Turk Wendell Wins With U.S. Soldiers

Posted November 15th, 2011 by Tom Owens and filed in Dustin Yancey, Turk Wendell, U.S. Army
(Photo courtesy Sgt. Kevin Stabinsky)

Turk Wendell, a former major league baseball pitcher, autographs a squishy ball to give out during his visit to Forward Operating Base Kalsu, Oct. 9., 2007. He’s made three visits to war zones, and awaits the call to do more on behalf of American troops!

“I am very sorry for your loss.”

Turk Wendell wasn’t talking baseball. I told him about a hero of mine. My cousin Dustin Yancey, just 22, died in Iraq Nov. 4, 2005. His truck led an Army convoy that couldn’t escape a roadside bomb.

I remember his modest Iowa funeral. I expected to see the streets lined for him. I puzzled over the lack of elected officials who were silent on that day. Not even a city councilman made himself known.

No one understood. I was so happy that Turk Wendell did. I told him about Dustin, because the former pitcher has made three trips overseas to show other soldiers they’re appreciated. Why?

Wendell replied…

“I was very fortunate to go overseas and witness the war firsthand and see what it is really like, not from the B.S. on the news channels. The troops were so impress that myself and the few other ex-big leaguers would put our lives on the line to boost their morale and take their minds off the war, if only for a moment.


I was so touched, I went back to U.S. and went down to enlist myself. But being cold blind, they would only permit me to obtain certain duties, and I wanted to shoot!


So I figured I would just continue to go over whenever they asked me to.


Three trips later, I feel I did nothing in life by playing baseball. The Armed Forces are the real heroes of the U.S.A. Though baseball is America’s game, our Armed Forces should have their own baseball cards!!


Take care and God bless,
Turk Wendell”

Thank you, Turk. Thank you, Dustin.

Coming Wednesday: The message of Charlie Lea

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