Monday, May 10, 2010


Throughout my time in the Middle East, the thing I lusted the most for was combat experience. It is the dream and highest calling of every Marine: to kill. To have your own life threatened, to look Death in the eye, to engage the enemy and end his life. I wanted to know the guilt and the redemption of the kill, I wanted to taste the fear of meeting God. I needed to sate my bloodthirst.

I know I speak for many Marines when I say that I'm ashamed to call myself a "veteran". I never even squeezed a trigger! I have always spurned those men who proudly wore their rows of medals on their chests, without a single one of them being combat-related. How dare you wear your medals so pompously, the medals that belong to men inside flag-draped coffins!

This past year, the only thing I ever prayed for was combat. And I watched as I got closer and closer to it with every day and every place that I went. Finally in the Helmand, in the very breeding grounds of the Taliban, I was still only an arm's reach away. I watched as all the people around me got confirmed kills every day, I watched injured and dead Marines being shipped back home. And still I never got there.

Every day we were in the villages, I itched for the terrorists lurking in the alleys to come meet me in fire. The same motherfuckers who killed so many of my brothers walking down the same streets. But they never came.

I came back to America without any bullet holes in my skin, with my trigger finger still a virgin, and I continued to ask God why. Why make me a Marine and not let me know what it's like to kill? Why send me all the way to the devil's backyard and bring me back safe and sound?

There was never a sudden moment of clarity; it was more like a gradual acceptance. That I didn't need those trophies on my shelf. You're My servant, I heard Him say, and you need to lay down your crowns, boy.


  1. i've been sitting here the last 12 minutes trying to create words out of my thoughts...

    not in your shoes, probably never will walk in those shoes either, but it's funny how God places us within eye sight of something on our mind, and when that very object begins to consume our hearts, he'll snatch us away and say "eyes on me". that happened to me last year and completely rocked my world, felt honestly paralyzed.., and i think i'm still recovering from that.

    lets bbq sometime soon, im hungry man.