Pentagon Identifies Air Force Officer Murdered in Afghanistan
Morgen on February 26, 2012 at 10:42 pm
Lieutenant Colonel John Darin Loftis, assigned to the 866th Air Expeditionary Squadron, was http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123291469 - identified late Sunday as one of the two U.S. military officers murdered on Saturday by a gunman in the Afghan Interior Ministry. The motive for the killings has yet to be confirmed, but was likely in response to the Koran-burning incident earlier last week. An Afghan security officer with access to the facility where Lt. Col. Loftis worked is currently being http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=49768 - sought in connection with the shooting.
The loss of any of our armed forces serving overseas is tragic, but Lt. Col. Loftis’ death is especially poignant given the details of his service in Afghanistan. From an October 2009 DOD news http://www.dvidshub.net/news/40664/af-maj-loftis-fluent-pashto-qalat#.T0se1iN6rS2 - report :
Maj. Loftis has a Pashto name — Esan. People are always asking him what it means.
Deployed to Forward Operating Base Smart — a small military compound located in the heart of the Southern Afghan city of Qalat — the Air Force public information officer leaves quite an impression with the Afghan community he lives and works in, even if that community happens to be in the middle of a war zone.
While on foot patrol, Maj. Loftis is bombarded by swarms of Afghan children. Laughing and smiling, they follow him for blocks. He’s made friends with every Afghan on base. Whether they’re a guard or a local contractor, they’re all on a first name basis with him.
To say the least, Maj. Loftis is quite popular with the locals.
“During Eid ul-Fitr [the Islam holiday], I went around to all the guard towers to speak with some of the Afghan guards. If you think about it, they were sitting all by themselves for hours on this major, Islam holiday,” said Maj. Loftis. “I figured that if I were someplace by myself on Christmas, I would want somebody to come around and share the moment with me.”
In the ongoing persuit of building strong relationships, Maj. Loftis may be Romanian Battle Group in Zabul’s secret weapon. His abilty to speak to the locals in their own language instantly breaks down cultural barriers and builds trust.
His major focus is to communicate that the coalition forces are here for Afghanistan’s long-term stability. And he communicates that idea better than any translator.
And Maj. Lostis’ Arabic name? It means “The Quality of Being Generous.”
Generous, as are all of our brave service members risking their lives on a daily basis so the people of Afghanistan can have a better future. And none more so than those who have paid the ultimate price, to say the least.
Rest in peace.