The Call

You never get used to it, and you can never quite be prepared for it.  As a Green Beret who’s been on multiple combat deployments and made the move into military contracting as did most of my buddies, I’ve probably been on the receiving end of the call more than most…but one is more than anyone my age should ever receive.

The latest call came on December 27th, 2013 as I was watching cartoons with my son.  It actually started as an email; the team lead (supervisor) from my latest 5-month stint in Afghanistan sent me an email asking for my phone number at home, saying it was urgent that he speak with me.  Less than 5 minutes after emailing him back with my contact info, my home phone rang.

The bonds forged in misery and war are stronger than any metal known to man, and the bond that I had formed with Dave, an Air Force Captain, during my last trip to Afghanistan was one of the strongest I’ve ever had.  The term “bromance” comes to mind, and is pretty much on the mark for a description of our trip.

Whether you’re running outside the wire on missions and getting into gunfights every day or rotting on a base doing logistics work, deployed time is pretty rough.  You’re always tired, stressed, overworked and waiting to go home, so whatever you can do to pass the time has to be enough to keep your sanity.

For Dave and I it was long, marathon talk sessions about everything under the sun.  He was a former Mormon who left the Mormon Church but remained extremely spiritual and Godly; I, a Freemason who took great interest in any religion and love speaking with anyone who knows more about religion or a particular text than me.

He was a good old boy, raised in the countryside of Idaho hunting, fishing, and attending Church with his family; being a Texas boy myself we couldn’t have had any more to talk about, spending long hours talking about family values, the degradation of society and moral values, and how corrupt politicians are ruining our country.

He was an athlete, playing football all the way to a starting position on the Air Force Academy team, a massive man in the kind of shape that people injure themselves trying to attain.  Even though he towered over me and could have easily picked me up and torn me in half (and I’m 5’10, 220 lbs of running 3 miles and day and lifting weights every afternoon, not exactly a toothpick), the words “gentle giant” come to mind whenever I think about Dave.

I actually remembered reading about it in the news, but writing it off as no possible chance one of our guys had been there.  VBIED (car bomb) in downtown Kabul exploding next to a NATO convoy and killing 3, wounding several more.  There was no reason for Dave and my guys to be in downtown Kabul on that day, so I didn’t really pay it any mind.  In all honesty that’s a daily occurrence in Kabul these days, even though it’s fallen away from most news outlets.

So when my former team lead started with the bad news, I was completely blindsided, just like every other time that I’ve been on the receiving side of that call.  They called me first because Dave and I had grown so close over the duration of my trip, and it was no secret we were about as close as two hetero guys can possibly get.

I traced back the timeline after I hung up the phone, and immediately began scouring the Internet for more information.  It turns out the explosion wasn’t in downtown Kabul, but a half-mile away from Camp Phoenix, a large American logistical base in Kabul.  My mind was racing; I went back to my email…..and to the chain of emails Dave and I had been exchanging the day before.

I had several boxes that I couldn’t carry back with me, and because the base Dave and I had been on was pretty small, we didn’t have our own post office.  Dave had agreed to ship my boxes out of Camp Phoenix for me, and the last email was telling me that he had shipped them out and would be heading back to our base in an hour.

Not only had we been talking back and forth via email just before he was killed, but I was thanking him for doing me the favor of mailing my boxes for me.  From a guy who Dave used to make fun of for being stubborn and never asking for help, that cuts pretty deep.

I haven’t cried yet, but I know it’s coming.  It took me until this afternoon to even tell my wife what was bothering me and what the phone call was about.  In the typical fashion of a guy who’s been on the receiving end of that phone call too many times for my short life, I retreated inside myself, putting up the infamous Wall that Pink Floyd sung about so fondly.

Sitting with my son, it’s all I can do to hope that he never has to get the news, that one of the greatest human beings he’s ever known has left this world far too young.  I hope he never has to feel that pain of understanding he’ll never have a beer with one of the men he thinks most highly of, and will never share another long conversation and a laugh.

I hope all of this, but I know he will; just as I and every other man in his family, I know he’ll be given the call to serve his country and wear a uniform one day, and just like me, I know he’ll answer, no matter what I say.  He’ll never understand the impact of that phone call until he answers the first one himself, and nothing daddy will say can make him understand it any faster.

I’m still reeling from the call I received last night, but more than selfish pity for myself, I’m saddened that the world has lost one of it’s greatest inhabitants I’ve ever met, and I’ve met a lot of great people in my time.  I don’t really even know which way is up right now, because a God or a world that would take a man like Dave just doesn’t make any sense to me.

The only real comfort for me is knowing that if there is a better place than this, Dave is up there smiling….even if South Park is right and heaven is full of Mormons.

The world just lost a hell of a great man, but hopefully he’ll be back in another form soon.

Rest In Peace, Captain David Lyon, I miss you already Brother.

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green beret, author, special forces, robert patrick lewis, rpl, adam carolla, soldier, army, military author

RPL on the Adam Carolla Show 11/12/13

 

Robert Patrick Lewis with Adam Carolla and Dave Damashek

 

Tune in to the most downloaded podcast on the internet, “The Adam Carolla Show” November 12th, 2013 (like you weren’t already) to hear author Robert Patrick Lewis talk live from Afghanistan about veteran’s day and his favorite military USA Cares.

 

 

 

 

 

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Special Forces soldier and author Robert Patrick Lewis on a combat patrol in Afghanistan

Are we the worlds police?

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            Or perhaps the more popular question these days is “why are we the worlds police?”  It’s a very valid argument if you have the misfortune of getting all of your news from American media, especially if you only follow one source of news for everything.

But if you are one of the small number who’s figured out their game and goes to other sources of news from around the world or great intelligence analysts like Stratfor and other private subscription-based intelligence services, you know what you get from American media is severely lacking in the global perspective, and probably already have an idea about what this article will contain.

For the rest of you, I’d ask you to step back for a moment and take a view at the bigger picture.  Sure hippies and protestors love to say that it’s because we’re war mongering psychopaths (even though as long as humans have recorded history there have been wars, large countries have taken over small countries, and in the past those countries usually raped the conquered literally and figuratively, while we allowed Iraq to give their oil exploration rights to China), but that’s not quite accurate.

From another standpoint, we can do what is usually great advice when talking about politics and/or government and “follow the money.”  It is true that wars and any type of military or governmental incursion take money, lots of money, and while the military is great at certain things, there are an awful lot of jobs they can’t facilitate efficiently or well, which is why private contracting companies take over and stand to reap the benefits of any type of intervention into another country.

This seems to be another major point today, with the term “military industrial complex” coming up over and over, used to explain everything from 9/11 to the war in Iraq.  The claims that industrialists and private companies influence our politicians to begin wars or step into other peoples incursions has so many rabbit holes, assumptions and connections that I don’t have the capacity to even begin to fully fathom, so I’ll go with what I know and have seen and experienced first-hand.

While the ground truth may be one or a combination of these things, there are two factors which I know greatly influence our role as the world’s police:  Firstly, stability, and motives which are based purely on our own well being.  Secondly, because it’s our job as a global superpower, and the same country who decries us for sticking our nose where it doesn’t belong today will scream in anger and blame us for not stepping in when it’s their neck on the chopping block.

So let’s begin with stability.  I spent my life traveling, the son of a Navy pilot gone commercial who had grown up in Germany with Grandpa stationed there after WWII and been stationed in Italy with the Navy.  My parents were world travelers, and as such my passport stamps were already full before I was in middle school.

As a world traveler, I got to see many perspectives that most Americans don’t see up close.  Most Americans who’ve never left our own borders only know of the world what they’ve seen on television or in the movies, and don’t really understand what the real world is like.

As a great man once quoted, “you can never truly know a land until you’ve smelled it’s dirt,” meaning that no matter how many books you read, intelligence reports you read or shows you watch, you don’t know anything until you have boots on ground experience.  This goes for politicians, citizens, and Generals alike.

A very funny thing has been happening to me lately; I’ve had an inordinate amount of friends contacting me asking, “did you know we have military in Africa now?”  I usually laugh a little bit and explain that if they’d read my book “Love Me When I’m Gone” they’d know we’ve had Special Forces in Africa as long as Afghanistan.  But why?

To an outsider who can’t use higher order thinking, consider knock on effects, or understand the world, stability may not seem like a very important issue, but in the world of global politics and security, it’s perhaps the most important issue.  Why do we send money to third world nations who seem to hate us and are rife with corruption?  Stability.  Why do we spend money building up their infrastructure?  Stability.  Why do we have Special Forces training their governments and armies?  Stability.  And if they get too out of hand why to we send Special Forces to help overthrow their government?  Stability.

So if you are an American who’s never left our borders or traveled too much outside of the country, especially the third world nations, I want you to do a quick mental checklist of everything you’d need to get around here in the US running errands; let’s say you have to drive to the grocery store, buy groceries, maybe go to the bank and withdraw/deposit cash, take your kids to the doctor for a checkup, and later that night have sitter come watch the kids while you meet friends for a drink.  Better yet, what if you were planning a trip across the border, to either Canada or Mexico?

If you’re thinking about all of these things in terms of the United States of America, there is one common theme that you’d need for everything listed above:  a form of governmental identification.  This is why I see the voter ID laws as ridiculous, as you couldn’t do any of those listed above (if using a credit/debit card or food stamps like most of the country) without some form of ID, yet it’s racist if we require it for one of the most sacred rights of an American citizen in voting?  That’s an argument for another article entirely, so let’s bring it back and imagine you were embarking on the second option to go across the border.  In this case you’d need not only a drivers license, but you’d also need a passport in hand.

As a guy who can speak with experience about North Africa, the Middle East, the Far East, and many places in between, I can tell you that’s not the case for a large part of the world.  Not only do you not need an ID to drive or travel in many of these places, but you couldn’t use a credit card even if you wanted to.  Even in the European Union now, a group of some of the most technologically advanced countries in the world, once you’re within the EU borders, you can travel freely without having to show your passport.

But why is this so important?  It is one of the factors important in determining stability.  Another very important factor to be considered is corruption.  Sure our government and politicians are just as corrupt as any others around the world, if not more so, but the brightside (if you can call it that) is that our politicians are so greedy and enjoy such a lavish lifestyle that their price tags are very high.  That’s not so everywhere in the world were cost of living is only a tiny fraction of what it is here in the USA, and while a politician here may require a multi-million dollar bribe (oh, sorry, “campaign contribution”), a local governor in Mali, Niger or Djibouti may only require a few thousand.

What’s another factor in this stability equation we’re looking at? Infrastructure.  If a country doesn’t have the infrastructure to track it’s own borders, people, transactions and criminals, it’s basically an open market.  If they don’t have adequate border police, anyone with a determination can come into their country.  If they don’t have the infrastructure to monitor criminals and jails, someone can easily pay off a guard and walk free.  If they don’t have an adequate army, they have no way to control bad guys setting up camp in their back yard.

And that’s what stability all boils down to.  When you combine all of the factors listed above into one country or area, you have what we call an “off the grid” scenario, where a bad guy can disappear, operate completely unmonitored, unchecked and free to roam and do as he pleases.

Although it was popularized in the best selling novel by Tom Clancy and subsequent movie starring Harrison Ford “Patriot Games,” many Americans still don’t understand just how big the Sahara desert is in North Africa, and just how many terrorist training camps are set up there.

So you take all of the stability factors above, put together with any cop show you’ve watched and think about how easy you would be to find, let’s say if you murder someone while out and about running your errands.

They could track your vehicle by the license plates or speed pass tags on your car and cameras along all the highways.  They could track your transactions via credit, debit, or ATM transactions to follow where you are.  They can track your GPS location via you phone (yes, even if it’s off and battery is removed), and they can find you via any GPS unit in your car.  If you get pulled over without a drivers license and fit a description they’re looking for you just bought yourself a ticket straight to jail….but somehow you don’t need one to vote, still mind boggling.

Now let’s look at a country in North Africa, and we’ll go through the steps of how you would get into a country to start a terrorist training camp “off the grid.”  I’m not giving anything away here or giving them any new ideas; as a Green Beret who operated in North Africa, I can tell you this was their Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), and is available via open-source channels and simple connect-the-dots.

 

The border police are understaffed and underpaid (if there at all), so they have two options: just make a run for the border and drive across where you know it’s unguarded, or play it safe and pay off someone in advance to look the other way when you come across.

Pay off the local governor and/or police chief of the area that you’re going to operate, possibly a few military officials, and ensure that nobody comes in the direction where you’ll set up camp, and if they do it’s just another shallow grave in the desert for them.

Again you have to understand that many parts of the world don’t value human life as highly as we do in America.  You can call me crazy for saying this, but it’s based on real personal experience, and is why Americans line up and donate more money around the world to relief causes than any other country, many times over.

Once you’re in the country, you don’t need a drivers license to get around, you only use cash to buy supplies, and the government doesn’t have any real way to track you via satellite imagery, cell phone or GPS tracking, highly skilled intelligence analysts or cameras around the country.  That is, of course, unless America or another first world country concerned with their own security provides it.

Again, if you think that I’m crazy and just making up a nightmare scenario, consider Afghanistan.  This is how the Taliban and Al Qaeda set up and operated there, and are currently operating in the remote Waziristan regions of Pakistan, as well as the Sahara desert, Yemen, and other locations around Africa and the globe (especially growing now in the islands of Southeast Asia).

 

To the average person it may seem like an easy solution; just send drones over the entire desert and hunt each of them down.  Do a quick Google search to see just how big the Sahara desert is, then understand their are Bedouins who have lived out there for centuries and we can’t just kill indiscriminately, and you’ll start to get an understanding of why that sounds much easier than it is.

 

So now let’s move into my second point: the expectation of the rest of the world that we’ll be there to protect them.  Think of America as your Big Brother (funny enough that it’s our own description of our government).  You and your big brother may not get along; although you love each other, you probably fight all the time, with him usually beating you up and subjecting you to humiliation and wedgies.

But while your big brother beats up on you or may not let you sit at the cool table with him and his friends at lunch or the mall, you still expect him to help you if you get in over your head and get jumped or beat up by other people at school.  He’s your big brother, and it’s expected that he will help you rather than laugh and point.  If he doesn’t help you, you’ll harbor a greater grudge against him than even the kids who beat you up.

That’s how the world sees us.  Even the countries in the Middle and Far East who love to badmouth us in the public eye (see Syria, Egypt, etc), they still expect us to help when the going gets tough.  Sure, there are other large countries around with the ability, but the world knows that Russia and China couldn’t care less about other countries unless it serves their economic interest, so America, whether we like it or not, are the de facto big brothers, and world police.

So now let’s focus on the textbook example of this, Syria, and what is going on in the world today, and why we’ll see long-term consequences of our inaction there for generations to come.

We had a prime opportunity to step in early and handle the situation, at least offer some major assistance, but due to our own political mess and spineless politicians focusing on political theatre, did nothing, or very little.  The people there are being slaughtered by their own government, and while we’ve stepped into similar situations in the past, the administration chose the route to sit this one out, and only sent MRE’s at their expiration date as our assistance.

To cover their own rear ends, the politicians who chose inaction have let a huge smokescreen fly across the American media to make them look like the good guys, with the current news bytes showing Al Qaeda operating with the Free Syrian Army, and purporting that this is why we didn’t help.

Not so much.  Al Qaeda only stepped in and took hold there because this big brother sat on the sidelines doing nothing, and they stepped in to fill the void.  Why is this so bad for us?  Because regardless of reality, the world saw what was going on, and saw that while America stood on the sidelines, Al Qaeda stepped in to assist those who needed help, strengthening their view as freedom fighters to the Muslim world rather than terrorists.

Whether we like it or not, every child who survives this in Syria, whether the Free Syrian Army is victorious or not, will remember what happened.  Every child who lost one or both parents, who was displaced to another country as refugees, who sees the horrors of a long and protracted civil war, will remember that while America stood by and watched, Al Qaeda stepped in to help, and that is where their allegiances will fall.  If they’re ever asked to strap a bomb to their chest or attack an American convoy or embassy, this will be the deciding factor which may very well validate it in their minds as the right thing to do.  And it’s our own fault.

 

There is a great quote from a movie, I can’t remember which one, but John Malkovich plays a domestic terrorist, using cover as an American businessman just returning from a trip in Asia to give this story.  He tells someone over drinks (this is paraphased), “the reason the Japanese are so good is because of their outlook; American businessmen look only at the next quarter, while the Japanese look at the next quarter-century.”

Our current inability to focus on the long-term, big picture, global perspective is going to get the best of us if we don’t get it in check, economically, politically, militarily and in terms of our own future very soon.  We are cutting off our own nose to spite our face, and I blame most of it on our own broken political system.

Sure, money is tight, but we still have politicians lobbying for massive pork and bridges to nowhere (remember the money that went to Kentucky as a result of the last “government shutdown” deal?), but we pretend we can’t afford to pay for our own global security and stability.

So the next time you hear a protester on the street or newscaster telling you we shouldn’t be the worlds police, I hope that you remember this article, and understand that whether we like it or not, that’s exactly what we are (and have to be).

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RPL on Tactical 16 Radio with Silent Jay tonight 11/5/13

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If you haven’t heard the new Tactical 16 radio show with Silent Jay at their new home with Vets on Media yet, now’s the perfect time to tune in and have a listen.

I’ll be calling in from far away to talk with Silent J about their new home, my new home, my Special Operations book “Love Me When I’m Gone” USA Cares, my new deal with Tactical 16 and maybe even a few tidbits about my new fiction book to be released under Tactical 16.

You can check out the show and listen live 7-9 EST via the link below, or visit the Vets on Media website for archives.

Live Show Link

www.myradiostream.com/vom

Tactical 16 radio website

http://www.vetsonmedia.com/radio-shows/tactical-16/

 

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Author Robert Patrick Lewis on The Herman Cain show Veterans Day (11/11/13)

 

Tune in Veteran’s Day 2013 (11/11/13) to hear former Green Beret and author of the Special Operations book “Love Me When I’m Gone” Robert Patrick Lewis talk with former Presidential Candidate and Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain about life as a Green Beret fighting the Global War on Terror, his beloved Veteran and Soldier’s charity USA Cares, and his new fiction books to be released soon.

To find times and stations to tune in and hear the show, follow the link below to see them all:

http://tunein.com/radio/options/The-Herman-Cain-Show-p55858/

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soldiers, troops, war, meals, deployment

Leading by example/hot meals for troops

What Happened to Leading by Example?

            I really try not to complain just to complain, but I feel that this media provides me the ability to have a sounding board to address issues which, for some reason or another, I feel qualified to talk about, and/or see that the mainstream media isn’t honestly or accurately covering a subject.

I was reminded of something today that I heard whispers and rumors about not too long ago, but seemed to die in the wind very quickly.  Being that I haven’t been back to Afghanistan in about five years, but it looks like I may be back there very soon, this was an issue that for me, like many Americans, fell off the radar as it didn’t get much coverage.

The issue that has me all hot and bothered today is one that, when I really sit down and think about it, has many parallels into the bigger picture of how our country is being run, and by whom.  The issue that I’d like to remind everyone about and discuss today is the fact that troops in Afghanistan are no longer receiving hot breakfast or midnight chow.

I’m going to address why this is a much more important issue than say, you missing lunch breakfast because you were in a rush, but I’d like to remind you of a few things to put this in context.  In his time as President, Obama has now taken more vacations and played more rounds of golf that any former President to this point.

Congress and the Senate have made no cuts to their own pay or tax breaks (even while the Democratic politicians decry that large American CEO’s companies who pay millions in taxes aren’t paying their fair share, they haven’t made a single move to lean themselves).  There are rumors that the Obama Africa vacation (not official business, but another vacation) will cost in the hundreds of millions of dollars.  Way to tighten the belt while so many Americans are in financial straits and hard times Mr. President.

As much as the Left likes to decry and punish hard working industrialists and business owners, I know quite a few small business owners, and several who have turned their fledgling businesses into successful behemoths (which THEY built, not the government).  Every one of these men I know who is now extremely successful is only that because they understand delayed gratification, and were able to follow the age old saying “if you can be a lean cat in fat times, you can be a fat cat in lean times.”

This means that when times got tough, they tightened their belts.  When times were great, they didn’t loosen those belts very much.  When the business was hurting, they took pay cuts before any of their workers, spent much more than 8 or 12 hours a day working, and paid for their success in blood, sweat and tears.

The old joke that all Republicans are businessmen, and all Democrats are lawyers seems to be singing quite true these days, and the fact that our country is being run by someone who’s never run anything before or had to face fiscal responsibility is showing in the way that Obama is treating the USA as a lawyer looking for padded billable hours, rather than a businessman trying to keep the ship afloat and maximize efficiency.

So even though we have the most lavishly spending President anyone can recount, a Congress and Senate who don’t pay taxes, can legally benefit from insider trading, and billions spent yearly on duplicate services because our government is “so transparent” that it doesn’t even know what its own branches are doing, we have to cut meals for our troops because we can’t afford to pay for it.

Bullshit.  The media outlets I’ve found who have reported on this story have brushed aside the important aspects of these meals, and being that most of our blue-blood journalists and politicians no longer have military service under their belt (God forbid they actually give something back to this country), they don’t understand the severity of this issue.

The two meals which have been cut may seem like no big deal to someone who’s never been downrange, so let me explain to you why breakfast or midnight chow to a soldier in Afghanistan is MUCH different than the oatmeal or breakfast bar you eat on your way to work.

Most of us here, safely at home, stateside in the USA (or wherever you call home), have a relatively normal schedule.  Even my busiest friends in the music industry like Mike Dawson or my movie producing friend Mike (man I know too many Mike’s) have at least a general time where they eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, hit the gym, talk to the family, etc.

When you’re downrange in a combat zone, all of that goes out the window for combat operators.  The support and logistics soldiers have a little bit of normalcy and routine, but when your job is hunting bad guys, time is non-existent.

In Special Forces, we had a routine called “reverse cycle,” which plays a number of tricks on your mind and body, and was probably the toughest part of a deployment.  You see, we are called “The Green Eyed Devils” because we typically do our hits (missions) in the dead of night, and the Taliban and Al Qaeda got to know us by our beards and “Green Eyes,” illuminated by our night vision goggles.

But after you put enough of a dent in a terrorist network by pulling bad guys out of beds in the middle of the night long enough, they, like all of nature adapt.  To keep on top of them and never let them know what we were doing, we would go on “reverse cycle” as often as possible, switching from all night-time hits one week to all broad daylight the next.  They all have to lie down sometime, and our goal was to get them while they were dreaming of their 72 virgins, goats, or wherever they spent their trips to la-la land.  Doing this is highly effective, but means bed time will be 10pm one week, and 10am the next, hence the name “reverse cycle.”  When your sleep schedule is reversed that drastically, imagine what happens to your eating schedule.

So now put that in context of the midnight meal that was typical on big bases which housed many Special Operations units who do these types of missions.  When you’re in the middle of a heavy combat deployment, you really do not know which day might be your last, and you have to treat every single moment like that is the day.  As such, every single meal that you eat could very well be your last; the last time you enjoy that creamy, chocolaty bite of ice cream, the salty, juicy and bloody bite of steak, or more importantly, the last time you break bread with your Brothers.

You see, this isn’t just some trivial treat, as the media and non-Veteran politicians would think and like you to believe.  For many soldiers downrange, there is no such thing as 9-5.  Special Forces, Infantry, Intel specialists, computer techs, gas pumpers….a base downrange is running 24 hours a day, which means there is a large group of people working around the clock.

When a non-Veteran politician or journalist looks at something like midnight chow, they think it must be some lavish luxury for fatties to stuff their faces with pizza and cookies if they can’t sleep.  When a combat veteran looks at something like midnight chow, we remember just how good that omelet tasted, sitting around with your Brothers, trying to crack jokes, make light and forget that in an hour you’ll be on a helicopter, headed out to a dangerous mission which one or all of you may never come home from.

I still remember the first meal after the day I was blown up and shot; too high on morphine and fentanyl to have any appetite, still couldn’t feel the fingers on my left hand, any of my arm except the screaming pain every time I moved it, I just sat around the table with my Brothers, thanking God with every breath that I was still alive.

It wasn’t until they started poking fun at me for not eating (it’s a very well known fact amongst my friends just how much I love to eat) that I decided to go back and get a plate of food, which I devoured once my brain turned on from the constant buzz I was hearing and realized just how hungry I was.  If it hadn’t been for that meal I may have never popped back out of the numbness that comes from the shock of being injured in combat, so yeah, I take meals in a combat zone pretty seriously.

There was a day when we used to cherish terms like “lead from the front” or “the buck stops here.”  We are in an era where people see fit to elect politicians based on whose going to give them the most benefits for doing the least, rather than those who have proven themselves to be capable leaders and have stood up and defended this country by donning a uniform when it was time, and we are reaping what we sow.

Remember that politics and public relations are all a game and a play on words; when you have a politician or journalist with zero military experience trying to tell you what’s best for a soldier, don’t waste your time listening; find a veteran or an active soldier and ask them, the only people who seem to have the true picture and idea of life in a warzone.

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