Welcome to The American Warrior, a site dedicated to sharing battlefield memories, moments and images from the first days of our nation’s fight for Freedom to the latest firefights our brothers and sisters have faced across the globe in the struggle against Terror. This is place to honor and celebrate their accomplishments, to understand their devotion and to know the cost.
On Memorial Day, politicians speak of sacrifice. I hate that–the word has been used so many times by those who have no concept of its meaning that it has become a terrible cliche. Everyone who has worn the uniform leaves part of their soul on the battlefields where they fought. What that means to each warrior and each warrior’s family is intensely personal and rarely discussed in the open. But the cost of that soul loss is one that they carry for the rest of their lives. I’ve seen it in the World War II veterans who were among my closest friends, and I’ve seen it in my own generation as they return from Iraq and Afghanistan.
My name is John R. Bruning, I’m a writer living in Oregon with two critters rescued from dire circumstances by warrior friends of mine. I’ll be the author of most of the posts here, though in the months ahead I hope that some of my veteran and writer friends will contribute as well.
For twenty-four years, I’ve devoted myself to giving a literary voice to warriors whose experiences deserved to be shared with those they fought to defend. This little corner of the web is my place to pay homage to the men and women I’ve known or written about over those years. This has been less job or career for me, more monastic calling. At times, it has led to great hardship for my family, as I’ve been off in odd places seeing great people shine in the midst of terrible stuff.
After writing The Devil’s Sandbox, I formed and ran two volunteer organizations that provided OPFOR support to the Oregon National Guard and law enforcement. Six years of being thrown around, dropped and dragged on concrete floors in shoot houses did a number on my ancient middle aged body, and I finally had to give up after multiple concussions and having most of my teeth broken. For stories about my incredible, devoted civilian friends who did everything they could to help our nation’s Soldiers in time of war, please see this link:
We Americans all too often forget that our warriors did not go through history’s crucibles alone. America has never “gone at it alone,” and there will be many stories and moments related to our Allies posted here as well. While in Afghanistan, I was lucky enough to see first hand our Allies and their level of devotion. Czech Soldiers who once trained to invade Western Europe in the van of a Soviet onslaught, were out building infrastructure for the Aghans–and letting me fire their RPG’s and BMP’s 37mm auto cannon. So I have a particular fondness for those awesome members of the NATO alliance. I also spent a day surrounded by Polish infantry after our helicopter suffered catastrophic engine failure in the middle of the Hindu Kush. Anyway, there will be periodic posts about Freedom’s allies to remind my fellow countrymen that victory can only be secured when we stand shoulder to shoulder–and since the birth of our nation, our allies have played key roles in protecting the flame of Freedom.
In Warrior Adversary posts, I’ll be writing about the other side and their experiences. Understanding our enemies is a key to not only victory in wartime, but a prosperous and transformative peace once arms are laid down.
Please feel free to leave any comments, suggestions or stories you’d like to share. I’ll post them and reply whenever I can. And thank you for taking time out of your day to come and visit my site. I hope you come away with a sense of appreciation for the people who inhabit these pages.
John R. Bruning