Frank is exactly the kind of knuckle dragging gunslinger that you want at your side when everything goes to shit, you’re surrounded and you need someone to help you carve an emergency exit out of lead, broken bones and charred human flesh.
What Heraclitus didn’t mention is that this one warrior will most likely be pretty rough around the edges, probably won’t win any NCO of the quarter boards and certainly won’t know what to do with the second fork in a table setting. We were willing to overlook some cosmetic defects while we were fighting a war on two fronts but now it appears that these violent and coarse warriors are unacceptable in our post-war, garrison focused military. It seems that guys like Frank do not have a place in our modern Marine Corps. We are putting down our scarred and battle weary war dogs and promoting porcelain dolls in their place. Haircuts, close order drill and trouser creases now hold greater appeal to promotion boards than Purple Hearts, valor awards and combat experience.
Frank is one of the finest gunfighters that I have had the pleasure of going back to back with in my eleven years in the Marine Corps. He always had a knack for being at the right place at the right time to apply his special recipe of aggression and violence that the scenario called for. He did it in Nasariyah back in 2003 and again during the battle of Fallujah. Good old Frank racked up over 30 kills with his M40 in Fallujah and he only carried an M40 for the second half of the battle. He didn’t even count the number of insurgents he destroyed while carrying his M249 piglet. I have no idea how many people Frank has killed. It’s a lot. I know he killed well over thirty with me in Afghanistan and he favors counting his enemy dead with his boots rather than his scope if you get my meaning.
Frank, and hard men like him, are a rare and special breed but no one is immune to the stress and horror of war. Frank used alcohol as a mechanism to cope with unresolved mental stress stemming from four highly kinetic combat deployments to include the battles of Nasariyah and Fallujah. In April of 2008 Frank’s uncle, who raised him as his son, became terminally ill and died shortly after. This tragic event spurred him to drink more and significantly contributed to his receiving two alcohol related incidents in a span of two days. He was charged with two violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice Article 111 and was reduced in grade from Sergeant to Corporal. He was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and alcohol dependency and volunteered to attend a 45 day resident Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Clinic. He has been sober since his graduation from the program, continues to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and has no further alcohol incidents.
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