The National Guard has been known as largely a domestic force, working in humanitarian efforts and emergency assistance stateside, but Sept. 11, 2001 changed all that. Now Guard members serve everywhere with regular troops, enduring all the hardships and the dangers.
That was the case with three N.C. Guard members who died last week in Khost, Afghanistan, when they and 16 others (at least, at last count) were victims of a suicide bomb. The three North Carolinians were all sergeants, all members of the military police, and their names were Donna R. Johnson of Raeford, Jeremy F. Hardison of Browns Summit and Thomas J. Butler IV of Leland. They were members of the 514th Military Police Company based in Winterville.
We should know their names, appreciate their service and grieve with their families, as we do with those of all military personnel who make the ultimate sacrifice in uniform, whether as a citizen solider or a regular one. They lived and worked among us and were willing to put civilian lives on hold to serve.