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Archive for October, 2006

 
  
From The Homefront:
Dealing with being home from Kandahar    (Oct 16, 2006) 

It has been 2 month and 2 days since I deployed to Afghanistan, with 8 Platoon, Charles Company, 1 RCR. I was honored, as a reservist augmentee, to be attached to such a great group of probably the best soldiers our country has to offer. 
 
In the three short weeks I was in Afghanistan, I learned more about commitment to my military family than most soldiers learn in a life time. It seemed both unfortunate and amazing that it took battle and blood shed to forge such a strong bond. 
 
It has been 1 month and 12 days since I was wounded and pulled from the battlefield. When I was in the hospital in KAF, I had hoped that I would stay in Afghanistan to recover. Why would I want to stay in such a horrible place that almost claimed my life? I didn’t want to leave my family.
 
Germany and Toronto (hospitals) were a blur of Morphine, Demerol, Fentanyl, IV lines, wound packing’s, shrapnel removal surgeries, catheters, bad food, and good care. I think back on it and it seems dizzying. But when I close my eyes, only 2 images flash and they take me back to where I’m supposed to be. 
 
I see Panjwayi; the fields of pot. Rockets and bullets. The smell of burning and the heat. Then all I see are the bodies of soldiers I helped carry to the CCP. 2 covered by body bags (WO. Richard Nolan, Sgt. Shane Stachnik) and 2 on stretchers; my platoon warrant (WO Frank Mellish), and a soldiers I knew only casually from living in the shacks in Petawawa (Pte.Will Cushley) 
 
While at the CCP I find out that a very close friend (from my reserve home unit) had been wounded by shrapnel from Taliban RPGs. His sections LAV had been left on the battlefield. For a long while, I didn’t know how badly he was wounded. (He’s still over there, thus no names) I’ll never forget the feeling; the sense and fear of loss. I will never forget those who were lost that day.
 
I try to think of the good times I was privileged enough to have with my Platoon. WO. Mellish made me the unofficial piper of 8 Platoon, (shortly there after; Coy piper) and I played reveille as per his request (and everyone else’s distain) anytime I was able. In dreams I still hear him shouting "Piper!!! Black Bear!!"… The last tune I played on my pipes… at panjwayi. (I still don’t have them back)
 
When I close my eyes, I also see the morning after Panjwayi. Sparks, smoke, fire… then the burp of the main gun of the A-10. I remember the feeling of panic as I crawled for my Weapon and PPE, thinking we were under attack. I can still feel the burning on my legs and back, the shock of thinking my legs were gone.
 
I can see the faces of the injured… the twice wounded soldiers of Charles. I see the face of the soldier who saved my life by applying tourniquets to my legs and stopping the bleeding from my back and arm… (He will remain nameless for now) 
 
From then, everything’s a blur until I’m back in KAF. I remember asking if everyone was ‘ok’… Reaching from my gurney to other wounded soldiers walking by, trying to peace together what had happened… more confusion. I asked again and again…
 
Pte. Mark Graham. An inspirational man whom I only really started to get to know
shortly before deploying, a brother in our family of warriors, was dead. My heart sank even more.
 
Our CSM (who was also wounded) came over to me and asked if I was going to be able to play the pipes for the ramp ceremony the following day. I held up my right hand, which was numb, and looked at my fingers. The tips of 2 of them looked like they had been chewed up in a blender. I felt tears run down my face. Not because I thought I’d never play again, but because I couldn’t play for my departed brothers the next day… I would have given both of my hands and more for their lives.> 
 
I had hoped to attend the ramp ceremony the next day, even if I couldn’t play, but I couldn’t move my legs and they couldn’t put me in a wheel chair because of the shrapnel in my back. I was sedated that day, and came to on the plane to Germany.
 
I couldn’t attend any of the funerals of my fallen family, and I feel no closure.
 
It has been a month and 12 days since I lost my brothers in Panjwayi and it might as well have been yesterday.
 
When I close my eyes at night I not only see the ones who have paid the ultimate price, but also the ones who are still there… and I feel as though I am betraying them.
 
My life seems to be dragging me on. My fiancé and I are planning our wedding and future. My family and I get together often. I’ve been able to socialize with my friends… and yet each thing I do here makes me feel guilty, because I shouldn’t be here to enjoy this.
 
I wake up every day and plan and plot. I think of only one thing; how can I get back to my family… How can I get back to Afghanistan? My wounds are almost healed. Only 3 holes left and they’re almost closed. I can walk pretty well
now, but I need to run.
 
My family and friends don’t understand. They don’t want me to go back. My fiancé has threatened to end our relationship if I chose to return… and yet this doesn’t dissuade me. I have to get back to my boys. I have to get back and do my part no matter the cost to me. I love my family here in Canada, but no one’s shooting at them.
 
Every time I see more soldiers killed over there a piece of me dies, and I feel the urge to return grow stronger. And each day I enjoy in my freedom here, I feel as though I have betrayed their memory. I need to finish my job over there. I need to go back.
 
I can only think of the families of those who have died, and I can only say this, and hope it provides some solace:
A warrior’s sword is made from the finest steel, forged by hammer and anvil to create and edge, baptized in hot coals and flame for strength, then quenched in cold water to harden it.
 
Our brotherhood of Warriors, the finest of men, has been forged by Battle; Baptized by fire and Quenched by tears…
 
We became and will always be a fraternity of blood with a bond stronger than death.
 
Pro Patria
 
I hate to rant, but I need to vent. It’s been a hard road, and I know there are a few others here who have seen it and may or may not feel the same (HoM).
 
To the mods… feel free to delete this post if you find it pointless.
 
– Piper
 Brotherhood of Warriors
 Forged in battle
 Baptized by fire
 Quenched in tears
 
C Coy, 1 RCR
 Panjwayi
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C                                 G
The sun is coming up and I’m just going down
                                  C
Everywhere I look the world keeps turning ’round
C                              G
Though I said I never would be satisfied
       F               G              C
Baby I lied I couldn’t leave you if I tried
C                                G
Sometimes I get lost out on this sad old town
G                                      C
And every bridge I cross just turns me upside down
C                                    G             
And every stumbling step I take back to your side
         F                G              C     C7
Hurts my pride I couldn’t leave you if I tried
F
Well I could not walk away no matter what I say
                                 D7
I won’t be leaving believe it or don’t
                  G   Gaug
You’re all that I want
C                               G
Tears may fall but after all is said and done
                                     C
Darlin’ please believe me you’re the only one
                                     G
And I’ll admit mistakes I’ve made me realize
       F               G              C
Baby I lied I couldn’t leave you if I tried

SOLO

F
I won’t be leaving you no matter what I do
                                  D7
I’m gonna see it through ’til the end
          G  Gaug
And do it again
C                                     G
Years may come and friends may go but that’s ok
                              C
Darlin’ you’re the only one I need to stay
                               G
I know I said I never would be satisified
       F               G              C
Baby I lied I couldn’t leave you if I tried
F           G             Am
I couldn’t leave you if I tried

F   G    C

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Since I met you baby my whole life has changed
Since I met you baby my whole life has changed
And everybody tells me that I am not the same

I don’t need nobody to tell my troubles to
I don’t need nobody to tell my troubles to
Cause since I met you baby all I need is you

Interlude – Instrumental

Since I met you baby I’m a happy man
Since I met you baby I’m a happy man
I’m gonna try to please you in every way I can

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There goes my only possession!
There goes my everything!

I hear footsteps slowly walking
As they gently walk across the lonely floor
And a voice is softly saying
Darling, this will be goodbye for evermore!

There goes my reason for living!
There goes the one of my dreams!
There goes my only possession!
There goes my everything!

As my memory turns back the pages
I can see the happy years we’ve had before.
Now the love that kept this old heart beating
Has been shattered by the closing of a door!

There goes my reason for living!
There goes the one of my dreams!
There goes my only possession!
There goes my everything!

There goes my only possession!
There goes my everything!..

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When the night has come
And our land is dark
And the moon is the only light we’ll see
No I won’t be afraid, no I won’t be afraid
Just as long, just as long as you stand by me

Darlin’, stand by me,
Won’t you stand by me
You’ll be needed, to stand by me

And if the sky we look upon
Should tumble and fall
And the mountains should fall to the sea
No I won’t be afraid, no I won’t be afraid
Just as long, just as long as you stand by me

Darlin’, stand by me,
Won’t you stand by me
You’ll be needed, stand by me

— Instrumental —

Darlin’, stand by me,
Won’t you stand by me
You’ll be needed, stand by me

Darlin’, stand by me,
Won’t you stand by me
You’ll be needed, stand, stand by me…

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We’ve been sweethearts for so long
Now you say, "We’re thru!"
The love we shared is just a memory
I had built a ship of dreams
And planned them all for you
And now I guess what is to be will be.

I’m just like a ship at sea
That’s lost without a sail
The dark clouds hide the sun from up above
And even with these broken dreams
My heart will never fail
For deep inside there’s only one true love.

Chorus:
When I sail my ship alone
With all the dreams I own
Drifting out across the ocean blue
And I’ll sail my ship alone
Thru’ all the sails, you’ve torn
When it starts sinkin’, I’ll blame you.

I gave a message to the wind
To take back home to you
Hoping you could hear my SOS
Maybe you would come back home
My Darling if you knew
How much my aching heart is in distress

Chorus:
Well I sail my ship alone
With all the dreams I own
Drifting out across that ocean blue
And I’ll sail my ship alone
Tho’ all the sails, you’ve torn
And when it starts to sinkin’, I’ll blame you.

When it starts to sinkin’, I’ll blame you

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I bless the day I found you
I want to stay around you
And so I beg you
Let it be me.

Don’t take this heaven from one
If you must cling to someone
Now and forever
Let it be me.

Each time we meet love
I find complete love
Without your sweet love
What would life be?

So never leave me lonely
Tell me you love me only
And then you’ll always
Let it be me.

Each time we meet love
I find complete love
Without your sweet, sweet love
What would life be?

So never leave me lonely
Tell me you love me only
And then you’ll always
Let it be me.

Now and forever
Let it be me….

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