… Continuation from previous post.

Upon inspection of one of the water drains on the roof near his firing position, we discovered the aged and weathered remains of cigarette butts originating from Seven Stars, a Japanese tobacco brand known to have been the personal preference of SSgt. Barnes. Finally, and perhaps most mysteriously, we discovered a seemingly undamaged smartphone hidden underneath an air conditioning unit. Both myself and Pvt. Uehara were able to confirm that it was the same make and model as SSgt. Barnes’ personal phone, however with the battery long dead and no way to activate it, we were unable to confirm its original owner. Capt. Robinson insisted on collecting it. The phone appears to be secured by a biometric fingerprint scanner. Capt. Robinson is convinced that if it is SSgt. Barnes’ phone, their records of his fingerprints on file should allow him to activate the phone once its battery has been recharged and confirm not only the ownership of the phone but also potentially give us any sort of insight as to the fate of our fallen comrade. With no body to confirm his passing, we are officially listing SSgt. Alexander J. Barnes as “Missing in Action.”

As a personal note, I am affixing with permission from my commanding officer an official recommendation for the induction of both SSgt. Alexander Barnes of the United States of America, as well as his companion Charles McKenzie of New Zealand, into the Order of the Rising Sun for their service to the government and people of Japan, their loyalty to the cause in which they served, and their fearlessness in the face of dire circumstance. Captain John Robinson of the US Army has also attached a personal letter of recommendation to grant SSgt. Barnes the honor of a Silver Star, as well as a posthumous battlefield commission to Second Lieutenant with all accompanied rights and privileges therein.

That’s the end of the letter. We’re really not quite sure what to think about it. Charles did an amazing job of looking after Ayako and Risa, but I had not thought of that as being something the military would take the time of effort to acknowledge so formally. No disrespect intended, but of all the people in the world, my son was probably the last person I thought would be recognised with a medal. I have to say that I am really proud of what he did and the compassion that he showed. He was a good lad, and there is not a minute of the day that goes by in which I do not think of him.

For Alex’s part, I am sure his family is so proud of him, and we desperately want his family to know what he did for his friends and the SDF group that he was with. It is a shame that his body was not able to recovered, as that may provide some closure. As it is, there is not even any definitive evidence or eyewitness testimony that he isn’t still alive. Of course we do hold out hope that he somehow managed to escape, but we are aware that that is only a slim possibility.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read this, and please pass it onto anyone that knows Alex. It is important that his bravery and heroism is known.

Kind regards,

Gordon McKenzie

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