I had the great privilege of listening to Lt. Col. (RET) Dave Grossman speak this past week. The Col. is a former Army Ranger and Psychology Professor at West Point. He uses his specialized knowledge to inform people about the realities of combat, both physically and mentally. But that is not why I am writing today. Today, I want to share a story that he told at the end of his speech that I found very powerful. The following is my paraphrase of the Col's story:
It was a cold December day during WWII in the Ardennes Forest. The Germans were making a surprise offensive. The ensuing battle of which became known as the Battle of the Bulge. The US troops were getting their tails kicked and the enemy had them on the run. Reinforcements were needed, so the Army Rangers were called in; the 82nd Airborne Division. As it happened, a US tank was fleeing from the German offensive when he saw a lone man standing in the middle of the road. The Sergeant in the tank could tell that this was a US soldier. The soldier had a bazooka slung over his shoulder and his rifle in his hands. He looked stoic, like an immovable marble statue. The man was PFC Martin, 325th Glider Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division. The tank rolled to a stop and PFC Martin asked the Sergeant inside the tank "Hey buddy, are you looking for a safe place?" And the Sergeant said "Why yes, yes we are." To which PFC Martin calmly but confidently replied "Then pull your vehicle behind me. I'm the 82nd Airborne, and this is as far as the bastards are going."
To hear Col. Grossman tell this story is to get goosebumps of a profound kind. The US won the Battle of the Bulge. It was a battle that perhaps saved the entire Western world. The courage and conviction showed by PFC Martin is indicative of the Army Rangers but it can also be indicative of you. You can be a PFC Martin for your family friends. When chaos surrounds you and the enemy is advancing, will you cower and be another victim or will you be the one to say to people "Hey buddy, you looking for a safe place? Then get behind me." Get behind me and be protected. I have resolved to be this person. Have you? Have you trained and prepared to the best of your ability in order to protect those you love? Prepare and train now so that when violence rears its ugly head you can say to those you love "Hey buddy, are you looking for a safe place? Then get behind me. Because I'm a warrior. And this is as far as the bastards are going."
The Warrior Speaker Blog is a collection of warrior lessons Alexander has learned in addition to practical information about protecting yourself and all that you deem most personal.