Topic: Reflections

Dan Woodward pictured near the end of his pilot training. One of his classmates, Tony, would later die in a T-38 trainer crash. Photo courtesy of the author.

‘Lead, Follow, or Get out of the Way’–We Really Did Live That Way.

Both aircraft exploded. ... Tony, Tom, and Will, Tony’s student, touched the hand of God, and chaos shoved itself into the lives of everyone they knew.
Left to right: Capt. David Fugazzotto, Staff Sgt. Teri Heath, 2nd Lt. Mike Hulsey, Spec. Chris Shinkle, and Sgt. 1st Class Steve Roth, the group that would encounter the little red car on the second to last day of the year in 1995. Photo courtesy of the author.

A Close Encounter With a Little Red Car and an Accusation of Attempted Murder

We were now on the lam. Fugitives at large. Wanted for attempted murder. We pictured our faces on wanted posters across the country.

This Is What We Do in America. We Pause. We Forget. Then We Begin the Next War.

The divorces, wars, and military bases blurred together. In Afghanistan and Iraq, I wasn’t surprised to see suicide watch posters everywhere.
Taneika Duhaney, center, underway on the USS Laboon, where a senior chief would set a standard that has stayed with Duhaney for more than 24 years. Photo courtesy of the author.

She Never Told Me Why She Took Me Under Her Wing, But I Would Have Been Lost Without Her

Mama Wherry kept me grounded. I credit her mentorship for creating the solid foundation upon which I built my career and how I lead and mentor sailors. 
urtesy of the author.

If There Was No Iwo Jima Airfield, I’d Have Been on My Knees Praying

We stop in darkness; as engines whine into silence, our senior officer calls out, "Leave everything except headgear and weapons." Something is very wrong.
Ed Meagher in the Philippines in 1967. Photo courtesy of the author.

A Chunk of My Life Was Taken From Me. You Could Say I Had a Bad Attitude.

Dealing with still-drunk combatants who often outranked me and wanted a second round with the bouncer was never easy.
Andrew Hesterman with his good friend, Pat, at the airport after the end of the Gulf War, when Hesterman could finally relax a little. Photo courtesy of the author.

It’s Every Young Marine’s Dream. But I Don’t Like This Story. 

I always took crap for wearing a KA-BAR knife on the left front strap of my battle harness. I think most guys were jealous they hadn’t done it first.

I Expected to Miss Him When He Deployed. Then There Were the Things That Snuck Up on Me.

I missed being a parent with him. Not all the crappy parts—the disciplining, nose wiping, puke cleaning, lunch packing. But I missed the funny parts.
Naval service gave David Chetlain experiences he never could have imagined as a 17-year-old, including sliding off a submarine during a “swim call” in the Marshall Islands. Photo by Scott Reiger.

You Don’t Need to Thank Me for My Service. I Needed It More Than It Needed Me.

I went from a world of chaos, poverty, and dysfunction to one of order, discipline, and regular meals. The Navy gave me the structure and consistency I needed.