The Wake-Up Call

It's taken me a while to write about this. Never had the time, never had the will to do so. I spent Thanksgiving in a guard tower, doing a lot of thinking.

"Suspect, what are you thankful for?"

I drew a blank. Let me back up.

We lost three guys. I'm sparing the specifics and the backgrounds and the things that make you go, "Oh man...that's so fucked...that's terrible man."

This place, this new area of operations was almost like a vacation for us. Only a few wounds now and then, nothing too major for the most part. Then the fates backhanded us, hard.

That's all I've got to say about that for now, maybe forever.

I sat in that tower, staring at the lifeless dirt and shitty brick buildings of our area of operations and let my mind run loose. There was no controlling it at this point anyway.

I thought about my friend, who was one of the three we lost. I thought about him a lot. A lot of these thoughts made me laugh. That's the kind of guy he was. I thought about how unreal it all is. I thought about how little sense it makes.

I thought about all the huge and tiny factors involved in this conflict and how illogical and base and Typical of Mankind it all is. I thought about a lot of things. Hours of nothing but time to kill, dusty space to stare at.

I wrote about a previous memorial service. I fumed, angrily, ignorantly, with reckless abandon. I wrote shit that I didn't necessarily believe, in that confused and mixed up way people get when these things happen. I thought about that phrase "Ultimate sacrifice" and how we're going to hear it again.

Well so be it. I guess I can wrap my head around what people mean when they say it. Sure, no one is raising their hand and saying, "Sir, I'm not doing anything Wednesday, I'll take the hit. Beats having to eat this chow!" [Laugh track].

But it is an 'ultimate sacrifice', even if we don't realize it.

This was a heavy hit for all of us. Some guys are seriously fucked up about it. But I guess the mentality I'm clinging to is that these things happen and it's too late to change it, and there isn't a lot we can do. Just do our jobs. It sounds almost submissive, but whatever. Drive on, it's all you really can do.


  1. Jenni said...
    After reading your email and now your blog, I'm still not sure what to say. I know words are cheap and hollow, but I'm glad you knew him, and can laugh when you think of him. I can understand why you wouldn't want to talk about this again...but I'm glad you're writing, even if it's painful and for your eyes only. We love you...and we're always thinking about you.
    Anonymous said...
    I'm not sure what to say, but I agree with Jenni. Take care out there...
    Anonymous said...
    The mind can be a horrible parasite on its host when it has time to work against you. Unfortunately in war there is much to think about, most of it bothersome. You know as well as I do that these things are going to happen. Men will get hurt, friends may fall. It sucks balls but thats the way it is. Just do yourself a favor and think about it. Get your mind around it and try to make some logic out of it somehow. Dont hold that shit in till you get home. Talk about it with others that are feeling the same as you. Im not saying you need to go get help (theyll just try to give you meds and turn you away when you get home) make peace with it while you are there and you still can. Do it asap. You will be out of there soon. I'm pulling for you man! Drive on specialist.
    Anonymous said...
    powerful feelings and writing, man.

    soldiers know better than anybody that death is part of life. civilians live life with their eyes shut, and they like it that way.

    can't change it, so like you wrote, drive on
    wakingdaydreams said...
    If you were here this would be the point where I'd try to give you a hug (which you'd probably shrug off) and put a large pitcher of beer in front of you and let you drink to your friend's memory.

    I'm sure there are a million things you have and will see that you'll never be able to forget or tell anyone, but please protect the "soft and squishy" side you had before you left- you'll need it to stay balanced there and when you come home.

    Love ya, cuz.

    Kat said...
    Sending lots of love & hugs from our family here in Georgia... tho we cannot begin to fathom the depth of the sacrifice you make on a daily basis.... we do truly and sincerely thank you for all you do and hold you close to our hearts and in prayers. (hugs) I'm so sorry for the losses y'all have had... (more hugs)

    Momma Kat
    Patriot Guard Rider
    Soldiers' Angel
    Loganville GA
    ToySoldier said...
    I heard 2 days after I got home on leave. I've got the same feelings buddy; I'll see you when I get back.

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