RANGER AGAINST WAR: A Special Breed of Man <

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A Special Breed of Man

Joseph W. Urbas, 1948-2008

Presented is a picture of my friend 1LT Joe Urbas, 12th Special Forces Grp (Abn.) sent to me by his sister. The picture was featured on an Army recruitment poster for its "Special Breed of Man" campaign, and taken early-mid 1970's in Montana or Wyoming on a field training exercise.

Ranger especially liked this picture and the accompanying text. As stated in my previous post on Joe (DLIC), we grew up in the same ethnic neighborhood in Cleveland, later both attending Bowling Green State U. and enrolling in ROTC there. Joe was commissioned as a 2LT/Inf/OCS Ft. Benning, 1970, and served 1 CAV Div (Airmobile) RVN.

This photo is a proud testimonial and crawled into my dreams last night. The photo and letters from his sisters tell me a lot about Joe's life. He was not a fortunate son. His lifelong home was 72nd Place off St. Clair in Cleveland, Dennis Kucinich's old neighborhood.

No fancy digs there, but I know he was there because that is where he wanted to be. The picture makes me proud because I also know he wanted to be there, doing what he was doing.

Joe always wanted to be a soldier, but I also know that there were dimensions to his being that transcended that reality and level of existence. During my last two visits with Joe he knew he was dying and that he would eventually succumb to cancer, but he hadn't given up his attitude. He wasn't balls to the wall but rather accepting of his condition.

Ranger plans to attend Joe's memorial celebration, but if this doesn't happen let's hope these memories will suffice.

Goodbye, Joe. A salute to a fine soldier and friend.

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Blogger labrys6 said...

My sincere sympathies, Ranger.
I like being old enough "to know better" but hate that it is old enough to start having more funerals than weddings on the calendar.

Sunday, April 20, 2008 at 9:16:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

labrys, the funerals started when i was real young.
Joe like all of us was lucky to have the years that he had.It wasn't the miles he walked it was the trails he took.
I remember him as a young man. jim

Sunday, April 20, 2008 at 12:34:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Mary Alice (Ranger Urbas' little sister) said...

Thank you so much for the tribute to Joe. The unfortunate thing for me tho, although I was familiar with the (unedited)picture, I NEVER knew it was part of the recruiting campaign until after Joe's death. Upon finding the poster, the element that truly touched me, was the (inside)full poster. It pictures a Special Forces green beret and in bold print the caption above the beret states - "It says more about you than you'd ever say about yourself" --that was the epitome of Joe, he was always modest to a fault. I love and miss him dearly

Thursday, April 24, 2008 at 7:47:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Mary Alice,
Yes , he was modest and at our last meetings he insisted on calling me SIR although we were contemporaries. Clearly we were equals but that was how he was.

Friday, April 25, 2008 at 9:27:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous mary alice (ranger urbas' little sister) said...

He called you 'Sir', because he respected you. That is how he addressed ALL the men he respected: my Dad, some of his doctors, the PA (Physician's Assistant) who followed his treatment at the hospital for the last 4 years of his life, his male hospice nurse, etc. BUT ONLY if he held them in HIGH ESTEEM.
Yes, he was modest and always the gentleman......

Friday, April 25, 2008 at 7:58:00 PM GMT-5  

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