That's him. He's 23. The product of a Jesuit High School, a Catholic University. Double Major: Criminal Justice and Sociology. Plus his prerequisite AFROTC courses, meant he essentialy had a triple major in college. Oh, and he was also head resident his senior year.
His troops love him. Except during PT. He can do more than a pushup a second for five straight minutes and barely break a sweat. This is in the Nevada Desert.
He's the first one in, the last one out.
He's the All-American boy.
I'm flying out to meet him on Saturday night. Because he's leaving for Iraq. "Boots on the ground, August 18th." So he needs me to help pack up his apartment.
Yeah. He needs an overweight 46-year-old to help him pack. That's not why I'm going to Las Vegas.
I'm going because he's about to go to a place where, when he looks at people approaching him, he'll have to decide whether or not to have them killed. If he guesses wrong, he could be killed.
First job out of college.
I'm going because he knows he may not come back again, or he may come back different. I'm going because he wants me there. I'm going because even though he's got all the prerequisite bravado, all the training, and all the willingness necessary to be successful in the military, he's still just 23.
I'm going because I have to.
Look at him, and think about all the other 23-year-olds with girlfriends still in college that are over there. Think about his cousin Daniel, a Marine, who's 18 and we don't exactly know where he is in Iraq because he's not allowed to tell us. We do know he carries a mortar with him just about every place he goes. Think about Cindy Sheehan's son. Think about all the other sons and daughters and mothers and fathers who won't come home, and wonder why they are there, and wonder what they can possibly accomplish over there.
God go with you, Lieutenant.