LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3.com) --
Army Specialist Doug Green was killed in action in 2011 in Afghanistan. In this story from 2011, News 3's Michelle Velez sat down with his mother and stepfather at their home two years ago and saw a different side of the war.
"It was just heart-wrenching to know this is all I have left of my son was the flag that was draped over his coffin,” said Suni Erlanger, Doug’s mother.
When Doug told her he wanted to join the military, she begged him not to go. But she says he had a mission.
|Fundraiser: The Douglas J. Green Memorial Foundation conducted its Freedom Ride from 10 a.m. Tuesday to 10 a.m. Wednesday at Summerlin 24 Hour Fitness, 2090 Village Center Circle, Las Vegas. The money raised will be used to put together 1,000 care packages for troops overseas.|
"I could have offered him a million dollars; he was going to go in,” she said. “He wanted to serve his country."
That’s just how Doug Green was. Described as a fun-loving jokester, Dougie, as friends and family called him, always put others first.
"Dougie touched lives all over the place; he touched a lot of people,” Erlanger said.
Even in the war zone while under heavy fire, Doug found a way to lighten the mood. His mother said he would use lines from “Forrest Gump” to alleviate fears of his fellow soldiers.
But deep down, Doug’s mother and stepfather said they believe he knew his days were numbered.
"His first tour in Iraq, he didn’t seem too frightened,” she said. “But this last tour in Afghanistan was a different story.
"The week before he died, he said, ‘Mom, it’s pretty bad out there. I’m being shot at every single day, and there’s a chance I might not make it."
Just in case, Doug sent home a letter, which was a farewell to his parents, sisters, friends and fiancé -- who he planned to marry in 2012. There also was a list of the songs he wanted played at his wake.
Two months before he was to return home, green was killed Aug. 28, 2011, by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. Buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery, the young soldier will now be remembered as a hero.
His family, however, wants his face to serve another purpose.
"Dougie’s becomes the face of death for us, and the face of death for the soldiers. We feel that it’s important because it keeps a message alive,” said Donald Erlanger, Doug’s stepfather. “It keeps a message to the politicians that we are in a war that we probably shouldn’t be in."
It is a message that they hope will prevent more families from making the ultimate sacrifice.
"How many more ... how many more men and women are going to die over there?” Suni asked. “How many more mothers are going to get that knock tomorrow?”