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FORGOTTEN |

October 11, 2006

FORGOTTEN
Name: Tadpole
Posting date: 10/11/06
Stationed in: Afghanistan
Milblog url: armysailor.com

While I was home on leave recently, all the talk on every news channel was about the 10-year-old murder case of a little girl, hardly any mention of the war at all. When there is mention of the war, it's almost always of Iraq. Many people seem to have forgotten about Afghanistan altogether. Many of us over here feel like the forgotten bastard step-children of war. We get the leftover equipment, and very little recognition. 

Now don't get me wrong, we don't do what we do for the recognition. I recently got into a bit of a tiff with one of my officers over here. I was expressing the fact that I don't really agree with most of what we are doing here, and I definitely don't agree with our methodology. In my opinion it's wasteful, and not very productive. Basically, like all things run by the government, I feel this operation is being run poorly at best. So he asked me why I was over here then. I think I surprised him with my answer.

I am not here because I have to be. I am not here because of orders or a contractual obligation or anything of the sort. I am here to support my comrades-in-arms. I am here to support the man next to me. I am here to help relieve the burden of a soldier. I am here so that a man with a wife and kids can spend a little more time at home with his family. Few others seem to understand that.

What I don't understand is why so many Americans are so apathetic about this whole situation. I really feel like most people look at this war as little more than a television event. How many people have ever taken the time to stop and think about what we go through every day over here? The bullets, rockets and IEDs are not the hard part. The hard part is knowing that life goes on back at home.

(By the way, I am a U.S. Navy Sailor serving with a U.S. Army Special Operations Unit. Some people are not aware that the Navy is contributing a large portion of the effort on the ground, and that we march into combat, side-by-side with our Army brethren.)

Comments

Tadpole

You're not forgotten, and most people I come across are definitely not apathetic. Everyone supports the guys and the women who are on the ground, but most Americans (and definitely most people from other countries) are disgusted by our disorganized and seemingly dishonest leadership. People just don't know what to do. We want all of you home alive. The nightly news is starting to resemble what it looked like during the Vietnam war; every night more and more blood without end.
Don't feel for a minute that people here at home don't know what you're doing and where you are.
Stay safe.

Thank you.

Shalom Tadpole,

The broadcasters and the newspapers may be looking elsewhere, but the American people aren't (as much as some in government might wish we were). Regardless of how we might feel about our leadership, I have never encountered anyone who doesn't appreciate what everyone in uniform is doing and wish each of you home safely.

I was Navy myself (GMM2 0986) in the first Gulfwar, no not Kuwait/Iraq but Iran in 1979-80. We're all proud of your committment and service.

B'shalom,

Jeff Hess
Have Coffee Will Write

Tadpole--

People don't forget that you are over there, they simply don't know what to do. I'm a journalist and I'm trying to get over there because I want to do something, but we all feel so helpless! People support the troops, but not the people that put you there. It's a difficult set of truths to juggle. If anything, I think people try to forget about what's going on sometimes because of such a gripping feeling of helplessness of changing anything. What can people do to help you? Is there anything we can do for the troops when they are so far away, in another reality?

Tadpole,

You are right about people in general forgetting about Afghanistan. We hear that the Taliban is winning the country back - or taking it back into the rule of terror, so I, for one, think the war there is lost. No country has ever won there because of the geography (The USSR fell at least partially because of their war there).

However, I met a Marine who was there a couple of years ago, and he haunts me, in that I don't know if he is dead or alive.
He told me about all kinds of positive actions, like helping villagers to drill wells, and bringing food and clothing for them.

We in the US don't know what to believe, I think, because we have been lied to so much.

However, we, in general, as far as I can tell, do support you and your sisters and brothers there ("troops" is dehumanizing to me) wherever you are fighting, supplying, strategizing.

You are also right about the plan being poor. It's disgusting. I wonder if there was ever a real plan. No wonder it has been so difficult for all of you.

I lost a lot of friends to the Viet Nam war.

These wars have always seemed like that war to me (except for the attempt to find Bin Laden). I protested the Iraq war before it started.

Thank you for letting us know about the Navy's presence and for sharing your day-to-day life.

Take care, brave one, best of luck and safety to all of you. Please keep us posted.

Bro, you and everyone serving in Iraq and Afghanistan are not forgotten.

I'm a USAF vet 1980-1992, saw action in Grenada, Panama and Iraq.

Keep the faith, bro.

I think the mission in Afghanistan has always been better-justified than the mission in Iraq. We're often reminded by the news that Afghanistan is woefully understaffed because so many of our armed forces are in Iraq. The administration talks much more about Iraq in the "war on terrorism", evidently covering up the fact that the US was attacked by terrorists in Afghanistan, not Iraq! Whatever the President talks about gets the lion's share of airtime.

Tadpole,
How can you ever be forgotten now? Your post will live in my memory for all time. As will your selfless service live in the memory of God/Eternity. If the world's people and leaders had similar motives, we wouldn't be in a war, and you'd be home safe. Your light shines in the darkness, and I'm honored to have read your post. Let us know how we can help more. Thank you for doing what you are doing, and being who you are.
Susan

Tadpole, I was extremely touched by your letter and wanted to express my unmitigated support to you and your selfless courage. Please know that you are supported in every way possible. To say the American people are underinformed and seemingly uninterested -- it is not hard to see why you believe that. The American people do not get the truth about this war. A lot of us pray for you every day. The administration that has lead all of us astray is the greatest anguish today. Afghanistan is the most important place we could be right now and I honor you all. Please let us know if there is anything we can do from our end and know that every single day we hold you in our hearts.

When there is mention of war, it's almost always of Iraq not because Afghanistan is the forgotten bastard step-child. Rather, it's the opposite, I think. The war in Afghanistan has far more support and consensus and, therefore, far less controversy.

There is a lot of agonizing over whether we should even be in Iraq. Since people don't have the same level of fundamental doubt about Afghanistan, they are more content to defer to the government in its conduct there. In fact, a lot of people who are broad-brushed as "anti-war" are more accurately "anti-Iraq-war".

And, by the way, echoing the commenter above, how can we help more? What do the actual troops want us to do to support the troops?

I think of you often, every one of you. I talk about Afghanistan at work to friends. I ignore the eye rolls.

I know, we know, you are not the government, you are a soldier. Never forget we are here, doing our best to keep others from forgetting too...

I think that the troops in Afghanistan should get more attention. And, I think that the best way to do this is to draw down in Iraq.

I'm a woman, and I enlisted during World War II for the same reason you enlisted for the war in Afghanistan. We over here feel as trapped and searching for meaning as many of you are over there. We think of you constantly. Shame on those who have decided to let you volunteers do it for them!

Tadpole:

Thanks for doing what you do. You guys (and gals) are the greatest. You are not forgotten...

Bill

Tadpole,

I'd like you to know that so many of us in the US appreciate what you and your comrades are doing. Thank you.

But many of us can also be forgetful. We get distracted with our daily lives. Thank you for helping us remember.

I understand we can seem apathetic or out of touch. For my part, I can lose track of events which are depressing to follow, and which I feel powerless to influence. And I think many people get distracted with all the opportunities for easy living in our insulated, well protected country.

I hope that we can offer you something in writing back. Please know that we're imperfect people, but we do care.

Tadpole,
Not all of us here at home are unaware or unappreciative. Nor are all of us unthinking. I did my incountry in Nam in '65-66, not a fun time, if there ever was one in that particular debacle. I have a caution; and please do not think that I am comparing what goes on back here with the horror of war you live with. I know the difference and appreciate it. But as to your rant, I had the very same rant at my work this week. I do not like the way things are done, I don't get the overall "picture". And the only reason I show up for work at all is to avoid the hell that would impose on my fellow workers. My point is that these battles between our ears are available to us anywhere, and I hope you don't presume that once on this side of the water and the war that "things will be different." They won't. The military is an institution. Business is an institution. We are cogs. I wonder if any CEO or general or government official has an overreaching, overarching philosophical idea. Aside from the (in my point of view) espoused Christian values of our President. I read an article recently by a Christian commentator; what would Jesus do? He would and would encourage us (as he did often) to love our enemies.
I am randomizing. Keep your helmet on; keep your head on. Take care of each other. You all are well regarded and vastly prayed for.

Younger Brother, Having served 3 tours
in Vietnam I can relate to how you feel.
But Remember this> The American
people, not the govt. will never place blame or confuse the war with the warrior as in VN. I think of you and yours every day - that is my duty to you. Stay Safe.

You are never forgotten, despite our odd form of censureship. Be safe.

YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN!!

I see young faces in desert camo at the airport, going overseas to protect our asses, regardless of whether we actually deserve it or not.

God I am so proud of our young men!

I wish I could spread my arms around you all, draw you close as I used to do my children when they were small, keep you safe and bring you home to your families.

But since I can't, Please stay as safe as possible and CYOA at all times.

We all love you and worry about you.

We just don't get on TV and the press, like the loud mouth whackos that try to push themselves off as the majority of Americans.

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You

Hi, I spend far more time searching for info concerning the Afghanistan War than the Iraq side. Lesson from Vietnam: when it seems like the whole US is against you, they aint. A lot of us know, cause we walked thru the darkest of nights also. Soldier on, Tadpole. We are the line of military service that fades back thru time. But, we know. Bless you...

You are NOT forgotten.
You are NOT alone.
Life Does go on...it always has, and always will. But that doesn't mean that it goes on in the same way, without you.
We are not diminished by your absence, but enriched by your presence, and what you do.

None of you in Afghanistan or Iraq have been forgotten. All of you are in my prayers every day.

Afghanistan is the one place where there was almost no disagreement of our being there. Even in Iraq where there is great disagreement, people still entirely support our troops who are serving there. It is not your choice where you are deployed, and that is why it is so important that the people trust the administration and its use of our soldiers.

I don't think people are apathetic. I think they feel helpless, hopeless and perhaps angry about this situation. Had we as a nation been asked to sacrifice even in the smallest amount, we would feel like part of the solution or at least part of what is going on. Instead we have been entirely excluded. We see nothing of what is happening on the news except for PBS, which does a nightly tribute to our soldiers, and there is no tribute paid to our soldiers either for the funerals or for their bravery by our government or general news media.

Trust me, I'm a flaming liberal (leftwing libertarian) and every day I think of you all and hope for your safety and well being. All of my friends and family feel the same (and we cover all political philosophies). My nephew was in the Navy for 10 years. My father and stepfather both served in WWII. Our deepest debt and graditude goes to those who serve in the armed forces for us.

Be well. Come home.

DKat

Tadpole,
I, too, feel that those of you in Afghanistan are often forgotten. And you are not alone in saying that you are there for your comrades-in-arms...I have seen that sentiment expressed over and over again on milblogs, or in letters I've received from soldiers. For whatever reason you are there....Thank you, for being willing to do the job you are doing.

As for the several folks in the comments who asked how they can help the troops, and what they can do to support the troops -- There are numerous organizations that you can join to send care packages, write letters, or donate money to enable them to continue their work. One way to find them is simply to Google "Support the Troops".

Or, here's a short list:

America Supports You

http://www.americasupportsyou.mil/americasupportsyou/index.aspx

Soldiers Angels

http://www.soldiersangels.org/

AnySoldier

http://anysoldier.com/

Whatever way you choose to show your support, please consider doing something today.

Let those like Tadpole know that they are NOT forgotten.

We love you.
Keep the faith.

Don't believe for a moment that we fail to reflect on your situation, your sacrifice, or your simple humanity. The force of our thirst for vengence is tempered by understanding that our suffering is fleeting and vicarious, yours all too real. Yet too many of us glance at the paper, peek at the TV, and mouth platitudes.
I came to adulthood during Vietnam, hearing the same tired slogans, the same vacuous rationales for what was happening. As I did then, I hurt every day for the lives not lived, the sunsets unseen, the smiles of children unborn. And with all my heart, I hope that this doesn't become the endless pit that was.
I want you and you fellow soldiers to know that some of us work everyday to end this folly, and to honor the sacrifice of the brave by bringing their comrades home, by ensuring they live their lives here, in peace. Come home to honor, and our gratitude.

Dan Weinert

I have read the many posts and to be sure you are not forgotten. You and all your brothers should understand it is not in the agenda from the mainstream media or the liberals to proclaim the positive things you do. Be assured we appreciate you and a lot of us support our president and his leadership in these turbulent times.

Hi Tadpole,
I think about the troops all the time, as I live across the street from Tinker AFB. This war is a reminder of the Viet Nam war. Please know that you are not forgotten.

Take care.

I don't think any Americans discount or ignore your sacrifice or the personal danger to you. Many of us disagree for the necessity of the Iraq war, but I think a majority of Americans recognize that we had no choice on Afghanistan. The military, like any bureaucracy, rarely ever does anything efficiently. Hang in there.

Even regarding the Iraq war, we still have great admiration for the soldiers who are making the sacrifice. If only the pols in Washington could be made to bear some of that sacrifice I think the men and woman of our armed services there would be coming home a lot sooner.

Tadpole

I can honestly say I'm not actually aware of who is who in the zoo, but as a Vietnam era Veteran of Naval Aviation, I can see Navy personnel on the ground. As for being forgotten, I do my best to remind everybody who only writes about Iraq (members of congress are especially bad about this) that you are there and must be remembered. What strikes me as interesting is those in Iraq would rather be in Afghanistan because they believe there is a purpose in being there and those in Afghanistan question their purpose in being there also. Now there's an interesting conundrum.

Take care

Tadpole,
You are not forgotten. Please know that. I do not know you, but I pray for you at night. I, like you, feel that many people in America are apathetic about the wars we are fighting right now. Most people don't want to face the fact that war is not pretty. It is easier to pretend it isn't happening. I wish you will remain safe and come home soon. I don't know if what we are doing is right, but I do know that I support the brave men and women that are fighting and dying right now in our name. You are my hero. God bless you and keep you safe.

Never forgotten, maybe put aside as something comes up, but you are never forgotten. It shouldn't be even put aside, the news should post the good, the bad, and the ugly, but sadly they don't. I know I'll never forget what was done so that we may be here doing what we want and THANK YOU for that so much.

Tadpole;

A bitchin' sailor's a happy sailor... Leastways that's what they told me when I was in during 'Nam.

I was all Gung-Ho then and full of it - but looking back, we had some real smoke rings blown up our exhaust port. Show those Grunts and Gyrenees what Squids are really made of.

Afghanistan is where the focus should have stayed, but so much for the judgement of Politicians. Sucked back in '66 and sucks now.

Keep your head down, do your job, and take care of your buddies. We'll take care of the homefront for ya and try to get the Politicos' heads out of their forth point of contact. Keep safe.

Tadpole,
You are right in that a lot of us did not know that the Navy was right in there alongside the Army. And you do not get the media attention that Irag gets. And I really hate that. I have a sister in the Army stationed in Fort Hood, not knowing at any time whether she will be deployed to go to Iraq. So I guess it makes me think about you all a lot more now. And the people are right. It's just a helplessness of not knowing what we can do for you. Because we gladly would. I am so proud of you all. And I wish that it was all over and you were back home. I would be glad to write to you if I knew your address, or any soldier for that matter. Because you all do matter!

This is very sad to say, but yes, in the media you are forgotten. Just hang in there and hopefully we can get you home soon. It's just that this president refuses to give up his idea of what is right, no matter what the cost.

Tadpole;

As a married guy with kids...thank you. As an overweight foot doctor who has absolutley NO IDEA what you guys go through...thank you. I live in Alabama so the papers are mostly concerned with college and high school football. TV is mostly about whatever the trendy story is at the time (Mark Karr, Tom Cruise, Ex-Congreesman Foley). But those of us who are concerned about our families and concerned enough to look around for information, we know you are in the right spot doing the right thing. Sometimes people allow ego to get in the way and can't stop doing something even if it is wrong. It's what happens when young men fight wars for old men.

Good luck, Tadpole. I don't go to church a lot but we all pray individually. I'll keep you and your buddies on the list. You are not forgotten...and thank you again.

Tadpole;
My Dad was Navy...You are not forgotten. I grew up in a different time it seems, raised by a Dad who never talked about his war (he was at Iwo in a LSM). I am pleased that there is a site that gives us a chance to hear from you guys, because it reminds us that you are just people...doing a hard job. I'll say a prayer for you tonight, you and all those Navy guys out there.

Dear, dear Tadpole: I think that you would be surprised at the sheer volume of people that have you in their thoughts and prayers all throughout the day! You are NOT forgotten over here! I also was amazed at all the attention the 10 year old murder was getting along with most every other US citizen, but that's the media we have to put up with today. Thank God for the internet, because I can keep up with what's going on with the war via the blogs. Not only do I pray for all our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, but for their spouses, children and parents that also are sacrificing time with their loved ones for all of us... God knows that each time I hear that we have lost another of our children to war, a piece of me goes with them... I literally feel the pain of that parent's loss, their children and spouses...How can this be? I don't personally know them! Yet, I do know you in spirit to feel this great loss and have all this concern for your safety. I do not believe in the reasons for going into this war, but I do believe in our troops and your sacrifices are appreciated. The politicians want you to think it's black and white, you're either for the war and with the troops or against the war and against the troops. It IS possible to be against this war and STILL care deeply for all our service men and women and support you 100 percent! Thank you for your post, Tadpole, and know that you are in continual prayers!

I haven't forgotten you guys and girls. Our government is pathetic, but that's not your fault. Keep your head down and come back home, okay???

I am a Canadian, and I can feel what you feel when you say you are forgotten over there. Where are the stories on the Canadian men and women who are dying in huge numbers everyday? They as well as the American and UN coalitions, are there to help these people to build a safer and better life, but what everyone seems to fail to see is that they don't want a better life. Our Canadian men were killed by a suicide bomber while handing out candy to these poor children. Roadside bombers killing our men and women for what? Is there really any answer to it?...I hope you're still around to read these posts, and to see how much your words and feelings have affected others. Be safe, be proud.

Tadpole -

You are NOT forgotten, ever. Over here, we start praying every night at 9:00 PM ET, for all you guys over there.

We Americans all THANK YOU and don't know what else we can do. I wear a 4th ID blouse here as a symbol of honor for all the Soldiers, Sailors and Marines. My flag has not left my front porch since 9/11, and won't come down til every last one of you comes home.

God bless your service. We can never thank you enough.

I don't think it's an issue of forgetting - if one feels forgotten, they usually are. The smoke and mirrors that distracted us from the mission at hand, the important mission of Afghanistan, has been lost in the haze of hyperbole. It's a crime, literally a crime, and I thank you for your post, for your service, for caring about what you're doing. Hope the next Congress/Administration supports the troops and the nation by finishing the job in Afghanistan and getting the hell out of Iraq. My two cents.

Hey man, you guys are never forgotten about by more people than you can believe. I was in the Canadian military for 14 years, and have worked with both 2 and 3 PPCLI, who have both seen their share of loss. I totally understand why you are there, and why you believe in what you are doing. You and all of your brothers in arms there are doing what needs to be done, and hopefully you guys can get the job done before too many more families (Afghan and others) have to endure sensless hardship and loss. Keep at it bro. If people really knew the full scope of what you have do deal with on a daily basis, you would find a lot more vocal support for what our society is attempting to accomplish.
Stay safe, man.

Well put. You aren't forgotten and most thinking people agree with you. Stay low, stay smart, stay alive.

Please do not think you all are forgotten. No way, no how can this war and the men & women fighting for our freedom at home could be forgotten. I myself know several people that have been there already and I am thankful that they have made it home. One of my dear friends will leave Nov 1st to go back by his choice, he re-enlisted. If I didnt have a son I would be there right beside you honest to God I would. The reason I am not, I have a 14 yr old son, that I think about what it would do to him to loose mom. I cant put him through that. So please accept my apologies that I am not there with you all. But most importantly rememeber this, 1 You are not forgotten. 2. Us true blue AMERICANS - we continuously think of you all there & pray for your safe return. ANd anyone who makes any negative comment about you fighting for our freedom I am the first to defend you here in the Good Ole USA.

Keep the Faith - My prayers are with you all
N Harrison
Brooksville FL

Dear Tadpole,

I am the proud Navy Mom of a son that is in Special OPS EOD over in Iraq. At night when I go to bed, not only do I pray for my son, but I pray for ALL of you. Trust me, you are NOT forgotten. We love and respect our soldiers in Afghanistan as well as Iraq. We haven't forgotten you, we as American people just don't get the information that we want from these places. I don't want to know what's happening over here, I want to know what's happening over there and I want the truth, something we don't get. The only truth we get is what the soldiers themselves tell us and most of the time, they can't tell us anything because of security reasons. Please don't ever think you are forgotten....WE WILL NEVER FORGET...YOU. Thank you for ALL that you do to keep us safe here at home, you ALL are our heroe's and we love you and pray for your safe return. Stay Safe, Stay Alert and Gods Speed.

Tadpole,
My son is wandering around that place, too. Believe it, you are in a mother's prayers.
Here's how a mother feels. We cry when we put our children on the bus for school the first time; we know how bad that world is.We are proud of who and what they become, the fears they face and overcome. We are blessed that they are in our lives.
Come home, to be a big ole frog in a little pond.

Tadpole you can see that you are not forgotten by the posts from those of us fortunate enough to be here in America but wanting to write to you and others who are fighting for what you and most of us believe in and say thank you for all you do. I have 6 cousins out there dispersed thoughout the war zones 3 Navy, 2 Marines and 1 Army who are currently deployed. I also have a daughter that although she is thankfully still 16 has been in the Naval Sea Cadet program since the age of 12 and has every intention of joining after graduation next year. I worry about her as I do about all of you men and women out there and I keep you all in my thoughts and prayers no matter your location. You are not forgotten you are thought of and prayed for daily.

Just a reminder, there are LOTS of us that not only remember you all over there, but we have friends and loved ones there too!

Winter is coming -- please stay warm Tadpole, and know that we have all of you in our prayers.

You have not been forgotten. What you are doing in Afghanistan is just important as what is being done elsewhere. I for one appreciate each and every one of you, regardless of branch. Be safe!

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