Combat transforms a person in fundamental ways that cannot be denied. And if we ignore those changes we can darken our lives, and the lives of those we love and care about, for years.
I skirted the edge of this darkness until the danger it posed became clear.
Fortune and timing, instead of knowledge and forethought, played unacceptably large roles in the positive direction of my journey after combat. I’ve made it my mission to share what I’ve learned, and continue to learn, with others as they navigate their own journeys, after action.
Who I was as a Marine
I served as a Marine Officer from 1996 to 2007. An AH-1W pilot by trade, I deployed aboard the 13th MEU (SOC) in 2000 and the 11th MEU (SOC) in 2002. During those deployments I participated in operations in East Timor, Yemen, and in various countries in the middle east. In 2003 I flew close air support missions during the invasion of Iraq and in 2004 served in Baghdad as a Forward Air Controller with Marine Corps Special Operations Command, Detachment One. When I left active duty as a Major in 2007, I had accrued more than 2000 flight hours and over 30 free-fall and static line parachute jumps.
Who I am as a Family Man
Although I thought my twelve years on active duty were chaotic, they don’t hold a candle to the mayhem that occurs in my daily routine as a stay at home dad—there are days with my 3 and 5 year olds that make me long for the relative peace and quiet of flying a helicopter gunship. It wasn’t an easy transition, from combat Marine to stay at home dad, but it afforded me the opportunity and motivation to write and, ultimately, to uncover the hidden costs of my service. Comprehension of the price I paid in war has given me the chance to be the husband and father my family deserves.
My goal as an Author
The warrior’s path into combat is clear. The pathway back to normal life is not. This return journey cannot be administered by a bureaucracy or its direction dictated by an order. It is up to each individual to figure out his or her own way forward after combat–with the assistance of those who have gone before. It is my hope that, through my writing and presentations, I can help my fellow veterans along their own journeys.