Friday, February 16, 2007

Preparing for Battle

In only a few weeks, the soldiers we are training will be on the battlefield. Our mission is to prepare these warriors for the dangers they will face on the other side of the world. We consider that job a sacred trust. Those we train must understand their enemy, prepare for his tactics and realize that he is a resourceful and brutal foe.

I have trained many soldiers during my years in the Army. As I look upon each new squad or platoon, I am reminded of the look of innocence of those who travel the road of war for the first time. They will not return with that same fresh look; their innocence will slowly dissolve among the harsh realities of man’s most horrible game.

This is a sad realization, but it is tempered by the dedication of these soldiers to the task at hand. They know they will soon move closer to the edge of Hell and they intend to be ready. When they meet the enemies of America, they will do so with courage and skill. Their training and their devotion to each other will make all the difference.

Sometimes an old soldier will see the faces of lost comrades among the ranks of a new generation of troops. They will appear like shadows that are visible one moment, but gone the next. Such visions remind us that the long line of American warriors is an endless one.

Today our warrior students proudly wore their armor, held their rifles with purpose and crawled or ran through an exhausting gauntlet. When it was over, they slapped each other on the back, laughed at the things they could have done better and congratulated each other on the things done well.

Tomorrow is another day and another challenge on the road to war. They will be ready.

SFC Chuck Grist

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