This article is dedicated to SOFREP brother Jerry “ol’ Jer” Sullivan; thank you brother!

When I grew up I became a professional soldier. That is what I did when I grew up at about 20 years old. I never embraced the sham that I would be in my 40’s one day saying lamenting that I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was never 40 or 50 years young; I was always since 20 years old, all grown up. Today I fancy myself a mature man, that I do.

I never just didn’t want to be the daddy in any situation, the one who was ultimately responsible for something or someone important. I would take over being the daddy from someone who didn’t want to do it. I never wanted to be Peter Pan and run off to join the circus in Never-Never Land. I was a grown up at the stroke of 20 years, and ready to harness and shoulder the responsibility of a man. I was a professional soldier and all grown up.

Me, I was born to carry a rifle; carry a rifle out ahead of a pack. I was born to carry a rifle, to run with a rifle, to carry it out ahead, and bring it back with more than I started with. Since my time even in kindergarten before real school, I knew I wanted to carry a rifle and a heavy load; to run with it ahead of an advancing pack of marauders, a murderous bunch, and return it all with plenty. Imagine my surprise when I grew up and learned that to do that an actual thing. I wanted to do it even more by the time I found it I really could.

And that is what I did.

“We carried 120-lb rucks on that operation,” boasted an SF man in a no-shit-there-I-was article I read once almost through to the end. I had read the same article before authored by a different name, and then another. “What’s with these 120-lb rucks?” I anguished at length. It was some sort of magic number, I ventured, these 120-lb rucksacks! My God, that would be heavy, right?! I wondered in bewilderment.