New Sources From The Front

Mountains near the road from Kabul to Salang P...

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Anyone who has visited here for a little time, knows I have a love for the Milblogs.  There’s something comforting in hearing (reading) the troops thoughts, in an open format.  I enjoy reading their perspective on what’s going on around the world, and right there in their own platoon, group, what have you.  I have to admit, I have a tendency to gravitate toward the Army blogs, after all, I was a lowly soldier at one time.

I keep up with all the new blogs out there through  I learn about new sites, and important things that are happening right there.  Just last week, they shared information about a new blog that would be posting updates from Afghanistan.  Flying O, is authored by an Air Force flight nurse. She introduces herself to the blogging community in her first post titled Genesis. She quotes within this article, and I found it moving.  I will share both a quote from her, and the one she quoted.

“This journey will be novel in some ways and repetitive in others.  The wounds may be the same but the patients, my troops, and the experiences will not be.” – Flying O.

“I may be compelled to face danger, but never fear it, and while our soldiers can stand and fight, I can stand and feed and nurse them.” - Clara Barton

I plan on keeping tabs on her journey for a couple of reasons.  One is just basic curiosity, another is simple pride in our troops, and third, I have two family members over their.  A Nephew and a Cousin.  I receive updates from my cousin by email,  he is an Air Force Pilot, training the Afghan National Air Force, and helping them to organize their own operations.  I would love to be able to share his stories, for they are fabulous, but I can not, for they are not mine to share.  My Nephew is a Mortar Man in an infantry unit, patrolling the Afghan country side, and sharing a few pictures on his facebook page, and no I won’t share his facebook profile with you either, sorry.   I will say that many of the pictures he shares, look so much like the Colorado Mountains, it amazes me.

Another milblog author will be heading back into the danger zone also.  Bouhammer, by Tony Steward, who will be heading back to Afghanistan, but in civilian clothing this time.  He’ll be working as a military contractor, supporting the “War Fighter”.  I’m sure there is more to it than that, but imagine he can’t share to much. Bouhammer has been around for a long time,  and Tony Steward is a retired Army First Sergeant, with a highly developed sense of duty.  He has blogged about his service during his last deployment, which was in Afghanistan, and about his experiences after Army retirement, and his entry into the civilian life.  Now he’ll be sharing his unique perspective from the outside looking in, with the knowledge of what it was really like. 

Tony Steward wrote a very interesting post about “That Look”.  We all have an idea what he’s talking about, but how many of us know what the look holds for each of those individual soldiers.  Is caused from a memory, or a nightmarish cloud of experiences no one wants?  Personally, I don’t know, having never seen combat, but I did understand his distinction between the new, young soldier with their look of anticipation even excitement, and the older more seasoned veteran with that “indescribable look of weariness and determination”   You can also read an article on why he’s going back, The Military Is In My DNA, is all about his reasons.  He also shares that he has one son who recently served 6 years as a combat medic, and one son putting forward the effort to gain acceptance to West Point.  

Be sure to check them out, and find out what’s happening from their point of view.


JeffScape said...

9-year vet, myself. I definitely keep close tabs on everyone over there. Can't help it.

Eric S. said...

Hello Jeff, 9 years, that's a pretty good stint. I only did 4, and it was all during peace time. We were still preparing for the red hordes to come barreling through the Fulda Gap, to be met in fierce battle by those forest cammo M1A's. I got out late in 1988.

I still feel that connection though, one that will probably die only when I do.

tashabud said...

I'll be sure to check them out when time allows. Of course, I always have a soft heart for the men and women in uniform. After all, I was one of them for 5 years also.

Thanks for the links,

Eric S. said...

Hi Tasha, I know you do, but I did not know you had been in uniform. See you have surprised me, I knew your husband had, but never suspected you had.

Jennifer said...

One of my former writing students took my class so that she could finish her ongoing project: telling her brother's story of his experiences in Viet Nam as he told it to her. She recently wrote to me and told me that she met another former Viet Nam solder and he asked her to help him write his story.

I told her that I think it's such a meaningful project - telling one's story can be incredibly healing.

I believe it's so important for all of us to tell the stories of our lives like WE experience them. Todays soldiers and yesterday's soldiers have lived things many of us couldn't even fathom. Hearing their stories from them, rather than the media is vastly more truthful and could teach us scads.

I will point this writer to those blogs in case she hasn't seen them. Great post - it's a topic I'm passionate about.

tashabud said...

Just when you think you knew everything about me, I say something that surprises you. LOL.

Hubby was an officer, and I was a lowly enlisted. You know how the military frowns upon officers and enlisted fraternizing together? Well, I didn't want to jeopardize hubby's carreer, so, I decided to be the one to get out. Besides, we were serioulsy planning on starting a family by then. Being both in the military with kids is not ideal if both of us were to be deployed overseas.

Actually, I got out just before the first Iraq war, for which I most likely would have been deployed, since many from my squadron got mobilized and deployed.

As it was, hubby and I were stationed away from each other most of my military years, which was very hard for both of us. We only saw each other every four to six months until both of us were stationed in North Dakota.

Eric, I might write about my military life for one of my future posts. We'll see.


kkipp said...

Greetings Wee Bro,

Seems like forever since I've visited. Life is very full right now, finding personal time is challenging.

I believe cousin Creig's son, would be a second cousin to us, is also in Afghanistan currently.

Love & hugs,

The Eldest Sib

Eric S. said...

@ Jennifer, you are so right, someone must tell their story. It's very good of her to do so, I'm sure it's a challenge to get it right.

@ Tahsa, LOL, you just keep surprising me girl. Yep, they don't approve of the "fraternization" between officers and us lowly enlisted troops.

You should definitely write about your life in uniform.

@ Kel, Hey Sis, No worries I know you've got your hands full. Thats right, Craig even got to spend some time with him over there. I enjoyed that update very much. Love and hugs back "elder"


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