Not that my sobriety is threatened…I won’t drink, because I don’t drink…but I am having a bit of a time with what’s going on in Afghanistan.
I never served there. My time-in-service ended three years before the invasion, but I have a bunch of buddies who did.
One in particular was Johnny Michael Spann…“Johnny Mike” is what we called him. We were Lieutenants together in the Marines. He was my Battery Executive Officer. All he talked about was joining the CIA after his commitment to the Marines had been satisfied. Maybe a year or two later, he did.
He was on the ground in Afghanistan even before the first Green Berets were inserted, helping to build support from those Afghans opposed to the Taliban and AQ. He was the first American killed in the invasion.
I remember hearing the news that a CIA field operations officer had been killed during a prison camp uprising and thinking “That’s sad, but it’s war.” Then I heard the name. Then it was reported that he and his wife and kids had lived 5 miles from me. Some time after his burial, I reached out to his wife, also a CIA officer, and expressed my condolences, telling her I had served with her husband, and how often he expressed his love of country. I think she appreciated it.
Another buddy of mine came to visit me, who had also served with Johnny Mike. Together we visited his grave at Arlington. He wasn’t the last friend we’d lose, but he was the first.
Following the news of what is happening now is really hitting home and my thoughts naturally turn to Johnny Mike. I keep thinking he lost his life for nothing, but I think he’d disagree.
Remembering you, my one-time brother-in-arms.
Big hugs. Prayers for him and his family.
For different reasons, but the news has sent me into a bit of a spin too. So sad on so many levels. I can only imagine the extra layer for those who have served and lost loved ones through the conflict.
It doesn’t feel like enough, but I am trying to hold space for and send compassion to all those impacted by war and struggle nonetheless
I’ve never served, - though do come from a military family - so can only imagine the bonds formed through service.
The seeming futility of the last 20 years makes each and every loss perhaps hurt a little more, though every loss is tragic.
The soldiers serving on the ground, in the air, and on the sea did so for noble reasons… But perhaps those that sent them there were not as noble.
Hope you find some peace.
Never served there, howevr had bullets wiz past my head chasing terrorists. Many friends were over there.
Lot of mixed emotions. Not just about the sacrifices that were made for all of this to end the way it did.
Mixed emotions about that country’s citizens that helped us, that will now live the life of run, hide, perish.
I have been in a severe funk lately. Your post brought tears to my eyes, as reading it brought light to what I have been actually feeling.
Prayers for you and yours.
Prayers for you too, my warrior brother.
There’s the rub. I much imagine Vietnam vets having the same emotions watching Saigon fall, in 1975, although that unfolded at a much slower pace.
Some years ago, a friend with no military experience posited his solution, while channeling his inner Curtis LeMay: bomb the Taliban into the stone age. My reply: How can we do that? They’re already there. As the saying goes,
“When landing in Kabul, set your watch ahead 8 hours, and your calendar back 800 years. Then you’ll be on local time.”
The student of history in me has always been skeptical of the west’s on-going involvement there. It’s not called the “graveyard of empires” for nothing.
Ah…I guess it’s a matter of re-mourning Johnny Mike, and counting my blessings. My family is healthy and safe. My wife and I are both working. I have my martial arts and my mountain retreat. I am sober.
There but for His grace, I go.
I feel you brother!
During OIF, I was deployed to an masked location. The days leading up to the second invasion. I being a young E-5, 4 young kids and a wife. As, I kissed all my kids good-bye. I told my wife as I looked at my 4 kids, “ Im doing this so they will never have too”! I was part of Command and Control, and knew what was happening almost before most Battle Commanders. In charge of sending out, SAR and deploying scramble and fast action response teams.
I do digress, little did I know my real life Brother was deployed with me in a different Branch and Unit at the same location on the FOB w/10k troops. He was an young E4 in the Army. He was following his big brother’s example wanted to make a difference. Although, I knew what the causalities and injuries were, and set MEDEVACS ups for out of Country transfers. My brother was in locations were he lost buddies. I thought, I knew what he was going through with his PTSD. He deployed for a few more tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Of course, this was before they even would take PTSD serious and had any real form of treatment. I had my demons but no way did I understand his. I got lucky, and was sent to DMZ in Korea. If you call it lucky, 6 months in to my remote in Korea, I got called by Red Cross and my Commander, that I would be on the first flight from Seoul, South Korea to Atlanta, GA. My brother had taken his own life on active duty. Longest 15hr flight of my life. I should had been able to do more for him.
To all my brothers and sisters out there it did matter; our sacrifices, our buddies sacrifices and our family sacrifices did matter! Our Country’s sacrifices mattered!
My two nephews are in the Rifles they have did a few tours there . ther mate Tom was lost his life there one of my nephews was due out on patrol but Tom went instead , he still hasnt got over it