Sam’s medical status: Sam’s temperature was back up again yesterday to 102.5 but he’s back on Tylenol again and Erin said he will be fine. This body is getting stronger and he is able to recover much more quickly from surgeries compared to the first few weeks he was at Bethesda. He lays on some sort of device that blows up and moves his body around which helps keep the fluid from building up in his lungs, hopefully to prevent pneumonia. When he was moved out of ICU, they didn’t have the device on “rotate” for the first 24 hours, so Erin thinks that may be the cause of his recent problems (fever and coughing).
Sam’s MOS: I haven’t talked much about Sam’s job in the Marines. When they are actually in a combat situation, Sam is a Cannoneer on a 155mm Howitzer team. He is in charge of the gun and the Cannoneer team. He is attached to the 11th Marines, 2nd Battalion, Kilo Battery. When they are not in combat, Kilo Battery performs convoy duty. I hope I got the right…if not, I’m sure one of the guys from Kilo Battery will straighten me out. The graphic in this post shows a Howitzer team firing a round during a battle in Iraq.
Why join the Marines?: I was thinking about Sam and all the wonderful things people are saying about him—how he is so friendly and kind to people, etc. Somehow it has never made sense to me how such a gentle soul would want to be a Marine and/or fight in a war. Then I recalled a quote one of the Vietnam veterans left in this blog and it all started to make sense to me. I never thought I would be quoting General Douglas MacArthur so much, but his words are so appropriate?
“The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.”
I don’t think Sam join the Marines because he loves war or fighting or conflict—he joined the Marines because his character and conscience drew him to something very few other people could even fathom doing. I’m sure much of his rational was the same as many others who have joined the military, (patriotism, serve our country, etc.) but I’m wondering if it was also partly because he sees himself as a peace keeper or someone who is willing to put his life on the line to help protect others who are too weak to protect themselves.
When I read the paper this morning, I found this “letter to the editor”. The gentleman is referring to the article in the Sacramento Bee this past Sunday on Sam. You can find the link to the article in my “blogroll” in the right hand column of this web blog.
“The sacrifices the troops make – re: “Waiting for Sam,” August. 19: It is with much interest that I read this. It made me cry, pray and appreciate the sacrifices of those in our armed services. I include firemen and police officers in this group.
As I read this article, I became angry at the suggestion of some that our military is made up of those with little education and few opportunities. Nothing could be further from the truth. They are truly some of the best and the brightest. These dedicated Americans put the protection of others above their own safety and comfort.
Most Americans are so selfish and self-centered that they have no concept of real hardship. They think that a tough day is when it takes more than a few minutes to get their latte. Men and women such as Sam and their families are enduring pain that few can imagine.
My son is currently in boot camp to become a US Marine. He is more more of a man that I could ever hope to be, and I sleep very well knowing that such brave and selfless people have my back. May God bless them and their families.”
– Richard Beckler, Colfax, California
I couldn’t agree with you more Mr. Beckler. To the men of Kilo Battery and all Marines and Soldiers, we salute you for the incredible bravery, sacrifice, honor, and your sense of duty to our country…