Joe's the name. Joe Burleson. Live in Texas now with my family, but actually, I've lived all over: Guam. Diego Garcia. Germany. Alabama. California. Alaska. Now living in (godforsaken) Texas.
I retired from the USMC last year; served in the Marines over 20 years before a knee injury sidelined my military career for good. Hyperextended it; had to have surgery done on it, but it really didn't do much good except put it where it should be. Still have pain. Getting VA disability because I can no longer work (or serve in the military) again.
Even though I no longer serve my country, I still consider myself a Marine. Yes, ma'am! Semper fi all the way! OO-rah!!
To me, there is no greater thrill than to hear the "Marine Hymn" (..."From the halls of Montezuma/to the shores of Tripoli ...") or see a soldier/Veteran dressed up to the nines in full Marine garb. To hear the familiar tune or see a young man/woman crisply dressed in the uniform of the USMC makes my (patriotic) Marine heart swell with (American) pride!
I have seen war as well as peacetime. I have seen my fellow comrades get shot at or have seen them dying. I have seen entire villages pillaged by terrorists/insurgents, and I have heard the chilling, ululating cries of women crying over their mortally wounded (or dead) children, husbands, or loved ones. I have heard the thud of mortarfire and see bombs flying like frisbees overhead, praying like hell to God that they don't detonate near us. I have the enemy celebrate as they intentionally set the American flag on fire, and I have seen soldiers with their heads bowed in prayer in thanksgiving to God for letting them survive yet another day.
I have seen just about everything: nothing surprises me anymore.
Now that I'm back in civilization for good, I am trying to adapt, but the memories remain. Just about every night, I wake up sweating and gasping for breath as yet another goddamned nightmare lurches me from a sound sleep. I also have the ongoing pain in my knee and now hobble about on two crutches, living on a small VA disability pension.
I served during the first Iraq conflict in the nineties and again this go-around until I injured my knee last year and tried to invert it backwards. During the other times, my family moved around like nomads in the desert: this was why we lived in so many places in such a short period of time. Thought I would clear that up with y'all.
Texas is okay, but as the commercial says, "it's like a whole different country". It is, especially with all the illegal immigrants (most of them from Mexico, it seems) crawling around like roaches. At times it feels like I'm in Mexico because it seems a goodly number of them don't (or won't) speak English; they expect us to learn Spanish. It is extremely frustrating!!
Another thing about Texas I hate is the weather. Also the bugs and spiders. The weather sucks, to put it mildly: too stormy in the spring (though they can have storms just about any time of the year: a good buddy of mine lost his trailer in a tornado in December. December of all times!!), too freakin' hot in the summertime, and too cold/icy in the winter. Abuot the only time the weather is (halfway) decent is during the fall.
As for the bugs and spiders, some of them are so big you can just about ride on them. No kiddin'! Just last week, I saw a tarantula with orange legs and a large, extremely fuzzy brown body waddling across the road ... or did before a truck ran over it. 'Bout pissed myself, fuckin' thing was so huge! Bigger than my hand! (Or it seemed like it was ...) If there is one thing I cannot stand, it's spiders!! I'm severely arachniphobic!! *Shudders*
Anyway, back to my story. I really feel for my wife and my kids because they've had to move along with me (excepting to Iraq, that is; when I went to Iraq, my family stayed with my brother, Jake, who lives in Ypsilanti, Michigan). The kids have changed schools faster than one changes their underwear, and they've had a difficult time trying to establish lasting friendships with the other students. AS for Allison, my wife, she has had trouble making friends as well (that is, unless she was worrying about me in Iraq, which was about most of the time).
If I oculd go back and serve my nation again, you bet your ass I would! I love America way too much to see her threatened, and I'd defend her until the end; in fact, I would die and go to my grave defending her!!
*to be continued.*