Because of an excess of spambot activity, I have blocked new registrations. I hate taking such drastic measures, but I don't have time to clean up all the false registrations that result from whatever attack list I landed on. I will likely revise this in the future once I've upgraded some of my code, but until then, please email me if you would like a user account. Most days, you'll get a login within a few daylight hours. Please let me know:
Real name or callsign
The WatchCat spent a year in Russia and the Middle East in preparation for a government career. Unfortunately she got in a little too deep, and health problems sabotaged her career before it began. The future? Now there's an open question. She gets her paws in the action whenever possible, with or without a paycheck. WatchCat keeps busy supporting the troops, recruiting pararescue candidates, yelling at traitors and helping people navigate the grey areas on international everything.
A close family member is active duty US military, but due to OPSEC (and the general need for family peace), WatchCat is unable to write about that person's activities. She makes the most of the opportunities that God gives her, knowing that she should be dead by now.
And yes, she is married & is going to stay married. Smacks upside the head are delivered as needed to those who don't understand this.
At times it seems as though there's a push to see the veteran as "everyman" and there is a place for that. But today is when we take a moment to realize that they are a breed apart. Here are eight men who have already served their country honorably, and they still don't think they've done enough. They saw something that needed to be done, and they did it.
I encourage you to support their effort, but more than that, I hope you will see something of that spirit, whether big or small, in every veteran you meet. Some have more to give than others, but all have worked and sacrificed.
And to my veteran readers, friends and family: Thank you. Even when the news is depressing, there is no doubt in my mind that you have made a difference both for our country and overseas. Your sacrifices are not forgotten, and neither are your comrades in arms.
In honor of the USMC's birthday, I'm reposting my "Hero Next Door" post about Marine Captain Wallace E. Nygren's firsthand account of Tarawa.
Hero-hunting is a tricky business. Often they don’t want to be found. That Purple Heart and the chance to go home to their families was more than enough. When I first asked retired Marine Captain Wallace E. Nygren if I could share his stories on the internet, he hedged. Yet four months later, he gave me carte blanche to write anything I wanted to write about him. Why the change? He never explained. I doubt it was for glory. He’d written up his memoirs for his family, and that was sufficient for him. But so many memories flashed in his eyes when I made my request. Suddenly WWII wasn’t sixty-some years ago; he was the young Marine who had survived some of the war’s bloodiest battles and lost one of his best friends. I watched the pain come back, watched him remember the hospital ship slick with blood. And I thought I’d never have the chance to tell his story.
I saw him last week, when I was overwhelmed by the volume of material on his war years. I’d expected to discuss details of the battles and of his friends. But he wanted to talk about family. “All I’d ever wanted to do was be in the military,” he told me, with a wink at his father’s desire for him to become a doctor. “But after the war, I wanted to be a family man more than anything.” And so this Marine hung up his uniform and spent the rest of his life working for Ryerson Steel, providing for the needs and comfort for his wife and two children. Today his hair is thin and grey, his body frail, but he asks help from no one but family, which aggravates the people who love him even while we’re fiercely proud of his independent nature in the midst of this entitlement-focused world. And still he smiles at me and says, “I have no regrets.”
It’s not that there was never a mistake in his life. He hated the short time he spent in medical school, and undoubtedly regretted the month he spent in the Naval Reserve… except for the fact that it convinced him that he’d rather be in the Corps. “The Marines always stood a little apart. They were the best of the best, the most military.” And so the morning after the attack on Pearl Harbor, he skipped work and went straight to the Marine Corps recruiting station, the third man in Chicago to be sworn in.
In April 1942, then-Corporal Nygren was given the opportunity to attend Officer’s Candidate School. He refused, preferring to stay with his unit instead. But in May of the same year, the Marine Corps sweetened the deal: they’d let him come back to the 2nd Amphibian Tractor Battalion. Therefore, on July 15, 1942 he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant, and the next day, he was assigned to duty as Platoon Leader, 3rd Platoon, Company B, 2nd Amphibian Tractor Battalion.
Fast-forward to November 1943. With ever-increasing responsibility and a promotion to 1st Lieutenant, Lt. Nygren was about to face a day like no other. He survived to write his own account of Tarawa:
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" -Isaiah 6:8
As many of you are aware, the PJCountry blog disappeared in November 2008.
I'm doing my best to help the pararescue community by sharing PJ-related news and events on my blog. The following information may be helpful:
You will find answers to many questions at pararescue.com and specialtactics.com
If you're ready to become a PJ, you'll need to decide between Active Duty and Reserve. This will determine who will handle your official recruitment. Visit Contacts and POCs to find the appropriate person or email me.
304th Pararescue Team (Reserve) (Oregon)
If you're on the west coast near Oregon and are considering being a PJ/CRO on the Portland Pararescue Team (commitment of 4 years beyond training), contact TSgt Stanley Iakopo at stanley.iakopo AT us.af.mil or email me.
I have no official role with pararescue or other SpecOps but I know enough to get you connected to the right people. Email to CAT at THEWATCHCAT dot NET
Jubilate Agno, Fragment B
[For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry]
by Christopher Smart
For he is the servant of the Living God, duly and daily serving him.
For at the first glance of the glory of God in the East he worships in
For is this done by wreathing his body seven times round with elegant
For he keeps the Lord's watch in the night against the adversary.
For he is of the tribe of Tiger.
For he purrs in thankfulness when God tells him he's a good Cat.
For he is an instrument for the children to learn benevolence upon.
For every house is incomplete without him, and a blessing is lacking in
For he is the cleanest in the use of his forepaws of any quadruped.
For he is the quickest to his mark of any creature.
For there is nothing sweeter than his peace when at rest.
For there is nothing brisker than his life when in motion.
For by stroking of him I have found out electricity.