U. S. Army Sergeant First Class Kenneth “Westy” Westbrook, of Shiprock, New Mexico, died of wounds October 7, 2009 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C. He sustained gunshot wounds when insurgents ambushed his patrol on September 8, 2009, in Ganjigal Valley, Afghanistan.
He is survived by his wife Charlene, three sons, Zachary, Joshua and Joseph, his parents, Ruth and Marshall Westbrook, two brothers David and Richard and sister, Sandra. Ken’s older brother, Marshall Westbrook, of the New Mexico Army National Guard was killed in action in Iraq on October 1, 2005 when an IED detonated on his patrol.
This workout is in honor of Kenneth “Westy” Westbrook. We will do this workout every September 8th & October 7th. Although the quicker you finish is a good indicator of your fitness, the objective is not necessarily how fast you complete it. Be deliberate and focus on control – when you feel like quitting, as Ken would have said “just do one more rep!” until you complete the task.
Ken & I met the summer of 2008 at Ft. Riley, Kansas when Team Avalanche, our 16-man Embedded Transition Team (ETT) formed. Everyone liked Westy. He was very competent yet humble and always good-spirited. He and I liked to talk about fishing, hunting and our love for the outdoors.
While in theater, our team’s mission was to conduct operations with six separate battalions of Afghan Border Police (ABP) along a 480 kilometer stretch of the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. Our team divided into six 2-man teams to embed with each ABP battalion, with Air Force, Marine, Navy, ABP and Afghan National Army (ANA) counterparts to operate as joint/combined teams. While on mission September 8, 2009, Westy sustained gunshot wounds to his face and neck when insurgents ambushed his patrol in Ganjgal Valley that left 3 Marines, 1 Navy Corpsman and 8 Afghan National Army servicemen dead. Marine SGT Dakota Meyer & CPT Will “Princess” Swenson were both awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for their actions that day.
Ken was flown to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC and died of complications from his wounds on October 7, 2009, in the arms of his wife, Charlene Westbrook. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for his actions September 8, 2009. When I met with Charlene after our return from deployment, she confided to me the words he spoke to her just prior our team deployment: “If I should not come home…don’t forget me.”
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Videos below describe that fateful morning September 8, 2009.