Thursday, July 5, 2012

My Independence Day!

It is not normal for me to share things of a personal nature on this blog, for some reason I feel like this particular one should be shared today.  As many of you know I have been on active duty in the United States Marine Corps since mid 1993.  Additionally I have been married since I graduated boot camp.  We are the only spouses that each has ever known, and we have five children together, and no others.  I guess for the most part we are in the minority on family values.

I have been on many overseas deployments and many more long exercises and training evolutions.  When you are away from your home for an extended period of time there is always a dark period where you start thinking about rather or not this is all worth the effort.  I am currently in the middle of one of those times.  I am a half of a year into an Afghanistan deployment with a few months left to go.  I left my family on only a couple of weeks notice, after dragging them across the country and leaving the home and community that we loved.
During ALL of my previous “dark times” I have found many reasons to push on and ship over.  This time I find that I am lacking in that patriotic motivation.  I guess that my heart is no longer in the fight.  The motivation that I once felt to represent this great nation is waning.   I no longer elevate the service of America above the service to my family.  As far as my career has been progressing, I have essentially been promoted out of my chosen career path.  All the things that I loved about military service now live only in fond memories of my youth. 
As school was getting close to letting out this past year (I was deployed of course,) and my youngest son EGIL had asked his mother for a new lunch box when they were out shopping.  He had his eye on a “Scoobie Doo” insulated lunch bag.  He was excited as children often get about little things.  So Angel (my  wife) decided to get it for him.  He was carrying it around all over the house and picnicking in the back yard with it all weekend.  He couldn’t wait to take it to school.  So when Monday arrived Angel packed him a lunch and he was off to school.  He apparently received a ration of shit from some punk ass kid about the cartoon lunch bag.  He swallowed the ridicule and carried it for the next day also.  Again he was belittled by the same little ignorant bastard.  After that my sweet innocent son refused to carry that lunch bag to school again.  He even cried when he couldn’t find another one to take his lunch in.  Like a good older brother LEIF gave his lunch bag to Egil, Leif too knows that feeling all too well.  While this seems to be just a small inconvenience to most people, I can’t get it out of my head.

(Egil and Sasha enjoying breakfast by the "ninja shelter" they built by themselves and spent the night in.)

How can one kid rip the joy from another for no purpose?  He has managed to make my poor son feel ashamed and embarrassed for enjoying something that was designed to appeal to children just like him.    Yet I continue to run off to foreign lands and leave my wife and children to do the best that they can in my absence.  So at a time when my boy could have used his father’s wisdom, or at least a big hug, I was on the other side of the planet.  I can no longer in good conscience forsake those that I love the most, to fight in the name of a nation that is in large part foreign to me.
I can’t help but wonder who raised this kid that so freely dished out the ridicule to my child, and I would assume to many other happy children as well.  Is his father a dead beat, or a blue collar worker just trying to feed his family.  Maybe he is white collar and fancies himself higher than us working class bums.  Perhaps he ran off before the kid was ever born, or maybe he is also a deployed military father.

The intriguing part is that you can no longer tell, he is an average American punk ass kid that thinks he should be able to force everyone to be as miserable as he is.  If he had taken the lunch bag from Egil I would be OK with that.  Egil would probably have kicked his ass and taken it back.  This kid struck a much more strategic blow, he attacked with shame and humiliation.  Egil could no longer even enjoy the lunch bag at home, he just wanted to throw it away and forget about it.   It hurts and angers me to think about how my son must have been feeling while that little shit was making fun of him.  What’s worse, no other kids defended my son, no one came to his aid.  Yet here I sit in Afghanistan, standing on the wall to defend American principals, Ideals, and our way of life.  Well I don’t think that our way of life is worth defending anymore.  If the children are a reflection of their parents then this nation is in trouble.  Especially if you consider that everyone watches, and no one steps in to do the right thing.  What are we becoming, and what are we teaching our children?

Sadly this is only one event in a long line of them, there are probably many more that I will never know about because I  am here and they are there.  With the passing of this new health care plan my retirement will go almost entirely to pay the TAX (if the numbers that I have seen are correct).  I will have given my entire adult life in support of a system that promised me a fair retirement for honorable and faithful service.  Now they are going to TAX that away from me too.  They have taxed my life enough already, a tax that is paid mostly by my family and my personal health, now this.  And just to add fuel to the fire ,OUR supreme court has decided that any piece of shit can go out and purchase military uniforms and awards, and legally wear them as freedom of speech.  Yet MY freedom of speech is limited, under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).  I can’t even speak my opinion without choosing careful words.   All this has led me to the conclusion that I have nothing left to offer this country and when my contract is complete, I will take my leave.  I feel that the constitution that I have sworn to defend against all enemies foreign and domestic, is confetti on the floor at some special interest victory party.  This is my independence day and I am officially unserviceable!  NM


  1. Brother, I feel for you, I am very glad that I finished my service before I had kids, I would be a complete basket case trying to serve now with my family at home. I agree with your sentiments exactly. Head up and heart out as I always say.

  2. the 20 years i did in the navy i saw fathers go thru what you are going thru so i never married or had kids while in the navy. As for the bully, society seems to have developed into something where a majority of it needs to belittle others to feel superior. I am glad i retired before we got to this point as a nation. i've become so disappointed in society i've begun to carry my bugout bag and E&E equiptment in my semi truck as i travel the nation. having never been a father i have no advice in that field as for uniforn issues i've felt the way you do now while i was deployed ,i can tell you that there is a large quiet group ofus that appreciate your sacrafices. God gives us no mountain we cant climb and karma will eventually get the bullys and idiots of the world.

  3. First, thank you for your service both at home and abroad. Your blog and videos are fantastic and have a wealth of information. You strike me as the kind of guy that when they talk, I shut up and listen and hope to learn something.

    Second, even though things are hard right now, you have a family at home that needs you to come home, so stay frosty.

    Lastly, and maybe now is not the best time to ask you this question, but in your opinion where do we go from here? When going to the mall or any other large public gathering I increasingly feel like I'm on a completely different planet as well. And I'm only 30.

    Our culture no longer values strong men. That sacred knowledge is being lost. Our Founding Fathers knew that the Constitution would only work if it was used to govern a society with integrity and values. Those too are being lost.

    Is it just our time to live during the burning cycle of a once great civilization?

  4. Norseman, I love you, brother. I know that what you're going through is impossible to trivialize and worse than impossible to fix from where you are.

    As a woman who is currently dealing with being as far away from my spouse as I am, I know how dark and how awful these storms can be inside of our own heads. Please, no matter what else you do, get home safely. Your children's lives ARE worth fighting for, and we need you up here in the north west.

  5. Norseman - you are one hell of a good man . God is watching over you and yours ! - I have been watching your vids and reading your stories for a good while now and I am watching you grow and build up something really good. Please stay focused on your own "Survivology" where you are NOW. My bet is that your Angel is very well equipped mentally and otherwise to handle that nest a little while longer without you there. She and we (this whole damned country) do need people like you back here raising your family and being good folk - and out of that mess across the world. But you gotta get back! - so focus on that and I'll pray I get to shake your hand one day.


  6. You're showing true courage, brother. Keep on keepin' on.

  7. Thanks everyone for the encouraging words both here and privately. I just had to get that out to make my point. I assure you all that it was not a cry for help and I am not "standing on the ledge." It just means that I am ready to retire and pass the military torch to the next generation.

    Semper Fi! NM

  8. Gunny, I would say you have earned the right to your opinion thru blood sweat and tears. And I agree this nations politicians have abandoned you. But not all of us have brother. There are still plenty of folks who hold you and your brethren in the highest regard. I am proud to have you as a friend. I understand completely why you are finished with it all, give your wife and kiddos the time they deserve now. I know you will be successful in any endeavor as you were in your beloved corps. Keep the faith and your powder dry. Later Luke

  9. I am also one of those that decided to finish my service before starting a family. In my mind it was just too hard to serve, and still be the head of my household. Priorities shift when you first look into the eyes of your little one. Is it possible that God is telling you that it’s time for a reassessment of priorities? You’ve served your country well and faithfully, so hold your chin high. In addition to the focus on your crew, I see that you have a fairly rare opportunity to reach a large audience with your page and vids.
    Consider taking a page from Dave Canterbury, and figure out how to make bushcrafting pay for you. Laura Ingram once said “The problem with today’s society is that there are too many guys and not enough men”. This might be a chance to help change what you see around you. We see it too. Keep the faith!
    Aim High!

  10. Norseman, to begin, thank you for your service & your families sacrafice as well! We too have served, and know the pain of seperation & isues of having a family in the military. Our grandson now serves, a Marine we are proud of! Not all children are as messed up as this child who hurt your son. We need men like you right here at home too, you are one of this countries best assets! Come home to your family at peace, and with our thanks!

  11. Let me just say, Thank you for your service. I myself never had the honor of defending our country,but i can only imagine your sacrifice. Our children should not have to worry about being bullied at school,this should be a safe haven for them. It's the way people are raising their kids today. People are not concerned with how their kids are behaving anymore. It's just Bad parenting. I think some of the blame falls on the government, because they took away our rights as parents to give them a good kick in the ass every once in a while. A good ass kicking will straighten out a kid, but you can't do that anymore, your supposed to talk to them. I say talking doesn't work. They need an ass kicking to instill that fear, so they think twice about getting in trouble. I know it worked for me when i was a kid. kids just don't have that natural fear of their parents like we had as kids.
    Keep your head up brother, come home safe.

  12. Wow! You have specifically put into perfect description many a conversation my husband (an active duty U.S. Marine of 12 yrs) has shared with me! I don't even know exactly what I can say other than you are not alone and we are feeling the same way! I rarely ever comment in blogs let alone have time to read one being a busy mom, but yours was the exception. Your service and your sacrifices along with your family's sacrifices are greatly appreciated... at least on our end!!!! Thank you, Marine, for keeping your grit in a day where the military almost seems a bit softer, even within the past few years.