Wounded in Iraq

A classmate of mine from West Point, LTC Erik Kurilla, was wounded (shot 3 times it seems) while serving as a combat commander in Iraq.  While I rarely (almost never) bring personal stuff into my blog and as you will see I will weave this a bit toward my favorite subject of security, but I felt I had to say something here.

If you read the writeup it is pretty amazing when we read that, “The Commander of Deuce Four, LTC Erik Kurilla, was shot three times in combat yesterday in front of my eyes. Despite being seriously wounded, LTC Kurilla immediately rejoined the intense and close-quarter fight that ended in hand-to-hand combat. LTC Kurilla continued to direct his men until a medic gave him morphine and the men took him away.”.  I haven’t seen Erik for a while, but he is a stand up guy who has always been very serious about every mission he gets.  If I am reminded about any lesson here it is that when we get a setback or even a catastrophe, we have to keep our heads and not make it worse.  If you flail, you fail.

Being in the service helped me immensely in dealing with security because it is the same mindset (though the military consequences are much more intense I have to admit).  You have to re-evaluate every time the situation changes and that could be minute by minute.  Erik could easily have just rolled over once he was hit and let someone else direct the battle or do the fighting, but he determined that he was still required and still able (though God knows how) so he made the call. 

My info says that Erik is OK and is already back stateside.  It was not my intention to stir up political debate with this post, but to show the kinds of people I look to for my inspiration when I think about protecting resources.  I believe that the wars we fight will and are extending into cyberspace faster than most people think.  Ultimately the courage to do the harder right rather than the easier wrong is easiest to find when we are reminded regularly of the immense sacrifices and miraculous bravery of people like Erik Kurilla.  I am proud to know him and regret that I haven’t seen him in so many years and didn’t get know him nearly as well as I would have liked while we were at school together.

Erik, get well soon and thanks!

6 thoughts on “Wounded in Iraq”

  1. Hey Pat,
    Aside from the technical side of security. I’d just like to thank you and all American soldiers who put their lives on the line for our freedom. They definitely have an under appreciated job.


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