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GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

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WHY? |

November 09, 2007

WHY?
Name: Eric Coulson
Posting date: 11/9/07
Stationed in: Iraq
Milblog url: badgersforward.blogspot.com
Email: badger.six@gmail.com

"Why?" That is a question I have received frequently over the last couple of weeks. Why, when I could be at Fort Living Room, seated on Camp Couch, my command and duty safely behind me, two dogs, a cat, and a loving wife vying for my attention, did I choose to stay in Iraq?

The answer of course is complex and has a myriad of reasons both personal and professional. It was a mutual decision between Mrs. Badger 6 and myself. We took about a week to consider how it would affect us, and decided that the personal challenges it would afford also offered us personal opportunity.

Professionally I was simply not ready to call this done; I think I have something to contribute to the war effort and while there are things I could do from home, for a variety of reasons I became convinced that in fact I would not make the difference I hoped to. And thus I decided, when presented with the opportunity, to stay in Iraq.

Unfortunately most of the United States is not at war; her Armed Forces are, but it seems the rest of the country simply wants to move it off the evening news.

I get so tired of people saying "I would serve, but...", usually followed by some personal choice they have made that has nothing to do with an objective constraint on their ability to serve. I particularly love the "I have a family" excuse. So does most of the military. If you don't want to be in the military that's fine, I think the all volunteer service is preferable, I want to be with people who want to be here. Just be honest with yourself and the rest of us.

I receive personal satisfaction from serving my country. Values such as Duty, Honor, Country may not be the only reasons to serve, but they do resonate with me and with many of the people I serve with. So as we sacrifice by separation from our families we also know we are contributing to our national effort and our brothers and sisters in arms.

Comments

I think I would be there with you, except I had my first war time experience in 1968, and stopped wearing a uniform in 1994, and although I think I could contribute I am sure that I couldn't keep up with some of the pace needed, but I do like knowing there are men and women that believe in keeping themselves between US and war's desolation. Thanks.

I just had this conversation yesterday with a friend. Her son is drifting in life. I commented that the Air Force had made all the difference in my son. Her comment was I could never let X join because of the war. Okaaay!

Tell us if the $20,000 re-up fee help make your decision.

jeez. I think a person has to want to join and as an adult does not need his mom's permission. I also think as thoughtful a man as Eric Coulson would not let a paltry amount of money keep him away from hearth and home, if he did not honestly believe in what he is doing. Badger 6, I salute you and your wife. Also, I unashamedly send y'all a big hug :) Stay safe!

Eric,

Thank you for doing what you do. If you don't mind, I would love to use this post of yours in a Veteran's Day tribute for a blog that I write for.

If you're interested, you can contact me at the above email address, I may be able to do you a favor in return for letting me use this.

H.

Ah, Katy doesn't understand the war nor the warrior. If one wanders around with a handle that ends in six they are an officer in command of something (or thinks they are), Re-up bonuses are for enlisted personnel not officers. And I would go for free if they allowed me to do my best. Really, the Katys don't understand. And just think, this is Veteran's Day Weekend, or Armistice Day on Sunday. Who does understand the commitment?

This could go either way. Good people often want to get into the thick of bad situations because they think they can change things. Often they cannot.

They may be able to soften the blow to others around them, and to ease the crushing ineptness of the mission at hand. But it may not be worth your life. Especially not to your own loved ones.

I'm to old to go back in. They told me in 2001. I work on military stuff -- when I could get more money elsewhere -- because supporting the troops means maintaining their stuff. I will do my best at it each day.

I disagree with the mission. I have no confidence in the political leadership. I'd like to see you all out of harms way. But when you push that button, pull that trigger, slide that lever, I want to be sure it works. So I'll fix it.

Thanks for your service. Hope you make it back.

Thank you, Badger 6, and Mrs. Badger 6, for your service to this country and her citizens. You are one of the good men doing something in an effort to keep evil from flourishing.

God speed and come home safely.

Katy

As an Army Reserve Captain I am not eligible for a retention bonus. I would note that those bonuses are also fro agreeing to stay in the Army for another three years, not stay in theater. I do receive a small extra amount of money for agreeing to stay, but it is very small and certainly not enough to drive my decision.

Thank YOU Sir, for setting the record straight as to why you chose to STAY. What really amazes me, is the fact that every American has the right to do their own choosing, yet another American can question their reasoning...
From reading the above comments, pretty much think that most everyone agrees with your decision and appreciates the fact that a man of your character is willing to do so for the rest that can't or won't. Thank you from someone who is grateful for men such as yourself. Please thank the rest of your men for me too.

I re-enlisted in Baghdad during my tour last year. I didn't recieve a single dime, or duty-station of choice, or anything else. Anybody who has spent anytime in Iraq or Afghanistan, or anywhere other combat zone knows that 20,000 bucks seems pretty damn paltry when things start blowing up in close proximity to your bod. I'm not a big fan of this war, but any servicemember who volunteers to stay, or who choses to go back, has some pretty hardcore personal reasons to do it, and it doesn't have shit to do with money.

Take care of yourself this Veteran's Day and know that folks back home do care, despite that ignorant 're-up bonus' comment.

I'm a public defender and get quite a few high school seniors in minor legal trouble as clients. Right now I have three kids who are begging me to fix things for them so they will be eligible to enlist in the Army or National Guard. I hustle for them and try and clear up their record and problems as much as I can because in their young faces I see our future and I see their desire to leave their stupid kid problems behind and a willingness to grow up and serve their country. My little bit of service is to make that happen for them.

Take care and keep your head down.

I would like to thank you for all that you have done for me, my family, our freedom and our country. Some think it takes a woman's perspective to make things clear. Well let me be one of the few that says it also takes a man to break a few heads.

Please remember that there are citizens left that do still care. God Bless you and your family

Eric, Consider me whacked with a very heavy wet noodle. I am sorry for my snide remarks. I did like all the answers it brought, but I am still undone by my 17 year old grandson telling us he is forgoing college next year.

He is going to take the enlistment bonus and join the army.
My initial reacton is disbelief. He wants to be on his own, without his parents help and this he sees as his only out.

That's depressing. I pray for all our
soldiers all over the world for their safe return home everyday and have been since 2003.

Dear Badger 6 & Family, On this Veterans Day, I would like to thank you for your service to this country.

If you ever need anything while you are there, or your family does here, please contact me and I'll see what I can do. Stay Safe

Katy,

I wouldn't want your grandson having my back outside the wire.

Badger 6 and Family,

You have my deepest respect and most fervent prayers. Keep your heads down, get the mission done, come home.

Thank you Terri for helping those kids get a second chance. Hopefully service to our country will help them find a better path in life. My niece and nephew serve this country to get the educational benefits and do what was right. And Katy - I know how you feel, but you should be bustin' with pride at the young man's desire to make his own way. Keep praying and keep thanking God for each day he has to make a difference wherever he goes.

No need for you to watch your back, sir, since your men will be doing that. Good officers will always have that and, I suspect, you are one of the good ones. The fact that you know the men you lead would give their lives for you and you for them may be one of the reasons that you're going back. It was the reason I went back to Vietnam a second time even tho by that time I knew the war was a sham and a lie. I last wore the uniform in 1996. My knees are bad (one has been replaced) and I find this war to be much the same as Vietnam. Nonetheless, if a set of orders were delivered to me tomorrow to show for muster, I would not have to think about whether or not I'd go.

Return safely to Mrs. Badger-6.

Well, I think what your doing is very brave and I don't know a lot about the military (I'm only 15),but I'm sure it isn't easy. All I want to say is that the soldiers who are out there fighting with all of their hearts are giving me the best gift in the world. The gift of justice, free will, and my natural rights.The soldiers are the ones who keep our rights protected not the politicians, they are the ones who are protecting us not the president. Quick fact about me - I hate it when people try and make fun of Bush and his decisions, people we are in the war and hopefully things get better. So until we get out please stop whining and criticizing because that's what discourages the soldiers. I support you 100% and i will always take what you're fighting for to the heart!

Badger 6,

I am more grateful than I could ever put into words that there are men and women like yourself who are willing to volunteer and then stay in harm's way for reasons that such as Katy would never understand. The Country part of Duty, Honor, Country, sends you and Mrs. Badger 6, and all those like you both, a deep sense of gratitude for your commitment on our behalf. Many blessings, Eric Coulson.

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