On 30 October 2006, Nate wrote to his brother Austin, who was attending Officer Candidate School in Quantico. Nate described the loss of a member of his unit, and what it should mean to Austin and the other officer candidates.
We had a Marine with 3rd Recon killed in action about two weeks ago out west. Sniper shot. He went down in the street and a full-fledged, complex attack was initiated by the enemy. Other Marines – under fire – risked their lives in the ensuing events to recover him, triage him, and get him on a HMMWV to Fallujah surgical. All this happened as Marines counterattacked, bullets snapping by as they took up defensive positions. I knew the events because I talked to them afterward. Included is his memorial pamphlet. I wish I had the chance to know him, all the Recon guys admired him, looked up to him, and are devastated by his loss.
Why do I tell you this? Because Sgt Simpson and many all-Americans like him are the ones you will be entrusted to lead, protect and stand in front of. Never forget that all the trials and training you and the other candidates (eventually Second Lieutenants) go through is not about you. America's sons and daughters will be entrusted to your care. You owe them competence, discipline, courage, judgment, etc. Post Sgt Simpson's memorial picture, perhaps up on your squad bay read-board, tell your fire team and squad and platoon about him -- as a clear reminder of what this is all about. Keep it with you through the trials ahead. Because when you hear the final roll call, the long bugle playing taps, and the bagpipes wailing – we better have done everything short of the hand of God Himself to accomplish the mission and bring Marines home. It is a sacrifice he and many like him have made fighting for each other. Earn it.
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