Reading from the Blog of an 'American Soldier'
ALEX CHADWICK, host:
Now, a little more on mil-blogs, we're joined by our senior producer Steve Proffitt who's been putting together a DAY TO DAY series of soldiers reading from their blogs.
STEVE PROFITT: Well, actually, I've been trying to put together that series. It's been really difficult to find soldiers who were willing to read from their blogs, probably for all the reasons we just heard. For instance, I found one blogger. He goes by a simple alias, American Soldier, and now, he wrote an entry that's not a political story but it's just a very human one. Still, he was afraid to read to it on the air.
CHADWICK: Worried that someone might recognize his voice - he could get in trouble somehow.
PROFITT: I guess, yes. So, anyway, he asked me if I could read it and I'll do that for him. It's a true story. He calls it a Different Perspective, here it is.
(Reading) This last month, stateside has given me a lot of time to view things from a different perspective and evaluate some things I might have overlooked otherwise. The day I left, something occurred that really topped it off. While in line to get my tickets, I saw another soldier. We really stick out like sore thumbs. Anyway, I get to the kiosk, and he was right next to me. He asked me if I was coming or going and I told him I've been back for a few months now, and I came back early due to being wounded. I asked him his job and he said he was crew chief on a C-5.
Now, Alex, C-5 is that big aircraft that they use to transport troops. Anyway, back to the essay.
(Reading) He said he's just gotten back the night prior and he was pushing this 8-month-old baby in a stroller, who he'd never seen until the day before. It put a smile on my face. While I kept bumping into this guy, and I swore I knew him from somewhere, I just couldn't place it. Finally, on a layover, I approached him again and I asked him about the aircraft he flew in over there. At that point, I figured, he might have been on the same plane I was when I was evacuated. I described the flag and the hole and a couple of other things. It was the same plane. He tended to me while I was laid up on a stretcher.
I was in and out for the duration of that flight but I remembered his face. One of the chances of that, we parted ways and I was just happy that I'd met him. I really didn't know how to respond so I went to the terminal for the next flight. He was passing by and he came up to me pushing his baby. He told me that working on that C-5, he knew the disposition of the soldiers in the boxes, but the ones in the stretchers like me, where did they go and how did they make out? He said, in the 16 years of my career I've always wondered about the guys that we flew out. You've made my career come full circle by meeting you.
We had a few more words. Two soldiers who were strangely reunited: one on a trip, fresh from the war, and other enduring the mental war.
It was good to have that experience. It closed a few things that might have hampered both of us a bit longer.
So, Alex, that's the story from a serviceman who goes by the name of American Soldier.
CHADWICK: Well, good lick to him, and I guess to all the mil-bloggers out there.
NPR's Steve Proffitt. Thank you, Steve.
PROFFITT: You're welcome, Alex.
CHADWICK: Final mil-blog note here. We have links to a couple of sites that Xeni mentioned in her report, Blackfive blog and Op-for Podcast at NPR.org.