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Thursday, September 6, 2012

The beginning of a soldierly career continued.....

Not sure how many people that might actually happen along this blog have been to Korea, but the seasons are nearly identical to that of my home state of Pennsylvania.  Winters, cold and snowy, Summers hot and humid.  Considering the country is a peninsula the monsoon season can hit the country hard, leaving it underwater.  There is a systematic gutter system in the country, or at least the towns and cities I had been to.  The gutters were called turtle ditches, interestingly, this name was given to them not because of the fondness turtles (reptile with cartilaginous shell) had for them, but for the simple fact that many new GIs in Korea (affectionately called turtles) ended up drunk and in the ditch at some point during their stay in Korea.  I have an interesting turtle ditch story, but won't elaborate too much, but I will say it includes a broken ankle and running from a local vendor in Tongduchon outside Camp Casey, nothing illegal took place, but we certainly were not on our best behavior that night. 

So, I spent a good portion of the year enamored with the culture shock I was thrust into, both being in a foreign country and within my new military lifestyle.  We trained hard and when we had time we played hard, it was truly a great experience and one that I contemplated repeating for a second year.  Major Rutter, whom I mentioned in the previous blog about this subject, actually discussed the possibility of me staying a second year, he was moving up to the Brigade level to be the S3 officer (responsible for training and operations), I declined.  I missed American women and I had not taken a mid-tour leave, I had decided to do my 12 months in Korea without a break, no two to four week break from the grind of Army life.  I certainly grew to love my Army, mainly because of the great people I became friends with while I was there, but also due to the regimented lifestyle that kept me on a strict schedule, maintaining my fitness, and spending just enough time in the field to make me miss the luxuries of home.

I look back to those days with fondness, I can still see the Korean countryside, both in the summer and winter as I drove Major Rutter all over the damn place.  I can still recall the song I wrote with fellow soldier Shawn Taylor, who played the guitar, titled "Hellfire's Gate," which was about cooking and injecting heroin.  Something I have never done, nor plan to do in my life.  Not sure why we decided to write about that.  I can only remember about two lines of the song.

My time there I consider the best year of my non-married life.  The people, the times, it was without a doubt an experience I could not live without.  I also wrote several poems during my time there, one I will post below.  This poem was written one day when I was out during a field exercise and observed a dragonfly and was enamored with its movements.

My Korean tour came to an end, I left what friends I had left there, most had returned to the states themselves, it was a sad time, but I hadn't seem my parents or sister in a year, it was time to come home.

I apologize if this poem is kinda cheesy, it was written in 1997, I was young, and green, and most likely a turtle still.


What is it with you Dragonfly?
I watch you hovering by and by.
It never seems you want to annoy me
I respect that, for which you may be
Keeping thoughts, feelings in your head,
Not caring what we have said,
To yourself you shall stay,

Waiting for your final day.
Beauty shed from beating wings,
Don’t make any noise, but you heart does sing,
Music loud, words so strong,
Man should never do you wrong.

Remember that day you came my way,
It was on my shoulder you came to stay.
I thought to myself
“Dragon Fly, my shoulder is your shelf,
Put your thoughts down one by one,
Don’t stop until you are done.”

Fly Dragon-Fly
From now on I’ll look and sigh.
When I see you fly, you reach the sky
For now we have unending tie.

Everyone should really check my book out, Combat Support "The True Burden Of Sacrifice" Available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon in both print and ebook formats.  It is also available at various other online retail outlets.

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