So I have been quiet for the last couple months. Mostly on accident. Slightly on purpose. But here’s a real quick recap. 

My time with the army is done. I left my job and decided it was time to leave the infantry and the army for good. This was a personal decision and I will miss the guys there. It was a great experience for me and it helped me figure out who I was as a person and helped grow me. But the untold side of my time there was what led me to decide to step away. The long hours training. The weeks and months away from home. The wear and tear on my body. 

I am at peace with this decision. 

So the next chapter for me looks very intriguing. Tomorrow I start technical school at air stream renewables in Tehachapi, California. I will be focusing on being a technician for wind turbines and communication towers. This is a field that has a huge potential and lots of room for growth. 

So basically I’m stuck in a desert for six weeks. Like I’m not even joking. This is a nice town, but its so remote it’s not even funny. I haven’t seen a Kmart in years, but it’s the biggest store here. Luckily I’ll have school to keep me busy. 

Thank you to everyone who has supported me in my crazy adventures! I appreciate y’all so much. I will definitely check in later, but just wanted to let everyone know what I’m up to these days!


And I Wouldn’t Change Anything.

I was born barely holding on.

She wasn’t there, mentally gone

I nearly died, just three months old

And I wouldn’t change anything.


Rescued from that hell, life looking better

Foster care system, along with a half sister

Future unknown, but at least we were safe

And I wouldn’t change anything.


Given a chance, family number two

Mom and dad and more sisters too

Future secured, or at least that was the thought

And I wouldn’t change anything.


Growing up a young boy, hyper as hell

Mentally growing, physically as well

Living as a child ought to

And I wouldn’t change anything.


Going to school and obviously gifted

Memorizing came easy, facts easily lifted

Reading so much, nicely fitted

And I wouldn’t change anything.


High school came and so did the sports

Grades were alright, kept up with efforts

But my mind was moving too fast, too fast

And I wouldn’t change anything.


Along came a girl, she taught me about myself

Faithful and true, even to herself

Thought I had found the one, but not that time

And I wouldn’t change anything.


Then came college, with a lucrative deal

Dream come true, surely an easy steal

Then came trouble, and it came crashing down

And I wouldn’t change anything.


Family crisis, storms brewing at home

Based off of changes of what I’d become

Those I thought I could trust turned on me

And I wouldn’t change anything.


I remember the late nights, the fights

when I thought it wasn’t going to be alright

The pain put me in a trance, emotionless and vacant

And I wouldn’t change anything.


There was only one option: go join Uncle Sam

To go fight, into the center of bedlam

I chose the hardest job, because of the thrill

And I wouldn’t change anything.


Off to Georgia, long way from my comfort zone

Off to the army infantry, soul worn to the bone

Then came the news of incredible loss

And I wouldn’t change anything.


With relationships crumbling, hope being torn

I came home after four months, still forlorn

But the anger was unabated, still too new

And I wouldn’t change anything.


Onward to active duty, excited as hell

And in the south, an added bonus as well

Deployment on the radar, but not now

And I wouldn’t change anything.


Orphaned twice before I was nineteen

It set in, and my soul became mean

Then some old friends reached out

And I wouldn’t change anything.


I found a city to love, and it filled me with hope

No reason to hang my head, no cause to mope

I had goals now, and a way to succeed

And I wouldn’t change anything.


Training and training, tired and cold and sore

Life was moving fast, chore after chore

Learning new things, and excelling at times

And I wouldn’t change anything.


Moved to new position and more responsibility

Chosen because of intellect and agility

Lots to learn and no one to teach

And I wouldn’t change anything.


Off to the desert, nine months in the ‘Stan

Left with my “brothers” the infantry clan

Saying goodbye was incredibly tough

And I wouldn’t change anything.


Thankful for family, to cheer me on overseas

Left my sister a bear, every night she’d give it a squeeze

They sent gifts when they could, to keep spirits up

And I wouldn’t change anything.


Missions on missions came and went

Months on end, weeks spent living in a tent

Talking to home was difficult, but we made it work

And I wouldn’t change anything.


Holidays missed, birthdays unable to attend

I found The Father, my soul began to mend

I found peace in a war torn land

And I wouldn’t change anything.


Two months left, up next: months of critical missions

This is what I had wanted as a boy with ambitions

Headed to the front, time to square up

And I wouldn’t change anything.


Said goodbye to my family, tough choice to choose

The littlest one cried when she heard the news

And weeks went by, with just me and the boys

And I wouldn’t change anything.


Bombs were dropped, bullets went overhead

At all times, the Reaper there, to take up the dead

Three heroes I knew met a tragic end

And I wouldn’t change anything.


Going home at last, a return to the states

Delays all the way, long, long waits

But I was home alone and safe

And I wouldn’t change anything.


My brothers and mamma were there waiting

I couldn’t believe it, heart quickly beating

My tour was over, death I had cheated

And I wouldn’t change anything.


Vacation came and went, relaxation much needed

I didn’t want to go, but I finally proceeded

Back to the army, less than a year to go

And I wouldn’t change anything.


Training the new and preparing to leave

I was moving on, I had dreams to achieve

In my new city, my chance to succeed

And I wouldn’t change anything.


See I know where I came from, I know where I’ve been

Around the world twice and back again

I’ve seen love, loss, abuse, joy, death, and life again

And I wouldn’t change anything.


I’ve stared death in the face and he blinked

The tie between us will forever be linked

He is an old friend, always there, silent

And I wouldn’t change anything.


I’ve been to hell, I’ve lived on a mountain.

I’ve lived in the mud, and seen a king’s fountain.

But all this is me; it’s my very definition

And I wouldn’t change anything.


If I could go back in time, through all the pain,

Changing anything? I’d have little to gain

Cause I am who I am, and thus I proclaim:

And I wouldn’t change anything.

Mischief Managed

So I just now realized that the last post I made was in February. Oops. But I swear I have a good reason. The long and short of it was that I was just a tad busy and mostly lazy. between missions, training, and a whole month spending time facing off against ISIS in a valley, things got a little crazy. This will be the last deployment post, which is nice, as I am beyond ready tube back on American soil, drinking sweet tea, listening to country music and soaking up the Southern sun.

For those of y’all who have prayed for the guys and me, I must sincerely thank y’all. There were some times when our road was tough, when things weren’t the best. between minor injuries, sicknesses, and of course the hazards of Afghanistan, I truly felt the Father’s protection over us. We are all coming home safe, and it is a blessing.

I’m going to keep this short and sweet. This trip has really taught me just how amazing America is. Life in Afghanistan is simpler, but at times, I can’t help but wonder what the country would look like if it wasn’t in constant turmoil. The people are happy, but so small compared to others. I once shook the hand of a local boy. He was maybe 14 years old, and happy as could be on his donkey. But the thing that struck me was how skinny and underfed he looked. Afghanistan has the potential to be a nice country, it just has a lot of political issues to work through, and lots of conflicts to settle.

So this is the point where I say thank you to lots of people. I also am going to keep that short. To all the guys in my platoon: y’all have been a pain in the ass most of the time, and occasionally I like y’all, but we did it. To my family: I could not have made it through this deployment without your support and prayers. Between choppy FaceTime calls, care packages, and long periods of no contact, y’all have always been there. It won’t be long until I see y’all again. To my friends: Thanks for always being there through it all. for those of y’all that sent care packages, they were much appreciated. And even if you didn’t send me something, even just texting and talking was a great and much needed distraction.

So that will conclude the updates from the kitty litter box. Next time I post I will be on American soil, safe and sound, finally home.

God Bless!

Bulldog36R (former) out.

The Working Vacation:

So apparently these updates have moved to being a monthly occurrence now. But I have a good reason for being this absent. And that is a mission. We moved away from our home base to another air field and worked with another unit as a security detail for them. It was by far the best base we have been to yet.

Unlike our base, which is still recovering from the suicide vest attack last November, this place was a paradise for us. Better food, better laundry facilities, and a bazaar (kind of like an afghan farmer’s market) that was next door to everything. It made the mile walk to that side worth the trip.

Not going to lie here, but I actually had a boring time there. They wanted a full time tech support guy, so that’s what I did. Now that sounds good, but when nothing was malfunctioning (a rare occurrence for me) things got slow. Besides climbing on ladders and rooftops setting up antennas, the rest of the time was spent relaxing… and getting my favorite item: food.

My job has lots of unwritten responsibilities. The best way to describe it is that I’m kinda like the underpaid intern. I have a job, but I also do whatever the boss has me available to do. So I got the midnight food. The downside was that I was working nights. The upside? I got an amped up golf cart to drive to go help get the food. So it all worked out in the end, and I had more than one buddy pretend to be a helicopter door gunner as we cruised around the airfield. (Side note: I’m pretty sure that the airfield set a record for the umber of speed bumps you can put in a mile. Super annoying to drive and have to slow down every 15 seconds.)

We finished the mission and packed up to leave. The group we were working for loved having us, and we enjoyed the time we had there. Unfortunately, we had to spend an extra night due to “bad weather conditions.” So we stayed the night… and of course it started pouring in the morning. So we left in a rainstorm, after staying outside on the flight line in makeshift shelters for three hours, wet and cold. Couldn’t fly through clouds, but bad rain is a go. We landed in about half a foot of snow… in a snowstorm. Yup. Couldn’t fly when it was clear, but totally can in terrible conditions. I’m not complaining, just marveling at the logic of it all.

So yea. I haven’t seen this much snow since I left Washington two years ago. And I’m reminded of why I am moving to the south when I get out of the army in about a year. I hate the late winter/early spring look and feel of snow. Ice covered by a little snow just waiting to try and assassinate you. And the mud. Everywhere.

Well, as soon as things start to speed up I’ll try and post more. but before I sign off, I would like to thank all of you who have supported me in this adventure. Between care packages and notes of encouragement, I appreciate them all. I sleep better knowing that I have people behind me cheering me on. So thank you all.

36Romeo out, and God bless!

Welcome to 2017…

I know it has been a while since my last update, but there has not been much to report on. Christmas came and went. For those of you who sent care packages, thank you so much. I spent most of Christmas with a Santa tie and elf hat on. Definitely a good pick from the friend who sent that package.

The highlight of Christmas was being able to FaceTime my family as they opened gifts, including the ones I had shipped to their house. Sure the call was dropped about five times, but it was still a fun time. Unfortunately, I had to open my present early, but they were ok with that. Christmas meals were a very festive time. Lunch was local food, paid for by higher leadership. Afghans get two things right when it comes to food: rice and beef. The bread tastes amazing, if you can finish chewing it. It is a very hearty meal, however. Dinner was a different story. We ate at the local dining facility, where they had the place decorated to the rafters, and a live band playing. The food was good, but the biggest bummer was the music. Sitting through “Baby Got Back” as a Christmas rap was terrible, and I’m pretty sure I lost brain cells because of it. Needless to say, it was still a good time.

The days are spent working out, preparing classes to teach to my peers, and lots of coffee. A normal day will see me go through at least 2 cups in the morning, and another two cups after dinner. Thank God I bought way too many coffee filters. (If any of you guys need a care package idea, I’m always down to try new types of coffee.)

New Year’s Eve was a relaxing day. We completed our tasks and then started to relax for the evening. I decided to stay up late and welcome in the new year. I was about to go to bed, when Ahmed decided to welcome us to 2017 as well…with fireworks. Not the pretty kind either. So back to the bunkers we go, not even one hour into the new year. I sang Auld Lang Syne quietly to myself, chuckling about the irony of the situation. Needless to say I went straight to bed when the all clear was given.

The winter has also brought rain to our part of Afghanistan. However, the mountains that surround us are getting loads of snow dumped on them, and the view is breathtaking. The wind is still biting cold, but the views of the mountains it gives make it almost tolerable. The sunsets are stunning, if you are brave enough to face the cold and watch.

Well. Got some things on the horizon, so if you don’t hear from me, just know I’m probably doing nothing important and don’t have wifi. (Or it sucks. Not all that uncommon here.) The last thing i’m going to tuck into the end of this here is a new promotion. I’m excited I was chosen to be promoted early, but my career here is not defined by my rank. So for those of you wondering, I am now a specialist. Basically, I now have more responsibilities. Yay.

May the Father of all watch over you


The Bigger Question

I was recently asked to answer the “why” question of why I do what I do. And they are right. I have spent a lot of time on the how and the what questions of life here in Afghanistan, but I never have answered the most important question, which is why. Why are we here? Why am I in this desolate wasteland of a country for nine months and missing holidays and other special events?

If you don’t have an answer for the why question for any action you do, the result is pointless. There has to be a purpose behind an action for it to matter. Brad Pitt in the movie Troy puts it this way. “I’ve told you how to fight, dear cousin. But I have not told you why you should fight.” The goal of this installment is to answer that question.

Imagine a sheep herder. He has a lot of sheep to look after. He loves his sheep and does everything he can to protect them. But he cannot do it all. For every time he turns his back to help some of the sheep, wolves with a ferocious appetite strike at the sheep he cannot pay attention to. The farmer, fed up with having his sheep killed for sport and terrorized by the wolves, goes and buys a sheepdog. Let’s make it a German shepherd. He trains the dog to protect the sheep, and to protect them to the end, even if that means laying down his life for those sheep. Protecting the sheep is the pride and joy of the dog. He has no quarrel with the sheep, and thinks of them all as his family. He looks out for them and protects them, and the sheep in turn enjoy no longer having to worry about the wolf coming in the night and terrorizing them. They sleep soundly at night while the dog keeps watch, listening, smelling, and watching for the wolf to come. And when the wolf does come, the dog steps up and challenges the wolf. They battle back and forth, until one of them is the winner and the other is dead.

That is why I am here. The American people are sheep. They are used to living their lives and do not care to be bothered with anything but their lives. I am speaking generally here. There are some who care about the well-being of others, and use their gifts to help their fellow sheep. The sheep need protecting. As a whole, they are defenseless against the wolves that linger at the door, waiting for night to come so that they can come and take what they want.

The wolf is obviously the enemy. The United States has always had enemies throughout our history. We have the most freedoms of any country in history, and some people do not like that and want to see us fall. The wolf right now is the radical Islamic terrorists who would rather see the whole world either converted to the Muslim tradition or dead for their infidelity. When asked why I put myself through the stress of the army and why I spend all this time training, it is because my job is peace. And sometimes, peace cannot be achieved without a sacrifice of men and a tidal wave of hero’s blood. That is why I am a sheepdog. I protect the sheep and chase the wolves. I keep watch in the night so you can sleep soundly and wake up free. But to provide this level of protection to you all, I must sacrifice. My desires, my goals, my body, and my time. It hurts me to not be able to drive home and spend the holidays with my family. To miss a birthday. To not be there to support my family as they live their lives. But I would do it all again because I love them. For those I love, I will sacrifice. And that is why I am here.

Holidays… On A Ping-Pong Table

Winter has fallen here in Afghanistan. The mountains that surround us from far off have received a nice layer of snow at their summits, making it seem more like the mountains of Colorado or Washington than the desert of the Middle East. The Sun is the only heat around here, and when tyhe clouds roll in or it sets behind these mighty mountains, the cold invades and changes the entire atmosphere.

Thanksgiving was a festive occasion for us. While we were on high alert, we did find time to enjoy ourselves and feast together. All of us sat around the table we put together, got out the folding chairs, and had the biggest meal of this deployment so far. The rest of the day was spent opening care packages from supporters back home and relaxing. It was a good day.

The next couple days were spent making sure our building was water proof, or at least water resistant. That meant sandbags. Lots of sandbags. For almost two days that was our only chore. Sure we had a lot of fun, but at the end of the day our building wasn’t going to be flooding anymore from the rain.

The next major event I can never live down. Mom, if you are reading this, I suggest you skip until the next paragraph. We cleaned out all the trash from where we stay. And we had a lot of trash. Like about five or six pickup trucks worth of trash. and it all had to fit in one dumpster. (Mom. I warned you. STOP READING!!) Anyhoo. Let’s just say that someone needed to push the debris around in there….and I kinda volunteered myself. Yea. I went dumpster diving in Afghanistan. Not exactly how I imagined my Thanksgiving weekend going down, but still. It happened.

(Mom, you can go ahead and start reading again here…) We train almost every day on various aspects of what it means to be an Infantryman. For me, I get to train the group of guys about my radios. (I call them my kids. They are mostly stuck up assholes but generally like me.) My official motto that I’ve given my position is “Always up. Never down.” (The unofficial one is “They’re up, they hear me, I’m down.” We sometimes have lots of technical issues.) But the point is that I can talk no matter what I have to do to fix it. That’s why I’m here.

With the holidays fast approaching, I ask that you take time to remember me and my fellow soldiers over here. I’m not asking for your sympathy or your pity. All I ask is that you take time to remember us and say thanks. And most of all, enjoy the time with your loved ones. Hold them close. Make very moment count. And sleep soundly at night, for me and my brothers stand guard, ready to do bad things to even worse people. Not for our sakes, (OK…maybe for just a little glory) but for yours. For we are sheepdogs, waiting for the wolf to come, and sniffing around for the things that go prowl in the dark.

That is all for now. Peace to you all!

36R out.