Thursday, October 06, 2005

Don't believe everything you read

I grew up in my hometown church choir with two brothers, David and Peter. Peter was much older than I, and we never had much interaction. David was the bane of my choirboy existence for a few years, as he was the proverbial bully to all those younger than him.

As fate would have it, both brothers went on to become Navy SEALs. Both are now Chief Master Sergeants, and Peter is about to retire. My father sees them every so often, and they regale him with tales of insanity and bravery.

They’ve told him about going to Central American rain forests for jungle warfare training, and holding contests in their spare time to see who could capture the most poisonous snakes. Peter went to an unnamed Scandinavian country, learned the finer points of Arctic warfare in a week, and also had ski jumping contests with his team. David was a member of the Special Forces team that rescued Jessica Lynch. They also have many other stories that they can’t tell.

My Dad saw them recently at a ceremony for their father, all decked out in their formal military uniforms. He was talking to Peter about the full chest of medals he had been awarded. He noticed that since they last spoke, Peter had earned a Purple Heart. Curious, he asked Peter what happened.

Peter asked him if he had read an article in one of the major news magazines criticizing the lack of proper military conduct in Afghanistan. Here is the published picture accompanying the article, showing a US Special Forces soldier “in dress decorum rather unbefitting of a presidential guard”.

That is Peter in the picture. He is a Navy SEAL with a Silver Star, Bronze Star, and countless other medals for bravery in support of his country and our freedom. The bandana around his head in the photo is part of his shirt, tied there to stem the flow of blood from the wound he received protecting the life of Hamid Karzai from an assassination attempt.

Don’t believe everything you read.