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I Miss Iraq. I Miss My Gun. I Miss My War.
MSN ^ | Brian Mockenhaupt

Posted on 03/21/2007 3:05:06 PM PDT by Number57

A few months ago, I found a Web site loaded with pictures and videos from Iraq, the sort that usually aren't seen on the news. I watched insurgent snipers shoot American soldiers and car bombs disintegrate markets, accompanied by tinny music and loud, rhythmic chanting, the soundtrack of the propaganda campaigns. Video cameras focused on empty stretches of road, building anticipation. Humvees rolled into view and the explosions brought mushroom clouds of dirt and smoke and chunks of metal spinning through the air. Other videos and pictures showed insurgents shot dead while planting roadside bombs or killed in firefights and the remains of suicide bombers, people how they're not meant to be seen, no longer whole. The images sickened me, but their familiarity pulled me in, giving comfort, and I couldn't stop. I clicked through more frames, hungry for it. This must be what a shot of dope feels like after a long stretch of sobriety. Soothing and nauseating and colored by everything that has come before. My body tingled and my stomach ached, hollow. I stood on weak legs and walked into the kitchen to make dinner. I sliced half an onion before putting the knife down and watching slight tremors run through my hand. The shakiness lingered. I drank a beer. And as I leaned against this kitchen counter, in this house, in America, my life felt very foreign.

(Excerpt) Read more at men.msn.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: grunts; iraq; iraqwar; partner; patriot; veterans; wot
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(excerpt)

Powerful stuff...

1 posted on 03/21/2007 3:05:07 PM PDT by Number57
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To: Number57
(should he read this)
Well done, good and faithful servant. You've given us more than we can ever repay. It's normal to miss your brothers and want to help them. God protect your brothers (our keepers) and deliver them home safely. As for you, have a nice life, knowing that it has been one well lived.
2 posted on 03/21/2007 3:14:01 PM PDT by Jaysun (I took one look at her unfashionable eyebrows and thought to myself, "she's literally crazy.")
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To: Number57

And as I leaned against this kitchen counter, in this house, in America, my life felt very foreign.

It feels like that after 38 years too.


3 posted on 03/21/2007 3:21:49 PM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: SandRat

Must read ping.


4 posted on 03/21/2007 3:28:19 PM PDT by Issaquahking (Duncan Hunter for president!)
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To: Number57
I think it's the camaraderie and the fight against evil. I know that I would join in a heartbeat if I wasn't old. I could think of nothing I'd rather do than kill those SOB's and I'm a girl. Maybe that's why my son joined? I'm just glad he wanted to do something for his country and not the other way around.
5 posted on 03/21/2007 3:29:58 PM PDT by flynmudd (Proud Navy Mom to OSSA Blalock)
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To: tet68
And it was the same for my dad (83 this year) in WWII (and Bill Mauldin, who was in his theater - read Back Home if you haven't already), and for my late father in law on Iwo, and for my grandfather in WWI, and for my 2 gg grandfathers and my cousins in the WBTS . . . and for Winston Churchill in the Sudan " . . . there is nothing so exhilarating as to be shot at without result . . . "

It is an exalted fraternity, like no other. That's why those of us who stand and wait say, "Thank you, more than we can say."

6 posted on 03/21/2007 3:31:21 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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To: Number57

Ping for later read.


7 posted on 03/21/2007 3:32:35 PM PDT by Robert DeLong
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To: Number57

WOW!
BTTT!


8 posted on 03/21/2007 3:35:52 PM PDT by The Mayor ( http://albanysinsanity.com/)
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To: Number57

marking place. Thanks for posting.


9 posted on 03/21/2007 3:37:32 PM PDT by daybreakcoming
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To: Number57

print and bump


10 posted on 03/21/2007 3:43:06 PM PDT by ▀udda▀udd (7 days - 7 ways Guero >>> with a floating, shifting, ever changing persona....)
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To: Number57
Great stuff. Before I was in the military I could never understand all those old guys sitting at the VFW bar - most of them didn't serve in the same theater and some not even in the same war, but it was obvious they were sharing something no non-vet could quite understand. What the author details was at least part of that.
11 posted on 03/21/2007 3:45:48 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: Number57; flynmudd
WOW, great post!

My deepest appreciation to all who have served in order to protect my freedom. May God richly bless you all!!

I feel the same way, flynmudd. It sounds like the apple doesn't fall far from the tree as far as your son is concerned. Give him my thanks for his service.
12 posted on 03/21/2007 3:46:19 PM PDT by AprilfromTexas
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To: Number57
...we used to call the first firefight 'losing your cherry.'

Life was never the same for us. When you have friends that will always be 19-years old because of a gernade or an AK round; life has a whole different feeling.

Hard to describe...even the feeling of guilt for coming back in one piece.

It was 'a buzz.' It was a 'high.' Sad...

13 posted on 03/21/2007 3:52:09 PM PDT by Van Jenerette (U.S.Army, 1967-1991, Infantry OCS Hall of Fame, Ft. Benning)
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To: Number57

Good read.

I don't think that feeling he has is limited to war (although war probably produces the strongest examples). It's about when you are doing something "adventurous" whether war, a foriegn work assignment or perhaps even the Peace Corps. When you are doing adventurous you miss the routine, the access to hot showers, the inability to see a concert, etc, but once you get back you miss the adventure whether its haggling with local vendors or kicking down doors with your M4.

I think a lot of guys feel like they are "doing something that matters" when they are travelling. They are a part of something grand. War is just the ultimate example because they face they widest swings when they are there and when they get back. 20 year old soldiers have a lot of responsibility in Iraq. They might be in charge of several men. Then they get back and are delievering construction materials and they are the bottom rung on unimportant totem poll. It's a huge let down. You find yourself bored.

That's why Indiana Jones is having a 4th movie. His missed the adventure.


14 posted on 03/21/2007 3:57:19 PM PDT by Barney Gumble (A liberal is someone too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel - Robert Frost)
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To: Number57; Liberty Valance
A war is never over until the last man (or woman) that was there goes to Heaven. WW1 is almost over.
15 posted on 03/21/2007 3:59:46 PM PDT by Brucifer (JF'n Kerry- "That's not just a paper cut, it's a Purple Heart!")
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To: Number57

bttt


16 posted on 03/21/2007 4:03:10 PM PDT by aShepard (Oh little Mohammad, kouchy, kouchy, koo, Your momma is so proud,you'll be the cutest suicide bomber!)
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To: Brucifer

No, WWI won't be over until all of us who listened to our grandfathers' stories about Bloody Belleau Wood and the Argonne Forest are gone . . .


17 posted on 03/21/2007 4:17:32 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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To: Number57

That was one of the most powerful things I've ever read...


18 posted on 03/21/2007 4:21:33 PM PDT by IYAAYAS (Live free or die trying)
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To: Number57; All
Look at this picture of these young men who came up from Camp Lejune to be with the Gathering of Eagles counter-protesters.

They look like boys, but they are men. They all served together through two tours in Iraq. They wanted to be up there with their Vietnam War era bretheren, and make no mistake, they WERE brothers, even though they were separated by nearly forty years, their kinship with those bearded men in leather was clearly evident to me. And their respect for those men bordered shone through in their voices and facial expressions.

What was also evident to me was their kinship with each other. They have lived more in their young lives than many of us do in a lifetime.

Reading this article, I see themes that I have heard before from Vietnam era vets, nearly word for word, about walking down the road in full kit, armed to the teeth, feeling like God.

They talked about how they came back home, and everything seemed so...petty and unimportant. People getting pissed about their car payment or a missed airplane flight.

But the most powerful and touching thing that soldier wrote was something like this:

"I hated Vietnam. I hated it with every fiber of my being, I hated being there. But sometimes...I wish I could go back. If for nothing else, just to remember how badly I wanted to be back here in the United States."

I thanked these men in the picture above, and I told them to be proud of what they were doing. They have my respect, and I know they are good at what they do. They aren't lifers, more than a few were getting out. I told them that someday, they will be able to look back on it and realize it was the most important time of their lives, and they WILL be proud of it.

Just as the Vietnam Vets were.

God bless and watch over those men.

19 posted on 03/21/2007 4:39:35 PM PDT by rlmorel (Liberals: If the Truth would help them, they would use it.)
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To: tet68

still does for me too


20 posted on 03/21/2007 4:39:55 PM PDT by alfie (peace through superior firepower)
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To: Van Jenerette

Thanks for your service, Van Jenerette, and...

Welcome Home, Soldier. As we saw at the Gathering of Eagles on Saturday, your country IS grateful for what you did and how you did it.

At least the part of the country that COUNTS is grateful.


21 posted on 03/21/2007 4:42:29 PM PDT by rlmorel (Liberals: If the Truth would help them, they would use it.)
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To: tet68
More than 40 years.....

For old warriors, there is a place somewhere between sanity and insanity - there is another region of the mind most folks don't know of or have to hide from...

Sane enough to celebrate survival, having children and grandchildren........and far enough from insanity to avoid detention...

There is that place, where remembered faces or events bring on quiet uncontrollable tears and shortness of breath..
There are those times - when the sight of a flag or tombstone or wispy cloud will bring a paralyzed state of deep freezing sadness. A warm windblown rain, can transport one 10,000 miles in an instant -- and out of that quiet forest walk and into a crashingly loud smoky state of utter confusion and fear.

On the one hand --- you realize you were never more alive than when facing death.....and never hating death more than when holding a beloved brother in your arms while he took his last pain racked breaths...

I hope the writer of this article doesn't carry his ghosts for 40 years..... He has to close that book..

His next challenge will be to overcome the anger and deep hatred when he sees those who live in freedom purchased at the cost of GOOD Men's lives --- many of whom are such wasted pieces of shit.

Too many Americans were and are not worth the cost of their misspent freedom.
That is one of the saddest aspects of America having lost so many who were worth so much -- for so many who are worthless.


Semper Fi

22 posted on 03/21/2007 5:00:25 PM PDT by river rat (You may turn the other cheek, but I prefer to look into my enemy's vacant dead eyes.)
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To: Number57

bookmark


23 posted on 03/21/2007 5:09:26 PM PDT by SIDENET (Now selling carbon offsets. Get some today!)
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To: Number57

Bump


24 posted on 03/21/2007 5:11:12 PM PDT by Minutemen ("It's a Religion of Peace")
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To: Number57

Thanks for posting this.


25 posted on 03/21/2007 5:14:26 PM PDT by CheneyChick
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To: river rat
"...Too many Americans were and are not worth the cost of their misspent freedom..."

You mean like THESE...river rat?

Take heart my friend. There are many who are worth it. And we outnumbered the scum on Saturday.

Welcome Home.

26 posted on 03/21/2007 5:21:57 PM PDT by rlmorel (Liberals: If the Truth would help them, they would use it.)
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To: river rat; tet68
His next challenge will be to overcome the anger and deep hatred when he sees those who live in freedom purchased at the cost of GOOD Men's lives --- many of whom are such wasted pieces of shit. Too many Americans were and are not worth the cost of their misspent freedom. That is one of the saddest aspects of America having lost so many who were worth so much -- for so many who are worthless.

Indeed!

Which is the very reason I force myself to stay away from the War protests... I know damn well I would make front page national news if I went Asiatic on that crowd! It would be too easy...

27 posted on 03/21/2007 5:38:31 PM PDT by JDoutrider (I'm putting my money on the longshot! Duncan Hunter '08)
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To: tet68

I got the same feeling for years after leaving NYPD. Different scale of intensity but more in common than not.


28 posted on 03/21/2007 5:42:30 PM PDT by wtc911 ("How you gonna get back down that hill?")
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To: river rat

I can't tell you how much that moved me. Great post, man.

I feel a powerful connection to all our fighting men, though I never served (I committed a felony in 1981 at age 17 and was therefor turned away from every service I attempted to enlist with. My personal shame & regret).

My son is 15 and eager to join the Army... happily, he is much smarter and level-headed than I was at his age.

From my heart, I thank all of you who have kept my freedom alive.


29 posted on 03/21/2007 6:02:50 PM PDT by Number57 ("Don't quote Dickens in my apartment!"~ Joe Young)
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To: JDoutrider

I understand how you feel, but I think you would be surprised, especially with all the support around you.

Those young Marines, on the other hand, were full of piss and vinegar when it came to the protestors. I thought we might have to collar and leash them. When the antiwar protesters surged in on us and nearly surrounded us, one of the scumbags started yelling at us "We sent those people over there without body armor and with unarmored humvees..."

One of the Marines nearly leaped across the human wall and started yelling at the person "I WAS ONE OF THOSE "PEOPLE" IN THE HUMVEES OVER THERE! I'VE HAD FRIENDS WHO DIED OVER THERE! YOU'VE NEVER BEEN THERE! YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT!"

He was smokin hot. Didn't shut the protester up, though. Went right over the head.


30 posted on 03/21/2007 6:21:37 PM PDT by rlmorel (Liberals: If the Truth would help them, they would use it.)
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To: Brucifer

Thanks for the ping Brucifer.


31 posted on 03/21/2007 6:38:43 PM PDT by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life :o)
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To: FreedomPoster

Harassing my trusty IO auxiliary in the rear to hit my ping lists for me. This is good.


32 posted on 03/21/2007 10:30:06 PM PDT by Cannoneer No. 4 (Civilian Irregular Information Defense Group -- Distributed IO and counter-PsyOps)
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To: Old Sarge; Eagle Eye; Allegra; LFOD; Justa; freepersup; Future Snake Eater; Chgogal; ...

ping


33 posted on 03/21/2007 10:36:15 PM PDT by Cannoneer No. 4 (Civilian Irregular Information Defense Group -- Distributed IO and counter-PsyOps)
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To: Cannonette
Click on the link and read the whole thing.

I missed Afghanistan when I came home last year, and when I finally come home to stay, I'll go through all this again.

I really dread coming home and looking for work and trying to explain to potential employers where I've been and what I've done and feigning enthusiasm for the machts nix penny ante BS they think is important.

34 posted on 03/21/2007 11:05:34 PM PDT by Cannoneer No. 4 (Civilian Irregular Information Defense Group -- Distributed IO and counter-PsyOps)
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To: rlmorel

Now that makes me wonder how many AMericans served in Iraq since 2003? Up to 1,000,000?


35 posted on 03/21/2007 11:15:45 PM PDT by MinorityRepublican (Everyone that doesn't like what America and President Bush has done for Iraq can all go to HELL)
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To: rlmorel
"There are many who are worth it. And we outnumbered the scum on Saturday."

No doubt - or this nation could not continue to field the finest military on the planet...
I am totally convinced we're going to need them and use them to their FULLEST capability.

But - I won't be happy, until we can cull out the bastards in our society for Reeducation, Deportation, Incarceration or Extermination.... I'm all out of compassion for the leftist bastards.. I don't want to negotiate with them, or kiss their asses, or give them "equal time"......I want them squared away - gone, locked up or DEAD.

Anyone aware of the "cause" and hatred that drove Blackhawk Down, 9/11 and the 10's of THOUSANDS of militant Islamic provocations and strikes against us or our allies -- and not ready to fight to the death -- isn't worth considering as a person worthy of an opinion or citizenship....

At my age, I simply need to arrange to have all my fights close to home -- these old wheels just won't carry me to the far away sounds of guns anymore!

Semper Fi

36 posted on 03/22/2007 12:34:25 AM PDT by river rat (You may turn the other cheek, but I prefer to look into my enemy's vacant dead eyes.)
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To: Number57
And as I leaned against this kitchen counter, in this house, in America, my life felt very foreign.

I remember that feeling closely. The thoughts and reflexes that govern your life in Iraq are alien to the average American. I was practically unfit to drive for the first two weeks back. While half asleep on my way to work, I reflexively reached back to tap my gunner's leg, to alert him of something or other that aroused my sleepy suspicion, and realized that I was in my Honda, not a Humvee. A few days later, close to the 4th of July, I had nearly taken cover behind my couch when some neighborhood kids started playing with fireworks in the street outside. Reflexes die hard.

While the little habits that dominated your daily life fade and pass, and the foreign feel of America dissolves, it's replaced by an uneasy sense of knowing too much. Of not being able to explain to people what you learned, and what they don't understand. Concern about being judged by the ignorant and the willfully wrong. Lots of people have strong feelings for or against Iraq, and practically none of them understand it. It's far more complex than many people realize, and folks generally latch on to one aspect of it, and think they understand the rest. Those are the hardest to talk to, because they think they get it, but they don't.

Iraqi vets are an interesting bunch. We're probably on track to be like the WWI vets. Good friends from an unpopular war, close knit, and not really talking about it years later. Most of us wear the disdain of our critics with pride, but keep it to ourselves. We already know our place. We won't be lionized the WWII vets, won't vanish like Korean vets, and won't linger darkly in the public imagination like Vietnam vets. There aren't so many of us, like in wars past, but we're used to the numbers being against us. Many or few, we'll make our way, and we'll be fine.

37 posted on 03/22/2007 5:15:07 AM PDT by Steel Wolf (If every Republican is a RINO, then no Republican is a RINO.)
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To: Cannoneer No. 4; Vetvoice; af_vet_rr; ALOHA RONNIE; American in Israel; American Soldier; archy; ...

Pinging the Cannoneer's ping lists for him.

I'm mildly misusing some of the lists, but am hoping folks won't mind.


38 posted on 03/22/2007 5:31:04 AM PDT by FreedomPoster (Guns themselves are fairly robust; their chief enemies are rust and politicians) (NRA)
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To: FreedomPoster

Thanks, pard.


39 posted on 03/22/2007 6:02:20 AM PDT by Cannoneer No. 4 (Civilian Irregular Information Defense Group -- Distributed IO and counter-PsyOps)
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To: Cannoneer No. 4

What sort of connection do you have out there? Are you at the end of a wet noodle and two tin cans? Or is more just machine access time constraints?


40 posted on 03/22/2007 6:05:47 AM PDT by FreedomPoster (Guns themselves are fairly robust; their chief enemies are rust and politicians) (NRA)
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To: Number57
Awesome, thank you.

I miss the military myself, and if I started walking again, I'd head straight to the recruiter's office.
41 posted on 03/22/2007 6:07:24 AM PDT by corlorde (New Hampshire)
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To: Number57

I miss the old EOD stuff, probably the only "high" that I have ever been on in my life.


42 posted on 03/22/2007 6:15:56 AM PDT by U S Army EOD (Support your local EOD Detachment)
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To: Number57
McCarthy misses the war just the same. He saved Wells's life, pressing a bandage over the hole in his head. Now he's delivering construction materials to big hotel projects along the beach in South Carolina, waiting for a police department to process his application. "The monotony is killing me," he told me, en route to deliver some rebar. "I want to go on a raid. I want something to blow up. I want something to change today." He wants the unknown. "Anything can happen, and it does happen. And all of the sudden your world is shattered, and everything has changed. It's living dangerously. You're living on the edge. And you're the baddest motherf**ker around."

With all due respect, he needs to get that out of his system before he joins the police department. Civilian law enforcement is NOT war.

43 posted on 03/22/2007 6:18:49 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilisation is aborting, buggering, and contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: Brucifer
A war is never over until the last man (or woman) that was there goes to Heaven. WW1 is almost over.

I am reliably informed that the Vikings believed that so long as anyone on this mudball recalled the deeds and frequent heroism of their warriors, their spirits lived on to enjoy the pleasures of feast and drink in valhalla the Hall of the Fallen, that being one reason why the lyric poets and skaald sonmgsmiths retold of those noble acts with words and music. And eventually, when those Spirits dimmed and wafted away, it was to Go Beyond all that to reunite with the familiar spirits of the family and kin of their earlier lives. Ignorant pagan superstition? Maybe, but it worked for them, and if there's not any factual basis for it, there should be.

Hrist ok Mist
vil ek at mér horn beri,
Skeggjöld ok Skögul,
Hildr ok Þrúðr,
Hlökk ok Herfjötur,
Göll ok Geirahöð,
Randgríð ok Ráðgríð
ok Reginleif.
Þær bera einherjum öl.

44 posted on 03/22/2007 6:37:30 AM PDT by archy (Et Thybrim multo spumantem sanguine cerno. [from Virgil's *Aeneid*.])
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To: U S Army EOD; EODGUY; gatorbait; Joee; An Old Man; Riley; Squantos; USMCBOMBGUY; USMCEODGUY; ...
I miss the old EOD stuff, probably the only "high" that I have ever been on in my life.

Concur.

45 posted on 03/22/2007 6:40:09 AM PDT by archy (Et Thybrim multo spumantem sanguine cerno. [from Virgil's *Aeneid*.])
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To: Steel Wolf
We won't be lionized the WWII vets, won't vanish like Korean vets, and won't linger darkly in the public imagination like Vietnam vets.

WWII will go down as the only "good war" in our history for a number of reasons.

First, for its world-wide scope. Second, because it hit us "out of the blue" like 911 did, despite clear warnings on the horizon for those not blind.

But liberals love it because we were "allies" with Stalin, and because almost the entire society was reordered by the government towards the war effort. Socialists love the idea of a regimented society taking orders from on high, even it we weren't in a war for our very survival. So everything about it makes it the only "good" war they'll ever own up to.

Through the Hobbit Hole's troop support activity, I've had the privilege of chatting by email with a couple thousand troops, from stateside desk jockeys to a few who later died in combat. It was my privilege to learn all the new stuff that has changed since I was in in 1970. We have given away knives, binoculars, radios, first aid gear, breaching equipment, flashlights, helmet upgrades, and just about anything else within our budget that we could legally send through the mail.

The guiding principle was, "would I trust my life with that piece of equipment?". That, in turn, led me to gain a better understand of what the grunt, truck driver, or pilot needed or wanted. Except for the set of chef's knives we sent to an Army mess sergeant. I depended on a buddy's recommendation for that.

There are hundreds of support organizations out there that do a lot more than just put a magnetic ribbon on their cars. It's not like being there, but it's a way to choose to be more connected. Our troops have earned that much from us, as they have in every other war, even if the war doesn't have the liberal seal of approval.

46 posted on 03/22/2007 6:45:38 AM PDT by 300winmag (Overkill never fails)
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To: AnAmericanMother

You nailed it there. My Grandpa was in the Argonne Forest. I was the only relative he ever confided in.


47 posted on 03/22/2007 7:03:50 AM PDT by Redleg Duke (Heaven is home...I am just TDY here!)
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To: archy

GOD YES!


48 posted on 03/22/2007 7:19:57 AM PDT by gatorbait
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To: Number57
This writer is more than a soldier.

He is a wordsmith.

I would read anything he ever wrote.

49 posted on 03/22/2007 8:06:38 AM PDT by Lazamataz (Global warming turns people gay.)
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to read later.


50 posted on 03/22/2007 8:08:42 AM PDT by Constitution Day
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