Monday, May 26, 2008
Leif - Infantry Machine Gunner - Uzbekistan 1998
Leif was a machine gunner in the infantry, and he was outstanding at it. He received several awards as the best in his units, earned sharpshooter badges, and loved that gun. This photo was taken in a tent in Uzbekistan, when his unit from the Tenth Mountain Division, was there for UN exercises in the fall of 1998. It was actually taken in a tent and there were other guys from his unit in the background. I took them out with PhotoShop because I don't know who they were and can't ask their permission to post their photos on the blog.
Leif had a strong bond with his assistant gunner, James Mayo. They lost contact after they both got out of the service, and Leif tried to find Jim online but never succeeded.
When Leif was carrying his entire infantry pack and the gun, the weight was about the same as his body weight.
Leif was also a certified armorer. He loved guns and knew more about them than anyone I ever met.
It's the wee hours of the morning on Monday, May 26th, Memorial Day, the day we honor those who died for their country. Leif was not killed in a war, or die from combat wounds, but he served his country well and was disabled by his service. We will visit the cemetery later today and see the marker stone set in his niche for the first time. Later I'll post a photo of that.