Wake Up and Grind

I have been fighting multiple enemies over the last 11 years of my Army career. I have been engaged with JAM, AQI, Taliban, and will shortly soon to be engaged with ISIS.  I signed up to be a paratrooper in one of the 6 combat jobs in the United States Army.  I fully understand the hazards of my profession and I gladly carry them so others do not have to.  So everyday, I wake up, and grind. I will always be faster, stronger, and smarter than our enemies.  It is tough. Some days I do not want to wake up and work out. I am getting older and getting sore is more common. When I get that feeling, like I just want to sleep, I remind myself that the evil that lurks in this world is already up and training.  I heed to my fellow Soldiers, Paratroopers, and Future Soldiers: WAKE UP AND GRIND! You are the only thing that stands between true evil and this nation.  Every bead of sweat, every single tear, every drop of blood you shed here on the “practice” field is one less you or your brothers will shed when the time comes to fight.  Every rep, is 100%, every time. Wake up and grind….

“To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour.” -Winston Churchill

Harambe 6

We Stand Alone Together

Everyday, thousands of great Americans decide to move a different direction in life.  They fall into a class so long forgotten through the depths of time.  The “Warrior Class”; the Samurai to the Japanese, the Knights to the Christians, the Spartan Warriors to the Spartan Greeks, has been slowly blending into a society that no longer understands them.  How hard it is to be in such a selfless profession in a community that is so individualistic, maybe not considered in a community anymore.  There is so many who believe they understand what we do and why, even to the point where they feel their opinion is valid and important in the subject.  Yet every day, more and more of these warriors join a new community, a family of brothers and sisters who would do anything for each other.  A strange kind of love, unkept by where they grew up, what their “race” is, or what “class” they were in.  Young and old, poor and rich, these men and women find this calling not for the monetary reasons, but to serve something greater than themselves.  One group of bloggers OAFnation, drives the “We Stand Alone Together” mentality.  As Soldiers, we are surrounded by people that do not understand us and are told that we need to conform to their mold.  That we are still part of their “class” and we must be where we came from.  We must fit the racial and political norm that our parents and old friends have.  The lack of depth and perspective that kind of mentality portrays is not part of our “We Stand Alone Together” mentality.  We, modern warriors, understand each other and in turn must band together through this journey called life.  We are different, and that’s ok, because together we are even greater than we were when we left. We are home. Standing together.  All 1% of us.

“We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother!” -Henry V

Harambe 6

First light…

The three of us started moving toward where we hoped the rest of our platoon was.  The extra 55 pounds from my fallen teammates ruck on my back quickly wore me down.  he extra ruck made it so I could not see to the left or right.  Maybe that was a good thing… to always be looking forward at our goal.  The sounds of footsteps and heavy breathing from my brothers reminded me that we were in this together.  So forward we trudged, me holding the ruck, my brother helping our injured brother.

When you ruck for long periods of time, you tend to get lost in your own world in your mind.  You try to focus on security as much as you can, but you slowly slip into this new world in your mind.

I thought of all the mistakes I have made.

Had made a mistake by doing this?

What were my friends doing right now?

When do we get pancakes?

The drill sergeants voice reeled me back in…”Little victories, one step than another.”

This one sentence would resonate with me for the rest of my life. I’d remember it in the sands and cities of Iraq then again in the mountains of Afghanistan.

“One step than another,” I repeatedly thought.

Then we switched. I carried our injured brother while he carried the ruck.  We continued to do this for miles.  Then first light broke…





So I ran…

He let out a silent but low scream as he hit the ground.  The only thing he was able to save from smacking the ground was his rifle.  A few months of training and a Soldier knows that without his rifle he is nothing.  He had sacrificed falling at a weird angle to save it, causing him to hurt his right leg and back.  So I ran.  I do not even know who it was in front of me, but he was wearing green and thats all that mattered. I could hear the person behind me’s footsteps catching up.

Then we arrived together. We did an assessment of our situation just us three in the dark.  That is when I flipped my light on, not realizing I had forgotten my red lens.

As I looked down at my brother, I could see tears welling up in his eyes.  He wanted to yell in pain, but noise discipline was paramount.

“Sorry man, I did not mean to fall,” he whispered.

“It is good brother, lets get this gear off of you.” I remember saying.  Later thinking on it I understood why he said sorry.  He was more worried about us making our time then his injury.


As we removed his pack and straightened him out.  The Drill Sergeant came.

“What the hell happened privates?… and turn that freaking light off.”

Without even doing an assessment of the Soldier, he asked “Can you walk? Can you finish?”

He said “Yes!”  But I knew that was a lie. He had eaten the dirt pretty hard.  My suspicions were confirmed when we stood him up and he attempted to put his pack on.  The weight was too much for him.  That is when the Drill Sergeant turned to me and taught me a lesson I will never forget.

“Privates, if you want your brother here to finish the course, you two will carry his pack.”  “Up to you guys, otherwise he is going in the truck and is done.”

Wow, what a decision. Adding 55 pounds would make this ruck extremely difficult. The civilian in me thought,”No way dude, his fault, he tripped not you.”

The Soldier in me remembered our creed. “I will never leave a fallen comrade.”  This is something that would stick with me through my entire life, and definitely be re-engaged during my time in Afghanistan and Iraq…but those stories come later.

So the other Soldier and I almost in sync with each other said. “We can make it Drill Sergeant.” “Reapers (our platoon motto)”

So we started to walk, but then realizing our folly.  The rest of the platoon was not even in sight.  In order to do this, in time, to standard, we would need to hustle…

SFC Guayante (Harambe 6)

Then all hell broke loose

As I ran to get out of the bus, I was confronted by a sea of confusion and these guys called Drill Sergeants wearing round brown hats.  I stepped into this crazy world that I was not prepared for.  Screaming and yelling rang out ever time my foot hit the ground.  It almost felt like I was stepping on a button that initiated yelling.  As I moved something amazing happened. Everybody tightened up together, like a herd.  This herd of people from all over the world.  I didn’t even know anyone else name yet, but shoulder to shoulder we moved, aiming for this large pile of green bags.  I looked to my left and there was one guy standing away from the crowd.

He quickly learned that he had made a huge mistake.

Like lions they came, taking down the gazelle that had strayed from the pack.  I remember it as 6 Drill Sergeants surrounding him, but it was probably only 4.  It felt like they were everywhere. I kept running.  I know understood the game…we had to work together to achieve our mission.  So we kept running.

Someone tripped in the group.  He fell hard too. We stopped and helped him up.  That is when the Drill Sergeants stopped chasing us, we had learned the lesson. We are a team.

We started to work together to find everyone’s bags.  I heard a loud yell!

“Guy-ant-tee”! Someone had found my bag! They handed it down the line until it got to me. I looked over at the Drill Sergeants, they were just passively watching, waiting for a mistake to happen.  I knew if I stepped away from the group that I would get it.  So I stayed and helped find people’s bags.  The lesson was teamwork.

“If we stick together and work as a team the Drill Sergeant’s will leave us alone!” the new self-made team leader yelled.

Our first victory!

We found everyone’s bag and then the fun began.  Form up! I have no idea what that means but ill just follow someone who does.  We stood in this square rectangle thing…

“Hold your bags in the air!” the Drill Sergeant yelled.

So we held them, as the slowly did a snail pace walk down the line. Checking each name and nametape.  The sauntered slowly down the line, while we shook…it felt like my arms were slowly ripping away from my body.  Then someone to my left gave up.

Drill Sergeant was like a sniper.

He was on that guy so fast it was immaculate how fast he moved.  Then when he was done with him…he started from the beginning.  Our second test…”..I will never accept defeat, I will never quit.” The warrior ethos we Soldiers all live by.  We were learning it on day one.

At the end of that day I was tired, sore, beat down, and yet fulfilled.  I had made it with minimal damage.

I couldn’t wait for breakfast the next morning. I was excited to sit down and eat so much food.  As an 18 year old I could eat so much.

I wonder if they will have pancakes?url.jpg

SFC Guayante (Harambe 6)