I debated on posting this up here. Kept it private, only a few knew. Then since it went nationwide (and widespread on Facebook), I opted to share this. It's taken a tole on myself and my family. But I didn't want his sacrifice to be unknown. Last weekend was the 4th Annual NW PHWFF 2 Fly event. Saturday is the big day of the event. We launch the boats, then I have the day to do prep for dinner and and relax a bit. Unfortunately, the day was rocked at 130pm. We got the news that my Brother in Law, SPC Joshua "Jay" Strickland, was KIA in a Green on Blue attack in Afghanistan. He was only a week from leaving the FOB, and about 2-3 weeks from coming home. A maneuver he volunteered for, he wasn't supposed to be out there that day. The news floored us. It took all I could to stay focused on Saturday to finish the 2 Fly. My wife and kids were all there in Ellensburg with me. It's been a very tough week. He's come home, and is about to be laid to rest with other warriors in our National Cemetary in Maple Valley. http://www.soc.mil/UNS/Releases/2013/September/130924-01/130924-01.html At this point, I've been running on very little sleep, and way too many emotions. I've grieved, and still grieve. He was much younger then I, old enough to be my son (though he was my brother in law). We finally got very close during this deployment. We talked non stop, for hours at night (when I should've been sleeping). We spoke fishing, shooting, and life. I took him under my wings, and became a mentor to him. Trying to help him come through some tough spots he encountered along the way. Before he left, he celebrated his 23 birthday. I gave him a card with a custom gift certificate giving him a full weekend fishing. All he had to do was show up and I'd cater him. I grieve over that certificate being unclaimed. My last message from him was that Thursday evening when I was up for initial setup of the 2 Fly. He was excited the silvers were coming in hot and heavy. I regret not loading up my messenger to read and answer it. Yes, I know I couldn't have known, but it doesn't change the fact that I missed speaking to him one last time. He was a goof, a smartass, a typical boasting fisherman. He reminded me a lot of myself at that age, probably why I tried to set his ship on a proper coarse. He was the little brother I never had. I was looking forward to see if my advice would kick in. Seeing how well we fished together. Keep mentoring him. Like anything in life, nothing is guaranteed. He came home on Monday. He was welcomed home by my Sister in Law Heather, Jay's twin brother Andrew, and his brother Caleb (a Marine who will escort him back to the NW from Dover). I spent today fishing the Nisqually. Caught a few salmon tossing the spey on a fast rising river. From advice of a good friend of mine, I said his name as I released each fish. First being on the water, and releasing my sorrows, lifted my spirits. Pain is still there, but healing has begun. Rest in Peace soldier. You've served your time. I'll miss you Jay. Added note September 29th. I've had several messages and emails concerning donations to the family. First, Jay was carrying the extra insurance most people in the military with kids carry. Plus, the standard life insurance. She and the kids, as of right now, are fine financially. They've already received the initial check. I know they'd rather have him then the money, but it is what it is. So thank you for all the concern. What the family needs now are your prayers, thoughts, and time to heal. Thank you.