Friday, May 4, 2012
There are very few times in my life that I've ever felt confused. 95% of the time I have a clear picture of the goal ahead, a straight shot to it, over, around and through the situations on the way.
(Above) JT, Harry and I plant an American flag during the first phase of OLSII. Veckal Valley.
These recent sad events are not the case. JT, someone whom I loved and respected as a fellow warrior is being accused of the most horrible crimes I'd ever heard tell of in recent times. I have no idea what happened and all my theories are just as wishful and flimsy the rest that are floating around. Nobody knows and we're all afraid of what the possibilities are. If you wonder why we have a hard time buying cloudy "their" versions of events, here are some reasons why.
People have pointed out the dozens of things that don't make sense about the whole thing. I'm not here to list those, item after item along with variations. Once the truth comes out, it will all be worthless except for the one that hit the mark maybe.
I'll tell you what I do know for sure though. Often while out on patrol, JT would talk about caring for Baby Lilly, Gilbert's lost little girl. In fact, after talking to people, I discovered that most people who knew JT from a distance, assumed that Lilly was his. He spoke about how caring for the child was the white thing to do. I'd call around bedtime and JT would ask me to call back so he could help get the baby down for the night.
Am I trying to paint JT as a saint? No, what I am trying to do it convey to you some of the confusion everyone has over the charges being place on JT by the media: baby killer. How did he go from someone who loved children enough to care for one which wasn't his own, to someone who would gun down an infant? I'm not making a statement, I'm asking a question.
JT was very kind over the phone to my little daughter. He always called her "sweetheart" as she babbled into the phone at him. In fact JT was supposed to come be Santa Claus at my house last year. "I get it. Because I'm fat, right?" he said before he agreed. "I'll put on the tights for a bro, I guess."
My daughter, not much older than Lilly, even thanked JT once for bringing me safely home from a long patrol. You would have thought he got a letter from the president (of another country). Kids liked him too. Even little Mexican kids would crowd around him and ask him if he was in the Army. He's respond with "yo es Commando." and leave it at that.
I'm not telling you all this to justify or soften the facts of what happened. What I am trying to do is illustrate to you all how we can't buy what the media is saying. Once we hear it from law enforcement, then we'll probably have to take our medicine and accept whatever happened as the way it went down.
Little Lily's face will be in my dreams for the rest of my life. Whatever happened and no matter who did what, Lilly is gone. She didn't get the chance we all go. If you can read this, life has dealt you a better hand than little Lilly. Her happy short life ended too quick and violent. All a little child knows is love. I'm sure she loved her mama, grandma and from the pictures, seemed to love Hoitt very much too. The people who loved her was her life, which judging from the pictures, she never stopped smiling at them. I can see her smile now and it makes it hard to avoid braking down.
My last conversation with JT was about a movie he wanted me to watch. This was Tuesday night and we talked in length about it, and barely anything else. JT didn't watch much tv but when he did and something caught his eye, he'd email or call me about it. I'd say on average I'd talk to JT about 3 times a week. And almost daily he'd send out a group email or txt offering valuable info or just words of encouragement.
When I got the call sometime on Wednesday, I was shocked but immediately thought that the whole thing was Cartel related. It took me a while to even entertain the possibility that it wasn't.
This is the first time I've sat down to think of all the good things about JT. I've been holding back any good thoughts in case what the press said was true. Two days later and the finally say hasn't been said. But I remember JT in the field. Every body's safety was his first concern. His jokes around the campfire were enough to make your ribs hurt. The man could make you laugh, I don't care who you were.
Controlling they say? He's guilty of that but that was because he was natural leader. Occasionally we'd lock horns over one issue or two. One was my tactics and load out. He didn't like my AK-74 though he did like me carrying 300 rounds of ammo for it. We argued about it one night to the point where he hung and called back asking for my address. He then told me to expect a box of parts in the mail. He'd sent me an AR-15 parts kit. Upon opening it, I found a book on Russian military power as well.
I'd say 1/3 of my desert gear came from JT himself. He'd call me up and tell me that he found something I need and had placed it "in my tote". He'd store all my gear in a plastic container labeled "Drake" and would place items inside if he thought it was stuff I could use while in the CZ.
He and Harry would stick their neck out for anybody who came out to help. JT drove like a maniac through the light traffic of Sunday night Phoenix, trying to get me to my plane on time. He even saw a rode closed but attempted to slip past it in desperation. I stopped him finally and said it wasn't worth going to jail over.
His quickness to help a stranger wasn't expected either. But after a while, if you saw someone stranded beside the road, you knew JT was going to pull over and see what he could do.
We don't know what happened Wednesday afternoon. We do know what happened for years out in the deserts around the CZ. I will make absolutely no effort to excuse or downplay any crime committed by anyone, friend or foe, but people have to understand that we're all against a high wall of pure shock. This would be like a co-worker you'd work with happily for years coming home and doing the same thing or at least being accused of it in the media.
I'll write more on this as the day goes by and things develop.