26 May 2013

Just another 3 day weekend.... For Mike and Roberto.

Like 1500 BC with cell phones....

From the Soldier side: I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older and sometimes have a little less patients for people who should try harder. I had to sleep through another boring sermon in church today, given by somebody who still hasn’t a clue what Memorial Day is for.  (I know some of you are wiping liquid off your keyboard after laughing about me going to church.  It won’t make any difference, I’m still going to hell.)

Memorial Day is to honor those in the military who died serving for their country.  It is NOT about those of us who made it home.  OK, get it right or I’ll have to start bitch slapping people.  (sorry, my old Army Sergeant thing kicked in for a minute.)    
So, let’s think about this.  What does a hay truck driver and a US Border Patrol Agent have in common?  They, like thousands of others were in the US Army Reserves or National Guard and died in Iraq.  Both were friends of mine, but I’m sure neither knew the other and they were from two different units. 
Mike Ottolini was in the 579th Combat Engineers. This was one of my old units and I had the honor and pleasure to work under Mike many years ago.  He was one of the nicest guys and best leaders I had ever known.  In his normal life, he drove a hay delivery truck. 
Mike was killed by cowards using an IED in November 2004.  Just a few weeks before I got to Iraq. 

Roberto Arizola was a US Border Patrol Agent and in the US Army Reserves.  He was also a range master for the B.P., so we had started a conversation about shooting one day in Baghdad.  We never got to finish that conversation.  I had to fly out on a mission, whilst Roberto stayed in Baghdad to run his mission. 
In June 2005, just a few weeks before he was due to go home, another coward got Roberto with an IED.   

I guess if I was going to give the sermon in church, I’d say something like: “War is bad, and it’s started by really bad people.  Until we can get rid of all the really bad people, we’ll have to send really good people off to fight them wars.  War sucks, but have a world run by insane assholes would be worse.  When you think about Memorial Day this weekend, lets put a face or a few faces on it.  When we watch the news on TV, we can pretend it doesn’t matter, and it’s happening somewhere else.  But for ever troop killed in war, he or she had a mom, dad, bothers, sister, wife, husband and friends.  Tomorrow I will have 3 beers.  One for Mike, one for Roberto and one for me.  Thank you lord, now carry on, amen”

Yeah, I'm going to hell.


Paxford said...

Lest we forget


Coffeypot said...

Not for speaking the truth. Honors for your friends and so many others. Lest We Forget...

Anonymous said...

1. Same, same minus the alcohol.
2. Two candles at St. Leo's for guys I served with, one for a guy from my neighborhood who went West about the time I figured out there was a war going on.
3. God speed SSGT Ottolini and SGT Arizola.
V/R JWest

Momma Fargo said...

You are not going to hell for your Memorial Day tribute. I don't think you are going to hell at all. Thank you for sharing this post. I'll tip one for your friends.

Old NFO said...

Yep, well said, and thanks for sharing your friends with us.