Why #networking is critical to your business and your career – #businessintelligence – http://ow.ly/Jzu70
Posted by John on February 24, 2015
Posted by John on September 11, 2014
As the surviving father of a fallen warrior, I continue to work my way through the journey of grief. My name is John Mosko and Chris was a Navy EOD officer who was killed in Ghazni, Afghanistan along with Dick Lee and Brandon Eggleston, two Army ODA warrior as well as Fibi, their bomb dog on April 26, 2012. 4 months later, Chris’ teammate, Sean Carson, Navy EOD, was killed in a helo crash in Afghanistan. Sean had called me on Father’s Day since he knew I would be missing Chris. I was at Dover AFB when Sean was repatriated.
Since that terrible day when Gayle, my wife, Meredith, my daughter, and Amanda, daughter-in-law, learned of Chris’ death, life has been a days of progress and moments of regress. Two plus years later, I finally feel like I am really adapting to this new ‘normal’. It should never be normal for a parent to outlive their child. While I have tried (and occasionally succeeded) to not live vicariously through my children, it is hard not to imagine their future, full of hope and love and discovery.
I have tried to find ways to ‘Honor the fallen by challenging the living’ (Travis Manion Foundation www.tmfoundation.org) and sometimes it was easier to feel sorry for myself and not overcome the barriers.
That changed on Friday, August 29, 2014. Since Chris’ death, I wanted to pick a major athletic challenge to honor him. I like to do triathlons and my ultimate goal is to get myself back in shape for a half-Iron Tri but I needed to start somewhere.
That somewhere was my home in Avondale, PA where I put myself on my bicycle at 06:20 and rode to our friends’ vacation home in Bethany Beach, DE, a ride of 112 miles. It was planned as a solo ride since most people thought this was crazy. Gayle knew enough to let me try.
Then, a friend, Frank Masley (www.militarygloves.com) got in touch and said he wanted to ride with me. This was a welcome offer and, in retrospect, Frank’s presence and Gayle’s support assured my success.
My ride was specifically dedicated in memory of Chris as well as in honor of Nate Hathaway, my son in law, who is currently serving as an Army Captain and medical physician for our troops. In general, this was a ride for all the Fallen Warriors as well as all those who have served and continue to serve. I wore a cycling outfit from the EOD Warrior Foundation (www.eodwarriorfoundation.org) issued for their 2013 two day California ride given to me by Amanda. In about 20 pounds, it will actually look OK on this old body.
The two organizations which I am supporting with a donation to each are EOD Warrior Foundation and Travis Manion Foundation (www.tmfoundation.org). Each has provided support along the way. Tom Manion is the father of Travis Manion, a fallen Marine warrior and has helped me understand more about the path I will travel. The TMF 9/11 Heroes Runs (www.travismanion.org/get-involved/911-heroes-run) will honor the sacrifices of the heroes of 9/11 – the fallen and the living. I will be doing the virtual run as I will not be able to attend one in person. It will be dedicated to my friend, Kevin Eitel, who ran in when others were running away because of his Army training. He now suffers with lung complications.
I write this because we all need to inspect our lives and find ways to honor, remember and support those who have sacrificed. Please join me and remember those who have sacrificed to make our freedom and our way of life possible.
Frank Masley of Military Gloves, me wearing my EOD Warrior kit, Gold Star pin, EOD pin, and Travis Manion Foundation pin
Posted by John on April 25, 2014
Lieutenant Christopher Mosko, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 3, Special Operations, Navy
That is just part of who my son was. He was also a brother, a husband, a friend, a team mate, a leader and a follower. He was a better “learner” than me and hence was a much better teacher.
Chris may have commissioned into the Navy in 2007 but he mentally joined the Navy at the age of 6 when he saw the Midshipmen at the Army Navy game. He said he wanted to be one of them. Then, every step he took somehow led to April 26, 2012 Ghazni Province, Afghanistan. That is when an IED took Chris along with Brandon Eggleston, Dick Lee, and Fibi, the bomb dog. Chris was there to render the IED’s harmless – harmless to the men, women and children who lived and traveled around those eastern Afghani villages.
The awful grief experiences since then are imprinted forever in my memory. How do you forget your wife calling you and telling you “Chris is dead!”? Could you forget the military officers that you do not even know walking up to your door? How do you shake the memory of the repatriation at Dover when they carry those flag draped caskets off the big transport? The list goes on and on for that first year.
The most bittersweet of that first year was Meredith’s wedding. The knowledge of the empty seat he would have filled haunted what was a wonderful, blessed, near perfect day. My faith tells me he was with us – watching and guiding – unseen and unheard but felt by many of us.
But what happens in year 2? The grief is still there. We drive by Dover AFB on a regular basis for time with our friends at the beach. Invariably, there is silence in the car and sometimes the tears come. I am not sure that things have gotten easier as much as we have integrated the grief with good memories. He is an important part of who we are and he left us so many great memories. The pain I still feel is the memories I had hoped to have that will never happen.
One thing I have realized for a long time is that Chris connected to people in ways that made him a natural friend, leader, and confidante. I have reached out to collect the stories that were the fiber in the fabric of Chris’ life. I want to learn and capture who the complete person Chris was. Due to working for his uncle Mike, Chris really had not lived at “home” since he was about 18.
Our journey will continue. Chris would not want us to just move on. He would want us to challenge ourselves. He would want us to move forward toward a goal. He would want us to be better tomorrow than we are today. And he would goad us and push us with his smile and his laugh. When we achieved that goal, he would say “well, what is next?”
Getting together and having a toast to remember and honor him is OK. But it is not sufficient. We need to challenge ourselves. We need to do random acts of kindness. We need to go out of our way to help others. We need to make others smile.
That is what Chris would have wanted.
Posted by John on May 23, 2013
Special thanks to
Navy EOD MU3 (PLT381 in partic
Army Special Forces Command(Airborne) (ODA3423 in particular)ular)
Over the years, Memorial Day has been so many different things. It was the holiday that was the gateway to the summer. It was bicycle races in Somerville. It was picnics at the Martins. But, thanks to Dad, it was always a day where we thought about the men and women in uniform who have sacrificed. There were the parades and the visits to services at cemeteries or monuments where those who fell in war were remembered. And maybe because of this, Chris and Poppi always had a special bond and respect for each other. We remember.
The past one year, one month, and one day (as of Memorial Day 2013) has been a repetition of memorial days. The day was set aside as a time of reflection for our nation to remember, respect and honor those who gave their lives so that others may live. Every single day since 17:15 hours EST April 26, 2012 – the moment we knew – I have done nothing but remember, respect, honor and …… grieve. About 14 hours before that, Chris, Dick, and Brandon along with Fibi, the bomb dog, were hit by an IED on some dirt road in Eastern Afghanistan and gave their lives in service to their country. Then in August, Sean was added to that list. While only a few of the names have personal meaning to me, each name on the list has someone like me looking at it and remembering.
But Memorial Day is now filled with the knowledge and subsequent anxiety of knowing there are many others still in harm’s way protecting our way of life as well as just protecting locals in Afghanistan, East Africa and other international hotspots. I know some of their names and I know some of their loved ones. So while I remember Chris and the others who have died, I will be praying for each and every man and woman who stands up and offers to serve their country knowing the potential dangers they could face.
So, by all means, this Memorial Day, please remember those who have died in service to their country. It is important that we not forget the people they were, who they loved, what they stood for and grasp the potential that was lost when each of them was taken from us.
More importantly, do something that remembers and honors the living. The men and women who are active in our services today deserve our respect and support. Those who come back injured, physically or emotionally, deserve our respect, our attention and our support. And, finally, the spouses, parents, siblings, and those close to the fallen need and deserve our respect and compassion as they face this day which means so much more to each of them due to what they have lost.o, by all means, this Memorial Day, please remember those who have died in service to their country. It is important that we not forget the people they were, who they loved, what they stood for and grasp the potential that was lost when each of them was taken from us.
May God watch over and bless all of our Armed Services and their families this Memorial Day.
Hooyah, EOD Techs LT. Chris Mosko and PO 1st Class Sean Carson!
Hooah Staff Sgt. Brandon Eagleston and Staff Sgt. Dick Lee!
A grateful nation honors and remembers you for your sacrifice!
And our hearts and prayers are with your families for their sacrifice!
John Mosko 23 May 2013
Posted by John on April 26, 2013
One year ago, the last time I spoke with Chris, it was all about the future and the plans he had for life. As I face today, one year from that terrible, horrible day learning of his death to an IED in Afghanistan, that conversation is fresh and treasured memory. Time has not changed the hole that was left in my heart and my life and I have learned to pour memories into the hole and let them flow through the empty space. Now, instead of a hole, I have a conduit to him.
What is important to my now and my future:
1. Love of family – Being able to spend time with my family remembering him and the little things about his life. Gayle, Amanda, Meredith, Nate – you mean the world to me.
2. Love of friends – those who have stood next to us each step of the way with no questions or criticisms, giving us the emotional support to keep going on those days when we did not want to even think about a next step. Those who have become friends through our common grief are also a strong part of our life.
3. Pictures – almost every picture shows him with a smile and most have him with someone he loved and cared about – and I cherish every one.
4. The stories and experiences of those with him through life as he prepared for and then eventually deployed. Soccer teams, school mates, UPenn ROTC, EOD MU3, Army ODA unit. – thank you all for your stories. To those who have and continue to go into harms way, thank you for the burden you bear each day for the rest of us who sleep comfortably each night.
5. Time – Sometimes alone, sometimes with someone
6. Purpose – life is just too empty and short without it. What are the critical projects, causes and ideas I will dedicate myself to going forward?
So, our family has a busy couple weeks here. A family time to remember and grieve a bit on Friday, a birthday, an anniversary, and a trip to the EOD Memorial where Chris’ name will go up with those who have given their full measure – so a busy time full of emotions – sadness, love, pride. Our family will mix with the military family and we will honor those from the EOD community who left us this past year and remember those who passed before them.
So, today, April 26, please take a moment to say a prayer and remember a life well lived but far too short. Be thankful if you were blessed to have known him, his smile and his love for his life, his friends and his family. And raise a glass and give a big “Hoo Rah, Lieutenant Chris Mosko”.
Some Gave All – Billy Cyrus
“Love your country and live with pride, remember those who died.
America can’t you see”
“All gave some, some gave all.
Some stood true for the red white and blue, and some had to fall.
“So if you ever think of me, think of all your liberties.
And recall that some gave all.”