It seems a strange time. My life, this war
, and my tour in Korea
seems very surreal. So used to seeing anti-Americanism from the safety of the States, it was certainly shocking to see it first-hand.
An anti-U.S. group of Koreans has posted on their website, the tool of dissention in our post-modern war-torn world, has made a statement they will attempt to "create altercations" outside of bars G.I.s frequent near USFK bases, then film these soldiers "defending themselves", for sale to news media. So in response, the 2nd Infantry Division is not allowed to drink alcohol, on or off-post, until September.
The entire world seems to have erupted in conflict. Is this because I'm now old enough to absorb it, or because mankind is truly rending itself to pieces. I believe the former. Mankind has been killing itself for tens-of-thousands of years, and why should things be different now. Somehow I've not been sent to Iraq yet, but I've been in Korea for almost 2 years. Now, just as I'm getting ready to leave in January, rumors of deployment start circulating in the barracks.
Too often do I hear soldiers saying, Oh, when you get there and the bullets start flying, you'll think differently. But then I meet those twos and fews, the men who are stalwart rocks of American idealism. Those men, like the Special Forces First Sergeant I had the pleasure of meeting at Camp Mackall. I was an SFAS candidate, trying to get my foot in the door of Special Operations.
One night, after spending 12 hours alone through the night in the dense woods of North Carolina, I stumbled into camp. We started with 380 men, all trying their hand at showing they have what it takes to be in Special Forces. Now, we were at 200 in less than two weeks. And these were not normal men. These were infantrymen, Rangers, snipers, cavalry scouts. Men who had been in combat, had taken lives, and come back for more.
And they were quitting left and right.
I couldn't believe it. I would look around one night, see the faces of proud men I was proud to stand beside, and in the morning, their racks were empty, silent testament that he didn't have the willpower to look through the pain, to drag themselves onto their feet and continue. The cadre, men who had themselves sweated and bled on the same rocks and woodland, didn't think too highly of these men. The 1SG came to speak to us.
See those men over there in the hut? You think those men will ever wear a fucking Special Forces tab? You think those men will ever wear this (special forces) combat patch? Hell no! I left the Rangers to be in Special Forces because I wanted to get away from the mindset and into a more mature organization. S.F. stands for suckfest, and it doesn't ever get easier. Shit, everyday you think about quitting, but you don't. And that's what makes you stand appart. At least you had the courage to try, when most of the Army doesn't even have the balls.
This man struck me so deeply, I still think about him often. He is the epitome of the ideal American fighting man. Idealist, professional, sharp, and handsome. He was above nobody. He talked to you like a human, as long as you showed him you had what it takes to stand beside him in the same uniform and cover his ass.
I had to go in front of a colonel, and had to tell him and other ranking Special Forces soldiers why I deserved to go to training. After 15 tense minutes, I was selected. On my way out, the last thing he said to me, "Good job 322." I thanked him as I practically ran for the door. Soon I was back in Korea, biding my time until I start training.
Life seems a waiting game. Always waiting for something, never satisfied. I always seem to miss deployment by a hair, and not because I don't want to go, but because it seems that I am meant to return for training. Maybe I'll find my destiny there, or perhaps it just by chance.