Sunday, June 24, 2007

Riding Off Into The Sunset

Dear Readers,

I'm sorry I haven't posted for a while but there's a pretty good reason. I've been training my replacement. So this will be the last posting I will make while I’m on the ground in Iraq. We’ve been gone from home for almost two years. Our task force has lost a total of 20 soldiers and even more have been wounded and sent stateside for their recovery. The “family” I’ve been with throughout this deployment has almost come to an end. At the current time we have not been told exactly when we’re leaving or arriving due to security reasons but we know it is somewhere in the next few days. Shortly after that, we’ll arrive in the states, and then back to our homes, our families, and our “lives” that we left so long ago.

I’ve spent my entire adult life as a soldier defending the principles America was founded on. My career with the Army has been mixed with different experiences, friends, and memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life. In twenty-two years, this journey has taken me to all seven continents, fifty-six countries, and across cultures only read about in books. I’ve been to places that are considered significant for different reasons throughout history. I’ve lost friends along the way and gained more as life continues.

I’ve been there to witness the worst of atrocities, violence, and behavior that mankind is capable of. I’ve also been there to see the spirit of human “good” in the best and worst of times. I’ve seen people put their differences aside in order to save children, families, neighbors, and countries. I have been there passing through time witnessing and participating in moments of our history that will be remembered, studied, taught to future generations and eventually, forgotten. I’ve witnessed the Challenger explosion, the invasion of Panama and capture of Manuel Noriega, the invasion (and subsequent) liberation of Kuwait, the fall of the Soviet Union, the dismantling of Checkpoint Charlie, the Balkans war, the war in Rwanda, the war for Somalia, the attack on the United States on September 11th, the fall of Saddam Hussein, the global war on terrorism, the miracle of the first generation of children being born into a free Iraq, the deaths of Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and others that have played a poignant part in history. I’ve seen our country endure through the challenges of different administrations. All of these events have happened while I and others like me have remained in the shadows of our history securing your freedoms and liberties.

As I’ve been receiving letters, cards, and messages of encouragement from all of you I cannot thank God enough for blessing me with such wonderful friends and readers. I feel that I’ve entered the “twilight” of my military career with more than I deserve. In my short life, I have seen and done more than most people three times my age.

In closing, I will probably not post for a while once I get back as I will spend my time getting reacquainted with being home, with friends and with family. I will enjoy the last couple of days here turning in equipment, saying goodbye to my rifle, updating phones and addresses in order to try to stay in touch. I will see some of my friends and family but I will make it a point to fade into obscurity as I finish this part of my journey and start another. In time, people will read and remember some of the postings I’ve made, but (like life always is) they will move on with their lives. I will do the same. One of the greatest privileges I’ve ever had has been to be a soldier for the United States. I never want anyone to feel sorry for me being gone from home, going to combat, or suffering as I have because of being a soldier. This is a life I’ve been granted and a duty that I have upheld to the best of my abilities. I’ve kept doing it for as long and as hard as I could because I was compelled to do so. God doesn’t send us where we want to go, he places us where we need to be. Again, I thank you for your prayers and support and wish you and yours well.

Coconut Commando


Anonymous Anonymous said...

An excellent way to end your posts. Its clear you believe in what you have done and are clearly a bit sad to leave. As most of you I am sure are happy to be coming home to family and friends but are saddened by leaving the family and friends you've grown so close to in the last 2 yrs. I wish you well in your future endeavors and Thank you for a wonderful read and many good moments of inspiration. God Bless you!!

Proud Red Bull Wife

5:40 AM  
Anonymous MAJ Simer's Wife said...

We are sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo looking forward to having you guys home! It's been a long time with many sleepless nights. You can be very proud of the work you've done. Have a safe and speedy trip home.

8:10 AM  
Anonymous camojack said...

Best of luck, now and always!

Be safe...

12:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While your writings will be sorely missed, i am SO very glad you get to come home. Thank you not only for your blog, but for your lifetime of service for our country. You are to be commended and honored.

A true hero.

i hope the re-entry to the States goes well for you, be gentle with yourself during that time.

Thank you again.

7:56 PM  
Anonymous Cap'n Bob and Damsel said...

We'll miss the blog, Commando. Thank you for the great stories, for reinvigorating our support for you and the Military, and for your having shared all this with us.

God Bless, God Speed you to a safe return.

5:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Coconut, Thank God first of all that you will be coming home safe and healthy and thank you for devotion and integrity and guts you have shown,that are above the ordinary. I am so thankful to have crossed your path and I will remember you always when I pray the 91st Psalm. Thank you thank you thank you, Bless you Bless you Bless you. Love in Christ, Judee Dufresne

2:51 AM  
Anonymous John Frazer said...

Bravo on a good blog -- thanks for your service, and safe journey home.

9:18 PM  
Blogger Laureal said...

So, you're finally coming home! That is AWESOME!

Take care and enjoy! :)

11:51 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

What a wonderful blog. Thank you is not enough I know, for what you have done for us all here In the USA . May God keep you as the apple of his eye throughout the rest of your time there, and after you have been reunited with your family back home.

God Bless

5:26 AM  
Blogger Beach Girl said...

Commando, here is a link I hope you see and somehow pass on to your fellow soldiers. The post is General Patton on War on Terror.

Thank you for all of your compassion and strength. I know the men who served under your command loved you and love you still.

I remember your story about the wounded soldier upon whose chest you left a torn-off patch. May God bless you and your family.

As another commenter said, "Be kind to yourself" when re-entering the everyday world.

I look forward to you continuing your blog once you have had a chance to get acclimated to "state's-side". My husband fought in Vietnam and the adjustment can be very nuanced.

Your posts speak to the honorable man that you are. God bless you and uplift your loved ones on your return. Thank you.

3:56 PM  
Anonymous Jim Baxter said...

Every September, I recall that is more than half a century (62 years) since I landed at Nagasaki with the 2nd Marine Division in the original occupation of Japan following World War II. This time every year, I have watched and listened to the light-hearted "peaceniks" and their light-headed symbolism-without-substance of ringing bells, flying pigeons, floating candles, and sonorous chanting and I recall again that "Peace is not a cause - it is an effect."

In July, 1945, my fellow 8th RCT Marines [I was a BARman] and I returned to Saipan following the successful conclusion of the Battle of Okinawa. We were issued new equipment and replacements joined each outfit in preparation for our coming amphibious assault on the home islands of Japan.

B-29 bombing had leveled the major cities of Japan, including Kobe, Osaka, Nagoya, Yokohama, Yokosuka, and Tokyo.

We were informed we would land three Marine divisions and six Army divisions, perhaps abreast, with large reserves following us in. It was estimated that it would cost half a million casualties to subdue the Japanese homeland.

In August, the A-bomb was dropped on Hiroshima but the Japanese government refused to surrender. Three days later a second A-bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki. The Imperial Japanese government finally surrendered.

Following the 1941 sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, a Japanese admiral said, "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant..." Indeed, they had. Not surprisingly, the atomic bomb was produced by a free people functioning in a free environment. Not surprisingly because the creative process is a natural human choice-making process and inventiveness occurs most readily where choice-making opportunities abound. America!

Tamper with a giant, indeed! Tyrants, beware: Free men are nature's pit bulls of Liberty! The Japanese learned the hard way what tyrants of any generation should know: Never start a war with a free people - you never know what they may invent!

As a newly assigned member of a U.S. Marine intelligence section, I had a unique opportunity to visit many major cities of Japan, including Tokyo and Hiroshima, within weeks of their destruction. For a full year I observed the beaches, weapons, and troops we would have assaulted had the A-bombs not been dropped. Yes, it would have been very destructive for all, but especially for the people of Japan.

When we landed in Japan, for what came to be the finest and most humane occupation of a defeated enemy in recorded history, it was with great appreciation, thanksgiving, and praise for the atomic bomb team, including the aircrew of the Enola Gay. A half million American homes had been spared the Gold Star flag, including, I'm sure, my own.

Whenever I hear the apologists expressing guilt and shame for A-bombing and ending the war Japan had started (they ignore the cause-effect relation between Pearl Harbor and Nagasaki), I have noted that neither the effete critics nor the puff-adder politicians are among us in the assault landing-craft or the stinking rice paddies of their suggested alternative, "conventional" warfare. Stammering reluctance is obvious and continuous, but they do love to pontificate about the Rights that others, and the Bomb, have bought and preserved for them.

The vanities of ignorance and camouflaged cowardice abound as license for the assertion of virtuous "rights" purchased by the blood of others - those others who have borne the burden and physical expense of Rights whining apologists so casually and self-righteously claim.

At best, these fakers manifest a profound and cryptic ignorance of causal relations, myopic perception, and dull I.Q. At worst, there is a word and description in The Constitution defining those who love the enemy more than they love their own countrymen and their own posterity. Every Yankee Doodle Dandy knows what that word is.

In 1945, America was the only nation in the world with the Bomb and it behaved responsibly and respectfully. It remained so until two among us betrayed it to the Kremlin. Still, this American weapon system has been the prime deterrent to earth's latest model world- tyranny: Seventy years of Soviet collectivist definition, coercion, and domination of individual human beings.

The message is this: Trust Freedom. Remember, tyrants never learn. The restriction of Freedom is the limitation of human choice, and choice is the fulcrum-point of the creative process in human affairs. As earth's choicemaker, it is our human identity on nature's beautiful blue planet and the natural premise of man's free institutions, environments, and respectful relations with one another. Made in the image of our Creator, free men choose, create, and progress - or die.

Free men should not fear the moon-god-crowd oppressor nor choose any of his ways. Recall with a confident Job and a victorious David, "Know ye not that you are in league with the stones of the field?"

Semper Fidelis
Jim Baxter
WW II and Korean War

Job 5:23 Proverbs 3:31 I Samuel 17:40

vincit veritas

5:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just came across your blog. Nice posts, it definitely hit home; reminding me of my time in Iraq. BTW, nice GEN MacArthur reference in your last post.

4:19 AM  
Blogger ROGUE GUNNER said...

Thank you for your service and stay safe


7:03 PM  

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