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.

ONE DEEP BREATH |

May 09, 2008

ONE DEEP BREATH
Name: SFC Toby Nunn
Posting date: 5/9/08
Stationed in: Kuwait / Iraq
Hometown: Oakland, CA via Terrace B.C. CANADA
Milblog url: Toby Nunn's Briefing Room

There has always been something weighing very heavy on my heart, from the second I walked off the bus at Camp Roberts in California. I looked at the motley crew of men that were potentially going to be under my charge and wondered who wouldn’t make it. I tried harder than ever before to truly look into the eyes of each soldier, so that if I lost them or if I should perish my memory and what I could have or would have said would be presented in one form or another. The awesome responsibility perhaps held me down sometimes, while at others it helped me soar above and fight harder for them and for what I thought was right by them.

Yesterday, I looked at the sun that fittingly was setting over the chain linked and razor wire fence that separates Iraq and Kuwait. As the sun was lowering itself in the sky I watched the remaining Bad Voodoo members who are still in combat leave enemy territory for the last time. It was like an old Western with the good guys riding off into the sunset. I was proud, and found myself in a moment similar to LTG (ret) Hal Moore on that fateful day in Vietnam; he hit the battlefield first and was the last to leave.

I met up with the guys at the clearing barrels and pulled my charging handle to the rear and watched as “ol' Death” came flying out into my hand. (I paint the top round in all my magazines so that its easy for this not-so-smart Canadian to keep track of my ammo. I also name the top round. I know its weird.) With that I placed “ol' Death” back on top like I have so many other times, but knew in my heart that would be the last time he stood on guard for me. It was over. There was no banner on a carrier deck, but Ranger Ben, Mr 300 (aka the Naughty Soldier), and Bad Voodoo Juan (aka Jose) looked at each other with the contentment of fulfilled promises.

We are not done yet but the biggest hurdle and really the only one I lost sleep over is behind me, and I am running now for the smaller family. So from short breaths to deep breaths we go.

I was sent this by reader David M. and I wanted to share it with you:

Where others see bewildering complexity,
     Leaders see simplicity
     And turn stumbling stones into stepping-stones
Where others perceive uncertainty as threats,
     Leaders see it as fertile grounds for opportunity
     And are willing to take risks.
Where others cringe from change,
     Leaders make friends with it, welcome it,
     Embrace it.
Where others grasp power jealously,
     Leaders share it, mentoring, and inspiring.
Where others are lost in confusion,
Paralyzed by the multitude of options,
     Leaders constantly scan the landscape
     Using interpretive power to
     Comprehend, intervene, solve, and move on.
Where others are exhausted by constant change,
     Leaders are energized

Framed_nunn_bad_voodoo_flag_2

Clockwise from lower left: JP, me, Ranger Nievera, Sgt. Q.

Comments

Nicely done, and just wonder what seeds for the future that you have planted as you nurtured those soldiers and accomplished your missions assigned and implied. Good job, get home and get nurtured.

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