War Stories

Submissions and Excerpts from Veterans


by JD Murgatroid (Iraqi and Afghanistan Combat Medic)

How can we find time for arts and recreation
when we’re still trying to get the water and electric right?

What about the infrastructure
of the soul?

(This place just gets me thinking of where
the revolution truly needs to take shape.)

We can spend all day
constructing roads

but why not pave some pathways of poetry?

Freeways of music expanding to the sky!

Remember all your
masters of the aoud?

Here, looking out over these rustling leaves, singing birds

-Something great is missing…

the movement of
beautiful men, women, and children,

passing through with laughter and

One Response to War Stories

  1. Clay Tempel

    By Luke Maschmeyer
    Tale of an Epic Warrior
    I had many sergeants in my five years in the army as a combat medic, but few stand out in infamy compared to Karl. Karl was a Plains Indian from the Dakotas, with 22 years of service. He maintained a striking presence, as he silently processed each moment with a hyper-vigilance that many hardened warriors possess. Karl stood tall, not so much because of his six foot frame, but because of how he carried himself. His proportions were somewhat comical, having a large head and bulbous nose, contrasting his thin legs and surprisingly small feet. His boots seemed to be a size eight or nine, not what you would expect for a tall man. It was a rare moment to catch him with a hesitant smile, and even more of a milestone to make him laugh. His voice was resonant and strong, and he either spoke in a fast clip or rose in volume to a full-fledged bellow. When he was interacting with anyone below his rank of Sergeant 1st Class, to include staff sergeants, this bellow could and would be deployed at will. Many missions were punctuated by his manic rants, as he harshly directed each vehicle’s movements and called out anyone in question over the platoon’s radios. Karl could not stand witnessing anything being done in a manner other than his own. He especially resented anyone who acted without his directive, or raised even the slightest question to his orders. Eventually the platoon had definitely had enough. We agreed to go to behavioral health on a particular day that they visited our compound. Many voiced our concerns, and within a week, Karl quietly climbed into a Humvee with his gear, and slipped away. There was much rejoicing.

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