Archive for August, 2011

I would consider myself very Patriotic with the roots of that Patriotism starting with how I was raised as a boy and growing up in the midwest. I was raised to love God and country…in that order. My Father was in the Navy for a while and was ultimately the reason for our family eventually ending up on the West Coast. He had been here before, and he liked California. My brother went into the Air Force and currently serves as a squadron commander on a base in Oklahoma. I chose not to serve but that in no way diminishes my previous statement about Patriotism. I am a very Patriotic guy and the reason I feel so strongly about this subject is my most recent experience with our close friends whose oldest son Zac, went into Army Intelligence and ultimately working with Army Special Forces. My kinship with Zac runs deep. I was present at his birth and stood by his Father as we stared at that 10 lb bundle of goo change color in the Nursery that day. Zac was born before I became a father myself and his birth profoundly solidified how much I desired to be a dad.

Fast forward 20+ years and Zac is headed to Afghanistan for the 3rd time only this deployment was slightly different. To make matters more intriguing, Zac wasn’t scheduled for another deployment. One of his best friends wife had just recently gave birth to their first child and this guy was earmarked for a 1 year deployment in a FOB (Forward operating base) somewhere deep in Afghanistan. To show you what kind of guy Zac is, he decided to perform 6 months of his buddies deployment. Unbelievable…Now, for all you selfish people out there struggling to catch your breath, I will repeat myself…Zac went to Afghanistan, in harm’s way, and covered six months of his friends deployment so he could spend time with his new baby. To make matters even more complicated, Zac works with Army Special Forces, when means he is truly in harm’s way more often than he isn’t. To hear him speak, where these guys operate, it really is, kill or be killed…

Because of this information, For the last six months, I have lived in this perpetual state of fear for Zac’s safety and well-being. Please note however, I am in no way insinuating my fear is anywhere close to what his parents feel. They are on another level. My fear stems from aforementioned kinship with Zac I have had since his birth. Bottom line; living with that fear, as I know many of you do still, is brutal, perpetual, and dreadful. For that, please know I pray for you each day that God would bring your own soldier home safely…But as I said, living with the ebb and flow of phone calls to his parents, or emails or an occasional FaceBook post, to find out status and how he is, was agony for them. One particular time involved a phone call to Mom wherein as soon as she knew it was Zac, she burst into tears and NOT because anything was wrong, but simply because she heard his voice. News of a recent mission or an upcoming one will always make mom cry as well. Dad, well you can see the worry on his face, but his words don’t reflect that. Sometimes, there are the “dad only” calls where Zac can relay some of his experiences that frankly, are like scenes from the movie, Saving Private Ryan. He talks about fire fights, engaging the enemy and survival. He has been attacked personally and had to kill to survive which still is a hard one to grasp because again, I’ve known this kid his whole life. I actually think these conversations help his father because many times Zac will relate his current experiences to games they played when he was a kid or even camping trips. All I see, is that these conversations almost act as therapy for dad. It helps him to relive some of his sons exploits and see how he handled each missions adversity. For me, the reality of understanding a typical day in the life of an Army Special Forces soldier was profoundly moving and my respect for him and our troops has exploded…and so has my Patriotism…

God Bless our troops…and I leave you with this…