And we begin…


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my Father. Mostly because of how many things are being done wrong.

I need to go back a little bit and but that in to context.

I’m presently mobilized on what is being called an Overseas Contingency Operation. Several thousand miles from the people I love the most in the middle of nowhere stuck in a little room. I have very little freedom of movement and I spend almost my entire day with a manI really only barely know and didn’t know at all nine months ago.

I never really thought of myself as a military man until 9/11. I know that date changed a lot of people’s lives. It probably changed an entire generation. All I knew after that day was that I needed to do something to help protect and take care of the people I loved.

My father passed away just about a year and a half ago. He was always a military man. Enlisted in the Marines at the age of eighteen. Joined the Reserves when his enlistment was up and he married my Mom. After he reached Staff Sergeant he transferred to the National Guard. Stayed there for nearly the rest of his life and retired as a General.

I didn’t feel growing up that I was very close to my Father. We were two different. We were too much of a challenge for each other. Two strong headed men in a family of strong-headed men. We had different ideas about the world. And not to be immodest, and I came to realize latter in my life that he already knew this, I was smarter than he was.

Anyway, I’m now in the service myself. Mobilized to a far off land. I’m looking back now on all my Father succeeded in and all that he taught me. I’m also looking at the leadership that has been forced upon me and realize that if my Father was here he would have chewed half a dozen head off by now and this whole situation would be running much better, even if even he couldn’t actually fix it.
I want to put down in writing over the next few months what I’ve been going through and try and place it all correctly in my own head as well as share it with the folks back home. As I’ve been working it out in my head I’ve been asking myself what would Dad do and trying to tie that into what I learned from him both over my lifetime as well as at the end of his.

So. I’ve been thinking a lot about my Father…

3 thoughts on “And we begin…

  1. Matt

    There are times that, in the course of my job, that I find myself saying to people “cooks eat their mistakes”, a line I learned from your dad. There is a whole lot we did not know about our fathers. Just a lot of lessons that are tucked away in the corners of our minds. The past is the future in some zen way.

    Good leadership is rare commodity. I have encountered so much bad leadership that I often wonder “do the people down the chain of command know just how terrible this person is or have they recalibrated what they think is good leadership to…this?”.

    No doubt you will have time to write and think. Probably more of the latter. I hope you’ll keep writing.

    Keep safe Ryan!

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  2. Julie

    I remember your father, the day he came to talk with us, yes? I also remember looking at one of your papers at your request, editing as I would any other. I felt afterwards that I had been too harsh, then unsuccessfully tried to explain that it really was excellent, and good of you to make time for expressing your thoughts vs being apathetic.

    It’s not so much that leadership has been forced upon you, so much as you being ready for whatever is in your path–armed with a perspective acquired from seeing the best and the worst in action, according to your own barometer of success. All that matters now: WWRD?

    Into a good book you might like, will send if desired: “Unbroken”. –J.

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  3. C'est moi

    Ok: yes, Papa might have chewed off a number of heads by now and had things running smoother…but he might not have. Yours is an entirely different situation, and I know you’re doing all you can toward the same end; please don’t be critical of yourself in this. IT’S DIFFERENT. It just is. No one knows that better than I do.

    You are active, not passively letting things go; you’re conscious rather than willing yourself to apathy- those are the only comparisons that count.

    You’re also loved.

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