This last month has given me a lot of time to view things from a different perspective and evaluate some things that I might have overlooked otherwise. I made a trip to Idaho and visited my good friend Chad. I got away from things but not really. Being in Idaho just gave me a chance to remove myself from one environment and seek solace somewhere else. My trip was one of the best I’ve had in a while. Idaho is much like my neck of the woods. I said a few times that it was like home but in a different state. The way the roads are setup, the woods and the good natured people.
I had a great week. I caught some fish, had a few cook outs, took a dip in a lake, camped, shot varmints, hunted the illusive coyote, I met some great folks from the NRA. The one thing that stood out was being able to talk about my experiences comfortably with the people I met. They didn’t judge me, they just listened. They live in a place where appreciation for family and our rights is paramount.
I opened up a few times to Chad and told him some of the experiences I had over there. The whole trip was worth it.
The day I left something occurred that really topped it off. While in line to get my tickets, I saw another soldier. We really stick out like sore thumbs. Anyway, I get to the Kiosk and he was right next to me. He asked me if I was coming or going. I told him I had been back for a few months now and I came back early due to being wounded. I asked him his job and he said he was a crew chief on a C5. He said he had just gotten back the night prior. He was pushing his 8 month old baby in a stroller whom he never seen until the day before. It put a smile on my face.
Well I kept bumping into this guy along my travels and I swore I knew him from somewhere. I just couldn’t place it. The Army can seem very small but I didn’t remember him from any prior bases I was at. While on a layover, I saw him and his family. I approached him and ask him about the aircraft he flew in over there. At that point I figured he might have been on the same plane I was on when I was evacuated. I describe the flag in the hull and a few other things. Sure as shit that was the same plane he was the crew chief of. He tended to me while I was laid up on a stretcher. I was in and out for the duration of the flight but I remembered his face. What are the chances of that?
We parted ways and I was just happy that I had met him. I really didn’t know how to respond. So I went to the terminal of my next flight. He was passing by and he came up to me pushing his baby. The words that came out of his mouth really stuck with me. “In the 16 years of my career I’ve always wondered about the guys that we flew out. You have made my career come full circle by meeting you.” The man had tears in his eyes. He explained that he always wondered about the ones who were hurt. He knew the disposition of the ones in boxes but the ones on stretchers like me, where did they go and how did they make out?
We had some more words between two soldiers who were strangely reunited, one on a trip fresh from the war and another enduring the mental war. It was good to have that experience; it closed a few things that might have hampered a bit longer.
Since being back I have decided that I will be most likely self publishing Soldier Life. Unless a publisher comes along and wants to pick it up I will begin the procedures to do it myself. While in Idaho, Chad and I spoke of this a few times. I think I almost owe it to my readers to release the book. There will also be a 2nd book as well. This is going to go into a place where the feint of heart will need to take the book in moderation. I am going to write about the raw reality of war and what I went through personally. How it affected me mentally, physically, my family and my experiences as a whole. I don’t care if publishers think Soldier Diary’s are not the genre of the month or not, people want to know about the war. Even if I sell one book, one person will be enlightened. To be quite honest, publishers who are solely about money can go fuck yourselves, why not go out on a limb and publish books with meaning and not worry about how much it’s going to inflate your pockets. Take the small amount of money it does make and donate it to random lower enlisted soldiers who are collecting food stamps because the fucking government is too cheap to raise their pay. Sorry, I digress. It just pisses me off.
So that is where I stand. The experiences that I have encountered in the last month, the closures, the plans and most of all, the time to reflect.
I will be announcing the progression of the book soon. Just keep a watch out for it.