Wednesday, May 16, 2007


We began prepping to move out of Bl@ck Horse today. I worked, but had an outbriefing at 1000. I was bemused to see all the awards I was getting.

The awards were presented tonight. I don't really want to look like a Mexican general: it's enough for me to know I did my duty. I knew when I arrived in @fghanistan that I was fine with never seeing action. Boring was okay, in fact, boring was great.

I did eventually get sent to where some action found me, and after all the salad was tossed onto my uniform, I was one of a few soldiers called back up to receive our combat infantryman's badge. Captain Roland pinned on the award, I saluted him, and then, he smacked the face of the badge with his fist. Not over-hard, but still. 1st Sergeant Williams was worse, as he loomed above me from his 6'5" bulk and his hand crashed down on me twice.

"I've got a star," (two awards) he explained. This was painful, with the pins of my badge poking into my collarbone, but what was really bad was Staff Sergeant Galletly, who rubbed my badge. That hurt.

I'm sure this whole demobilization process is going to be a major pain in the arse, but at least I'll soon be back in the good ole' US of A.


Matt G said...

Congratulations on being properly (?) pinned for your CIB, John.

I was talking to Ashley Emerson a few months ago about how weird circumstances can change things. Point a gun at a man and pull the trigger: Miss, and be charged with either Aggravated Assault, or Attempted Aggravated Assault, or Deadly Conduct, or the like. Hit him but don't kill him, and you'll be charged with Attempted Murder, or Aggravated Assault. Kill him, and you'll be charged with murder. Do the same action in the middle of a robbery, and be changed with Capital murder.

But it was all with the same intent. You pointed a gun at the guy and pulled the trigger. 4 or more different outcomes for the same act, based on tiny changes in things that the actor may very well have been unable to control.

You and your mates went to A-stan with the desire to do your duty. Each of you had the chance to have Bad Things befall you. Some did, and some didn't. If that action hadn't found you, you wouldn't have gotten the CIB. But you still would have been the same brave man who volunteered with full knowledge that he could see that action, or worse. Your mates who did their duty but didn't get the CIB because the dice didn't roll in such a way as to send them action should be very proud of their campaign ribbons, in my opinion.

Tell 'em thanks from a civilian, would you brother?

You know how much I appreciate you.

phlegmfatale said...

Congratulations! Well deserved & hard-earned, no doubt. It'll be great to know you're home soon.

J.R.Shirley said...

Thanks, y'all. When it's appropriate, I'll pass your comments on, Matt.