Life in the Military: Sometimes We Die

When I go to work, I do my job.  I do it with all of my heart because I take pride in what I do.  Some parts of it suck, but I do it anyway.  I think most of the people in my community feel the same way.  The day-to-day becomes a mixed-up blur until we get sent away, and then we fall into the blur of a new routine–be it stateside training or overseas operations.  Whatever we’re doing, wherever we’re doing it, it usually feels like it’s just a job.

Until it’s not.

A few days ago, four members of my community died in a plane crash in Afghanistan.

When the news came out, the press didn’t release any names because the U.S. military wanted to notify families first, but the news was enough for us to know that we’d lost some of our own.  Many of my close friends have been on that same deployment, and all of their faces flashed across my mind.

Monday, we finally found out who we had lost.  Among them was a close friend to many of my friends–the brother of one of my coworkers.  To hear my chief tell us the unfortunate news in a wavering, tearful voice . . . he made it sound like it could have been any of us.  It could have been any of us.

That’s the moment when you realize that this is more than just a job.  Sure it pays the bills.  Sure it’s stressful and monotonous.  Sure the benefits are good.  But sometimes the things they ask us to do are dangerous.  Even when it doesn’t seem dangerous because you’re used to doing it.  Sometimes we go out and don’t come back.

I don’t really have much else to say.  I did not know the guy personally, but so many people I’m close to knew him very well.  Whatever the case, it hurts to lose one of our own.


8 thoughts on “Life in the Military: Sometimes We Die

  1. I understand this and your feelings. My son is Navy and this has happened to him 3 times. On his 1st deployment as enlisted one of the ship’s planes was lost. The 2nd was a close friend of his best friend, a pilot in training, who was murdered by another student. The 3rd, even closer to home, was a fellow NFO training in Washington killed in the recent crash. This is service of the highest order. And sometimes, even on the most ordinary of days, someone pays with their life for no obvious reason. Facing mortality in that way jars us to the core. God bless you and thank you for your service. God bless the 4 souls–and their loved ones–who perished.

  2. It’s still so unreal to me. I truly can’t wrap my mind around the fact that Nishi is gone. It was like yesterday that we had lunch together, talking about our PCS’s at the end of 2012. My Facebook is just a collage of pictures of him right now, as my friends and coworkers try to make sense of the loss. My husband had a training sortie the day after we found out and all day I spent thinking, “I know this is part of the job, this risk, this sacrifice, this pain. I know, because I’m a veteran and I’ve been there. But damn, sometimes what I wouldn’t give to not have to worry about these things.”

    It hurts… it really, effing hurts. RIP brothers and may your families find peace as well.

  3. Thanks everyone for the supportive comments. When I wrote this, I felt a little guilty indulging in a personal mortality crisis. I don’t worry about me as much as I worry about all my friends. My thoughts are with the families who lost their sons, brothers, fathers, and husbands.

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