"We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God." James Madison

Saturday, September 02, 2006

An Interview with a Battle Hardened Marine

Over at CORPSBLOGGER, you will find an interview with a friend of mine who is known in the blogoshpere as JARHEADJOHN. JJ is a combat verteran who has taken the time to answer a few questions posed to him by Corps Blogger, and I highly recommend you take the time to read it. I have posted just a couple of exerpts below, but these in no way do justice to the interview. Warning, this is a graphic account of battle.

JJ, as a note from a friend, thank you for standing between the enemy and my family. Because of you and men like you, I enjoy the freedoms you fight for.
Semper fi!

(CB) Can you describe what it
was like leading an invasion force into an enemy country? What you felt, did training kick in and you just did your job?

(JJ) This is a tough one. What to tell? What to keep back?

I quickly learned that war isn't glamorous, cool, or fun. It's just plain bad. I was scared to death much of the time. We took some wounded the first day, and it changed my whole attitude very quickly. I guess I realized that horrible things could very easily happen to me at any moment...

...I'm not sure how else to describe the emotion and sensations of combat. I don't think that the English language has the words to describe it. I'm sure that I don't have the ability to do it justice. There are countless combat veterans out there that will look at this and ask "Why didn't he talk about 'this' or 'that'?" We all went through our own private hell. I don't care how small, short, or "low intensity" a conflict is. The men that do the fighting experience the intensity that the common man will never even dream of. Fighting for one's life on a daily basis makes combat a universal experience. Sure, there are differences, but one thing remains: The fear of death. There's no getting around that...

(CB) What were some of the “stand out” moments on your way to Baghdad?

(JJ) ...As far as "stand out" moments, there's plenty to choose from. Sharing a meal with a shepherd and his son just outside of An Naseriah sticks out. There was a four-day halt to allow our supply lines to get better established, and we came across a sheep herder and his son (maybe his grandson?). I broke out a couple of MRE's and had a pleasant meal with them in a ditch beside the road. It really struck me as odd that I could have such a peaceful and comfortable moment like that in the middle of a war zone. The young boy told me that they were glad to see us because it meant that the Iraqi soldiers wouldn't be stealing their sheep anymore. The old man spoke no English, but the young boy could get his point across for the most part...

Read the entire INTERVIEW