weather icon Partly Cloudy

Memorial Day service returns to G.G. Sweet Veterans Memorial Park

The numerous vehicles parked along Gamebird Road near Money Street meant only one thing this past weekend.

Memorial Day observances have returned to the Pahrump Valley once again.

Upward of sixty residents, consisting of veterans and their families, converged on G.G. Sweet Memorial Park, where guest speakers, prayers and a benediction from Pastor John Biggs from Saved By Grace Lutheran Church highlighted the late morning ceremony.

During the service, a eulogy and committal ceremony was conducted for the surviving family members of USMC Sgt. Joe Moreno Jr., USMC Cpl. Robert Hunn and USAF Airman Donald Walsh, followed by a rifle salute and the playing of taps.

Following retired USMC Major Roger Chaput’s welcome remarks, retired USMC Major Tim Callahan spoke about his time serving in the Middle East, where in the fall of 2002, he and 60 Marines under his command, were deployed to Kuwait as an advance party.

“We established and built Camp Commando from scratch,” he said. “This camp became the footprint 1 Marine Expeditionary Force. The numbers swelled to around 10,000, which included British forces.”

During that time, Callahan said he was eventually responsible for and led 165 Marines and sailors, which included a Motor Transport Platoon, where he received brand new seven-ton trucks.

Two of those trucks served as a backdrop during the Memorial Day service on Monday.

Callahan said he and his platoon stood fast in northern Kuwait as they awaited the start of their operation.

The convoy consisted of more than 50 vehicles, including last-minute attachments from the U.S. Navy Seals and additional governmental organizations.

In early 2004, Callahan was operating out of the Green Zone in Baghdad where he led private security contractors.

In March of 2004, Iraqi insurgents attacked a convoy containing four American contractors from the private military company Blackwater USA, who were conducting a delivery for food caterers.

The four armed contractors were killed and dragged from their vehicles through the city streets before being hung over a bridge crossing the Euphrates River.

Callahan said the Blackwater incident in Fallujah necessitated a Regional Operations Center, which enabled coordination between coalition forces and the private security companies.

The first successful coordination occurred in the Anbar province with the 1st Marine Division.

Shortly thereafter, his convoy came under fire by the enemy.

“Insurgents attacked my convoy and we executed immediate counter-ambush,” he said. “Insurgents were observed moving into a compound and unlike before, I was able to call in close air support and lead a counter-attack. The assistance and aggressive response, represented a change in the way things were done.”

The methods, Callahan said were replicated in many other areas, as insurgent activities became better documented.

Even still, Callahan said things went from bad to worse as the level of insurgent attacks increased.

“In the Haditha Dam area, one convoy was completely destroyed with no survivors,” he said. “With my convoys, 40 percent of the time, an attack occurred. From 2004 to 2007, the regional operations center reported 132 security contractors and drivers had been killed, with 416 wounded, two missing and 208 vehicles destroyed, which included two from my convoys. Like so many other U.S. military personnel, my deployment had been a dangerous year for me.”

Following Callahan’s remarks, retired Army Lt. Col. Patrick Nary spoke about the lives lost during conflicts and wars dating back to the Revolutionary War, where shoeless and starving soldiers refused to abandon their posts.

“In that eight-year war, we lost 25,000,” he said. “During the Civil War, in the four years of brother against brother, we lost 625,000 soldiers. That’s 156,250 a year, 428 a day and 17.8 lives an hour. In our first 100 years of existence as a nation, the Civil War accounts for 91.2 percent of lives lost in battle.”

Nary went on to point out that 116,516 lives were lost during the First World War, while WWII saw more than 405,000 casualities, where a soldier died every six minutes of the war.

During the Vietnam conflict 58,220 died in the line of duty.

“These are numbers that many will never know, never understand or never think about as they celebrate this day with barbecues and parties,” he said. “Over 1.3 million men and women, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandfathers and grandmothers have lost their lives defending the freedoms we so love and enjoy today.”

After recounting sage quotes from Greek General and Statesman Pericles, and President Abraham Lincoln, Nary closed his remarks, in part, with the following words:

“May the pain felt today ease over time and may their memories always bring a smile to your heart,” he said. “God bless those that have died in conflict and defending our freedoms, and God bless America.”

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Thousands watch Nye County GOP virtual debate

The Nye County Republican Central Committee, with the participation of the Pahrump Valley Times, hosted a GOP debate last weekend for the contenders vying for the Republican vote in the 2020 primary election, with nearly three dozen candidates joining in to tackle a variety of topics pertinent to their various offices and thousands of voters watching over two days of discourse and debate.

Striving for success, commission reduces Pahrump Fall Festival vendor fees

The Pahrump Fall Festival is, hands down, the single largest community event in the valley each year but over the past few years, it has been dwindling a bit in terms of participation by vendors offering merchandise and goodies for the thousands of people who turn out on a regular basis. With this in mind, town and county officials have made the decision to revise the vendor booth fee schedule, lowering the prices in an effort to attract more vendors and make the 2020 Fall Festival a resounding success.

Pahrump’s Movies in the Park given the go-ahead

It’s been more than two months since the last community gathering was held in Pahrump and though certain restrictions are still in place regarding the number of people allowed to congregate in public or private settings, the town is now readying for the first large-scale public event since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nevada, its annual Movies in the Park.

Leslie Street paving to commence tomorrow in Pahrump

Pahrump Valley motorists who regularly travel along Leslie Street might want to consider another route this Thursday and Friday, May 28 and 29, as the repaving project for the stretch of Leslie Street between Basin Avenue and Irene Street is set to take place over the next two days.

Virus deadly to Beatty events

Among the victims of COVID-19 are Beatty’s two biggest events of the year—the Fourth of July celebration in the park and Beatty Days in October.

Storm Area 51 cost Nye County $363,000

More than seven months after the Storm Area 51 event that had Nye County in an official state of emergency, the county now has a view of just how much the event cost it, with a reported $363,000 in unbudgeted expenses connected to the phenomenon that grew out of what was originally intended as a social media joke.

DAN SIMMONS: Get back to nature, enjoy the sounds of silence

Even as we see improvement in the current pandemic, but continue the process of quarantine, isolation, hibernation and social distancing, do what you can by continuing to work at home, work with government programs and creditors.

Pahrump’s Golden Years contestants surprise pageant founder

The contestants for the 2020 Ms. Senior Golden Years Pageant recently made a special visit to pageant founder BJ Hetrick-Irwin’s house to bring a smile to her face and let her know that while the pageant may have to be postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the ladies are ready and willing to forge forth with the annual event just as soon as they are able.