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Monday, May 31, 2010

Why the Heck Would I Go Back ?

As most already know, in just a matter of days, I will be headed back to the Middle-East... More affectionately known as "The Sandbox". Just as many...if not more... know that I just, as of the first of last month, retired from the United States Air Force after 20 years of serving my country. Yes, folks, the ultimate parole...freedom...finally allowed to think for myself, choose my own clothes...and (oh my God) say "No" when I don't want to do something (like back to back long distance transfers in the middle of the night when it's not my turn in the rotation).
During my tour in the military I've been to England, Germany, The United Arab Emirates, Dahran Saudi Arabia, Prince Sultan Air Base Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kyrgyzstan... Among others... Pretty much... Been there-Done that. I've been part of two wars, Operation Southern Watch, the war on drugs and the war on terror.. I've seen my bases attacked..seen my base blown up (Khobar Towers) and seen some of the most senseless acts in the name of martyrism. I seen miracles and acts of heroism.. I've seen death and sacrifice for a nation. 19 soldiers who gave their lives for our nation were personally carried from aircraft by the Elite team I lead and me. I have lived the fear of being solemnly removed from a plane, draped in the colors of our mighty nation.

So... After having lived through and seen all of this... Why on God's green Earth would I choose, after no longer having that obligation, willingly go back ??? It's actually a quite simple answer ( In a couple of parts).
This is who I am, this is what I believe in. Going back, as a civilian contractor, relieves some of the burden of military firefighters who have been on constant deployment rotations for 20 years now. This aids in giving my brothers a break to enjoy their families.
Second, yes.. I will be paid extremely well, which is definitely nice... But not the dominate factor. I am a specialized firefighter. Along with everything else, I am also an Airport Firefighter. I am highly trained in the nuances of air raft firefighting and both civilian and military air raft and weapons systems. A commodity in high demand in an environment such as Iraq. I am military trained and tested... Less of a liability for the troops trying to get the job done...1 less person they have to worry about.
The biggest reason for going back ? Simple... This is my chance to give something back to my brothers and sisters in uniform... To protect those who protect us... To support those who place their lives on the line every day to ensure our way of life... To still be a productive part of the people who are trying their damnedest to right this upside down world.
Patriotism, Duty, Compassion... Call it what you will. I just call it the right thing to do (and no...the money doesn't hurt either lol)

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