GUEST BLOG FOR FLAG DAY, JUNE 14TH: SGT. JASON W. TANNER, U.S. ARMY


SGT. JASON TANNER SERVING IN AFGHANISTAN

And Yet They Fought On

                                      By Sgt. Jason Tanner

The men before me have seen and suffered untold atrocities and horror’s that would make most men collapse to their knees.

And yet they fought on.

The men before me forged unbreakable bonds with the friends with whom they served, and with the ones they lost.

And yet they fought on.

The men before me fought though the pain fought though the sorrow, fought though hunger and fought past odds that said they should loose that fight.

And yet they fought on.

These men before me knew that it was about the man to your left and the man to your right: no matter color or creed. It was not about politics or glory but about a cohesive bond of a brotherhood that few understand.

And yet they fought on.

The men before me stormed beaches, ran across open terrain to face the enemy, and when cornered fought hand to hand for their life and their country.

And yet they fought on.

The men before me came home to a country that did not love them as much as the love to warriors that return today. They fumbled with the process trying to integrate back into a society that did not seem to care about their sacrifices or their wounds: both seen and unseen.

And yet they fought on.

The men before me are called the greatest generation and yet they still are humble and say thank you to a man like me for my service, while I feel meek in comparison to their great resilience and indisputable bravery.

So for them I fight on and pick up the torch of freedom: carry it to the next battlefield and with me, I take their pride their dedication and their honor.

I serve with the best because the best served before me.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Sgt. Tanner was returned from Afghanistan via the Wounded Warrior’s program and is recovering from surgery. His actual xrays are seen on the visual below. As I thought  about Flag Day, and its significance to us all, I found an email from him to me, written when he was based at Torkham in Afghanistan. At that time is was designated by our government as the “most dangerous place on earth.” I share it with you now.

   In an email to his aunt, Joyce Godwin Grubbs

                                 I STOOD   by Sgt. Jason Tanner

 

I stood in the shadows of the mountains of Tora Bora where Bin Ladin planned his deeds.

I have said ‘let’s go’ and ‘move out’, when other Americans would rather quit and go home.

I have been around the world and froze on guard duty while starring at the aurora borealis; then melting in the heat of the Somalia sun.

I have dangled on a rope underneath a helicopter in Alaska; then dripped sweat while repelling down one in Korea.

I stood in the funerals of my fallen brothers and I have seen the pain of the void they leave.

I have pushed my 40 year old body to surpass the 20 year old ones around me.

I have looked my daughter and son in their eyes and told him that I will be OK; when I know that I truly do not know that answer to that question.

I fought the urge to say “I Quit” when my body is tired or hurt and I continue to lead my men to push on.

I dealt with the lonely nights and slept without the caress of my girl or the comfort of a bed.

I stand next to men every day that do the same thing that I do and that fight the same demons that I fight every day.

I drive on when I am hurt and cannot stand from the pain

I smile and say I am OK when I am ready to break.

Hurt or sick, well rested or not, mentally straight or a mind of cluster, I drive on.

And then someone will ask me why I do what I do if it causes so much pain. Most of the time I tell them, “If not me then who?” Someone has to defend this country so it may as well be me. But there is a far greater reason than that and at times I cannot even comprehend them all. But after our last few e-mails you need to know;

 It is for the 89% (who do not serve).

It is for a country that cannot stand without its warriors.

It is for a retired history teacher and for an old man so he can have his garden.

It is for a hard working father or mother so they don’t have to leave their kids.

It is for the student that just hasn’t figured out yet where they want to go.

It is for my brothers who lead the way before me and my sisters that support me.

And it is for the author so she can have a story to tell.

You see Aunt Joyce there are many reason why I do what I do, and most of the time I do not understand them or understand what makes me drive on. Maybe like my Mother’s own children suffered some angst while they missed her as she served her community as a police officer, my children too have felt the same as I have served my country. I do what I do because it is what I am good at, and what I love to do; it is the only thing that brings me pride besides my kids.

When my days are over if someone were to ask me then,” Would you do it again?” I would say yes. But only if you don’t change one moment of the pain, one moment of the fear or one moment of the loneliness that goes along with severing. As long as I get to stand next to the men I have served with again, and share with them all of the hardships and joy that forged our bonds of friendship, as long as every adversity that has come my way stands in front of me again, then yes I will do it again.

These are the things that have made me who I am and what I am. Some of these things are not good and I fight the demons that come along with the job, but these parts of me are still me. I may not be able to stand next to a more perfect man, but as I said, I stood in some pretty good places and next to some great men. And of course I stood in some places that other men will never stand; some men would be afraid to stand, and other men would crumble if they tried to stand. At the end of it all when I look back at things I have done I get one thing out of it: pride. But you have to go through the pain and hardship, you have to push your body a little further when it wants to quit, you have to know that you will make and lose some great relationships along the way, but when the journey is over ,you get to look back and feel the pride of being a part of the 11 percent that stands up for the 89 percent.

I STILL STAND TODAY.

We also take this opportunity to salute another Jason from our home area who did not make it back. Below is a short story about his valor, and the outreach that serves active military and was begun posthumously to honor Cpl. Jason Pautsch, also of the U.S.Army.

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About joycegodwingrubbs2

Some call me retired: I am RE-FIRED. I have written 15 books, plus 3 were written as a "ghost writer". I no longer offer them as printed books having them only available as Kindle Ebooks since my retirement as a novelist. Twelve books are on Amazon.com Kindle eBooks: collectively they are known as The Greyhound Lady Walking suspense series.They are real cases fictionalized into suspense stories to protect identities..( no victim/survivor names were compromised, and workers and locations were protected.) I also co-authored a non-fiction book: Footsteps Out of Darkness: The Annabelle Kindig Story . It is available on Amazon under the name of Annabelle Kindig. I have traveled, written from the heart, and found an audience that appreciates my "platform". The catalyst to writing the novels was the realization that if I died, I would take all my amazing experiences in these real cases with me; and believe me few have lived 5 lives in one. It would "silence the voices" of the victim/survivors whose triumphs are written into these novels. The suspense series was written in part with the collaboration of police woman and sex crime expert Trula Ann Godwin. In addition to the novels, I have written as a ghost writer for a World War II veteran who fought in the South Pacific aboard the USS Maryland in all the major battles. I have also written a non-fiction book recording oral history stories of my family members beginning with the 1930's to present. There are sixty-six "legacy" stories with pictures. It was recently published as a private printing for family and close associates only. I am a published photo journalist having won the 2009 Editor's Choice Award for internet freelance news articles and pictures of the Cedar Rapid's Iowa flood victim accounts and their personal struggles.. My husband and I are in our 52nd year together (only one blip on the marital radar together), and we have adopted three greyhounds; Dex, Big Buddy and Baby Doll. These were the inspirations in the Greyhound Lady Walking suspense series We have eleven grandchildren, 7 grandsons and 4 granddaughters. My three children live in Iowa, Wisconsin and Ohio.
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5 Responses to GUEST BLOG FOR FLAG DAY, JUNE 14TH: SGT. JASON W. TANNER, U.S. ARMY

  1. I was doing a Search for Jason Tanner, whom I knew from my Karaoke Hostessing days, in Milwaukie, Oregon. Wondering if THIS Jason Tanner is the same one. Jason did go into The U.S. Army, in the years around the late nineties, early 2000’s. His photo looks like this could be him with a little more meat on his bones. Would love to get in touch with him, if this is him.

    Sincerely,

    Suzanne McKay

  2. Thank you for your response Suzanne. He will appreciate it.

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