28 OCT 06
I wish I had the writing skills of Joe Speaker or Otis or Pauly to tell this story, but I don’t. Even if I did, I’m not sure how I would begin to tell this tale and make it interesting. I’m reminded of the first time I ever heard Michael Craig speak. “The next thing that happened was…” followed by, “The next thing that happened was…” Who knew he would turn out to be a phenomenal speaker (reference the last WPBT) and writer (see what’s happening on his blog these days. Amazing stuff). I don’t want to be that kind of story teller. Besides, how would I accurately convey:
A freightened 19 year old college dropout on a “cattle car” with 40 other scared young men and one large, angry, black man yelling at us from under his “brown round” Drill Sergeant’s cap.
A broken but hardened man at the end of basic training, ready to take on the challenge of becoming a Combat Field Medic.
Seeing my first real non-military female after months of training, and picking her up on the first try. Albeit with a British accent…
Sewing on a 1st Cavalry Division patch and feeling immense pride, until I learned some of their sordid past in Vietnam.
Meeting my 1st Sergeant (a “door-gunner” with the 1st Cav in Vietnam) only to have him call me a “college puke” who was only there to “abuse his Army and take the Army College Fund and GI Bill and run away.”
Competing with 10,000 other active duty soldiers for 350 slots in ROTC, and winning.
Leaving Active Duty as a Private – having never been promoted (thanks again, 1st Sergeant!).
Riding my motorcycle from New York to Florida to restart college.
Meeting more girls than I dreamed possible, thanks to “Baby,” my Ovation guitar.
Kicking ass in college and getting accepted into the first medical school I applied for.
Meeting the girl of my dreams and realizing that all those other girls were just practice.
Being accepted into the honor society in medical school and finding my true calling in the world of x-rays.
Pinning on the rank of Captain and resuming my Active Duty career in Colorado.
Meeting my old 1st sergeant (now a Sergeant Major) and having him call me “Sir.”
Seeing the look on my advisor’s face as she told me that I didn’t match with a residency and therefore had to move to Ft. Benning, Georgia.
The birth of my first son.
Moving to Texas to start my residency.
Wearing the uniform on 9/11.
Moving to Germany.
The birth of my second son.
Standing in a US Army bookstore in Germany with an 80+ year old German woman who barely spoke English. We watched together as Saddam Hussein was dragged out of a hole and she began to tell me about her time as a Nazi cartographer and how this was similar to the fall of Hitler.
Moving to Washington State into a home that trick-or-treaters frequently call a mansion.
Teaching young doctors the art of radiology and finding true beauty in shades of gray.
Preparing to go to combat for the first time.
How do I eloquently tell you of these things? I have no words - just a few more gray hairs then when I started and a wealth of truly awesome memories.
Thanks for listening!