"I'm sorry I must leave, but I must do what is asked of me by my God, my Country, and my Corps.. and so, the war blog begins, again." ~B

29 August 2010

WTF Moments Bestie Missed List

2. Elvis is on the escalator. Really. White jumpsuit. Beer gut. Sideburns. Too much hair gel. The King lives.

28 August 2010

WTF Moments Bestie Missed

I will be so happy when Bestie is back and I can just pull out the cell to text him about all the ridiculous things that happen in day to day life.

Nothing funnier then getting halfway through a text before going CRAP! Yep, he's not going to get that. After all, what is a Bestie for if not to be the person one texts when they need to quote random movies or share the most ridiculous things they've just seen at the mall.

Instead of just joking about it, I am actually starting it now in honor of all the stupid things he has missed that just have to be shared. That way, he has a record of them to read over when he is bored.

This is for you, Bestie:
The Best WTF Moments You Missed List:
1. Location--Mall. Situation: Epic Mullet.
You know the ones. Beer gut. Sleeveless shirt. Burt Reynolds circa 1970 in the front. Billy Ray circa Achy Breaky Heart in the back. Two-toned even. Brunette with a little bit of blond highlight. Epic.

16 August 2010

3 Years: Remembering Will

On August 16, 2007 Cpl. Willard M. Powell was wounded in action near Tarimiyah, Iraq after his unit was attacked. He succombed to his wounds and passed away in Balad.

Word traveled across the globe to the home of his mother, to his father, to his best friends, his friends, and to all those who knew him.

Will Powell, who had just weeks ago turned 21, was gone.

I made a promise to never forget Will and
that promise is something I take very seriously. Will was a good soldier. He was a better man. We cannot let his memory fade away.

I wrote a long post on this subject last year. You can read that here: Coming Together.

This year, I am just remembering his smile. His competitiveness. His sacrifice.

One thing that Will has taught me with his death is that each day is sacred. We must take it and use it for all that it is worth. We don't know how much time we have left on earth or how much time we have with those that we love. We must be present in the moment. We must love each other with all that we have. We must live life fully and faithfully.

Will did.

Will gave up his life so that we have the chance to do so in a free country, safe from the threat of harm.

Let us not waste it.

Will, you are loved. You are missed. You are not forgotten.

See you when I get there.

If you are able,
save them a place
inside of you
and save one backward glance
when you are leaving
for the places they can
no longer go.
Be not as
hamed to say
you loved them,
though you may
or may not have always.
Take what they have left
and what they have taught you
with their dying
and keep it with your own.
And in that time
when men decide and feel safe
to call the war insane,
take one moment to embrace
those gentle heroes
you left behind.

Major Michael Davis O'Donnell
1 January 1970
Dak To, Vietnam, KIA

14 August 2010

The Long Way Home: An American Journey from Ellis Island to the Great War

I just finished David Laskin's book The Long Way Home: An American Journey from Ellis Island to the Great War.

Laskin tells the story of America's involvement in the Great War through the stories of 12 men who immigrated to the United States not long before the conflict began. It is a perspective that we don't hear enough about when learning about that war. It is easy to forget how the nation was still being formed and molded into what we know it as today. Laskin illustrates how immigrant experience cannot be untangled from America's experience in the war.

I enjoyed how he weaved the stories of these men together with their place in their family histories as well as the greater American history. He clearly shows how the draft brought together all these men of different nationalities, ethnicities, and histories who before did not interact with those outside of their neighborhoods or enclaves. The war takes these men and makes them suffer together, bleed together, and die together until their differences are less important than their commonality as soldiers. Post-war Laskin shows that this did more for integrating immigrants into America long term than perhaps anything else.

In the words of their relatives these men "came home American." Most were proud of their service and it was a touchstone throughout their lives. For many, that legacy of military service continued in their families and still continues through the wars we fight today.

Great read that further illustrates that suffering in war is the same kind of hell be it in Ypres, Normandy, Chosin, Khe Sahn, Kuwait, Fallujah, or Marjah. It always leaves its mark, both positive and negative, on the men, women, and families it touches.

08 August 2010


It is easy to forget just how long a deployment is.

In the last few weeks the length of this seems never ending.

I don't know how to explain it other than to say it is the distance. A lot changes in the course of a week, a month, six months. 365+ days? Wow.

I try to keep him updated on the day to day happenings of my life. Sometimes it is easier than others, depending on how regular the contact is. But it is hard to decide what to share and what to leave out. How to pick and choose what is noteworthy, or exciting, or funny when he wasn't here to share it? Is it still noteworthy, exciting, or funny now?

I send the notes. I pack up the care packages. I am on a first name basis with the people at both the post office and B-Dubs--gotta send the sauce, ya know?

I think I got spoiled on the last one because it was shorter. We both feel the distance more this time, both geographically and emotionally. He has much less time to check in. I have a lot going. It all leads to distance.

He summed it up best: ."... it's just... easier to remain disconnected to a point?"

Sometimes it is easier to pull back. Try and forget (not possible) where he is and what he is doing. I am sure it is the same for him--easier to put some distance between his current world and home.

The acute feeling of distance makes it more apparent that someone I love, my family, my brother, isn't around.

It miss him.

Be safe Brother Bear, I'm thinking of you.