There is no rhyme or reason, for the abuses you and your fellow soldiers have suffered at the hands of your so-called superiors. What precipitated the accusations you faced, one can only guess. Was it jealousy? Bad blood? Who can say... It would take a small, small man indeed who would seek to tarnish the records of such consummate professionals, simply because they themself are not up to par, or perhaps simply did not get to partake in the tasking that fate ordained was to be for you and you alone. It seems supremely ironic that our training system (run by NCOs...) is still capable of producing such outstanding warriors, but our military has no idea what to do with them after the mission has been completed.
You already know the gratitude and admiration in which you are held by our American allies. Surely you must know that all enlisted ranks of the CF are equaly proud of you, as one might imagine. I would even go so far as to speculate that most of the officer cadré (Combat Arms) would have to accord you your due, if they were the least bit worthy of their commission. Any serving member who would not accord you the accolades of which you all are so richly deserving, or who would do so begrudgingly, is not worthy of the uniform they wear.
You, gentlemen, are legend!
I salute you, as well as those who have followed you since into Afghanistan, ever broadening our reputation. Who carry out their patrols on a daily business, unknown to the multitudes here at home, who endure the tedium, the boredom, punctuated by moments of terror, fear and pain. Who soldier on in spite of everything, committed to one another, their unit, the regiment, the mission. To them I wish a safe and speedy return to our home soil.
For you, Mr. Furlong, Mr. Ragsdale and Mr. Perry, I thank you for your service and wish you all a peaceful and rewarding life on civvie street. Please remember that for as important and praise-worthy as your performance in the Shah i Kot Valley was, it is not nor should be, the single moment that will define your lives. That moment still awaits you, as you reintegrate yourselves into the non-military world. You all still have so much to contribute to this country, which you served with such gallantry and distinction.