We hear more war stories daily from Afghanistan, bringing the futility of a war we are still fighting into focus. This time, we heard from a widow. Less than two months after her husband was killed, we're learning more about the dangers he faced on the battlefield and his growing frustration with the military.
On August 2nd, a roadside bomb took the life of 26-year-old Army Staff Sergeant Matthew Sitton, but not before he wrote a now highly-publicized letter about the extreme dangers he faced, and sent it to Congressman C.W. Bill Young.
Sgt. Sitton's widow shared some of his other e-mails and correspondence -- some of the last, private conversations she and her husband had online, right before he died.
"We know all the behind the scenes, and we do not say anything," said Sarah Sitton, describing the life of an Army wife and saying, you know more than most, but you keep it all inside.
Despite the strife her husband was facing, he still found a way to bring humor to what was a pretty grim situation.
"We are fighting our butts off every day," he wrote her on Facebook. "Good thing the Taliban really sucks at fighting!"
The soldier's greatest fear, she says, was not the Taliban.
"It's not the bullets," she said. "It's the IEDs."
They talked online or Skyped every chance they could.
"And Skype was mostly where he said things. He didn't like to write things down, because there's a record," she smiled. "Because you can always find things that were written."
So when her husband outlined their exact schedule in a conversation on Facebook, alarms went off for Sarah. She knew things must be desperate.
"They got woken up at 0-300 hours in urine water, had to load everything up in the trucks by 0-530, by 0-630, someone stepped on an IED, but thank goodness it didn't go off," she read the letter aloud.
"It scared him that bad, which it has never before," said Sitton. "I mean, this was the third tour and it's never been like that, ever."
This was their conversation on June 3rd, right before he wrote his letter to Congressman Bill Young.
"We are so tired and so worn down, we keep getting blamed that we are doing things wrong," Sitton wrote to his wife. "But you can't stay focused when you are getting worn into the ground like this. We are living in horrendous conditions most of the time."
"Almost every time, it was, that was a really close call," she said solemnly.
"We are just sitting ducks out there," he wrote her.
They patrolled a mine-loaded area, he wrote. "A place that no one will be taking over once we leave, so we are putting men's lives at risk for no reason."
A claim Staff Sgt. Sitton said fell on deaf ears with his commanders and at the Pentagon.
"Babe, I don't know who's gonna make it back from this one," he wrote her.
"He basically had just predicted his own death coming," she said.
Sarah has a tattoo of his dog tags and Ranger stripe around her ankle. They're a constant reminder as she raises their son Brodey as a single mother. She also wears his wedding band around her neck on a chain, with a set of angel's wings. She says he is now an angel watching over them.
Fifty more soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan since Matt Sitton died on August 2nd.
"It's 50 more wives, and 50 more moms, and 50 more dads, and children who have to hear that news. And it's hard, it's almost harder to hear that other people have to hear that news, because when you hear it, you never wish that pain on anyone else," Sarah said.
The Sittons want to get the word out about the real atrocities our soldiers are facing, in the hopes that the Pentagon hears them and does something about it, before anyone else dies from an IED.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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