6 October 2004 (Post 2)
I am a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army, a veteran of nearly 10 years. I grew up primarily in Iowa and Missouri, spending a few years with my family in Ireland. My father is a missionary, and we left for Ireland in 1992. I wholeheartedly enjoyed my time there. I have only been back once, however, much to my own chagrin. I made a couple of friends there, who share my surname, and they are friends for life. I miss everyone there, and I really miss the country. Any of you who may be contemplating ever visting the country, I wholeheartedly recommend you going.
I am the oldest of five children, three of my siblings currently remaining in Ireland and one, my youngest brother currently attending college in Florida.
I was married in 1997 to a wonderful woman, who, through thick and thin (mostly thick cause sometimes I can be rather dense), has stood beside me throughout my career and her daughters have children of their own, of which at least one, the oldest, has me wrapped around her little finger. One of her sons is currently in Korea after he joined the Army last year. Her youngest, which still lives at home, is currently in the ROTC program in high school and presently seems to be doing rather well. Seems my wife will have many many grey hairs over the next few years with the current political climate as her son in law, myself, her oldest son, and seemingly her youngest, will all be in the military at the same time. Yes, her youngest already has designs on joining the Army upon his graduation from high school.
I joined the Army in 1995 and my first tour of duty was at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. My primary job was transportation at that time, which, in itself was not bad, but my heart was always with the combat arms portion of the military, whether it be infantry, armor (tanks), artillery or engineers. When I re-enlisted after my first 3 years, I became an armor crewman on the M1 series of tanks. I have never regretted this decision, however rough the days may have been at certain times. I have spent my time as a tanker in Germany and currently at Fort Hood, Texas.
Currently I plan on leaving Fort Hood upon my redeployment back to civilization and hopefully train the next generation of young soldiers as a Drill Sergeant at Fort Knox, Kentucky. I enjoy being around soldiers, passing on what I know, and molding the next leaders of this great institution. Upon my completion of my tenure there, I hope to have my own platoon, back in a line unit, wherever that may be.
Now, onto my views of today...yes there are more from earlier. The news media is pointing out that there was no evidence of weapons of mass destruction. I do not disagree with this assessment, however, neither did Afghanistan. We invaded Afghanistan because they attacked our country over three years ago. Currenlty, many of the fighters we are encountering here in theater, either did or currently have ties with Al Qaida or other terrorist organizations, many of them being former members of the Ba'ath Party, Saddam's political "group". If there is one thing that I have learned in my life, is to study history. Learn from other's mistakes. Hence, the 6 Day War, waged by Israel. If they had not had the foresight to execute preemptive strikes against their enemies, I think that Israel would not be an autonomous nation today. My personal feelings on Iraq are thus: if in some small way I can prevent what happened on September 11th, 2001 from ever happening again, then I will do what it takes, walk any distance, fight any foe and make any friend to do so. Do I feel that the United States should go to war with every country that harbors terrorists? No, for then we would NEVER complete this task. However, if an example is made of a few, perchance other countries will follow suit and voice thier detestation of terror and terror tactics and countries that harbor these criminals will cease their sanctuary. It pains me every day to see the casualty reports that have become a part of the headlines, for those are my brethren in arms and could just as well be one of my soldiers. It would tear me apart to know or see one of the soldiers in my unit not come home with us. We have sustained casualties, however, none that took a life, thank God. However, every day that we leave this camp, there is a chance that one of us may not come back here. Remember us in your prayers and NEVER forget those who have fallen. They fell for YOU. Each and every American owes these young men a deep debt of gratitude that THEY are not here doing this job. The freedoms that every American enjoys whether it be freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, freedom to keep and bear arms, all of them are thanks to a soldier, whether it be Paul Revere, John Paul Jones, Ulysses S. Grant, John J. Pershing, Sergeant York, General Eisenhower, Sergeant Audie Murphy, General Norman Schwartzkoph, or the current leaders and soldiers, every one of the men who fought, sacrificed and died since 1775, be it infantryman, cavalryman, artilleryman, or support soldier, each one who spilled his blood, lost a home or a family fought for YOU, the American citizen. It is not about expansionism or "enlarging the empire". It is about securing the very basic precepts upon which our country was founded.
In the next few days, I hope to compile a few photographs of the country here, my unit and my men. In some small way, these pictures may supplement my sometimes inadequate writing capabilities and in others speak a story in themselves as you all know the old addage, "a picture speaks a thousand words".
Again, I thank you for your time in reading these posts. It means a great deal to me to know that my message is reaching someone. I wish to sincerely thank those of Operation Gratitude, all the Morale, Welfare and Support organizations, Jim Compton, my family, and you the American citizen for supporting us soldiers, and bringing a smile to each and every one of us when we recieve a package, letter from a schoolchild or just a general note to say "thank you" and that you are behind us. Thank you. God bless.