Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Haze Gray and Underway

Found myself telling stories about my 3,000 or so Navy days this evening while chilling with the family at Buffalo Wild Wings. It's hard to find the kind of friendship and camaraderie in the civilian world that's so common in uniform. It's the intensity level, I know. The going into harm's way and back out again, the mission done, the world a safer place. I do wonder from time to time why we didn't stay in better touch the way we said we would? Probably the same reason. I dredged up this grainy picture of me from a certain excursion into a certain gulf. The picture of the lovely and lethal USS Joseph Strauss DDG-16 that carried us there is just stock footage found on the web. Pretty isn't she? Sure does bring back memories.

I think those experiences creep into my stories over and over again. Hell, sometimes they run screaming into them. Those are always fun stories too. Irritates me to no end with movies and books get the military all wrong. There's a lot of veteran's and active duty out there to run scripts and stories by for authenticity's sake. Still seems like the stereotypes make their way into the stories more than the everyday people I served with. Storytelling, you say? Yeah. I've written a few stereotypes myself--and there's a reason for stereotypes too! But for the most part, we were all just men and women with that little something extra that allowed us to step forward. We didn't usually feel like heroes, but looking back, I think there were days we came damned close. That was a few years ago too when the world was a wee bit more sedate. Our guys and gals serving today are doing so in a whole new world.

Now my oldest son is a soldier. Yeah, yeah, he joined the Army instead of the Navy, but I love him just the same. Hooah, Big Guy!

A fair amount of the stories I pen involve various military branches or organizations with a strong military flavor and I don't see that changing going forward. I've far too many memories, some fond and others just dripping with that intensity I mentioned above, not to pay a little homage to those days. Now, the situations I subject my characters too are generally not the things real soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines are likely to encounter, but I hope I can always portray them with all the respect they deserve. Real people doing what most can't or won't. And doing it because they have that extra something.

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