Official Marine Corps Press Release for the Retirement and Adoption of MWD Lex click to comment

Monday, November 19, 2007

Will I See You Tomorrow- by Phyllis Ward

A letter from Phyllis Ward while servingin Iraq to Rachel and Jerome Lee after learning of Cpl Lee's death.

I am reposting this letter because it solidifies Dustin's love and care for Lex and that he did have plans on adopting him after his tour.

I was working the 1000-2230 shift at the internet café in Iraq. We had a crowd of Marines and Soldiers sitting in the waiting area for their turn to use the phones and computers.

Each night I would make popcorn and put on a movie. The troops followed the smell of the popcorn and meekly approached me saying, “ma’am, that popcorn sure does smell good. May I have some?”

As I cleaned up and went in the waiting area I looked over the room of about 30 troops while they laughed, ate popcorn, and enjoyed the movie.

I felt like I had a room full of sons and daughters and my family was in from missions. They were safe and sound under my watchful eye.

I thought about their mothers and fathers; what were they doing right now? I knew they must worry each day about their children. Even though they are technically adults, they are someone’s children.

I found myself wishing I had a camera so that I could film each one of them and send it to their parents or write each one a letter to let them know that their children were safe and sound right now.

At that moment they were peaceful, they were happy and they were not in any danger. Mothers and fathers, I know where your children are right now. I’m watching over them.

I wanted to hug each one of them. I wanted to pray with each one of them to let them know that they don’t have to go through this deployment alone, to tell them that God loved them and to pray God’s protection upon them.

I thought of the real possibility that I may not see them again and began to wonder, “Will I see you tomorrow?”

I talked with one young Cpl who had his dog Lex with him. I wanted to take a picture of the two of them together but Cpl Dustin Lee wasn’t sure how Lex would react since they had just experienced an explosion that day.

I spoke with Dustin a little while longer. He was very friendly and truly an “All American” kid.

Cpl Lee told me that he and his dog were going home soon and how excited he was to go home. His dog Lex was a seven year veteran and was retiring upon his return to the states.

Cpl Lee was obviously very proud of his dog. It was also obvious that Lex had great admiration for Cpl Lee. Lex was going home with Cpl Lee to become a pet.

It was weeks later that I heard someone talking about Lex and how he had lost his tail and taken shrapnel during an explosion. I asked about the dog and they said he was on his way back to the states; he was okay.

They seemed to leave out the most obvious information that one would want to know. If the dog was injured, what happened to the dog handler? I swallowed hard and asked the question.

She said, “I thought you knew. Cpl Lee was killed.”

I went through a range of emotions. I was angry, hurt, shocked but most of I didn’t want to believe it. One of my boys was dead. I will never see him again. He was only 20 years old…this makes no sense at all!

I don’t think I will ever forget that night. The memory will live on in my heart forever. I am so proud of our young men and women and I will continue to pray over them, a prayer my friend prays over me each day.

original letter posted at

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