Monday, November 05, 2007

Critical Men Pt. 1

“A small band of critical men was once asked to accomplish a great but secret mission.” I just like how that sounds. Not quite like the first line in The Hobbit, “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” It sounds more like the opening line in an anthology of secret missions from WWII. Maybe that’s why I like it so much? It hints of adventurous rescues and courage with disregard for personal safety for some great purpose. Like the Navy SEALs for example.

Navy Seals are reputed to be among the most unique fighting units in modern warfare. Extreme training; ‘they break ya, ‘til they make ya,” get their prize, do their duty and disappear, kind of stuff. “The United States Navy Sea, Air and Land (SEAL) forces are the elite Special Operations Forces (or Special forces) of the U.S. Navy, employed in unconventional warfare, guerrilla warfare, foreign internal defense, direct action, counter-terrorism, specific enemy snatch and grab (kidnapping), specific enemy assassination, hostage rescue, and special reconnaissance operations.” (Thanks

My wife’s uncle was a Navy Seal in the Viet Nam era. I never knew him well, but he is really secretive and never stays in one place to this day. He can rebuild engines, fly those cool single winged bush planes, hold his breathe for like a half hour, and shot like Jason Borne. Twenty years after the war was over he still had his Toyota Land Cruiser in his shop, loaded with survival gear and fire arms ready to drive up into the interior of Montana’s Cabinet Mountain range and disappear. I think his kind of service ruined him. Hero stuff always does.

The film industry skews the real truth by embellishment and superhuman portrayals of heroism because that sells DVDs at Blockbuster and Costco. But in the real theater of war everyone’s a hero. No one comes back normal. In fact, war forces all of us to redefine “normal” forever.

With respect to these real Heroes ...

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