Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What a wonderful day...

Well today started off with me waking up at 0700 in the morning. Considering I have not been working and have nothing to due but waste away on the internet or playing games or watching movies, my sleep schedule has been all wacked and I have been staying up late. This is no suprise to me though. Well late last night/this morning my old squad leader came back in off of leave. The reason I refer to him as my old squad leader is due to some shifting and changes that came about within our company within the past couple weeks while he was on leave. Ill talk about that another time. Anyways, he ended up stopping by and we ended up talking and whatnot for a while and by the time I finally went to bed I believe it was somewhere around 0300. Needless to say I was pretty tired when it came time to get up.

We woke up and I had to get a nice uniform ready because the reason we were getting up is so that we could attend a ceremony to receive our CIB or Combat Infantrymans Badge. The CIB is a distinctive combat badge that is of course only worn by Infantry soldiers. It is something that every Infantryman looks forward to receiving one day for it means that you have been through the ultimate test in your profession; to handle yourself while under enemy fire. What the CIB represents an experience that all owners will take with them for the rest of their lives, as combat proven Infantryman. Others that see the CIB will know that you've probably seen some shit that they wouldn't care to, yet you volunteered to do.

The thing is that when I get to thinking about it, and I think back to the soldiers of WWII and Vietnam, I realize that in retrospect I really haven't done shit compared to what they have. To them a CIB meant fiercing fighting for days and weeks on end. Countless lost friends, soldiers and years of their lives fighting a determined and tough enemy. My experiences here are nothing like that. Although according to the criteria for the award, I have earned it in every respect. Something that is not always true for many people that come over here. I have been shot at on countless occassions and had the opportunity to fire back and engage the enemy on most of those. I've spent the past 9 months in a hostile combat zone, with an active enemy, living and working everyday in harms way.

But am I really a trial by fire tested combat Infantryman. Would I of handled myself in the same way that those that had come before me would of. I would like to think so, but I will probably never know. This is probably a good thing, and I should be thankful that I don't have to experience that, but it just gets me thinking about the meaning of the badge I will be wearnig. Don't get me wrong. I will wear my CIB proudly and am honored to of been able to serve my country and to help in what ways I could to the Iraqi people. For that I am forever greatful to of been given that opportunity, and will carry those memories with me for the rest of my life.

So with that said, we have official been given our CIBs. Now its just a matter of paperwork to get to us, but after all these years of waiting and wondering if I would get mine, I finally have. As an added bonus to the days celebrations, I got word that my flight out of our FOB here and my 1st leg of my journey home will begin a day early, and in not too long from now, if all goes well, I should be on my way out of here! I still haven't packed tho. I am incredibly lazy I know. Im going to go do that as soon as I finish here actually.

I was watching a movie earlier, and 1/2 way through I paused it to go have a smoke when all of a sudden like a ton of bricks it hit me and I got butterflies and a very giddy feeling. I AM FINALLY GOING HOME!! For the longest time it had been something that seemed so far off, and even as it got close it really didn't feel like it was close. After 9 months, 1 week, and 1 day straight in this place, I am finally getting a much needed break. I can't wait. Just know that I probably will not have much to post for the next few days, but I do plan to keep a few posts coming while I am home. So wish me luck!!


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24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good luck, and congratulations.

lela said...

Congrats! The CIB really does mean something...it means you raised your hand, volunteered, and fought an enemy to protect our freedoms. Hell yes, you should be proud of it, and of yourself! Have a blast on your leave and I do wish you luck...

David M said...

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 10/10/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

Carolyn said...

It's great to hear that home is soon on the horizon! I've really enjoyed this blog.

willo said...

Congrats on receiving your CIB. I remember how proud my son was to get his on his first tour. I hope you time at home will be relaxing and wonderful. I know your family is just as excited to know you will be there soon. Enjoy!! I am so proud of all our troops.

Steve Nicks said...

Ed, enjoy your time with your family. And be very proud of everything you've done for our country. Comparing the duties that you are given with those of WWII soldiers is not completely fair. They are different times and different enemies. You are doing what is asked of you during a time of war. For that you should be very proud.

Haole Wahine said...

The CIB is a window on your soul and your heart.

You have served willingly and well, and we as a nation are grateful. You have seen/done things we will never be called upon to see/do, and you raised your hand/heart and went willingly into the FRAY.

God bless you young man, for he has certainly blessed us with your service.

Remember all treats, no tricks !

Gratitude and Prayers,
for you and your waiting family/friends

joe juvinall-Danville ILL said...

hey , you wear that CIB with pride and confidence that you deserve it, and so much more. my family and i appreciate what you are doing for us. dont worry as far as we are concerned you have earned it wear it with pride!!!!!
thank you

Sparkel said...

Congrats! Much luck to you, and thanks for everything you do. For the most part I have been a lurker, and enjoyed every minute.
Now its your turn to enjoy every minute at home.

membrain said...

Congratulations on earning your hard won CIB. I hope your every wish comes true on your well deserved leave at home. God Bless.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to you on receiving your CIB! And thank you so much for doing what you do.
Enjoy your time off!
God Bless and keep you safe always.
checking in from North Carolina...

Anonymous said...

it was probly the smoke

Solo said...

The CIB is a Badge of Honor and you have earned it. Man, wish you could have been back here in N.M. for the International Balloon Fiesta !

Anonymous said...

A lot of us medics feel the same way about our CMBs. Remember, the CMB has the same weight as the CIB as it was created to honor medics who fought alongside the infantry in the same hellholes (even had the same $50 stipend). I had a lot of the same thoughts when I got mine.

Congratualtions.

Doc
www.ffpblog.com

Anonymous said...

I had a lot of the same thoughts when I was awarded the CMB.

Congratulations.

Doc
www.ffpblog.com

Times Eye said...

Good Luck

Anonymous said...

Do not question the validity of your CIB. There are a lot of misconceptions about the nature of combat in WWII and Vietnam (I'm a historian), especially that it was unrelenting and all-consuming. There were plenty of guys in both conflicts, and especially in Vietnam, who got shot at only once and thereby earned their CIBs. Keep in mind that by virtue of serving in the military and especially in Iraq, your perspective on "normal" is somewhat skewed. Getting shot at in civilian life (or having a bomb detonate or a mortar land nearby) would probably be the single most terrifying moment of a person's life. Don't treat it lightly or shrug it off. You earned that CIB.

Ky Woman said...

Congratulations on the CIB. That's one trial by fire that sooo many have never gone thru. Most people couldn't empathize with you except for the ones already having done the same. Please don't denigrate yourself or your actions. Enjoy your leave, and know that it is well deserved. Thanks so very much for doing your part in helping the Iraqi people, and know that MOST Americans do care and appreciate you ALL. I know I do.

Troy said...

Congrats on the CIB. It is a great feeling, but also one that many could do without. Bigger congrats on going home. I know that feeling well and as you described, it is almost orgasmic in nature. It seems like a dream come true to finally think you are going home for good. Congrats on all you have done and enjoy your time at home.

1SG W.T. Steward

lorraine said...

Ditto to comments. I was shot at driving down a highway in California. Let me tell you terrifying isn't the word for it. At least you signed on to get shot at - I don't think I ever could. Praise God that my 1 bullet & your (God knows how many including IED's) didn't have our names on it. Rush home to the arms of those waiting for you and thank you for your willingness to get out & do what needs to be done. love lorraine

Robert Oldham said...

As an retired ex-canadian serviceman I have made fun of the US military for there (from my view )excessive awarding of medals,ribbons ,citations etc BUT the Combat Infanty Badge will always have my respect.Good Luck God Speed

aprillini said...

Yes, don't question the value of your award. It's all comparative, but hell, bullets are bullets. PTSD is PTSD. God bless you and have fun at home!

William Earl Dungey said...

I dreamed I gave my tour in Vietnam to a recorder of oral History a couple nights ago, and its been over thirty-five years and it was all there. You have earned your CIB, I think they give out too many ribbons, but they don't hug you enough nor have a beer with you while listening to your story, which you will need to tell to someone that understands, and many of them never will. Have a safe trip home, enjoy and then tell your story when you have it make sense. My Dad finally told be about Leyete landing after I came back from Vietnam - he thought I would understand - but I could never imagine him as a nineteen year old Combat Engineer. Tell the story.

Ana Santorini said...

Congratulations on your well-earned CIB. And thank you for your sacrifice and service. The above comments express my feelings more eloquently than I could. Be safe. Savor home. Thank you for sharing. You make me proud to be an American.