The commander held back the sole man who was fighting to run out into withering enemy fire to rescue a mortally wounded comrade. “He is gone!” shouted the commander, “I can’t spare you!” He shouted. But the soldier broke loose and went anyway, exposing himself to a deadly crossfire. He came back across the line with his dead comrade, and mortal wounds to himself. “What is the gain here??” shouted the commander; “Now I have lost you both!” The dying soldier, with his last breath, he explained: “When I got to him, he lifted his head and he said: Jim, I knew you would come.” (author unk)
Tom Greer did indeed pass on this last Friday, 21 October. Does anyone remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news? I recall hearing that Monday from this twin brother, SGM Steve Greer, that Tom’s hospice nurse indicated that Tom was expected to pass by the end of the week.
So began my vigil and fasting, waiting for word. It was difficult. Did I actually say that? How did my ‘suffering’ even compare to Tom’s immediate family’s? When I first heard of Tom’s affliction I requested to visit. I was hell-bent on seeing this brother, whom I had never met in person, and I cursed myself for not having done it sooner.
Now it was too late; Tom was no longer taking visitors, opting to dedicate every living second that he could to his immediate family. Not ‘better late, than never.’
There was a time that Tom and I kept abreast of each other’s travels, in the off-chance that we might pass close enough that it made sense to link up. My cynical half reminds me that we live our entire lives so we can look back and kick ourselves squarely in the ego for all the things we failed to do.
Tom didn’t resemble the sort of brother that even sported a cynical side; Tom’s glass was always half full. How is that even possible? In his own words he made the declaration that “his bucket list was complete.” His family begs off of the notion. In his oldest daughter Caitlin’s own words, which pierce to the core:
I needed you to see me graduate and get my first job.
I needed you to walk me down the aisle at my wedding.
I needed you to hold my first child for the first time.
I needed you for all the times I thought I wasn’t strong.
I needed you for all the times I thought I was the strongest.
I needed you for me.
God needed you more.
Daddy’s bucket list wasn’t complete because I know he wanted these things too. What I do know is that his job on earth was deemed complete by our great and loving Lord, and because of His promise I can rest assured that Daddy is now healed from the evil things of this world. No more pain, no more suffering. Just a hole in our hearts that can never be repaired by earthly wonders. How thankful I am for the 22 years with my greatest hero and first love. Blessed with the best.
The ‘First Daughter’ Ms Caitlin Greer exuding gracious strength at her father’s services
This essay, I offer to relay the many links and photos that have been shared this week in Tom’s honor. I have no riveting stories to tell; I’ll let the medium do that for me. I reserve this space on the magnificent SOFREP website to present the story in photos.
I remember it was a Sunday evening, as I watched 60 Minutes news forum at home on TV when the show was interrupted by a flash news bulletin, indicating that Usama Bin Laden had finally been killed by the vaunted SEAL Team Six. He lay dead in ‘Last Stop’ Pakistan, where he had been routed completely out of Afghanistan by Major Tom Greer and his Delta Marauders years earlier.
I remember where I was and what I was doing when the news came from Steve Greer that our brother Tom had passed on. I was nowhere, and doing nothing… just lost.
Watch the funeral service here; the folding of the flag, and presentation of the flag to Tom’s widow Deidre by JSOC CDR LTG Austin Scott “Skipper” Miller
Earlier this year Delta’s Josh Collins made his epic paddle board journey from Corpus Christi TX, to the Statue of Liberty, a ~3,500 mile journey to raise awareness for stricken military veterans, and to set a world record for strength and endurance.
Along the way Tom Greer, already knowing he was stricken with terminal cancer, paddled out to meet Josh to offer encouragement and support. Josh writes:
JUST THE KIND OF GUY HE IS – Simply unforgettable times during Operation Phoenix! The time I got to spend with Dalton was priceless. I actually learned two important lessons that day.
1. If you paddle at 3 mph just a little bit longer than you paddle at 4 mph, you go the same distance and without killing yourself (fatigue).
2. If you paddle with friends throughout life, even the worst, wet, cold, stormy, and miserable days are worthwhile!
Thanks Dalton! Josh Collins sends
Tom’s appearance on new forum 60 Minutes
Service photos courtesy of Mr. Jay Bentley