November 04, 2009

"A Tribute to A United States Marine"

We have a standing promise here, that anyone who sacrifices time defending our freedoms or sacrifices time away from loved ones defending our freedoms, gets a free post. That is our way of giving a voice to those silenced by the Media who deserve at least that much. This is from our friend Jennifer. She new among us. Lets give her the welcome she deserves as she has already sacrificed so much for us and never asked for a thing in return. Her blog is

How do I start off talking about my husband or illuminating all he has done? This will be tough, yet I will do my best, to keep it short. The picture above was taken while my beloved was in Iraq. The year was 2005, we were apart for the bulk of that year. The Iraq deployment was our 2nd Deployment as a couple. It was our first combat tour, I say 'our' for good reason. If you don't personally understand what wives go through during a combat tour, there is no way to explain, you just have to experience it.

Looking back, I am certain I had the better end of the deal. While I had our same comfy bed to snuggle into, he went without a bed and often slept propped against a wall, a tree or some other object. If conditions improved, he might get a cot or bunk in a small series of cubicles, which served as makeshift barracks in the desert. If I got lonely, our children were my constant companions, they gave me hugs and reasons to smile every day; however he saw us only in the photos I sent, and heard our voices on the phone when circumstance allowed him to call. Sometimes the calls were 4 weeks apart.

I practically begged him to send me letters. He obliged, and I can not tell you how much of an accomplishment that was for him. Those letters are saved, tucked away for safe keeping, to remind me to be thankful for the sweetness and love between our hearts during those frightful times apart. Though it was a time of great struggle, it showed us both just how much we love one another.

My better half is the most honorable, straight forward, self sacrificing man I know. I've come to hold him in the highest esteem, placing him above the esteem I once had for my own father so many years ago. He is reliable, honest and very direct. My husband does not know how to be any other way. I can always count on him to do the right thing. But if he does happen to blow it or make a mistake, he readily owns it. He is not inclined to look for an excuse, and he quickly makes an amends for his failings.

I have yet to meet a more driven or focused person than him. Sometimes this vexes me greatly, because I am so much the opposite of him. He is very driven and likely to be meticulous, while I am laid back and much less fastidious. Still, we seem to have improved the meshing of our polarity over these past 8 years.

It has not always been roses and sunshine, to try and claim such would be dishonest, but I feel no need to hang our dirty laundry out to dry here, especially while trying to recognize a few of his achievements. I will just say we have earned the right to stay married based on how much blood sweat and tears the both of us have invested. We would be stupid to ever throw it away!

Getting back to the tour in Iraq. There has never been a more frustrating time in my life, and I am sure never a more focused and driven time in his. While he was applying his tactical skills and experiences to lead his men in battle, I was using my skills and experiences to keep myself from becoming a nervous wreck while caring for our sons and household.

It was not until he was safe at home when he recounted the near misses, the times he was almost shot, or practically blown up. I also learned of the time, when a rocket propelled grenade, whizzed by him seconds after he hung up the satellite phone, with ME on the other end. He told me he was so glad the
RPG came through AFTER we hung up. It worried him that I might have been a nervous wreck, if had heard the sound....sigh. In fact that was probably the ONLY worry he ever conveyed to me.

This is what fascinates me about my husband. His lack of fear, his complete and total focus, his unwavering courage and commitment to the mission. But, sometimes, it's also the one thing he does which can drive me over the edge.

Looking back, there
was one thing he shared with me in regards to something he feared. It was the possibility of seeing any harm come to the children he was frequently around. He said it was the one thing alone which would have been enough to shake his otherwise impenetrable resolve.

Politics and semantics played no part, nor had any impact, on the degree of his devotion to the cause, the men he led, or the nation of people he served. In fact, the cause, the men, the nation; these, he enthusiastically placed ahead of his own wants or needs. The entire time he was deployed he did not complain, except to say how much he missed his family, and missed his home.

I prayed some while he was gone, but not as much as one would think. Faith kept me focused for the most part and when I unraveled, he always knew how to put me back together. My Harley rides helped too. Those made it a little easier to my head together through a lot of it. I could get on the bike, go for a ride, and imagine the entire time he would soon be there, right next to me.

I always felt a little closer to him and slightly more connected when riding. Maybe it was because he had built the bike with his hands in the meticulous manner he tackled everything else. Though it was his pride and joy, and he had worked on it for many years, he entrusted it to me; it eventually became my bike. Besides, since then, he has built another bike for himself. Just another aspect of him that makes me so proud and fortunate to call him my hero!

As the time grew close for his return home, anticipation like I have never experienced, started to increase with each passing day. I had not been through anything like it before, and likely, never will again. The entire deployment was mainly uneventful for India company. Regular patrols and guard duty for the large air base they were stationed at, was the majority of their assigned duties.

In fact, if there was one complaint from my husband, it was his increasing agitation to be more useful. There was a great deal he could contribute, and more importantly he could very well prevent more losses with his skills. He anxiously wished to apply all the years of intense training he had undergone. In other words, he wanted action, and lots of it!

His irritation increased so much, that one day, while on the phone, he told me to quit praying for his safety! He was almost upset, and his tone was very serious. If I had not known better, I would have thought he laid the blame on
my prayers for his Company's inaction. He told me to start praying for them to be successful in battle. This way he and his men could counter the many losses their battalion had sustained up until then. And of course, he had an intense desire to quell the enemy.

It might seem odd, but I do believe I got angry at him, even resentful. How dare he ask me to do such a thing! Ultimately, I turned it over to God, let go of my angst and said in my heart "Thy Will Be Done." I wanted whatever was best, I wanted my husband safe, but I also didn't want to see him driven out of his mind due to stagnancy. Besides, the outcome was never up to me anyway.

Prayers were answered, he got what he had been asking for. India Company was moved to a city called Hit (Heet). This place delivered all the action he sought, and probably a little more. It was in Hit, where India Company discovered and disposed of
improvised explosive devices, insurgent activity, and encountered increased resistance from the forces opposing them. There were engagements in combat, plus rocket propelled grenades were the norm. All these things, combined with the severely oppressive heat, provided plenty of challenges and action for their company to deal with.

I never heard about any of this until after it was all over and he was home safe in my arms. I am thankful for that small mercy. Still, it was difficult to watch the news, therefore I rarely did. I was shielded with hope and braced by prayer coupled with faith. But I could not change the fact, that something usually benign, like an unexpected knock at the door, always caused me to peer cautiously out to the street, scanning for
telltale signs of a much dreaded military visit.

Unfortunately, or fortunately for us, depending on how you looked at it, the company he was originally assigned to, experienced a staffing conflict. This forced him to be switched to India Company just prior to deployment. The company he was switched out of, suffered unbelievable casualties. In fact, Lima Company's losses were the worst for any Marine unit during deployment that year. You may recall some extensive news coverage about the once dubbed "Lucky" Lima Company based in Columbus Ohio.

Or, perhaps you might have watched a documentary by A&E titled "Combat Diary: The Marines of Lima Company", which was released the following year. It was no doubt,
3rd Battalion 25th Marines, Lima Company, had gained unforeseen national focus and attention in 2005. Though, I am sure, as any service member's loved one would, if given the chance, would pass up that focused attention, to be able to hold their beloved again.

I doubt I can add anything to the honor bestowed upon my husband, in recognition of his character and manner of composure as a Marine in combat. I know my husband, and I know he would easily give his life for his countrymen without a moments hesitation. He is truly the toughest man, full of the fiercest grit, with an intimidating demeanor. But he has the softest, deepest soul and tender love for children. He can't help but be naturally aligned, almost designed, for protecting those who can't protect themselves. He is, a
United States Marine, that is what they do.

I will leave you with some phrases from the award he received after his tour in Iraq. He was awarded the Department Of Navy And Marine Corps Achievement Medal with a Combat Distinguishing Device for Valor.

On it are the recounts, of the 100's of security patrols he led, as well as the quick reaction force and well executed maneuvers, with which he led his squad to kill one insurgent and detain another insurgent trying to place an
IED. It cites his initiative, courage and devotion to duty as Platoon Sergeant and Platoon Commander. It was his courage and devotion to duty as a Staff Sergeant which reflected credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and The United States Naval Service.

I count myself most grateful and blessed to have him alive and home. I know so many that year, and the years since, have not. It is not in vain, nor will it be, as long as
WE who are served and protected, faithfully continue to hold those sacrifices made by our Servicemen and Women in the highest esteem and honor.

I love you my dear, I thank you for protecting us.

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