On May 31st, 2008, Army Specialist James M. Finley of Lebanon, assigned to the 173rd Special Troops Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, in Bamberg, Germany; died in Jalalabad City, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device.
17 months later on October 16th, 2009 Stephen Marcum of Lebanon was deployed with the 293rd Military Police Company, out of Fort Stewart, Georgia, when his platoon came under fire in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Marcum’s Humvee was hit, causing it to land on its roof.
He was thrown from the vehicle and suffered two broken arms, a broken femur, a shattered tibia and fibula, and a fractured skull that caused damage to his frontal lobe.
Marcum remained in a coma for more than a month. After eight days of undergoing numerous surgeries in Germany, he was transferred to Tampa, Florida, to undergo treatment for traumatic brain injury before coming home to Lebanon. Both men received heroes’ welcomes when they returned home but with the fall of Afghanistan into the hands of the Taliban, Marcum expressed his disappointment in government leaders.
Marcum thinks that government officials misled the Afghanistan people when they telegraphed the withdrawal from the country and there are no words to express the feelings for those who paid the ultimate price.
However, with all the disappointment, Marcum holds out hope for our military and those considering joining the service.
For his service, Marcum received a Purple Heart the oldest military award that is still given to members of the U.S. military. James Finley received the purple heart and bronze star for sacrifice for our country.