As a long course triathlete, I have been known to eat very large meals from (all the) time to time. On one such occasion, my Dad said it reminded him of one time he was issued an entire case of C-rations following an extended period of time when he and his platoon had run out of food.
A few days ago, I asked my Dad about the specifics of this occasion. He explained to me that during Vietnam, his platoon typically went out on patrols that lasted around three days. At the time, C-rations were still in a canned form, making the food quite heavy. He estimated that each Marine went out with around 80 lbs in their pack (more for radiomen) and so they did not opt to carry anything extra.
On one of these patrols, a situation led them to being out a couple days longer than they had planned which in turn meant no food for an extended period of time either. They had gone so long without food, that when they returned to base camp my Dad had each solider issued an entire case of C-rations.
I asked my Dad if he ever heard any of the soldiers complain during this time period.
His response was "I don't remember any of the men complaining, in this case or any other. Their focus was on being there and looking out for one another."
He also continued to tell me that "…Justin, this isn't really much a story. There are countless times in this war, and every other war, when soldiers get cut off from supplies for a time. It just happens."
And I get that. Within that context of memories for a solider with combat experience, having no food for a day or two is likely no big deal.
But I think this is where an outside observer can see something different.
What I see when I hear this:
Young men, many of them still teenagers, engaged in a foreign war, dealing with countless challenges, one of which includes running out of food for days.
And they didn't complain.
They put the needs of their fellow soldiers before their own. By serving for one another, they served us all.
We are approaching the final three weeks of my fundraising campaign for the Wounded Warrior Project. An anonymous donor has pledged matching funds for up to $5000. I am also pledging an addition $500 in matching funds. You can help us break our goal of $15,000 before I toe the line on May 16th for Ironman Texas by donating today.
Please click HERE to donate.
Thank you all for your continued support,