Ma Deuce Gunner

Ma Deuce Gunner


Tuesday, May 10, 2005


We are very near the six month mark in-theatre. My moods lately can only be described with "doldrums." I feel a stuck, un-moving, blah, blah, same old stuff daily type vibe lately. Fear not, my morale is high, as contact with loved ones and faith in God help me to keep my head up, but I feel just like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. Wake up, the SAME thing happens, every day. Sometimes the variation in my day is whether I sweep and police call the common area or I clean the latrines.

Missions have gotten a bit monotonous. I am NOT complaining. Well, OK, maybe I am, just a little bit. The conspicuious absence of IEDs and, well, anything pointy, fast, and airborne headed my direction is not a lamented occurence. I hesitate to wish for action, because an adrenaline high at the cost of a lost brother is not a fair trade. But part of me wants SOMETHING to happen. Complacency gnaws at soldiers, and we do our best to slap the beast back from our mental edge, through training and perserverance. Everyone here understands that as quiet and un-eventful as things have been lately, this is a 360' battlefield, and the enemy is resourceful and dedicated. I am very proud of my platoon and their diligence.

I have noticed a few things. These are personal observations on my person.

My faith. I am a Born-Again Christian. My relationship with the Lord has grown a LOT since I deployed. Without my faith, I am sure I would not be doing as well here as I think I am. The ability to be faced with a problem, and to take that problem to the Lord in prayer, asking that His will be done and that resolvation (is that a word??) of the issue would occur, whether from divine intervention or right-minded thinking. Prayers for personal strength, courage, the ability to lead my men well, and protection are transmitted on my personal Heaven-wave radio too numerously to count.

My marriage. As hard as it is to believe, I think that this deployment has strengthened my marriage. I will not even go into the shallow end of the pool describing any marriage, but I believe that comparatively, my wife and I have grown together, even while separated by a hemisphere. I miss her very much, and am SO PROUD of her strength. She has the harder job, I tell you. She is the one with the void left to fill in her daily life. Here, I miss her like crazy, but I have never been in a situation like this before, and so having a frame of reference of being with her in this instance is not here. She is the one who must wake up to the empty bed, the one who has to go about her "normal" life without the love of her life there. This is an abnormal situation for me. Am I making sense? I Love You, Woman.

I have gained a huge appreciation for growning up the way I did, and the way I live now. The opportunities I have taken for granted, like a free education, indoor plumbing, non-opressive government, safe food supply, and approximate freedom from terror, are starkly visible to me. (On a lighter note, I am appreciative of straight roads. Whoever thought up the roads here needs a slap on the head. Roundabouts everywhere, or medians so you have to turn right and then turn around to be able to be headed left from your original direction of travel. Ridiculousness abounds in urban navigation.) I am proud to know that I have played a part in giving these people, especially the children, a chance at the same opportunities I was given. Hopefully they do not squander their newfound openings to success, as I did before in my life. (Apologies to Ms. Pittman, my 7th Grade Gifted Program teacher... I shoulda aced your class. Ditto to Ms. Ashimine, sophomore Biology teacher... sorry for all the goofing off. And to all my teachers who told me I had potential, and I just went to the beach.)

I have learned that just a phone call can do wonders for a person. It can lift spirits, brighten your day, and improve your outlook on everything.

I have always known how important having a good friend is to have, but appreciate it more now. I have the privilege to have my one of my best friends here in my platoon, and he helps keep me sane. I have many buddies, but this guy is my FRIEND. Someone I can talk to, who understands me on a personal level. Plus, there is nobody I would like to have next to me in a firefight more than Chuck.


I have also learned of the compassion and thoughtfulness of the American populace. The world sees Americans as greedy, self-promoting, thoughtless, self-centered people, and while there are folks like that, there are people who have little, yet are willing to help those who have nothing. Those who have sent donations to Omar have touched his family in ways inconceivable to them before now. I again thank you for your generosity, and Omar thanks you with every fiber of his being. Diana, Janie, Frosty, Jen n' Jeff, Peter from TX, Patty, all of you have been so kind. Awe, gratitude and appreciation are a few of the words that don't even start to express how Omar feels for your compassion. Thank You.

Thanks for reading. More to come soon.




At 6:50 AM, Blogger Huntress said...

Im sorry you're feeling so down....6 months into deployment does that to everyone...its the half way'll be home soon...the time will go quickly even if it doesnt seem that way now. Have Faith!

I find it interesting that in retrospect you feel like you wasted opportunities that were given to you. I think in our youth Michael, we all just wanna go to the beach and play, and in some ways we all do!

They say youth is wasted on the young...and they are right!
Wisdom only comes with age.

Has it occured to you that you did not squander simply made choices...and those choices make you who you are today. You could not be here in this place in time, nor would you be married your lovely wife who you love deeply, if you were not the person you are today

How do you know that being where you are now is not a measure of your potential?

It takes great courage, tenacity and desire to be a warrior....and you're one of the best. Never forget that! You are extremely intelligent, a loving husband, a great communicator and you walk with God. HOW is that NOT living up to your potential??

God doesn't ask that we succeed...He only asks that we try.

You try, you stumble.....but thats the beauty of life and of God's love for us. He LETS US STUMBLE to teach us to be better, stronger, more resiliant when we stand up again, and He loves us just as much when we stumble, as when we walk tall, He loves us even when we cannot find it within us to love ourselves.

Download the Hitchhikers Guide To Universe....its hilarious. Help you get past the doldrums!

BTW- resolvation is not a word! LOL!

Stay safe.

At 1:13 PM, Anonymous MDG's sis said...

You're the best, little brother. I will say it over and over again, but I'm so proud of you, in so many ways. My heart just swells with gratitude every time I think about how much the Lord has blessed us... my little bro, who used to drive me nuts with fighter planes and GI Joe and fight with me over who got to eat the last mango, has become such an admirable man.

Lots of love to you from far away, and an extra WOO-HOO for getting six months done!


Your Sis

At 2:08 PM, Blogger thepatriot15 said...

I don't think resolvation is a word. I just looked in our dictionary. We will pray for you!
patriot14's sister.

At 2:30 PM, Anonymous MDG's Wife said...

I'll echo your sis and say WHO-HOO for having six months done. The days often seem to drag by, but knowing we are so close to the halfway mark does wonders for me. It also helps to remember that it’s really been closer to a year that we've been apart if you include all the training - which means we are well over 1/2 way done! I will be so glad to have you home. And I know my co-workers will too – they’ve had to experience my grouchy side a few times since you’ve been gone and I don’t think they like it. They’ve asked me more than once “when is your husband come home again!??” :)
You have brought such a good balance to my life and I thank God for that. I can tend to get stressed a little too easily (okay, maybe a lot stressed), and you have taught me have a better perspective on things. You are my perfect match.

It is amazing to look back over our relationship – and really our lives – to see how God has been preparing us for this time. Without all the lessons we have learned together, this would have been much more difficult. I agree that this past year has made our relationship stronger. I feel like we have both grown so much.

Keep up the good work My Love. I am very proud and very thankful of all that you do. Thanks for being my husband. I love you

At 5:22 PM, Anonymous diana said...

If it's not a word, it should be! Be careful about the boredom, it's when things get dangerous, but I am sure that you know this better than all of us sitting here at home. That is a wonderful picture of you and your buddy, you guys look sharp. And you're welcome. We are trying to put another package together for Omar real soon! Stay safe.

At 6:02 PM, Blogger thepatriot15 said...

Hope your days get better! Never forget how much we appreciate how much you guys go through; you are always in our prayers.

God bless and give you strength!

At 7:58 AM, Blogger ballerina4him said...

Wow! You are amazing! The work you do there and what you do for the Iraqi's. I will keep on praying for you. It is really cool that your family can communicate through blogging. I will also pray for your family.

At 10:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a wonderous list - written like a pro. I'm happy about your boredum - it's safer and part of the reason for your growing understanding. May your next six months be just as boring and terribly safe! Maybe writing a book would kill some time! The arguement as to whether there should be more troops over there or not can be answered in the "hurry up and wait" script played again and again while you're in the military. Only the best to ya

At 1:29 PM, Anonymous MDG's sis said...

I forgot -- I meant to have a shout-out to Chuck in my first comment...

What's up, Charles?! Love the pic of the two of you!

At 5:09 PM, Blogger Yarbz said...

Go here to see MDG and Chuck in Disneyland Iraq:

At 6:28 PM, Blogger thepatriot15 said...

thanks for your comment; if I have any troubles with picky editors I'll let you know. And hey, if it's an excuse to call in the Army; heck I'll take it!

At 7:07 AM, Blogger ballerina4him said...

Jennifer you make me laugh! I am sure you would love to have to army have a sleep over at your house. It would be a dream come true. Wouldn't it?

At 8:49 AM, Blogger Peter said...

Awk! I let your last E-Mail get put under a pile of stuff and neglected to send you the things I promised.
Sorry, they'll go out in the mail today.
As for the boredom, that's the nature of the beast. Wars are days and weeks of dull monotony, puncuated by moments of sheer terror.
Just keep watching your six.

At 9:04 AM, Anonymous Bikermommy said...

I don't know you personally but I have read about you and your love for your wife and your devotion to your country and your fellow man and to God and I just want you to know that there are a cazillion people praying for you and your brothers in battle and we pray for your safety every day! May God bless you. We thank you and love you.

At 4:54 PM, Blogger Sgt. B. said...

"that resolvation (is that a word??)"

It is now!

Good words, brother gunner!

Keep the Faith! God Bless!

Semper Fi!

At 4:12 AM, Blogger moehawk said...

i appreciate all that you and everyone else in the U.S. Military are doing for the people of Iraq, the rest of the world, and for me.
i treasure the freedom that comes with being born American, and i would like to see others that have never known freedom to be able to enjoy it just as i do.
(and, sarahk says that she's going to publicly announce us new blogsons soon! ain't that cool?)

At 3:14 PM, Blogger dadmanly said...


Great post, thanks for the good word at mine. You do an awesome job with your blog.

I echo your sentiments on God, on marriage, it is amazing, isn't it, how God uses something that seems like its going to be all downside and give us these incredible benefits!

God bless you and Mrs. MDG, and may He continue to bring continued rewards for your faithfulness!

At 6:35 PM, Blogger FranklySpeaking said...

Hang in the MDG. You've gat a nation behind you. We wish you the best and stay safe.

Frank Laughter

At 7:40 AM, Blogger John Schroeder said...

You're a hero, and you and your wife are examples for the nation. I've passed it on here.

At 10:15 AM, Blogger Subsunk said...

I haven't forgotten some more packages for you and Omar. My brother and I are working on some things. I expect in a couple of weeks, we can send something small.

Deployments sometimes do that for a marriage. Your faith helps. I deployed like clockwork for 4 to 6 months at a time over 21 years, with 2 yr breaks for shore duty. My wife initially said she liked all the homecomings, so she didn't terribly mind the departures. But it wears you out after a while. Kids do it to you.

We're all proud of you both (you and your wife), and of your mates in the country with you. You guys be careful, and keep working on making Iraq a safer place. We'll keep right on loving each of you, and admiring the ladies who support you so well at home.


At 2:54 PM, Blogger Brad said...

Yeah, the 4- to 6-month area is usually when the deployment doldrums set in. For me, it was at about the four-month mark in Kosovo, at five months in the 'Stan, and I'm trying to fight them off here at my halfway point in Honduras. I guess my tolerance is going up.

Anyway, MDG, earlier today I saw sarahk's link over at IMAO, and I gotta say, you have one heckuva blog. I appreciate what you guys are doing over there, all of ya. Keep your head up (or down, when circumstances dictate) and you'll find that the boredom is a phase that passes. At least that's what I keep telling myself...

It's good to hear that your walk with the Lord and your marriage have been strengthened by your deployment. My pastor likes to say that God will sometimes set you apart for a season- away from comforts, away from home, even away from family- so He can work on you for a while. Somehow in Kosovo and Afghanistan I didn't have a problem letting Him work on me, but here it's a struggle to not resist His guidance. Stupid flesh, always getting in the way. But God will create amazing things out of adversity. Hard as it is to believe, he can strengthen a marriage in leaps and bounds when an email or a ten-minute phone call might be all the communication you get. And neither one of you will ever take the other for granted again. (Not saying you ever did, of course!)

...medians so you have to turn right and then turn around to be able to be headed left from your original direction of travel.

Holy crap, you just described the "Michigan Left"- hated by everyone in the state. You mean they have those vile things in Iraq too?

Oh, and I think the word you're looking for is "resolution"- but like SGT B said- this is your blog, if you say it it's a word.

-Army NCO Guy


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