Sunday, October 22, 2006

One Last Endorsement - The One That Means The Most

Meet Col. Bernard Dunlevy, U.S. Army (ret.):

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He was Little Larry's most demanding boss, during one of the most difficult periods of our lives, and he wrote this to the San Antonio Express-News:

I have followed from afar the campaign of Larry Stallings for the Texas Legislature. I have read some of the press about Mr. Corte serving in Iraq and his welcome home. I cannot comment about Mr. Corte's soldierly qualities but I can speak of Larry Stallings.

Larry joined the unit that I commanded at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO, the 400 bed, deployable, 93rd Evacuation Hospital. I had not been in command long when he arrived, as a Captain, to be my logistics officer with responsibilities for ensuring we had the supplies and equipment, properly maintained, to deploy anywhere in the world on moments notice in support of U.S. forces. I determined before his arrival that the unit had serious problems with millions of dollars of overstocked supplies and equipment and with lack of standardization of supplies in the operating rooms and wards and elsewhere. I informed him in our first meeting of my concerns and I recall that his response was that he would do whatever it took, for however long, to ensure we were mission capable. For at least six months he worked, alongside his soldiers, twelve hour days to bring the unit to the level of readiness required to perform the mission properly.

I saw in Larry not only dedication to duty but leadership qualities that allowed me to give him other responsibilities. Our unit deployed to the field locally at Fort Leonard Wood frequently, to Little Rock, Arkansas to work with a sister unit in the National Guard, and to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, CA for a major exercise. Larry became my point man, deploying early as commander of the advance party, that group that would ensure the smooth assimilation of the hospital into the exercise area. His responsibilities included site selection, hospital layout, arranging for resupply and support maintenance and countless other details necessary to take a 400 bed hospital off the back of trucks and trailers and out of boxes and make it a functional community hospital. His performance was magnificent.

Larry also was the officer-in-charge of the demanding Expert Field Medical Badge training and testing cadre. This badge is awarded to those who complete a rigorous program that tests one's skills as a soldier and medic. It was then the only "Expert" badge awarded by the Army other than the Expert Infantry Badge. Larry's efforts resulted in one of the highest success rates for first time candidates of all units in the Army conducting the test. What made this accomplishment even more amazing was that we accepted a large number of Army Reserve and National Guard Soldiers into the training and testing and their success rate equaled the active army candidates.

Larry and Diane suffered one of the most severe tragedies that can befall parents when their three year old son, Sam, died in a freak accident while at Ft. Leonard Wood. Such an event can destroy some people but in these two it brought out a strength of character and deepness of faith I have rarely seen. We were a group of over 300 soldiers who cared for each other and, rather than providing them comfort, we became the comforted.

We have remained friends for the many years that have passed since our days at Ft. Leonard Wood but I have followed Larry's progress over these years and was blessed to have him and Diane visit as they were returning to Texas from having dropped their son, Billy, to begin studies at Harvard. I wanted to write this letter to provide my endorsement to Larry's candidacy for the Texas Legislature. He is a man of impeccable character and absolute honor. He will be a servant of the citizens of the district he represents.

Bernard J. Dunlevy Sr.
Colonel, U.S. Army (Retired)
Heathsville, VA

Colonel, the candidate is humbled by your confidence. He has run an honorable race, and if elected will serve the people of Texas House District 122 with as much loyalty and devotion as he has served his country under you. He will never let you down.


Blogger boadicea said...

Now that's what I call a wonderful endorsement.

Though certainly not a surprise, even from our short acquaintance.

2:58 PM  

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