Sarge's Corner

July has been a very bad month — not only for our police officers, but for veterans as well.

On July 7, a former Army Reservist opened fire on Dallas police at a protest, killing five police officers and wounding another seven officers and two civilians. And on Sunday, in Baton Rouge, La., an ex-Marine killed three more officers and wounded three.

I am not going to use the names of these shooters, because they don’t deserve to have their names glorified. Not only did they commit an atrocity that goes against every Army or Marine Corps value that defines us as brothers and sisters in arms, but they killed members of their own extended military family.

Of the eight murdered police officers, at least three of them we know so far served their nation with distinction before moving to the front line on the home front.

Patrick Zamarripa, one of the Dallas police officers killed in the attack, served three tours of duty in Iraq as a Naval security officer.

Michael J. Smith served with the Dallas Police Department for 28 years and was a seven-year U.S. Army veteran.

Matthew Gerald was one of the three police officers killed on Sunday. Before joining the Baton Rouge Police Department last year, he served in both the Marines and the Army and deployed to Iraq three times.

These were brothers — comrades — and each was killed by a fellow veteran.

How have we come to this? Have our values as service members, regardless of branch, become so useless that we would allow these atrocities against one another just because of the color of their skin or the fact they set aside their military uniforms for a law enforcement one?

I don’t know about you, but my battle buddies come in all sizes, shapes and colors. Not only would I trust them with my six, they know I have theirs as well — and a lot of them are serving now in law enforcement.

Race has no place in today’s military, because the only colors we should see are Red, White and Blue — the Colors that drape our coffins and presented to our next of kin. To let one of our own, whether still actively serving or as a veteran, become enamored of their own skin color above all others and allow that form of hatred to consume them to the point of murder disgusts me, because it means we as an institution have failed.

We took an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic. To protect and defend the people of this great nation so they can continue to seek life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Leaving active service does not relieve you of that oath. Remember that, both on your own behalf and that of your battle buddies. We are supposed to set the example for the rest of the nation. Let’s not make it a bad one.

David A. Bryant is an Army retiree and the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. You can reach him at or 254-501-7554.

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