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Saturday, September 15, 2012

A soldierly career continues stateside

I returned to the continental United States with little fanfare after a 12 month tour in Korea.  Returned to my hometown of Danville, hooked back up with my old friends, it was like I never left.  However, I was different, my view of the world was different, I was less tolerant of what seemed to be ignorance.  I wasn't perfect myself, I had flaws, but I was viewing the world through camo tinted glasses.  My life was a routine, I was a soldier, and I lived it.  I spent 30 days back home, saw my friends, family, and lived a little reckless for those four weeks.  I recall it very well, it was a good time, my best friend, Aaron Beyer, we picked up where we left off, although we were over 5 years removed from high school (5th year reunion was that summer I was home, but never attended), it was still as though there wasn't time or space separating us.  However, our lives were moving in different directions, mine away from Danville, his, and many of my old friends entering the workforce after four years of college or learning a trade.  I was a soldier, I was continuing that journey, and my journey was taking me to the state of Utah.

In July 1998, I packed my newly purchased Dodge Avenger (thanks to my father who I sent money to while in Korea, and who worked the deal at the car dealership he worked at) and jumped on Interstate 80 for the long ride west.  This trip is one I still love to take.  Through the Midwest, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, then into Iowa, and Nebraska, finally into Wyoming and to the final destination of Utah.  it is a trip everyone should make at some point in their life.  This country is amazing and beautiful, and at times I think we take it for granted.  The natural beauty of this world we live in should be cherished, cherished more than the sight of the beautiful man made creations that dot the landscape.  God placed all the resources to thrive on this planet for us, we should be grateful and acknowledge that from time to time.  Beautiful trip, beautiful country, and on to my fate, my destiny, my new life in Utah.

My military life in Utah, at Dugway Proving Ground, in the west desert, was one of the most profound experiences of my life.  The people, the soldiers, the job I did there compromised one of my most memorable military experiences, but they have all been memorable.  What has made them all memorable was not only the mission, but the individuals I served with.  Each I owe a debt of gratitude for helping guide me to becoming the soldier I eventually became.  What I eventually found in Utah was priceless, it is currently my reason for existing, and the love I would find for this new find would far outweigh the love I had for the US Army.  It was waiting, but my first year in Dugway would be my final year as a bachelor, and, last year not being a father.  The journey is in my book. 

More about Dugway later, for now another poem.  I know, choke, gag, maybe avoid the coming text, but I am pasting the poem anyway.  This one was written in Dugway, as I reflected on Korea.

Korean Landing

Slowly this year burns by,
Every minute I think back in time,
When I was on my final decent,
Not knowing, many questions run through my head.

Fear is never a weakness for me,
New environment might set me free,
Out of shell, out of mind,
Hoping the real me I will find.

Lost as a child,
I thought forever,
But found I was,
Through strangers eyes.

Strength built from lying mind,
Truth reveals bonds that bind,
Power from soul no longer littered,
Untruth through blind eyes has been filtered.

This experience has set me free,
In this environment of reality,
Life shall never be the same,
I don’t want it to be.

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