Soldier Had to Watch Two of His Buddies Die

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I told you on Monday’s post that I would be sharing a chapter from my time at Ft. Bragg, and also an interview I had with a veteran, from my upcoming book, Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life. Here they are:

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Ft Bragg

Sitting on a Military Plane Ready to Fly to the Bay of Pigs

I know of some of the fears you face or have faced as a soldier. I have had my share of scary times while in uniform for my country.

I had put in three years of active duty, and was very near to my discharge date while at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. As a matter of fact the discharge date was just days away.

It seemed like a normal day of “putting in your time,” but then there came a sound that I never want to hear again. It was the intercom in our section of the company I was stationed with saying, “This is an alert.” This is not a drill, all personnel report to headquarters for a briefing right away.”

I couldn’t think of why there would be any problems that serious happening, and still thought it was a drill as I ran towards the headquarters building.

When we all assembled, the commander went to the podium and spoke.

“I am here to inform you that all leaves and weekend passes are canceled. We have received a message from the commanding General of the Army to stand by for a possible mission to the Bay of Pigs. This is a very serious mission, which will put you in combat and in harm’s way. Our unit is being deployed, to help monitor the security of the communications while there. We will serve in the field headquarters of the mission. You have about two hours to pack your full field clothes and equipment. Dismissed!”

That was it. No more explanations or chances to ask questions.

I drove home quickly, packed all my gear in a duffel bag.

I got back to the headquarters, and it looked like pandemonium and chaos had sat in, with soldiers running everywhere.  

A few minutes later everyone had made it there and we were all in formation. The commander then told us to come to attention.

We all headed to buses that were waiting to take us to the military airport on base. When we got there, we unloaded and marched to the area of several planes. They had us board the planes with full gear and field uniforms on. The pilot came on to tell us that we will be in a combat area when we land at the Bay of Pigs.

I sat down in my area, and was holding my weapon (M-1 rifle) between my legs. I was numb with fear and anxiety. I had never thought I would actually be in a conflict where I could die.

The plane started its engines. The plane shook as the engines roared to get up to the speed they needed to get off the ground. It taxied to the runway and stopped.

Then we waited for the pilot to push the throttle. We sat there for what seemed like hours. I could see the fear, in the eyes in the soldiers around me. I was only about twenty years old then, and began to see my life unfold before me. I had thoughts of not coming back. I had thoughts of my loved ones I would never see again.

The plane was shaking from the vibrations of the motors. I said a prayer because it looked like we were going to take off. The plane was moving. However, it was not going down the runway. It was heading back to the area where we boarded.

The pilot came on the intercom and said that the mission had been aborted, and we were going back to our companies.

I felt such relief along with men and women around me who were yelling for joy. We were safe and heading back to our homes.

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I only shared this story because I know some of you have gone through the same thing. You also have been sent into combat, and faced the fear of not coming back. I was very lucky, but many of you actually left the ground in your plane, and headed into harm’s way.

Fear is something that is hard to control. Even the most-brave face it. We all have been there in some capacity.

It could be the doctor’s appointment that has information on your health. It also could be the times when you have to leave your loved ones for any mission. It may be the crises of your marriage when your spouse is tired of going through the pain of wondering if you will come back alive.

Did you know that Jesus faced fear? He even asked God to take away the fear by relieving Him of the cup of the responsibility God had placed on Him. He sweated blood during that prayer. God heard the prayer, but let Jesus go through the fear, pain and agony of going to the cross and dying for you and me. 

I am not making it sound like we shouldn’t be afraid. I know we are quite often. I am not saying you are a bad person if you are afraid of something. We all have our spots where we fear the unknown.

I think that is the key. It is the “unknown.” It’s not knowing what will happen next.

What I have learned from so many times of facing fear that 99% of what we fear never happens. We just need to give the other 01% over to God.

Is it that simple? I can honestly tell you that it is. God has big shoulders. He wants to take the burdens of our day away from us. We just need to depend on Him to keep His promises and know that He will never put us in a situation that we can’t handle with His help.

IWILL

Facing the unknown in life can be very hard. We aren’t built to take on such scary things at times. We just need to rely on God to see us through the dark clouds we face. He knows which way we need to go to avoid harm.

Think on this

Isn’t it interesting that having fear is what we really need to fear?   

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SGT Michael Thorin

U.S. Army

I had the honor to talk to Michael Thorin about his experiences. Like all interviews his had some horrific moments and some good times.

Michael was an acting platoon SGT for convoy security. He was attached to A Co. 31st FSB. Watched over convoys during transition.

SOH

What did you think of other soldiers you were with?

Michael

You think others deserve more praise.

SOH

What about the bad times you had?

Michael

I was in a reconnaissance leader, and we had a group of vehicles that protected the convoys. One day we were traveling in a group, and the vehicle ahead of us suddenly caught on fire. It was intense immediately. We all got out of our rigs and ran toward the vehicle, but it was too late. The men inside had already burned to death. There was nothing to do, but make sure everyone else was safe. They were very good men.

You never leave the bad times behind you. They are always with you. Your mind is always full of military times.

SOH

Let’s switch to your transition time. When did you get home and how did you feel when you got out?

Michael

I got home on September 11, 2006.

SOH

Let me interrupt you and share that was the same day as the 9-11 attack.

Michael

Yes, we all knew it, and it was very emotional.

SOH

What was it like coming through the terminals when you landed?

Michael

People were applauding and shaking our hands.

SOH

When you first got home with your family what was it like?

Michael

I didn’t think I was worthy of love and I struck back at my wife. Whatever I thought of her wasn’t true, but it takes time to sort things out.

SOH

That must have been depressing for you. How did you handle it?

Michael

Four times I had a gun pointing at my head. It wasn’t until I knew I needed help that I got help.

SOH

So, what did you do for a job once you got out?

Michael

I was a fire fighter. Best job I could have had. It related to military in some ways. The city treated me with great respect. They knew my aliments I had, and they did everything they could to help. I eventually had to leave the dept because the physicals were getting too hard for me. I left in 2014.

SOH

You have dealt with a lot of pain. What do you think of that? How have you made this far through all your pain and anguish.

Michael

It is a gift that keeps on giving.

SOH

You are now retired. What have you moved on to?

Michael

I reach out to other veterans as much as I can. I have a Thursday night conference call that has many veterans calling in for help. It is a faith-based conference call. Many of those calling in have PTSD, and TBI. They talk about their hardships and seek help.

SOH

You are also a national board member for the Victory for Veterans Foundation. Tell us about that, and why did you become a board member?

Michael

I can reach out and help my fellow veterans through the programs that VFV has.

SOH

How do you feel about how you have made it this far through all your pain and anguish?

Michael

I wouldn’t be able to make it if I wasn’t a Christian. I wake up every morning saying what’s next Lord.

Michael Thorn came home from Afghanistan with many hidden aliments and pain. The list that follows are some of the ailments that he received while on duty. He is very ill and needs double lung transplants. He labored through this interview.

He was coughing and wheezing towards the end. I asked him if he wanted to stop several times, and he insisted that we continue so he could help other veterans. 

He spends many hours in the emergency trying to stay alive. Here are his conformed ailments.

  • PTSD
  • TBI
  • IFP
  • Chronic backpain
  • Tracheobronomalacia (TBM)
  • Constrictive Bronchiolitis Syndrome
  • Pulmonary Hypertension
  • Hypertension
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Insomnia
  • Dyputrins Contranctures
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Degenerative Bone Disease
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Psoriatic Arthritis
  • Chronic Nausea

In Michael’s profile he warns soldiers about not getting help soon enough. That was his mistake. He said learn about all your benefits, and how to start using them for assistance.

Michael spent two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

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This will be all the excerpts I will share with you at this time. If you want to see my first two excerpts they will be the post below this one.

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Checking in on you my friend. How are you doing.? I know it is hard to go through transition from the Military to civilian life. I have been there. How about your physical and mental health? Are you battling PTSD. TBI, depression, war wounds, etc?

You are not alone! There are close to 9,000 fellow veterans here on this site. They have your six!

If it is too overwhelming, get help like Michael Thorin pleaded for you to do. You are not a sissy if you get help. Many people may try to tell you that, but they are wrong. Here is a toll free number that is 24/7 to help you if you need it:

1-800-273-8255

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+If you like what you see, please subscribe at the top of this page where it says, “subscribe.” When you do all future posts will come directly to your inbox. Also, if you know some else who could benefit for the site, please let them know about it. You may be saving a life. Your comments will not be seen by other people, just me, and I will connect with you to see if you are OK to share it.

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Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!


USS Aircraft Carrier Found in the South Pacific

I am going back to sharing some military stories. Many are very recent. Some are short and some are very informative.

USS Hornet Found in South Pacific

The wreckage of a U.S. aircraft carrier famous for launching a bombing raid on Japan four months after the Pearl Harbor attack was discovered in January.

B-52 bombers took off from the Hornet took off on April 18th, 1942 to attack the Japanese mainland. The attack was led by Lt Col James H. Doolittle.

Six months later the Hornet was put out of commission after being struck by multiple bombs and torpedoes.

While being towed by the USS Northampton the Hornet was attacked again by 11 Japanese bombers.

To prevent its capture, U.S. ships scuttled the Hornet with 16 torpedoes. When it finally sank It took the bodies of 140 sailors with it.

The estate of Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder, funded the operation to find it.

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I have another interview to share with you from my upcoming book:

In my book, Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life,

I have many interviews. Here is part of one of many:

I had the honor of accidentally connecting with a WWII veteran while shopping at my local grocery store. I saw him as I walked down the first aisle. I walked past him and then thought, Why didn’t I say hello and thank him for his service.

Then when I came into the milk aisle I saw him again. I walked over to him and told him thank you for his service. He said he was in Okinawa during the war. That was one of the bloodiest battles of the war.

We said our goodbyes, and went on. Then I wondered why I didn’t ask him if I could interview him. I was very angry with myself.

I got all my groceries and was heading towards a register. They have those dividers between each register so you can’t see the head of the line until you get there.

I came around the divider and there was the WWII veteran right ahead of me. That did it. I quickly asked him if we could meet and let me interview him. He said he would be glad to do it.

He gave me a card with his phone number on it and we parted our ways.

The next day I arranged to meet him at his home.

Here is what happened during the interview

I sat on the couch close to him because his hearing wasn’t good. I found out he was 98 years old. He look great for that age.

I began to ask him questions

DB

What did you do while in Okinawa?

WWII VET

I was a Captain, and in charge of a company of shipping crews. We unloaded the ships as they came into the harbor.

DB

You actually unloaded the supplies, ammo, and equipment for those that were on the front not far from you? That was a pretty vital mission.

WWII VET

Yes it was, and we were being bombed by the Japanese constantly.

DB

What was your worst moment?

WWII Vet

I was on one of the ships and I fell overboard right between a barge and the ship. They were very close together. I had to struggle and swim to the end of the ship to get out.

I also had to keep our men safe from all the bombing.

There is much more to this interview, but you will have to buy the book to find out what else he said. (This is called a hook!)

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As a veteran, if you are struggling with the world as you know it, and having trouble mixing in the civilian world, you certainly are not alone. There thousands of your fellow brothers and sisters struggling along with you.

It is not showing you are weak by getting help. 22 veterans take their own lives every day. Many didn’t even try to seek help.

If you are struggling with PTSD, TBI, anxiety, depression, get help and do it now. There is a 24/7 connection for you to call at:

1-800-273-8255

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never ever, give up!

Endorsements for My New Book, “Signs of Hope for the Military”

Started keeping track of new subscribers on June 1st. On that day we had 8,093. Today we are up to 8,224. What a wonderful increase. I am so honored to have all of you here.

My last post I shared with you the outline of my upcoming book, Signs of Hope for the military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.

It is a good post to go back to if you are new.

Tonight I thought I would share with you some of the outstanding endorsements my book has been receiving. I will only share a couple tonight:

Most of us are fortunate not to have experienced the stress of combat.  Words cannot adequately define the grinding daily pressure of knowing that every time you step outside the gate the enemy will try to kill you and your buddies.  You are constantly alert, on point; but how can you protect your team from the instantaneous blast of the IED?  You are part of a highly-trained team poised to execute, but what has prepared you for the mental toll of being on edge every moment.  The skills that helped you survive….have taken a toll and are now working against you when you return home.  What do you do now; where do you turn?  Whether you are dealing with PTSD, TBI, depression, homelessness, or recovering from wounds; Doug Bolton has answers…..this book has answers!

Jim Jaeger

Brigadier General, USAF, ret

San Antonio, TX

Member of the Board, Victory for Veterans

Although Signs of Hope For the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life wasn’t written for men only, it brings honesty and openness to veterans, and military personnel about feeling ok to express fears and emotional challenges in a difficult world.  US Army Retired Veteran, Mr. Douglas Bolton brings his personal stories to life in a way we all can relate to and gives a big “you’re ok” for revealing our shortcomings and encourages us to open up and talk.  A must read for those seeking healing and forgiveness from ourselves and those wanting a fresh look on life. 

Steve Durgin, Founder & CEO with Victory For Veterans Foundation. 

Huntington, Beach California

There are many more. I will share some in future posts.

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How are you doing? Are you struggling? Do you find situations where you are actually afraid?

You certainly are not alone. I was there, and over 8,000 followers here have been with you.

What can we do to overcome the darkside, that wants to torment us? The most important thing you can do, my friend, is get help. I know, it is hard to admit that you need help. You are a tough military veteran Right?

Never fall for that. I got help. I am here because of the help. I was near self imposed death at one time. That was in 2001.

Here is your life line of you think you need it. It is 24/7.

1-800-273-8255 (Option # 1)

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Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never fosaken,

You are never unloved.

And above all….Never, ever, give up!