Col. Ted Spain Shares Inspirational Stories At 2018 Annual GOP Patriots’ Day Dinner Saturday Night

Col. Ted Spain, USA (retired) brought the audience to its feet with his inspirational talk on war and patriotism Saturday night at the annual GOP Patriots’ Day Dinner at the Betty Ehart Senior Center. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com  

Col. Ted Spain, center, and attendees stand in honor as the Los Alamos High School NJROTC presents the colors and cadet Echo Rogers sings the National Anthem at Saturday’s event. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

 

By CAROL A. CLARK
Los Alamos Daily Post
caclark@ladailypost.com

When the head of security at Los Alamos National Laboratory took the microphone and began to speak of his personal experience with war and patriotism he brought the audience to its feet.

Col. Ted Spain, USA (retired) was the guest speaker Saturday night at the Republican Party of Los Alamos annual Patriots’ Day Dinner at the Betty Ehart Senior Center. He described his days commanding the U.S. Army Military Police in and around Baghdad during the first year of the Iraq War. Widely known as the “Sheriff of Baghdad” for his service, Spain spoke of soldiers he met during that war.

Spain recalled a young soldier right out of high school who explained why he enlisted in the U.S. Army.

“I figured I could go to Baghdad and die for something or stay home and die for nothing,” the soldier said.

That’s the greatest example of patriotism…, Spain said.

“It’s hard to understand the life of a soldier but you can appreciate the sacrifices they’ve made … and I could spend the rest of my life telling you about the patriotism I saw,” he said. “Every soldier I pinned a Purple Heart on would say the same thing, ‘Sir I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time’ and I would correct them and say, you were absolutely in the right place at the right time doing exactly what your country expected you to do.”

Thirteen soldiers died under his command, Spain said.

“I accept full responsibility for that and will have to live with this fact the rest of my life,” he said.

Spain read all 13 names of the “great Americans” he said he failed to bring back home: 

  • SPC Narson Sullivan          411th MP Co.
  • SGT Travis Burkhardt         170th MP Co.
  • SPC Eric Hull                     307th MP Co.
  • SSG Bobby Franklin           210th MP Co.
  • PFC Charles Sims              549th MP Co
  • LTC Kim Orlando               HHD, 716th MP Bn.
  • SSG Joseph Bellavia          194th MP Co.
  • CPL Sean Grilley                194th MP Co.
  • PFC Rachel Bosveld          527th MP Co.
  • SGT Aubrey Bell                 214th MP Co.
  • SGT Nicholas Tomko         307th MP Co.
  • SSG Aaron Reese              135th MP Co.
  • SPC Todd Bates                 135th MP Co.

 “We had a saying over there … make it matter … these heroes are not just names but human beings that gave their lives because they believed in something greater than themselves,” Spain said. “How many Americans can say that about what they do every day?”

Spain runs Centerra Los Alamos, the security force at LANL and is the author of “Breaking Iraq: The Ten Mistakes that Broke Iraq”.

 

Col. Ted Spain, USA (retired) speaks to the audience about war and patriotism Saturday night at the annual GOP Patriots’ Day Dinner at the Betty Ehart Senior Center. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com  

Scene from the GOP Patriots’ Day Dinner Saturday at the Betty Ehart Senior Center. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Scene from the GOP Patriots’ Day Dinner Saturday at the Betty Ehart Senior Center. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Scene from the GOP Patriots’ Day Dinner Saturday at the Betty Ehart Senior Center. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

From left, sisters Malia and Mykayla with their mother Dawn Trujillo Voss at the check-in table at Saturday’s event. Voss is a candidate for Los Alamos County Council. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

From left, Rian Shay, 12, with her grandparents Mary and Dennis Wilhoit, Jim Hall and Robert Gibson. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Scene from the GOP Patriots’ Day Dinner Saturday at the Betty Ehart Senior Center. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Scene from the GOP Patriots’ Day Dinner Saturday at the Betty Ehart Senior Center. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Scene from the GOP Patriots’ Day Dinner Saturday at the Betty Ehart Senior Center. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Scene from the GOP Patriots’ Day Dinner Saturday at the Betty Ehart Senior Center. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

County Council candidate Brady Burke with his girlfriend Stacie Singleton. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Candidate for U.S. Senate Mick Rich, right, at Saturday’s event. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

County Council candidate Helen Milenski with her husband Scott Milenski. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Scene from the GOP Patriots’ Day Dinner Saturday at the Betty Ehart Senior Center. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Chartwells Director of Food Services Mia Holsapple with assistant Scott Lucero catered the annual GOP Patriots’ Day Dinner, which was open to the entire community. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Republican Party of Los Alamos Chair John Bliss addresses the audience and emphasizes the importance of voting as he recalls a quote he recently read: ‘Bad officials are the ones elected by good people who do not vote’. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

GOP Chair John Bliss, left, presents a book to speaker Ted Spain. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Los Alamos High School NJROTC cadets Kaden Lim, Jonathan Chavez, Marie MacInnes and Renee MacInnes. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Bill McKerley leads the benediction following the dinner. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

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