Thursday, October 8, 2009

Forward Unto Dawn

COP Keating: Is this what it's come to? Are we so strapped for men that 50 dudes with a bunker and some constantino wire at the bottom of a valley is considered a provincial strongpoint? Did we not learn from Wanat, 13 months previous and 20 miles down the fucking road, where 49 dudes were attacked by the same amount of Taliban and also forced to abandon their COP? How many times are we going to let this happen?

The worst part is that almost no other American knows about this. The volunteer drive by the American Legion and Tankerbabe to get those guys clothes and laptops and stuff was simply amazing. However, it only represents a handful of dedicated countrymen.

I sit in algebra with 40 other people. When we are given time to work on homework in class, I sit with the two Saudi guys in the class. We speak Arabic together. I feel more in common with these brown, bearded men then I do my own kinsmen. When the TA asks if we've seen such and such equation before, they shout out "Yes, in middle school!" The majority of the class has no idea what is going on. The Saudis tell me they loved our presence along their border and they were so happy to see us protect them in the first Gulf War. Everyone else in the class leers at us. I wonder how many of them could find Saudi Arabia on the map, or Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Nuristan province. Where is Kabul? Kandahar? Bagram? Mazari Sharif? How many of them can find America on a map of the world? I remember 12th grade geography where some people couldn't find our state on a map of America. Some couldn't find America on a map of America. You don't know where the fuck you are on a map, congratulations. Good luck in college, you've made it. The TA goes over an example problem. Four or five kids don't understand how she got 36 from 4 times 9. The Saudi guys laugh out loud. I hang my head.

I wanted to go on a great adventure, to prove myself, to serve my country. I wanted to do something so hard that no one could ever talk shit to me. In Athens or Sparta, my decision would have been easy. I felt as if I had been born too late. There was no longer a place in the world for a young man who wanted to wear armor and slay dragons.
-Nate Fick: 2 PLT CO, Company Bravo, 1st Marine RECON, OIF I (2003)


  1. Joe -- please know, there are far more Americans who respect and care for and about our military than you think. Maybe not on college campuses -- but we are here and in vast numbers. I was one of those who had the privilege of working with Tankerbabe to help re-fit the COP Keating Soldiers. I know -- there are so many of us - and we are getting louder and louder all the time. We have your backs, Joe -- this is our fight too!!!

    Thank you -- from a very grateful American!!

  2. Not everyone is so completely clueless--and yes, even on college campuses there are people who can find a specific country on a map when asked, and who know that there's a great big world out there outside our borders. I guess it just depends on the college. Now high schools, that's a different story...But my point is, all hope is not lost. Some people care. Some people bother to find out.