Review of “Spent Shell Casings;” Iconoclasm With A Gun

As I read Spent Shell Casings: 25 (and 5) Stories,a single thought continues to needle into my mind. I stand, reading and psychotically highlighting key passages, and I think, “Well, that’s it. I can stop writing. David Rose has already said everything I’ve been struggling to put on paper.”I have attempted to write about the…

Billy The Silly Marine

I think every group of people has one. Whether it’s a committee in an office, a group of construction workers, a ministry team, or in this case, a four-man infantry team, there’s that one guy. He’s simply known as “That Guy.” Who is That Guy? He’s the one about whom you have to say, “Don’t be…

Leadership Learned The Hard Way

There are many articles and books detailing successful leadership traits to emulate, and an aspiring leader should consume as many as possible. I’ve always felt that it is better to find something to work toward, rather than away from, so I’ve felt that criticism was most helpful when it gave me something constructive to focus…

Throat Punched By Satan

In the winter of 2005, I was in a Scout Sniper team with Echo Company, Second Battalion, Seventh Marine Regiment (E Co. 2/7). During the balmy last months of the year, we were languishing in a little section of Iraq called The Zaidon. Not “Zaidon,” it was “The Zaidon.” I still have no idea why. Compared…

The Art of the Bug-Out Bag

   I have a tendency to imagine the worst-case scenario for everything, but when it comes to some basic survival practices, not everyone is going to have to ruck a few klicks to friendly lines under fire, survive a lion attack, or plunge into a zombie apocalypse. Many people can get caught off-guard by the…

Women in the Infantry, Does Your Opinion Matter?

   Edit 21 November 2015: I rewrote and updated the information at the version in The Havok Journal. You can find it here. The data is in. The test subjects have been evaluated. Women are passing elite schools, undergoing infantry training, and are on their way to being put into our nation’s most well-known special…

The Snipers of Shadow 2 Part 4: Patty and Hall

Took me a while to get this one finished too. I spent most of the weekend hovering over a website called The Havok Journal, where I had two articles published (shameless plug). http://www.havokjournal.com/culture/veterans-its-our-fault-that-the-public-doesnt-understand-us/ and http://www.havokjournal.com/culture/a-time-for-wolves/ My friends on facebook generally agreed with the points I made, while a majority of the readership on the Internet…did…

The Snipers of Shadow 2 Part 3: The Doc and The Jew

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last story, not because I couldn’t find the material to write, but because I was doing some training in an area where the bandwidth left something to be desired. I’m back home now, so expect to get the rest of this series in rapid succession. WITHOUT FURTHER…

The Snipers of Shadow 2 Part 2: Cox and Murphy

 I had a conversation with Ramirez today, and the subject came up of why I’m doing all these stories about my team.  Part of it is because, as a father, I want my children to hear stories of great men of strength and skill to offset all the crap that’s on TV today, and also…

The Snipers of Shadow 2 Part 1; Ramirez and Natty

Sooooooo that story I wrote on Cpl Claudio Patino somehow went viral. I think that’s the term, but I’m not a computer guy. Anyways, it got over 11,000 hits in just over two days, and I decided that the world could also stand to learn about the rest of the guys in 3rd Battalion, Seventh…

A Case For Being Open

The complaints are common, and often repeated. “Nobody understands what we go through!” “When will the civilian bother to learn about the plight of the American soldier?” “People just don’t know how war and PTS(D) affect servicemen and their familes!”   Aside from the flood of self-pity that usually comes along with these statements, they…

A Broken Understanding

My concept of grace has, like most things in my life, been shaped by experiences in combat. In June of 2010, I had the honor of serving as a team leader for a Marine Corps Scout Sniper team in Musah Quelah, Afghanistan. Our company was to clear the town of its Taliban presence, and when things got really hairy,…