Sunday, October 29, 2006

A Profound Twelve Minutes

Sunday, October 29, 2006. Springfield, IL. In the Auditorium of the University of Illinois - Springfield. About 11:30AM. COL Lawson plays a twelve minute film clip for the several hundred soldiers of the Illinois Army National Guard gathered there. When the clips ends, it was stone silent for several seconds. Watch the clip and see why. (I'd put it up on YouTube, but it is 2 minutes too long). [NOTE: It is a Quicktime movie - also, you may have to refresh the page when you get there, if you don't see the movie].

COL Lawson followed up with an equally profound speech - "Why are we here". I wish I had a transcript. On Monday, I'll relate a little more of what CSM Bones and I learned.

"What was your proudest moment in the Army?"

I think mine might be when I didn't shoot someone that I had every right to [in fact, I had a JAG Captain right next to me saying "shootemshootemshootem"], but felt something was wrong with the way the situation as it appeared. It was in Kabul in June 2004. In retrospect, I was a little surprised that I had the control and discipline not to shoot someone who gave every impression that they were starting an ambush of my small group - including ramming an LMTV with their car [a new tactic at the time - you stop, you get blasted].

But I'll give it some thought.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. Thanks for showing this.

Just as WWII's soldiers were the 20th Century's Greatest Generation, so too are today's warfighters the Greatest Generation of this new century -- "dedicated to the profession of arms."

The U.S. military is the only force capable of enforcing any semblance of civilized order in this dangerous world. Thanks to those of you charged with leading and taking care of it.

6:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. That is a great clip.

Thank you for serving.

6:36 PM  
Blogger Al Maviva said...

Nice proudest moment. I have a couple similar no-shoot moments I'm proud of. One was taking EPWs we could have justifiably shot in GWI, it was hairy but I never regretted the no-shot. Hopefully that truckload of officers is on the U.S.' side in Iraq today. The other proud moment was getting through a Mexican standoff roadblock in the FRY in '94 (under UNPROFOR) - mutual guns to the head. Could have shot the guy on the road, HMGs in semi-camouflaged locations on the side would have made the truck into a cheese-grater. A cheerful face, an offer of a smoke, my pistol and his AK went down, the guys on the MGs went back to boozing or sleeping or whatever they did while waiting for vehicles to stumble into the roadblock. Wits (and the intoxicating smell of Camel Filter Tips - who says smoking is bad for you?) prevailed where brute force would have been suicidal.

8:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This should be on YouTube...If its not too much effort, it is worth breaking up the files into 6 minutes segments.

Thank you for your courage and bravery...We all owe you a debt of gratitude.

9:26 PM  
Blogger LTC John said...

al mavia - ah, good to see someone knows what I meant. Although, I have not employed unfiltered Camel diplomacy yet!

9:49 PM  
Blogger LTC John said...

Or filter tip...

9:49 PM  
Blogger CJ said...

That's amazing.

Thanks for sharing it, and for all those who have ever had 'boots on the ground' - thank you from the bottom of my heart.


3:29 AM  
Blogger AST said...

There is no single greatest generation. Every generation is tested by its times, and it's always the young and fit who go.

Whether we have good or bad commanders, those who go and carry out the mission with skill, honor and resolve deserve our honor, win or lose. So far, our soldiers have never lost, but our civilian leaders have, at times.

I don't know what will happen in the next two years, but I think that however things go in Iraq, we've already won. We overthrew an loathesome regime in Iraq, and allowed the people to choose their own leaders. If the Muslim world descends into war between the Shiites and the Sunnis, it will be because we liberated the Shiites and gave them hope. Maybe this has to be fought out between them, just as our Civil War ultimately had to be settled in battle. Maybe the Iraqis will come to their senses and settle on a system that works for them. Either way, our military has done a great job. We've led the horse to water.

Thank Heaven we still have men and women willing to answer the call to duty. God bless you all.

3:58 AM  
Blogger Sean M. said...

Great video. Very inspiring stuff.

4:07 AM  
Blogger Al Maviva said...

Right on Major John. You ever read Dave Grossman's book? I understood my own thoughts on the subject a lot better after I read that. It also cast a new light on the Loyal Opposition and the Deer Hunter phenomenon.

4:13 AM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Thanks. BTW, Google Video does not limit the length of your video.

6:54 AM  
Blogger LTC John said...

I might have to look at Google video then!

7:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

FYI: It's a very small effort to set up a YouTube Director account, with no length limitations. I did it. Took less than ten minutes of form filling, and then about a day waiting for approval. I've now got an hour-plus video up there.

But if you don't want the hassle, I can host it in my Director account.

8:31 AM  
Blogger CSMBones said...

My proudest moments in the Army are watching the inter German border come down to a hoard of East German shoppers without a shot and knowing I spent 6 years on that fence outside of Fulda and had taken part. All the incredible good things we did in that valley around Bagram including watching people vote for the first time in their lives. Girls going to school with thier Mothers and older Sisters in the back of the room because they were forbidden to before we got thier ect. Vote for these Millions who are afraid we will abandon them if the Dems win next week.In 2004, Siad the elder told me if Bush wanted to win all he would have to do is have Afghans vote. He would get over 20 Million to thank him for giving them a choice.

9:20 PM  
Blogger lucas m. said...

I am a newly commissioned 2LT in the USAR. I have to tell you that I am very nervous, but proud to do what so many have before me. I want to thank you for your years of service and thank you for posting this video. It is inspirational, and gives me courage to face what may come. to you, Major, and the CSM, Hooah.

9:47 AM  
Blogger Steve B said...

Wow. Awesome. Even for an Army flick.

I haven't been over there yet, but even in a video, and IED looks like hell on earth.

I defy anyone to watch that film and not get choked up.

Maj Berven, USMC

5:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My proudest moment was when I brought all my Men back alive from combat. I was lucky in many ways to have had that happen.

VFW Post 9949

5:44 AM  

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