Thursday, December 29, 2005

The "Wakeup" is Not Far Away

It's coming to the end of a year in Iraq for the California National Guard unit that has given the web three excellent writers. For those without military experience, the term "wakeup" is routinely applied to the end of the announcement of how much time you have left on a tour somewhere. It indictes that one morning, you get up you are on your way from the area/unit/situation, eg: "I've got 45 (days) and a wakeup to rotation." I was scanning my favorite blogs, and was reminded of this by 1LT Rusten Currie's entry "Journey's End". He describes an awards ceremony for his unit. Some of the best words are his reflection on how this experience has changed his life's perspective:
I have been afforded the honor of being an Army officer in time of war, and I have served with the very best that our nation has to offer. When this is over and I move on to other things, it will be from this perspective that I move forward. Simplicity, Occam’s razor suggests we not add anything unnecessary to a problem to solve it. In short keep it simple, when you find a problem fix it. I will miss the men I have served with here, when you spend nearly 16 hours a day with the same people every day for 18 months, like them or not they become family. I see that now, again perspective, and a healthy amount of time spent apologizing to myself for being such a miserable SOB at times in my life. A healthy amount of time spent reaching out to old friends I’d slighted years and years ago, and saying I’m sorry. A healthy amount of time spent not talking but listening, and I mean really listening to what people had to say. I have met some great people through emails and in meeting them; I have been presented with some great opportunities for life after “this war”. Like I said 11 months ago, there are only two days here, the day you arrive and the day you leave (yes like prison). Soon it will be tomorrow and I will leave. Not that this hasn’t just been a blast (often quite literally), but I’ll be glad to kick the dust of Southern Baghdad from my boots and focus on tomorrow, walk my dog, and hug my wife, and move past the only life I have known for nearly a year. Soon I’ll be whole again.
I have enjoyed the writings of this man, who formerly served as a Marine enlisted sniper in the Gulf War. He is well read, and I hope his blog remains intact, for the purposes of history and others who will follow in his footsteps. His work is worth a through read, but plan on spending a great deal of time studying his words. I found Rusten via CPT Danjel Bout of 365 and a Wakeup. Danjel's writings are equal to any of the contemorary action novel writers, with the exception that they are real stories, or real circumstances, and real people, written in real time, with no bias of the historical perspective that may surround them. Powerful word images that pull you into the detail and minutia of what happens in life so far away. Once more, worth a long, studied effort to absorb this fine writing. Danjel surely shows that our service members are anything but hard hearted, stoic, unfelling people. In fact, I submit, he lets us see the reality of a comapssionate group of men (in this case), who care deeply for those they serve, and those who are not part of the conflict, but are so horribly caught in the middle or issues far larger than they can grasp. The third member of this trio is the straight talking Major K of Strength and Honor. He's just writes it plain and simple. He too, as with Rusten and Danjel, gives a look into the thoughts and feelings of those who defend not only us, but any who are in need. These men will be headed home to their wives and family and friends. Sun tanned, and changed, but, forever members of the citizenry who will shape our future. All three of the blogs I have spoken of have been places I have been checking daily for the better part of the past year. I became unsettled, sometimes, when I'd link in and find nothing new posted for days, particularly when there were reports of intense fighting. Thankfully, all three of these men have made if this far, so I pray they will make the last few days, and the transit home safely. I also realize I will soon be undergoing a degree of withdrawal from the postings I have come so accustomed to. I'm confident others will take their place. There's my unpaid advertisement for some people who took time from their incredibly hectic schedule, while fighting a war, in order that we many look at other perspectives than that of the accepted profession of journalism that we have most often subscribed to. I invite you to read their collective works and mentally engage yourself in observing the transformation of three Citizen-Soldiers, over the period of a year in combat, we asked to stand the watch for us. You won't be disappointed.

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