There’s no place like home – and I do mean Kansas

There’s no place like home. You might know those words from the American classic film “The Wizard of Oz.” It’s a movie that illustrates the simple dreams of a young girl, Dorothy, from Kansas and the importance of family — the simple American family.

And so it is this American family, the Wests, will fly back to Kansas Saturday where our family began. It was there I met Angela and where we first settled. Both of our daughters, Aubrey and Austen, were born in Kansas — Ft. Riley and Topeka respectively. And we have not been back since we left in 1997 after my graduation from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff Officers College.

Our return to Kansas is centered around a special event that we will attend Saturday evening. The 16th Infantry Regiment “Rangers” Association is holding its annual awards and honors dinner in Ft. Riley/Junction City. The 16th Infantry is part of the 1st Infantry Division and shares the valorous history of the endeavor known as Operation Overlord — D-Day — as the 16th Infantry Regiment, commanded by Colonel George A. Taylor, was scheduled to land on “Easy Red” and “Fox Green” beaches ­ two sections of a five-mile-long beachhead code-named “Omaha.

On D-Day at Omaha Beach, Brig. Gen. George Taylor, then a colonel in command of the 16th Infantry Regiment, said: “There are two kinds of people who are staying on this beach – those who are dead and those who are going to die. Now let’s get the hell out of here.”

So it is with great honor that I served as the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment Task Force Fire Support Officer (FSO), call sign “Ranger 14”, during Operation Desert Storm under the command of LTC Dan Fake. It was with that unit that I earned my Army Commendation Medal with V Device and a Valorous unit award. Truly, a part of the legacy of honor and valor of those men who landed 70 years ago on the beaches of Normandy.

And even greater, the guest speaker for the 16th Infantry Association dinner is famed Army Commanding General of Army Forces, Pacific General Vincent Brooks — one half of the famed Brooks Brothers (not the clothing line). General Brooks, and his brother retired Major General Leo Brooks, are mentors of mine and General Vincent Brooks was the first black man to hold the distinct title of Cadet Brigade Commander at the United States Military Academy, West Point.

So for me, there is no place like home — being around those who have served in the Big Red One!

For Angela, her history in Kansas far precedes my own as it was there in Manhattan she earned her undergraduate, and subsequently her PhD, from her alma mater Kansas State University. It was there her brilliant career in marketing and finance began, and continues on today. It was there in Kansas where Angela picked out our first home after I redeployed from Operation Desert Storm — 300 Morning Glory Drive in Manhattan — and we look forward to seeing it once again.

However it was there in Kansas that Angela joined me, after I liberated her from Manhattan (New York) and returned her to the “Little Apple” and we started a family. Aubrey, who was born in April of 1993 will get to see Irwin Army Community Hospital where she entered this world. Austen will get to see Stormont-Vail Hospital in Topeka where she took her first breath in November 1996. When we left Kansas they were so very young, and they are excited.

Sunday we will have brunch with friends at the Manhattan Country Club and I’m quite sure tears will flow. We will go by College Heights Baptist Church in Manhattan where Aubrey was baptized. And later in the day we will drive down to Ft. Leavenworth Kansas to spend the night and go by where Austen was baptized at the Army base chapel.

The West family — Angela, Aubrey, Austen, and I — will follow the “Yellow Brick Road” because there is no place like home. And knowing Angela, there will be lots of pictures shared on her Coffee Corner Facebook page, which is linked to here or just click on the pink Facebook icon above.

Duty First!


  1. We recently moved to Kansas (Topeka) and love it here. We are enjoying not only the many cultural aspects of our new city but also the fabulous sunsets!

  2. A lovely story, Colonel West. My connection to Kansas was via my Air Force buddy and fellow pilot, from Manhattan, Kansas and my best man at our wedding in the chapel at Kelly Field, San Antonio, April 1947. Frank Kansas Matson, Lt. Col, USAF, Retired. Frank was a Gooney Bird pilot flying the hump from Karachi, India to China during WWII.

  3. I am halfway between Manhattan and Topeka, near Wamego. Welcome home, even for a short visit! Such great people in Kansas. Both Ft. Riley and Ft. Leavenworth have produced heroes of note. As a former First Command wife, we share many friends, including a true hero, Barry Bridger and his wife Sheila. Have a safe and enjoyable trip. Go Wildcats!

  4. Let me start off by saying welcome back to the land where common sense is still common, proud to know we had men like yourself who defended our rights… we live in Wichita and we wish we had the opportunity to shake your hand in person, big fans of you sir….Keep up the good work

  5. We are stationed here in Fort Riley. It’s awesome to see you have ties here. Despite my husband and being raised in Florida, we love it here! What a great honor for Fort Riley to have you as a guest speaker Colonel West.

  6. Now, LTC West is a good example of a real hero who deserves “a hero’s welcome home celebration”.

    • Let us elect him POTUS in 2016 so he can give all the heroes of Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn the welcome home parade obama-boy wont give them because he is too afraid to do so.

  7. Can i get as response to this question please !!!

    When Obama declares Marshall law due to a false flag national emergency! and the DHS actually suspends our elected government and the Crony Czars of the DHS actually take control of the government, bypassing congress and the people/citizens totally. The DHS, the EPA, the FDA are all largely controlled by members of the Muslim Brother Hood.

    Many of the CIA /NSA are card caring members of CPC congressional progressive
    caucus which is by their own admission controlled by communists (fact). These Czars have hidden contracted mercenaries, hired to enforce the will of those soon to be in charge. The Patriot Act, Agenda 21 and so many other such legislations, have given legal control to these Radically evil people.

    Who in Gods world is going to stop them from taking the USA over if they have a legal right to by executive order! Because this is coming.. !!! Who is going to stop that from happening! Who is going to stop the progressives and the Muslims from completely taking over and by order of Marshall law they will call in foreign troops and our nation will become a occupied country by the stroke of a pen. The FEMA camps will be filled
    and the Guillotines will be operating 24/7.

    Who is going to stop them from doing just that ?

    Obama / NWO perpetrates a national false flag. Say a EMP weapon using the missing MH370 and setting off 1 if not 2 of the 3 nukes, still missing from Obama’s illegal
    removal of them from the South Carolina Nuclear Armory. Say at high altitude, that EMP would destroy the US Economy and put 170-200 million Americans back to the horse and buggy days, no food, no law and order no water. It will make katrina look like a Sunday Picnic. My guess is that he would then use another false flag to
    start racial riots and fights. I have been told that many of the gangs have already been recruited to be insurgents and instigators. A local gang Captain / member told me that his people have been recruited to raise hell as he put it. There are now over 40 Radical Muslim training camps in the USA right now. Many of the top military commanders have been replaced with handpicked N.W.O. / Obama crony’s.

    Every Element I have said is true and can be verified from independent sources.


    USAF Vietnam disable veteran.

    • Welcome back to Kansas, West family. I live in the true army town, Junction City, but I acknowledge all good things about Kansas. Ft. Riley is my place of birth and baptism many decades ago, and though I’ve moved around a lot, Kansas is always where I come back to live. Have a wonderful stay!

    • Thank you for your service.
      This is my take on the situation: The Elected Officials that have not stood by the OATH they took have been threatened, blackmailed or whatever. Instead of them all standing together and coming out at the beginning (if it happened all at once), they waited too long because of the threats to them and their families. So, we have over 200 Generals that were booted out, plus Officers and Enlisted. We have “Our Veterans”, “Our Militia” and “Our Patriots” in “Our Country” and others that have been fighting this administration for years. I think they need to round the Elected Officials up and let them know they will protect them and their families if they come clean. At the same time they would have to remove and arrest all the ones that are in the Departments that are threatening “The People”. Then we have the Muslim Camps that would have to be monitored and maybe even be taken out. After those three things are done, then they can remove this administration. The bottom line is their protection has to be removed first.

  8. Welcome home, Col. West. I hope you and your family have a wonderful visit. If they show up…just ignore the Westboro Baptist Church people, they do not represent Kansas, the Midwest or this great country.

  9. Yippee! I hope you and your family have a great time during your visit to the Sunflower State. Thanks for the background story. I live in Lawrence, a.k.a. ‘Berkeley on the Kaw’. While you’re on your way to Leavenworth, if you want to take an off-ramp from I-70 and kick some liberal butt here, I’d sure appreciate it.

    • As a former Democrat and Democrat Party Precinct Committeeman from the Lawrence 2/2 precinct (then the student hippie ghetto east of campus to Mass from11th to 13th I know exactly what you are saying about the Berkeley on the Kaw.

  10. We enjoyed the six years we lived in Kansas. Found a son-in-law and daughter-in-law there. Not bad. Have an enjoyable time with your family. You’re still my choice for President.

  11. Can’t think of a better place to return to. So many of us grew up on Toto, Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz. I actually have a carin terrier (the Toto dog) who comes from a breeder in Kansas. The West family is a throwback to the best times in our Country. They are truly loyal Americans. Could we be so lucky to have this family as the “first family” in 2016???

  12. Allen We The People just hope that you will soon announce your bid to run for President of the United States of America. I think that would be a great day.

  13. Damn, another thing in common with Colonel West. I am a native of Kansas who sitll calls it home too.


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