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Especially you, Gunny:

I try to tell myself as I continue to get severely beasted on entering some good HTML upgrades for the Blog. So as I continue to hack away at the computer with a dull hatchet and say nasty things about its mother, I seek help from one of our computer Jedi’s. After pulling a standard mind trick on me……….Sir, you will not figure it out, got to bed as he waves his hand. We continue our conversation and he mentions how he is trying to get into school and increase his education. Like many young Marines he’s a sharp guy, not just because of his computer skills but as his overall character makes him well balanced. So instead of putting the post I had ready, it can wait as below is Sgt M’s essay.

After you read it you too will agree America is lucky to have these young warriors on our side and so eager to serve, ……..Sir, you are taking too much time and babbling.(hand wave)………..Knock off the hand waving already MR jedi, your making me tired.

When I joined the Marine Corps in February of 2002, I was really looking for a way to pay for college. The college I attended for just one semester went bankrupt, causing me to lose my full scholarship. I signed the enlistment papers never thinking about going to war, even though the United States was attacked by terrorists just a few months earlier.

I drifted through the first year of my military career unmoved by what was happening around me. Units were deploying, there was a war in Afghanistan, and tensions were mounting in Iraq. I went through recruit training, combat training, and my military occupational specialty school, each putting more and more emphasis on being prepared to deploy.

My first duty station was at the 2d Marine Division, a Marine Corps infantry division. For the first six months after my arrival on Camp Lejeune, I watched the wars on the evening news. Nothing about the either war, Afghanistan or Iraq, had affected me personally yet.

One day in the summertime, shortly after the invasion of Iraq, I was told to assist in the preparation of a memorial service that was for Marines who died in the first wave invasion of Iraq. I figured I would be setting up chairs and tents for the ceremony. That day, however, changed my life; my duty was much different from what I pictured in my mind. As we ushered the families of the fallen heroes, I realized how much had been given by these Marines. I was selected to accompany a young woman, who was approximately 20 years old, carrying two children. I took one of the children, and she wrapped her arm inside mine as we walked forward to the memorial service.

We were seated side by side with the rest of the mourning families. The death of her husband was being represented in true military fashion: a kevlar helmet, wearing a set of goggles, perched on top of a rifle that was standing at attention muzzle down at the heals of the boots that the young man wore in Iraq. A set of dog-tags dangled from the hand grip of the rifle. This was one of twenty-six displays in front of the families and the formation of over two thousand Marines in attendance.

They play taps on a trumpet when a three-man detail of Marines lowers a flag at sunset. I have since heard it several times, but that day marked the first time that I heard taps being played when Marines, not our nation’s colors, were being laid to rest. The young woman found temporary comfort in crying on my shoulder, though I knew it could never take the place of the husband she was laying to rest. I cried with her, for I felt I had lost a brother. It was then that I realized what the Marine Corps was all about.

There had been talk about our division deploying to the war in Iraq, but the dates just kept being pushed back further and further. After two years on station, I could have requested to be moved to a different unit or a different base. Just before I made the decision to change units, our date was set: our division was finally deploying for Operation Iraqi Freedom. We were going to war.

No matter what kind of danger I just put myself in, I could not coax myself out of being faithful, especially to those who had made the ultimate sacrifice. My decision to stay in the division a little longer was rewarded with the opportunity to go to war in Iraq with my fellow Marines, my best friends. At first, there was nervousness throughout the platoon from not knowing what to expect, but we were there for each other. We talked about what our jobs were going to be and we focused on doing those jobs perfectly. By the time we got on the bus in late February of 2005, we were ready.

Eleven months later, we are nearing the end of our tour and I am still here past the end of my four year contract. Not because I was forced; rather, I am here because I volunteered to stay so that I could be with my friends. Today we said goodbye to a couple of guys from my section, the first of many. Unlike some goodbyes in the past, these ones are cheerful because these men are going home to be with their families, not to be buried. In the last year, we learned to live comfortably together, work seamlessly together, fight fights together, celebrate happy times together, and mourn the loss of our friends together. We became a family, however we are going home with one less member than we came here with. But like any family, that one member will always be with us in our hearts.

I joined the Marine Corps over four years ago for the college money. Now that I am about to finish my tour, I am reflecting on what I got out of it. Yes, I will get the college money, but what I was given is much deeper than the materialistic values. I have the advantage of knowing that I served faithfully with the greatest fighting force in the world. I have the benefit of knowing that I was part of the strongest brotherhood known to man, a brotherhood whose members would gladly go to war with you and lay their lives on the line for you. I have the profit of knowing that I retain some of the strongest friendships that could ever exist, friendships that most people will never be lucky enough to experience in their entire lives. I have the honor of knowing that I am a United States Marine.

Thanks Sgt M for sending me your essay, it’s a pleasure to serve here in Iraq with you and the many other outstanding Marines like you.

Semper Fi

Capt B

Time for a CeeGar!!


From Capt B, at One Marines View: http://shepherdaway.blogspot.com/

Boats...sniff... :icon_salute3:

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