Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Casualties of War

The only people who didn't come back home with us in 2012 were the ones who had discipline issues, family issues, "short tour" issues (i.e. special staff), or medical issues.

In other words, no one from our unit died in Afghanistan.

But that's not to say everyone came home the same way.

When something awful happened on October 29, 2011, no one from the Mass Guard was killed.  Some had been on that same bus, on that same morning, but had gotten off at the airport.  But none of us was on when the minivan turned it into a fireball.

However, some of the MPs from our unit were on scene shortly afterwards.  I am fortunate enough to be able to say that I don't know what that does to people.

This week, we lost one of those guys stateside.  He was one of the best people I knew in the Guard.  This guy used to bust my balls a lot, but it came from a place of respect for what I did, and for the way I approached my role.  And after a couple foot patrols and intra-theater movements, he offered me the tactical respect I had to earn, in his own sort of laconic way.  He didn't know where I'd been prior to joining the unit, and I never bothered to tell him.

I think a lot of things I don't say, but I don't say things that I don't think.  (If you'll overlook all the negatives in that sentence, you'll catch my drift).  This guy was the genuine article, or, as I might say, the Real Deal Holyfield.

I will miss him.  I will say what I'm sure everyone says when these things happen:  I wish I had known...if I did, I know I could have done something.  So it goes.

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