me today and I was flattered.
We swapped a couple of emails regarding my desire to get overseas and blog things about the troops I meet there.
It was pretty interesting and it may be a no-go for a few reasons I'll post here.
First I think that I would not be trusted by the officers and maybe senior NCOs. The imbedded reporters there have a pretty lousy reputation with the troops and I understand that in many cases the reputation is well deserved. A good reporter will make a story where there may or may not be one. If he can start some contraversey he will, and in war there are a lot of questionable deeds done. It's a great breeding ground for stories that will get an ordinary GI into a lot of hot water fast.
Generally over little or nothing.
Trying to explain that you are there just to follow a dream is something that most officers are either unable or unwilling to comprehend.
After all, why would a guy that has a pretty comfortable job back in the world want to come overseas to interview low ranking troops if he isn't getting paid for it?
The other thing that is a possibility is that field grade officers may decide that I am not just an ordinary guy, but some sort of overseer working for the powers a little further up the chain of command.
This would, of course, make the officer put the screws to the very guys I want to meet up with by making them sit through all sorts of phony training and briefings. Then the privates would be ordered to make the area look presentable for their distinguished guest and out would come the paint and rock would be painted white and little paths would be laid out.
I'd hate to be responsible for having some already dog tired kid have to be put on some bogus work detail because I was showing up.
As usual, I don't think for a second I would have a single problem with the troops themselves, though. I get along pretty well with the guys and I really think they'd be impressed to have someone taking his vacation to go and visit them.
Not as impressed as I am with the way they are doing a good job overseas, though.
I really think there are some stories out there that are worth being told.
I really wish people in the states could meet some of the guys that are so special, yet so ordinary. Many of them have basic families at home, the reservists have ordinary jobs and the guys themselves come from all sorts of backgrounds from city kids that had never seen anything but pavement before basic to suburbanites to farm kids to out and out hillbillies.
Every one of them has dreams, hopes and things they miss back home. Many have plans for the future ranging from going back to their basic job to returning to school to returning on another deployment.
I have no real desire to have someone up the chain talking about the war itself, God knows the media has that subject all sewn up.
Nope. For me, it's the guys.
The Willie and Joes of our time.
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