I just returned home from a very long week. I just finished up a private course in UT. But the course was a fun one and wasn’t the reason for the long week. It was long because I had to say goodbye to someone I didn’t think that I would have to say goodbye to. SFC Glen Jacob Whetten was one of my best friends, one of the very few that I consider family, and he died on March 12, 2010 when his vehicle was hit by an IED in the Zabul Province, Afghanistan. I had known Jake since 2002 when we were together in the 3/325 Airborne Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. Along with the rest of the Scouts, we invaded Iraq and spent a miserable year growing close in a way that only combat veterans can understand. Periodically we get together, our family. We talk on the phone a lot and email each other to say hello and keep up with what everyone’s doing. But this last reunion was bittersweet in many ways.
We laid our fellow warrior – and he was just that – to rest. We also said goodbye to our brother, realizing that we will never get to see his face again, hear him laugh, or trade our stories about the things that we had gone through together. But the funeral was one that would have made Jake proud to be the soldier that he was. And he was one of the best, very cool under the pressure of a firefight. It is the greatest test to be a leader in an active combat zone. There was one time in particular where his quick thinking saved his squad when they were pinned down. Jake was someone that you could always count on.
Jake was also very thoughtful. I never heard him talk badly about anyone – and that’s the honest truth. Even those of us who were going through rough times and made poor decisions, he would see things through their eyes. That’s a rare thing for someone so young. I miss my friend now and I look back with regret that I didn’t do more to stay in touch with him. But I guess that we can always say things like that. Those of us who knew him are better people for that and we all have an empty spot in our lives where he used to be.
SFC Glen Jacob Whetten
March 19, 1978 – March 12, 2010
Also I heard a voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. Isaiah 6:8