I have. It is nothing like the movies and I've not even been in combat.
After nine years of begging and pleading, my career field finally let me go. I thought, great now I can get it out of my system.
Boy, have I never been more wrong.
I grew up on stories of my grandfather fighting in the Pacific with the 3rd Marines. His FOUR brothers were in Normandy and another brother taught pilots how to fly the hump with the Flying Tigers (two are in the US Air Force Museum and one is in Arlington). My family can trace its war history back to the Revolution and they still own the 648 acres given to them for fighting.
Those stories drove me through childhood and since I was 14 I knew I'd join the military. After an unfortunate knee injury, the only option I had was the Air Force and I happily went. Now, 11 years later and after my first "war" deployment, the only thing I can tell you about war is that it's a drug.
Yes, a drug. I figured one trip and I'd be good. Nope. One trip and all I think about is going back.
A lot of guilt goes into that feeling also since I'm a wife and mother. But I have found a writer who can articulate this better than anyone else. Antonio Salinas wrote a war memoir that dares to tell the truth -- that war is one of the most terrifying yet intoxicating experiences on the planet for so many reasons.
Read it. And you might understand why a wounded Marine wants to get back in the fight or why a Navy Seal returns year after year. Or why a mother is riddled with guilt for wanting to serve her country.
Antonio, Thank you for explaining what I can't.