August 22 was day that started out like any other. Early rise for range time with the boss, then back home for a few, then back out to move ‘Mac’ to a meeting he set up with his people. Little did I know, at 1620hrs on that Saturday afternoon in 2015, my whole outlook on what I was doing would change.
There’s a lot that went on during the months and weeks leading up to the attack, and even more that came to light afterwards. But, unfortunately, I can’t share it here and probably won’t be able to for some time.
I can, however, share something I wrote the day after…
Someone asked me one time – what I did for work.
Naturally, I said the first thing that came to my mind.
I do that alot, and sometimes it causes nothing but trouble… which is why those that really know me, know that I truly believe that I will never have to apologize for something I don’t say. So, most of the time, I just keep my mouth shut.
My answer was: My team helps prevent bad things from happening to important people in developing countries and other hostile environments. If somebody asked me that same question today, not really sure what I would say – because that statement would no longer be 100% true.
Another question I get is ‘how many people have you killed’. Fuck you. How many people have we kept safe? That’s the question that should be asked. How many times have we rolled up on the same exact scenario as we did yesterday, only to outsmart, outwit or outmaneuver the bad guys – or, more probable, how many times have they passed us and not known who or what we were?
And a final question is always ‘why? why take the risk? It’s not worth it.’ I have to laugh, because the only answer I can think of that is spot-on… partially comes from a freakin movie. But that doesn’t make it untrue.
What’s true is… someone who hasn’t lived this life could never understand why we do it, and they never will. It’s not always all about money – for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – I am away from family, I am always ‘on call’, I am away from civilization. And alcohol is illegal.
Its about the guys next to you, and thats it. That’s all it is.
I love my job, but I love the people I work with – and work for – even more than any title or position.
Barry and Corey knew we weren’t in candyland, we all do. Just the other day we were all talking about this exact thing, and we all agree – it doesn’t matter if some psycho starts shooting up a movie theater back home, or if something happens on the job here… there is a plan for each of us and we don’t know what it is, until it happens.
That still doesn’t ease the uselessness you feel when you’re not able to protect someone less than 50 feet away and the helplessness you feel when it happens, and there’s nothing you can do to take it back. When something is so powerful, so focused, so intentional – that it violently throws a 9,000 lb armored Toyota Land Cruiser over 100 yards in the air… you feel pretty fucking insignificant in this world.
You called Chris Kyle a coward, because he defended troops from rooftops. But yet, it’s somehow acceptable to use yourself as a bomb – and be revered as a brave hero by a bunch of twisted, ignorant and weak bitch bastards – because you’re too chicken shit to face us head on and trade bullets?
You protest and riot, because someone burns a Holy book, or draws a cartoon. But somehow, we’re still the enemy. You are your own enemy. I see more outrage over a cartoon, than I do for the little children I saw being carried away yesterday. That, in and of itself, says a lot about the mindset, priorities and motives of a group of people as a whole.
You would rather put the blame on us filthy Americans, instead of where it should be; because it’s easier to bully a politically correct nationality with riots and demonstrations, than it is to speak out against terrorists that would slaughter your whole family.
I don’t care if you’re Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, Atheist or whatever. But, if you call yourself Muslim, and you say nothing – or do nothing – at these people claiming to be fighting in your God’s name, when really they are wreaking havoc for their own selfish reasons, then you are no better than they are. You are worse.
The only difference between a silent Muslim and an extremist… one doesn’t want to blow themselves up. Yet.
August 22, 2015
You could definitely be stubborn as a mule in ways that only your security detail would know. But, you were the best big boss that anyone that ever met you would know.
I know it was difficult, Colonel; to let cops, grunts, sailors and Marines take care of you, but you accepted it, took it in stride and looked after us behind those closed door meetings, like every one of us tried to look after you in public.
For that, and for the many years… thank you.