He Knew What He Was Getting In
By SGT William A. Geresy (ret)
I can say beyond any doubt, HELL YES!
My Dad was wounded in action in World War II. I saw the scar on his right upper arm of what a German bullet did to him. I grew up knowing what can happen to a soldier in war.
I am retired from the Michigan Army National Guard. Prior to that, I was part of the Air Force. I served a total of 21 years, during the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
In the Air Force, I never was in a combat zone. In the Army Guard, I was in Iraq for 9 months.
I sure as heck knew what I was getting into. During my Air Force service, there were ways I could have been killed. I nearly died in the Air Force due to a medicine that my body couldn’t metabolize. Not the way one would expect to die in the service. That wouldn’t have been a death I would have expected while serving my country.
People I knew that were transferred and were going to school at Kessler AFB, MS were helping a friend with a TV antenna. It got away from them and made contact with a power line and killed both of them. Granted, not combat, but just as dead!
Two members of my squadron were at the NCO Club. They got into a fight over a girl. One stabbed the other and killed him. Not combat, but just as dead.
One day I was coming back to the Bachelor NCO Quarters where I lived. I saw police and fire at the barracks. I found out the lady that lived in the room next to mine was found dead. She had been murdered in her room. Again, dead.
None of these is how you would expect to die in the service. No heroic valiant stand in the face of the enemy. No high decoration for valor. None of the four I mentioned died in a way they could have expected when they enlisted. For these, President Trump’s out of context quote would have been most inappropriate. This was not what these four joined up for.
When I re-enlisted after 9-11 for six years, I kind of expected that I would be going into combat. I had no clue when that would happen. I just had a feeling that it was certain. I did go to Iraq in 2003. Death in combat was not a fate I looked forward to. It was a possible reality. I stayed because we were at war. We still are. I knew my duty. Despite at times off the scale dread, I pressed on. It was my honor that kept me going. I had an oath to live up to.
I became part of a 5 person communications team in Iraq. This is what I was trained to do. I was an expert with the M-16 rifle. Granted, I didn’t have all the Army training my team mates did being prior Air Force and not going through Army Basic Training. But I was as ready as I could be. All but one of the team was 40 plus. We had no illusions of what this type of war was. It was our duty and we were determined to do it the best we could. We did. All in my team, section, platoon, company, and battalion came home safe. WHEW!
If one is to die in combat, you hope and pray it is heroically saving others. Your death meant others came home safe.
We have no way of knowing if this is the way this Green Beret died. They were excited to be there. That is what our elite military forces train for. They full well know how dangerous it is to be there. They know their butt is on the line. That is the excitement they live for. They take huge pride in being the tip of the point of the spear.
They go through such intense training that most fail to become a Green Beret. To complete the initial training and earn the Green Beret is a great personal achievement and high honor. After earning the Green Beret, the training in many ways just begins. It never ends. These Soldiers are the best of the Army in so many ways. Part of this is a desire most civilians can’t begin to understand to be where death can be just moments away. The greater the danger, the greater they want to be there.
Granted my prose may not be the most eloquent, but I can 100% agree with President Trump that this Green Beret knew exactly what he was getting into. There was no disrespect. President Trump was just stating the obvious.
The Ballad of the Green Beret