November 11, 2011

Thank You

Happy Veterans Day!

From sea to shining sea, all over our great land;
To the backside of the world, filled with desert sand.
From ages past and times so long ago;
To this very moment of life's ebb and flow.

You find a Soldier standing guard, burdened by his pack;
Defending the right of man to live while never holding back.
Upon a ship amongst the seas, a Sailor mans the helm;
Ready and waiting, keeping poised, defending all his realm.

In the sky of blue and white, an Airman tips his wing;
Defending his brothers on the ground while watching and waiting.
In the air, on land and sea, you find a warrior unafraid to tread all three.
The Marine leads the charge and takes the fight wherever it may be.

Such bravery, skill, and selflessness in life.
These men of courage war and fight.
Not asking for much, they do their task.
What could we give them if they even asked?

What could replace the time lost at home;
of the footsteps of young ones as they begin to roam?
What can we give in exchange for a life?
What do we do for a family that must now bear such strife?

It is not money or riches that they seek;
Nor, is it fame or possessions that drive their feet.
It is simply the sincere, heartfelt gratitude of the Nation they serve.
A warm handshake, a smile, a 'thank you' unreserved.

Thank you, to all Veterans, past and present, wherever you may be!
You truly make our Country great from sea to shining sea!
May today be the day, when as a Nation, we, with one voice will say,
To all who have served and serve right now, "Happy Veterans Day!"

May 16, 2011


It's hard to believe that it has been three months already. Time here is really flying by. I suppose it helps to stay busy during my twelve hour shift at night. The work is not hard but it can get busy at times and it helps to be able to multitask. I hesitate to go into specifics on what we do and I'm sure you all can understand why. There are so many facets and parts to make things work that it is a little overwhelming to really grasp the big picture.

There is a lot more that I would like to say; but I don't know that I can. I will say that I have no reason to complain given the fact that each and every day that I have been here...I wake up.

The same cannot be said for some of my fellow Marines. Though, I do not know any who have fallen personally, it is known throughout the base when one of our own is seriously hurt or killed. I don't often voice how I feel to those around me. Anyone who knows me, knows me as the quiet one. But in my mind I imagine that halfway around the world, parents, wives, and loved ones will soon learn some terrible news that will change their lives forever. I imagine how my own family and friends might react and it saddens me. I see this in my minds eye, and I realize, that no matter how frustrated I get; how tired I feel; how annoyed others may make me, that I cannot, should not, and as much as it can be helped, will not complain about my current situation.

I challenge all to realize how fortunate we are to live in the country that we are in. Be thankful for the freedoms that we have. Be thankful that as you live and go about your daily tasks you do not carry the burden of fear as so many people in this country bare. Each and every day that you yourself rise and thankful; make it a point that no matter where life takes thankful for that very!

February 6, 2011

It's Time

It has been a little over two years since I have joined the United States Marine Corps. All of the time and money that has been invested into me will culminate in my first deployment to Afghanistan. It's funny how people ask me how I feel, and quite honestly I don't feel to bad. Yet, at the same time there have been moments when I can't help but cry knowing I will be so far away from the people and the things that I love. On more then one occasion people have thanked me for my service to this Country, and I never quite knew what they were thanking me for. I haven't really done to much...yet.

Two years in this gun club and I'm starting to see a glimpse of what their thanks are all about. As I sat in my barracks room during the holiday season away from my family wishing I could be with them, I thought, "Well, maybe this is part of that, 'sacrifice', they speak of?" I think of fellow Marines who for several months will miss out on precious moments with their newborns and the companionship of their wives to be in a place that is so far away and so troubled. I think of families, mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters who anxiously await the day when their Marine returns home.

Even then, as Marines we have trained for this moment. We are somewhat tired of sitting in garrison and are now ready to join our fellow brethren in accomplishing the mission. We have received our final training, all of our personal affairs are taken care of, our last good byes have been said, and just in case, our wills have been drafted. We are prepared! To leave all! To forsake all! To give all! Is it easy? No. I have yet to fully experience what it all entails. Yet, I choose to go! I was somewhat surprised to hear our Commanding Officer ask, "Who doesn't want to go? Let me know so I can find a replacement before it's to late!" No one raised their hand. So don't get mad at the good 'ol USA for sending us off to this place, we have chosen it for ourselves.

I thank you all who have offered prayers and wishes of safety. I apologize to those of you who have posted questions that I have not responded to yet. Some of them are a little thought provoking and I'd like the time to answer them as best I can. I hope to chronicle my experience of this deployment to help me remember this experience. Even then, there are somethings that I can not post in order to ensure operational security.

To all the Marines who will be coming home soon, thank you for the commitment and sacrifice you have made! I look forward to taking your place and doing my part! To my friends, I'm gonna miss the good times, and look forward to having some more when I get back! To my family, I love you all; know that I am safe in His hands! To readers of this blog, take some time and thank someone who is currently serving our Country; it means more then you think.

Wherever you may be, good night and good day!!

-LCpl Cuestas, Joseph