On September 25, 2005, with honor, Sgt. Patrick D. Stewart, 113th Aviation, D company, Mustangs, of the Nevada National Guard, gave his life for his country. He was killed in action in Operation Enduring Freedom. Mustang 22, the Chinook helicopter he was in was shot down in Afghanistan by Al Quada terrorists.
This is his story.
EVERYONE HAS A DREAM
- Sgt. Patrick Stewart had a lifelong dream of flying
- Patrick Stewart enlisted in the military on his 18th birthday with the intention of learning how to fly.
- Patrick Stewart decided in boot camp that he wanted to work on helicopters
WE ALL WORK HARD TO MAKE THE DREAM COME TRUE
- Sgt. Patrick D. Stewart served in Korea just after boot camp.
- Sgt. Stewart was then called to Desert Storm and served in Kuwait as a Chinook Ch47 mechanic and gunner.
THERE ARE SOME THINGS NO EYES SHOULD EVER HAVE TO SEE
- Sgt. Patrick D. Stewart was part of the clean up crew at the Kuwait Airport, and cut down the bodies of women and children that Sadaam Hussein had burned and hung from the light posts at the airport just before he fled the country. Patrick bagged the bodies for transport.
- In Afghanistan Patrick experienced the same horrifying scenario. He told Roberta he was growing tired of dropping off crew members and picking them back up in body bags, and said: "I don't think I can go through another ramp ceremony." Patrick's next ramp ceremony would be his own, in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
KEEPING THE DREAM ALIVE ANYWAY
- After September 11, 2001, Sgt. Patrick D. Stewart re-enlisted. He joined the Nevada National Guard and became a technician working on the Chinook Ch47 helicopters. He also assisted as a fire fighter during the fire seasons in Nevada and California.
- Sgt. Stewart met and fell in love with Roberta and they were wedded in a Wiccan Handfasting ceremony in the Virginia Highlands, Reno, Nevada.
- Sgt. Patrick Stewart found comfort in his Spiritual path and his love for Roberta. Together they shared their love for the sacredness of Nature, Mother Earth and the Elements that comprised their Wiccan faith. Patrick fully embraced his path -- he had Wiccan, the name of his religion, put on his military ID tags
THINGS DON'T ALWAYS TURN OUT THE WAY WE EXPECT
- In 2004, Sgt. Patrick D. Stewart was called to serve in Afghanistan. In March 2005, he was deployed to Afghanistan as Chief Flight Engineer. He was one of the only flight crew members with prior combat experience.
- Sgt. Patrick Stewart was planning to come home after this tour of duty to travel, pursue his love of the outdoors and the spiritual journey he had begun with Roberta. Patrick and Roberta intended to start a family business together in the shipping industry and to grow old together having lived life to the fullest.
SOMETIMES LIFE IS NOT FAIR
- On September 25, 2005, Sgt. Patrick D. Stewart was shot down and killed. It happened just a matter of hours after speaking with Roberta by telephone and telling her that he loved her and was looking forward to coming home.
- A part of Roberta also died that day, along with all of her hopes and dreams for a future with her husband. The nightmare began with the knock on the door and the news that Patrick had performed the ultimate sacrifice and would not be coming home alive.
- The nightmare continues today as Roberta struggles to see her husband honored with the very freedoms he fought to preserve for others, including the freedom to express his religious choice by displaying the emblem sacred to him on his memorial plaque.
- Thus far, Sgt. Patrick Stewart has been denied the right to have the Pentacle, the emblem of his religious belief, displayed on his memorial marker by the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Despite repeated requests by Wiccan leaders over a 9 year period, the VA still has not added this emblem of belief to its list of emblems that can be inscribed on markers, plaques, and headstones the VA makes available to deceased veterans.
- Sgt. Patrick Stewart's marker on the Nevada Wall of Heroes remains a blank space while his comrade at arms, a Christian, who died in the same act of war on the same day, has a marker that includes his emblem of belief, the Christian Cross.
THIS IS DISCRIMINATION AND IT'S AGAINST THE LAW!
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"
QUEST SUCCESS! Thanks to everyone who responded to this and our other calls for support in the Veteran Pentacle Quest.
On April 23, 2007, the US Department of Veterans Affairs added the pentacle to the list of emblems of belief that can be included on the grave markers it issues. This was part of the settlement of the federal lawsuit, Circle Sanctuary vs. Nicholson. Sgt. Stewart's pentacle marker was immediately produced and it arrived at Circle Cemetery on May 1, 2007. It was dedicated on Memorial Day 2007.