I just wanted to tell people about the veterans in my family.
My grandfather I never knew. Died before I was born. He was my mother's father and was a UDT for the Navy. That's "Underwater Demolition Team"... they were called "Frogmen"... basically the predecessor to the Seals. That's about all I know about his military background.
The two closest to home, though, would be my Brother-in-law. My wife's sister's husband. Before I was married, he joined the army (this was well before 9/11) and went into the foriegn language training. Became an Arabic Linguist. He ended up fighting in Afghanastan (no usage of his training there, just in infantry). Before he could leave, they put a stop-loss on his job (meaning, he can't leave unless they say so... they had a shortage of arabic linguists). So he ended up serving in iraq. Tactical intelligence (meaning, he was using his training, but was on the front line, not behind some desk at HQ). Worked in a unit of Aussie special forces.
They let him leave just before his second son was born so he'd be there for the birth. He went into army reserves to make it difficult to return back. Well, recently he moved to virgina to get a civilian contracting job with the government (using his arabic linguist skills). But, as with the army, the paperwork went awry. He wasn't transferred to the reserve unit in virgina, he was simply not attached to any reserve unit. That makes you a target. They needed an arabic linguist, so they go after the guys outside a unit... found him. He'll be travelling back to the army for training next week and will be in Iraq in January. His third son is to be born in March. He'll 99.999% sure will miss this birth...
Then there is my cousin. Kinda a rowdy kid. Held back a grade in school and stuff. He joined the army, and BOY did it clean him up. He ended up in a unit in Alaska, which he LOVED (he's a hunter), and went to training to be a scout. Shortly afterward, he went back into training, this time to be an army ranger. Then, of course, he was shipped to Iraq. He was a part of a recent carbombing in Baghdad. Caught in the concussion, he had half of his face ripped apart (stuff like, pulling shrapnel out of his eye, his jaw was broken and wired shut, etc...). He was in ICU and wired up to all kinda machines for a while. Was shipped back stateside where he is recovering (last I heard he was up and walking around).
Then came something that's political, so if you don't wanna hear about it, skip this paragraph... I get a call. George W Bush and Laura Bush visited my cousin. Told him what a terrific job he's done and how they are proud of him. They thanked, hugged, and apologized to his mother. They spent a good 10-15 minutes of their time just with my cousin's family. I was damn happy to hear that. I believe if John Kerry was elected, he wouldn't do that. I'm glad I was one of the 130k reasons Bush was relected.
So... I guess all I'm getting at is to thank everyone that is currently, or has served time. Red Warrior... thanks a bunch... and dude... stay safe!