Monday, March 21, 2005

Day 71 - Ice Cream

They passed this story out to us at our last FRG meeting --- it's pretty neat. I tried to verify it on, but I couldn't find anything on it. We have been in Iraq for the war for two years now. I know that Al and I are so blessed that he is there during "Year Two" than at the beginning of everything. My heart goes out to all the men and women who sacrificed so much during those first days and during all the hot spot moments like Fallujah. After you read this story - feel free to digest a couple of gallons of ice cream in honor of our soldiers and to celebrate your freedom!!

They Are So Damn Young

From the CASBAR Colonel: Sent to me by my old buddy, xxx xxxxx, MG USAF Ret. This is written by a Navy Commander at a port in Kuwait ... No commentary needed, the 3-minute read below says more than a 20-page article could about our warriors and the constitution of our men.

"I was going to the gym tonight (really just a huge tent with weights and treadmills), and we had heard that one of the MEUs that had come out of service in the "triangle" was redeploying (leaving country). We saw their convoy roll in to the Kuwait Naval Base as the desert sun was setting.

I have never seen anything like this. Trucks and Humvees that looked like they had just come through a shredder. Their equipment was full of shrapnel blast holes, and missing entire major pieces that you could tell had been blasted by IEDs. These kids looked bad too! I mean, sunken eyes, thin as rails, and that 1000-yd. stare they talk about after direct combat. Made me pretty damn embarrassed to be a "rear area warrior".

All people could do was stop in their tracks and stare... and feel like I wanted to bow my head in reverence. A Marine Captain stationed with me, was standing next to me, also headed to the gym. He said, "Part of 1st Brigade Combat Team, 8th Marines, sir. Took the heaviest losses of any single unit up north as part of Task Force Danger, sir."

As the convoy rolled up, all of us watching just slowly crept toward these kids as they dismounted the Hummers and 5-tons. Of course, we were all shiny and clean compared to these warriors. This kids looked like they had just crawled from Iraq. I had my security badge and ID around my neck, and started to help them unload some of their duffle bags.

A crusty Gunny came up to me and said "sir, you don't have to do that..." I said, "Gunny... yes I do..." They all looked like they were in high school, or younger!! All held themselves sharply and confident, despite the extreme fatigue you could tell they had endured. "You guys out of the triangle?" I asked. "Yes, sir." 14 months, and twice into the grinder, sir" (both fights for Fallujah).

All I could do was throw my arm around their shoulders and say "thanks Marine, for taking the fight to the bad guys...we love you man."

I looked at these young kids, not one of them complaining or showing signs of anything but focus, and good humor. 'Sir, they got ice cream at the DFAC, sir?" "I haven't had real ice cream since we got here..." They continued to unload...and after I had done my handshakes and shoulder hugs, the Captain and I looked at each other ...

They want ice cream, we'll get them ice cream. You see, a squid O-5 and a focused Marine O-3 can get just about anything, even if the Mess is closed. Needless to say, we raided the closed DFAC, much to the chagrin of one very pissed off Mess Sergeant and grabbed boxes of ice cream sandwiches (as many as we could carry), and hustled back to the convoy. I felt like Santa Claus.

"Thank you, sir.." again and again from each trooper, as we tossed up the bars to the guys in the trucks. I'm thinkin', "Son, what the hell are you thanking me for? I can't thank you enough."
And they are so damned young ...

I will sleep well, knowing they are watching my back tonight."



Brian H said...

They also serve who hand out ice cream sandwiches . . . . ;)

Al's Girl said...

Very good point!!

Sgt Cowboy's Girl said...

Wonderful article! Really makes you think about the sacrifices that our soldiers make for us every day.

Katie said...

Gosh Mel, my whole body has chills. I just love your blog. I'm about to cry. They are so young and they have gone through so much. I'm so grateful that mine is home safe but I will never stop praying for those still in the sand and their families. Thanks for sharing that, really put my day in perspective.