Johnson City’s community relations office said there are no city laws against peaceful protest and no permit would be required for the Westboro Baptist Church’s planned picket because traffic would not be affected.

Westboro Baptist Church member Shirley Phelps-Roper, Phelps’ daughter, responded to inquiries via e-mail and confirmed the group would attend White’s memorial service. She wrote that “not more than 7” members of the church would be at White’s memorial service and they would remain about 500 feet away from the service per state law, standing at the intersection of Seminole Drive and South Greenwood Drive.

Phelps-Roper was asked why the group plans to attend the memorial service, and she wrote in her response that America “has refused to heed the Word of God and to obey his commandments and to repent” and that “God is pouring out his wrath, pursuant to his promises and that includes in all these amazing and horrible firsts and worsts that you have seen in the last decade.”

The group’s flier states White gave his life for the church’s Constitutional right to “warn America,” and to deny its First Amendment rights is to “declare to the world that Sr. Airman White died in vain, and that America is a nation of Sodomite hypocrites.”

White’s grandfather Curtis White said he would attempt to “overlook” the group, but questioned why the Westboro Baptist Church chooses to picket at funerals.

“I just don’t appreciate it,” he said. “It’s just the wrong time and place and if they don’t like America, then why don’t they leave?”

The Westboro Baptist Church’s flier was sent to local media outlets by the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department after receiving it from another party. While Unicoi County Sheriff Kent Harris said the group does have the right to protest, he said he was “appalled” by statements made on the flier.

“The God that I worship and serve is definitely one of peace and love, not of hate and killing,” he said. “I just can’t believe a group would really do something like that. It’s hurtful to me.”

White’s body will be flown into the Tri-Cities Regional Airport at approximately 9 a.m. Saturday from Dover, Del. His body will be returned to Erwin that day. Harris said the escort will travel from the airport, taking the interstate to Jackson-Love Highway, onto Love Street, down Main Avenue and to the Erwin Memorial Funeral Home.

Harris said people are encouraged to line the streets to honor White.

His memorial service will be held Monday at Grace Fellowship Church in Johnson City, with visitation from 4 to 7 p.m. and services beginning at 7 p.m. Funeral services will be held Tuesday at 11 a.m. at the Mountain Home National Cemetery in Johnson City.

Please join me in honoring Senior Airman Ben White as I protest the presence of Westboro Baptist Church. This is no church at all, merely an organized assembly of hate who preaches that same hatred by attaching it to the name of God. Stand side by side with other free men and women and support this family in their time of loss and defend our love of God and country to these outsider.

I'm sorely tempted to go and protest the protesters along with many others but I honestly don't think I can keep my temper in check long enough to keep from assualting these idiots.

Last edited by RamTech; 06-20-2010 at 04:37 PM.
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Old 06-20-2010, 04:24 PM
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I wish I could be there with you!
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Old 06-20-2010, 04:32 PM
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I remember you talking about this at Gatty. It is a bunch of BS! If they think God is mad at America then I agree, they can get Alec Baldwin and get the hell out!!
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Old 06-20-2010, 04:34 PM
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Well, if you can't restrain yourself Randy, take plenty of ammo with you so you can finish the job.

How rude of these people. They profess to love life and honor all living things and then they protest the funeral of someone who was trying to save a life? Does the civilian paramedic who dies while trying to save a life or respond to a life threatening situation receive the same treatment? Does the police officer, who is there to stop violence against the general public and in doing so dies in service to the community receive the same treatment?

How is this different from what SA White does? Is it simply because he was doing his duty as part of the military?

Seems to me they are in conflict with their own beliefs. Their generalizations can not play both ways. They have no idea what it takes to serve, in whatever capacity under any organization. Yes they sit there and flap their jaws.

At issue is a balancing test between the privacy rights of grieving families and the free speech rights of demonstrators, however disturbing and provocative their message. A difficult issue, certainly, but where's the common decency and respect for the dead in their actions? Simply, there is none. Just how would they feel if a group of military members protested at the funeral for one of their loved ones? How would they feel if someone chanted, "God killed another rude, yapping dog!!!"?

Frankly, we would be a lot better off without them. They remind me of a pack of yapping dogs.

Last edited by erm; 06-20-2010 at 04:41 PM.
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Old 06-20-2010, 04:40 PM
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I wonder if they'd criticize a USCG pararescueman for dying in the line of duty rescuing people at sea. It's the exact same job and not one bit less dangerous than going into a hot LZ.
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Old 06-20-2010, 04:52 PM
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This would piss me off as well, so disrespectful. If it were not for the effort of American and Canadian troops doing their jobs over there I'm convinced we would have seen another 911 by now.
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Old 06-20-2010, 05:07 PM
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Been a while since I read a post on here that left me speechless.....talk about a bunch of the most disrespectful people who, IMO, are ABUSING their FREEDOM, the very same freedom that our men and women are fighting to protect. As a Christian myself, I find it mean spirited and hateful that anyone would make such ascerbic remarks and we can find a sense of pride in the fact that, like so many of these "splinter groups," they only speak to, and presumably for, a VERY SMALL group of people as the rest of us DO NOT share their opinion!!! I would like to see them face to face with the Taliban/Al Quaeda and see who lives in the end, but I highly doubt their "God" would show up and "save" their sorry butt, because it certainly isn't the God I believe in, and I don't honestly believe I could show up to a counter protest and not end up somewhere I don't want to be.....for life.....

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Old 06-20-2010, 05:11 PM
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I've decided to go to the service tomorrow evening out of respect for the man even though I didn't know him. Chapter 4 of Rolling Thunder will be there and I'm sure the line of people that want to get their hands on the protestors will stretch around several blocks, so it's likely any piece I'd get of one them would be small.
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Old 06-20-2010, 05:14 PM
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Those of us that served or are serving our country, whether it is the US Military, Police, Fire Persons, or National Guard, & all the other fields involved with our Safety & Security have to do our jobs so that we stay free & can enjoy being able to do almost whatever we want to.

Does a Baptist get a certificate from some higher authority, or just send an email to get it??

But, these protesters are so close to breaking the laws & inciting violence, that I don't think i could be in the same general area as them. I almost ran a group of pedestrians down there were carrying signs & blocked a drive way I wanted to leave, I didn't but my whole body was shaking, i was so irritated.
Sorry i vented
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Old 06-20-2010, 05:16 PM
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Venting is the whole point of this thread. Feel free to continue.
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