West Point, 2001
Be Thou At Peace
Posted by CPT Jeremy Scholtes on May 3, 2008:
As I write this reflection, I find myself wavering between laughing and crying. Crying because I am angry – angry that I will never again cross paths with Drew and hear that great laugh he had; angry that Jo will never hold her soulmate again; angry that KJ will never hug his daddy’s leg again, Gabrielle will never play her instruments for him again, Cheyenne will never share another run with him, and Dan will never again have that patient mentor who truly loved him like he was his own.
And then – I start to laugh and my heart warms. I think about…
The summer of 1997 at Beast when I first met Drew. I will never forget this trick he showed all of us – where he could somehow push out his stomach so that he looked like a pot-bellied old man!
The summer of 1998 when we bunked across from each other and lived the good life of West Point cadets at Camp Buckner. We resolved that summer that someone had to be in the infantry, but it wouldn’t be us. We all rode those coach buses to Fort Knox where we lived in the old WWII barracks and got the chance to drive a Bradley. You’d have thought Grandpa Drew was driving the pace car for the Indy 500 – just as excited as could be – and nearly had to be wrestled out of the hatch so someone else could have a turn!
Of course our resolution to shun the infantry didn’t last long. How could it? Drew was born to be a soldier and was clearly fit to lead at the tip of the spear. We celebrated with all of our compadres Firstie year down at Eisenhower Hall – with crossed rifles on proud display. And not long thereafter, we both ramped up for our first assignment to Hawaii.
In April 2002, I signed into B Co, 2/5 IN – nervous and excited. But the nervousness soon washed away as I saw the one and only – Drew Pearson. The two of us, along with Rex Howry, Barry Huston, and Chris Gonzalez would spend many happy days together as we started our new profession. Like so many others have said in these postings, Drew was always the consummate professional – the standard bearer for all of us to follow.
Those who knew Drew well would have loved to roll with us during our 12-mile ruck march for the EIB. O’dark thirty, humping around the perimeter of Schofield Barracks, Drew fueled our every step with enough sarcasm to last a lifetime. And then, just as much of a goofball as he was on the march, he stood bursting with pride as Korea veterans from the 5th Regimental Combat team walked through our ranks to extend their congratulations. You see, as proud as Drew was to earn the EIB that day, he was more honored to stand with great American heroes whose shoes we were charged to fill. That of course, was just Drew – always putting others ahead of himself and proud of the tradition of our Army.
Finally – there was the email I read from Drew last Tuesday afternoon, April 29th. And this is what puts me at ease! We haven’t seen each other since Uncle Sam sent us in opposite directions in 2003. Drew could have written about any number of things, but instead his email focused on only two themes. First, he wrote about was how fired up he was to command his company from 1-22 IN – in combat. Of course the note, he said, would need to be short because he needed to get back to work and to his men! Second, and far more importantly, he beamed about his family. The bulk of his email was Drew bragging about his wonderful wife, Jo, and his four children. He clearly loved them from his sweaty, bald head all the way down to his fast moving feet. Drew’s note made clear he had priorities – and they were good ones.
Drew R. Pearson left our world on April 30th at the top of his game. He stood fast in the sand of Iraq proudly bearing the American flag, with two things on his mind. His mission and his family! I can think of no better way to remember Drew.
Isaiah 6:8 reads…"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" Drew knew the road he trod in the Army would not be an easy one, but like so many before him, he stepped forward at a time when it mattered most. And for this I am sure, God stood ready for Drew in a better place with a higher calling…stretching out his arms, saying…Well Done!
See you on the high ground, buddy…
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