Thursday, May 31, 2007

It's about necessity

Tonight I write about necessity. I write about needs and the need I have realized I have for a woman's touch. My job isn't as physically dangerous as many others. My job is more mentally and emotionally draining than anything I have ever done and I don't think I have been doing too well at handling it.

It's not the bombs and the bullets that get to me near as much as just having to sit here and get shot at and not be able to do a damn thing about it. My job isn't physically dangerous most of the time, but I hear of death and destruction all day. Some of the bad stuff is on my own guys, most of it just an hour or so away when it used to be two. Sometimes though, like last night, the danger is so close I could have hit it with a stone.

At least on the road they get the chance to fight back. When the bad guys shoot, our guys get a chance to shoot back. They get the chance to get scared, get mad and release it in bullets down range at our enemy. I don't have that luxury however. Most of what I do I cannot talk about. Most of what I feel inside, I choose not to talk about. It is so hard for me to accept fear as I feel as a man, it shows my weakness. I am not too proud to say though, that I get nervous and scared when the rockets start blowing up around me.

Last night, I did not have my armor close by when we were attacked. The first rocket zoomed overhead and exploded in the field next to where I work. I grabbed my helmet and quickly hopped under my desk, knowing my armor was not there. One of the macho guys laughed as he stood there looking at me and asked what the hell I was doing under the desk as he put on his armor. He strolled around and made wise cracks about how if a rocket hit us, the desk wouldn't help. He may be right, to which I replied neither would his armor. So, he stood there joking as we took more rockets. He said, "When it's your time, it's your time!" I agreed and told him that when his meathead was split in half by shrapnel, I was taking his armor. My family may be told that I died in battle and that will be tragic, but they will not be told that I died in battle because I walked around and joked about my fate not being my own. I told my friend that if God wants me, He will have to come under the desk to get me.

So, you ask what taking cover under a desk has to do with a woman's touch. One thing I have come to realize is that I haven't been with a woman in so long that I am well beyond missing the sexual aspect of a relationship. What I have come to realize, more than anything, is the comfort and security that only a woman can provide. I feel much like a boy running to his mother when he is scared or hurt because he knows she will protect him and make him feel better. I realize that I am just a boy running lost, looking for someone to hold and comfort me. Last night, more than anything, I needed to come home after a hard day's work and snuggle into the safety and security of a woman's touch. I needed to pull in close to her bosom and wrap her arms around me… not a word to be said.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

False claims of Grandeur

Okay, I thought I had decided to not hop on soap boxes and to try and write about the better side of being here. Well, I can't just sit here and let this go without saying. Mom, I'm sorry about the foul language. Cover your eyes!

I don't think I can ever find fault in anyone that has done their time in this place. We all encounter our own demons here. There are some things that happen in this war, and each soldier's part in it, that we may have difficulty coping with. One thing I have wanted to get out from the first time I wrote about this war and me is that not every soldier has the same experiences. That's not to say that I won't have issues that I find difficult to deal with when I return to the real world. I won't however, have all the same issues as our men on the guns.

With that being said, I am completely infuriated upon learning about one of our soldiers going home on his two weeks of R&R and acting like a complete ass, then blaming it on being in combat. One of my co-workers sits behind the same desk I do. He has never been outside the wire, never killed anyone, never been shot at and never driven countless hours in darkness looking for bombs. He, like me, is a fobbit in every sense of the word. Concern has been expressed from one family member to the other about the well being of our soldiers going home on leave. One of my fellow soldiers is playing the experiences of others as his own in a disgusting attempt at grandeur. With his family in the car, he swerves madly across the road dodging potholes and trash and yells that they could have been bombs. This guy has never driven where there have been bombs! He has never dodged pot holes or had trash blow up on him. I'm not saying he doesn't have his own problems to deal with, hell we all do, in war or not. But damnit, don't make shit up to get attention. Don't use experiences that are not your own as an excuse for you to be a complete idiot and risk the safety of your family to get attention they would give you anyway.

You are a pathetic bastard and I am ashamed of you! Man up! If you have issues, concerns and phobias then let's learn how to deal with them. My theory is you are just a son-of-a-bitch and will use serving in this war as an excuse to validate the fact that you are an asshole and though you have always been one, now others will blame it on the war instead of you.

I admire the soldiers who do what they do and no one back home even knows. They exhibit such self discipline and control and keep their families and friends out of their danger. I love that about them. I can't be THAT soldier. I have to tell my story, my life as I live it. No glamour, no glory, just me. I work in an office now that does important things and have realized that being a fobbit is not a bad thing. My job is to make it as safe for my guys as I can by keeping them informed of the "big picture". Oh, I have my phobias, fears and concerns. This war has exacerbated the flaws in my life. I will use my experiences here to be a better father, better lover and better friend than I have been in the past. But, if you ever hear me playing up the dangers and tragedies of my fellow soldiers as my own… punch me straight in the mouth! I have sacrificed just as much as everyone around me and if that's not good enough for you, if you can't appreciate my devotion and dedication to you and my country; so be it… that's your right as an American!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Headed to TQ

Okay, so it’s been a little while. One of the major events that has happened since my last update was I went on my first “real” mission.

My first mission was to TQ and it was a long, long drive. I think it took us 19 hours to get there. Keep in mind that most of our driving speeds are slow. We found an IED on the way up and waited a long time with it. The main thing I wanted to get out to my readers isn’t the danger involved in the mission; though it was extremely intense for me. I saw such professionalism in the group of men that do what they do. It was truly inspirational watching and learning from these guys.
It is amazing how the mind is so perceptive when your adrenaline is flowing. We drove several hundred miles. The last fifty or so on a path they had not taken before.

As we drove I could hear the guys calling up anything that looked out of ordinary, then they inspected it and deemed it safe or not. As we came back through the area that night they again called up suspicious things. It is amazing, but even I recalled things that were different about the road than a few hours earlier. A bottle was standing up, now it is lying down. A concrete block is not sitting like it was.

Under normal situations this would be so trivial, but here the bad guys use these things to hide bombs that kill us. Missing these little details could be fatal. There was a family up ahead that went inside as we approached. The lights in the houses are shutting off as we get close. All of these things were amazing to me to watch and more so when you realize most of it was done in the dark. We have such a well trained group of soldiers that it is awesome to be a part of them.

If you have ever read my journals, you know I have high respect for our guys on the gun trucks. You also know I am envious of them at times, not feeling my job here is worthy of compare. Many of my fellow soldiers ask why I don’t wear my combat patch like everyone else. The fact is, I don’t feel I deserve to wear it.

For the most part I sit in an air conditioned office and type away at this computer. Not much combatives required to do that. I am sometimes asked about boards, awards and special details to which I recommend the guys on the guns as I feel they are much more deserving of recognition for their service than I. Don’t get me wrong, I am proud to be here, an American Soldier fighting for the American way of life.

Some of my readers feel it is a bunch of crap; an exaggerated play on patriotism. To those readers I say you just don’t know me. I am an American. I am a soldier. I have no opinion on this war other than when I see the faces of the people that want us here and the faces of children that grow up much too fast. I know that no matter how this war ends, it did some good; even if for a brief moment in the lives of the people we have helped.

Some readers ask if it is worth it. If leaving my family and friends to come interfere in other people’s business, is worth it. I would never begin to say that leaving my family, leaving my children was “worth it”. Worth is synonymous with price and I can never put a price on the time I have lost with my children. None of us can. It is sacrifice. I have sacrificed priceless time with my children to serve my country.

Like those before me, I am choosing to sacrifice the one to serve the many. Do my children hate me for that or think I am a horrible father? I don’t know. Do I think my children will grow up and feel the same need to serve our country, or protest our military for taking mothers and fathers away from their children? I don’t know. I hope that the time I do have with my children is spent instilling the values that I hold dear as a father, as a person, as an American. I hope they see me and see that I fight for what I feel is just and noble, that I respect my parents and my elders. I hope they look at me and see that though I have not always been available to be with them physically, they are strong within my heart. I hope they realize that I always cherish each moment with them and understand that a firm hand is not always the sign of a hard heart. Whether they grow up and want to be like me, their mother, or themselves; I hope they see I love them.