Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Last Burning Embers Of An Enlistment

This brings us to the last light of a strange and vile journey. Nearly every loose end is tied and the frayed ends are melted down with a buddy's lighter (armyfags will understand this one).

All the hoops, every last ring of the despicable circus, every detail, every mission, every CQ shift, every 3 AM drunken stagger through the barracks, every broken washing machine, every formation, all neatly categorized in a fat thick filing cabinet labeled "NO LONGER RELEVANT".

Sometime when I have a day to kill, I'll sit down and read this entire oddyssey from beginning to end, starting with the narrative from that dumb as shit nineteen year old kid, before there ever was a Suspect at all. I'll retrace all my steps and try to figure out where I was and where I am now. Get my bearings, nervously test the ground to be sure it's solid.

An unshaven, sparsely stubbled face behind a pair of Oakleys and unkempt hair will wear a tiny smirk from behind a sloped windshield, piercing through traffic on I-5. Riding off into the sunset, kid.

Yeah, I was never fully gone, but I was never really here either. A castaway in limbo, a wild rollercoaster of a trip that for all intents and purposes might not have even been real. Who I was and what I am now, well that's something that'll take some figuring out. Rising through the rubble of four years, I guess we have all the time in the world to piece that one together.

Depending on when you read this, I might already be out there amongst you. Hell, I have so many places to go and things to do, we'll cross paths and you won't even know it. A neat thought to be sure, but now's a good a time as any to pop ninja smoke and ghost the fuck out of here, roll credits, thanks for playing, ya don't have to go home but I ain't staying anywhere near this joint.

But first, let's share a parting chuckle, shall we?

MY DD-214 READS "HONORABLE DISCHARGE". HAHAHAHAHAHA! Yeah, a real All-American good ol' boy. My most honorable discharge was in the middle of a firefight in Baghdad, so joke's on you, Uncle Sam.



  1. You're on your way. Sweet. Thanks for talking with us, Suspect! Keep it up. Pump some blood in those wings, let em dry, and take off! z

  2. Peace dude!! Glad you made it. It feels really weird when you get out. I was kinda' lost after 21 years for about a day, and then I realized it was truly over. Great feeling, and a great feeling every day after too. Have a beer for me, but hell, you'll probably stop drinking like a soldier now.

  3. Hell, no more postings from the Suspect. I guess I'll find something else to do on the Internets now. Ain't gonna' read that gay Nught shit though. He's a fucking twirp.

    Later Suspect!!

  4. YES! You know what? When you come 'round to hang with us, we'll all have a toast to our mutual newfound freedom.

    and HELLS YES.

    its DONE.


  5. I remember the night I signed out. Gay-ass Battalion made us sign out at midnight. I was the first one in the BN out. SSG on Staff Duty signed my paper and moved on to the next guy.

    "That's it?"

    It was the strangest, most liberating feeling ever, and my immediate thought was, "now what?"

    "I'm gonna ride on
    Ride on
    Ride on, standing on the edge of the road
    Ride on, thumb in the air
    Ride on, one of these days I'm gonna
    Ride on, change my evil ways
    Till then I'll just keep dragging on"

  6. Thanks for taking us on the ride with you Suspect, it's been an interesting four years. Best wishes now as you reshape your reality, get off to college with you now, and we'll be reading you in a new identity someday. Don't hide your light under a bushel. Peace.

  7. Suspect: Has it really been 4 years that you have sustained the interest and love I have for you from afar? Except for my children, I haven't kept up involvement in someone else for such a sustained length of time. The big difference is that you have kept it going. Many have not - some have been shut down and some just gave up - but there in lies the quality that sets you apart. You have managed to keep going with all of it, the pain, grief, boredom, insanity, interest, ups and downs through 4 long years. In all of your regurgitations you have not lost who you are. Those of us who have attained a certain age can attest to the fact that no one knows who he or she is in the 1st, 2nd or last place - so you are you and will always be you. Nothing to find here. You just have to integrate your experience into the total and go on from there. Please keep up the blog - it will be harder now - especially if you go to school - which will involve writing and that may get to be more than you want to do - but -again to repeat myself - your writing is different - and I for one really want the regular fix. Good luck and stay safe. with love lorraine

  8. I don't think I'm alone in saying this:
    we're gonna miss our suspect fix.

  9. you made it man. now go get edge-a-ma-cated. keep writing. Nught you keep writing too. dont listen to the hecklers. people dont fuck with disinteresting blogs. your both good and i enjoy both of your different styles.

  10. What you've done is unique in the history of warfare. Soldiers in past wars have kept journals. But journals don't have the impact of blog posts. Lorainne said it all about the highs and lows. The ups and downs.

    What you have done is historical. I hope you made a backup. It will probaly be years before you can actually grasp the enormity of what you have accomplished by sharing and baring your thoughts with any who cared to read.

    Those of us who have been around since the beginning recognized the talent that flowed from year fingers. That talent grew and blossomed and we on this side of the keyboard are richer in experience for it.

    For those readers who need a Suspect fix, he's sharing a blog with 13 Stoploss called 'From Rucksack to Backpack'

    Get your motor runnin'
    Head out on the highway
    Lookin' for adventure
    And whatever comes our way
    Yeah Darlin' go make it happen
    Take the world in a love embrace
    Fire all of your guns at once
    And explode into space

    I like smoke and lightning

  11. Good Luck and thanks for everything, to include your service.

  12. Suspect, you are a lucky mofo, lucky to to be who are, and lucky to have readers who catch who you are and make such great comments! Please it coming, you've got a good thing happening. We are going to need know you made it, and hey, who could turn away from such a cool fan base. I think Membrain and Lorraine nailed a couple things and I don't think Nught is really gay either. z

  13. Good luck Suspect. Thanks for your service and letting us feel like we were part of everything. Hope you do a few posts to keep us updated, we all think you're one of the best writers out there. Ever since the first post we were hooked, you can't expect us to let go that easily.

  14. So now that the world has the unleashed, unrestricted version of you, what ARE you going to do, and will you share it with us? :)

  15. Totally agree with Lorraine. I'm sure we're not the only readers who rank you right up there after our children in the feelings we have for you, and the hopes we have for your future. You have a unique ability to touch people. Not just reportage; here's-where-we-went-and-this-is-what-we-did/saw. You spilled some of your soul into your work and whether you were ranting or waxing philosophical it was crystal clear (usually) to us how you felt.

    I wonder how many conversations at Mothers Day dinner tables included some version of "how's your friend Suspect doing? Is he out yet?"..... As I told Dad about your experiences clearing, a sort of wistful smile crept across his face and he nodded. When I told him about your DD214 he nodded again and said, "It'll probably be a while before he realizes how important that is". He tears up a lot these days and that brief exchange was enough to well up heaven-only-knows-what memories of his long life in the military.

    Membrain also said it well - it will probably be a long time before you can read the record of your journey thru the Army and into Iraq and see it for what it is. Perhaps, it takes the years and the (dare I say it?) t wisdom that comes with being a "person of a certain age" to recognize what you've accomplished. Right now you "can't see the forest for the trees". Time will change that.

    War imposes great pain and suffering. Always has. Always will. Thank goodness the American people can reward your service and your sacrifice with a ticket to college, a leg up for the rest of your life. I hope you'll take advantage of everything on offer to further your education and to deal with the emotional fallout. You've learned by now that you may have to fight for some these "rights". You're sharp enough and stubborn enough to take what you've earned, so grab it all man.

    Something I've learned: No amount of learning is wasted.
    You've learned so much more in the past 4 yrs than you realize. It will surface in bits and pieces as the years roll by and may sometimes surprise you when the stab of recognition comes, seemingly out of the blue.

    Right now you're golden. The world's your oyster. Enjoy!

  16. Will you ever post a picture of you now that you are out and it does not matter?

  17. Peace to you, Suspect...will keep my eyes peeled for ninjas ;)

  18. Cool beans, cool beans!
    Next chapter coming up... I hope.
    Enjoy every second and don't forget to write.

    bless you, kiddo.

  19. Thanks for the ride suspect, when you started stop-loss and a wakeup I went and read your story back to front, and its amazing how you have evolved since you started. The best of luck and please let us know how your doing from time to time.

  20. The boat is ready. Got beer on ice. Can't wait.

  21. I am late for the party..... Its been a while since I have checked in with your blog. Too long.. Your gone..... Iam at a loss... I was wishing you would be here, you help me get through the long deployments.. the Gunner is on deployment #17, this time to Afghanistan.
    I am happy for you,that you no longer have to deal with it..... I was just hoping for a voice. ....... well.. good luck
    The Gunners wife

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