I write this from the vacation “hot spot” that is Kyrgyzstan. My Marines and I are staying in a lovely 40 man suite complete with a bed and, well...a bed. We are here waiting for a military flight to take us into Afghanistan in a day or so. After all of the flying across many time zones in the last 24 hours it is a welcome break to make an attempt at disposing of my jet lag.
It has actually been a somewhat enjoyable trip. We have met some of the best Americans along the way. We stopped in Bangor, Maine, where a large contingent of the towns citizens have actually formed an organization www.themaintroopgreeters.com which sees to it that every group of military men and women who stop in their town, whether going to or coming from a combat zone are greeted and treated like honorary guests during their brief stay there. It was a heartwarming experience which meant a lot to the Marines. I have been asked numerous times by people over the years, “what can we get you?” or “what do you need?” I have had drinks and meals purchased for me on occasion and every one of those times remain in my memory (which is quite an accomplishment these days). I can honestly say that I think the only thing military personnel need to keep them performing their duties in an exemplary manner is to know they are appreciated for their efforts. Ultimately, we don't do the job for the money. Some may remain in the service for the job security in these tough economic times, but the majority have a certain degree of patriotism and feel it is an honor to serve. To be appreciated for our service is all we really need and nobody provides that better than the awesome citizens of Bangor, Maine. I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart. You do more for the morale of military troops than you'll ever know, which has a direct effect on how they perform in theatre.