Monday, June 06, 2005

Road Warriors

I just returned from a short trip. My destination was six hours round trip, and the three hours each way just about sucked the life out of me. The ride is monotonous and the barely-working air conditioner was struggling to make a difference in the 115 degree temperature outside. Combine all of this with an extra 40 pounds of body armor and gear, and you have a sweat-drenched uniform at the end of the trip.

Yet I only do this a few times a month. The troops in our unit are doing this daily, and sometimes they are travelling ten or twelve hours round trip. They are either providing security for re-supply convoys, or they are performing patrols along the road looking for IED's or any other signs of bad guys. As they repeatedly drive along these routes they are watching and waiting for the next ambush. I'm sure they feel like moving targets as they wonder when the next IED, RPG, and/or the next round of gunfire goes off in a less than desirable direction. A vast majority of the time nothing happens, but sometimes there is that "brief moment of chaos" that I have referred to previously. So far we have been fortunate with no serious injuries. But there have been some very close calls.

I guess my point in all of this (and yes, I do have one) is that I see these guys doing this day in and day out, and it makes me proud. It reminds me of why we have the greatest Army in the world. Because men like these (some are barely old enough to be called "men") are willing to do a job that no one else will do. Do they gripe and complain? You betcha! Griping is practically an art form in the Army. If Joe isn't complaining about something, then he's probably sleeping. But despite all the monaing and groaning he crawls out of the rack every morning and does his job in a manner that should make you proud. Every day he puts his neck on the line for a place he doesn't call home and for a people that he doesn't know... and he does it with honor and integrity.

Let no one convince you of anything less.

9 Comments:

Blogger rmiller said...

Hey John, thanks for the posts. I really enjoy them. It's good to hear about all the things God is doing in YOUR heart and life in spite of the circumstances (He's always doin' that). I know the average Iraqi (whatever that means) will eventually be able to chose his/her own destiny and be free to chose the way of life he/she feels is right for themselves and their own family (I hope we never take this for granted). I am truly proud of you and our American troops who selflessly serve, not to instill the "american lifestyle" but to provide the opportunity to chose, without fear.
Praying for you.
Rick

6:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just making a correction, guys and also gals are driving and in these convoys.

8:46 AM  
Anonymous Marty said...

Hey John,
You're doing amazing camera work! Even if the molten heat slows you to a trickle, keep em coming! I think you're right -- you've found that calling. Brings the human side of a day in Iraq alive like no journalist's work I've seen. Had a thought: If you're tired of handing out pens, maybe you could ask your family for a Polaroid to share the snapshots with kids on the spot. Retail, the iZone200 is $18, and a 6 pack of film (72 shots) is $40. Should be able to get it for less. It prints 1.4" pictures - bite-sized souveniers, and it won't take up much room in your gear. Peace.
Marty
Princeton University

9:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey John,

I haven't commented in a while. Just wanted you to know Marcy and I read EVERY entry and comment posted. Still bragging about you daily and still keeping you in our prayers. The ability you have, through this blog, to bring all of us closer to the real life drama that is going on in Iraq is unbelievable. Keep "upp" the good work!!!

Love,
Jeff and Marcy

11:18 PM  
Blogger Bag Blog said...

A few weeks ago when the temperature in Southern OK reached above 100, we were putting sheetrock in our new home. Sweat was running in my eyes and my clothes were drenched, but I told myself to suck it up - that I was not wearing 40lbs of body armor or having anyone shoot at me. It was a sobering reminder of what you must go through. I said a prayer for you guys and was thankful for the job you are doing. Thanks.

4:54 AM  
Blogger Lexie said...

Glad you're back, John.

Keep posting. Blogs liek yours are crucial compliments to the MSM's coverage. I wrote about it here:

http://texlex.typepad.com/just_keep_swimming_just_k/2005/06/quotblogs_are_j.html

10:15 PM  
Blogger Lexie said...

Glad you're back, John.

Keep posting. Blogs like yours are crucial compliments to the MSM's coverage. I wrote about it here:

http://texlex.typepad.com/just_keep_swimming_just_k/2005/06/quotblogs_are_j.html

10:15 PM  
Blogger Lexie said...

Ugh. Sorry about the double post. Delete at will.

Also, sorry about the long link. If I had a clue about HTML I'd clean it up.

10:17 PM  
Blogger jaibone said...

You said it best... the Army is full of people who didn't join so they could go off and fight a war, but they knew when they signed up that it could happen...

I'm just hoping this will end soon, and all the dogfaces can go back to making a better life. whick is why most kids join up in the first place... some will stay longer than a hitch, and some will end up retiring after 20, but the majority of the dis will head off to college, or something else...

I just hope they live through this.

5:37 PM  

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