Wednesday, February 01, 2006

a movie sparks some thoughts

I just finished watching The Great Raid. I am rather liking the turning towards realism in films of this kind. Of course, I'll eventually have to read the books the movie is based upon to see just what got left out. I have read most of We Were Soldier Once, and Young but then it was almost a required read in the unit.

I can recall some comments by my step father just after the much published rescue of that female mechanic during the initial fighting in Iraq. He said he couldn't believe that many people would risk their lives to rescue just one person, I haven't really followed it too closely other then there were approx. 500 people involved, I'm sure they had to turn people away. He, not having served, will never really understand what it is all about, it's not just the value of one life, it's about hope. Hope for an American servicemen to hold on to, to have faith that if they are ever captured, we will come for them. That hope, may be the only thing left for them to hold on to through their ordeal.

We trained, and trained and trained, as realistically as we possibly could. Got to the point that many of us wanted combat just to break the monotony of constant training. In preparation for one of many canceled deployments we'd spent the better part of a year living in the field as close to combat conditions as we could. Right before wrapping it all up and returning to garrison for the beginning of block leave for the holidays, the Battalion Commander called our company into formation and said he had one more mission for us. It was going to be an all volunteer mission, highly dangerous, casualty rate was expected to be high. Remember, we trained as realistically as possible, kept our own body bags in our ruck sacks, our living wills were updated every few months.

Everyone looked around to see who would be the first to volunteer. Finally someone asked what the mission was about, when the Ltc. said it was going to be a POW rescue, the entire company stepped forward as one to volunteer. It was one of the few times we were ever asked to do something greater then ourselves. Every single one of us would have given our life to rescue just one person, we would have sacrificed everything to keep that hope alive.

My thoughts drift to the Middle East, it takes on a different light when I know the people who are over there. My former brother-in-law, the oldest sister's ex, who's a Blackhawk pilot in the Alaska National Guard is over there now, he did a eulogy for one of the crew members of Icy 33, which went down in a sandstorm, killing all 11 on board, including the 4 crew members which were from Alaska's National Guard.

I know of one guy I'd known well, we chased some of the same women, went over there and is now bound to a wheel chair. I have a cousin who's in much the same boat I was, chomping at the bit to go so all that training isn't a waste, he leaves sometime this summer. There is another who's going over as well, a young officer that I worked with as he began his ROTC program. I hope he heeds my advice and listens to his senior NCO's, he should make an interesting leader with wisdom and experience of an enlisted person ringing in his ears as he learns to lead men.

The above photo was taken during our deployment to Kuwait. I'm not sure if the govener was taken off the engine of my humve, in the back ground, but it had a lot of accelation and a fairly high top speed.

I've been asked why I don't re-enlist. Well, combat is a young man's profession, I'm pushing the maximum age allowed in the Infantry as it is, I wouldn't be content to be in any other branch. Besides, the military doesn't want a warrior of my caliber in this age of scrunity of it's soldiers' actions by the world, but I'll save that for another blog.

1 Comments:

Blogger e.e. said...

Gus,

I know you may not hear it enough, and it may sound like a cliche, but I truly do want to say:
Thank you.

Thank you for offering your life so that some hosehead like me in Boston, MA can lead a life feeling safe, secure and proud to be in a country where it's soldiers are truly more fantastic than it's leaders.

Thank you to you, and all of your friends gone and that may go.

I mean this from my heart.

2:09 PM AKST  

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