Submitted by: Michael Campbell
On September 11, 1990, a young man left his home and went to war. 1LT Galen Cross was deploying to Saudi Arabia in what would be known as Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. The night before he deployed, he came over to my wife’s home and said goodbye to Dianne and her husband Don. He was very upset, because he did not think he was coming back home. He told Dianne and Don that he loved them and their family. He told them that he had made out a life insurance policy naming their sons Steve and Jeff as beneficiaries. Finally, he told them that he had left a letter on the table in his house addressed to his parents in case he didn’t come back from his deployment. After he said this, Galyn Cross left my wife’s home and went off to war.
Before he left. Galyn wrote three letters, one addressed to my wife’s parents, one addressed to Dianne and Don’s boys,, and one addressed to Dianne and Don. These letters are full of gratitude, love, and thanksgiving to God. They are heartfelt and beautifully written. He wrote to Dianne’s parents, thanking them for being like grandparents to him. He wrote to Dianne’s sons, telling them they were like little brothers to him. He promised them that they would spend some good times in the future.
Finally, he wrote to Dianne and Don. This was the hardest letter of all. He thanked them for being there for him over the years. Gratitude and love are present in every word he wrote. These letters were written by a man who thought he was going to his death. Yet his heart is full of love and gratitude for the people he is leaving behind.
Galyn Cross was a wonderful young man: vibrant, gifted, and full of life. He was an excellent Army officer and a great patriot. His life, which was all-too brief, is an embodiment of all that is great and enduring in the United States military.
My wife and I cherish these letters, and the wonderful life of the young man who wrote them. Sadly, I never had the honor of meeting this brilliant young man. Galyn Cross survived the Gulf War and went on to serve in the Army. He died at the age of 36 in 2001, As long as America produces men and women like Galyn Cross, young people full of patriotism, honor, and decency, this country will endure. That is my hope and deepest prayer.
About the author:
Michael A. Campbell served as a Medical Service Corps Officer in the United States Army from 1982 to 1986. He was stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky and was assigned to HHT, 2/17 Air Cavalry Squadron and the 326th Medical Battalion.. He is married to his wife Dianne, and they live in Woodlawn Tennessee. They married in April 2011 after losing both of their spouses to illness.