The Music Never Stopped

Everyone has been hitting me up about the recent OAF Nation article titled “When the Music Stops.” So I finally took some time to sit down and thoroughly read through it. To be honest, I agree with a lot of the article but there are several things I want to say about it.

“I am always humbled in the presence of warriors.” Those are the words of US Navy SEAL Captain Pete Van Hooser and they were the motivating factor behind my every action while I was enlisted. Afghanistan is drawing down, but I didn’t decide to join the Marines because of Afghanistan, it was never a factor in my decision. I enlisted because I wanted to earn a place within an elite brotherhood. I wanted to stand beside men who were more concerned with my well being than they were their own lives. I joined because I wanted to serve and my call to duty was solely based on my personal courage.

The author states “our purpose in life had just disappeared” because the drawdown in Afghanistan. My purpose in life has not fucking disappeared. Combat is not and never will be something that I enjoy. Ironically, it is the only negative thing about serving in a combat role. Every time an IED went off or shots were fired, I was scared to death. Not because I was afraid of being killed or injured, but because I didn’t want to lose anymore of my brothers. My purpose in life is to ensure my brothers come home and then to do whatever I can to look out for them after they get home. My purpose is to train my Marines, to prepare for our next fight. You are mistaken if you think this is our final fight, but you are fool to wish for war.

A generation of heroes have shaped the face of the United States of America in the defense of our nation and sacrificed themselves upon the alter of freedom. These wars over the last few years have changed us but they do not define us. We did our jobs and we kicked ass. Who cares about the end game or the political agenda. As Marines, we serve one purpose: to fight.

“The ROE’s have been so neutered that they’ve become a detriment to the troops.” Tell that to anyone in my unit and they will all give the same answer: “What the fuck is an ROE?” Maybe this question of “What now?” is more prevelant in other services or units, but for me and my Marine brothers, we know “what now”, it is part of our creed: “So be it, until victory is America’s and there is no enemy.” We understand that now we prepare for our next fight. We have an opportunity to train hard and learn from our experiences. For my brothers who have been pushed out in the bullshit Reduction in Force and are hurting for that sense of pride again, I encourage you to take advantage of the opportunities out there that will allow you to continue to be a warrior.

Contrary to the article, contracts are not drying up. They are becoming more competetive because of the influx in qualified warriors. After the military draws down later this year in Afghanistan, a significant amount of opportunities will arise. Is contracting the only option? No. Opportunities such as the Department of Energy Nuclear Materials Courier Federal Agent where you can drive nukes around the country kitted out like fucking Delta, or the Department of State Security Protective Specialist where you deploy to  high threat locations like Afghanistan and Pakistan. Both require no degree and value your military/combat experience. It is just about knowing where to look. If you want to continue to serve in the military, there are numerous opportunities for prior service; the Army will take you in a heart beat for Special Forces and the Navy will take you for SEAL.

Our good friend, former US Navy SEAL Lt. Jason  Redman puts it best:

“The end of an era. On Aug. 28, 2013, I finally retired from the United States Navy after almost twenty one years of service.  It was a surreal moment as I stood surrounded by friends, family, and icons of the Naval Special Warfare community, as they recalled my service to the Navy and our great nation.

As I listened to friends and family remember, I thought to myself, “this ends a part of my life that I fought so adamantly to obtain.”  Interestingly, though, I did not feel sorrow, merely satisfaction.  My career did not end the way I had planned.  I had always aspired to command a SEAL Team someday, but alas, life has a way of altering our course, and mine was definitely altered in that firefight in September of 2007.  People often ask me, “Do you regret it?  Would you change what happened if you could?” and the honest answer is no.  What I went through, I hope no one has to go through. It is a painful and often times disheartening journey, but as with many hard lessons I learned through the military it taught me who I am.  It taught me what I am truly made of and what it is to lead, regardless of the circumstances you are placed in.  In this view, I know my career, strewn with hard lessons learned but ending on a high note of achievement, is exactly how it was meant to happen and I look forward to taking these lessons learned  through my Naval Special Warfare career and sharing them with the world.  Long Live the Brotherhood.” – LT (SEAL) Jason C. Redman (retired)

The Global War on Terror is far from over and our enemies are only growing in strength and numbers. We have dedicated out lives to a great cause and it was not for nothing, it was for each other. We are warriors, and for us, the music never stops.

Advertisements

3 comments

  1. I agree with you but with a caveat: the music never stopped for the top 10% who are able to maintain the military lifestyle, the best of the best’ who manage to d well enough to stay in the fight for life, but I think the OAFnation article is referring to the rest of us -the majority- who didn’t plan on making a career of the military or for one reason or another had to leave the service. the fact is that most of us joined up to be a part of something big -the wars- and to find our place in the pantheon of American warriors but just weren’t cut out for an entire 20 years in the military; most of us did our job well, but obviously not everyone can then go on to do so for 20 years. Sometimes, an enlistment or two is all that is possible. What we didn’t realize was that it would not be as simple as ‘go in, go fight, get out’ but would instead leave a strange, haunting, mark on us that was at once an old friend as well as a predator stalking our nights. I joined the Marine Corps because I knew it would give me a sense of belonging, brotherhood, and achievement just by being a Marine and would be a bond for life, whether I went to war or not. What war gave me was an unnerving sense of familiarity with death and with danger which, while never desired, can never be shaken. So no, the music never stopped for those top 10% who were born and bred to thrive and succeed in the military for life, but the rest of us (those above the bottom 10% who were dirtbags, and apart from the good service-members who just never saw combat) have had to accept that our military careers are over but the ghost of war remains. The war is an old drinking body who sits next to me in the bar and retells old stories of a time in life that is now far away.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. True words spoken, I’ve read the OAF article as well and I agree with your assessment. So much of what you do is based on what effort you put forth.

    GWOT is not done, and it is certainly not going away, perhaps it is morphing into something else if the study of military history has taught me anything it is that tactics and doctrine must be flexible, or they will be no longer applicable to the theatres they were borne into.

    Our conflict is still a huge threat and for us and the next generation of Warfighters it will be these efforts given forth that will define them and our legacy in the protection of those who cannot protect themselves.

    Semper Fi to all of my brothers, I am proud to have known you, and I am proud to continue with you in this life and the one after this.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s