Originally Posted by Lone_Wolfe
Actually it'll be tomorrow at the earliest, I got caught up doing something else and it's almost time to go. Well, actually I'm late already....
I was re-reading this and found myself thinking how many times I've wished I could just completely disconnect my mind and leave to to drift off, never to bother me again. Of course then I'd spend the rest of my life in on of those places you mentioned with little garden and friendly attendants dressed in white. Maybe I wouldn't even feel the physical pain either. But the reality is that I if I was like that I may as well be dead, since I wouldn't really have a life either. I guess Giving Up has a bunch of different ways to talk to me. Problem is he can make his case so well sometimes...
I saw you responded to a post about this:
This guy is definitely a hero. We all admire and respect him. Here is what happened:
"When an insurgent force ambush split Specialist Giunta's squad into two groups, he exposed himself to enemy fire to pull a comrade back to cover. Later, while engaging the enemy and attempting to link up with the rest of his squad, Specialist Giunta noticed two insurgents carrying away a fellow soldier. He immediately engaged the enemy, killing one and wounding the other, and provided medical aid to his wounded comrade while the rest of his squad caught up and provided security. His courage and leadership while under extreme enemy fire were integral to his platoon's ability defeat an enemy ambush and recover a fellow American paratrooper from enemy hands.
Giunta...was shot twice during the incident in the valley that day, though neither bullet pierced the body armor he was wearing"
The paratrooper died.
Hmmm...seems like I've heard a story like this before. Let's see. Where was it?
In spite of being close to the remaining Afghani, Greg decided to break cover to try to get to me and drag me back behind cover so the medic could try to save me. He was hit several times. He went down just before he made it to my position and died. He had no way to know at the time that he saved my life, but by running out when he did the 3rd Afghani exposed himself enough while shooting him that he was also killed and the medic was able to get to me in time to save me."
These stories are very similar. The only differences are Sgt Giunta lived. Greg died. The paratrooper died. You lived.
Four soldiers have been awarded the Medal of Honor in the Afghanistan War. None of them were leading an attack on the enemy and wiping them out. All of them were helping their brothers.
Robert James Miller: Fatally shot while diverting gunfire from Taliban forces in Afghanistan so that his fellow comrades could escape.
Jared C. Monti: Killed while trying to rescue a wounded soldier from intense small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire. SPC Bradbury subsequently died during his evacuation when the cable on the rescue hoist lifting him to a 159th Medical Company (Air Ambulance) helicopter broke. The fall also killed Staff Sergeant Heathe Craig, 28, a medic from Severn, Maryland. So in trying to save the one man, three men wound up dying.
Michael P. Murphy: Led a four-man reconnaissance team in a fight against superior numbers, exposed himself to hostile fire in order to call for help and was killed. When help came in a helicopter, the insurgents fired a RPG into the back of the helicopter and killed 16 people on board. Only one man survived from Michael Murphy's team, Marcus Luttrell. So in exchange for trying to save 4 people, 19 people were killed.
Salvatore Giunta: For risking his life to save a wounded soldier from being captured. Is the first living recipient since the Vietnam War. The soldier died.
I think any of these four guys would have broke cover and come after you in a heartbeat. None of them probably thought about what they were doing, they just did it.
I believe that Greg deserves a medal, too. I hope his family received one.
Was Greg foolish for trying to save you? Yes
All of these men could be considered foolish now. Some of them, by their actions, caused even more people to get killed, if you want to look at it that way. All but one paid the ultimate price.
But at the time these events occurred, they were only doing what needed to be done. Not all men, or women, are up to this task.
Only 3,471 Medals of Honor have been awarded since they began in the Civil War. They don't just give these out to anybody. The recipient shows "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty." Intrepidity means fearless bravery. Gallantry means "spirited and conspicuous bravery". That's why most of us say that we don't know if we could have done that if we were there.
These MOH recipients weren't just saving some guy over there. These were their friends. I heard Sgt Giunta on the radio last night say that he would give up the Medal of Honor if he could just have his friends back. I'm sure he wasn't saying "Oh, there's a guy over there. I need to help him". No, it was "I've got to save Josh!" and that's why he did what he did, probably without even thinking.
Greg and I are in the 2nd of 3 MRAPís and we are sitting next to each other in the mostly empty vehicle BSíing and talking like old friends. We were telling some pretty bad jokes by then.
Greg wasn't just trying to rescue some soldier, he was rescuing his friend. I notice you call him "Greg", not Sgt Smith. I doubt if he would have done that if it was one of the "grunts" who he didn't even know. It doesn't matter why he was there or why he did what he did, the important thing is that he WAS there and he did do what he did. The right man was in the right place at the right time.
Would he have done this if he knew he was going to die? Maybe not. Did he know he could
die? Yes, and that's what makes him a hero. Would he be proud that you are alive, even though he's dead? Yes, I'm sure of it. We all have to die sometime. What better way to go than by displaying conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty.
You feel that Greg was foolish because it was you who he saved and he paid for it with his life. If he hadn't died it would be different. I think it is normal for you to feel that way. I know you would gladly trade your life for his.
It wasn't rational for any of these men to do what they did. Why would someone rush into a situation where they could be killed? Why not hide behind cover until it's all over? Why didn't Lone_Wolfe just stay at the base until it was all over?
That is the source of your guilt. If
you had just waited for another day none of this would have happened. If
the Colonel had just said no none of this would have happened. If
the helicopter hadn't broken down none of this would have happened. If
Greg had just not gone on the convoy he would still be alive. If
the first MRAP had hit the IED instead of the second none of this would happened. If
the Afghanis hadn't put a bomb in the road none of this would have happened. If
the grunts just would have seen the ambush coming none of this would have happened. If
Greg hadn't broken cover he would still be alive. If
you had just not gone to Afghanistan none this would have happened. If
the President hadn't decided to invade Afghanistan none of this would have happened. If
9/11 hadn't happened none of this would have happened. If
we had had better security at airports and in cockpits none of this would have happened. If
Osama bin Laden wasn't a religious fanatic none of this would have happened. If
you hadn't joined the Army none of this would have happened. If Greg hadn't joined the Army he would still be alive. If
you just hadn't decided to go into the computer field none of this would have happened. If
Greg hadn't become a mechanic none of this would have happened. If
you had never been born none of this would have happened. If
God hadn't created the universe, none of this would have happened.
If, if if! Change any
of these "ifs" and you wouldn't be sitting where you are today, in pain and anguish of guilt. You see how far back you can take it? You might as well be asking yourself why God created the universe as to ask yourself why you went on the convoy. God loves his creation, he loves you, and you were just trying to do your job. You weren't out for a joy ride, you were trying to save lives, just like Salvatore, Robert, Michael, Jared, and Greg. You just couldn't see whose life you were trying to save.
Why did Greg break cover? Because he had conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity. You didn't ask him to save you. You've made it quite clear that once you were shot you couldn't move and you couldn't make a sound. He went to save you because he was that kind of man.
Why did you go on the convoy? Not to get Greg killed and yourself shot, by any means. You were trying to do your job and save lives. That was more important to you and the Army than the risk that your convoy could come under attack. You were doing what needed to be done.
But "Why" doesn't matter. Not really. "Why" doesn't change anything. What matters is "What now?" Do you continue to beat yourself up for the "what ifs" and live every day beside the road, or do you forgive all involved, including God, yourself, Greg, the Colonel, the grunts, President Bush, your mother and father for having sex, and yes, even the Afghanis, and thank God every day that you are alive, and move on to the next chapter in your life?