« Jocko Podcast

339: Winning The War After The War: Braxton McCoy Fighting and Defeating Insurgents, Addiction, and Lies

2022-06-22 | 🔗

After being wounded in The Glass Factory S-Bomber incident, Braxton McCoy Fights his way out of the darkness.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This is just gas number, three. Thirty, nine, with mercosur and me jocker willing good evening are committed. Awoke face down in blood soaked sand. The world spun around me. What little sounds I could make were muff. An indistinct. It was like, I in twirled around an old tyres swing. Then flung into a swimming pool. When gather my wits any more than I could get my bearings the harder I tried to get a handle on the world around me, the more slippery my grip became. My strain to adjust to the scene, pains sunk, its fangs permanently. We have been hit by rockets. I assume this much. The coordinated attack. My confusion turned to panic. Oh god, oh god, please, god The sounds that surrounded me became clear.
I could decipher some individual words, but they seemed only to add uncertainty. Who is groaning I heard gurgling as someone tried to force air through a blood filled throat. The wounded and dying were bellowing. Both english and arabic scream of death filled, the air rage filled our hearts, medic medic, the walk bar. I brought myself up as much as I could the Sure too, that I was able to manage was not enough to make a significant difference. In my field of view, thought I heard the reports of rifle is that a k fire? I need to start helping my guys, I thought to myself we're being ambushed. Shock was setting in. I guess we tried to locate my weapon, a return fire, but I totally unable to move. I want I figure out why, but I couldn't get my
Howdy position. In a way that would allow me to look toward my legs, I could see both my arms at my chest. My arms were definitely broken. Ass Moses was spreading blood throughout the sleeves at my uniform, but I could still move them sort of a problem self up again onto my side and peered down toward my legs but when I finally looked downward in the direction that my legs should have been all, I could make out was thick black blood in a pile of muddy and trails. I'm cool Two I said aloud unsure whether I was talking to the dying man around me or to myself. I ran up it of organ through the finger tipps of my left hand, outs, certain that it once belonged to me: where did it fitness mess. I searched jumbled human remains that rested underneath me and wondered exactly where this little organ went, but I couldn't complete the puzzle.
My mind, drifted distracted We I wondered what was going. What it was going to be like to die there would be no way to save a man who had been cut in half. God, oh god, oh god, the screams filled my ears again, I'm it Johnny. Magic. Was that me yelling. I wondered I to look for the frantic american voice, but I could see was dark red sand limbs which had been formed from their torsos bloody men writhing on the ground, begging for death to end their suffering and huh, width of empty sandals. Lying there still rubbing that piece of what I believe to be a pancreas between the tipps of my fingers, I again contemplated what was going, what it was going to be like to die.
I going to cross over into some other dimension and meet Jesus like I've been taught my entire life, Was it all just going to go black like slipping ITALY, into a slumber, asleep that one never comes back from. Please don't Let this be my final resting place. I fought not this shithole not now, and that right there is an excerpt from a book that is called the glass factory written by braxton mccoy, And the shit hole that he was referring to, Should all that I'm familiar with a place called remedy I rack and the title the book, the glass fact
Three is a title that anyone who served in remedy instantly knows- and I have talked about. The glass factory on his part, cast a couple times. I've talked about it on the unravelling podcast as well the glass factory was place of a horrific attack where suicide bombers. Detonated themselves at a police recruiting event. Killing over fifty iraqi police recruits and also to americans, the americans that were killed, lieutenant colonel my Maclaughlan of mirth pennsylvania and sergeant Adam and from davey florida. And there were scores of women it iraqis and americans as well.
Many of them severely wounded, one of them was a young soldier who is also the author of this book. Braxton mccoy, and it is an honour to have braxton gear with us tonight. Talk about his. Experiences in war and. Perhaps more important. His lessons learned after the war. Then how he followed the path toward the truth, braxton thanks for joining us man, my surroundings, great to meet you, and I know you said this book one a while ago years ago. And somehow I look, I better get sent hundreds box actually, and I just it slip pass. My radar wasn't until I on twitter, and, I think,
someone tat you and me and said Ed paid doc. I was just talking about the glass factory on the podcast You came back and said something like he mostly right, apple errors, which we know, of course, as admired minors, yet minors, but you know, of course, I've. I've known I'm not going to know everything. I don't ever claim to know everything, but as soon as I saw you had a book called the glass factory that you were with their. You know. Why said: hey man you, you know, you said aid, you want this book and, I said absolutely and said talk about the part gas so here, your man thanks for coming down, not that you really gonna crazy to be here. Can you read my work is power weird? it's a ray. It's a great book and I should start off by saying this. You never know what you're gonna get when you read a book, and I think one thing that one thing:
you can measure a book by is How. Vulnerable. Someone is willing to be in order to you convey what happened to them and this book is raw. And you talk about things in this book tat I know had be hard as hell to write and that's one of the things that make it so powerful and The thing that makes it so powerful? Even though look it's a book, definitely there's theirs chunk of it that has to do with war and theirs think that has to do with his struggles after the war, but the most powerful part of the book. Is you figuring out. How you needed to live in a proper way and it's it's just an ep. Book it's an outstanding book and so anybody that is listening right now
jump on their will. Whoop will have on our website and go go buy this book immediately. We're going to read but today there's no way read the whole book, I know that you working on an audio book right now, so eventually bilbil to buy that. But you know actually never mind the audiobook. For now the the were the book is awesome and What's the deal with the cover, I read a little bit about the cover of the book, but where to come from the guy who designed it was a medic there. There was at the glass factory with me and we I told him I wanted. I told my wanted to be. Look like the window. It's you know the brass over the windows over there than the copper surf, but with a bow I wanted buffalo on there, so he kind of worked it in yeah, it's a very distinct cover, an plus its While this version is hard cover, So whether still hard covers available, like maybe three hard on my website
Those are as good as gone, plus they're as good as god. Anybody that, if you can get to one of those three hundred get it all what's your website, so people can rise, methodical, braxton, mccord our com, so there We just sold all those three hundred books and then the other ones are available on amazon. Those are soft cover, I'm assuming yeah, and we What we actually north african goofy political. But we try, we try to work on yet another print run and white paper sock, ashore and everywhere so really supposed to do. We have, For that we try to use a different, published publishing company out of otto, and they can check. We might have talk to other publishing companies that other people. Now, like my figure, we can do right, so the in the disease very interesting book and The things that interesting about the book. Is it s basically starts off with the attack on the glass factory, but in
it doesn't. You have flash with some flashbacks throughout the book, pertinent flashbacks, but there's detail, There's not much detail on how you grew up and probably that's the next book. You should write, is just summit experience at that made you who you are but before you that book censure sittin here less a little bit about you know how You did grow up and where you came from and how you ended up being who you are so where'd, you drop I grew up in well. I lived before. Utah solemn valley restarted, git expanded there was, place called the rose canyon states up as one just small ranches in ranch adds up south salt lake it now can have all the same valley, but back then it was like I dunno twenty five miles of town or so then I'd go to school every morning, and we are just a little horse operation out there. My my mother and father divorced. Well my mother married my stepfather when I was four, and so we are you pretty much been in my life.
Is this what was going on in the horse ranch? And what were you doing when I was a kid yeah man? feeding and watering and hidden golf balls and shooting arrows into the haystacks and shooting rabbits and lizards and man I'd get home from school and with chores done and go grab a backpack and throw a water bottle in there and get my bb gun and just hit up the mountain cause. There's nobody behind us and there's a correct, call, yellow fork and you can go up yellow fork. All the we opened a shoe every burden. One has to smoke five hundred woodpeckers. His daughter was thirteen and my grandpa had a thing for songbirds. You just love songbirds and I kind of get it now. As I age I like having them around my place too. So if I got caught, shooting songbirds, I get in big trouble but what backers all day, all the czech? Who did you step that have any military experience? No, no! father's, a
Father was a eager up on ranch, scipio Utah, which is where we are up moving when I was thirteen, but he reward to run after war too. I guess he joined the navy and an upper air traffic control eventually end of air traffic control out your top gun, and then he got out and now came home with a ranch and sold it. Certainly one do no day. I my life into the city- and he was an air traffic controller for delta airlines or something I dunno salt lake international for years, and then he ended up moving back after he retired and end, and what about your mom? Would she do? She was She worked for cisco is like a food sales rep for a while, and then she went into real estate now she's real estate broker. What what grandfather the grandfather you read about the book war,
primarily what was his background? He was a marine and then a plumber he's a plumber. My whole life just big time outdoors when he was all like everything for him was hunting and fishing working just so we can get out and hunt fish with his grandkids. Mostly did I got pictures of me and my two years old and has cowboys out the damn deer leg. In my hand, around your camp, like that, was his jam so now's my mother's dad and then you said, you move from one region to another ranch return. Thirteen year we moved down, we sold, sold out up there and then moved down to scipio utah, and my stepdad at about forty, had horses down there and are roughly forty head and then he's an electrical contractor and make ends meet, and then the horseman get went bust, pretty hard back in twenty two thousand on city. What was I to them? to marry. I can't remember
the first time anyway, when they pass the the no kill bill, no yeah, I can reference to dawn two two and four. And anyway it hit hard. I mean there was good horses on the market for nothin people just taken horizontal turn him out in the desert stuff might go I live for. You know. Sorta just die, no idea what to do. I I the reason I said oh yeah cause. I read an article about that not too long ago about how people are just letting their dumb guess, their domestic The stated horses go in there, not ready to survive out there, especially most everybody has gillings and no no wild horse. I heard it was going to let a gilding, and I mean the studs is going to kill. Him is not a mere and it's you know it's a eunuch and he don't need that around so I mean if you maybe mares could make it, but but even then it's doubtful their hooves or not. There is not built for it anymore. You know it's really how does the horse kill another horse? They kick bottom
so a lot of times or break their backs. Like stowed horses, though git up on their part and like this and flip them break their necks or backs and bite and kick- and I mean then kick the horse kicks another horse and how to kill easy for sure on a horse kill one of my cows last fall. At least as owing figure out to cows. Fine next day it was the now you're you're, pretty and sports to write when you're wrong. When did you start like wrestling in out of the sports? You northern star ruslan. So, as a freshman in high school play baseball, growing up and just inbox in my family's friends with the gym foamers, family friend or gene Fullmer, I'm sorry I was a family friend growing up and so getting punched in the head for bed. And then I got in it was a it was. I think, there's like a middle school, that's what it was. It was the middle school p you know or you'd go through, like all the different sport like bad
maintenance. Shit like this. There was like her. I read a wrestling section man I like this so well prepared. Bad. So, when my mom sign me up at the tree house with Yvonne even offer, while a was tree where utah and I was like- maybe an hour drive, and so I was taking his classes for a bit like cam jones and some of these other studs from like high school wrestling stones. Came on risk and then than we moved, and I went on a that first year, routes in high school and then after that, one move down to Furthermore, it did you still rustlers you gotta Filmore. Yes, if you wait what you Who is this? What you did you graduate from eyes? Two thousand three, how You do wrestling, did you make the state or anything yeah yeah? I want districts my senior year and then it stay. I ended up ass. The and is sucks about, I supersede I had a drink when the rest of the marathon coconuts all the time, but
I was weighing in with a gallon jug of water trying to get up to wait cause. I was wrestling to eighty nine and I just was like just didn't. Weigh enough. You gotta make the one sixty weight limit. I want making it estate what will cost two pounds. Lounge. He asked I struggled that's so pretty impressive that you only started wrestling your freshman year and you made it to state your senior year. Yeah are impressive. Ma am a junior. I think I was probably but a rustle about control. I was coming. What you do to get all this with it, so why I got me must have gone fists. Why and I got kicked out, we mean I had bought. It had since house little big time and I ended up. We got a pretty good scrap and
anyway, we had, we can live in the same place it anymore. So I went to live with my other grasp on salt lake and I went back to rivers in that year. Routes in high school- and I just was an idiot- outside he not going to school. My dad my whole life, my biological father, was like in and out of jail and stuff in prison for what moves the doing man. You know I our target stories on I know at least one thing was a white collar thing. Another were some violent things, but I don't know what you know anyway, I count adele. So he he was out for a minute, and so I was like well I'll just live with him then, and that was about it that lasted for like man he was out for like a month or something then been a step dad's. I got tough like a real. A tough job, yeah and he's a man who's. I don't want to sit and he had some issues of his own, so men like whiskey,
thousand damn grain been reactor, atrophied orders, eggers region rare. When did you? so you're hot near all as ground I hope your whole life elia bow hunting too. I started bow hunting in about fourteen cousin. Cody hasn't gotten me into he's. Actually, I think last week, I think it was you and try out for the world to day for a drastic low day history zone. At what point did you start thinking about joining the military? you know, gea jones shit as a kid. I always thought about it. You know, but I was you know what I thought for sure was going to go in the military, but then like there was nothing going on. You know I'm around understand why we would join with our support
So then I was just you know for sure. It went through a stretch where I thought I won't do this, and I was an f off and just riding bulls and just being dumb and partying, and every other thing that young cannibal kids do jason girls and such and then nine eleven happened, and I was This is what I was actually arabs in high school. Who sophomore made after starting your software. Yes, often where you yeah software, No junior do yeah cause. I just graduated in one three. I was a junior because I was at riverton my sophomore year, I was at millard yeah. We were slough in school and watching those like the first period. People were all over it. My cousin's house and one of the kids was there's a vacuum or, if he's from pakistan or whatever, but wait, the the friend of ours from middle East- and he was there with her signal washing stuff go down, and I feel like that always can help me like view things differently, because use
nobody know, but we saw we saw the towers come down. I was like man, I'm gonna go, I wanna go fly over there. You know so finished up school and then are well actually listed as a junior as first were clear, the talk to me- listen, listen. I was gone since over and this was the first grew darker with an army recruiter yeah. I was that yeah. I didn't know crap Grandpa didn't really like marine corps very much and the only thing he says I'll kill you. If you join the I hope that at least a dozen times grown up, and so that was not the marine corps. What did your grandfather fight, NATO, which war or no he's he split vietnam and korea and then it's brought his two little brothers went over vietnam and I think he was bitter about that. I mean I'm there. I never asked him why he the marine corps. So I really don't know- and I know we have
I to have a bulldog over here and when he was older, he used to say I say grandpa or when I was little and he was older, sir grandpa. What's that you know me, so it's a pitcher, your grandma bathrooms So you did you know what kind of job you have in the army. Did you even know that there are no jobs or no well, I mean really know, so. He shows music. Video kay the recruiter yeah, I almost say his name, but I hear he's not a bad guy. Just did Ben things are so show me this video and he's like check that out and these dudes are like jumping out of planes and shit. Like oh yeah, expand than one hundred percent. Like he's like this, we're going to do, I'm like hell, yeah and he's like see that one guy it's like the am soon I echo the eighteen echo or whatever and he's like to see a guy with that radio was like yeah he's like he gets paid. Six extra grand to join.
Teresa radio has I mean, that's not exactly how you said it, but he's like you'd get a signing bonus and all you gotta do is carry this extra twenty pounds of gear. Whatever you know he's like you're, tough enough carry twenty extra pounds onto him, not record before her frayed psychological or for you, tough enough right here in our suggests, I said It still pressure? Is me some I'm gonna hit the guy or down, but so that so what did you enlist? As did you haven't ammo s when you, unless there's a calm job thirty, one serious com, jobs, thirty one unified change- that, I think is a thirty one, uniform his home, and such like signal something I'd are honest. To goodness, did not a single things like I had I deeds. I could We feel singer. We rode there should in fact want to miles dayton girl and she was like what smart thing you ever did when you over there and as every time she's like. What's a thing took like the most brain, I sort of attack
at one time on this island and ass dancing about like oh shit. I just can't I really really in my at first. I thought it did, but then I remembered I give it to Adam The end you join the national guard right yeah. Did you tell the difference in the national guard? No, I don't. I I swear to you, I think, maybe twenty percent of kids at that time had any idea was gone so small town utah's, a bunch of those national guard. Brooding stations. Now no uniform says time. Thank you. Unless you have like a family member, the ten or something and then that's different, which my body most with had a family member that was in so that would insurmountable did, they tell him- I was up. Did he knows Gorner here's what I cabin there his? his brother in law, really good dude, I think, was like let's not You guys sent over under a mate grander god. I think that's if I get a little, did
I know yeah right and you know it's funny. The guard thing works out better for me because, had I been in an active unit with that shit, mls only never did anything ottoman stuck in the freaking cancun the entire time, so he kind of worked out yeah. So You did you go to book camp in between your junior and senor yourself, you see how to fully graduate year you fully. Agitated delay delayed entry and one of the continent, and If so, you fully graduated a what did you no, that you're gonna be activated and sent to overseas. I volunteered for it. So the I got to it through basic training and then what did you think when you got to basic training I'll, tell you so my request. I always tell people like when you get to book camp you're, not gonna. Like me anymore, there's gonna be two or three weeks where you're like Jacko. I hate that guy. If I ever see him will take us we're gonna cause. I know my own.
Was no matter who you are when you get to boot camp. You think the mistakes yes precedent for three weeks, but then towards Deanna starts, become right: you're like a school so I went for banning but poke side for banning and again you wake up every morning, screamin infantry and all the show. So my request, or had also he put me through. But the airborne physical and all the stuff told me that everyone on the contract, all this shit, I get into boot camp- and you know it like two weeks before when you're banning they call up there to give with the airborne on your contract coming here in line up line up, you know, go in there and he's like what the fuck are. You gonna say what are you talking about? He was like you in the fucking air, on the contrary, I guess so They weren't even in your contract, he he went as far as they put me through the airborne physical yeah, but it wasn't in your contract like why go through the physical. If it's not like why? No one else,
so anyway, I felt like a common will. What wow you know, I'm not running blameworthy forty! It is some salty you didn't like them to almost twenty years later than others When you go in and when you're gonna through boot camp in the national guard to be reservists, you It also that's like make it a little bit more comfortable because if you can find some comfort in the fact that, like god, well at least, I didn't go active duty sure, whereas if you're active duty you're like oh, this is the rest of my. This is an extra six. Four years of my life is to be in the respect by these crazy people, young and screaming, as you think, that's what the military like when you gotta look out. Yeah sure. Yeah I mean I guess, but I just wanna go the warm in so as soon as I got back to my unit after eighteen on stuff. She went to boot camp a I t, kicking ass in a I t, since you killed so many freakin woodpeckers grown up for you, like you, are your marksman expert and all that stuff I mean I shop fine, you know, I don't think I was but but the the
traders on those were really hardly used to them since the intruder first, but I mean I shall find what well what about just like being out in the woods and feeling good about all that, and it was great to kind of kick ass at about eighty yeah specially, like the text of a man like nothing like always do A word about like three days in the models like camp The only time had sought is when banning our final empty exit rain, which I think is true for, like almost anybody that goes through banning, but a rain for, like the entire time over hasty were like water up to our chest and stuff. You know, in fact, what once under nygaard my body, no help your ankles, locked and hasty. Whatever or he was he was sleeping and I was up and it was his turn. I turn around and there's a wolf spider like this big she's. My I put that sucker his eyes like
We can't make noise now don't give up anyway yeah. I was in fort louis washington has gone through seal tactical training, which is what would you do in your new guy? Then we, there's some pretty heinous mosquitoes where we were and I had learned to carry a mosquito out just carry like up blogger, We won yard square of mosquito netteke and now wait. If we laid up, I could just take that thing out. And just put it underneath my floppy hat and and talking to my car, I beg you to go, well. My my the officer that was in charge of us, bought, brought like a forlorn mosquito nets. Like you see our own, like maybe in some. British, colonists- would wear him like africa and MIKE one thousand eight hundred and seventy five or something big giant screen with the wicker bands around it, pushing it out.
And swearing. This lay up position and this other funding I didn't have any net a lot of guys actually didn't have any net, and so My body was sitting there catching mosquitos and putting them into this attempt lobby recently because prisoners geared directly traffic the work of the morning. Get out of that war was a ruler. The vote on recital c If you you put the spider on the oh yeah yeah it just. It was just funny to watch them spaz out when he knew he couldn't make noise yeah yeah. Let's get this mosquito was better, though so you feeling good at a I t, and the lord is in full swing right now writes what year is this? This is d, two thousand two thousand three or note: what was that one? Forty one three probably get: You you said you graduating two thousand three and you went right taboo camp. There was a couple months
right cause. I was doing concrete signs Congress, so I must have went to boot camp around october or something like so it's probably two thousand four couldn't well. That would no cause no cause. Well, maybe it was. I can't remember I'm sorry and then for I'm just try think time, phrase walks timeframe. What was no, I couldn't. I ran out of time. Because we ship ship, maybe I'm sorry now. I now I'm thinking we shipped out on january, twenty first of two thousand and five for a rat, so pray was two thousand for yeah yeah. So you got when got done with it. It's like today, the force of the wars going, but it's not gone crazy. Yet two thousand now feel like the low level conflict happening in iraq Then you ve got to get on with HIV. Then what did you go home and
to get attached to your unit, but you deplore right away. Did you. It was very long- I remember how long it wasn't very long at all. I went to the first drill thing: This is horrific we're going to drink. It was just I do, sir. Because you wanted to be well and is also just genesis, like certain doing, radio show why, in a car like office in certain like cars are not about it, and so it seems there is somebody to poison they said they had done so I was in drill a camera which adoration drew was browsing drill and they they, they had someone downstairs do and as our pizza go, I was as our p s
tarpey answer right, ready loads like where you get all your checking all your paperwork. Vaccination schemes should go out. I came up with the right. That's right, economic anyway. There downstairs doing that. Crap and and they said that they had slots, and so I went and talked to my first line leader and I was like I want to go. You know I want to go on this and he was like fine, you know, so he let me go down there and go how long did it do actually training yeah they attach to to get ready to deploy groundskeeper twenty eighth id they send us to swift. We yeah. So that was actually yes, we went straight from there. Or two from utah. I mississippi just north of harrisburg when at camp shelby and we did couple months, that camp shelby and then we did a month, rotation, anti sea, and then we should How was that? Did you feel like you're? Getting pretty well prepared? Yes, world has by then out. They put us stay, stopping
european steel, and so we had a separate training cycle. The same cycle, the secretory pathway, so other, then like company lie fires and stuff like this, we were all getting sick. I buy and most of the aussies were like rangers because the they were the only ones that really been doing pst for real had good our seas. I feel I can train was you. It was better trying. I got it around. So you immediately got attached to a group that what can we do in ptsd, which is per personnel, secured detail? That's worth that's it. They told you your job was gonna, be here. They pulled from within the union, and undeveloped appears to young because it an apple and then you went to you It up gonna anti sea, which is in force california, witches freakin, awesome training I mean they have whole city set up and villages and roll players and pyrotechnics did have all that stuff for you gotta, we ve
I'm pretty good about it. Man we were living in those circus. Tents like thirty days. That part is not fun yeah. The training was good. I feel like yeah, but the two uniforms for like thirty days in that circumstance was not my favorite, now at this time. Ramada his dark did you know when you find out you're going out to eat a remodel like you don't know day before we should, They were just they just get tsars taken strangers man because you might have to use that can stuff than grumblings, sunni, trying all you to discuss of company. You re right, do. I want how old were you at this point? Nineteen how are you this young adults, as others you get done with that. Now it's time to leave tv and blow it out before you went overseas We are young women and we mustn't time Louisiana.
And wait when you feel when you leave in what you're, what your parents same what your mom saying. Oh, my grandfather saying are worried, sick, yeah. My mom for sure was my grandpa. Just didn't, say much honestly, he really never did about any of but my mom was deaf winter, fine old time for sure she was happy in paris, I dislike kind of laughed a little rational, because I'm thinking you're ninety, like there's, nothing else in the world. You want to do on your mom's just horrified, but all all in all. There were as follows: now I get three boys now I'm a daughter and three boys and I think about all time I think we must be much much much worse. First, to send a kid off to war than to go to war yourself and I have always felt that it would be worse like when I,
was overseas. I think it was a worse for my wife than was for me because I no what's going on. Fi die, it's kind of, by whom he knew. How do you know? I'm not really gonna pick air to might seventeen, I guess it would be split second, but but you're, my wife is gonna, be stuck with all these kids. In everything, so No, I was felt like I was much harder for the people are staying home than it is for the people are going overseas worse still for kids, I think, like the children of their I think my kids were actually to young, could even understand they were before The ages of like, I guess, seven and three- is that right, yeah, seven and three or something like that, so I don't think they really even comprehended.
And now you know like one thing with me as I never I never like war, a uniform home she'll teams- you don't eat us. You know you got all you should work and used for your uniform get their way add, used brown shorts and a t, shirt and flip flops in your home and your kid just don't even know what I don't understand any of it. You know yes, thank you just go to work. Sometimes new travel, not oh! No, I don't my kids really connected it too much that they were that. I don't think they had the mental capacity or understanding to actually worry. I don't think they worried at all. I don't think they're worried one. Second, not like my. My wife did you know, smashing she's gonna do not grasp of his guys stuff like that I guess when the kids are a little bit older, probably right about all that, though, Yeah, it's like when I think, even now, when I go hunting for a week, or so I probably worry more than my kids do or miss my kids more than they miss me. Yeah yeah I get home,
I had my buddy life. You know he's got young kids right now, and he was taught me that are you are you in one deployment like with where you know he feels bad when he goes on a work trip for a week. You know, and- and I get it Maybe it's because he's older than I was at the time in I guess I headed that like kind of mindset that was a little bit, maybe not. Super good So what you find out a day before you find out you guys it was. It was either like a day or two for one long domino. I don't think it was a week. Did you the only thing about Romani yeah. I mean we're watching news and yet We should happened about a month or so before, like that. Maybe four year was found to remain something like that so yeah about a year before fluid
And so we are in a we had some. I knew her whenever all the bad guys pushed in the romani at that time, at least as historic browser. I think, there's pretty accurate just when you look at the level of violence from kaluza and in the level of violence and remedy. At that time, a deaf we flared up a lot, did you guys just fly over in like a c seventeen or something. How do you get over there? Now we flew over and unlike delta or some it was like a civilian jet to where to kuwait. Yeah, The way we are we went from missis baby and then fueled up in maine and then from now in the shannon ireland and then I'm shannon ireland to kuwait. Then you get, quaid. Now they thought he wants. You want thirty's, bringing innerlochy or how I drilled drove up. Huh yeah we We're unit know they flew them up, but our team was treated for the was pack and the log pack, all all that we drove up. So I
through napster, and so now it's two thousand and five five yea now to two thousand for what month I think may now june it was june. I think unity thousand five euro one up. So that's a freak trance that right there for speaking of it, who triangle you're going right through slovenia yeah we, the first day was not I mean, It was interesting to know what you cross those gates in their it's, like oil, is on fire and stuff and stern blowhole cars here and there scatter, but there's really not like anything going on in the south by rag sulphur first birthday, first nine hours- I came if it was so, we left bureau is where we rolled out of in kuwait and This was a scanner might when one of the first stop, I think scania was first stop anyway.
So throughout that in, like nothing happened and then but then you noticed can't taken in the culture and it isn't. It is for real culture. Truck play southern iraq. You know you! Anyone who spending time in mexico you ve seen poverty, that's different than poverty, america for sure, but the poverty in the south by Iraq is a whole new level. I mean do like still on pieces tarps from american citys like patch holes in their tents and stuff, so that was kind of a shocking and then you know kids coming up asking for water and food and in this kind of shit you know what I was like new. Or if you get slowed down somewhere, dudes want cigarettes tapping on him when oh yeah, so is it was
interesting to the sort of it was kind of it was in some ways it was good to get acclimated, but nothing really happened on that first two days and then on day, three we ended up hitting the vomit. It didn't detonate but ended up, discovering id the lead truck did, and this was between collusion and baghdad and sounds like our first real experience with doing anything for real encounter. How many vehicles like just a symmetric, how many vehicles are in one pack, just like all forty vehicle I die, I could have been one that sits in massive ya to it, glide six hours. I can remember threerd took hours and hours. If you know all these, I can, the law on the man, s away so When did you finally porno almaty? How many days it take you to get their three three days? You when wanna camp romani and they What's it like men, settling in you, ve gotta, give moved into a Eric sir. What were you? Would you go stay out now
yeah city didn't have any of that. Yet there was a big there was big mw are building at the front, and they just put us up in that. You know where they have that boxing ring and that stuff in the car they just put us up in that and carts for a week or two I can't remember, but it was easier. I think it was easier for us in some ways to transit. For the people that were going to go outside the wire. I think it was. Your for us for the first like mentally for that first week, because when we hit that molly had that one is a hidden didn't detonate night when we had that idee skull. I you know bathing fire in some ways like you to see all like what this war is really about to be for the next year. Will the night they can the rains that were helpless. They came. You know, tat, on the door more. Ok, we need help. You wanna go online. Hell yeah. So, like eighty four- and you know I gotta go
answer me in johnny, and these two marines went out up this det cord do what they did and I d- and he knows I honestly after I'd, been there for a while looking backwards as a very obvious set up right there is, I d and then its prayer, rug and his driver's licence was just left. There are as idee Coronel drowse. I suppose So that we were told we our time. You know you can't make it whatever just trace that deck cord and if it goes into the house cuz it was going out into this compound. You know who olive orchard type stuff so I got for goes into the house, just the house and come back now sancho. With simple for he gets the hoped. So we thought we had the edge of this compound known undermine this. Is you the two marines in your body, Johnny yemen. First line later
Well! I guess you stay my first line there, but ass for I got promoted and it was you now. They'd have those big. Obviously you know, but they have. Walls, no sooner block malls. This one had a gate. Those act and then you can see there the whole insides right wars go through the whole. So we go around and we come around that whole here, a generator runnin. I just assumed that it was in the back or something you could hear generator running. And then this dog starts barking like this little yappy dog and we're late. In my mind, the only thing we got gone force right now is for men is that nobody knows where here wins, components we want take plunging fire in this compound is for deeds very badly
So now I'm like, I can't wait to bowl that infant dog out man come try to hit that dude with my frag. So I'm thinking that as we're coming around toward the front of the two toward the front of home, and then once we take the right in sweden it's curtain house here and then take a right towards actual front, and you could see the det cord going into the house, and I was like oh yeah man. This is it's beyond Joe around the debt cordon then there's a black can happen. Like us. Do not have much report by stooped on that stoop was these sandals all laid out and like succession, you could tell us like dad mom. You know on older daughter and then baby dar with like diesel, two inch pink sandals men that arab
I had a little sister I still do, but I was very close to her at the time she was like six or seven at that time and then that hit me like a freight train, you know, will you know it's not as not just kill em back ass, all the time you know someone up happening. We goin off. We went all the way around. It ended breeding. But actually we went all the way around and the debt cord came out and went into his orchard in the back, so we try I looked through it a little bit and then one of the marines said: hey, I'm gonna, pull, pin flare out or pop a pin, flair and gy didn't hear so I'm like over here or in small ashore and report then, where geologists hits the deck was not so I got a good care care. We stop. Therefore minute we do see the decorous goin out somewhere and there was too
boots up in another home on a balcony, smokin cigars. You know with a case with oil, anyway, depending on situation, but we weren't, you know, I didn't know that too just walked back vehicles, but the thing is like almost guaranteed those duties. Wait and see what we would do like almost guaranteed We want to set up an early, and I mean smoking cigars on your. I endeavoured to fully yeah you can't unfortunately, can't even answer that question, because they would be doing the most. Why crazy, like science, our own failings, that you ever have imagined it a million years. You know like, like and since two forty in the morning, I had it approach, a target one time in my life of zion him and the guys, like, you're in a box with them. Walking towards were assault, the target. This bag anywhere assaulting authority in this guy's walk up. Looking cooper, suspect and my
herbs, ok, there's fifty cows pointed at me like a k and so. Finally, I just like, why does like aggressively approach him and No, we told them put the box answer. He sets a bog down at his feet and I get it. I saw a psycho like grab this guy and asthma. Wanna grab m p like Paul something out of his pocket and I'm so close to whom I had my weapon. I smashed his hand with my weapon and he dropped this remote that EU carriers? and yeah. It sounds all cool. Here's the deal, though this dude was drunk once we got to the bottom of it. He was drunk and in the box, was a video machine and he'd been over at his buddy's house, watching porno and getting drunk with his buddy, here. I must smoked in reserve. They do some dom shit man, and so you never know so what you're saying since you had a little bit of experience, drive up there, the guys that the guys that arrived via air.
We're sorta had to get used to going out in town yeah. They didn't didn't experience the culture you know, or at least even not necessarily that we experienced but even get a taste of it so their first time interacting was maybe not the birthday. You know, and we've got to kind of ease into it a little bit. So then what was your date? It was your lose your mission through mission, as a phd guy was to protect people. Do you know him what people, whether that's, a battalion commander brigade, commander support on road support, yoda occurrences. That was basically were you. Don't you, well, yeah, but then the our principles never really left, so we ended up just whom wherever came down, it's lots cure of stuff. What is it do? Support quite a few log back soldiers. The most miserable missions it's the only answer. He'd get drive all the way around lake haben. I am absolutely nothing's going to happen, except for gonna get smoked with an idea like they're just yeah those were
terrible cars are boring and it's just like a crapshoot boring and waiting to die at the same time. Yeah. That's like the worst. So that's like mostly what we were doing and then we, you know a few raids come down here and there and need somebody when cody that stuff drop temple like it's a varied a lot. Yeah it just very at an advantage or like we're doing like prison. Transport. The noun be like a two day, boring ass things. Ain't got thing with log packs, but then, if we back home, and there was none of that going on. Then we might have a little higher up tempo. You know to swear, but you are basically work, would you say you workin everyday gap for definite work in everyday yeah? yeah for outside to get off yeah yeah. I don't think we had a day off until they brought in on others, You guys, probably not, but they bring an shrinks camera. What month amount of in December
I can what month was anyway. They ended up brain and shrinks too the army was still have a problem with ptsd stuff on at home, with her so canopy aspect, anything and though they brought in these shrinks nose like if you ve done it play missions outside of wire. In this amount of time. Then they were pulling you off the line, putting you like on a guard tower for how long two weeks, of one year and when they did that with us, my first for sorrow, my top this is the staplers should have ever He killed a man, you didn't want to come in and just get soft. You know Yeah then also, you might start, did not want to go back out again cause you know you get that get time is too much time to think about it. Aren't you Was there any missions that you did that How do you that were particularly interesting or important missions, not really man.
He did. I answered normal dark man on dialogue, cool stuff. We did a raid with we just supported for We require more time on a red between remarks, in the syrian border, they some someone, Once we operator drones, they discover this compound out there that not even non existent again sand dunes, call it a big body farm. I think up. That's not ours, I like some classified shit or something on them, but I don't think big body font could be that concept. If it is, they need to work on their for classification. That's what we call okay so yeah me now was cool watching recant take that down was pretty cool but like we just normal like day to day, how to get blown up and try to shoot the people. Then you get shot, not the ones that down I'm just really was, cannot that's why
When I was right in the book, you know like a very basic, normal guys, soldiers story, So I don't think there is any for me permitted in smart. There is any sense in going into all these little minor yo this day, we got shot out here. Like the first time I took sniper. Fire was for sure memorable and in fact I'll tell you that's really cool, we were out on your trooper recall those just outside of than the other north gate. Before they had fortified that we just had a. We said like a big texas barrier up there and we were just sitting there. Waitin were the heck, we regret on the world stage to go somewhere yeah and anyway we take two or one round, first and then another round, but goes right over my gunner said he was sitting in in the humvee on the gun. You know, but he's just daydream, and you know course right through they had a piece. Accounting goes like right through the camel netting, and he here
And he looked like when you, if europe waterborne shoot them? That's almost like their legs come up when they hit the ground. Like a cartoon, that's like what he did. We thought he was dead now. I guess, like you just pile, up in the army, and so I was like words from was issued from us like trying to find words come From, but also not keep my head out for five months at a time I moved from side to side up and down just trying to patent. And finally, I said the only things can be used as covert like there's. Nothing else you could possibly be. Oh, we radio up and we re. Well more, like hey we're going to go get this. You know this. This is going to go check this covert. It's the only place. We can figure we get shot at from now. It's also possible that he was disliked out in the desert somewhere, I'm sure
further than we thought they were capable. But when you see a handful of iraqis shooting at you with like vacates, with no front sight posts or pulling off the eleven hundred yeah look at that cover two hundred yards away. There is yeah, so we've the captain like I want to go out with you guys, like. Oh, my gosh, okay, so we wait and we weigh a had be fifteen. Twenty minutes had to be. Waiting for the captain to show up had to be could have been longer. Some time gets there were all talking like there's no way to do so. There is no frequencies it's way there for twenty minutes like h e have, but not that so the captain gets there and we rule out and he's like gay. You know we'd, so we got truck,
your truck you're on the side of the covert, and I was like I'll go in and I pulled the flash bang out and he goes mccoy. Don't you toilet flash bring in there? I'm like what are you talking about things that could be a you exo irks me an id in there I was like okay. He said why don't you set this idea up while we're standing on it? I do it, I'm not going in that without throwing a banger, but I think I'd much rather have the flash being set. The iD office mccoy shit like it's, not happening man, and he he goes. If you throw that away. Being in there all right you an arc routine. Unless I get Fucking hell now I swear. I know that I swear, I got said, throw it in there and just so you know it's true sorry, because I throw a sucker in there and I jump off. Johnny comes in we're going in, and I panicked myself. So I saw my own banger. Neither it was you exo, so
like you, I saw your background rise like what you ex always like yours, I'm fuckin fire. What our words are exposed or unexploded ordnance louis was regular. It went off, but there's still like little chunks. You know better sit there. This is in fact out the guinness rigid article closet. Not catherine was kid duties on a what think it on online, hidden, rolling out there indeed man, it's hard, I'm assuming that he was fresh in country as well. Oh yeah, he was young man. You have no idea of like what's going on when you first in country have just no idea. It's hard and a young guy like there was a twenty five or some twenty four hour labour.
We want a used car or something like that. Primary twenty, maybe twenty six or something like that, but that is not all- takes four years takes four years to make captain or make all three so He might have been taunted. Yes was like twenty four, maybe twenty five I notice he doesn't like the wires. You know just run a battery like use them. You know. You just on what you said earlier about her you're, just a regular soldier all My guys, we all just that we all look, did you all like damn because you guys rob going out there, like you, said every single day, you're going out there to do random jeez of culverts, where you just taken far from a dislike shit like that on a daily basis and yeah. We wish the elder you guys in the highest regard, for you guys we're doing every single day we come back and regard often come back and we had good chow in MR chill out a little bit and if a guy,
like tired, like okay, you and you guys just get not tasking every single day There is another thing: I've talked about words like I'm no, which one of these there's there's a different psychological impact. A lot times army, guys, like boy we'd, be working with omnipotence there, like others, organ task to do. But where are you But all this very really got clear this. This block we got. There is tasked with what they're gonna? Do they don't have any real say in it? we had a complete. We have complete control. Like oh well. This is what we want to do, then we'll go! Do it. If we didn't want to go, do it, we wouldn't go to it up like pretty much We just made up what we wanted to do and there's prior to that because you know you can say hey out. There is a good time to do that, but it also when something happens. It's a hundred percent gives you said by this what we're gonna do so was indifferent psychological impact depending on who you are of how it ends up in your brain cause
for us any ways of that deployment. We did what we wanted to do. We picked and shows exactly what we want to do watched army guys gettin tasked hey you're gonna, go out unit. You know that road you got idead on yesterday, yeah you're, going down it again today you're the one who got iD two times before that yup you're, going down that one as well and guy just had a great their teeth and off times. Just that was the mission that go executed. We had more flexibility. But then again like I said that means when does go wrong to Zoe. It's a hundred horizontal me as now, That's my mission, I'm approving it! Let's go but yeah you guys? Are you talking about you just being a normal? I didn't do it didn't do much you're, no big deal, One out there every single day in that city is a frequent salute to all you guys How often would you say you you were taken contact when you guys go out, we weaken,
There are a lot of guys go away worse than that Sweden's a lot we, didn't take you out cuz. We would also end up on dumbass, like log pack shit. You know what I'm saying so then we're way out in to combat even on survivors idea, every single time, every other time or somethin. But in town I mean I don't I don't know down of anybody. Didn't we he skipped shot like you could, you sure, as hell could not go down route michigan and not at least have someone shoot at you guys over the eastern remedy and our Briefing the colonel. The sea just sort of awesome, guy and This brief in my what we're doing, how we're doin it- and I said you know, sir, my l but that's out used remedy they d been can't they ve been contact by the enemy, the last twenty three operations in a row and then until guy or my talk,
I've came in like while I'm saying that they're like they're, just to let you know, troops in contact with the guys need help. I said, sir, make that twenty four times in a row so yeah you were going to definitely going to, the enemy. Was there Nearly a review is definitely there. One didn't that everyone was just retaken same ground to redeem them in in every every idiot on the line was saying that this makes absolutely no sense. Well, we known You know we eventually ended up certain setting up, cops and stuff like this, but in the beginning it was just essentially were fired presence before lunch and present the troll is very stupid, stuff. But mean like army magazine other guys, don't we more than we were too so I blame arson from a leadership perspective. Would you see from the good leaders that you work for? Would you know spam. What made you want to follow integrity is huge one. Somebody from leader, superstructures into
I want to actually maybe integrity is not the right word yeah, the if, when you start seeing year, like your brass bullshit, you, you know it it's you. I mean it's really hard to get that trust back like just don't Maintaining or it is not our one name- a billiard even tells her. Stories, but there was a cop wars like man. What are you doing now? and here's a little warning for leaders, If you think that you're from line troops don't know when you're lying to him, her so wrong! You tell that far, my group at eight. I know this is no, don't worry, we're gonna do this later or this is what really happening everywhere. Can see right through it So if your lion to your people. They're gonna know your smarter than them, they know exactly what is happening and you can't bullshit these guys. So don't try and do it. Yeah one time. One of them came up with this plan. Our answer you, but
the operation decoy and we had an apache gunships for the day. But a slight shows me two weeks out: something in the plan was that our team will just take our trucks. And roll through until like ids went off my call for you see I'm right, but what I'm listening? you're going to lead vehicle. They haven't. I got, is this, like you just happy, doesn't helicopters yeah window, not haven't you down, but that was legitimately the plan and my my answer is, I know you can pass me non dunes check with that, that kind of covers some of the stuff leading up to anything else. You wanna cover leading up the glass factory. Alright, let's get into this book man again
book is called the glass factory. You can hear me ray parts of it that it is got its great. It's great story, your great storyteller, but the internal dialogue. What's going on in here of what your faults are different progress you're making as a person is, you didn't ask any books or get the book here. On the glass factory starts like this. The whole Recruitment push had gone smashing Lee thus far, but we were on our fourth day of this same drive and we already hugely surpassed our initial goal of two hundred new recruits. The men of remedy had lined up in droves for the opportunity to become one of the guys chosen to fly to Jordan for the highest betraying the: u S, government funded for them and later return to their home town to clean it up in fact
we had processed hundreds of candidates already the catch was. This is going to be day four of this particular mission, and we had all. We ve been promised three peaceful days. The problem was all the spot that we had for these future iraqi police had been, days ago was all just for show No one on our team felt like it was a good idea to put ourselves at risk for almost nothing but we were soldiers and that's just part of the job. Or so we are told gone to our humvee- I crack the joke. Well, what we'll get blown up boys. I was just trying to cut the tension. Probably mind more than any others but im not sure had the desired effect. Actually talk in a general grant he on here. You know he talks about the fact as he looks back user guide the forty zero delete it should have done it.
Actually, that is that's what he feels that's what he said you know you're not hindsight, those twenty twenty. What I know. I did it, though we do that it was frustrating for us was day to day charlize I mean they missed wildly, but they'd shot at us with rockets and then day three and that's just I mean maybe they were just shooting camera mountain but then, like I said, miss wildly dated free two deeds sat at the bus stop for like Fora. And we reported it up. I mean who's first of what are they waiting for? You know, doing the report, that up and about the reason that you know to defend gronsky, hear the reason that he went on with it is we had guys process and clear up until like midnight, and it was dark. We turned away a couple. Hundred people got it, so he didn't want them Why did you have the opportunity, even though no one was having the opportunity by then, but just a show of that every such that was my? Take
and then just from a strategic perspective here. The goal- was to have the local people from remedy. Join the romani police and then police stop their own city, so they could they could find. Hence the insurgents there and as you said, there's honey isn't that showed up? So that's pretty awesome! That's pretty great! feeling is all those people shown up. You want to help them and the call was made, try and get these guys in there. You actually and again, I'm not read the whole book or a novel. Let people get europe audio books, but you had an uneasy feel about this year, Iran is you wore like your winter. Your shitty went to warfare birthright those bits sucked, because you know they're gonna cut off you it's all. I mean that's the that's what you think in any way. You know at at least if you're gonna live I'd, want to keep my good boots. Yeah. I mean why there is too many things, and then I,
I don't know if it's premonition or what, but you just. I just feel like. I knew just knew. Fast forward a little bit, we put our team members in their places inside the glass factories walls and went outside and went out ourselves. I was I'll as we walked out the gate. Not that I, we feared being among iraqi people. Just in a situation like this, we are surrounded by roughly a thousand men whom you have our ability to directly communicate with things can spiral out of control very quickly. The otherwise p Four crowd could be overtaken by the chaos of the mob in an instant. And that should be frightening to anybody. Up and down the line of iraqis, we walk checking the crowd for france's. We went. We stop frequently to interrogate iraqis who looked eager, agitated or uncomfortable honesty. Most of them look nervous and unsettled, which, perhaps the most reasonable way to feel. In that moment this guys knew they were in danger just as well as we did. After all, they ve then the city that we fought in the day.
Dr terrorist attacks had become just other part of daily life to the citizen and of western on bar province. In point. A man approached us uneasily in because in my blood pressure rise, he stood close to me as he began to talk to close back. If I said he is, to tell you Carlos and causes the nickname, the you guys gave your interpreter car I leaned and told me defensively grade you found a grenade or interpreter continued the conversation. Yes, the man responded, grenade with a wire carl, was really do not us in English. You gotta be shitting me, I said, was a fucking trip wire out here somewhere, where the hell it is Carlos, Let us turn to the man and ass, but we They were having a hard time communicating because the guy was so scared. It was like watching a kindergartner tat. Taiwan is classmates on the playground, goddamn, met we're out here in a cloud of a thousand unpredictable iraqis and there's a Can booby trap somewhere, I said aloud, but to no one in particular.
So there's this is any I'm. Only again, I'm only ridden chunks of this thing. But this is still a rough situation being heavily. Beware. You guys got light We had twelve that day and there you are. We at twelve and then they had the ones when do saturn abrams on the road- and then, the marines had a little bit security and we we probably all our team antwerp taught. What do you always told the coalition forces? Probably forty and there's a thousand nea somethin, like that some ruffle yeah. I mean it. You know that that John recruitment checkpoint up the road by the bridge from the glass factory. I don't know it's like got to be, if thers going to be third of a mile or so maybe even a half mile, or maybe it's quarter mile anyway, you know it might change too yeah yeah, they could have took it out. That's true and
anyway they were lined up damn near to like damn near to their three three deep. I got. Pictures of a lot of people are so young hurt at this point you're trying to locate the id you kind of like you focus on that you go. Of course you can't just totally focused on that. You've got all these other guys walking around you're asking questions, and then I back to the book. I heard a strange sound to my left, followed by report of rifles and burst from the machine guns set atop the abrams tank that had been position to block a street I dropped. He began to scan for targets, bang, bang, bang crack crack at the round sounded off as they hit struck their target began shouting in two different languages. The confusion of combat sets in rapidly iraqis we're running around frantically screaming and high pitched tones and flailing about in the streets. Others I stood frozen as if in fear and curiosity had stiffened them still
heading for a target that I could possibly identifying, engage but big, but coming up with non. I was getting worried that I was missing some obvious ambush coming from the buildings to ourself. Then I saw it. A semi truck had crashed through our perimeter, a few hundred meters away our fellows. Soldiers and marines had immediately recognized the threat and eliminated it before it could who any more damage to our position that's one hell of a bit. I thought to myself the acute pain. Had been solved. I hoped for all. I knew that thing might be filled with explosives, but an even larger threat now loomed a terrified mob. Civilians were running around horrified shoving, each other climbing over the jersey barriers screaming lost confusion at the moment it did not take long to decide that we could. Allow them to get any more riotous. It was time to start wrangling, noncombatants
Johnny was within a year shot, so I asked him what the new plan of action was. He radio the talk and brief them on the current situation are commanding officers verified that reinforcement troops were now in rout. All we could do in the time being, is keep the iraqis contained until we had enough help to reorganise em. So there's a big vehicle approaches. Machine gun on the tank, the co ax or something stops that vehicle yeah yeah a couple yeah we had a. We had a machine gunner set up in a position to come a blocking position to but they were. Those in unity are hitting the benchmark and disabled in and it ended up turned He was just a iraqi being an iraqi and he you just drove through our concertina. Are you
But you can't, I mean a situation like this. What you wanted told all morning this would be bad and by the way that means is concertina wire. That means there's signs in arabic that they don't pass here. Deadly force will be used or several layers of that stuff, which is why I was saying early like you could never imagine that someone would do that And oftentimes times also there well and in this case likely true and probably a distraction get right. People distracted from all what else was happening so did We don't have time to build a vivid, then they just sent this guy in there to start the distraction, which is what it looks like to me. Back to the book, we started yelling at the civilians to get back into line as Carlos translated for us. A few listened but most pretended not to hear what he was saying. Oh just plain too afraid to move. We ratchet our anger little and looked them dead in the eye and let them know we were still in command of this circus, but it was of little use.
Whether we want it to be or not soon became apparent that we were going to have to be more forceful. Some of the men had to be physically dragged off of it, but the tops of barriers some had to be shoved, others conformed. When they saw tat, we were no longer messing around still. Others ran away and escape the scene altogether. Fast forward. A little bit too of our new marine friends were there asking whether we wanted them to get their dogs roger. Please do These two marines were canine handlers and by reputation damn good once one of them was sergeant. Can he had already been deployed to Iraq before this round, for him had started at a small base out in western iraq near the syrian border, but that area lacked the action he long for so he had requested transfer to the hottest area of the fight ramadi. He was,
through bad ass war fighter and in my experience the military has no better tool for safely changing the minds of stubborn iraqi men. Canine warrior at one end of a leash and a cocksure marine at the other but you got dogs on station now at one point you, sort of light near load, a little bit waits. Wouldn't you, go back into the gate, to do that. Yeah, yeah! it is a gate, just started awful because there was so many grab is going on. We were so undermanned and I started worrying about especially my smoke up here. Getting hit with flak. You know I just didn't want to burn shit, So I started affluent starvin and then not chose to keep my shot. And would you I still its decision weird me that but I didn't know my like mushrooms what I really needed in the moment for the crowd, but
you know what, if we too have to push out, and anyway I talked about there is a major push out. Maybe did you come back here to rifle like arm but you, but you made yourself a little slacker, is basically what you did Well, you could do more crowd control without worrying about one of these guys grabbing something there's, some iraqi policemen with you. Now and these guys started getting around. They started getting hyper aggressive, That was the best when we have under way this one, this one that's going off here here, hear you so this guy, like basically, is Wine is. What point is a k? It everybody, you know, he's get radio friggin looks eggs, get ready to shoot people will. I found him, though they had an encircled He was in the center circle on their hornback for thy or those in I see him jane the rest is, after the couch for delay,
these days up an eminent added, an unavoidable I hated him for doing it in that moment, and I was pretty frustrated everything I didn't want them. Shoes feel like a joke. Because he was, he was scared. You know they they don't respect other iraqis in it? There is a really weird customary thing out of this was throughout the whole of iraq, but for sure in remedy, where there really, like not afraid of a case, you play The pistol knows my foes get all kinds of work. Its attitude changer and I've always heard that. Maybe it was because of like hit squads and stuff like that, but yeah, Sophie stop barking. Aka point, I'm not like me, and I'm doing that to my brother, since we were five, you know I think, not you not a word about it. You know, so that he was like jack that round in vietnam servicing issue. So then all of a sudden hey
I heard yielded an authoritative and powerful new american voice. We don't fucking act like that around here. That's the tactics, we don't pull that shit, lieutenant colonel had arrived and he was not pleased with the behaviour of iraqi. Comrade appeared The colonel market heard that things were getting out of hand and had to say It could gather up his personal security detail and come see the mission through with the help of acts team, the dog handlers we began to and the dog handlers we began to regain control the crowd we suffer. It civilians in three lines: heading east and west, along the large concrete wall that form the outer border of the glass factory. Fast forward a little bit the entire morning, my good friend and medic, whom we effect we called Z had been hounding meta, haven't relieved of his post. He was manning our fifty calibre machine gun within the walls of the glass factory which weeds to defend us from the crowd and from potential attacks. For me, though,
the problem at hand was a personal one. Z was oh, so he's he's like requesting yeah. He didn't get out of there human horn at me for an hour by then And your basic thought was: don't come out, her I wanted to he's a medic. If something happens, you don't want him to be involved in it. Sir you're, You base your basically like, ok, just a minute just hold on your basic just trying to get it off until the I told him no for hours and he just won't shut the hell up. I'm like alright man. Just give me saying give me so I can try that tactic. Slow, roll, the dough transport a little but hey carbon market mccoy get over here. Lieutenant colonel mac, yelled at me, I'll be right back you know to do I told wreck before I jogged over the colonel and again this seems a little bit like they'll did when I read it, maybe not recognise all these characters, that's cause, I'm not reading the whole books or by the book he Mccoy. Be dip. Yes, sir, was a commanding, but warm leader you could not hear,
but few little stronger. We talk to him. He was straight to the point. It would and I would not use the word friendly per se, but he was certainly not the typical overbearing massively in secure curmudgeon that some officers or even ngos for that matter can be. He was a warrior, a man you respected and admired human. Gimme, some a new set of instructions that I cannot quite recall and then sent me off each. Was heading back to our positions about fifty meters apart when I got back to rick and stood in front of him with my back turned to his direction and picked up instruction right where I left off, then he called me on the radio again to say he was on his way out there, because he had found relief, He stopped with my left hand key the microphone on my left shoulder and bent my neck to respond, raj see you out there. Suddenly there was a loud bark followed by violent growl coming from somewhere just in front of me,
peered under the brim of my helmet, to figure out what was going on next still bent to the radio mike so in Cannes dog bruno had rather than iraqi man in the midst of the first line by the arm and began to shake him violently sergeant and threw himself at the guy boom boom. Deafening blast rumbled out back to back, accompanied by two rapid white flashes. A burning staying sensation shot through my entire body. It was as if I'd been struck by lightning my muscles and bones contort fiercely almost like they had flexed in succession so swiftly that their mere Repression had been enough to shatter. My skeleton then followed and am in unimaginable pain It felt like every nerve in my body had been set
the blaze at the same instant, then blackness its you have a pretty good memory of that year. Surprisingly up open. So that moment I think I have a precise handle and then afterwards It's a little loser. For a period because one johnny, and I talked about it here. Said that he thought he got to me with them like a minute or so which one it's totally plausible, given the distance, but to in my mind it seemed like it was quite a bit longer than that. So I don't know after getting your head bell rung that the enormous harder, but my psychologist saw me that the reason the desert,
actually not uncommon as far as like leading up into something a flash, bold memory or something by this. Your brain, like imprints like one moment in time yeah like apparel is often happens to people and violent situations, I think it's called a flash woman how my phone on you Yeah, I saw again like it's only as accurate as I can be here. I'm sure there's mistakes well, no I mean I've. I've got friends who got blown up and they don't literally don't remember anything. I mean it's just they don't remember anything. They don't remember You know they may be member fish. I twenty minutes before it happened and then just blank until wake up in a hospital somewhere yeah, that's you know.
From that moment. That's why I started the pod gas know when you your face. You wake up face down in the in them in the sand and covered in blood. Going back to the book here. Fast forward. A little bit. You say the blast went off. They from dozens of men, including me, so tens of feet, when we had all landed. I met up at the bottom of one of the piles of dead and wounded johnny. For the bodies off me, as he continued to shout chords, lifted one by one. I believe there were three bodies on top of me: the weight lessened I could move a little more freely. Then, when one the corpses was pulled off of me I saw the mangled parts which had blocked the view to my own hips leave with it for the this time. Since the initial blast my waistline was exposed. I was able to see that my hips, and at least my the upper portion of both of my legs were still intact. I had not
being caught in half after all, great news in the darkest of moments, but I still could not see below my knees, johnny grabbed my body rolled me over. I realized my legs were still fully attached and fully articulated from feet to hip the pain this extraordinary, but things looking up my friend don't talk to me ass. He passed me not my now exposed wounds. He assured me that both my legs were still there and that they were not missing any joints which I thought I saw with my own eyes, but His reassurance sure didn't hurt anything he did his best keep me calm and relaxed. I did my hardest to tough it out for him. On every mission I wore no max gloves, which I, the fingers cut out of early on deployment, because right hand was so mangled johnny allow another soldier who would boost helping administer. First aid thought it best just to get the stop, so they bandaged my hand right over the top of the glove they had met.
Right hand, elevated and bandaged. Up by the time I saw, but both bandages and the glove quickly ran through with blood. There was a three inch. Long gash, across the top of my right forearm, just above my wrist, it had been opened up so wide that it revealed the bright white bones and warm and pink muscle, fibres which twit on either side of the wound as it bled or approximately seven holes in that arm and ate more in my left. They were all leaking hot in boot. Looking blood trade. Ghastly lines down each arm from shouldered a hand it still yet to see what my legs look like under my uniform, but it was obvious that, even though all of each leg was still attached, situation was dire the time I shuddered convulsed worse yet was bump by someone else. I guess did he moaned and agony otherwise. I either gritted my teeth to get a handle on the pain or babel
incoherently I'm sorry johnny on china the policy, but the shit really hurts. I know it as bro you don't have to apologize wednesday our medic finally reached us. He looked over at me and said mac, I've, gotta, we'll help a marine he's worse off than you are our back as soon as I can. His voice was stricken with panic. I heard but I felt a deep sense of pride at how well my friend and teammate defeated that trepidation, and did job right. Z, stood up and hustled over sergeant can side to begin treaty treatment on him Z was worried about my future, as any was friend would be, but a base army medical procedure had a very strict rule of progression america's start with the american who is most gravely injured and you gotta it's called spock. You got a bunch of footnotes and there were you gonna just add some detail and I don't how many of you read, but this one is pretty pretty cool.
Pretty interesting anyways. I just want to reiterate this point. It could have been upsetting to watch. A close friend. Walk away was quite clearly on the brink of death, especially since he left to go help a warrior, who almost surely already passed away. But that's not how I felt at all. All I remember feeling was a deep sense of respect in the strength of character that my friend it just displayed here. Been forced into an extremely uncomfortable and complex situation, with nearly no time to think it over and had domestic had the courage to put personal loyalties aside and do the right thing. Just imagine a world we would live in. If more people have that kind of fortitude procedures like your boy noon and
and he asked to just be like hey I'll, be back man, yeah and the and my buddies that were there trying to pass. I mean you get soldiers from reading that as they're, not exactly medics couldn't get ants to quibble. You know I mean they're doing the best job that is like wrapping gauze over open. Like you know, you got a hole all the way through my hand right here and then all the way through alcorn. My thumb- and you know I mean I can't even move my finger like so it's like this is all mangled and they're. Just like wrapping gauze around like we're going to work out or something psych, I mean they're trying, but you know what I'm saying and then like this one appear, you know that was all opened up. They were just like wrapping it. You know, and that was from just a ball. Bearing
the sp rip the you know what I mean, so they just didn't really know what they're doing, and so it's not exactly what I'm saying is now exam. Couldn't see that when he first looked, you know and the one thing I I will. I can't remember if I wrote about it, but I will say: is the the compartment syndrome part which maybe, which maybe you might read, but with the way the legs sucked up probably saved my life really cause like creating an internal tourniquet on your femurs? You know so at least my boy. My legs were not bleeding as badly as they could have been to tell us about that compartments
andrew, so under your famers break that, especially if they break in multiple places, but if any any any time they break. Your femur is always at risk of a compound fracture anytime. It breaks because your glutes in your quads are just strong so that my fingers are broken multiple places, so they just folded like of the alarms that is folded up anyway, and they went beside each other like this and then you're cutting all kinds of blood vessels in there and potentially arteries and all that, but so that creates some internal. Swelling in pressure, and then you get like blood that gets locked into in between two emitted, like the account go, above or below that spot, so it's like a blood, that's trapped in an area but as almost acting like a tourniquet yeah you, basically you got lucky in the fact that you had compartments. Formats swelled around you're arteries,
shut. Some of that bleeding down here, because otherwise at this point, zis back workin on you I say my clothing, all removed. I could finally see the multitude of holes in my legs clearly as he began to patch what he could, but they were even worse condition than my arms. Where each leg add more than ten different holes in it, some of Which were nearly two inches in diameter most were not that big they were the size of their while the size of small marble on average, but they had gone straight through both sides. My quadriceps. At this stage the wounds were not pumping out as much blood is one might have expected. It was more like us, daddy leak.
She says I lay there watching them bleed for awhile thinking to myself holy shit. Saving private ryan really got it right. These wounds, look exactly as they do in the movie they are now pack and you up and they're trying to get you wanta onto a damn litter eventually. Get you on the litter, They get you on the letter. Now it's each time the truck with boats in and out of Paul's, my bones would rattled rubbed together the painted this it was so intense tat when combined with my heavy blood laws, it caused me to pass in and out of consciousness, but because the condition. I was in zoos, doing everything in its power to keep me awake. Mac mac, don't you go to sleep yield I found a response as best I could and enforced my eyes open here. This is
fun. When we finally reached the rear riches of compromise. We ran into a whole new set of problems, our own soldiers ineptness, we rolled only to be immediately stopped by the soldiers who ran the gate they would, not let us and because we did not have a convoy number. Can make the shit off my melissa hunter son's room because he was losing it on those boys of that form back and forth or Ever argued the gay cars until eventually see standing in the bed of the truck lost his call. We don't have a fucking convoy number. I can't But without one this isn't a fucking convoy. You idiot, we got a wounded american here eventually soldiers, locked gate, let their better sense abilities take over. He loved her and her home in the- In fact, they were using my that portmanteau vat was a five tonne If so, that's where you are and you in the back of a five ton yeah, that's a comfortable yeah. It's like riding on a brick with wheels yeah
specific the litter. Stretched between those two bench I was is measured and then some sort major had this bright penal grew bright ideas. I know too many guys were rolling over I get. I never heard of a single person run over a mountain. Maybe they did, but anyway we put speed bumps all the way then so it's like speed mobs, although it had a damn charlie men, each one of those freakin. Personally, built for brexit occurs. Sometimes I wonder if any this guy's ever read some of this late. These can books again later on. You know just think man, maybe those stupid. Well, I forgot to Baghdad. This is like two thousand three and are only ports are like the road around the base and like deep powers. We're gonna jacked up and then they filled in all the powers.
And then they built speed. Nowhere on how you had a london elaborated, you build speedboats, come on. Man yeah Well, back to the book I began to pass in and out of consciousness so frequently that I was having a hard time telling the difference between reality and whatever dream world I was off to in between. They carry me the medical facility. They realized there was an another. Prominent was already filled with wounded iraqi man and one sided charlie med. We want What in one sided, charlie, med and right out the other? down the road a little ways. Another eight station which belong to our brigades, engineers, we headed there once inside the first they did was it was only. Start transfer using blood in the beginning. They only had lines containing a quarter or so a piece into each arm, but eventually stick an ivy into my juggler at start pomp,
in fluid that way down. After establishing a steady stream of flesh fresh blood into me, they fixed many bandages as they couldn't rush me out to the plc to border medevac flight containing several other wounded people bound for ballade bow. Router ballade. The flight crew decided that, because some of his lost so much blood and emergency landing, inclusion was necessary to save our lives, might included, was passing in and out of consciousness again my grip of reality. If you could call it that any more, we so slippery that it was like I was there was like trying to squeeze a wet fish. The harder I tried, the worse became the door. Miss that awaited me. Each time I passed out was becoming more and more welcoming. I was exhausted. All I wanna do is sleep. Read into a sentence. I was starting to give up. What would that be like.
Everyone always talks about a white light near the end of a tunnel, but I not seeing shit, yeah man, it was cold to january. I know it's for mommy, but it's still cold is like sixty five or something and runs have been one hundred and twenty four eight month, sixty five feel cold as hell you know, and then you run out of bloodstream. In color it was at that point I was pretty pretty close. It is sent out. Whatever that means- or I don't know if you really have control that or not, but I do have some level of control of it. I mean I've heard plenty stories of people that had that will to survive and will you stay alive and You know, you know what I actually think that the most is here and stories from guys that were in prison of war camps and the differ.
It's between someone that lives in someone that dies like this person which just like I'm, going to make it and this other person said mamata. So I think there's def something to that. You get here were guys braxton braxton stay worse. I know it hurts, but we ve got a stretch. Your legs out again. Are you gonna lose them? Ok, I'm owned and I passed out Give bloodstained tears running down both cheeks, I'm not sure how long I was out for, and I was not fully wig The next thing I distinctly remember was the sound of my flesh, tearing under a scalpel scalpel, the surgeons were slicing the sight of each quadriceps to relieve my compartment syndrome blood. In past practically spewed out of my swollen legs split wide open I will never for get the way that cutting sounded inside my head. It was reminiscent of a muddy zipper being forced open some things
It will be forever hearing your own flesh being cut apart is one of them yeah that shit sucks man and it's it's need a hip on both sides. Like point of the knee all the way up to a point in my hip, they split and then they once they got me in that traction, splint and then they put in these wound vacs. It's like a big sponge and then they wrap it. So it's like a big spongy looking thing and it's got a vax up across the back, like pulls the shit out of the sponge. So I think that's the way it works. Is the sponge sucks up the you know, moisture whether it's either the liquid, whichever liquid it is pus internal water from you, I dunno without his blood and all that, and then the vacuum suck two other sponge. I think so they cut you open and then this but the end to the world
and it's like it's like this big, you know as far as widthwise and then they still put like a plastic thing over it. Pump that dear you got some pictures on your website of, like your legs blade open like that. It does not look, don't even look survivable I mean how much they caught you open its freakin craziness, currently yeah, I'm his wife My I t bands are still like you know. Europe. Demands are like suppose. We want ban right and might lead to a more for my guest, here. What did they like? they cut the I t band open or did they just stretch open know they had to cut through it to get to the to be able to get that wound vac in there at least that's my understanding of it. You can stick your finger through it. Like you model, the muscle yeah I was was not mad at you were conscious sternness. Yet
I don't know every tune any morphine or anything by then I was starting out once they got me stable. Then they could start hit me with stuff but in ramadi. They weren't going to give me anything because my blood pressure was super low and I just didn't want to zonked me, which I think is probably a good idea: god, beer, yeah, we'll take it or whatever call god apparently was the right one yeah, I said you know I think proper. We would happen is I had been another thing? Is I'd been I don't if gronsky's talked about this, but they had. I was one of the last, billion either because they use that it was a wreck. They had a bunch of iraqis. There were already. Entirely man about town. They got me there and stuff, so they just screwed up the tree, ouch so I think probably the call was made because I had been quite a while before they got me in there, so they're like well. If he's you know making it like one
just like why risk it now he's made it this long? Without it you know, and so then they they I'm sure they hit me with influenza cause. I don't really remember, flew to Baghdad or mean blood. Hardly at all. And all this I'm still pretty hazy. You know yeah, you say I was put an wrote en route. Do the big air force base hospital in ballade. I guess I'm still alive. I fought the question a common theme throughout the following hours and days. Like, you said you know you're right about the book you you can hear doctors tar, king well you're, like partial the coherent you're, tired you you just like in and out of sleep for a while, that's pretty much. Your memory of ballade is just you know. We in and out of consciousness little bits and pieces you say I awoke to loud rumbling of an airplane engine. I was being pushed across my airstrip towards see one thirty medevac flight headed for launched
we'll germany. Fast forward, a little bit I had to read this part cause. It sounds freakin. Horrifying later I woke up choking in it's sheer terror. I felt like I was drowning, but how instinctively? I tried to turn my head to one side to get a breath, but I couldn't because he was so tightly fastened to this bed. I wailed as much as I could gagging hacking trying desperately to dry are still unsure of what was happening. I didn't write. I moved my head only managing a centimetre or less in either direction. I groaned for help still too tightly restrained to move help. I screamed inside my head. I desperately needed to breathe. I couldn't hold my breath much longer. Yes, you can tot up toughen up my That's, ran wild help. I go gold allowed this time it was. Completely unintelligible, because my mouth and nose were filled water. Your turn to anger, inside my head, aids screamed a series of idle senseless threats and costs words suddenly The strap loosen my head,
shifted to one side as soon as I felt cleared, I coughed and act out all the fluids that were lodged in my throat. I was, wanna days, but at least I could breathe a gas for air and muttered. Thank you to the nurse who had just saved my life, inside my head, I was calling this flight and all the unwounded people on at every combination. Of course words. I could dream up. Yeah I've I've I think I threw up while europe, and that is woke you up, as you probably drowned in your own. I meant yeah, like I thought about This later on, this problem will happen, and you know the strap your head too, that the litter eames can't move and then being on drugs in the air and she's. Who knows how many you know, people she's a tenancy with me, so I can see it except for the roof of the aircraft. You know and you're all drugged up, so you're barely even coherent anyway in
when I was scared. How old are you twenty two and twenty over their turn to turn to anyone back home? and you had gotten married when was like. Could you go home on the If I get married and eyes oh man, that's always a tough, but understandable. Call that soldiers can make from time to time ever we're in the whole world, tells you not to do it like, oh man, I know what I'm doing yeah. Of course I have personally given that advice to many many young men over the years and have almost never been listened to
so as he went for. Are you at home for two weeks or leave during deployment yeah? That's me tailored jacket, world series and the deer hunt check, later on. A surgeon came and told me that they plan on trying to put rods in my femurs. While I was in surgery there so now you're in germany, but the this thought. It would be best to wait for the infection clear up. He explained as I lifted as he lifted the sheet and showed me my legs for the first time since I left Iraq that they had instead placed external fixated on each one of them these men, ok just were implanted just to get me stable enough to be flown back to walter reed army medical center in Washington DC. He told me out it there that night, so they put these pregnant External fixator on your legs to try, at them, he'll up more before they would eventually put. Internal rods inside your legs are trying to do The bacteria out
There was some bacteria. They had discovered that gas or come home with from the sand in Iraq. Some moves breakin bacteria, so when you get when you get to walter reed, if you have that they put a blue like a blue label on your door whatever, so that they can, put a rod in year famers. While you have an infection because a kid at risk introducing the infection to the insider famer, and then you really in trouble, so they had to get that cleared out and then I could get rods and are not taken like a month. Something to get everything. Oh sorry, Rudy awakened the way. Those things work is external fix, haters yeah. It's like a big cage. Like you're, saying I almost like a series of halos but then those halos have a like rods that come out of them and those rods have screws like drill bit. Screws are drill, screws
crews on the end, looking thing: morlock machinery, screws and those our screwed, india or bone in turkey unstable, and then they go back out true that halo and they bought into that halo. So it's like that things actually screwed to your bone. It's I had a friend of the family little she was probably nine years old and she broke from. She had external fixator on her femur. Is he eating if you think that seems like a good idea, you like, if europe if you didn't know anything about medicine, which I don't you tell me they won't lose a screw rods through the skin into the bone and have a whole traction on the outside. You got your lydia. Let us make it says, is true: it's crazy! It's crazy idea! You'd think he'd just be infected the shrieking crazy.
This is what you get you going to talk about little black. What's going through your head at this point, but a fast forward a little bit, this feeling of helplessness and confusion lasted in varying degrees for days, if not weeks during period, I had surgery nearly every morning to clean and irrigate my wounds and change the bandages swaths, my body from what I am and what I understand the doctors had to put me under for these daily hygiene sessions. Big the sheer number of open wounds and their depth made screw being too intrusive and time consuming to do. While I was awake a dozen or more wound channels which were through and through the term used to describe a wounded, starts on one side of the body and passes through its other side, exiting entirely usually on a limb? I I also use the on a limb. I also dozens more wounds caused by projectiles which had naturally my flesh, but it stopped and
something more dense like bone or thick muscle. We think they is this: a s vast was just like filled with ball bearings or something, and that's what you got shredded with man, I'm packing like eight or ten of them. Still, how big are they? they also the same size yeah, so a uniform kind of professionally bill s vast a whale so we found some before where they were. They were just filling up water bottles with we'll bearings and then just type in those that those water balls to the froggy exposed. So I guess light rational trained by the iranians. I probably yeah. I got one in my as it really messes with me, when I'm riding horses pike tried to get them to doubtless like two little girls.
You say this: I spent the next few weeks in the same bed lying around thinking about what my new life was going to be when air I got out of the hospital when I was not called Updating about what my long term recovery was going to look, like my mind, was on my brother's back and remedy. I knew the morale crushing war that they were living every day and I had begun to feel an enormous amount of guilt at the father then facing those trials without me The far was only made worse when I considered that they were doing it. While I lay safely in a bed, back in the states, felt grief, as I think anyone would for the memories of lives lost and my role active, your passively in their deaths. I also feel guilty for being the one led for being one. People who survived, I could have should have done more. I often fought by this point the story my mind had cleared through to recall the scene of the gatt glass fact, We in detail
the bird seeing sergeant can and Bruno. Fronting the suicide bomber. I remembered z telling me that he had to go check on the marine who is injured worse than I was. I remembered almost everything from that morning, including the courageous action Bruno sergeant, candid taken yet somehow ridiculously and unfairly to sergeant cans, heroic memory, I'd, saddled myself with the guilt of his death. It was not in any way my fault that he had chosen to give his life trying to protect the marines and soldiers around him, but that was but It is much easier to right now with the rationale of hindsight. Then it was. Convince myself of it in the hospital bed, that's worker the the the interview, all these wounded soldiers you know, and they also,
get back to my unit. Just want to get back to my unit just want to get back to my unit. Did as you so ass time went on your memory of what happened, to become more clear, as far as the suicide bombing, I don't think not really that it's its it's hard, it's really hard to know, because I I got into psychology for a minute and now I know that you're bought your brain off in like rewrite stories back. We're back feels- and you know so I don't know It's like it's one of those questions. It seems really easy to answer, but if you're, you know, if you're being honest with yourself about the way the human brain works, you really it's really not that easy of a question to answer and you know cause you do back you'll do back fill with
memories that are subconscious there. You fill with like sort of what you assemble from what you can kind of put together, logically as to what happened, yeah it could be that and then also talking to your friends and here and there a version of stuff over time and then maybe your brain just feels and gaps that I got on. Renault knows that I actually doing we did upon cast about that the way you can hear part of a story in part of a store in your mind will fill in the gaps. I found the gaps where things nails kind of just figured out and then take the best gas and then you'll kind of you can very easily believe. Oh this, what happened this? What I saw yeah- and you know I can't say I didn't know it for me now, but I feel like the I know I don't know that it really ever changed. I know that you know that I talked to Johnny he's before we ever put the sound he's like yeah man. I remember you know sands this or that data on the
detail. I know that I absolutely did lose was a friend of mine. Casey was out there and I don't even remember him being there. We were just driving to texas. Do a long range course the other day well at months ago, and he was like dude. I was there, so I can run you over there later and you like. No man I've. You quick he's like cycles to unlike minutes. Remember any of that I know: there's gotta be problems with with my memory yeah. Well, it's also everybody's memory. You know there's a everybody's memories different from witnessing the same things. I love you know life and I have memories of things that we did where he literally Remember something, and I literally remember something else and we're both fair and our viewpoint and there's no reason like there's no reason we should remember different things, but we just do people just have different perspective. What's going on in the locks into their memory
Then you can only store so much shit. True african hard drive gets filled up. So if you do to dump shit when you're young man, you're gonna, be socket leg. This stage of your life you're, going to lose all the good stuff fast forward. A little bit you got surgeries you got doctors, you got psychologists, physical therapists, disliked two things going on and again I'm fast forward through it not because it's not a really interesting, read is all kinds of luring all kinds of things and in The story itself is just is an awesome history series. The word awesome it one of the word to use it very well told story I'll get the book, I'm coming too fast forward a little bit too, where use these new training aids you're doing this physical therapy. Your these new training aids were useful and they did help me pass the time, but it
stage my recovery, the only lofty goal I had left look forward to is getting ex getting the external, fixed acres removed and moving into wheelchair not more than a month before I'd been a young man, a warrior in his prime. Now I lay in bed doing my level best to avoid sleep and my grandest physical aspirations were to have, The cages removed from my legs and, before it for a wheelchair. Twenty years old yeah, because, like my hand, was messed up. I only had one and when my life humorous and so I had like a plastic didn't care. Asked it, because they want to leave me with a when the world was like still functional. So like a spiral fracture here, and they just put like a plastic, almost like our almost like the stuff more across guys, were, as I didn't really are, not really did anything
I would then like remind you. Your shirt was broken and what I was doing but suffer the most o ot occupational therapy that they bring. Like these tools, and you learn how to like poor sock over this kind of conical shape It's got a couple of strings her to throw them sure you're. So you pull like your own. Saw and get started or yeah. They bring like this. Can us cert car, We shall deal with buttons, honour and zippers and try to learn how to manipulate stuff with one hand, and I, Dont know if they were doing that to prep me because Why sure? How much my hand would ever work again? That I mean I can honestly be possible but I don't know, is what I'm saying I don't know if it's routine, I don't know if everybody does this, but they brought me all these aids and, as you noted, trying to learn how to shoot with one hand which
that sounds like hours pass in my time that and watching, like dukes of hazzard on a dvd thing and seinfeld and shit by that by the time you were aware of what was going on. We, u was seen I pretty solid that you're gonna keep both your legs? Oh yeah, it did it for sure by that point Going back to the book here fast forward, a little bit I laid in bed for the night few days a little more beaten down than I was before I raised deeds now and then, with my left arm. My only limb, that's all a function and wondered whether this was finally going. To be the thing that took my legs for me, I was physic we tough and was tolerating pain, but the roller coaster of emotions the all round. Uncertainty surrounding my life was turned to give me down. I was nearing at breaking point again, I spent most of my I'm just watching the yellow green pass ooze out of my fives. They look like
with cheese that had been aged way too long and the smell radiated throughout the room. This is a gnarly infection that you had. That was that was like my third infection too. And I don't know if you meant I know, you're not trying to throw all three of them to the bus but rider that time was one c and then did the lead or measures right after that, when cnn did that like an address pose a done deal I remember some perhaps on sand. Christoph book. You know walter, you, sly loaded with people that there were a crap or of do there. So I I don't want to. You know I'm not trying to throw anybody under the bus. There was definitely some stuff that was not being like there's too much infection around not laid down some procedure. Some means grew up here. So
but they re schedule the surgery they get don t they take office, etc, and then they put rods inside your famers. Remove the freakin spongy vacuum machine things, no Let the wounds close hundreds statues, usa, stables and you Ben embed at this point that you so long you had a bedsores like gnarly bedsores now so scorn. And when they put those rods and they are because of the way breaks were and on I right leg. I think they call it a retrograde nail, but they went they flip your kneecap overrun come up through the bottom and then screws up into your hip bomb. I left leg out. They put a robin rod. Excuse me in my left hip as well, so they put that through the hip and the femoral head and then
it's like an eyelet at the top and then they put the other rod through the eyelet, so it's like tied together and then that one screws down into your the head of your femur on the bottom, and I don't know what the proper digest anatomy, but down here, so they went both directions. So it's kind of a. Like, like up my hip sucks and my renee sucks. I get. This boy is vague manner. What they give you one of each year on they went from the bottom one member from the top down. Here, they didn't put a rod, and my my right hip is it wasn't broke, is burdensome. At one point: your uncle justin comes to visit. You and you call him jody- that's his nickname- he says to you: I one of the days he was there. He just with some information that had been kept from me, hey bro. I need to tell you something. Ok, I said second, the worst colonel act. I'd know we were
I didn't tell you because they were not sure how you were. Whether you are healthy enough to hear that how he was killed by shrapnel from the suicide bomber that hit. You owe thanks, you're telling me I said slightly in shock It was particularly devastating news. I already knew that sergeant cannot passed away, but colonel max seemed impossible, but you he was way too far away to have been struck by any significant amount of shrapnel. I thought, as it happened, He had been quite a ways away and he had only Been hit by a few pieces of shrapnel, but those ball
bearings had hit him in the back of the head, killing him virtually instantly survival and wars random. I have learned yeah yeah, the one true man, he was seem like a long ways away like seventy yards or fifty I'm going to seem like a long ways on how far it actually was, but it seemed far and ye dons. In a twenty year old kid turned really have shit to lose. You know, and he had three kids one pro probably like the age I am now is probably how old he was. Then you know the thing back at stuff like that and I dunno. If I'd have had that kind of sand at this age. You know with all that to put that much on the line, especially one you know your alight, colonel or lieutenant colonel out there with a bunch of ea, forty fives. He and the highest rain go as the six man has quite a gap yeah yeah? No, I even when I got there because I got there. This is
january. I got there in April, and people talked about him, my totally revered him as a leader and He was doing what you make it work and effort putting forth him. Just was everybody revered, the guy. We say: learning of the death of colonel mac was another psychological set back in time, rife with them. My bow with survivors. Guilt was getting more aggressive by the day I was still having serious trouble sleeping and my overall emotional well being while awake was so fragile that even I was getting to recognise it roughly the time I began to use. Physical recovery is a distraction from mental anguish I have, the phrase vacant till you make it amongst I could sure where it originated, but I was about to take my term at the strategy and would do so for years to come, flagrantly unsuccessfully
Yeah, I think that figure to the main issue is born, it is complete. Bullshit man, you gotta, fix your foundation, yeah, that's a problem! You can't just fake shit yeah, you gotta, go all the way to the root and start working there. Yeah. I think you know what someone's talking about going to do some job somewhere. They think they can fail to making its I think. So too. I wrote about this and leaders, some strange trudging tactics. If you'd, We know something and you're trying to fake it. Everybody can see it like even from a leadership perspective that doesn't work, but then we start trying to put together. You're yours, psychological well being by faking it snug an organ good starting to work out, good, the physical therapy. You got this guy, you work with names, solomon. Fast forward and now you're you're starting
No, you started you up a little bit. Hey man. When do I get to walk down those bars? My remark was said purely in jest, because I'd already been told several times it would be eighteen months if ever before I was going to be able to walk again You're gonna use em right now. He said obviously seeing through my lame bravado. I can't examine. I said coolly. Coldly. Yes, you can I'm here to help you I was to get irritated at him, because I knew I could not walk. I can't even stand for hell sake. I was straight and embarrassed by the whole situation. I was frustrated because I thought that this guy I live today mired assumed. I was capable of more than I actually was, and I was to let him down Does he not know how badly injured? I am? I wondered. I wasn't First that I couldn't dress myself embarrassed. That even if I could have I could not wear clothes that one Several sizes too big. Had to fit over my cas embraces. I was embarrassed by the fact that it could not do up a button on my
underwear or use the bathroom without help throughout the entire process. I was little unable to wipe my own ass, as they say little more than a month. Before this moment I had been around Please, six foot tall hundred ninety power warrior in the prime of his life, proud. And full of all the arrogance of youth but there I was a few months later sitting there for a man who wanted to help be deeply want to help me but I just physically could not do what he was asking. And there was the fear, fear if, by some miracle of the imagination, I was able to stand up and try to walk. I might fall and if I fell, I would surely lose all the independence that I'd fought so hard to achieve. It felt like an exercising futility to even speculate about what it would be like to walk again already then saw loosen the braces on my chair, bent down in front of me and said: Are you ready stout for what I could have my arms on his shoulders and
Didn't he lifted me out of the chair, my heart rate, as I stood up for the first time, a feeling of anxiety, fear and triumph washed over me, though they were. Hardly supporting any body weight. My leg shivered beneath me, then we walking. We only covered, you feed distance, but I could hardly contained my joyous, all Saul half dragged me over those parallel bars the, The cold stainless steel touch the finger tipps of my left hand and invigorating dose of adrenalin shot through my body. Even though solomon was bearing most of my weight, I had to overcome an obstacle add not at all anticipated at an open was because my brain injury, or just because You ve been so long since I last walk, but I couldn't make my muscles move. My legs. Like they were supposed to I knew how walking was supposed to be done. You just lift up and step out in front of your lead. Foot, then repeat, on the other side I couldn't drawn. A picture or describe what walking supposed to look like a new. I do it, but I didn't know how to make me: do it. Each confusing
entered the process and intense bursts of pain to my brain that I was quite. There was quite ready for, but the torment mixed with the excitement of discovery kept releasing more. Of that ever intoxicating adrenaline, That's gotta, be freak and weird when you was whether you, like your body, doesn't know what to do it was. It was weird I still don't know how to really describe how that fill. It is we're in that you have a guy like solomon, there do, I steal this day admire. He was abusing really freaking that guy and I'm sure he's alive. But you know I'm bad about of my life cuz. I think I'm not still there yeah. You got a guy like that with you that you really care foreign respect, what everyone there is a good gannon and you know you bodies a slight, not not working. It's almost its own.
Like you know, when you put a limb to sleep sittin on something both black do a bad, not discover a little bit asleep like fall down kind of asleep yeah. I've done that before was like I'm going to fall down exactly that's kind of how it was like. I knew it was supposed to work at a school or you know you could feel that's the best I can describe as if it was something like that the muscles not firing properly, and then the mai claude rugged hole through it and that one even mine The physical therapist that I got later on as a civilian was not quite sure if that femoral or ischemia, which had is that any way of that, if the actual head of that part of the quad would ever fire again, because it's just not like the muscles were not going around the way they should have,
but it does come in now, but still there could have been like some muscular damage involved. He I mean there was much of a damaged wall, but I could have been ported to. I don't know how freaking crazy it's hot and you know that it's not like the ear you're making progress, but the progress is so slow that you still feel like you, don't even know how much you're gonna be able to heel and a one point you're talking to your cousin judie again, and you say, are you say jody men I might never walk again and if I do applied, be assisted in some way on push around a walker progressed my life. I can't help on elk on a cane. Ever feel that icy mount one roll pass. My waiters it casts fly that fall browns I'll only have memories of sliding into a saddle on a crystal, october morning when at dawn, You can see your breath and by noon yours, you ve, sweat through your hat band.
I have done my last bow hunt, no more dirt Bull rights, I basin, we just started up my twilight years in my early twenties in a fucking nursing home for soldiers right now, and I may always be. I was being a nigger wine each child. There was no doubt about it, but I'll. Try explained to him everything that made me me was gone. Those were not activities that I like to do. That was my identity. I hunted fished Cowboys and soldiers Those were my essence. If I was to broken to do those things that distinguish me, then I was too broken to live. As far as I was concerned,.
Yeah, just everything you like to do. Never do it again, yeah. I think a lot of guys to go through the end, even though I think some you, like you, look at guys when they're getting ready to retire from anime. You know I feel, like everything's guy me, maybe not in the same circumstance there are some guys who are in similar circumstances with their brains, but you know maybe not exactly the same kind of circumstance, but they're going through similar white period, like everything that they are, is in some sense being taken away from him. His father time's undefeated right and that's a similar and I think it's similar in so I'm definitely not alone in having experienced these sorts of feelings, but it's over. It's really weird place to find yourself in for sure yeah and I think the fact that you're twenty at the time you know at least in MM a fighter, that's retiring or can't Finally, more uneasy: thirty, seven thirty, three whatever
You know, that's that's a different deal there's a real important conversation that you have here fast forward. Albert a member of the surgical team which monitor my progress walked in near the tail end of this conversation. He or do routine check ups and to introduce himself he was a young guy. You seem very well put together and high speed. I choose check my limbs one by one for circulation and feeling judie put question to him: hey doc, brad it has been told that he may never walk again. Thinks he is. Never going to be able to stand in a river to fly fish or hon or hike or ride horses again. Can you talk to him icons trade in on him. Holding to read is expressions foretell of why's he pressed it would give me all the reasons why I may be able to do those things again. He covered every angle, including some caveats, such as I may have to use a came to hike or limit the distance that I travelled and only fish shallow holes etc, but,
he's telling the truth, then, at the end of his answer he said the most important thing I have ever been told either before or since braxton I You can walk again, but you are going to have to do it soon. You have too much soft tissue damage to risk, allowing your muscles to atrophy any further. If you don't start now, you may never walk again, at least without the use of a cane or a walker. Even everyday activities. It is all up to you is all up to you. I repeated it all up to me, Even a situation like this one, a body may have been babby bruised, but its ones spirit that determines the outcome of a tragedy, not a doctor's prognosis. That was exactly what I needed a here in that moment. I knew the decisive language at a kick in the ass, not some sugar coated version of what may or may not happen there, probably not anything that young surgeon said
Which would which I had not been told before I'd never heard that truth until right, then the war her tea said the order. He chose to use and the conviction with which he said them, whereas perfect for me, as if the you The first had handcrafted that message. It's on you I can see how you know when someone with someone says: well, you know you could you know it could happen you could walk again. Are you? Are you it'd be able to do this, and it's almost like people are inviting you just to leave it up to fate yeah. Almost like they're they're, not to tell you that it's not possible, like I was like our when will sometimes do with their kids. Like all of you, you great you do a great ass, beautiful man must indeed our school. You know it's kind of like I can't do it feels like that little bit especially come from our primary curve of surgery sub near April.
We can do those cause they're. You know that they're pushing it off on to the next guy, pushing down the timeline. You know. So when you get a guy, that's like no man, you can do it. If you want to do it, you can do it just figure it out. It's really that which is the truth. I mean that's true of virtually everything in life. You know what I mean if you're, if you're spinal cord severed a year in a different circumstance in, but if it's not, you can probably get out of that. Whatever the circumstance you know or whatever that health situation as you can probably change, it. So at this point a fast forward a little bit, you still you still not as normal fast forward and that far, but you go to Arlington cemetery, and in you're not really truly walking yet, but you go there, and you decide you're going to you're going to walk. You say
My legs trembled under leave me I saw another sign. It read simply silence and respect my arms because I pressed into my keynes to grind myself forward another step. It felt like my bones, were going to explode under the force, my body each time I transition my weight. We trod on slowly we made our way pat by the rose in rows of heroes, sacrificed on the altar of freedom. Addison else pace, but with the same determination they had brought, and to combat. I was you're going to walk the entire way or die. Try how far we walk tat morning exactly, but it was at least a mile from the gate to section sixty and I at every step of it. My arms eight and shook as my quadriceps square, for their way through the steps the rest period it's between legs of the journey grew longer as we went along, but I never went act that wheelchair,
we reached the sign that said section sixty. I did not want to stop anymore braxton. You should probably take a break, your don't overdo! It now. Ok, responded, the sweat point My face When we were inside section six, these brown boundaries it must have taken us another hour to reach sergeant can grave side. Along with the slow pace we traveled due to my fatigue, the weak and the weakening pain threshold. I nearly every headstone. I walked by on the way, each one. Adding more time and new signal. Instead the journey, but also giving me a little more fuel to feed. The desired remit. Does are to remain erect every step made me miserable. Pain, radio from my hip to my knees, the agony it grown so immense that several times I thought that I might throw up because of it, but we, never gave up. I try
to every torturous pace of that march, out of respect for sergeant can and the two hundred thousand fallen warriors. He lay with. When we finally reached his grave side and read at Lee can sergeant united marine corps january twenty nineteen. Eighty two january, fifth, two thousand six bs em with me. Purple heart operation, iraqi freedom. I lowered myself to a knee and wept not because of the pain I was experiencing, but because I had the nerve the flat out audacity to complain about it these hundreds of thousands of heroes had given their lives to provide me with a safe place to recover, and all I thought about up to that point.
Was how hard my time had been, Ever I'd given in service to my country and my brothers paled in comparison to what they had done. Who is, I feel so sorry for myself. Who is it complain about my situation. I was a boy of ground. There was not a soul laid to rest in that holy shrine. Who would not have gladly taking my place if they could have. It became clear to me in that moment that I really did have nothing to complain about and every time I did complain to be seen as a slap in the face, our better men than I will ever be when I had finished paying my final respects the sergeant can and the men immediately surrounding him. I stood up on both keynes and began my long walk out of the cemetery.
A new sense of urgency to recover a new found pool of motivation to draw from. I was going to beat this thing. I was going to fight to take my life back in not just because I wanted to, but because I had to because they couldn't now. That pledge was not an easy, not an easy pledged to take. Not me He pledged to keep Even coming back from that I mean you, you know you you ve started swelling up everything started swelling up from do not long walk
later on. You say I'll, be enough. Just sitting there trying to need the pain from my legs did help ease the frustration and bit I stopped thinking about the things I couldn't do. Like open a cab door on my own, and so think about what I just accomplished. Walking some real distances distance is no doctor who had operated on me. It ever imagined possible how I do that. I wondered it took me you to get to the bottom of that question the truth. Is that the only reason I walked out far in that condition was because I had read a sign that reminded me that Arlington was not about me I didn't care enough about myself or my future. Grind through that kind of torment self. Codification nor self improvement, was enough to motivate me. My Ego is nowhere near big enough to carry me through that. I had done it because I did not want to risk disrespect sarge,
can or any of the rest who had given their wives at war. I, eight that journey, because I had a reason bigger than myself. I needed to cling to that maxim. When I read that in this one to one of the points in this program when I'm talking to These sort of internal thought that you ve had and things that you figured out along the way I was thinking about the fact that often times we don't mind letting ourselves down, but we just wouldn't want to let down our friends, our teammates, I mean, I know for a fact. In the middle during the seal teams, the war, possible for you want to have you look if you support yourself. Ok, that's bad that socks, but you don't wanna, let down your teammates and to me that No, you said it took you years to get to the bottom. That question and but I help
You get to the bottom of the question of how what is that these guys will do anything for their friends they'll do for the france they'll, take better are the friends then they will of themselves, which is which is a crazy thought. I mean, I know you, you listen Jordan petersen, reads in Jordan petersen and one of things that he says is weights. Treat yourself as if you were someone that you would want to take care of the similar, though oh yeah, it is- and I guess I am probably where I got it and into said- never put the two together actually yeah. Yeah, I think it's also true. Like any time you do anything hard like if you ready to work to find someone. You know like find some other way in the airport, like your ego, is just only so big and its also really easy to be like minority will now acquiring rational
again, don't no one knows that bulls are down there and I'm the only one that knows that bulls in that canyon. You know no one's gonna know if I don't hike down there. You just gotta find something to force you you know like for me. It's like I get to go home and tell my buddy that I pulled that boy that kenya, you know it's like I talk shit to my buddies too. You know like just as much as you love them. It's like it's kind of like that, give and take you the relationship both ends. Was that thousand moving section of this book man. The horse action, was rough, the red And those canes are the ones with the four ends on them. You know not like a regular cane. I ended up getting regular cans later from walter reed, but those were the different kind and so give me like a little bit more stability. I think I'm regular canine the price to help you
for sure, and you know that road is it's like a good road and everything sounds like the walk and was not bad. Just that's pretty. I stood up and yeah well that and I had never I've never been to arlington before I never seen it There really is spiritual right word or what, but they really convey some sense of reverence, especially once you get into the actual grounds. You know the the the tour center is one thing, but the you know once you actually get in there. It's a very powerful moving place. When you start to realize, like every one of these stones is an actual person, not just like a picture you saw in a movie or something you know it's like here's, his name and in many cases, here's his wife on the other side, and you just see like generations of dudes have died. You know, and and and women too,
and yeah it's it's. It's really it's one of those voices in the world where are in this country, where you just have to go experience it and there's ruined. I don't think anyone can write powerfully enough to explain what it's really like. There yeah. I think- and you know when you know guys no guys that are buried there and you can kind of relate, relate at individual. You look at all those graves you just. But you know that every one of those is like he said a person like. That's it that's a lie. Either a father, a son, a daughter. It's like, like. Someone that was known in and I think It's easy to fall as either just call a soldier, a soldier right and now remember that soldiers, a person and. I think when you know when you know some of the the people in those grayish. It's easy
spanned, connect that personal side to each each and every one of those gravestones. Knowing the the sacrifice, isn't just somebody in a uniform. It's a person like us editor. Brother sister of father assigned daughter mother in its freakin heartbreaking to be in there. Meanwhile, as this is going on, you still have your. U still working through, like you're, physically use it sounds, like your hand, was just like but I can't when I look at your hand now when I announced this, I I didn't. Your hand, was gonna, be in the kind of shapelessness, pretty freakin good to go.
When I read stuff like this large is from above large chunks of skin were falling away from my hand. They were not thin and dries shit strips like those shed from snakes, but thick and wet, like scales, floating away from a rotten fish. That's washed up in the shallows. I couldn't help feeling like this part of my body belong to a corpse the vision. Was bad remedy, but that day it look as if it were dying this day it look like the hand, was already dead. Like it was foreshadowing all there was to become of me. If I were to succumb to my wounds, and though I was still doing much better. The fate of my this I was still. The fate was still far from out of the question still had an infection. My body blood clots in my legs and ivy see filter that could break apart at any minute knows addressing my brain injury. Yet even if I did live through the whole ordeal I would be doing it with most of the function
without most the function. My right hand. All that I had ever done in my life, which I found worth doing weather be shooting working, weightlifting, oxen wrestling cowboys, bowl, writing or even war fighting had required just two hands but too strong and capable hands this hand which had one to find me now looked as if it were gone forever. I had not given permission to give up yet yet there. It was and sat cripple the top my rest, a symbol of not just what could become of me, but of how little control I had over my fate, the futile would, he of resistance, can be maddening and its. If that's another thing, that's interesting about this book is. You can tell a frigate, you can tell us not a hollywood movie, cousin hollywood movie. It's like there's some point where everything turns and arbor things that good now you know they write a book with that perfect story arc and design.
Perfect story arc. It's like up down up down up down. Sometimes the down as way lower than the up one thing that makes a powerful is freakin did like realistic and is also makes a powerful workers every time I rude read something, and I like all yeah there. It is like I'm, I'm like brainwashed by hollywood. You know I'm really like oh yeah, he went visit the grave here's the turn around and then now Now we're like. Oh you know this happens and we're going to hit some more of those, but that's life right, yeah, that's the real thing! Yeah there's a couple! we're going after the book was over. That happened to them, but hey, that's! That's going to be in the can progress here What about this? Does one section where this physical therapist is? Is she comes into bend your finger, yeah
she says, hamlet, bend your finger and you say: don't it's fused and she's, it's no! No, it's not! We just need you need to suck it up because you were so you're trying to do this church and steeple thing do this. It's finger that this knuckle doesn't move or she's like put one on it, so you're telling me you're telling her it's fuse. It's it's a funny part of the book dude how Did she feel I deciding sheep that pretty dumb I was out in their way in like the break yeah, you know when you get assist when you're a kid and your grandpa is going to the bible and whack it with their waiting for tacoma, hit it with a sequel ever. I can't really feel it worth a shit anyway. Oh man, yeah yeah cause I My bray here, my wrist, is where that median nerve was transected, so I really couldn't feel this part of my hand like hardly at all at that time, so it wasn't like really hurting a little kind of sorta
like the way you describe it seems like getting. Taj was hired correct. You know your secret ac was like visibility, yeah and yeah. She was in kind of a trick active too. So I was just like oh yeah go for it there. It is soccer. You read all kinds of sympathy with that because yeah you end up getting this deal where they're going to send you, the community based healthcare organization, which is which is you get to go, back home, basically to heal up yeah. I think they've since ended the program, but but It seemed to you at the time like freaking awesome and didn't have to be stuck out there. Walter, reed anymore. You could you could head home, yet Is it so I'm sorry to cut you off the tradition, no path it. Walter reed is your impatient and then you're an outpatient. Will you stay on walter, reed campus and, like you know these barracks and stuff, and
it is doing all of your outpatient work. It walter reed, so geyser, therefore, to three years, sometimes controller a patient and so the army's like. What's a cinema home, do our patient care home? That's got other! I mean I, you We're stoked used to get the hell out of there hell yeah. I can go back home, friggin hate city. Get me of this boy, You got some again there's something so much stuff. Well that people gotta get the book for as your as, making progress and, as you start driven across country, and as you know, you new car, you get in some situations that are all in here that are good red and man not always the most positive thing, but it's at least it's good reading smartest fast forward a little bit now you're driving across country or getting home. Even in the dark night, the green agricultural fields of home seemed to glow, as our headlights shone on the little mountains, the valley he was too
see my family. They were all in bed long before you arrived for most of our drive. I think you're getting with my two closest friends, Dan Josh. They plan to meet us at the house when we arrived? I hope, they were still awake. I sent them another message, we're just getting into town words, welcome home corporal mccoy were written in big block letters across a banner that spanned the two rain load and are two two lane road at the northern most end. A town at the southernmost undertone home at last. I belted out, through a grin The steps to my house had been covered with homemade wheelchair ramp, engineered by my stepfather. My wife went to the door, opened it and carried our bags inside another. It of my pride died as a healthy watched. Her do the heavy lifting a reach across my body and jerk the lever which bound the vehicles door my right hand was still too weak to perform the tasks so
of course, what's the smart move at this juncture, start drinking with your friends, which is what you do. Oh beards and every other year, you start drinking with your friends and this is the game. When I talked about like one, things that makes this box so good is just the fact you're. Just gonna tell the truth of what you did and how you did it. And this is one of those things rose red nose like ok check. Through your drinking we're friends, it is the first night you're back and finally someone says you know so what happened? How'd you get hit and you in the book. I started the story with. Why that's why? A team had been at the glass factory in the first place. I tried to inform them of the political climate in our bar and how The arguments at home were shaping the battlefield over there. I gave as much backstory as I could hoping to give them enough to gather a layman's understanding of our experiences. Then I got to the
january fifth, in the build up to the explosion. That crippled me and killed our brothers. I've been too script of an honest up to that point, for some reason that I may never fully understand. Started lying. I said that acted in heroic ways after being wounded by the suicide bomber. When I didn't maybe Just the whisky, maybe was insecurity, maybe with survivors guilt screaming my head. That. Could have should have done more Whatever the motivation was exactly. I will never know, but there are But in my kitchen, pants down to my ankles leaning awkwardly on my keynes, pointing at the scars covering my limbs and lie about battlefield heroics I never exhibited yes, an ice cream still eyes So you and you're my assessment. Of this situation
I think this is what happens to dude you What do you trying to tell somebody story? What your gold is is too make them feel what you felt and so, if, Looking at you and I, telling you a story, and I I tell you that, like mortar hit. Let's say a mortar hit, fifty yards away from me, which mortars have hit fifty yards away from me, it's scary. It scares the shit out of you because your five will like it can kill you. Even fifty yards away. They can kill you, but it did So I'm telling you a story, and especially if you're civilian, I want you to know. I won't you feel what I felt that freaking- explosion, scared, the shit out of me so When I tell you some of the details, I think there's a tendency to say this.
Weaken mortar hit five feet from me and I'm just trying to. Let you feel what I felt in the best way that I can so. When I'm thinkin you know even going out like going by the gate going outside the wire walking out there trying to after what it's like its horde to convey those anyone someone, I feel so bad. What you felt I think that drives guys sometimes to say things that maybe aren't a hundred percent on We are a hundred percent. True spirit of what they say is true. But the but the facts aren't you know so I think that some of it, you know just when you we ratify like you're, not really sure why you did it Part of it is cause. You want people to feel at least some of what you fell and We know we're not always the best that at convey
The feelings ass monsieur people are looking at you and you can These are not quite getting it, you know enough, absent. You can see the look on some civilians face. That's like fifty meters away that doesn't sound like a big deal. You know I'm looking at echo right now, he's kind of like fifty meters. Forty gives me the cross or a football field. Yeah yeah, half the football field. What a joke So that's what I, as one of the things, looked through other indicators that sure, but when after four guys heard stories from guys run like a worm suspect usually just take into account. Oh, they just want me to feel what they felt, I just want me to feel what they felt and I think that adds to it a little bit a really interesting perspective. I've never considered. You know I And this is what we need is what you say: the lies and embellishments. I was telling were chipping away what was left to my pride, even as I spouted them, but really, What did I have left to be proud of.
See. That's the other crazy things like you're, talking civilians that you you, We need to say, like you, I hate, blown up man like that's good enough. The story is you're gonna get up. I was a shortened pasty, frail and morally compromise shell of whatever kind of man I had been once before. Pride! What pride could we expect of a man who was forced to journey a plastic bottle next to his bed because he's too weak to walk to the bathroom at night?. So again in your mind, you think you're gonna build up like yourself, but bro. Anybody sitting there. Looking at you, I game man, you obviously are you getting got after it our front of or something yeah,
Yeah man, I don't you right. I had really never considered iran yet weird when they're civilians involved too cuz. They literally have no idea. You do like. It's only in your head. You know, though, in your head that you think maybe I do. I need to tell him that I did this there there. The went to Iraq. These people were sitting around friggin Utah, whatever drinkin beers, you know war Then you remember to urban in the hospital living in my head twenty four hours a day for care monster that point, because I can't really talk to anybody even though their army, nurses and stuff there their lives will be civilians to so this is working osgood, almost any dont. Do it bower powerful great things those me so far is like. You're to relate or understand they can you know they can't really in the one thousand, the neuro word, walter reed, the I kid gap, kit, nike sword.
Like my same age gap when the room next. They got shot through the throat and afghanistan. And once he got to where he could talk again, at least once in a while we'd be able to both shoot the shit a little bit. But Also that- and he couldn't talk from you know he was struggling man. He got like a five four. I think it was through his. It was an act but so yeah, so he also just constantly living in your own head. So maybe when I was home like that perspective, that you shared earlier I'd never consider. Maybe I was doing exactly that, but to myself you know why, So I'm not I'm in a fast forward a little bit again you go to vizier. You go to your mom's house and your grandma and your granddad are there, and you know
you make it in your grandma's. There she's like glad you made it home you are you're earlier papers. Grandpa he's over on the couch. She pointed drop down beside my childhood hero in colombia, But we as I could manage his arms fell. Weaker than they once had, but not a thing could diminishes mountainous stature. In my eyes we say Therefore, while in embrace I almost fell, like a kid who had fallen down and scraped his knees? I just want to hear him. Tell me, there's gonna be all right, I'm so proud what are you he whispered. I love you grandpa, I'm sorry tears. Well but in my eyes he told me He was proud of me just like I had hoped you would, but it didn't make me feel good. I didn't deserve that accolade and I knew it when he but he was proud of me. He was talking about who I was a man not way published physically. I knew that very night before I had demonstrated a lowly character wash, baby, proud of me. He would
if he had known that I was a kind of man who lied to his friends. Oh you dummy what the hell are. You sorry for knock it off before I kick. You rightly ask grandpa responded. I buried my head into his once broad and muscular shoulder trying to hide my shame I don't know how long I stayed, therefore, but I want to stay longer. If you'd, let me I spent the better part of a week. Building that damn wheelchair ramp didn't even use it my step dad quipped, I'm never going back in that goddamn chair again, I bellowed braxton. Watch, your mouth mom yelled watch your off sake. One grandpa joined in Fast forward, like many other soldiers at war, my my home, had changed considerably during my absence. My grandmother whom I had been very close to passed away, but she had written a letter. While I was in saying she expected to go soon. Her death
not so unexpected. My step grandpa never seen day to day life before I left for the war, but wall he's gone, he developed prostate cancer, the chemo therapy age him dramatically in just one year, but even this, was less jarring than the sight of that wheelchair everyone's life has never horizon my group, fathers had just come earlier than I anticipated. That was all there was to it. I just Ready for the sight of my here, the man who raised me when no one I wanted to calling in to a chair well, that's cause he's very squeezed he's now.
What a wheelchair yeah! No I'd watched him battle, his back injury for since I was like fourteen years old and he just kept working because you had to pay for fees family. You know, and so I knew exactly how we ended up in that chair, so it kind of hit even harder. You know So the whole reason that you came out always knew were able to come home. Was this community based health care organization? two and a half hours you had to drive to get there Checking in here corporate mccoy, how the hell are you a deep familiar voice? Boomed out from behind the vehicle I'm rolling along top? How you been it was sergeant. There's first sergeant k a senior ceo that a new well, in fact he had been the guy that approved my request to volunteer for deployment to ramadi. Well cowboy! I want to introduce you to your new platoon sergeant, master sergeant, dillinger hello.
Sergeant, I said extending my hand, he grabbed my hand find young man can meet a soldier in a wheelchair. You seen him around anywhere, yeah. Well do my best to stay out of that. Damn thing sergeant he's is the old bastard corporal some of us round here just column bulldog, first sergeant hey chimed in master sergeant dillard. Your bulldog was a short stocky, combat veteran of the vietnam war. Usually he paced around brit briskly with a cigarette and his lips. Looking for someone to ass the two he didn't beat around the bush about anything. If you. Thought you were liable to hear it he cared about. It met the man and his petunia played no games, especially armies later on in our relationship when there was a mandatory formation coming that he didn't think I need to drive up for. He simply called me on my phone and ass. We were out where I wasn't whether I was ok. Then the commander arouse accounted for over time. I developed today admiration and respect for that man the kind that no rank or ribbons can earn
Sounds like a character. He was so fine and just the best guy. He got me my first job after I after I got out and he's just a really good guy end up dying a couple years or five years ago. Six years ago is long cancer hurt me was seventy years until by then He was a guy and he was he was gone, The current leader, the expected you do whatever you were supposed to do, but he would really shield you from nonsense that you didn't need to be involved in. You know You say the book here, What do I know you ve been through a lot of shit and last year, I'm old enough to notice what does shit like? I did my time and non our war wasn't squawk compared to yours. Sorry, I interrupted shut the fuck up mccoy. He cut me off I've seen plenty of war. It's all the same shit. Our wars might have been different, but you did your time in the shit.
You know me any beauty or me or any one else, a fucking caveat understood. I nodded. What I'm trying to say is this unit is different. This is a medical hold over company were not align unit, but get a wrong. This is still the the army still enough bull shit here to pack ten. Have tons? I will do my best to make sure you only eat the shit you have to, but I swear to god. If you fuck with me, I will have your crippled ass on the next fucking flight to DC understood, roger sergeant. We'll call yourself on anytime. I feel like it. If I want to it, if you don't answer you better, be dead dying or in the middle of a medical appointment. Understood yes, sorry You call me first thing in the morning. I will know everything I will know about every medical appointment on your schedule and if you leave your house for any reason, I give a shit. If it's just go outside of this on the tree, you will ask permission first copy Roger sergeant are now get a pretty little wife of yours home and let her relax corporal you're free to go I just sergeant. I don't know a few steps- and I heard a voice called again cobble mccoy. Yes sergeant
Welcome home son glad you made it. Thank you sergeant. So their young man, frigates stood. Come again, you know that sounds off cool. I'm all happy, I'm read not part of my girl, you're good turn. Employed fast forward a little bit. I told myself that my none of my behavior was no reaction when taken in context. After all, these little bursts of extra pain may. Have been slight when considered on their own, but when piled on top of the constant and never ending aches I endured, they seemed excruciating. I with every second, I was awake and nighttime brought me no reprieve. When I lay in my bed at whatever time seemed appropriate. That evening I didn't sleep. What's more, I never expected to sleep. How could I sleep when I hurt so much? What a while Had I become it's being weak. I had
thought my mental toughness was assures the sun coming up in the morning, but I was broken down again, before I was wounded. I used to claim that I had never quit in my life and nothing could make me, but I was wrong. I had hit many many breaking points during recovery, the dialogue, the world about my head in an endless cycle. I being soft and I knew it but rationalizing the pain was so damn easy to do. I'd made it up I'd made all sorts of excuses over the course of the past few months and others which should have been the last time I had made such justifications. It wasn't so you mentioned in a brief moment. Little bit ago, opiates. Scary thing they've been in the news: a bunch
you see on the question of addiction. Many of us had little to say to begin with. This is an interesting point I didn't choose to be addicted. I didn't even understand the degree to which I was addicted. There was no true, first time so to speak. I never had the an opportunity to debate the potential pitfalls of drugs with a sober mind. The fact is like with so many other soldiers, my Dixon was little more than the tragic side effect of healing I left, walter reed, taking a hundred taking hundreds of milligrams of oxy cotton a day one civilian doktor, told me that I had been prescribed dosages in more two pools of what he wrote. His terminal cancer patience. I choose that need. The thousands of others does. If other men and women who found themselves in similar circumstances. I did, however, make things much worse and that
can't be hung on anyone, but me This caviar to the story is meant to be read as a sort of table setting not an invasion of personal, personal responsibility, I've! many lessons through my journey. Probably the most important of them being taking ownership of one's failures is the best way to avoid making the same mistakes in the future If there's a way to rationally place blame on another or on faded self, that all the more reason to look in word for a corporate, because that knave is the only You want, you, can reliably alter. Little bit of extreme ownership going on there yeah I d. I get that from you. Certainly I priority that of bio me. You can't take what's free it His true, though it it's one, deal. I'm sure you ve,
I know I know you wrote similar things in your first book. They in that there is a way to view this. These sort of situations where you can look up Well, sure Maybe I was forced into this, and that wasn't my fault, but The only way I get out of this is, if I just can't well the parts that I can control and I can't I can't do that without taking ownership of the things that I'm screwing up So here you always have to say: ok, we will. The play, doesn't matter anymore now, it's you know, third and ten, and I gotta figure out how to crunch these yards. That's it that's it that's her, and I know you say you stole from you actually talk about me. You give credit to extreme ownership, the book in in in there. So I appreciate that the shout out and I'm glad it was able some somebody, you connect. You.
So that sort of the opening that you give on this dealing with oxy gardner. What not you see the hardest. Part of managing pain was not dealing with a sharp, often crippling surges. It was the constant aching in retrospect I think the most profound effect of the oxy carton was on my sanity continual, never ending dull exit engulfed my lower extremities spine and right hand were psychologically tortures, it was exactly excruciating but the other lack of respect was brutal and that some are you gonna go into that, but I wanted to highlight the fact that you say a couple times like it was just absolutely constant, unending, paying all the time. Using about bella What would this is,
Let's say the soviets have the ability to enforce this kind of thing. Like invisible damage, I mean it's not invisible but like let's say they could make invisible damage and chronic pain. That's the that would have been the preferred torture mechanism, I could just send you back into the real world, then be like whenever you're ready, we can push the button or you know, remove the device or whatever and make the pain stop yeah, but you gotta. Do we told you to do yeah, but that's how a lot of these guys are living for months and years at a time, and I think we don't really- I I don't think we don't go deep, deep enough into the psychology that often enough when we talk our stories we sort of kind gloss over that a key you known door, almost maniacal, in a lot of dudes. You can just like construction guys are living like this foreign girl. You wonder why they're drinking like thirty pack and I are whatever skills their backs jacked up over there. Whatever
papers and, like you said they still got to to today, a family to feed and speaking drinking This point you say: you're drinking half, a fifth of bourbon a night on top of the painkillers At one point, one of your friends, I guess teaches. You had a snort octagon. Yes, things, change was gone and ya mean I tried seen this kind of stuff done as a kid like. You see, people eating either party, so nice to people like throw up a dog deal or something you're all just drinking, but there's like a whole process to be able to snore. Oxycontin knows those news to me, but.
You when you say you do it, this guy kind of shows you what's up, teaches you how to snort oxy cotton once you do it, you feel at you, you feel like you're going to puke. He tells you to go puke, you go puke and the you say from the book after I vomited I felt better than I have ever had in my entire life. Yeah that when I was speaking at schools for wise it all teachers and lay the worsening into kid. Is it it's not fun cause? Then they know you lied to them Is it is it's? It really is like the most invigorating. It's it's really as bliss. It's a it's a it's honestly, difficult to put into words how good it feels psyche for it But if you, if you lot people say drugs are all terrible and you know in their first experiences like What have you been hiding from me, but this is a
he's dead there are more likely to enact it. Isn't it much better to focus on how bad things can get rather than thomas, not phone zoo him? If I drank in birmingham preachers, daughters and up to and preachers dar size the war or the guy. I knew and a friend of mine told me he he ended up in jail and whatnot, but he said the first time he ever did crystal meth. That was the only thing he ever wanted to do for the rest of his life and I'm just like it was just like, so he just loved it very first time done. He was done, he was addicted and he ended up. You know addicted until he went to jail. You say my desire to continue on was eroding many factor. We're contributing to this, like the impossibility of finding refrain from the physical torment, but my inability to come to terms with the fact that my best friends
we're still in harm's way living in the hell. That was remedy in two thousand six without me, and my own, be poor behavioral choices were the worst of them once scrawled the timeless military mantra. Death before dishonor did. Before dishonor on the walls of my hooch in Iraq. Now here on the home front, where that code, it'd be easiest to live up to I failed and I can the need to fail every day over and over the surest for of justification, ran through my head. What does it matter? Anyways? once I started abusing pain medication. My mental health went downhill rapidly, but I didn't care. I felt nothing even chasing the dragon became a sort of mundane routine doctor when did visits. Doktor appointments visits with specialists and physical therapy sessions were to similar to tell apart the
a peace me that a groan was myopia addiction and it metastasized anymore. I wake up. Whelan The bathroom grind up another oxy cotton in ie. We devour it as if it were the cure to, rather than a cause of my self hatred. After my usual half days, work at the hospital I stopped by the liquor, store and picked up a fifth of bourbon off sometimes feeling safely away from the presence of local law enforcement in a bottle. The moment I accepted the freeway most days I drove right past my house. For the nearest solitude I could find. I love for a place where I could be alone just me and my thoughts for nearly never left remedy. It was almost as if I still live there. In my mind I become bitter and angry. I hated every one in everything around me donnay. These assholes realise we're a war right now. Good men dying in the ungrateful countries, half a world away. What the fuck is. Everyone smiling about the only
though I still love were thousands of miles away and I Had no way to talk to them. I slipped my way out of the truck placing most my way on the cane in my left hand and the law rest on my left leg, as I become my new normal pain shop through my body, my hip wobbled. They couldn't handle the redistribution of weight. I let out a short grown fuck. This shit. I yelled allowed brow, casting my complaint, the god, the universe and whatever else may be listening. Merged from my home ashore, while later with my semi automatic forty, five caliber, hang gun and afraid, Bottle of pills in tow climbed into my truck yank. The lever into reverse and started for my favorite little mountain valley in those east hills, I told my turn
back up to the edge of the valley in front of the old cabin hoping that someone might find me before. My decomposing corpse began to blow, I don't want my mom to have to deal with that image for the rest of her life. I return If my lighter bill credit card cd case, an ox garden. I was ready to get on with it. Kept pounding whisky. While I crushed up my narcotics, I was anxious. Feel the warm blanket of euphoria there in person. Double chains would bring law. Spread across the cd case placed in the middle of my centre council. I rolled up an already chalky bill and snorted the first line, I feel better already. I thought to myself, as I chased it down with another swing, bottle, I was holding between my knees. My pistol sat on the passenger seat? Beside me, I reached over with my right hand, rapid, two working fingers around the grip and push the frame into
five to stabilize it I racked the slide with my left hand the gun, now mean ready, upon my lap muzzle toward the front of the cab ever point a weapon at anything you are not willing to destroy. I took up the boy will again and had another slug. I return If the loosely rolled bill and tight knit back into a cylinder, then I place that The tip of my other nostril leaned over and softly breathed in the last of my respect, com. I stared over the dashboard at the valley that once held many of my fondest memories, the world. Around me slowly closed in my eyes, darken I fumbled for the pistol in my lap. I long especially for the bite of its old barrel on the side of my head and the hot lead. Delivery could bring every out of my soul, begged.
It's one way. Ticket to anywhere The nihilistic hell I lived in. My eyes opened some time later, a near empty bottle of ski on the floor board and the song I just got back from hell by Gary Alan reverberating throughout the cab. So, thankfully you passed out near yeah. I had this mix that I made it truck just had a cd player, so I'd had like this mix of songs and that they were all those kind of songs.
And I drove up to this valley that I used to go. You know you'll, shoot, rabbits or hunt snakes or party with the girls in this kind of stuff, and I just wanted to be done with the just frustrated and down and luckily like, as you say, passed out, man should have been really bad and local agent. You don't like forget acutely
philly or some shit from opioids in the alcohol on and yeah, but like physical therapy. Everyday is just a setback after setback and then you know my heart. My entire recovery is like setback, a setback and everybody was saying ramadi and I was on like all kinds of drugs, and you know psych, drugs and opioids and every other that you know, and my body didn't work- and I was just I was just over at man- I was just completely over it, then that you know it wasn't like in the best marriage at the time which, how could you be? You know when you like,
Would you marriage be good when you're behaving like this every day? Right so, just like everything is in like spiraled down the toilet, and that's it's not an uncommon. A truly, unfortunately, not an uncommon occurrence is kind of why eventually they wanted to ride the book in the first place was. I was reading these other books here and there distance, it's all going and seeing what he was going. Is it wasn't they weren't being like the stories weren't, reflecting everything that I was saying in my own life and my friends and you know some guys are doing great and then other guys were really not doing great. How is it that no one likes?
I mean if you're drinking that much and you're free. I are they not blood testing you to see how much opiates and opioids are in your system or shit like that. So I was getting blood tested every day for the. I think I can revise off blood thinners by then or not. When I was on blood thinners, I had to get tested every day, but they don't test for anything but, like the I don't know if it's viscosity or what, but I haven't woken out in your body is, and then they just adjust your blood thinner medication to that, so no one was like pistols for alcohol and you're. Not talking in frequent therapists or psychologists or chaplains or anything like that to suggest they figured out, he's fine yeah I mean I was. I was definitely trying to bluff everybody all the time, but no wasn't so I you know, I had to speak to a therapist. I care if it was three times a year. It was something like that.
It was somewhere that might have been a v. A thing I can't remember is anyways. There was at some point. There was a requirement to speak to a therapist like three times a year and jaw and I was really a yeah, I don't. I wish I really wish. I knew why it got that bad, but it did well you just kind of breeze through it and not I'm freezing through the book. I mean I've skipped through a bunch of stuff where the daily grind of what you're doing miss your friends and remedy. You you're not healthy. The way you want to be the day. Onward spiral of. Oh I'm. To do this shit and the only way to stop feeling shitty about feeling addicted should do more of this shit that I'm addicted to. So I thank you you. The way you lay it out is actually very helpful because people might be able to identify where they are on that downward spiral yeah. And what, for me, what fun
you got me there. I'm saying I wish I knew was at the very very bottom of it, but without the final care It also as I injured my leg at physical therapy, and I was just like fuck man, you know I can't I can dump dump like this. I've had enough roller coaster at this point, so I think if you're if you're one of these people that's gone through addiction and you're, what they call a functionally addicted, whether it's heroin or like there's only a handful of drugs that people can really do it on alcohol, mostly if you're one of these like functional attics, should really know that you might hit that one cattle was the sends you to a whole new level
no cause? Maybe you can ride that for awhile, but eventually something goes wrong and you're going to turn to that substance to beat over that and that's going to go you're going to be at a whole new whole new level of addiction, because now you just conquered another thing, you know with it. So yeah, what about your old boy, typhoid and shoe myself pre have about that now, no I've. I've said before like up when people get in these modes. In these situations like there Second storm clouds around their head. That they think is the whole world is a storm. Crowd, and like any one. The outside can look at it and say: bro you just you just around you like you, come over here, you'll, be ok, you get out of it, but from the perspective that you even at that time, all you see is just freaking darkness everywhere.
Going back to the book here. The fifty mile drive back home, dragged on. Mrs after you got your ship back together my thoughts, if the back to arlington the last place in time where I a strong and accomplished. I remembered again how it felt to recognise how minor my completes truly were in the grand scheme of things. My sacrifice, were so little when compared to those. To what those heroes had given. I was kicking away A blanket of freedom and security that they provided me. It is my duty to live for those who can I had once said, who am I to be so selfish? I was gone throw away my gift of life due to a little suffering who among them would not gladly trade places with me. I said to myself hoping that it would sink in again. My commitment to those heroes, rekindled, shame right kind of shame. The kind of sprites transformation washed over me. Not ago I stood. Of their sacred resting place is offering whatever small bicurious
damson. I could yet I'd failed at that promise. Tried to quit my duty in its infancy. Never again I renewed my vows to them before god and whatever else was listening, I never to give into the darkness again. Now, as I write this today, I we're so I believe I could tell you honestly that I made good on this second off, but I can't It was not the last time I failed them in actor with just one stumbling among a multitude we started to feel a little better about myself. I had made a grave mistake, but luckily it hadn't been final. I've gotta get my ship together. I said. So you are like you said you. You'd redo this valve kind of thing and
You know and then again you freakin food Me into thinking like this is it this is he made out of the darkness of my cool, were good and you Do you know you go up the square and some shit away. Fast forward a little bit. These cold fronts in winter weather kept me shut up inside day and night. In my waking hours I stared out the window at dark and frigid skies. When I lay down to rest, the freezing world around me was replaced by one hundred and thirty degree, memories and nightmares. I felt if my life was causing on the brink of an unforeseeable but impending doom, russian brought me back to the blanket of the bottle. In the brief bliss of medication, my house nor visits were shrunk from five days a week to three but fiscal, fair, he was a virtually non existent, the only it got me out of bed each day was my hatred for the sheets. I did nothing, watch movies, play my guitar and drink whiskey,
bottom is a slower and soft landing than one may think. That's why we keep chiseling away at the bedrock. Does some good writings freakin depressing writing, but it's good writing Another good good piece, a good writing right here. For such a thing is the christians concept of the devil, opium, aids and alcohol are some of the best tools he employs to capture weakened men, the instant euphoria softly whispers, its lies to the heart there are. No problems. I cannot solve. Addiction snags you at your weakest times, like the wolf, kills a buffalo, the wolf until the bisons gate is crippled or the snow is deep enough to entrap him, then he pounces, usually hamstring the animal first, slowly and methodically. He knows away the flesh until his prey expires.
Fast forward a little bit more when I, turned hormones about noon, and I was already in inebriated mess. I walk the door keynes in bourbon in tow the smell of whisky radiated from my pours, hey braxton, I've I'm going to tell you my wife said she must be leaving for good. This time I fought she's on emotional. This time it for real am I? kay with that I've wanted her leave dozens of times, but am I really okay with it? The out? I think I am How will her family take it? I will made friends with will. I remain friends with her brothers, her dad. No Maybe they already know that we fight The time they must faults world about my head. I think I'm pregnant. She said what I'm pregnant. Are you happy about that? She said smiling? Of course I am. I acted as if I were. I took another shot, a bourbon, want to be a father badly. God only knows why I wasn't fit to be one
still. I was indeed very happy that I may be fulfilling our wish, but was this really the best time was I, with the best person for me or the best per, or was I the best person for her the answer, the boy, four questions was clearly no less than a week before we have been fighting nearly every day, we told each other that we hated one another and we meant it. Each was had uttered the words divorce allowed. Now we were to have a baby check. You couldn't have predicted that one when you read it early on, though right. No, no, it's yeah. It's yeah rough man rough. On the other married young. In the eu
Go through all this, like you, said its heart. What will you just say it's hard to have a good marriage when you're drinking bourbon You know do drugs and all that yeah yeah. You can put the blame on her for this. That's the way I will get it anyway. But you know the cliche answer, which is the real. One, though, is that I am. I got my daughter out of the deal and she lives with me and wife's great. You know I mean this is now fourteen years later yeah, but Yeah it it sought their first church in it, it's just really easy to get back down that hole, especially when you, you really still don't believe you still feel like you, don't have anything to live for. That's why I always say that, like her attitude, you really got a cold of a gratitude and daily life
When I read that part well, when I read this like part where she's actually born- and you know she's healthy and You say it's amazing how much apparent the child I already loved her, I would have. Out of happily died, for. I still would bring that moment. As I sat there watching them. I realized They were still wrong, not with her with me so like I'm like. Ok, Here we go in our country. Make it through this, you talkin ptsd! You you bring it. You bring it up earlier than this, but this the time this where he started that iconic. Conveying your faults. Are you say previously mentioned other times my father, I may have been afflicted by tee ptsd many times my subconscious registered a symptom of the disease that I'd read about or my therapist therapy I mentioned. Who can As the unwelcome memories at in an awkward
in times or the never ending need to suppress, unprovoked anger or the nightmares. Where the illogical moments of panic, I denied the existence of my illness for many reasons, but most important was that I just did not want to be associated with many of the others I had seen at the v, a pensions for the disease or sorry had received the pensions for the disease. I know of a guy who had worked in the laundromat in Iraq. He got a reading of eighty percent disability for ptsd. For what experience exactly. I wondered another guide heard of had been found one hundred percent disabled from the trauma of answering radio transmissions from soldiers in combat. Can a person be so soft that they were damaged by the sounds of combat. I wondered bitterly during my transition there seemed no less noble and acting claiming to suffer from ptsd. It wasn't just that
It wasn't just seen as an illness that plagued the week. It was in many cases and illness claimed by liars whether they were weak or not was unimportant. I had made many mistakes and acted, cowardly and lied many times in my life, but I had no desire to have those descriptors permanently enshrined in my records, at least that was the way. I saw it back then interesting, I mean it's. A very is a very interesting thought. You know that you're having cause you're, freaking, tough, cowboy and- these guys that are saying they have ptsd. They worked in the launch of an iraqi like now bullshit yeah yeah, but about I wasn't a lot of guys thought the time when and in Because it's a large router men dues really game the shutter system and we all know
I understand the asian, its opposition cos. If you don't, how do you really weed out people that are gaming? It I get it, but from the soldier's perspective, I didn't want to be still to this day, really don't want to be labeled in that same way. I come happy to talk about. You know, pts and work and through stuff acknowledging that stuff, lad, profound impacts on my life, and I would like to no people through what or the suffering they're having, but I don't necessarily want to be associated with it in that's. For that same reason today you know I mean. Luckily, and you don't have to worry in a lot of ways that I'll have to worry about being associated with that crowd. Isn't for obvious reasons, but yeah it's.
You know what people target is watching the varied me we wanna do stigmatized the term ptsd in I don't know. I think we need to distinguish stigmatize mental health for sure, but ptsd solar took on a life of its own and so like. Maybe it's time you just shut the label and go something new stigmatize, the shit out of it until people who really need help, don't want. To put that. I don't know. I don't know the right answer. How know you could man. As you're working through that shit. You and your wife end up getting divorced and initially you her and and your daughter leave for her home, which is like a middle of the country. Thirteen hundred miles away.
And then you say if you fought that the heartache of divorce and the departure of my beloved child would have caused me to take a long hard. Look at myself. You'd be wrong. Because hedonism and self indulgence provide immediate grab gratification. The russian excitement in euphoria make it difficult to big ones heels and change course, and why would you want to change your lifestyle if you ve got no respect for your future? The simple perhaps sad truth is of it is that debauchery can be good. Old, plain fun for a while for about seven years. I lived in hell sometimes I relished in it. You you, basically you basically went hard, For seven years yeah, I mean I'm not so much on drugs, alcohol and poured in choosing girls warm One of those times sandia actual yeah. We were
our friends that were bachelor group and we were all doing okay, making pretty good money, and I was like we're just going to party The evenings, like my descent, always start out we're in exuberance and ended. Shamefully, I was not myself. I know who I was All I know is I didn't like the man I saw in the mirror, give and given the option I would destroy him. My chief big was that I didn't realize there was a cure for my illness the truth. Had I only been willing to accept that I could have been freed of my hide, as in Jaclyn I'd much sooner, there were more girls, more parties, and I can't remember not that I could Furthermore, if I wanted to my first steps on the slippery slope more enjoyable, it can be great fun. Whose control momentarily, but once on that score, I couldn't keep myself From careening to the bottom, I hardly control of anything in my life literal, let alone my alcohol habit. I
ripped the moral substrate out from under my world and descended into nihilism. Now, This is not without benefits. No, it simplifies life. There is a price what nihilism two depravity and uncontrolled chaos. If Nothing else matters then that's that why care health for the future on bridle. Pleasure was the closest thing I could find a happiness ice. Not only hedonistic satisfy action, which I think is the logical conclusion of nihilistic ideologies. It's important to note that my wife was not that bad either
it? Rarely is that's what makes it so hard to crawl back up the slope. I was still making very realistic, very real physical milestones. I'd abandon the cane altogether. I still stretched every day and did light workouts. My physical body was healing and, aside from the infrequent brushes with the law, I was having fun dreadful part was that somewhere buried deep down in my subconscious in the land of all that shadow was the truth. It was all I fought war, no war, the problems I faced where my own creation- and I knew that Having sometimes we use these things, some people will usually things away to escape
and the shame of knowing that you're, not what you could be you don't like people talk about potential all the time and no one knows your potential better than you like. You know who you really are way down in there, and so you just come up with distractions, so I can use those incense was destruct distractions parties in young girls and whatever venture just to avoid becoming what your keen on what you could be an you said you were making money at this time all what were you doing our work and our reach for the not for profit company, but you get paid. Italy, pretty and, and then at some point you can realized in my life was falling apart by credit scores. Taking my job was on the rocks, every close relationship, but I had once depended on was virtually demolished. I was having much fun to see. You cited quite your job
There was an you wrote about that in here. It's an interesting. Basically, there is, I can integrity issue with the place you workin for an: u at one point, you're talking to a medal of honor recipient and you just couldn't couldn't. Why do basically earnestness such an obvious flat out bullshit lie. I just straight up and not like one of these white lies or stretches of it was just a straight up. Falsehood at the expense of you know. Other veterans in this you know trying to fundraise. Essentially you know like the lion, was attempt to raise more funds and so yeah equipped and you quit. So you quit your job. You still have, I mean obviously you're getting your disability pay and did you get medically retired to get medical retirement? You don't get both, though oh you only get one yeah
but at least that was enough money to survive on yeah, especially in cow town Utah me and my friggin mortgages. Like seven hundred bucks. I was doing flaw so you quit that job and you want to talk about unexpected, didn't see that come was the stone what comedian, so you started doing, stand up comedy yeah yeah was like. I was going to college and I was like I want. I've always want to try it, so I started doing it, You must have done all right. You did it for a while. I may still Utah even salt lake like summer yeah. I did it for big fish in a small pond and comedy scene of medium sized fish in a very small block and yeah I mean we did ok, I and I got to be buddies with a guy that was really good, and so that help terrible. Why everyone is
I kathy dog. It was one I did enjoy, but it you know looking back even even the joke. Stout right and stuff were reflective of work, indifferent person. I've ever been gazelles, like and especially like as a like his young open. My then he progressed like a middle act and stuff your you're really really for stuff and see you're, just saying horrific shit, sometimes it's like shock value- and I looked back at some of that supplement completely embarrassed by you. Think take a crack at it again come out. A retirement movement led draw, does go poster. But the bar and falls or something look you're, making us laugh man, you got, it still got it. One of the best things that happened was you actually ended up meeting a girl,
The girl that you meet she has a son who was a few years older than your daughter, but you he's like playing baseball, and you didn't think that the baseball was really getting him what he needed. So you signed him up for wrestling and it, without that his wrestling coach was your communications, professor in college. Then he knew who you were as a wrestler. Is that right, yeah well and then I coached at miller for awhile after that, as an assistant coach, ok, so but he knew you had a wrestling background. So he basically said: hey you, don't freak in coach rustling! It's gonna hurt your great aid, these trade on your straight up, so you use. A coaching as your coaching him. Resting ceases season ends man's than he's in baseball. So you decide you gonna coach, baseball too. And then this happens is pretty cool. I flip the pitched too. You put your coach in these little kids, I footing.
To the little batter he softly, he hit it softly in the air. I lightly trotted to real it in another pitch. He the hard ground ball a step to my right. I feel that it with ease somewhere in my subconscious the far right. In doing that, feel good. I served him another this time he hit a hard ground ball about three steps to my left gloved hand side. I sprang into it and scooped up The spinning motion. A smile is widened as Montana creased my face wholly crap, you just ran his mother. Shouted I know I can, contain my excitement, I started at every everybody hit even the ones I didn't need to arrive Of love filled me I'd forgotten how good it felt to be somewhat capable and likely never would have run toward a ball. If I hadn't been tired and losing focus the lack of it. Pension allowed my subconscious mind to unshackled to chains my car, his mind, bound. My legs with on the next page ripped the line drive over my head to try to jump for nope still can't job. Well, I guess
balls out of the question. I I yelled the grinning widely. We call the question. I immediately grabbed my phone out of my bout ball back. I sent out several text messages that read read. I just ran in all caps: the war bodies who received a call me later that night demanding to hear the full story. When I read reiterated it to them. He cried. Pretty awesome discovery right there was there? and I wonder how much sooner I would have figured that out. If I wasn't screwing everything else up. If I'd just been dedicated to working on my body, I could have probably had five years that I lost you know partying near the end of his baseball season, in about four p m gotta message,
APA was just rushed to the hospital by ambulance. Read attacks from my mother that food alter the course forever? I called her on the phone to get the details and comfort her There was some way that I could she was clearly anguishing walking a sunset, your mother, whose witnessing her rock wash away. That night sitting on the balcony of my apartment in west Jordan, utah staring at my tomato plants, wondered what I would do in a world without him. I wished. The away from the bright lights and noise of the city sitting by a morning, campfire drinking coffee with him again. I knew I had long since begun to rediscover myself, but could I stay properly aimed without him. I had to with hunting and fishing again and went back to my routes. I read a little a little young became and became convinced of the importance of symbols, not just in a socio cultural sense, but personally I begun
wear my cowboy hat in public, instead of only on the weekends, when I was away from the prying eyes of onlookers, still It was a positive step backward. I had. Not truly turned home yet, and I, know exactly what that meant. I only knew that they answer lay somewhere in my history somewhere in my routes, I think of, is I think it True, the clothing does not make the man but a display of what it is. Inside the heart. Cowboy hat may have been a trivial thing, but before I had this and into the underworld. I'd worn it with pride. It was a symbol of honor, hard work in respect of heritage. It had been so closely attached to that symbol that I'd worn one. Nearly every second of my life before us trade as a boy It was no strange event for my mom to remove a hat from my head. As I slept, my hat was the first thing my ex wife brought me when I was in walter reed recovering. I warned
we all the time. After that it was not a fashion statement, but a symbol of all my grandpa believed in. I thought a lot about. All that my grandfather taught me as a boy. He thought there were concrete skills and lessons required of a man from the west, and he a damn sure that I learn them and in your footnote you say by by the west, you mean the rocky mountain west I remembered his knuckles pressing in the mountain mud, to show me how a mature mule dear box wait causes oceans, much different than a young backward dough. Does he show me how to read the difference between it and help track that had just slid down a wet, muddy, hillside and one who is on a dead run? he tied his own flies for catching trout out of our mountain creeks, rivers and lakes, all of which were different flies and weights of flies by his estimation, and he makes I could do that too. He taught me how to skin and animal by showing me how he did it.
But he only let me practice on the lower legs of l can dear. He killed. He taught me how to trapping the fish and game. He said in time on more abstract things like what it really means to be a man. That's a much harder concept to and down on page on one dear heart, when I was, a ten years old. He handed me a wrong liver from a buck he had just killed. He told me that taking a large bite of it was the only real right of passage to manhood when the metallic tasting fleshy substance, Philby entirely entirety of my mouth and thick When blood round down my ran down my cheeks and neck, he let out a deep valley, laugh belies the joke was on me. He was true It teach me to lessons there, one that, no single physical act makes a man and to not everything enough authority figure tells you is worth believing, sometimes you're, just a bit of a joke. You say that the path
positive step. Backward normally would fix step backward rethink of a negative connotations, but for you like The cowboy hat was going back the roots in a positive way, and not all progress is progress to good note A couple days later, my girlfriend- and I were back in my home town at the church, where his funeral would be held the hall, ways were lined with pictures of him and my grandma, the love of his life and his best friend. He believe that family was the most important thing in life. There were dozens of pictures of him and his brothers, his kids and his grandchildren, to prove it table, sat on the other side of the doors to the chapel where his. Service would be held. Each was dicker decorated, with this prize belongings, his fly fishing pole, flies that the tide and his hunting knife. One table a top, a racket. Held is recurved, bow and left. The quiver filled with wood narrows rest.
Brown cowboy hat. If it is true that you can tell the character of a man by the company he keeps, then I think it's equally true that you can tell the type of man by the possessions his company believes he values it staring at the hat for a while I remembered asking him if I could wear it around our dear camp, when I was a young boy here. Often on my head and smiled. Spent the rest the afternoon walking around What that hat like I was like it was a crown fit for could for the king of kings migrating called uncle John, on grandpa's younger brother came up to Us, while I was daydream and asked how I He's doing john was a com I control in vietnam. He had seen more than his share fair share. Or a fighting. I knew intuitively that the question was met,