The Face of War

DSC03160At the request of some of our regulars, I am posting two pictures from the recent paint war battle referenced earlier. To avoid embarrassment to my fellow soldiers, I have not posted their own battle-scared images.

DSC03164It is of course difficult to see photos from this period without feeling a sense of guilt that I survived intact while others did not. Indeed, I often wake up at night seeing my dearest friend Tom falling in slow motion backward from a belly wound — screaming with a sense of surprise bordering on wonderment. (Shortly after this picture was taken as my team was clearing a town of insurgents, I was ambushed by Tom who shot me at close range after charging my position. We fired simultaneously –resulting in a tragic yet inspiring scene for all of the eleven-year-old boys.).

I for one will always try to remember my colleagues as they were then. We were all just kids really (well I was in my forties) but they were kids from the rough streets of Alexandria and McLean . . . Alex, Liam, Benny, Colin, Mattie, and the rest. They grew up fast — developing that 1000 yards stare of boys who had seen it all. To paraphrase Oliver Wendell Holmes, “Through our great good fortune, in our youth our hearts were touched with paint balls. . . .We have shared the incommunicable experience of war; we have felt, we still feel, the paint of life to its top.” Obviously, it was hard to return home “to the world” after seeing what we had seen. People just do not understand. Perhaps that is why we are going back for Ben’s birthday.

To again paraphrase, we are left with the words of Robert E. Lee that “It is fortunate that paint war is so terrible, lest we become to fond of it.”

14 thoughts on “The Face of War”

  1. Prof.
    It looks like you had fun, but I bet the kids will remember that moment for the rest of their lives! You will remember it as well, unless the headshot did some damage!

  2. Byron-

    I am now looking at my set of 120 Prismacolor Premier pencils. There’s a Light Umber, a Dark Umber, and a Burnt Ochre, but, alas, no Burnt Umber.
    Sunburst Yellow or Spanish Orange come closest to what I am seeing on my screen.

    Oh, look. Here they are online:

    I think it’s Sunburst Yellow.
    My flower has been burst.

  3. “Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.”
    Sir Winston Churchill 1898

    Your picture says it all Professor, you look like all that adrenalin was liberating and way more fun than fishing. πŸ™‚

    (proposed bumper sticker: You’ll get my paint-gun away from me when you pry it from my cold, paint-drenched fingers!)

    One hopes you got to rally your troops at some point with a resounding “This is Sparta!” and returned to the domestic front for a proper hero’s tribute πŸ™‚

    “Why do men go to war?” … “Because the women are watching.”
    Asked of T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia)

  4. Well, as a Civil War buff, your thoroughly trashed one of my favorite quotes of all recorded history. I trust that you are quickly felled during your next “time in country.”

    Oh, how I would have loved to have you participate as the criminal element in *real* paint ball contests during LEO training…to heck with sunflour yeller, I used ‘blood red and goin’ down’…

  5. “There is many a boy here today who looks on paint war as all glory, but boys, it is all hell.”

  6. Sunflower yellow is a good color for you, sir.

    Next time, try some camouflage. It could give you the advantage.

    1. Pardon Me?:

      Any veteran of combat will tell you that it is not the sunflower yellow marks on the outside that count but the ones inside. I still cannot pass by a house being painted or kids finger-painting without hearing the pre-teen cries and crashing paint balls of my “time in country.”

  7. Bring me your young and I will train them well.
    Bring your own gun and you’ll be won.
    Ma’s and Pa’s will be amazed as how we can train in the way of “make my day.”
    Clint Eastwood we are not, charlatans we have lots.
    Just remember that the west was won this way.

    Paint balls, Gatling’ are of a few.
    Each man will wake up and see his due.
    That will teach you to stay too.
    Sissy we have and lots of them too.
    Most of them are in Congress as you are a witness too.

    This was funny and like Chuck my nose is runny.
    I’ll just wipe it this way as I don’t have a honey.
    She left and took my money.
    That why I train them to get their due.

    This was good. Professor….

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