A Statement from Lt. Col. Rick Noriega
Yesterday, the greater
Omar honored his parents, staying in contact with them regularly. A good son, he let them know he was safe and looking forward to returning home. Omar followed his mother's advice, and honored his God, never losing his faith. And Omar honored his country, not only serving voluntarily and tackling each task he was assigned, but by having the courage to speak out and voice his opinion that our nation's military presence in Iraq was no longer a war of liberation, but an occupation in the midst of a civil war between religious sects.
Omar voiced his concerns in an op-ed to the New York Times on August 19, written along with six other airborne soldiers ... one who died along with him in the accident, another who was shot in the head and is in critical condition.
It is the right of every citizen to speak their mind, as Omar's brother Roger told the Houston Chronicle -- a right that belongs to civilian and soldier alike, regardless of rank. Voicing one's opinion, especially from a soldier, is very difficult when 'management' is wrong. Omar, and his fellow soldiers had a better understanding of the cultural matrix in
There is another manifestation of bravery that for those in uniform is a matter of course, but takes on special meaning among civilians who do not have to follow a chain of command ... the courage to listen. It's time our political leaders listen to the insights of Sergeant Mora, his fellow soldiers, and the reality in
Sergeant Mora and his soldiers concluded their editorial by making clear "as committed soldiers, we will see this mission through." He lived up to his word. Now the challenge lies with the rest of us to listen and bring this mismanaged war to an end.
Because of extended deployments, Sergeant Mora was serving his 2nd tour in