And a few more things: firstly, midnight xanga entries are in bad grammatical practice. Actually, I’m making an excuse, my grammer is bad ALL the time, so if there are any editors-for-hire out there, I may be interested.
Meeting Bud Bolling was only part of it.
A little background on what has happened the last couple of weeks in my life:
As Gerardo and I were driving down to College Station a few weeks ago I got a call from my father that Senator Cornyn’s office had been calling the house, and I was to call back immediately. So Gerardo and I pulled off of 6 into a Gas Station and I called back a lady by the name of Karen Nicholson. Ms. Nicholson was phenomenal to say the least, she told me she had great news that was going to “make my weekend.” I told her I was listening, and she said I had been given a nomination to West Point. That was good, but I knew it didn’t and still doesn’t gurantee anything. So, that’s about all the information I had, UNTILL
Family Friend and West Point grad Tommy Irby calls my father. “Dale,” he says “I got a call from a guy named Allen Clark today asking about Ty”. Tommy filled us in on the conversation they had about me. Allen Clark, West Point ’63, sits on Senator Cornyn’s nomination board. Apparently, they have about 450 files come in a yaer to be nominated from which they choose roughly 10 to nominate. This year was 20 because they had 2 bids to West Point instead of the normal 1. (They can nominate 10 names per single vacancy at West Point). So, Allen Clark, had me picked #1 out of the entire 450… and if that doesn’t flatter me enough, he went to bat for me, having no prior knowledge of me, never having met me, put his name out there on my behalf.
So, Tommy said if you see this man at the dinner tonight– he wants to meet you. And I did. Allen Clark, like I said is a graduate of West Point. He then did some time with the Corps of Engineers, and volunteered for Military Intelligence with the 5th Special Forces Group during their operations in Vietnam. It is here that he got caught in a mortar attack and lost both his legs. He now is involved in Ministry, focusing on helping veterans who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
I soon found he had tried calling Tommy earlier and couldn’t get a hold of him. He had been on his way to Arkansas for Thanksgiving and has stopped in Sulphur Springs because his wife liked to shop at the Outlet Mall there on Radio Road… and he was trying to get a hold of me so we could meet.
Mr. Clark had read my file, he knew a lot about me, before we even met and I was quite honored that he believed in me so much. I sit and listened to him talk about his experiences. He has an autobiography coming out called Wounded Soldier, Healing Warrior the website for that is www.woundedsoldierhealingwarrior.com and then also his Ministry: www.combatfaith.com
As we continued to talk, he stopped me and said something I will never forget:
“Ty, I am going to tell you like I told my nephew before he went to Baghdad, ” He looked away for a minute, a few tears filling his eyes, “Sorry, I get kind of emotional about this, but I want you to know something… you don’t take risks understand? You do your job, you do what you have to do as a Platoon Leader, but you don’t take risks.” He paused for a few moments to let that sink in and then said, “war is an ugly business and there is nothing romantic about it.”
And maybe that is it for me. My journey to becoming a cadet and officer has been marked by those that have made that same journey before me. When I begin to see how much they care, and what they are willing to do for me because of that, I really am taken a back. I don’t know what to say. When I have a veteran who lost both legs in Vietnam look at me and tell me how much I mean to him. It is all very very humbling, and it is times like those that I know I am making the right decison about becoming an Officer.