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.

TO ASK FOR A FRIEND'S HAND IN WAR |

June 09, 2009

TO ASK FOR A FRIEND'S HAND IN WAR
Name: Mike T.
Posting date: 6/9/09
Returned from: Afghanistan
Milblog: c/o Bouhammer.com

Tonight my friend asked me to send him to war, which set me back on my heels. He stated it was his time and that I had done enough and he has done little. We sat drinking beers and pondering the universe, but all that came of it was that I had done my time and he had not.

I have known this man for years; he was truly a good friend, the friends-that-I-can-count-on-one-hand type. He watched over Nicole while I was gone myself in Afghanistan and never did I think twice about it.

M
y heart dropped when he told me this. I thought of six different ways to tell him that he didn’t need to go, but all he could come back with was why me and not all the others?

I stared in amazement and said it wasn’t his duty, and yet he came back again and raged that he was like all the others and it was his time. My mind raced to think of excuses that I could use, but nothing worked.

I hung over his truck and screamed at him, begging him. It “wasn’t his war."  It was mine; ours, the ones who went out there and came back under-appreciated and misunderstood.  That is our bond. Maybe being selfish, maybe scared that I wouldn’t get him back. He has watched over me for so long that I forget the time we met. This war is hard, its unpredictable, it’s for those who are willing to climb the mountains, walk the deserts, able to look to the skies and know that no one is looking back at them. I don’t want Joe to endure that. He is better than that.

I rode home tonight with Nicole and felt the rush of the Jersey shore on our faces, and I am not sure that I can convince him to do other than what he wants. I stared into her eyes and wished for an answer and all she could say was simply, "It’s not your war anymore; it is his if he wants it."

What scares me more than anything
else is being there. God forbid if the word comes and the chaplain is at the door like in the movies. Have you ever seen At War --  the ramp ceremony? The scene in We Were Soldiers? Christ I couldn’t do it! Not this time, not with him or his family. They mean too much. I would rather go back myself; at least I know I am good at it.

As we sat there tonight I told him to accept the wind, the smell of the ocean, the quietness of his neighborhood, because God damn it would be the last time until he got his ass home that he would ever feel it again, but every day over there that is all he would think about. I feel like I cannot prepare him or ask anyone who has been there to do the same thing and feel good about him being successful.

Fuck I hate this, those who have not gone want the chance now. Of all the times to do this, they choose now! It is a horrible time in the Stan and my God damn best friend wants to be in the shit. So I said okay, I will do it. I will put you in touch with those that are going over, but I am not going to God damn like it. To those who have been left out of war, here is your chance to join those who suffer nothing less than the pain they have inflicted.

Comments

This brought tears to my eyes and I'm sure everyone else who read it had the same reaction. This is going to sound like bullshit because I am a civilian (with a deployed brother in law) but I can understand both sides of the story. The strong urge to not want your friend to experience what you have experienced and his strong urge to feel like he hasn't done his part yet. It's not an easy feeling on either side...maybe it is naive of me but I just wish that there were no war and that no one had to feel what you both are feeling, that no one had to feel what my sister is feeling while her husband is away and she is home alone with their 3 kids praying that he will come back to them. That no one would have to feel what my brother in law is feeling while he is "there" and his wife and children are alone. The whole thing just sucks and I wish none of you had to deal with these feelings. I know you all come up against ignorant people all of the time but I do want you to know that there are many of us that truly appreciate what you do and did. My thoughts and prayers will go with your friend and with everyone else who is still "out there".

my friend he got so mad to me cous i told him taht my ader frend is her but i whated to go wed him but the next day he was so mad cous i was that to well that day i do not no why he got mad

my friend he got so mad to me cous i told him taht my ader frend is her but i whated to go wed him but the next day he was so mad cous i was that to well that day i do not no why he got mad

why are they so in joy ing friend are sopos tp be good friend to them

why are they so in joy ing friend are sopos tp be good friend to them

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