T6, the NightStalkers, Loss, and Change


As I have done many times before, I am posting a reply I made to one of the mil blogs I go to offer support. I do this not because what I have to say is so profound, but because I feel the issue under discussion affects so many of our troops. I hope in sharing these thoughts others will benefit too.

The Night Stalkers are known to most of us who go to the mil blogs. We have all followed their journeys through the writings of five men. They have captured our imagination and very hearts for months since their arrival in Iraq.

Some time back we shared with them through their words the loss of their first brothers and sisters. We sat on the edge of our seats as we read their accounts of their missions. Later we even got angry and felt betrayed with them over the actions of a small few.

When some of them were sent else where we watched them struggle to accept and adjust to these new assignments. As they all continued to share their journeys by whatever path chosen for them, we continued to be entranced by their moving accounts of the daily life of a warrior in combat. We shared their accomplishments both on and off the battle field. We have shared their losses, and their disappointments.

We have on a daily basis gone to their blogs and read their accounts; and, we have patiently and worriedly waited for days, even weeks for new postings on more than one occasion. Along the way one of them has stopped posting and taken down his blog. Sadly, someone else now uses his blog name! On a daily basis I and others have wondered and worried about him. Is he OK? Why hasn’t he posted? Why did he take down his blog? Another one has begun to post less and less frequently. Where he used to post daily when he could, it is now weeks between his postings. I am sure I am not the only one who wonders every time a soldier is killed with the same name, was that him? Or was it some other soldier who gave their all for our freedom and the freedom of the Iraqi, Afghan people, and the rest of the world in this War on Terror! But I draw myself up and remember the things he wrote about. The post that most stands out for me was “Operation Soccer Ball!” I am hoping as I am sure others are, that once he copes with the death of his buddy, he will be able to occasionally let us know how he is doing. If he doesn’t, I know he is doing as he must to survive. I will continue to pray for his safe return. I will forever be thankful for all he shared.

Now only three are still blogging their accounts of their journey through this war. Their accounts are greatly different for many reasons. Their style of writing, their posting assignments, their daily experiences, their individual perspectives all affect their writings. But none of these can take away the impact of their individual words.

The Night Stalkers have experienced great losses lately. At last count I know at least four, maybe five more of their buddies have been killed. The toll as they approach the end of their tour has been devastating on all of them, regardless of where they are now assigned! It has been equally devastating on us, their audience. It is so hard to sit by on the side lines and read about their missions, their failures and successes, their losses! All I or anyone else can do is encourage them, be there for them, and pray for them. It just doesnt seem enough.

Soon they will be going home. As they make that final journey home, they will be accompanied by the empty seats of their fallen comrades. Those seats will be a bitter and constant reminder of all they have lost and sacrificed in this war.

Maybe for a while, one or two of the three remaining bloggers will keep us informed for a while about their lives. They will let us know how they are doing. That as much as possible, they are OK! But the chances are that as they make their way back into the life they left behind, as they learn to live with the horrors and scars they brought home with them, they will go on with their lives. They and their families will all re-adjust and their lives will again take on some sense of normalcy! The war will be moved to the background of their minds leaving them forever changed, until the next time!

Those of us who have followed them through their preparation, deployment, and return home will be better for having shared their journey. We will never again take for granted any of our Armed Forces personnel or their families. War will never again be something that was fought “over there!” That is only as it should be.

In his post T6 said,

“I’ve lost a coherent portrait of life back home……. I simply failed to appreciate the little things. Instead of recognizing each day as precious I assumed I would be there to watch the next dawn, as if my mortality were somehow preserved through willful ignorance.”

I wrote back the following comments,

“How well I remember that stark revelation. At the time it hit me I felt so empty inside, and at the same time like life was just so damned hard. I asked my doctor about the feeling. I was so overwhelmed by it! His reply confused me at first but gradually fell into place. He said you are no longer just existing, you have now decided to take control and responsibility of your own life and destiny. In your case you hit the bottom first. But you came back on your own. You will never be in that place again be cause you are stronger than you ever realized. Now remember this, when the good times comes enjoy them but don’t get cocky. They will pass. When the bad times come, don’t berate yourself or wallow in them. They too will pass. The goal in life is for the good times to come more frequently and be longer in duration and the bad times will be shorter and less frequent. As I have lived my life since that day, worked on my PTSD, raised my kids alone, and dealt with my nephew’s death, I see every day he was right. I reflect on what he said often and thank God I had him in my life for a short time to help me find my way. I hope these anecdotes help. If they don’t, let me know and I will not take offense. But I will not put them here.”

The trauma of facing our own mortality is a powerful thing. When that knowledge comes in battle, especially after your buddies have been killed, it is even more traumatic. The recent deaths of the former Night Stalkers troops and their buddies has left a big hole in the hearts of our troops and those of us who have grown to know and love them. Though we cannot ease their pain or loss, we can let them know that we mourn with them.

As elections draw nearer, the enemy becomes more vicious and cruel. We also now have a more concentrated effort from Iran to help the terrorists. Frankly I think Iran wants a regime like theirs in Iraq because there is so much unrest in Iran right now. Iran may be counting on an ally if the terrorists succeed. That means unfortunately more of our forces and the coalition forces will be killed. lease take every opportunity you can to make the mil blog circuit and show support. Most of you do any way. I just think they will all need us more now to help them get through all of this craziness.

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~ by devildog6771 on October 4, 2005.

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