Sunday, February 11, 2007

Remembering the C.O.B.R.A. Team

“People sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because
rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”

George Orwell

By this time in 2004, my team in Iraq had been on the ground for less than a week. Before our tour ended, we experienced enough close calls to know that the odds might eventually work against us. Survival in war is about skill, luck and the odds. With so many other soldiers around you, the odds are small you will be the one killed or wounded.

As I leave home tomorrow to begin the first mission of my third mobilization, my thoughts have naturally turned to the men I served with on the C.O.B.R.A. Team. Aaron Self is a police officer in Texas, Chad Higginbotham is a recruiter for the National Guard in Mississippi and John (Doc) Actis is a cop in Mississippi and a part-time actor. We became more than a band of brothers; these men became like sons to me and we were all fortunate to return home in one piece.

Of all of us, Doc is the only one who returned to Iraq after our tour ended in late 2004. He served as a private security contractor and survived some harrowing experiences, including the loss of some of his co-workers.

For now I have been tasked with helping to train infantry soldiers who are mobilizing for duty in Iraq or Afghanistan. I may do this for my entire mobilization or I could have the opportunity to go to one of those countries. Much of this will depend on how my training unit is tasked over the next few months. I’m a soldier; I’ll do what they tell me to do, but I would prefer to be overseas.
Whether I am stateside or in the war zone, I will continue to write in this blog about my own experiences and about the soldiers I encounter. Even in the States, I will meet many extraordinary men and women who have unique stories from their own war-time service. It is important that those stories be told.

Thanks for your continued support and for the many emails you have sent me. Please watch this blog for updates.

SFC Chuck Grist

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