Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Navy AC2 James Ehrlich

Remember Our Heroes

AC2 US Navy James Ehrlich passed away at 12:20am on Wednesday, April 2nd, one day after his 25th birthday. AC2 Ehrlich suffered severe brain trauma in a training accident in December. He had volunteered to go to Iraq and was being trained at Ft Lewis to be a gunner in Humvees.

For a complete journal of all this very brave sailor went through before his passing, I refer you to the link above. As difficult as the journal is to read, I encourage you all to do so.

The info provided below is an excerpt of what was written by his Dad when he set-up the website in December, after James was injured in a training accident.

"James "Erk" is serving in the US Navy as an Air Traffic Controller stationed at NAS (Naval Air Station) Brunswick, Maine. His duty prior to NAS Brunswick was air traffic control aboard the USS JFK (an aircraft carrier). James was aboard the JFK when it sailed on its final tour, an historic tour of the Persian Gulf. Many of you will ask - "If James was in the Navy how did he get injured training to be a gunner on a Humvee?"

James has always been adamant in his desire to go to Iraq to help the citizens there build a good life; so when the Navy was looking for sailors to volunteer to help relieve the soldiers James didn't hesitate to volunteer.

James left his wife and baby on 28 October to head to Fort Lewis Washington (state) for the training needed to complete his mission. The accident occured on a training field in the high dessert at Yakima WA.

Since James scored "Expert" on machine guns his chief picked him to test to qualify for the .50 cal guns which are located on the top of Humvees. James scored 850 out of 1000 points on the .50 caliber. (I have been told that 700 is an average for gunners, in fact, I have been told by one person that a score of 850 puts James in the top 5% of .50 caliber gunners) Please forgive me if I sound like I am bragging (I am) a father needs to be proud of his son.

On Saturday, 15 December when the accident occurred, James was riding in the gunner position of the Humvee. The gunner stands up through the middle of the roof to do his shooting and is therefore exposed to a high risk of being ejected when a Humvee flips. The Humvee lost control on the rocky snow and ice covered terrain and after some maneuvering to regain control, the vehicle flipped end over end and landed on its wheels. In the process James and three of his team members were ejected from the vehicle. Thankfully, the other three members of the Humvee received only minor injuries and were treated and released the same day.

James was picked up off the field and flown to a local hospital. The military has had great success reducing internal injurys on accident victims through the use of body armor. Thankfully, James' body armor prevented him from receiving internal injurys. His only injuries other than severe head trauma, are a broken foot and a cut knee. His brain injuries are severe and his road to recovery will be long and hard."

This is what his Dad wrote today, after James died:

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 02, 2008 01:10 AM, CDT
"James has finally completed his journey home.

He passed this morning at 12:20.

The nurse came to give James his midnight meds and found that he had already left his troubled body.

Lizzie was in the room when he passed but apparently was not aware that God came to get James.

Laurie had just come home from the hospital about an hour and a half earlier and planned to get to the hospital early in the morning because she anticipated his passing sometime today. She is now very upset and heartbroken that she was not with James when he left. Laurie and Christine have gone back to the hospital to be with Lizzie and I have stayed home to be with Joseph.

James, you will surely be missed by your family and friends. In fact, we are already missing you!!

I love you son. - Your Dad"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This was a sad day. I was the one who found him after the accident and started treating his injuries. R.I.P God bless.