The views expressed within this journal are my own, and in no way represent the views or policies of the United States Army, Department of Defense, or any other official agency.

Monday, December 22, 2008

82 reasons to stay in Baghdad.

I have just downloaded a new gadget for my Windows Vista side bar. The magic eight ball continues to tell me to ‘ask again later.’ Damn.

My future is uncertain. I came down on recruiting orders from the Department of the Army. This means that I have been picked by the 'Big Army' to personally select recruits joining the force. However, I still can’t foresee myself being a salesman for the Army. What if the Army made a mistake?

What if my purpose is to lead soldiers in combat?

What if...

Every moment in my life up to this point has been a preparation for this. On R & R leave, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I needed to be doing something. I felt the need to continuously be on the road. I drove my car around several hours a day with no purpose, aimlessly. I’d get to one place, and decide to go to another. I was still patrolling in my mind.

I’m a line dog, a grunt. I talk shit daily, sweat profusely, eat four meals a day, and patrol the streets of Baghdad. I train Soldiers, lead Soldiers, fight besides Soldiers. I give Soldiers purpose, direction, and motivation. I support Soldiers mentally, socially, and spiritually. I have taken lives, guilty and innocent. I know the feeling of loss, and I know the successes of this war. This is all I know.

The 82nd is known to be one of the most respected Army divisions. In fact, members of the 82nd strictly refer to it as “The Division.” Well, I gave my offer to the 82nd Airborne last night. They will be doing a 12 month tour in Iraq as our replacements. I have been requested to stay. I accepted. I will know within 48 hours if my zip code will still include APO-AE.

I must have patience.

Patience is a virtue that is molded by experience in… waiting. The low risen moon has been a faithful partner. The deep slow churn of the Chinook blades slicing through the winter air draws close. The sound pans to the left and to the right. It’s an unmistakable sign of change. Soon, the blare of helicopters will transition into children and wives laughing, smiling. My Soldiers will be on their way home soon.

I will not be lonely, though my arms remain empty. Every smile, every kiss, every hug that one of my Soldiers embrace – will be mine to embrace too. Whether I’m back in the states, or still out here in bat country, I know this for sure…

I’ve kept my promise.

More than thirteen months have passed during this journey. I’ll know in the next two days whether or not I’m making a new promise.


Ky Woman said...


The decisions we make determine the lives we lead. I hope your decision will be for the life you want. I also hope that you know there are many who are wishing you the best.
Thank you for giving the last 13+ months taking care of 'Our Guys'. Thank you for all you have done! Wishing you and all the men standing guard a Very Merry Christmas.

Sarah said...

I'm so proud of you, Tony. I'm praying for you...

David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 12/22/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

Anonymous said...

TVTOONZ aka dad said...

Hey T,

I tried to respond to your post earlier today from my Blackberry... suffice it to say that the technologies of today, far out-distance the ongoing incapacitation of my brain... in other words, I don't have a friggin' clue how to use the damn thing!!!!

I digress.....

It sounds as though you have made your decision of which we spoke about last Friday on my return trip from Nashville. As always.... you make me so very, VERY proud!!!

The selfish side of being the dad of a Soldier leads me to be upset or unhappy with your decision.... however, I know how much you enjoy what your are doing. The satisfaction of the accomplishments that you have achieved, knowing that you are helping the people of what is basically a third world nation obtain a better life must be unfathomable.

I believe I would be happier if everyone in this country could see the good that people like you are doing. I have had amicable conversations with folks in the past that say things like "we don't belong there" or "you should all come home". They, in my insignificant opinion, are blinded by the liberal views that state "get out of Iraqistan yesterday". They do not get to see the faces of the people.... the children.... of these countries, that brighten up when you and your brothers are walking through their towns of huts and mud. The people of these towns know that their lives are better as a result of your presence. They know that you are there to help protect them from the terrorists that in the past, have taken over their towns, their cities, their countries, their LIVES!!!

Those that do not see the good being done, thankful mostly in part to a liberal media that does not believe that the words "good" and "news" belong in the same sentence, are blinded by how good they have it here in the USA!

I know that I am babbling uncontrollably at this point but, if one more person tells me that "we" as a country or "you" as a US Serviceman, have no business being there, that we should mind our own business.... well, I may not be so understanding of their views any longer. They call this country their own but they have no idea of how that ownership came to be. Maybe if they were speaking German (as in Hitler), or Japanese (as in Hirohito), or Chinese (as in Mao), they would better understand. But then, if that was the case, we wouldn't be permitted to have this discussion in the first place.

To those people, the number 911, only stands for a way to summons help from the police or fire departments. That the date of December 7th 1941, means that there's only 18 more days till Christmas. It's sad that their memories are so short.

I respect and support your decision to stay if that is truly what it comes to!!

I love you son!!! As always, you are forever my greatest... no, check that.... my only HERO!!!

Love Dad

Anonymous said...

Hello Tony,
Know you are in many peoples hearts and prayers here at home. I served at LSA Kuwait in Customs, It was my honor to support men and women like you, you are truly the backbone of our country. I know what it is like to be away from home and family, you will be in my thoughts and prayers until you come home....Navy girl

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