MIKE T. BLOG: To ask for a friends hand in war

I am not sure when I lost my friend but tonight I think I did? 

He asked me to send him to war which sent me back on my heels.  He stated it was his time and that I had done enough and he has done little.  We sat drinking beers and pondering the universe, but all that could come of it was that I had done my time and he had not. 

I have known this man for years; he was truly a good friend, like the friend that I could count on one hand type.  He watched over Nicole while I was gone myself in Afghanistan and never did I think twice about it.  My heart dropped when he told me this, I thought about six different ways to tell him that he didn’t need to go, but yet all he could come back with was why me and not all the others?

I stared in amazement and said it wasn’t his duty and yet he came back again and raged that he was like all the others and it was his time.  My mind raced to think about the excuses that I could use, but nothing worked.

I hung over his truck and screamed at him, begging him that it “wasn’t his war”.  It was mine; ours, the ones who went out there and came back under-appreciated and misunderstood.  That is our bond, maybe being selfish, maybe scared that I wouldn’t get him back.  He has watched over me for so long that I forget the time we met.  This war is hard, its unpredictable, it’s for those who are willing to climb the mountains, walk the deserts, able to look to the skies and know that no one is looking back at them.  I don’t want Joe to endure that, he is better than that. 

I rode home tonight with Nicole and felt the rush of the Jersey shore on our faces and I am not sure that I can convince him to do other than what he wants.  I stared into her eyes and wished for an answer and she could simply say it’s not your war anymore; it is his if he wants it.  What scares me more than anything else is being there, God forbid, if the word comes and the chaplain is at the door like in the movies.  Have you ever seen At War, the ramp ceremony, the scene in We Were Soldiers? Christ I couldn’t do it! Not this time, not with him or his family, they mean too much.  I would rather go back myself; at least I know I am good at it. 

As we sat there tonight I told him to accept the wind, the smell of the ocean, the quietness of his neighborhood, because god damn it would be the last time until he  got his ass home that he would ever feel it again, but every day over there that is all he would think about.  I feel like I cannot prepare him or ask anyone who has been there to do the same thing and feel good about him being successful. 

Fuck I hate this, those who have not gone want the chance now.  Of all the times to do this, they choose now!  It is a horrible time in the Stan and my god damn best friend wants to be in the shit.  So I said ok, I will do it. I will put you in touch with those that are going over, but I am not going to god damn like it. To those who have been left out of war, here is your chance to join those who suffer nothing less than the pain they have inflicted.


5 thoughts on “MIKE T. BLOG: To ask for a friends hand in war”

  1. Will he go under different circumstances? Maybe as a civilian assisting with the State Department? Does he want to serve or does he want to be in the service? There are security options, other means of helping the Iraqis…

    I have to say, if he were my friend and unwilling to listen to the realities, feeling the need to “just” be there…I might have to break his feet.

    On Memorial Day, I lost my third beloved friend to Iraq and I am numb…sick and angry. Your friends ankles and feet will recover, he might limp, but, he will be alive. Tell him to wait, there will be other conflicts.

    If he really wants to serve, tell him to go Force Recon. By the time he is properly trained (2 years), there will not be any action in Iraq..he will be with his brothers in Afganistan. But…he will be highly trained and protected. At least in Afganistan, the enemy is somewhat identifiable, unlike in Iraq. The insurgents are on the police force and in their armys…still.

    My opinion.

    I hope he listens to you and and decides differently. Beg him, do whatever it takes to change his mind.

    Yours’ in arms,

    ~ Gianna

  2. a man wakes up in a jail cell.a friend is waiting to bail him out. his best friend is in the cell next to him and says, “we’ve got to do it again.”i understand gianna. i held a close friend as he was dying in viet nam.but we all go over for a reason. there’s no promise of a round trip ticket.a good friend gives the other a chance to be in the jail cell too.they’ll be able to look each other in the eye as equals.two of my brood have done two oif,oef deployments each.lots of pain but they’re yours and know what they have to do.give him a hug. tell him he’s ” f—in crazy” buy him a few drinks. tell him there’s a steak dinner waiting,when he returns and that if there’s any doubt in his mind that he’s not going to make it back, he should put x amount in a letter to you for drinks at his funeral. good luck to you both. mike

  3. I admire your honesty, and also your introspection about your own experience.
    This made for one of the best posts I have read as of late. Completely unglamorized, un hero-ised, yup, you presented the real deal.

  4. Thank you for sharing so honestly. I appreciate your blog.
    My firstborn child is on a plane to A-stan as I type this. He’ll be part of an ETT. He’s waited his whole 7 years in the USAF to go “over there”.
    I need to know whats happening there – no matter what the truth is. I can’t wear the blinders. I won’t.
    I don’t think he realizes that he won’t be the same person when he returns. I just pray he returns.
    God, I’m proud of him, yet scared shitless for him.

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