Today I had to take my son into Bethesda Naval Hospital to get surgery done on his ears. Of Course if you live on the east coast traffic sucks even at 4AM in the morning and parkings a bitch, but finnally arrived and of course my son was being a pain in the ass do to lack of sleep and food. I walked up to the coffee shop in the hospital and got my double expresso shot to keep me in the know and ran into a Marine named Cpl Burks.
Since everyone there was Navy, I couldn't help talking to him since he was a familar face and asked " hey devil moring". He replied back mornig sir. I said "SSgt, I work for my money." And a conversation brewed. I told the kid my sons getting tubes done in his ears today and he stated that he worked at Betesda at the wounded Warriors detachment as a liason. I then asked how he landed that gig. and he told me his story.
"well Staff Sergeant I re-enlisted for it to help out my best friend Trav........ When I was in Iraq his fire team got IED'd and I had to help him out." So being a staff non commision officer I asked were he and Trav were from and both were from Lancaster Ohio. His sole purpose was to watch over the wounded Marines in the hospital and make sure they were taken care of. I then said you got some time Corpral Coffees on me. And he gladly excepted. I asked about what happened to Travis and he whent into a story on how he was the only one from his fire team to survive the IED. And when he came home everything changed for him. He lost both legs and half of his right arm. Cpl Burks then said he had noone except the Marines around him. Then Said "I'm all he's got SSgt, everyone through him to the curb. He'd do the same for me." I said "what your doing is beyond Honorable and shook his hand." And it reminded me why I joined the Marine Corps in the first place. Marines take care of there own.
He then told the story when he came home and went through 7 surgeries and still fought. He then told me something that discussed me beyond reconition. His wife soon as she saw him shook her head and litterally walked out of the room. Then a week mailed divorce papers to him to sign. His parents came to visit and pretty much did the same and told the Marine Detacthment thats not our son, and boycotted him from the family. A few minuets whent by as I listened and Corpral Burks stood up and said " hey SSgt I got to go, Travs here and I told him "do what you got to do. When Trav came in with the Cpl he was in a handicap wheelchair. But what he didn't mention was severe brain damage. Trav wasn't only parilized, missing limbs but now as most would see it "mentally retarded in others eyes" My son actually walked up and smiled at him and grabbed his leg and said "Buuuddy!" And a smile came on Travs face. I shook his hand and gave hime a hug and whispered in his ear "Semper Fi Brother" and held his hand. He smiled at me and Cpl Burks said hey Trav this is Staff Sergeant (leaving last name out). He the look with a smile and said "Tak ou Staaaff Sergaaant" And I tried hard to hold it in, and did. I told him were there for you and always will be. Then the Cpl said hey SSgt we got to go, but seriously, that made his day, noone actually notices him or pretends not to. It ment alot to him ,thank you. I said "he'd would probally do the same for me."
Through all the BS I go through and think times are tough this kid was a reminder that my shit is nothing. He went through hell and back and now is living in hell.
I will end this with finnaly words from Travis, and I quote "at least I got my dick, and humor" Semper Fi to all that are disabled and Vetrans. I will be visting him on Sunday for a game of Texas Hold'em with Cpl Burks.