Goal to work towards…


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So I happened to be cruising Military Athlete’s website today and noticed they had a training plan in their store called “GORUCK Challenge”. GORUCK is short for Go Ruck, or take your rucksack and go play. The picture displayed above is an example of a ruck. An 8 to 10 hour event, averaging 15-25 miles. I love ruck marches. I used to get myself pumped up carrying a pack full of shit on a contact patrol or an op to establish a listening post/observation post because when we got to where we were going, we were going to fuck somebody up. I carried that motivation with me every time I rucked, because it gets intense. Rucking is probably the one of the only intense events that feels better and better as I get more tired and the march gets more intense. This challenge incorporates team based events and draws heavily on military and leadership experience. This may be a good way to channel and focus a lot of the negative emotion I have going on right now. Forgot to mention, the picture above is my ruck. Made by Granite Tactical, the Special Mission Patrol pack is about 9x14x22, and weighs in at about 6 pounds empty. Has a kidney pad, padded waist belt (VERY important for distributing the weight from your shoulders and back to your core), a radio/hydration pouch, 2 ports up top and 2 ports on bottom for comm antennas, radio handsets and hydration kit tubes. Has a shit ton of MOLLE webbing for modular attachment of pouches necessary to store quick access items like first aid kits, ammo and demo. Bought it for a 3rd deployment, I didnt end up going because the Corps decided it wanted to send me to recruiting school instead, which is just as well because we were pregnant. Ruler present to give a size context.

“I am the Master of my fate; I am the Captain of my soul.”

Another ‘300’ themed sketch


At work, the managers of the courses we assist in developing curriculum frequently demonize us because we also check for errors and compliance to applicable order and regulations. My visual interpretation of their description of my last review of a Navy Course Training Task List. I did not help develop this, it isnt a course Im assigned, but I tore that mother fucker apart.

“I am the Master of my fate; I am the Captain of my soul.”

Live Your Life


If you’ve never seen the movie “Act of Valor” you’re missing out.  Well, maybe.  My wife would say that the dialogue in the beginning is obviously scripted, forced, and sounds unnatural.  I agree, but they’re SEALs, and they sound just like Marines trying to act: shitty.  After the “shit gets real” everything clicks, and acting and dialogue sound like the should, which is what they’d sound like in reality.

Anyways, at the very end, after a character dies, a letter to the dead character’s son is narrated by one of the members of the SEAL Team.  The original poem by Tecumseh is a bit longer; and while all of the bits are important, I believe AoV made a very powerful bit of inspiration with its excerpt, listed below.  I think this, combined with “Invictus” are the two most powerful sources of written inspiration I’ve had the privilege to read.

“Live Your Life” excerpts

So live your life that the fear of death never enters your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people.  When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.

 

“I am the Master of my fate; I am the Captain of my soul.”

Having a bipolar wife means…


That she will have just as hard of a time dealing wth who she is and what she has done as I will.
That at the very minimum, my life will be very interesting;
That she could not have a better husband than me;
That I will have to be vigilant for us, for the rest of our lives;
That there will be many times where I will like this is impossible to do or that I cannot go any further;
That there will be episodes in the future;
That I will feel like sometimes she doesn’t love me anymore;
That I will not know if anymore affairs happen until she has come to terms with the fact that they did;
That I will spend a significant amount of time worrying about whether or not she is having an affair;
That, despite all the destruction her episodes can cause, I can say as a fact she is the most wonderful woman I will ever meet;
That, despite all the pain she can cause me, I am still blessed to love, and be loved by, her;
That eventually I may want to abandon my vows of marriage to her, even as in her episode she,broke hers to me, but I won’t, because I love her and will not abandon her in her time of need.
I am in my marriage to stay, until she no longer wants me, or no longer wants to uphold her vows when she is not in an episode.
I will be strong for you when you can’t bear the weight of your emotions
I will see for you when the world is a blur in your mind
I will hear for you when the word is a roaring tornado of sound;
I will feel for you when you become detached from the world;
I will be here for you, when all of the world has left you.
I love you.

“I am the Master of my fate; I am the Captain of my soul.”

New doodle


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I got a new dry erase board at work and didnt have the mount to hang it up. So instead I decided to doodle on it and spent a few minutes illustrating the view that some course managers have of my office. Some notes: I work in academics and have oversight on curriculum development. A TPP is an important curriculum development document for the Navy. Training Project Plan-outlines the course purpose, scope, and resources requires. If they never involve us in their development and turn in a load of shit, they’ll get something back that looks like a binder of what the fuck dipped in a bucket of red pen. You have to have seen the movie 300 to get the picture. Im going to improve this and possibly make a series out of this, like adapting 300 to our office and recreating important scenes on my dry erase board instead of highlighting working tasks and important dates 😀

“I am the Master of my fate; I am the Captain of my soul.”

Fallujah memories…


I was talking to last night about memories of my deployment; she recommended that I should write down some of the memories so that I can share them with my kids later.
I wanted to post this particular memory here because often times you don’t hear about things like this. Most of the time we don’t have the time or the energy to even let our minds wander.
Every now and then we occasionally see something that’s thought inspiring. One of those times was during Phantom Fury in 2004. We were occupying what passes for an apartment building, in Iraqi standards, on the north-west corner of Fallujah. I, and many other Marines slept in a very small apartment with 1 bedroom/balcony, 1 living room, and 1 bathroom (which for them is a hole in the ground/floor with a pipe to take the waste away-read this as NOT A TOILET). There were pictures of the wife, husband and two children. The pictures of the wife were at various ages throughout her life, and they appeared to be mid 30’s at the last portrait. I saw pictures of her without a veil from childhood up to the point where she was married. I saw the same pictures of the husband’s childhood, and their own kids.
I finished looking at the pictures and moved on to look at the rest of the apartment, which was filled with their possessions. I saw the adult possessions, and the toys belonging to the children. I was struck and couldn’t help but wonder: where did the family go? Did they make it to wherever they were going alive? Were they still alive? Was there even somewhere for them to go? How did they feel about leaving everything behind? What did they take with them? How did the children feel, and what did they think?
We aren’t mindless killers. We generally don’t even want to kill anybody. We want to live our lives, just like they do. Not that I want to find out, but I wonder what it was like to be them. Having a foreign military in an area you may have spent all your life in, basically ruling the place. Not running their day-to-day life, but when we showed up to an area, they were expected to part ways or suffer the consequences. The threat of IEDs was huge, and especially dangerous were the SVBIEDs, or suicidal vehicle borne improvised explosive devices. Here’s what an IED did to my truck as we passed it at 45 mph:

Post-IED

I literally almost died. The truck was on fire before we stopped, the truck was without power or hydraulics. The only reason we did survive is because my driver was able to fight the truck to a stop about 2 feet before we went down an embankment and into a swamp. Without hydraulics.

The text was something bRaving Bipolar added. This was literally minutes after an IED exploded on my side of the vehicle from one lane-width away. Instant migraine, hence the unsnapped chin strap.

Something else that was expected was that if we talked to you, you talked to us.

We weren’t being assholes. We just wanted to know if they knew where the insurgents were. They were in just as much danger as we were.
I love being a husband and daddy, and I am glad I gave up what I used to do. That doesn’t make me miss it any less. I loved going to Iraq and was hoping to go to Afghanistan before I got out. It takes a special person to re-enlist in the Corps, and especially the Infantry. My job wasn’t a 9-5, and it wasn’t fixing a truck. When you join the Infantry, you’re taking up a profession where the “goal” is not to finish the TPS report, it’s not to put a certain amount of information in the database, it’s not to serve food to customers and it’s not to field customer complaints; when you join the Infantry your job is to kill. Like or dislike, that is your job and you will do it.

Nothing says “I don’t like al Qaeda” like a Marine wielding 9 inches of sharpened steel and the will to use it.