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!


Outline of a New Military Book

Got to pass this on to you before I get into my regular post On July 19th we had 8,601 subscribers. Today we have 8,765! That is a 64 increase in just twelve days. FANTASTIC!!!

Welcome to you all!

+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.

Today I am going to tell you about my upcoming book, Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.ry

I will share an outline with you to help you get the feel of what the book will have:

  1. The first part of the book will be stories about my basic training. There were some very funny things that happen and others that weren’t so funny. I will give a short sampling: 1. A recruit let a grenade slip out of his hand. 2. Our platoon was marched into a bay. 3. My drill sergeant got into a fight and won. 4. Had a terrible time with the drill sergeant at first and then we were best friends.
  2. Then I will be talking about my deployment to Korea. There were some scary times. 1. Three of us went there on the buddy system. Only two came back. 2. A buddy suffocated in a honey bucket. 3. Had a good/bad time while on R&R in Tokyo. 4. I got a Colonel busted.
  3. Then my time at Ft Bragg will be shared. Some scary times. 1. Almost got busted for stealing gas. 2. Sat on a runway in a plane ready to go the Bay of Pigs. 3. Got married by a funny Justice of the Peace. 4. When I got, out my wife and I traveled across the U.S. in a bus, and she was pregnant.

There are many, many, more stories in the book, but my favorite part is the actual interviews I had with veterans in the trenches.

  1. One soldier watched his buddies burn to death in a humvee. 2. A WWII veteran begged to get a transport plane with his buddy, and the plane he was supposed to be on crashed killing everyone. 3. A sniper killed many enemy, but lost over 13 of his buddies. 4. A Marine saw his buddy in a helicopter crash into the ocean.

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I hope this has you feeling at least interested in the book. It will help many soldiers that are battling PTSD, TBI, depression, War wounds, anxiety, etc.

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How are you doing my friend. Have you been overwhelmed with the transition to civilian life? Do you dread mixing with other people?

You certainly are not alone!

There are 8,765 fellow veterans here who have your back.

Here is a toll free number to call if you are exhausted and overwhelmed. Do not feel you are a sissy for getting help. Some people may try to tell you that. They are totally wrong.

1-800-273-8255

Call it now if you need it. The people there are very qualified to help you.

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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!

The American Legion and National Guard Reaches out to Help

Glad to be back today. I have an update on subscribers that you may not believe , but it is true. Five days ago there were 8,601 subscribers. Today there are 8,682. That is an increase of 81 in just five days. AMAZING AND WELCOME TO ALL OF YOU!

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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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It has been a long haul for me. Since March I have been in lock down. I have underlying problems with my health, and I would be dead meat if I was to catch the virus. I am way past the staring at the walls stage. I am watching a couple movies on TV everyday. Most aren’t very good, but I am doing something. I am able to get out and walk, so the one blessing is that I have lost a lot of weight. I feel better because of that.

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I am very high on the American Legion. They truly care for veterans. Here are some examples:

  1. Buddy Checks Help Veterans

Post 18 in Weehawken, N. J., has a buddy plan that really reaches out to other veterans. They especially check on older veterans. They connected with a recently widowed WWII veteran and helped him with outdoor chores he is no longer able to do on his own.

Blood Drive

  1. Post 199 of Harrison, Ohio had a blood drive that attracted more than 60 donors to help with the shortage caused by the Pandemic. The post also provided a free drive through hamburger lunch that fed 200.

60,000 Dollars raised

  1. At least $60,000 dollars was raised by the Department of Florida American Legion Riders in a virtual Unity Ride for the project, Vetrelief suicide Prevention Initiative.

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The National Guard has stepped up to the plate and hit a homerun recently.

  1. They have been testing for the virus. 2.4 million people have been tested or screened.
  2. They have been on 7,000 missions supporting testing and screening.
  3. They have made 149 million meals packaged or delivered to those in need.
  4. The have delivered 88 thousand tons of food.
  5. They have driven 1.6 million miles delivering food and essential supplies.
  6. They have made 18 million masks.

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Let’s talk about you my friend. How are you doing? I know there is a struggle just transitioning out of the military into the private sector for some of you. I know there are some who are battling PTSD, TBI, Depression, and war wounds. I know that some of you are being chased by memory demons who haunt you.

Don’t let that happen one day longer. GET HELP!

There is a toll free number to call that has qualified counselors to help you. They are very good and they will help you out.

Here is that number:

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.

___________________________________________________________

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!