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Blogs are like newspapers, books, magazines, what have you. If you don't like something, skip it. However there are one or two exceptions. Personal blogs and mil blogs [personal but shared] are just that, a personal way to ventilate, handle stress, personal events, etc.. Herein lies another distinction that needs to be made. Mil blogs offer troops a way to get out from under the stress of warfare. We demand a lot of these men and women. Whether they are volunteers, reservists, or drafted, these troops need this outlet. I don't give a darn what they put on their blogs as long as they don't violate security and it gives them the respite they need.

Frankly I think it's about time those being protected were not protected from what our protectors endure for us. Maybe it will make people less apt to go to war again. While I doubt that will happen, especially with an enemy like the terrorists, we owe it to our troops to listen, to encourage, to show whatever support we can. It is a small price to pay for all they sacrifice on our behalf. I wish my nephew had not been killed and he could "read, whine, or write long posts" on a blog.

Dude, maybe what you are responding to is the dispair that one can feel from our troops sometimes. or the fear, hopelessness, and that damn God awful helpless feeling that reading thess emotions can put in "your" gut because you can't take these feelings away for our troops. Wel, I have learned that I don't want to take these feelings away from them unless they become unhealthy, because it's what lets them know that there is still a part of them that isn't numb or dead from what they are experiencing. It's damn unpleasent, but along with all that dispair, fear and hopelessness is the other end of the pendulum, and that is what keeps them on guard and alive. It's like a mental pinch on the arm to remind ones self that their is still the ability to feel pain. Where most people get into trouble is by stuffing or denying their feelings and emotions. That causes the kind of depression that can make one ill.

So go ahead guys, use me. If I can help one soldier get through all this hell in one piece mentally by listening and offering encouragement, then I will feel blessed.


Russ, can you write a little more about why military fiction seems to fall flat for you now? Is your current situation changing how you view military literature now, as opposed to before this experience? Hang in there. I don't think you're whining.


I'm glad you saw the movie "Gettysburg". Iv'e seen it possibly 7,8,9 times. It still stirs emotions in me when I see it. It's based on a book "Killer Angels" which is a series of three books. All very good. I'm from the notheaset and have been to the Gettyburg.

PLease know that most (not many) consider the soliders and sailors serving in Iraq and Afganistan as noble as Joshua Lawerence Chanmberlain.


Hey Russ, quit reading books in record time, writing long posts and start catching some bad guys. Great writing, but don't you have another job? Quit whining and get something done...

someone who cares

Brad Johnson

Love your posts man. Stay sane and keep your men safe.

God bless!

Brad J.
Sacramento, CA


Rusten, I stopped flinching at loud booms about three months into my Vietnam tour. Don't worry, it won't hurt you.

I too spent a lot of time in introspection while "in country," but the REAL introspection came afterward


You'd probably get a kick out of the fact that for years the Navy has used that Chamberlain segment from Gettysburg in its Leadership Class. As you know, one of the greatest chalenge of leadership is getting others to adopt the command's goals as their own.


Wow, man, this is one powerful post. I pray for you and your wife every day. And all our men and women in the military. Thank you.


Wow. I think that's gotta be the best thing you've written, Russ. Hang in there!

Hugs and prayers coming from this corner...


Rusten, your posts never cease to amaze and inspire me. May your tomorrow be everything you desire Congressman. Salute. Godspeed.


To Rosemary,
The zip is 1-184 IN, 3 ID Camp Falcon APO AE 09361

To Lt C.

Russ, you are an amazing man. Just when I think that the troops have surpassed my assesment in them as humans and members of a great generation you come along and post one of those truly awe inspiring pieces. There is a phrase that goes, The Only Easy Day was Yesterday....I now know why that its true..for there is no tomorrow, no Monday, only today and yesterday. Monday is the day you go home and see your wife again.

3 Doors Down: Landing in London (although I think you could easily replace London with Baghdad)

I woke up today in London
As the plane was touching down
And all I could think about was monday
And maybe ill be back around

If this keeps me away much longer
I dont know what i will do
Youve got to understand its a hard life
That im going through

And when the night falls in around me
I dont think ill make it through
Ill use your light to guide the way
Cause all I think about is you

Well L.A is getting kinda crazy
And New york is getting kinda cold
I keep my head from geting lazy
I just cant wait to get back home
And all these days I spend away
Ill make up for this I swear
I need your love to hold me up
When its all too much to bear

And when the night falls in around me
I dont think Ill make it through
Ill use your light to guide the way
Cause all I think about is you

And all these days I spend away
Ill make up for this I swear
I need your love to hold me up
When its all too much to bear

When the night falls in around me
I dont think Ill make it through
Ill use your light to guide the way
Cause all I think about is you

Keep up the good work and never stop challenging us and amazing us.



"this thing that does not change: the perpetual struggle of good and evil." brings to mind a recent opinion piece written by John P. Avlon in the NY Sun titled "No Evidence of Moral Equivalence".

Sorry I am techno stagnant at the moment and unable to link directly to the article however, I will highlight the last line:

"When the history of the war on terror is written, the attempted murder of Private Stephen Tschiderer and his morally courageous response may not rise to the textbook level, but as an anecdote it confirms what has been true since the attacks of September 11-we are meeting the worst of humanity with the best of humanity. When the will gets weak and the purpose gets murky, it only takes a quick step back to recognize that this is a conflict between a culture of death and a culture of life; the differences cannot be more stark or the stakes higher."


I wish you could physically feel the love of your wife and family.


Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

There are two days in every week that we should not worry about, two days that should be kept free from fear and apprehension. One is Yesterday, with it's mistakes and cares, its' faults and blunders, its' aches and pains. Yesterday has passed, forever beyond our control. All the money in the world cannot bring back yesterday. We cannot undo a single act we performed. Nor can we erase a single word we've said....yesterday is gone!

The other day we shouldn't worry about is Tomorrow with its' impossible adversaries, its' burden, its' hopeful promise and poor performance. Tomorrow is beyond our control. Tomorrow's sun will rise either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds....but it will rise. And until it does, we have no stake in tomorrow, for it is yet unborn.

This leaves only one day....Today. Any person can fight the battles of just one day. It is only when we add the burdens of yesterday and tomorrow that we break down. It is not the experience of today that drives people mad....it is the remorse of bitterness for something which happened yesterday, and the dread of what tomorrow may bring.

Let us, therefore, live one day at a time!

Matthew 6:34
"So don't be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time."


Fabulous post. Your words are powerful, as usual.

PS. Do you believe you could send the zip code before the morning? My brother is going to mail that package to you for me. Yeah, you forgot the zip! hehehe. I'm sure it will get there. I'd just like to make sure. Take care.


"To each one UFO us there is AA certain truth what we be live to be real. To some of us our perceptions have become the only reality."

I assume you meant "To each one of us there is a certain truth what we believe to be real."

That really struck me, cause I've been thinking alot today about how everyone has their own perception of the truth...and truly believe theirs is the "real truth". Those that are against the war...they honestly believe that "Bush lied, people died & we're only there for the oil". Others support the war & have their own perceptions of the truth.

So who's "truth" is the real one?

I truly believed that you can't say you "Support the Troops" and not support what they are fighting for. Until I came to realize there are actually troops there that don't support the war themselves, but are only there to do their duty. The perceptions of the truth vary as much from within the ranks as they do on the outside.

So do I really care what others perceive? I may not agree, but I at least have a better understanding and will try to respect that.

Thanks for the book recommendation...I like Koontz. He has written some really bizarre stuff.


"All things are mutually intertwined, and the bond is holy; and there is hardly anything unconnected with any other thing. For things have been co-ordinated, and they combine to form one universal order" Book VII, 9

"Dig within. There lies the well-spring of good: ever dig, and it will ever flow." Book VII, 59

You, Russ, are an unquentionable candle in the darkness.

Stay safe.

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