FROM: The President of The Tactical Reintegration Project
TO: The Warriors of The TRP Community
We were just kids back then…now look at us. Today I looked at a photo of some guys in my unit at the Train Station in Fallujah Iraq posing for a glory shot and then it hit me: almost 17 years ago today we were kids strapping on bullet proof vests at all hours of the day and night, wielding rifles, machine guns, radios, mortars, and SMAW rockets, in the name of democracy and freedom.
It’s hard to reconcile that 8 Marines I knew have killed themselves in the last 3-5 years. It’s even more difficult to comprehend why many of us, 16+ years after we survived that deployment, have yet to find a way to belong somewhere and feel connected to the life they lived. Why is it that so many of us suffer from this? Why is it that so many of us can’t feel good about what we have become and who we were and are?
Today, I found out that another Marine I served with in 2006 has passed away. And if this wasn’t disturbing enough, the realization that dawns on you when scrolling down the Facebook page of our Battalion’s Community Association profile (what started as a way to stay connected with our Brotherhood since deploying) is that it has become a digital rolodex of death and obituary notifications. Its a painful reminder of the toll that the War on Terror has had on the Marines we served alongside since 2006. Lest we forget, the Battalion Association page I speak of is but one amongst hundreds of Facebook pages across all the branches of service throughout the United States since September 11th, 2001.
Call to Action: All is not well but all is not lost! Our message to the community and to those that follow is simple – Stay Vigilant – Stay Connected! This isn’t a novel idea nor is the message I bring contrary to what we already know. The holiday’s season is a time where many of us struggle in silence. This time of the year has the ability to bring down the best of us. I want to remind everyone that as a community we are stronger together. Tend to your family and friends, reach out to those that you haven’t spoken to or seen in a while. And reach out to someone if you need help! Spread these words like that of the stories you have told your children in years passed and those that you will tell in years to come.
NEVER FORGET – YOU ARE SAFE AND YOU ARE LOVED – YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
President & Acting Treasurer – The Tactical Reintegration Project
USMC VETERAN – Sergeant E-5, 2005-2013 – OIF & OEF
“Sustaining Life Above And Below The Surface.”