Let me be honest–I find the challenge of the “First Post” to be quite daunting. I think I’m supposed to introduce myself, be entertaining, and give a small hint of what will populate future posts in order to entice you, the reader, to come back. That’s a lot of ground to cover. But the kids are asleep, the dog is snoring, and the night is still young. It’s now or never.
I’m Dan, a former Marine Cobra pilot and currently stay at home dad and author. My days used to consist of exciting things–flying helicopters, shooting guns, jumping out of airplanes–and getting paid to do them. Now I fold laundry (badly), cook (pretty well), wipe boogery noses, soothe scraped knees and generally try to stay one step ahead of my kids. I never imagined I’d be a stay at home dad and can honestly say I’ve never worked harder in my life or enjoyed what I do so thoroughly.
So, what’s this blog going to be about? Good question. The answer lies somewhere in the following observation:
As a Marine I followed a very well defined path into combat. It’s one that millions of Americans have followed. The steps were clear and built upon technical, tactical and leadership skills previously learned. After Iraq, after I left the field of battle, the singular path faded. Instead, I was confronted by many possible paths out of combat–all of which lacked labels, warning signs or recommended routes. Which to choose? Hell if I knew. I was unsure of how to forge ahead in my life and had no comprehension of the challenges I’d face–or the dangers they posed.
The feedback I’ve received about After Action, and from various presentations I’ve given, has shown me that many veterans are suffering invisible wounds from combat, just like I was. Without a means to process and gain perspective on their reactions and experiences in war, many veterans believe their difficulties indicate some personal weakness. They imagine they are the only one suffering and, to hide what they wrongly consider shameful, they suffer in silence.
These misconceptions are killing more of us than our enemies.
I plan to use this blog to record thoughts and observations as I move forward in life–my attempt to define one of the many possible pathways available to veterans. Some of the entries will be well thought out and lucid while others will betray a sleep-deprived father who can’t get cartoon theme songs out of his head. Regardless, my intent is to share what I learn along my journey to assist my brothers and sisters as they proceed along theirs.
Thanks for visiting and come back soon.