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Linkous to honor fallen Warrior

By DAVID GRAVELY

editor@southwesttimes.com

This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he today that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

That quote, a portion of the St. Crispin’s Day speech, is a part of William Shakespeare’s play Henry V. It has been used many times in movies and series, including the HBO series Band of Brothers and the movie Tombstone.

It is meant to explain the bond between those who have fought and many cases bled and died together in combat. It recognizes the valor of the men who, in this particular story, were outnumbered but took the fight to the enemy anyway.

United States Air Force SSGT Dylan Elchin was one of those types of men. A native of Pennsylvania, SSGT Elchin was a Special Tactics Combat Controller with the 26th Special Tactics Squadron. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2018 and was embedded with a U.S. Army Special Operations Force Operational Detachment Alpha team with the mission to advise the Ground Force Commander, direct close air support aircraft and deliver destructive ordnance on enemy targets in support of offensive combat operations.

Sadly, SSGT Elchin lost his life Nov. 27, 2018, when his vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in the Ghanzni Province.

Now, Pulaski County native U.S. Army MSG Ben Linkous will run in honor of SSGT Elchin Saturday when he participates in the Mountain Man Memorial March at Fort Benning, Georgia, Saturday, April 25.

“Last year, I was stationed near Pittsburg and the casualty assistance team ask to use our vans to transport the family of SGT Jason McClary to the airport,” Linkous said. “I volunteered to drive. I did the Mountain Man Memorial March last year in his honor. SSGT Elchin was also killed in the same attack and he is also from the Pittsburgh area. That’s pretty much how I got involved with it all.”

Linkous, who is currently stationed at Fort Benning but maintains a home in Pulaski County that he comes back to as often as possible, will be running the full 26.2-mile marathon while wearing a 35-pound rucksack, honoring the life of Elchin and paying tribute to his family and friends to keep his legacy alive.

While participating in the event, Linkous is seeking sponsors to help raise funds for the charity supported by the event. All proceeds from the event go to Legacies Alive to support Gold Star Families.

According to their website, “Legacies Alive (LA), is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to strengthen and support the Gold Star families of our nation’s fallen heroes and brings national awareness to the life and character of all service members who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Founded by combat veterans, we feel a special connection with these families and are especially committed to our cause.”

“I try to get out and run with my ruck for an hour every week and do boot runs to keep my feet ready,” Linkous said of the preparations he has undertaken for the event. “I have concentrated the last month to building up to marathon strength. Last year was great, I finished in about eight hours and couldn’t walk without limping for the rest of the day, but the goal was to finish. It was a great event and it wonderful way to honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country.”

MSG Linkous has worked as a mechanic, medic, practical nurse, senior drill instructor and career counselor. He has been deployed to Iraq as a Military Transition Team Member while training, supporting and mentoring the Iraqi Army in combat operations. During that time he was awarded the Bronze Star. He earned his Practical Nurse Certificate from New River Community College, a BS in Accounting and Finance and a Master of Science in Accounting from Liberty University. He is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership from Northcentral University.

The tradition of service has continued in the Linkous family. His oldest son, Logan Linkous, is currently stationed at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina. His son Cody is now a deputy with the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department. He is married to Alyson Jones Linkous. They also have one daughter, Anna, who is 11 years old. The couple also enjoy three grandchildren. Caden is three, Beckham is two and Lilly is five.

Those wishing to sponsor MSG Linkous can visit https://legaciesalive.ticketleap.com/mmmm/details to find out more information.

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