Saturday, September 03, 2005


Cronologycal order:

#1. 1986, Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela.

When I was seven years old my dad took me to the pool. It was the one in the country club my Dad belonged to. It was very nice, I remember it as one the happiest places in my childhood, we used to go there pretty often. This one day it was only Dad and I. I was already wearing my swimming gear. He told me that he was going to the bathroom to change and told me to stay there! and don't go in the pool! So what did I do? I went to the diving board, even though I was 7, didn't know how to swim, and had never been in the deep end of the pool, but somehow I thought that it would be a good idea to jump in the water while Dad was away, so I did, and I remember going in the water and not knowing how to get anywhere in the water. I was drowning! I swallowed a lot of water and felt the terror of realizing at a very young age that I was going to die right there at that moment. Just then the I felt the lifeguard pulling me out, He asked me if I was ok, I was coughing up all the water but apperantly I was not in such a bad shape, since he let me go. The whole thing lasted like 2 minutes, I went back to the chair where Dad put all his stuff and waited for like 5 more minutes until my unsupecting Father came out, he saw me all wet but didn't say anything, I don't think I ever told him.

#2 10:59 pm, June 22, 1997 Savannah GA.

I am at the Airport, came in five hours ago from the Delta flight from Ft. Lauderdale, this is the moment I've been waiting for more than a year. I am in a single file line about to get in the bus that will take me to Parris Island, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, then it hits me all of the sudden, I will never forget that moment, as i look around I see all this young men that I've never met before, I see this bus, and I become aware that my life is about to change. Life as I know is history and a whole new future is in front of me. I become terrified. I am so scared because I don't know what's next. Is this the right choice? Do I have what it takes to be a U.S. Marine? Will my high school sweetheart break up with me? (she did)
But, to be honest, this moment lasted less than 2 seconds, I never regretted enlisting in the Corps, not that I was happy everyday, but I'd do it again, maybe if I could start over I'd be an officer.

#3 Summer 2000 Mediterranean Sea, Somewhere off the coast of Italy (not too sure could be Spain)

As a member of Company G 2/2 Boat Company we trained in this little rubber dinghys, we were trained to get to our target in different modes of transportation, and if they needed marines by boat, we were it. We trained in beach landings, river raids, (insert your favorite NAVY Seal commercial with the motivating music) etc, etc, anyway, we were playing this game of going really fast and then making a sharp turn to see who could hang on or who will fall off, we were being Marines of course. So I get thrown off my boat, no big deal, but I did one mistake, I opened my eyes inside the water, we were about 30 miles from the coast, so it is pretty deep out there, and I see the Ocean in all its immensity with the sunrays going in and getting lost deep down, and I'll be dammed if that didn't completely freak me out. But of course I tried not to show it. I just got back in that rubber boat as soon as I got a chance. I did not feel confortable being out in the water with who knows how many hungry animals.

#4. Sometime late 2003, Ramadi, Anbar Providence, Sunni Triangle, IRAQ

I'm sleeping. Not Anymore. Lights on, Just heard 3rd platton got ambushed up by the ramadi hospital, and that they were the Reaction Force that responded when the Observation Post relief got hit by an IED. The need people ASAP, without thinking I say,
"Where do you need me Sarg'nt?" I ask.

"Sgt. V. Man the .50 cal in the Deuce."


So I roll out with 1st Platoon wich is not even my platoon. I volunteered to go out there with no plan, as we are driving in the direction of all the commotion we hear the all-too-familiar sound of AK's vs. M-16's M249 and M240Bs. The radio is filled with urgent pleas for backup. I suddenly realise that I am on the top of a very big slow truck manning a heavy machine gun with absolutely nothing to protect me or at least hide me, I am literally standing with all of my body exposed, and I am driving towards a firefight, a bunch of people who want to kill me will have a very good chance to do it. As I hear all the gunshots I tell myself to stop being a fucking chicken .I am supposed to be a freaking Sgt so if I get scared I will mess up everybody around me. So I completely turned it off. Damn, I wish I knew how in the hell I did that. because that brings me to:

#5. Right now, Rochester, MN

I have a son on the way, he is going to be born this month. My first son, and I am as terrified as all four moments mentioned above. I know my life is about to change. I know I am diving in a unknown pool of experiences. I know that if I think of the deep Ocean of decisions I will have to make that will shape another human being's mind, Knowing that I am going to be a Dad in this crazy world scares me. I don't know how I did it that one time in Ramadi, but I wish I had a little Courage=On switch I could flip so I could stop being scared. I just want to be a good Dad. But don't know how. I don't know what's coming. But I have been lucky so far, I didn't drown, I made it trough boot camp, I did not get eaten by a shark, I did not die in Iraq, I guess I could be a Dad right?



Anonymous said...

I know exactly how you feel. For me the scariest moment was when they sent us home from the hospital. Here we are new parents going out into the big world with this baby that will depend on us for everything. I was scared to be all alone without a nurse at our beckon call to help us. Obviously I have made mistakes but none to damaging. You will be a good Dad. I recommend you read books and get advice from Fathers you respect.

Ultrabiker said...

"There are no Great Men...just simple men that rise to the occasion when confronted by great challenges!" ADM "BULL" HALSEY

Remember..."Honor, Courage and Commitment". The things you learned and respected most during your weeks a Parris Island and the "Men of Honor" that guided you through to the day you graduated and became a Marine. Remember the "Gunny" that you respected the most. Immulate the qualities of those individuals and dig deep into the wealth of Honor and Integrity that you have inside your soul and you will be good father. Remember where you came from... remember your primary mission is to keep your people alive, complete the mission and return home with Honor? That is a direction to follow for the rest of the days you will have as a father. Do your best as that is all you can do and never, never do anything to hurt your child. Be the example that they will want to immulate and respect all the days of their life. Make them proud to call you their Father.

"Quality not Quantity"......
BUD/S Class 132

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