Another good one from my Facebook community – an American fighting man

1/2 boy 1/2 man

The average age of the military man is 19 years. He is a short haired, tight-muscled kid who, under normal circumstances is considered by society as half man, half boy. Not yet dry behind the ears, not old enough to buy a beer, but old enough to die for his country. He never really cared much for work and he would rather wax his own car than wash his father’s, but he has never collected unemployment either.

He’s a recent High School graduate; he was probably an average student, pursued some form of sport activities, drives a ten year old jalopy, and has a steady girlfriend that either broke up with him when he left, or swears to be waiting when he returns from half a world away. He listens to rock and roll or hip-hop or rap or jazz or swing and a 155mm howitzer.

He is 10 or 15 pounds lighter now than when he was at home because he is working or fighting from before dawn to well after dusk. He has trouble spelling, thus letter writing is a pain for him, but he can field strip a rifle in 30 seconds and reassemble it in less time in the dark. He can recite to you the nomenclature of a machine gun or grenade launcher and use either one effectively if he must.

He digs foxholes and latrines and can apply first aid like a professional.
He can march until he is told to stop, or stop until he is told to march.
He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation, but he is not without spirit or individual dignity. He is self-sufficient.

He has two sets of fatigues: he washes one and wears the other. He keeps his canteens full and his feet dry. He sometimes forgets to brush his teeth, but never to clean his rifle. He can cook his own meals, mend his own clothes, and fix his own hurts.

If you’re thirsty, he’ll share his water with you; if you are hungry, his food. He’ll even split his ammunition with you in the midst of battle when you run low.

He has learned to use his hands like weapons and weapons like they were his hands.
He can save your life – or take it, because that is his job.
He will often do twice the work of a civilian, draw half the pay, and still find ironic humor in it all.

He has seen more suffering and death than he should have in his short lifetime.
He has wept in public and in private, for friends who have fallen in combat and is unashamed.

He feels every note of the National Anthem vibrate through his body while at rigid attention, while tempering the burning desire to’ square-away’ those around him who haven’t bothered to stand, remove their hat, or even stop talking. In an odd twist, day in and day out, far from home, he defends their right to be disrespectful.

Just as did his Father, Grandfather, and Great-grandfather, he is paying the price for our freedom. Beardless or not, he is not a boy. He is the American Fighting Man that has kept this country free for over 200 years.

He has asked nothing in return, except our friendship and understanding.
Remember him, always, for he has earned our respect and admiration with his blood.
And now we even have women over there in danger, doing their part in this tradition of going to War when our nation calls us to do so.

As you go to bed tonight, remember this shot.
A short lull, a little shade and a picture of loved ones in their helmets.

‘Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us.
Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need. Amen.’

Please stop for a moment and say a prayer for our ground troops, sailors on ships, and airmen in the air, and for those in Iraq, Afghanistan and all foreign countries.

Of all the gifts you could give a US Soldier, Sailor, Coastguardsman, Marine, or Airman, prayer is the very best one.

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8 Responses to Another good one from my Facebook community – an American fighting man

  1. auscitizenmom says:

    I liked this very much.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Sumoyokozuna says:

    Almost my story too. I broke up with my girlfriend in 1959. Quit college and I was on full scholarship ( basketball certainly not scholastic) joined the Army.
    Went to Korea in 61-63, back to states. Went to infantry OCS in 66-67. Vietnam 1969. Shot down in helicopter medevaced back to states in hospital. Year later Army sent me back to finish college.
    Ended up staying 20+ years.
    I did a lots of things, saw lots of things in this story.
    BTW. Got reacquainted with old girlfriend and married her 1989 – 30 years after we split.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. czarowniczy says:

    I retired at 60 and by the time I walked out of the gate for the last time I was working with soldiers, airmen and sailors who were younger than my grandson. At the various installations I was at there’d be static displays of items that were main line equipment when I was the age of the those ‘kids’ I was supervising.

    At Eglin I found myself helping restorers of an AC-47 with some details about the interior layout, seems they couldn’t find anyone who had flown in one or who knew what the layout was. Here I was not only having flown in them but remembering some of the layout and still wearing the bag – and this was well before 911.

    If I remember correctly the oldest soldier to die in Iraq/Afghanistan was a Reservist who was 59 and a fraction, his last war before retiring. There are some of us who just can’t let go of it only to find out upon retirement that we should have pulled the pin well before we did, we were walking antiques.


    • Gary says:

      Czar, there is a world of difference between an antique and finely aged wine, you Sir, are the latter. I’m proud of and grateful for your service. Courage skipped a generation in my family, my father was a combat decorated U.S. Marine in Korea, My son in Afghanistan.

      God bless every single one of you!

      Liked by 1 person

      • czarowniczy says:

        My three sons all decided the military wasn’t for them, they’d seen too much of the time it took up with me. Ditto my oldest grandson though my oldest GGS is heavily leaning towards it.

        Some of us just stay too long, there are generational gaps that are very hard to jump and can slow down the machinery. I saw the gradual transition in military training to video games in the early 90s to where by my retirement ‘gamers’ were flying armed drones halfway around the world, zapping bad guys as the shooters ate pizza at their consoles. I never got into the gamer mindset and luckily didn’t have to.

        Funny thing was I was once again, right at the end, involved in a project I was involved in at almost the beginning of my career, hinting that perhaps the inability of the military bureaucracy to create long-term problems may need a few long-term shepherds.


  4. Gary says:

    “Of all the gifts you could give a US Soldier, Sailor, Coastguardsman, Marine, or Airman, prayer is the very best one”.

    This I know to be true, but experience has also taught me they enjoy Nerf guns and inflatable pools, hot pockets, gummie bears. My sons unit (though he’s been out for almost a decade) still receives them on a regular basis when deployed.

    Liked by 1 person

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