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Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Idea For A Book - Part 1

In August 2005, when I was en route to Fort Bliss, Texas (not blissful at all), I began a journal that would supply the "meat" of my book.  The idea I had for my book then, was immensely different than what the finished product became.  Prior to stepping foot into Iraq my initial thought process for a story revolved around the uniqueness of the individuals I was deploying with.  After all, we were the Utah Army National Guard, a steady eclectic collection of Mormons, agnostics, and other various religious and cultural ideals and standards.  We were, in my eyes, interesting, and even somewhat special, but who doesn't feel that way about a group of unit they belong to?  Not all, but I would think most.  The story never got off the ground once we hit Iraq.  Our company was piece-mealed out to various locations in Iraq, I could never complete the more detailed interviews that I wanted to with everyone during the year, instead, my team at CSC Scania TMC began a year-long journey, and a 6 month humanitarian mission that would define us in many ways, even now well into the future. 

So, my story changed dramatically once I returned home.  I went straight to school, to acquire my degree as a Physician Assistant at Pennsylvania College of Technology.  A demanding program, that would add to the drama and change the original story I wanted to write into something more sinister considering where my morals and values were prior to deployment.  My fellow soldiers, Ben Mecham, and Dave Mabey (Both of the LDS faith) planned after coming home to combine our journals and describe the deployment from our very different viewpoints.  This also never came to fruition due to each of us attending schools.  Mecham is a doctor now, Mabey, a lawyer.  Amazing considering we were all enlisted soldiers during the deployment.  From that point the thought of a book was put on the back burner, like many of my ideas in the past.  It wasn't until I had stumbled through Physician Assistant school that I understood what I had to write.  It had to be a completely honest and open look and my life, an assessment of my mistakes and successes and an evaluation of what is right and wrong.  The finished product is just that, without false content inserted, I opened my life and placed it on those pages, with some hesitation, but without regret.

Many stories have been written about American service-members.  I have read many, and of course, I am a big fan of them all.  Each is unique, each is worthy of recognition, and each has it's place in our country's rich military history.  But those stories, and mine, are only a small fraction of the stories of heroism and service over the last decade of conflict.  Most will not be written, but will be passed down by word of mouth for generations to come.

If you want to tell a story from deployment to the combat zone click HERE to access one of my squidoo lenses and tell it all.  Go to the Guestbook comments (Place your stories below) and write freely.

A few books I have read:
Combat Support (Many times over, I had no choice)
Delta Force
Blackhawk Down
Lone Survivor
American Sniper

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