Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Hurry up and Wait

There’s an old saying nearly every Marine has said or heard at one time or another in his career…“Hurry up and Wait.” Unfortunately, that’s exactly what I’ve been doing since returning to active duty in early August. A series of events have delayed my intended travel to Iraq, most notably the devastation wrought on the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina. On August 28, 2005, Katrina rolled through Louisiana and Mississippi, flooding the towns of New Orleans, Biloxi, Mobile, and numerous other coastline communities. A co-worker compared the resulting disaster to Mogadishu, Somalia, where bands of looters roamed the city in search of food, or other items. The situation in New Orleans immediately brought to mind the aftermath of September 11, 2001, where the city of New York was left in tatters following the collapse of the World Trade Center. To some, it seemed the odds of rebuilding were insurmountable. For weeks following the attack, everyone wondered how we would recover from such a disaster. However, will and determination are remarkable elements of human nature. We’ve become stronger in our resolve, and the survivors of Hurricane Katrina will also be stronger despite the horrors they’ve seen and endured.

If my current travel schedule holds true, I should depart the US via a C-5 military flight on or about September 16. The largest of all military aircraft in the fleet, the monster C-5 can hold half a dozen Greyhound buses in its cargo hold. A straight, but lengthy flight straight to Iraq if all goes well, though I won’t hold my breath. “Hurry up and wait” has a way of following you regardless of your location and situation.

I will be accompanied by Staff Sergeant Michael Fay, one of only 2 official combat artists in the United States Marine Corps. SSgt Fay returned from Afghanistan in April/May 2005, where he was embedded with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment (3/3), spending his time in Camp Blessing, Wazir Pass, and Jalalabad. SSgt Fay’s drawings are currently archived in the Marine Corps Historical Division and will hopefully appear on the walls of the National Museum of the Marine Corps, currently under construction outside Quantico Marine Corps Bases alongside I-95. The museum is scheduled to open on November 10, 2006, the birthday of the Marine Corps.
I recently received an e-mail that questioned my return to Iraq. The writer indicated I should be going to the Gulf Coast instead, helping our own citizens stranded in New Orleans or Biloxi. While I understand their feelings, it is not my choice whether I serve my country in Iraq or within our own borders. I serve at the pleasure of our Commander in Chief, the President of the United States. The President, backed by Congress, has determined that it is vital to the security of our nation that we remain in Iraq until such time that the Iraq Government can safely and securely protect its citizens. The Iraqis are simply not ready to do so. To leave now would negate any forward progress we’ve made in the shaping and building of the Iraqi security forces. Until such time comes, the insurgency will continue to prosper. We are the “fence line” that separates the borders of security and insurgency. Regardless of ones political persuasion, we are there, and will remain until it is safe to hand over the reigns to the Iraqi government.

If it were not for the requirement to deploy to Iraq, I would certainly endeavor to travel south and assist with the recovery efforts in Mississippi and Louisiana. However, I have been assigned my lot in life, and I must carry on with my assigned task. In response to the aforementioned e-mail, I ask only that each of you reflect on your own situation and consider the extent to which you’ve served your country and your neighbors. Be it community or military service, charity work or donations of your own time and money, I ask you to focus your energy on your own actions (or inaction, if appropriate), not the actions of others. It’s tempting to sit back and play “armchair quarterback,” but actions speak louder than words. If your response to the events in Iraq, Afghanistan, Hurricane Katrina, 9/11, or any other major event was stuck in the “hurry up and wait” mode, now is the time to act vice coaching from the sidelines. Whether you Agree or disagree with the politics in play, now is the time for you to make a difference.


Teixeira Of Sweden said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Teixeira Of Sweden said...

I have been searching for a blog like this one! I've been reading for a while and I've got a feeling I'm going to come back to this blog.
Thanks for some interesting reading, and take care.
//Michel Teixeira, Sweden

Sarah C said...

I am so proud of you and all that you do. You are such an asset to our country in many ways. Thank you for serving in whatever way you are called. You are definitely an example to be followed even tho I'm not a Marine :-) What a blessing it is to call you my friend! Anyway, take care of yourself. You'll be in our prayers.

Anonymous said...

Greetings! My name is Major James A. Murphy-Plymouth Co. Sheriff's Dept. (Plymouth, MA.). I am a LawDawg like yourself. My road name is "Uncle Fester>" Please let me knoe if I can do anything for you and/ or your family while you are deployed! STAY SAFE MY BROTHER!

Uncle Fester said...

Can I send you anything from BLACKHAWK that you may need or have forgotten. Please advise, I have an acct. w/ them! "Uncle Fester" out!

Tatanka said...

Hey Colonel,

Thanks for your service. My name is Captain Mario DeLudos, road name is D. I'm with Martin County Sheriff's Office in sunshiny hurricane infested Florida. As my Papa Sierra told me, I will share with you. Opt for water and ammo, you can always find food.

If you need anything whatsoever, please contact me and I will be happy to get what you need.

Semper Fi

tander said...

Great what you are doing. If you need anything, post it on this blog to. I support you 100 percent