years ago this afternoon, 33-year-old Gary Gordon (left) and
35-year-old Randy Shughart (right), both members of the Army’s 1st
Special Forces Operational Detachment Delta, were providing air cover
for Rangers in Operation Gothic Serpent in Mogadishu when a fellow
Blackhawk helicopter was shot down. Gordon requested to be landed at the
crash site to provide cover for the crew, but was denied permission.
Seeing the hostile Somali crowds converging on the downed Blackhawk, he
pressed his request until finally granted permission. Gordon and
Shughart, armed each with only his own rifle and pistol, were dropped
off at the crash site, and found pilot Michael Durant alive. There they
formed a perimeter around him hoping for rescue that never came. Both
men exhausted their ammunition and were killed saving Durant, who was
taken alive as prisoner. Both men were posthumously awarded the Medal of
Honor, the first ones awarded for action since Vietnam. Remember them
So Chris Kyle is a “racist child killer”. Let me tell you something about the life of a navy SEAL/Marine sniper
They are only eligible for training AFTER a 4-year enlistment. Just like Army Special Forces and Air Force Parachute Jumpers. While in the school (which weeds most people out; only a fraction actually finish), these guys are gone almost all the time. They’re gone doing stuff all over the world, not just the Middle East. My cousin was in Somalia and had to run the Mogadishu Mile during Operation Gothic Serpent. My father-in-law went to Bosnia in the 90’s (though he and my cousin were Rangers, which is nearly as bad). They go anywhere in the world at a moments notice. They train non-stop.
Most of these guys suffer from images they can’t get out of their head. There are people they don’t want to kill, but they have to follow orders. Mind you, if someone is going to blow up your entire convoy and leave an entire unit dead or wounded, by George you’ll take that shot.
I grew up in a military family. I grew up with my dad, two uncles, and several cousins serving in different capacities. I married an Army officer who’s father is a retired master sergeant and whose mother also served. I know what military life is. And quite frankly, most people don’t. Most people do not know what it’s like to have your husband leave, and you don’t hear from him for a month or two. Most of you don’t know what it’s like to have a father that was injured and now suffers because of it. Most of you don’t know what it’s like to drive a nearly-immobile uncle to the VA Hospital, because he can’t drive himself. None of you know what it’s like to have a best friend with shrapnel in his chest and face, who has struggled to adjust to civilian life.
And guess what? I do. Chris Kyle wasn’t perfect. HOWEVER, he was someone who loves the troops he served with, loved his family, and struggled deeply because of everything he experienced. So next time you insult an American soldier (because there are thousands just like him), take a minute and remember that there are those of us who have to attend military funerals. Those of us who have to deal with the realities of war. Ever had a relative with PTSD? I have. It isn’t pretty. And while most soldiers will be quiet as you metaphorically spit in their faces, I won’t. Because in the course of my life, a soldiers were the first ones to stop when I was in a major car accident. Soldiers were the ones to help my dad out. Soldiers were the ones to help my uncle out. Soldiers were the ones to hear me yelling for help in a dark parking lot as a strange man chased me. Soldiers will help out others, because that’s what they signed up to do.
So please, forgive me if this is long, but if I hear one more person talk about Chris Kyle or the men like him (ie my husband), I may not be as tactful.