Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Guest Post: by Free0352

The Michigan Crew

When I was on active duty I didn't get home much. Camp Lejeune is a pretty far trip from Michigan where I live. I'm originally from New York, New York. I moved here my junior year of High School, half way through my first semester. At my duty station, as a member of various battalions of the 2nd Marine Regiment, I got to know many fellow Marines from southern Michigan.

Those Marines came to be known as the Michigan Crew. We hung out together on liberty, and car pooled home on long weekends and on block leave. Those Marines were:

Free0352

A ubiquitous jarhead by the nickname “Umpa”

A fellow Scout sniper named “Mike,” who we called “Hendrix” because of his guitar playing.

Mike Lindemuth

Sgt Michael P. Hodshire, from North Adams Michigan in my home county. A guy I played football against in high school, and a dear friend and Brother Marine.

Where are they now you ask? We'll, I'm discharged now. Just finished up my time October 1st. I’m a cop; I have a family, a house. Umpa is a casualty of service. Last I heard he was doing drugs, and living off his parents, still talking about his days in the Corps. Still a wild man.

"Hendrix" disappeared. Nobody from my old unit knows what happened to him, and neither do his parents. He got out of the Marines and just drifted away into nothing.

Corporal Mike Lindemuth and Sergeant Mike Hodshire died in the desert in Iraq. One from shrapnel, one from a gunshot.

This was in my local paper today, front page:

"Marine Sgt. Michael P. Hodshire of North Adams was killed Sunday while serving his second deployment in Iraq.

Hodshire's family was notified he died of gunfire near Fallujah, said family spokesman Kenneth Kurtz.

"He was well-liked around here," said Kurtz of North Adams, a funeral director and Hodshire family friend. "We're a rural community. Everybody knows everybody."

Hodshire, 25, is survived by two children, his parents, a brother, three sisters and grandparents. The family asked that Kurtz speak for them.

Hodshire enlisted in the Marine Corps while still in North Adams-Jerome High School and entered recruit training four days after graduating in 1999.

"That was his dream, to be a Marine," said Kurtz.

He was deployed to Iraq in October 2003 and served there until June 2004 as a platoon leader in the 2nd Marine Regiment. Hodshire was deployed again to Iraq in July. Before leaving for his second tour, Hodshire told his family "We are there for all the right reasons," Kurtz said.

Hodshire was an outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting and fishing, Kurtz said. He was an honorable mention all-state place kicker on the North Adams-Jerome football team.

High school Principal Carl Christenson said Sunday the 550-student district would be devastated by the news. He said he met Hodshire last summer during a Little League baseball game. His 11-year-old son and Hodshire’s younger brother play on the same team, he said.

Hodshire is the 66th member of the U.S. armed forces with known Michigan ties to die in Iraq. He was the second to die in the past week. Army Staff Sgt. Lewis J. Gentry, 48, of Detroit died Wednesday in Mosul, Iraq from a non-combat related cause." (source)


How do I feel? Fucking-A proud that's how I feel. Proud to have known all these men who were willing to literally give everything for us who get to enjoy it back here. I also feel insanely angry at the Cindy Sheehans of the world, the "Iraq was a mistake," people who mock their deaths at every turn. These were my friends, not just names. They died for something, mostly for each other, but also because we who've fought know what this country costs. Do these assholes really think they’re doing us a favor? They can keep their paternalistic fake support. Thanks, but no thanks.
Hodshire went "back." He wasn't some sucker tricked by the Bush administration. Freedom costs lives, and all the rhetoric in the world and good but misguided intentions isn't going to change that. My dead friends know the cost of freedom, and so do I. Too bad so many people here have slept under its blanket for so long they don't know what it costs, why they have it, or what it takes to keep it. They don't understand how easy it would be to lose.

I'm proud to have fought as a Marine, really honored to have known these men. I feel privileged and lucky. Grateful to have fought by their sides.

I'm dreading that funeral. I have to see his two beautiful kids. I just don't know if I can do this one more time. The last few funerals almost broke me. It's not the loss, what's so hard is seeing how strong these parents and wives are. How proud of their husband or son they are.

Hodshire didn't die for something abstract, he died for fellow Marines. He died for people like me. I have to look his family in the eye. How will I ever say thank you? How will I ever say a single word?

Back in the day, before the war my buddies and I (Including Hodshire) would laugh and roll our eyes at the Ooh-Rahs and Semper Fi's. After three years and too many dead bros I think I have a better appreciation of Semper Fidelis and what exactly it means. I'm not laughing now.

I only wish that it had been me in Iraq. That it was me in the paper and not Hodshire. If I could trade places I would. If only my god-damn lungs could heal (I've been diagnosed with a lung disease, if there's a god he's got a sick sense of humor... I'm a runner) I'd get back to Iraq to avenge my friends even if I had to buy an assault rifle and a fucking plane ticket. I guess that’s just not in the cards for me. But please, take a minute today to not only remember my buddy, but remember that being a Marine was "His dream" and he was "Over there for the right reasons."

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