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First Guest Post, Ben Brubaker.

OK long story short.

I posted this a couple of days ago. The picture in the post is of Ben Brubaker and myself at Sniper School in the Marine Corps. As of the moment I posted that picture I probably hadn't talked to Ben in nearly a decade. About 3 hours after posting that picture, I saw Ben's picture on a mutual friends Facebook friends page! My jaw dropped and I made the Facebook connection with him. Ben said he didn't use Facebook much and I should just email him, I did with a very boring and generic update about my family and the usual boring questions you ask of a long lost friend. Ben's email response to mine truly inspired me and made me sit there staring at my gmail account page. I asked him if I could take the email (minus specifics about his wife and kids) and put it on as a guest post. He said ok and that's what this is.

2 sentences about Ben:

Ben Brubaker is a guy that I was never the closest of friends with, we were friends but never the inseparable type you get to be with some guys in the Marine Corps. Ben was a loner, no, not a loner just a guy that really was capable of being on his own and being content. Noone ever had any doubts about Ben though, if you needed him for anything, everyone knew Ben Brubaker would be there .

Ok I want everyone to read Ben's email below and I will post my thoughts about it later.

Guest Post From Ben Brubaker

No, I don't talk to anyone from the Corps anymore. You know, I have never been the type to get homesick. I got it a little bit once, just for a few minutes when I was in Spain back in 9th grade. And I missed a girlfriend for a day during bootcamp, but other than that I never suffered from that affliction. That is until I left the USMC. Even 11 years later, I still miss it. When I read things like Owen's piece on Carver (Note from Cody: click link at bottom for piece Ben is talking about) I get this ache in my chest/gut and feel kind of sick and I remember all the stuff we did and I start trying to figure out if it is possible for me to re-enlist. It is even worse when I see a movie or news with infantry guys doing their work. Sometimes I get pissed that we did all that training and that I never got to use it. Other times, knowing full well that war is a lot worse than peace-time warriors dream it will be, I'm greatful that it was quiet when I was in so that we were not exposed. Either way, weekly if not daily, I think about the Corps and miss it. So it has just kind of followed that I cut myself away from it as much as possible so that I could get on with the stuff I needed to do.

Thank God I have been able to realize the goals I had as reasons for leaving otherwise I would be soup out here. Heh, I almost went back to duty in 2003 when we went in to Iraq. I had not met my basic goal of finding a wife yet and the war was starting and I was sick of the stupid civilians and their retarded issues so I was finning in full gear and slick for about 4 hours every other day and, to get my feet ready, hiking with a "normal" load for 10-20 miles on the off days. I bought a rifle and a membership to the range so I could work on those skills. I figured it would take me about a year to get back to good enough shape to return to Recon. Wouldn't you know it, about 8 months later I met the woman of my dreams. Being in awesome shape helped me catch her so it wasn't a total waste.

Anyway, she has made it bearable that I've passed up my professional calling. Plus, I know that I made the right choice for me. I'm thankful I got to serve for the time that I did and now I'm happy that I'm doing my #1 choice of things to do: breeding and parenting!

For this letter to make sense I need to give you a pinch of my philosophical take on things:

I figure the #1 most important job in the world is that of being a parent. If you don't have kids or if your kids are all fucked up and don't have kids themselves, don't survive long enough to have their own kids, or become a liability to the society that exists to ensure future procreation of its people, then what is the point of anything else?

#2 is being a teacher. If the society that ensures the survival of the kids falls apart, again, #1 is threatened, thus, what is the point of anything else? (This is mostly a parenting thing, but teachers are important here as well)

#3 is being a martial servant. If extremists or degenerates decide they don't want you, your kids, and your society in this world who do you call when you can't buy enough ammo to take care of the problem yourself? ;) (#2 and #3 are so close that you almost cannot separate them and they can flip-flop depending on the state of the world. you can't worry about teaching anything if bad guys are shooting at you every day.) If I had failed in my attempt at #1 I would have happily gone back to the USMC to do #2 and #3 in order to hopefully support the society and my brother and sister in their efforts to carry on our family genetics.

Carver gets to do all three which is great. His teaching takes the form of teaching other martial servants, but it still counts. My personality (I guess you would call it) wouldn't let me take the same route. I know how much he is gone and that conflicts with my all-or-nothing mindset. I had to do the military the way I did it (no woman, no kids, no interests outside of the military [which is why I didn't date anyone while I was in]) or I had to do the family (home everyday, 100% focus on the family). I was not able to figure out a way to do both and do them in a way that I could live with. So, once I figured out the order of things I did what made the most sense and went after #1.

Knowing #1 was dependent on another person, I started going after #2 at the same time. I now have a teaching certificate (physical education) and professional development takes the form of slowly progressing my master's in the same. I chose PE because that was something that was non-specific enough that I could choose to NOT work in a school and the skills would still be directly applicable to raising my own children. That is what I'm doing now. I'm the stay-at-home dad and I get to put a strong emphasis on physical activity and development for my kids. I'll revisit the option of teaching other people's kids when my kids get into school full-time.

Therefore, long story short, all is well with me. I get to do #1 and #2 on my value list but I have to miss #3. I can live with that. Now the military gets to fill the slot in my adult life that Star Wars did when I was a kid: It is food for my imagination and I take my heroes from it.

End of Guest Blog

Click here for piece on Darrell Carver

I just read this again as I posted it and if it didn't make you stop and check your priorities in life, read it again.


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