The Price They Pay
By Gary Craft
May we never take for granted the price our American military and their
families pay for our liberty. Each member of the military family contrib-
utes to that payment. They understand that in an all volunteer military they
will be in harm's way at some point in time. Yet, they are willing to pay that
price for us.
One day's events can change a life forever. June 29, 2011, was such a day
for the McCulley family. John was in a base camp on the Iraqi border with
Iran. He had commanded an Army unit as a Marine for eight years and was
now a contractor imbedded with an Army unit at COP Shocker, Iraq. John
had served 19 months in Iraq. It was 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon.
John and five others arrived in the command tent for their daily leadership
meeting. Just 211 meters away, the enemy had other plans for their meet-
ing that day. Twelve rockets were launched with devastating results. Three
of the six soldiers paid the ultimate sacrifice. John was severely injured. He
was pulled from the wreckage of a huge crater caused by the rocket attack.
Initially, it appeared John would be another casualty.
Meanwhile back in Germany, John's wife, US Army Specialist Stephanie
McCulley, was working a twelve-hour shift as an Army LPN at Landstuhl
Army Medical Center (LRMC). Separations and deployments had become
a part of this family's life. Seven-year-old Tarron and his six-year-old broth-