I left a desk job to become a rifleman, and the first day of boot camp they made me the platoon scribe with a desk and an assistant. I am reminded of William Manchester in his memoir Goodbye, Darkness, "This was the first misunderstanding between me and the Marine Corps. There would be others. . . ."
I was blessed with excellent sergeants during my first (2006) deployment to Iraq—Sergeant Morris, Sergeant Fisher, Sergeant Osborne, and Sergeant Busch. These men were my vehicle commanders, my section leaders, and my strength. Together we fought our war one day, one patrol, at a time. These were ordinary men who simply did it right. I would have learned how to be a proper rifleman in just about any unit in the Marine Corps. But I might not have learned how to be a better person. These men, heroic but not heroes, these sergeants of Marines were patient, no-nonsense warriors who taught me how to control my fear and harness my rage. Their lessons prepared me for battle-and life. As a sergeant I can only aspire to the example set by them.