Mark Johnson and I where fresh out of high school. We really
were unsure what we wanted to do once we graduated. There were
a lot options and none of them stuck out at us. Mark had
applied to several different collages, he never heard anything
back from them. Mark and I were hanging out over at the mall.
Mark went in to the outfitters store. This store had
everything any outdoorsy person could ask for.
Mark was one of 4 kids, both of his brother's had joined
“, dude what kind of tent did your parents want you to pick up
“, It's the Coleman 8 person tent, Mark replied.”
“, it's this one right here.”
Marks family loved being outdoors. I had gone camping with
them on the G.T trail last year.
Mark grabbed the tent off the shelve. We started heading
towards the cashier. There wasn't much a selection, to chose
from. Of course they didn't have my size.
“, what, I asked.”
“, Roller blades, really dude, Mark replied.”
“, I've always had a interest in inline skating, I said.”
“, I always thought you were a skate board kind of guy.”
“, nope more roller blading then anything else buddy.”
“, come on Mark you know I can skate like a pro.”
Mark and I headed up to the second floor. The Military had
several tables set up in front of an empty store.
I had been thinking about joining the Military, after I had
graduated from high school.
I walked around the booth thinking this would be a cool job.
Training was 10 to 12 weeks long. But before you could start
training you had pass a physical.
“, are you joining dude or what, I just signed up myself,
“, I'm thinking about it.”
The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to join the
Military. I Was starting to get hungry and I could hear Marks
tummy growling. Let me just say that when Mark gets hungry he
gets really grumpy.
“, excuse me sir, where do I sign up, I asked.”
“, Right over here.”
I followed the recruiter in to empty store that they had set
up for those who where wanting to join the armed forces. These
guys took their jobs really seriously.
Just like that I had joined the Military. This was one of the
biggest decision I had ever made in my life.
“, Well dude how did it go, Mark asked.”
“, it went grate they asked me all these questions, before I
knew it, I was signing on the dotted line, I replied.”
“, How is your bother Cody going to react when he finds out
you joined the Military.”
I never thought for one second how Cody and mom would react to
me joining the Military. I mean job is a job no matter what.
As long as I can pay my bills and put food on the dinner
Life was tough enough, people where losing their jobs and
others are losing their jobs to other countries.
We headed to the food court to grab something to eat. I knew
what I was going to have, like always I headed right for
“, What are you in the mood for Mark.”
“, I was thinking burger king or getting something from
“, I'll meet you over at those table by the door.”
When I finally got my order, I headed over to the table where
Mark was waiting.
“, Gee it took them long enough to make your sub, Mark said.”
“, they are just under staff today.”
After we had finished eating lunch we headed back to
Mark's house so he could drop off the tent. Mark's parents had
their kitchen redone back in the winter time.
“, Hello, anybody home.”
“, Hey boy's, how was the mall this afternoon, Marks mom ask.”
“, It wasn't too busy today.”
Mark and I went up to his room. I had to go to the washroom
really bad. Mark was in his room getting change before we
headed over to my house. I couldn't believe that Mark never
told his parents that he had joined the Military.
“, Hey Mark why didn't you tell your parents about you joining
the Military, I asked.”
“, I will before we leave to go to your house.”
“, cool,I replied.”
I could tell that Mark was nervous about telling his parents
that he had joined the Military, in all honesty, I think
his parents would be cool with it.
“, dude I will meet you down stair's.”
I headed down stairs and poked my head in to the kitchen where
Mrs. Walker was baking. Marks house always smelt good, even
when Mrs. Walker wasn't baking cookies.
“, damn it smells good down here.”
“, Awe thank you honey, give me one second I have a plate of
cookies here for you, Mrs. Walker said.”
“, Thanks Mrs. Walker, I replied.”
Mark came running down the stairs. He was whiter then a ghost.
Mark handed me his cell phone. I took a look at it, I knew by
the number Mark and I had either been excepted or rejected for
When I answered the phone the voice on the other end told me
that Mark and I had passed our physicals and we where cleared
for basic training.
“, Who was that on the phone, asked Mrs. Walker.”
“, It was the recruiting office Mrs. we've been excepted for
training, I replied.”
“, I'm vary proud of you boys.”
It was hard on a lot of the guys out here. They get called
to serve their country. Only to be deployed to a country that
could end their lives. The toughest part about being 40
thousand miles away from home. Some guys make do with cheating
on their wife's with some of the local's.
I was sitting in my tent doing some paper work before my next
shift. I hated the fact that I was behind, but the truth is after my shift is over, I'm just way to tired to think and
write what went down.
While I was doing my paper work there was a sudden knock
on my door, not that my tent had a door to knock on, if you
get my point.
“, come in.”
“, excuse me sir, the general is here to see you.”
“, thank you PVT. Thomas, tell the general I'll be right in, I
I finished my paper work and headed to my office I didn't
want to keep the general waiting.
I walked in to my office and there was this uneasy feeling in
the air. Judging by the look on the generals face this wasn't
one of those lets shoot the breeze kind of chats. No this was
something happened and your ass is grass kind of talks.
“, Sorry for the wait sir, that picture your looking at is of
my youngest daughter riding her horse.”
“, She's a vary pretty Chris, let me cut right to the chase.
The reason why I'm here is to let you know that there have been
some concerns with the way your handling your teams missions.”
“, I can explain everything sir, the reason is sir, my guy are
over worked it's not safe. Most of my men are only getting a
hours sleep before they have to go back out on patrol sir.”
“, I see, so what can I do to fix this.”
“, Well sir I have some idea's that could fix this issue, the
other generals may not like it thou.”
“, I really don't care what they think, I'm the one who calls
the shots around here not them.”
“, Yes sir, my idea is instead of having units pulling back to
back shifts with out any sleep, maybe there should be a
mandatory 9 hours off before that unit can go back out on
patrol, I said.”
“, I like the way you think Chris. How ever there is only one
problem with your idea. The other side will advance if we
don't keep on top of them, the general said.”
“, Not really sir, if we keep the heat on by just constantly
putting units out in the field as other units are ending they
will have little chance to advance on us sir.”
“, Make sure you put that in your report. And Chris I don't
need to tell you to keep your units nose clean. Because if we
have any more problems, then there will be some changes
Before our next patrol started, I gathered my guys together
and had it out with them in away that wasn't too condescending
. Up till this point I had never really had it out with my unit
since taking over the unit from a another commander who was
discharge for sexually assaulting another female officer.
We gathered all in the mess tent. I begin telling them about
the meeting I just had with the general. Even though the
meeting was largely about me getting a rank change if things
didn't start improving. Some of the guys started shouting out
that the reason why things have been heated with in my ranks is
because of all the back to back patrols.
“, Okay guys listen up, the scoop is if you guys don't start
getting your ass's in gear, then are going to be some changes
in this unit, starting with my ass, as your commander.”
“, Your kidding right sir, the General won't fire your ass
for letting us have some fun, said PVT. Colin.”
“, I really wish I was kidding with you, but I'm not this
is the final notice, the general will fire me, I said.”
“, excuse me sir, not to be argumentative with you, I doubt the
general will fire your ass, said privet Chris.”
“,Well I hope that's the case, but just so you guys are aware
please for god sacks clean up your acts, I'm begging you.”
I headed back to my tent and laid down on my bed thinking back
to what my younger brother Kyle said just before Mark and I
headed off for our basic training. I laid there with my eyes
closed I could hear Kyle's voice in my head saying Please don't
go! please don't go! over and over again. I could see the tears
pouring down the sides of Kyle's face as I got in to the cab
and headed for the bus station.
Kyle's last words to me as the cab drove down our street where
Andy I don't want you to die, Please don't go please don't go.
I looked back to see Kyle standing in the middle of the street
with moms wrapped around him pulling back towards our house as
the cab turned the corner. I sat quietly in the back seat with
my head down.
“, Andy you okay dude, asked Mark.”
“, yea man, I'll be alright once we get to Montreal, I
The next day I woke to find a paper had been slid under my
tent door. I Picked up the paper and unfolded it and read what
was written on the paper. All I could read was Andy your
heading home for the Canada day long weekend, back your bags
and be at the Air base by 07 hundred.
For the first time in 5 years I was going to be able to see my
younger brother Kyle, I couldn't wait. Word spreed through the
camp quickly of my leave for the long weekend. Most of the guys
where happy for me, while some of the other guys who I had gone
through the ranks with where told they were not going to be
heading home this time around. To be honest that's the only
thing that sucks about being in the Military is being told you
can't see your family after being apart from them for years at
Once my bags where packed I headed down the path to a near by
Jeep that was waiting to take me to the air base where I was
going to be flying out of. What I didn't expect was this to be
my final ride and the last time I would see any of my men.
I was sitting in my bedroom doing my home work when I heard
mom scream at the top of her lungs. I knew from the sound that
who ever had just called the news wasn't good news. I went down
to the landing and all I saw was mom sitting on the floor
holding the phone to her chest crying Andy no please tell me
this is not happening. It was then I put 2 and 2 together and
thought to myself no this can't be right Andy was heading home
there's no way, they have gotten the wrong number.
I sat for a minute and then there was a knock at the door, mom
got up off the floor, she opened the door and there standing
there was the Chaplin for the Military and Andy's commanding
officer. Just what I didn't want to hear coming from Andy
commanding officer, “, I'm sorry to have to inform you of the
news but I'm to let you know that Andy was killed earlier today
on his way back to the air base, said the commanding officer.”
I just sat in shock while my parents hugged one another
tightly in grief.
“, Kyle go to your room, please, my dad said.”
“, dad is Andy alright, I asked.”
“, Kyle please don't make me ask you again, go to your room,
I'll explain later.”
I headed back up and went right for Andy's bedroom. I closed
the door behind me, and sat on his bed with his picture held
tightly to me chest. I could barely speak a word but some how I
was able to look at his picture.
“, why Andy why did you have to die like this, I cried out at
“, please come home to me please come home to me I kept saying
in a raspy voice.”
That night my parents and I cried our self's to sleep over the
death of my older brother Andy.
A week later our city came to a complete stand still as my
brother Andy's body was brought home. The drive from the
airport was the long's ride of my life. I watched as people
lined the street's of our city waving Canadian flags and
signing the national anthem as Andy's body passed by.
From fire fighters to police our motorcade was either cheered
or saluted in a show of thanks and respect for my brother
Andy's duty and service to his country. 3 days later Andy was
given a regimental funeral. The only way I knew how to horror
my brother was to walk behind his flag draped coffin to the St.
James Cathedral church.
3 year's later I graduated from high school. I found myself
sitting in the same office as my brother Andy once sat when he
decided to serve his country. I guess you can say I'm following
in my big brother's shoes. But all I'm really doing is going on
a mission to find the heartless coward who stole my brother
away from me 3 years ago.