Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

No, it wasn't a meme but a question in an email from Lcpl Pete, USMC. He was writing to thank me for sending some shirts to him and his unit in Afghanistan. It only took a moment for me to realize that my mind had gone blank and there was no way I could reply right away. I closed the email and have thought about it all day long.

Lcpl Pete wrote that he is a paramedic firefighter in civilian life. So, as a civilian he risks his life to save others; as a Marine he risks his life to save others, including mine. What does a middle aged couch potato, who's never been asked to lift a finger for someone else, say to this young man?

I have met (in the virtual sense) so many incredible people thru blogs over the last year or so and the ones that impress me the most are, or were, in the military. The first milblog I started reading was Citizen Smash, the Indepundit. He had finished his tour and was blogging about more than just military and Navy matters. He also had his fair share of moonbats trying their best to get a rise out of him, but he never bit. I was amazed and humbled by his reasoned responses. I'm sure he is a respected officer and I hope his Naval career is productive and fulfilling.

I think it was from Smash's site that I found Lt. Neil Prakash of Armor Geddon and my love affair with tanks began. What does a lad with a degree in Neuroscience from Johns Hopkins do? Why, he goes to Armor OBC and Ranger school to become a tank commander, of course! Just the kind of job training that every future scientist or MD should have. And what a character he is! When assuming his new command, he showed his soldiers that dispite being an officer he was just a regular guy by downing an entire bottle of tobasco sauce. But best of all are the series of posts describing the Battle of Fallujah. I can do no justice to them by description, you just have to read them. Is Hollywood listening?

From there I really started to seek other milblogs and found a commonality amongst the authors: these guys are smart! If the ones who blog are this bright, can I assume they are a representative sample of the rest? Is Lcpl. Pete, USMC the same freindly, intense but happy kid as Corporal Ma Deuce Gunner? This is a modest young man who can think for himself, and I need to pimp his blog often.

Is he a smartass "Mortar Maggot" with a love for "Golden Rules" and a keen artistic eye like Jean-Paul Borda of The National Guard Experience? Or is he developing into a canny, blood-and-guts commander with a razor wit like Cpt. Chuck Ziegenfuss of From my position...on the way!? He could be more introspective and brooding like his brother Marine Hurl, the Cobra pilot, who I worry about because he thinks too much.

Maybe Lcpl. Pete takes his responsiblities as a leader as seriously as Master Sergeant CJ of A Soldier's Perspective. Is he a student of history who knows that an education takes a lifetime of persuit? He could be a man of letters and an artist with words like Thunder6 of 365 and a Wakeup.

I recently found Trevor of The Will to Exist, an immigrant who is teaching me the value of being a U.S. citizen. He's already done his patriotic duty by being a Marine, but he's going back "over there" with his National Guard unit, because in his words "This enemy needs killing so badly that you think to yourself, it will be worth putting up with the bullshit that goes along with military service." Is this why Lcpl. Pete is a Marine?

How can I describe ex-special forces turned freelance war correspondent Michael Yon? The next Ernie Pyle? His writing and photography just keep getting better.

And then there's Dr. Phat Tony. A former soldier who's, well... who is, um...never mind.

The point is that I am nobody. Just someone who can't compete on the same intellectual bandwidth as these fine people, and am so glad that they let me see them for the wonderful people they truly are. There are many more that I visit and admire, and I hope I haven't offended anyone by not mentioning them.

So, can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

Yes Lcpl. Pete, USMC. I am your biggest fan. The shirts I sent you are a small token of my appreciation for the tough, dangerous, dirty job you are doing on my behalf. I'm proud of you and confident that you will succeed in your mission. I am in your debt.

NOTE: 8/1 - I've seen basil's message about Haloscan comments not showing up on individual pages. I'm too stoopid to figure out how to fix this but will continue to try. In the meantime, if you would like to leave a comment please return to the main page and scroll down to this post. Sorry for the inconvenience.

NOTE 2: OK, I think its fixed.