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I hope you win (well won) a 5'er or more at cards!

Don't let them get to you!



Their a lot of trolls out there!


I love your blog, the good, the bad, the ugly... all of it!

Don't feed the Trolls...lol


Russ your writing is a valued part of my day. Thank you for serving. Thank you for writing. Godspeed

Big T.

Don't let the bastards get you down. (I know you don't)



I've got to go with Subsunk on this one; no need for you to explain anything to guys shooting off their mouths and not walking the walk. You have our heartfelt support and gratitude - we admire your writing gift for relating what everyday life is like for you (not so easy to do). Take care - you are much in our thoughts!



Press on, youngster. No Dude can go where you are going. We are all proud of you and your performance in Iraq. Keep up the good words on your blog and the good work in country.

Can't wait until you are home and in Congress. Good luck, youngster.



Thank you for sharing your therapy with us, you certainly could have kept it hidden in a hard copy jounral somewhere and still served your original intent. As some readers above suggest, and I concur, it becomes a form of theray for others.

Keep writing...

David Neeley

Your writing is a very good testament to the depth and the value of so many professional soldiers. It is a wonderful refutation of those who view the military as cruel or valueless.

I wish you well upon your return and in your ambitions for Congress. You would make a superb representative of the people.

May God keep you and your brothers in arms safe and healthy and bring true peace and freedom to the people of Iraq.

David Neely


Hang in there, buddy. No one that's never worn Uncle's suit, or any uniform for that matter, will ever understand the incredible amount of time we spend getting ready to wait for something to happen. There's a reason rocks got painted white during my war.


Dear Rusten,
I do not care what you write, just as long as you write! You are interesting and alive. What more could I ask? Have a great night at cards!

Wayne's Mom

Add our names to the list of avid readers who appreciate the time you invest to record your experiences. You're likely to have a bestseller under your belt by the time you get home. For now, even if nobody else reads your writing, you're better off for having written.


Oddly enough we live in the distrist where Paul Hackett and Jean Shmidt are battling it out. As much as I would love to see a former Marine serve in office I don't think he will pull it off here. He is very liberal for this area. His pro-choice views in a very pro-life region, and she has the backing of the farming organizations. I would be shocked if he pulls this off. She is out there in the news constantly at events in the area, and he well, isn't. Adams county has a huge Amish population, I bet they love his gun and war stories. There are groups out there lobbying to enforce the gun laws, they were here door to door giving gun locks. We now have a gun lock, and we don't own a gun! At least we are prepared if we ever feel compelled to purchase a gun. When asked about guns, all he could talk about was his hunting from here to there, and danced around answering on where he stands. Just that people need to be responsible. And I honor his service in Iraq, but he has a way of slipping his service into every talk, even when not asked about it. He has yet to provide a solution to the real problems this district faces, increasing meth labs and crime, poverty, slow business growth, weak foster programs, and poor parenting. The foster program in Brown county only has a few families that are willing or even quailfy to take in children who are removed from their home, and parents custody. They are in such a need that they now are forced to look for qualified homes outside the county. We were called by the director to consider taking children in. We know a caseworker with the department, and she thought that we were wonderful providers. Brown county farmers have been facing hard seasons. And tobacco growers are being forced to sell, or make a switch to a different crop. Many are turning to wine vinyards, (okay by me!) but it is hard to chance from something that you know to something you don't, and you are already ind debt. Mr. Hackett has yet to address that issue.
Russ you are better than that, and I know that you will win your election based on your passion and intelligence, and solutions to the real problems your district faces, not some general stance on basic issues, and not on the fact that you are an Iraqi veteran. That is just a portion of you, not the whole of you.
Keep writting, and keep doing all the other things that help you relax.

Brian H

Just found a link to the latest draft of the Iraq Bill of Rights FYI. Movin' right along!

Your history interests inspire me to suggest a parallel reading track you might like. I really enjoyed the books 1632 and 1633, and the sequels. They're kind of "alternate history" stories, based on the consequences of a mid-size American town being dropped into the middle of Germany during the 100 Years War, as an incidental side effect of some alien performance art gone wrong. :D Anyway, treated quite seriously and effectively. Those two are available by free download, the sequels are mostly purchase online only. Here's the library link: http://www.baen.com/library/


Hey Dude
Just go away
Please don't come back
Another dayyyy
You're a jerk
your shitty and your rude
go back to work
we don't like your 'tude

*sung to the tune of Hey Jude*

Keep on writing, Russ, keep on!


Rusten, you don't know this, but I've been reading your blog for a while now. Frankly, your writing is incredible. You've inspired me and brought me to tears with your writing. I've felt the pain of your separation from your wife, the fear of not knowing what the day will bring and the grief of losing a comrade in arms.

Whatever you do, DO NOT stop writing. I don't care if you write daily, weekly, monthly or just once in a while. JUST WRITE.

Often the things that we do change people's lives. Yet we know little or nothing about it. You have to trust your inner voice and write when you have to, when you ache to, when you simply must write.

But don't stop. I couldn't endure the loss of your voice.


I appreciate your taking the time to answer - thanks. I have been devouring books on the Iraq war, most written by soldiers who have returned, and hope you will follow suit with one. My English teacher used to say the key to writing is reading, and your broad interests come through in your writing about Iraq. And again, its not whining, its THINKING. Keep safe, and thanks again.

chris Muir

you need to be in office, methinks.


I just happened by by way of Blackfive. Two paragraphs in and I can tell you're a natural for bigger and better things. I live in So Cal, and we need guys like you getting into government. (Though why any sane person would voluntarily do that is beyond me. But if you do, I'm on your side.)

"Duty, Honor, Country" is a hard code to live up to, but you sound to me like an Aes Triplex kind of guy. I'll be watching the news come election time. It'll be a tough fight - the Democrats are well entrenched (and the governor's redistricting plan has been thrown out by a court), and their strongholds are LA and SF - islands of blue in a sea of red. It'll be uphill all the way, with the Democratic machine firing full blast. But then if it were easy, anybody could do it.


There's a certain segment of the population who thinks that every waking moment in the military is spent doing nothing but "military things." It's up to we Milbloggers to correct such ignorance where it is found.

Yo, Dude; GIs aren't magically turned into worker ants upon graduation from basic training. A very larger portion of us can walk and chew gum at the same time, as well as catch bad guys at work and write short missives during the off-time.

We got it like that. Much of it is inborn, but it can be taught. I hope you learn to do this.


Hi Rusten,

You are going to be one great Congressman! I really look forward to your return to SoCal to rattle the cages here.

The loony left has the MSM and squeaks a lot, but there are a lot of flags flying on cars here in blue state SoCal. The truth is getting through, thanks to you, T6, MajK, Michael Yon, and the other milblogs.

Thank you for stepping up to the hard task, there is no way we CAN thank you all. Keep the faith, for your cause is just and you are definitely winning!

Bryan McRoberts

Keep up the good work! If I only read the paper and watched the news, I'd think things were going horribly. Luckily I'm better informed because of the internet - getting a better picture from people who are actually there! My family prays for all of you every day. What's being done is necessary and will help transform the world in many positive ways.


I have a friend serving proudly with you and he has spoken of you and Major K (amoung others) with the highest of regards. I have been following the stories in the news about your company and the FOB. Just about everyday I see stories telling of what you guys are doing. How you are taking the Bad Guys off the streets. How you are helping the local people and how you are gaining their trust. About helping to train the Iraq Soldiers and going on patrol with them.
Slacker is not a term anyone could use to descibe the job you guys are doing.
You guys have been doing a lot of hard work and we read about it in the news back here.
Speaking of the news, did you see that another Iraqi War vet is running for Congress. Paul Hackett of Ohio and one story can be found here: http://washingtontimes.com/national/20050721-115726-1110r.htm
Looks like you won't be alone up there on the hill.
The other story today that caught my eye was: 'Raging Grannies' want to enlist, go to Iraq. http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/07/22/raging.grannies.ap/index.html
Looks like some enlistment goals may be easier to make this month.
You guys are doing a good job.
Take Care and God Bless.

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