The Sandbox

GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.

MY ROLE IN THIS |

October 09, 2006

MY ROLE IN THIS
Name: SGT B
Posting date: 10/9/06
Stationed in
: Washington state
Hometown: Rockford, WA
Milblog url:
http://thegunline.com
E-mail: sgtb0331@thegunline.com

My role in this will be, if all goes well, as a Sergeant in Company "B", 1st of the 161st Mechanized Infantry, 81st Brigade Combat Team. The physical is done (I passed), the paperwork for a few waivers has been submitted, and I should be vaulted into the saddle within the next two weeks. Done deal. I've given this a great deal of thought, and determined that this is the best course of action I can take for all concerned. I've got 13 years worth of USMC Infantry experience under my belt, which means that I'm over halfway to racking up the time needed to qualify for a retirement pension from the government (the Guard, however, works on a point system, with means that I might be able to rack up points faster, or it might take a little longer, not sure).

But that's not what it's about, is it? Not for me, anyway.  This is something I should have done five years ago. I'm just a little late getting to the starting line. There were other things that demanded my time and effort.  But now, I can't think of anything more important than to throw my hat into the ring, and get back in the fight -- a fight that didn't really exist until AFTER I got out of the Corps. Yep. It's the right thing to do...

Why, then, in the middle of the night, do I stare at the ceiling, my mind full of questions? Here I am, 41 years old, married, four kids, with a steady (if sedentary) job, nice house, small town, safe, secure, etc., etc. On the other hand, the Guard deploys to combat zones (my pal the Mad Irishman was derned near blowed up by an IED in 2004 -- two weeks into the deployment!), and to natural disaster sites. What the hell am I thinking?

I've busted my tail to drop the weight I needed to drop to get in, and now I need to seriously work on my physical fitness, if I am to be a leader of war-fighters. Okay, it's "the Guard", but when the scat hits the fan, it won't matter whether you're a weekend warrior, or an active duty soldier -- the balloon goes up, then I will be in the thick of it, and the soldiers who look to me for leadership aren't going to want to follow some aged butterball-looking schmuck. They'll demand a leader in fighting trim, and that's what I need to be ready to give them.

Point Two:  The technology we used back in '97 is almost 10 years old!  I might as well be using flint and steel while the up-to-date folks are using Bic lighters!  Even the weapons have changed.  The M16A1 that I carried has long since vanished from the armory, and the M16A4 sits in its place.  Night vision gear has advanced as well, as has the communications package.  Even the light machine guns we had, the old M-60 "Pig" have been replaced by the M240G!  The field gear is different, the body armor is different, even the bloody UNIFORM is different!

I'm terrified… What in the hell were you thinking, B?

But then again, it's not the technology that I have to concern mysel with, is it? Technology can be learned, and maybe I've forgotten enough about my old gear that transitioning to the new stuff won't be difficult. And a rifle is a rifle, right?  Sight alignment, sight picture, breath control, trigger squeeze -- all universal, right?...

It all comes back to me, in dribs and drabs. In the morning, I open my eyes and think of the thoughts that have bounced around the inside of my brain-housing group. And then KM6 (my wife) chimes in.  She's nervous of what the future might bring, and, her being a little more liberal than I, is worried what the world might drop on us. Her eyes meet mine, and she adds one last thought to my pondering:

"All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing."

And then she tells me that she's proud of me...

*grin*

Hell, let's go slay some dragons!

Comments

I AM A PART OF YOUR GENERATION, AND I AM SOOO PROUD. NEVER LET IT BE SAID, THAT THE GOOD MEN DID NOTHING.

Thanks so much for sharing!! You GO GUY!!!


**We (AAA-Average (VERY) Appreciative Americans) are SO proud of you too!

A special thank you to your wife who bravely stands guard on the homefront--Just want to let her know that MANY are praying for her and you!

YOU ARE OUR HEROS!!

I wish you well my friend. I call you friend as one who wore the uniform as well. When 9/11 occurred, I called the ARPC to volunteer. Needless to say there were many of us retirees who did the same thing and they took our names. I'm too old to go now, but my heart is with you that are going, and my tears are for those who have come back to try to put things together again. Know that there are old soldiers back home who have you guys in their prayers.

You made the right choice. Good luck and I hope you return home safely if you deploy. I was in your shoes two years ago. Ex Marine (always a marine, I can't shake it), wife, kid, 2 dogs, a mortgage and good job. I went back in the service after 9/11, reserve navy corpsman this time. I went to field medic school and a year later got activated and deployed to Iraq with the marines, 1/23, a reserve battalion out of Texas. I was 37 years old. We went on patrol almost every day, also did raids and escort for various units or individuals. We saw combat, survived mine blasts and all the other dangers you will find in Iraq. We took casualties, KIA and WIA.

I returned home and I am back at my civilian job and enjoying time with my family. We have another boy now too. I am a better man because of my experiences in Iraq.

I feel satisfied that I stepped up to the plate and fought in Iraq. I would have otherwise ended up, in later years, as an old man who never put it all on the line for something he believed in. This country remains as it is because of those that step up to defend it. I can dismiss any opinions counter to this by people who have not taken part in the fight. They will never know, they just stand on the side lines.

Stay flexible over there (the enemy is constantly changing tactics, so must you) and stay safe.

Thank you from me, my wife and 12 year old daughter.

Of course we are all proud of you.

Semper Fi Bro!

My husband will be deploying with you in Delta Company. My prayers will be with all of you. Fight with honor, and return home safely.

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