Citadel alumni on the Tip of the Spear
Butler, the regimental commander for the Class of 1997 and now a captain
The United States is repositioning some of its military forces where required to support the president's global war on terrorism and to prepare for future contingencies.
What are we doing at this moment while we are in route to the Persian Gulf? We are keeping busy with our training for a possible conflict with Saddam.
I know that all Citadel alumni who are out here are focusing on their respective jobs, ensuring that subordinates are properly trained for any possible missions that may arise if diplomatic solutions should fail. They are also validating packing lists and conducting maintenance on all organic gear for their respective units. In addition, we are taking different classes on nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) gear, the law of war, and various job specific refresher courses for both sailors and Marines. Martial arts training and a good regimen of physical training, are also taking place while we are on board the ship.
However, the most important activity that I feel service members and Citadel graduates are engaged in at this moment is the preparation of the mind and soul to conduct any operations that may cause harm to another individual or to our own personnel. Nobody wants to go to another country for a possible conflict, but we must place this dictator in check.
"With a readiness to endure hardship and suffer if need be, that truth may prevail among us…," are the words that resonate with us all. I think the phrase from Bishop Albert S. Thomas' Cadet Prayer amplifies the true spirit and commitment that all Citadel graduates hold as they try to live their everyday lives, but never is that the case more than it is right now with those of us in military service.
My current situation causes me to reflect to those hot, awful days in August back at El Cid. It did not matter whether you were the knob or the corporal on cadre, you understood the necessity of perseverance and loyalty. It is no different now and though the stakes may be much higher, the lessons are nevertheless the same.
We have watched a great deal of CNN and Fox News, and we know that the American people have issues regarding our involvement overseas. We just ask that, no matter what happens, please support America and American troops, because this individual is potentially dangerous. Saddam continues to pursue weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs in defiance of United Nations resolutions and restrictions. He is a threat to our way of life and to other nations. If we do not step up and stop him now, then when will be the time and who will be the ones to do it?
I know that all alumni serving here feel that we may be able to correct a wrong that happened on September 11th by answering the call to arms now. We must prepare our minds and bodies for the possible events that might occur, and do so with the understanding that those at home support us, regardless what their personal views may be.
At this time in my life, I am so thankful for graduating from The Citadel -- for all of the hard lessons I learned about leadership and dealing with adversity. Those lessons have always had a purpose in my life, but have never been more important than now. So far as Citadel alumni go, we will answer the call to duty, and will be "temper[ed] with self-respect and self-discipline, fear of God and respect for mankind, appreciation of freedom, and awareness of what sacrifices must be made to preserve freedom," as written in Prayer of the Citadel by Jim Heritage, '72.
I hope that all who read this will understand and remember those Citadel graduates who at this moment are on the tip of the spear. God bless and best wishes for a prosperous life.
With Much Admiration,