Mr. Speaker, the Green Berets are a special type of soldier. You have to be the best of the best: smart, tough, and an almost supernatural strength of will. Their qualification and training process is the toughest in the business—not just anyone can be a Green Beret. Everything is tested, from your language ability to physical fitness to your most basic but most difficult task: survival. They push you to your max and when you are just about to break, they push you harder. The training is so hard because they know what you are going to face: impossible, top-secret missions that must be done. But when you get through it all you have a physical and mental toughness that can survive even the most extreme conditions. You are not just a soldier— you are a true warrior.
That’s what Sergeant First Class Calvin B. Harrison was: a true warrior. Harrison’s awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal, two Army Achievement Medals, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon with numeral three, Army Service Ribbon, Special Forces Tab, Combat Infantryman Badge and Parachutist Badge.
Born in the small town of Coldspring, Texas, on March 11, 1979, Calvin had a big heart from a young age. He was always looking out for other people, trying to do what was right to the best of his ability. The son of Jack Washington and Betty Harrison, he was the 4th of 6 kids. His siblings are Demetric, Diane, Debra, Stephanie, and Zacchaeus.
He was also a relentlessly hard-worker. When he was a child, he helped his grandfather do yard work around town. His grandfather even taught him to drive. He was close to his family and loved them very much. One day, when Calvin was working at Country Groceries, a customer walked in, looked him right in the eye and said ‘‘You’re never gonna be nothin.’’ Calvin would remember that moment the rest of his life, even recalling to his dad the last time he was home.
In high school, Calvin turned his work ethic toward sports. He was an all-around athlete, playing basketball, football, and tennis. When he graduated in 1998, he followed in his grandfather’s footsteps and signed up for the Army. He loved being a soldier, said his father, Jack Washington. He was a true patriot who wanted to serve his country.
In 2007, Sgt. Harrison became a Green Beret. His 7th Special Forces Group was very close. They had all gone through the same rigorous training and knew that when their lives depended on it, they could trust each other.
Each team member had a role. For Sgt. Harrison, this was Medical Sergeant. Special Forces Medical Sergeants are considered to be the finest first-response medical technicians in the world. When his fellow soldier went down, it was Sgt. Harrison that jumped to his rescue. His comrades knew at a very practical level that their lives were in his hands.
The Green Beret motto is ‘‘De oppresso liber’’ which means to liberate the oppressed. That is exactly what Sgt. Harrison was doing as a part of the Company A, 2nd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) in Afghanistan. Sgt. Harrison couldn’t talk too much about his top secret job, but he didn’t mind. He was never one to talk about himself too much. He just did it. It wasn’t special to him. He just did the best he could with everything he tried.
It was his second tour and mission that Sgt. Harrison would give his life for. He was killed by small arms fire on September 29, 2010 in Uruzgan province in Afghanistan.
‘‘He died what he loved doing.’’ said his father. ‘‘I’m very proud of him, and I told him that all the time.’’ Sgt. Harrison left behind two precious daughters, Azalia and Eleanna.
David Lloyd George, a former British Prime Minister, once said, ‘‘The stern hand of fate has scourged us to an elevation where we can see the great everlasting things that matter for a nation; the great peaks of honor we had forgotten—duty and patriotism, clad in glittering white; the great pinnacle of sacrifice pointing like a rugged finger to heaven.’’ Sgt. Harrison climbed up both of those peaks—honor and duty—and now we can look up to heaven with gratitude and thanks for his eternal reminder that freedom is not free. Texas is proud to have called him a soldier, a son, and a hero. And that’s just the way it is.