GI Victor Agosto : ‘There is No Way I Will Deploy to Afghanistan’

Victor Agosto with fan club at opening of Under the Hood Cafe in Kileen, Texas, on March 1, 2009. Photo by Carlos Lowry / The Rag Blog.

To Victor Agosto, Ft. Hood, Texas:

‘You will deploy in support of OEF on or about [XXXXX] with 57th ESB. This is a direct order from your Company Commander CPT Michael J. Pederson.’

By Alice Embree / The Rag Blog / May 7 / 2009

In a photo taken at Under the Hood Café in Killeen, Texas, Victor Agosto stands soldier tall, flanked by two older women peace activists from Fort Worth. Victor doesn’t talk a lot, but when he does he reveals a resolve and intelligence that seems far older than his 23 years.

Victor has served three years and nine months in the U.S. Army, including one tour in Iraq. His Estimated Termination of Service (ETS) date was until very recently August 3, 2009. With his impeccable record and accrued leave, he was slated for release at the end of June. That date slipped away, apparent victim to the Stop Loss clause that renders the phrase “voluntary service” meaningless. The Army has told Specialist (SPC) Victor Agosto that he will be deployed to Afghanistan. He has told the Army he won’t go.

Victor’s Facebook page posts the specifics. His Counseling Form dated May 1st states the Army’s position:

“You will deploy in support of OEF on or about [XXXXX] with 57th ESB. This is a direct order from your Company Commander CPT Michael J. Pederson.”

Victor’s Session Closing statement is succinct:

“There is no way I will deploy to Afghanistan. The occupation is immoral and unjust. It does not make the American people any safer. It has the opposite effect.”

Victor has been something of a fixture at Under the Hood. In the small house turned gathering spot, a free speech zone has been created for GIs, military families and friends. Coffee, snacks and GI Rights literature is available.

A large world map featuring U.S. interventions takes up one wall. The first interventions posted were Iraq and Afghanistan. Gradually, more countries and dates have been added: Chile, 1973, the CIA-backed military coup; Guatemala, 1954, the Marine invasion; Iran, 1953, the CIA-backed overthrow of the democratic government.

Under the Hood is a place where GIs can talk, relax, and think. It is the thinking that has brought Victor to his decision. In his words, “The supportive ‘family’ that I have found at Under the Hood helped me muster up the courage to resist.”

[Under the Hood Café is a project of the Fort Hood Support Network. Donations can be made at underthehoodcafe.org.: Rag Blog contributor Alice Embree is a founder of Austin’s original underground paper The Rag and serves on the Board of the Fort Hood Support Network.]

The Rag Blog

This entry was posted in Rag Bloggers and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

45 Responses to GI Victor Agosto : ‘There is No Way I Will Deploy to Afghanistan’

  1. Ephraiyim says:

    When he signed on the dotted line he agreed to become the property of the US Govt.
    They can send him anywhere they please just as if he were a Humvee or any other property.
    The only way to get out is to go through a court martial or get himself discharged under less than honorable conditions.
    Canada is an option as well.
    I suspect, with their recent revelations, the Obama

  2. Greg says:

    I am going to disagree with you on one thing, Ephraiyim. Resistance IS a way to get out of the Army. Here in Texas, we have had several soldiers who became war resisters and outspoken critics of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and have been given honorable discharges.

  3. Ephraiyim says:

    Greg,
    I apologize. Having done a bit of further investigation myself I see that you are correct. I was thinking my yrs in the early 80’s when we had no war but were told what would happen to resistors if there ever was one.
    E

  4. imacronk says:

    Desertion during time of war is an offense punishable by death! He should be put in front of a firing squad!.
    When you sign the contract, and raise your right hand, there are certain rights that you give up. It may seem unfair however, we all know it’s true going in! I may or may not believe in the war effort, I may or may not like our President. However, upon signing that contract and stating the oath that “. . .I will follow all orders. . .”, I DO believe that a commitment has been made by the signee and he/she should live up to it! This man is no hero. He is a Coward and a Liar! His open refusal to obey orders is offensive and it could be like a virus if people think it’s acceptable behavior. His actions could potentionally weaken our military and our nation. To quote Dennis Miller, “But that’s just my opinion and I could be wrong.”

  5. Anonymous says:

    What an idiot this chicken $&*$ is. And that is just what he is – a coward, using anti-war programs to get out. He should have been a woman and just gotten pregnant to get out of his duty. I wonder how much money he has received in the way of education, bonuses, etc. that us taxpayers are paying for.

  6. brashley46 says:

    Anonymous coward spewed, “What an idiot this chicken $&*$ is. And that is just what he is – a coward, using anti-war programs to get out.”

    Because he actually wants to do what the taxpayers themselves want, instead of what the repugnicans and the demagogues want the taxpayers to want, namely get the Hell out of Iraq and Arghanistan. A majority of the American people want out, coward. You and yours are just too damned afraid to give the people what they want.

  7. David Dixon says:

    Action Center For Justice fully supports Victor Agosto & his principled stand. It takes more courage to resist than to go along with an immoral war & occupation. The over 130 civilians killed last week in Afghanistan by a U.S. air strike is yet another war crime. We need more people like Victor Agosto. Thank you Victor!

    David Dixon, Coordinator
    Action Center For Justice
    http://charlotteaction.blogspot.com

  8. peace activist says:

    I am in the process of updating ribbons for our local peace group of the most recent US fallen troop names in Iraq. We have not yet started on Afghanastan names. The past few deaths have been young people 19, 22, 24, 30yrs old. How sad….and how many more? How many Iraq deaths? How many vets coming home or will be home w massive brain injuries, post tramautic stress, unemployment and numerous other struggles. Thank you Victor for taking a stand. Support the troops by ending the war.

  9. masterspork says:

    Peace activist.

    Just because of the risks does not mean that those risk should be avoided solely for the purpose of personal safety. Also there have been deaths across the board as far as age groups go.

    But here is the thing, you automatically assume on what condition people come home too. yes there will be people with injuries, but there will be many more that will come back just fine. Also will go back into the workforce as productive citizens.

    As far as this guy goes, he signed up in a time of war. He had to have known that the Military can send him anywhere it needs to. I would be willing to bet that he is using the excuse that the war is immoral because he does not want to give up all the personal comforts of home. I will also bet that if they sent him to Korea or Germany that he would not be complaining.

  10. Tim says:

    Alright look. This is for all of you who give this guy shit. Im active duty, and im in his unit. I have known him since we went to AIT together. We have both been here at Fort Hood for almost 3 years(minus our last deployment). I totally agree with him. Maybe I dont disagree with the war but we served together and he has definitely done his part. All of you people who criticize have never been stop lossed. Never been told that what part of your life you gave wasnt good enough and that the ARMY wasnt gonna make good on their end of the bargain. I believe that somewhere in here I read that he is afraid to go because he doesnt want to give up personal comforts of home and that hed pick Korea or Germany. First off, he is saying he doesnt agree with this cause anymore and thats the bottom line. There is no ill go somewhere else but not afghanistan. He does not want to be part of something he no longer believes in and that is completely understandable. And the second thing, I live in the same barracks building that he does. Im guessing when you refer to our “Comforts” your referring to all the black mold infesting our air conditioning or the fact that our room for 2 is actually too small for one person. Im telling you that I lived better when I was in Iraq. Its so easy to criticize when your standing outside looking in but no one wants to hear your crap until you actually know what your talking about.

  11. masterspork says:

    Tim.

    What do you mean he has done his part? Just because you deployed once does not mean that you are excused from being deployed again. My former neighbor has been deployed three times in a 6 year period. One is only considered to have fully “Done his part” when the contract ends, that is including involuntary extension. No, but I have know people that have been in my unit and still went to Iraq with us. Once again, even the contact is extended due to stop loss, you are still required to do your duties. Also I am a medic, considering the demand for my mos the odds of getting called back are very good. So Stop playing the pity card.

    Yes that is me, and I still believe it. That is not for him to decide. Unless you are ordered to blatantly disregard the rules of warfare. (Such as killing unarmed civilians that are without a doubt not a threat) he does not have a leg to stand on. He is using the anti-war movement as a excuse because they do not ask questions as long as you say what they agree with. Do not believe me, look at Jesse Macbeth, or the fake Marine Captain Duncan, or a lesser known James Morriss that never finished basic and yet went on Winter Solider to tell how his Company Commander tried to get him to shoot a unarmed Afghanistan child.

    Speaking of Afghanistan, I believe LT from the 2ID all but gave his approval for the war in Afghanistan saying that it “ “an unambiguous war linked to the September 11 attacks.” . So now the war in Iraq is winding down, now Afghanistan has suddenly become immoral? Once again unless a specific act or order that violates the laws of war, deploying to Afghanistan is not immoral.

    I am thinking of the comforts of not having to worry about IEDs and indirect fire attacks. Being able to drink every weekend and having a choice of something different then the cow hall when the only fast food place on the fob is closed because of a oven fire for the second time. Being able to joy ride my own care without having to feel like a over bloated Santa due to all the gear we wear. All the little things that you realize are gone when you are deployed. Or being able to see my family and son. My first child and son is a year and five months and I have only seen him for 4 of those months. To be there with my wife to enjoy all the small things that comes with watching your children grow up. My statement still stands.

    Ok what Base? I have a feeling that I already know, but I will let you answer that one.

    I know what I am talking about because I am in Iraq NOW. I have been about 70 feet from a incoming mortar round, I had the pleasure of being hit by a small IED/UXO. I have been in a mass causality event just shortly after I got in country. I have helped treat the local populations from the Iraqi army, police and population. I have over 170 missions recorded before I lost count. Outside looking in? I do not think I can get anymore inside then that.

    http://thisainthell.us/blog/?p=10593

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ehren_Watada

    http://viewmorepics.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewPicture&friendID=106744985&albumId=2009403

  12. Anonymous says:

    We need more folx like Vic. I came up during the Vietnam era and I see that the bullshit that the gov’t puts out to brainwash the GI’s and the civilian populace hasn’t changed, only the “-ism” boogieman. 45,000 troops wasted in Korea, 58,000 in Vietnam, going on 5 grand now in the Mideast and SW Asia. IT JUST ISN’T WORTH IT! Whose freedom are the US troops fighting for? Only Halliburton’s financial freedom!

  13. masterspork says:

    He was not draft, he signed up on his on.

    Also I noticed you did not put WW2 up there since more died in that war then both Korea and Nam.

    bottom line is if your are not willing to deploy the do not join the military.

  14. Anonymous says:

    WW2 was the last so-called “good war”, which ended with the demise of the military victory (due to the advent of the nuclear bomb, which gives us the choice of total holocaust, limited nuclear warfare, with the accompanying ecological disasters, or no-win wars of attrition (Korea and onward), that just waste bodies minds and lives. Flags, parades and /or flowery speeches are no substitute or comfort. And yes, my friend, a draft exists–IRR, stop-loss, and the good old economic, or “poverty” draft.

  15. masterspork says:

    So for the record do you the America should have gone to war with Germany?

    Also considering the number of nukes now, how many have been used in war since 1945?

    No becuase when you join it says in your contract that you can be called back. Also the poverty draft is a myth.

  16. Anonymous says:

    masterspork, you sound like a brain washed hooah bar.

  17. Ghost says:

    First to Dave Dixon;
    US air Strikes, are war crimes, Lets pack you up, wrap you up in a US flag and drop you off some where in the middle of Afghanistan and see how long you last before those so called “civilians” cut off your head. Better yet lets just stand down our Military cause we all need more Victor Agosto’s and when The Afgan’s invade us, take your home kill your wife and kids don’t cry for the Army to save your A%$!!

    To Peace Activist,
    To long have you people only cared about the fallen in Iraq, These kids are not victims they are US soldiers who die so you can have free speech!! Just as many soldiers die each year right here at home in car wrecks, most of them, 19,22,24,30 years old. So when you going to become a anti-automobile activist??

    Soldier join knowing the risk!! It not like they didn’t know. IF you signed the line after 911 then you knew damn good an well you could be killed!!

    This guy is in my unit, he was a good troop until the coffee shop got their hands on him, that the sad part, where are your people going to be when he is sent to jail!

  18. Hawk says:

    Can we get something straight? The only entity that can legitimately declare war is Congress (US Constitution, Article 1, Section 8 – read it). They did for WWII but Congress didn’t declare war for Vietnam, Iraq, or Afghanistan. Service members are required to follow LEGAL orders not illegal. Until Congress declares war, military personel should be court martialed for GOING to Iraq or Afghanistan.

  19. masterspork says:

    Both where approved before we went there. One was by the UN for Afghanistan and the other was by Congress in 2002.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/10/11/iraq.us/

    http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2001/sc7248.doc.htm

  20. Hawk says:

    “Approved” for war and a declaration of war isn’t the same thing. The Constitution doesn’t mention “approval”. The UN is not what determines our war actions, if anyone agrees that it does, then we, as a country, have lost contorl of our destiney. It can’t be both ways, WWII was declared, and legally so should any other “war”.

  21. masterspork says:

    Yes it does for all practical purposes. The reason that it was not declared then was that we where still trying to get Saddam to comply with the UN mandate. Also consider that the president has the authority of the war powers act that can allow him to use military force without a formal declaration of war as long as it would have approval from Congress. Also thing can change with the Constitution, because there is nothing in the original document about women voting, the banning of slaves and making the 18 the legal voting age. The war powers act was passed in 1973 and I will post a link to it below. Also do not forget our forces used in Panama, Haiti, Somalia, Grenada and the former Yugoslavia. All down without a formal declaration of war. If you want to argue about should we have gone to Iraq in the first place, I think you can make a case. But regardless of if you think we should or should not have gone, this action was not illegal.

    If the UN mandates cannot be seen as approval of military forces if our government approves of it then explain how Korea happened? That was a UN resolution passed by the security counsel. Also I the general opinion for not going into Iraq was that it was not supported by the UN and Afghanistan was supported by the UN and NATO.

    Now here is the funny thing about WW2 is that we where actively engaging enemy subs in the Atlantic and violating our neutrality by activating supplying the UK and Russia with military arms and goods. Also WW2 was the last war that a US service member was executed for deserting. Even with the idea that WW2 was the last just war in recent history, thousands of people still deserted. So anyway you look at it people will find reasons to dodge their military obligations.

    http://www.thecre.com/fedlaw/legal22/warpow.htm

  22. Hawk says:

    >”So anyway you look at it people will find reasons to dodge their military obligations.”< They have a duty to ignore illegal or unconstitutional orders – that is what constitutes courage. A dog can blindly “follow orders” – any orders. The German excuse of “just following orders” did not stand up in court. And the military, any military, will never admit to giving an illegal order.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I’m glad this coward isn’t deploying with us. Its people like him you hear about going over seas and shooting their battle buddies, their friends, their family.

  24. masterspork says:

    Except that you have not proven that a deployment to Afghanistan is illegal or violates the rules of war. Also with regards to the German military not everyone was given a blanket punishment or punished at all. It all depended on what they did or did not do. Some divisions like the Grosseutschland where considered “white” units that they conducted themselves in a honorable fashion while others such as the 12th SS Hitlerjugend was considered a “black” unit over their actions such as executing allied pows. I still comes down to the actions personally done that makes it a case of something being illegal or not.

    So can you tell me what moral challenges he would have to face if he went o Afghanistan that is equal to what the Nazis did?

  25. masterspork says:

    (silence)

    That many? If you oppose the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, fine. But don’t start accusing us of misconduct simply because your against it.

    Having everyone that went to Afghanistan and Iraq courts martial.

    HA!

    Are you serious?

  26. Anonymous says:

    Masterspork, hahahaha that is so funny.. you sit on here and talk all this trash about Victor; like you are some retired CSM… haha – AT EASE- you , from the looks of your myspace pics Victor has more time in Iraq than you may have in the Army… hahaha… wow… some newbee to the Army talkin all that trash.. WOW I just do me a favor.. STFU and MTFO. stop speaking with such athority as if you speak for the whole Army; you sure as hell don’t speak for me.. damn PFC makes it out of basic and thinks he knows somthing.

  27. masterspork says:

    I can because he failed to honor his contract to deploy where the Army needs too. Any one can make see that at any rank. I am finishing up a 15 month deployment with more time outside the FOB then Victor ever has. Face it his just a Fobbit that never say anything and would have another job in Afghanistan that would never leave the base.

    I have the authority because he is trying to claim that we are doing horrible things and yet he never goes outside to see what is really going on. So I do have the right to call him on any stories that he claims to happened.

    Oh and for the record I have been in three years and made SPC, basic was in 06.

  28. Karen says:

    Okay, after reading all this and having done 8 years in the Navy and my husband currently active Army after serving in the Navy…Master does make some good points about honoring the contract and past history…but I DONT agree with his views pertaining to this soldier in case. Yes he is actually obligated for a full 8 years as per his contract, although it is stated in such a way that it leads you to believe you have the option to do atleast half as a reserve…no where in the contract does it state that on the whim of the Army that you can be stoplossed…and do you really think that a recruiter who is trying to make that months quota is going to point out that fact? no…some may…not saying all recruiters will over look it…but most probably will not mention it. Most of these young men and women that join actually do not know the intricasies of the military life they are signing for…only what they are told by the propaganda and recruiters…which having done public affairs…will gloss over the bad and highlight the good. Do you think that anyone is going to go into a high school (recruiter) and say “Join the Army. You can live in barracks that make you sick with mold, go to foreign countries and get shot at and rocketed, live on a base overseas that has worse living conditions than most of the ‘poor’ populus of the country that you are trying to help, and then when you are ready to get off of active and do your reserve time you will be told no that you have to go back to the shytholes, and never really get enough pay to compensate giving up your way of life and basic freedoms that others enjoy.” How many would join if that was the speech?

    So taking all that into account…if someone is balking at being stoplossed…that is their right. Whether we agree with it or not, it is his life…not yours.

  29. Karen says:

    oh and by the way…master….wikipedia is not a reliable news source or information source…anyone can edit it. quoting that site is taboo for anyone that cares about the news or has a job that requires facts.

  30. masterspork says:

    For some reason this computer will not let me log into livejounral.

    The thing that I would like to say is that with the military or any other job, a person should do their home work. This is not a everyday job and parents and friends should talk to those that are interesting in joining because that is how they can get a idea of what to expect. If they do not look up and ask around then they will not get what they want.

    With the contract there is nothing there that says that you cannot be extended. I am sure you have heard the phrase “Needs of the Army”. We have several people here that have been stop lossed and all of us have been extended because of when we left. I should be home under the old tour length but I am still here. There is a reason that it is called military service.

    Last two things, the living conditions here are not that bad, they are rough, but livable. Also .wikipedia is getting better with it policy about requiring information on people. Anything without a tested source gets deleted.

  31. Clamor says:

    First off, this is in no way intended to disrespect these two individuals. This isn’t an attack on their character (because I don’t personally know them), it’s more of a personal comment. I recently heard about this issue going public when a friend mentioned it to me while we were volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. I didn’t intend to comment on this issue at first, that is until I read what they have said.
    Allow me introduce myself a little, so you know where I am coming from and won’t think I’m someone talking about something I don’t know nothing about.
    I have serve under the same unit banner, and was also part of the last deployment with these two soldiers. I have been in COB Speicher, COB Sykes, COB Stryker, Camp Washington, COB Victory, BIAP, and etc. During my deployment, I have worked in 8 hour shifts to 12 hour shifts (majority of them 12 on – 12 off). I’ve had schedules where I would work 6 days a week to not having a day off for a month or two. I’ve done missions and duties ranging from guarding/escorting Third World Nations to E.C.P., Up Armoring Vehicles (form 1st CAV units to Special Forces units) to working in a COMMTEAM, providing communications to a whole Contingency Operating Base (COB). Though I am also “Stop-Loss” I am currently under going a Medical Evaluation Board due to injuries I have sustained during my deployment and services in the Army.
    Now that I have established my credentials allow me to comment. “It’s a matter of what I’m willing to live with.” “I’m not willing to participate in this occupation, knowing it is completely wrong.” “What I did there, I know I contributed to death and human suffering. It’s hard to quantify how much I caused, but I know I contributed to it.” These are the words of Spc Victor Agosto. So what you’re telling us is that you are willing to not help out a country that is being terrorized daily, you’re not willing to help contribute in an effort to stop the mass killing of innocent people in the streets and in their homes. You are okay with knowing that you and I are fortunate enough to be born, raised, and live in a Country where you can say all this and not be executed where you stand. You’re okay with turning your back on your fellow man who wants the same Freedom? You’d rather choose jail time over protecting your battles six? What if, Lord forbid, you got news that a close friend died during this deployment in a fire fight where he was out numbered? Would you be okay not knowing that maybe if you were there, everybody would be convoying back to base?

  32. Clamor says:

    We’re “commo,” we help provide various types of communications down range. We are the reason why soldiers get to say, ” I love you” to their love ones during their lunch time or day off. We are the reason why soldiers get to hear their 3 month old baby cry thousands of miles away. We’re the reason why a whole convey was able to reroute away from a road filled with I.E.D.’s. We’re the reason why family member’s are able to know that their son/daughter is safe for another day. This is weird to say, but we are also the reason why a mother knows the following day that her son/daughter was killed in combat during a raid, instead of worrying for a weeks about why their child hasn’t called to greet them a Happy Birthday. We are the reason why someone’s last words before they went in that missions was “I love you, I miss you, and I’m proud of you.” We are the reason why soldiers can call up their loves to tell them that they’re safe and weren’t pulling guard during the time that suicide bombing in the market happened that’s being shown in television right now. That is what we do when we serve during deployment.
    I don’t under stand why people act the way they do after they signed the “dotted line.” There are many things we didn’t know we’d be doing while in the Army, but deploying was the one thing we did know! To all the AWOL’s and Anti-war soldiers in service, not only did you joined a military establishment, but most likely you joined after September 11, 2001 (a time of war). Do you know how stupid that makes you look, when you say and act like this. I hope you guys and gals know what you stand for now, because it’s no longer selfless service and honor.

  33. Clamor says:

    Sgt Bishop, you said that “My father said, ‘Do only what you can live with, because every morning you have to look at your face in the mirror when you shave. Ten years from now, you’ll still be shaving the same face.’ If I had deployed to Afghanistan, I don’t think I would have been able to look into another mirror again.” Now that you can look at your face in the mirror everyday now, can you do me one favor. Can you shave your face every morning for a year and walk up to one random person a day who resides in Afghanistan or Iraq and let them know that you weren’t willing to help them out in any way? Or how about go up to a highly decorated vet and tell him that he didn’t need to do what he did during he’s time in service. Or how about something easy, write an email to I.P.S. and address it to all the families who have Medal of Honor members in their family, and let them know that if they had turned their backs, they would have lived to be at least 40. With that single email, you knocked out a flock of birds with one stone.
    And for people who don’t know, everybody who joins the military signs an eight year contract. The only thing that varies form person to person is how many years in those eight years will you be serving in active status. So technically we have an eight year service obligation. So lets say you have a three years active/five years IRR (Individual Ready Reserve) contract and you get “stop-loss,” 99% of the time the Army is just asking you to add an additional year in your active service. So now, that makes it 4 years active service/4 years IRR. That’s what happens when soldiers get “stop-loss” so don’t be fooled people, an additional year is better than the whole eight years.

    P.S.
    I joined because when my father was young he wanted to joined, but wasn’t able to. So I served for him and though he worries everyday he’s extremely proud of what I do.

  34. Anonymous says:

    I somehow found this website looking for something else. What I found makes me happy.

    I was an Army recruiter; I loved the job for what it was: I helped people find what it was in live they felt they needed.

    I wasn’t, by numbers, a good recruiter, but I helped many young men and women enlist.

    One particular young man I helped enlist wanted nothing more than to become an Army Ranger — Infantry — Airborne: he wanted the triple canopy — adding Special Forces. He had his entire career mapped out. As a soldier with … an office job of sorts, I found it inspiring that this young man wanted to do nothing more than enlist as a combat armsman during a time of war. By the time he entered Infantry OSUT, we had lost over 2,000 Americans in OEF/OIF.

    All I could do was be proud of him as he earned his blue cord and wore it proudly in a city that didn’t even know what uniform he was wearing.

    He left for Germany, was assigned to a unit he would describe to me as one that loved to train … even in the snow (as they prepared to go to Iraq).

    I would leave recruiting and get assigned to Fort Hood during the same time he and his unit was getting ready to leave for Iraq. As a career soldier, I asked my branch manager (assignments person) to send me to a unit that was deploying to Iraq … specifically. I thought that somehow I could see my former recruit, someone who I’d only call a friend.

    He and his unit would deploy before my unit. My unit was miles across Baghdad. We emailed often. He was excited about the missions. He loved the gear. He loved the guys in his unit.

    Before he left for Germany, he came back home on leave and we hung out. The last thing I heard from him that had any Hollywoodesque dramatics was that he’d make me proud. He grew up without a father. Maybe after spending more than a year with him. Maybe after going to all his band concerts. Maybe after taking him out to eat. Maybe it was that illegal trip to Tijuana he wanted to go on so badly. Maybe after all that, somehow he saw me as a mentor or a father figure. In my early 30’s I just didn’t want to think I would ever be anyone’s father figure.

    He told me that he was going to make me proud.

    I was already proud. Proud that he made the decision alone to join this country’s Army during the toughest time.

    I hate hearing about agreements on “dotted lines.” I can tell you that no recruiting form has dotted lines. It’s all electronic now.

    Also, I write that we helped people enlist as no recruiter can enlist anyone. It’s an officer action when sworn in. Recruiters simple show benefits, jobs, and assist with paperwork.

    Well, I’m proud of the few that join when there are so many others who wouldn’t even look directly at me or anyone else in uniform because they knew they couldn’t and wouldn’t want to do what it is that we do. Not during a war when people say they “support the troops.” But rather, the times when there isn’t a war. Funny. I spent more time in the Army at peace than in war, and one thing is for certain: during war, we are better funded, we get better equipment, we are treated with respect by almost all Americans, wearing the uniform gets us all kinds of praise from children to senior citizens.

    What was handed down to us from wars’ past is the guilt-driven admiration from Americans who treated our vets like criminals when they came back from places no one ever knew existed. Although I think it’s great now, I still try to quietly shy away from anyone who wants to treat me like a hero.

    cont.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Heroes are not born, they are made in the Army. The 1st Infantry Division made my recruit a hero. He would email me about his missions. In one, he told me that he had shot and killed three insurgents who were trying to kill him and his fellow soldiers. He was happy about being able to earn his Combat Infantryman’s Badge. And, once again, I could only be proud of him. I wrote back to him that I was proud of him, and that I had always been proud of him.

    Funny. Killing a man and being proud. I’ll never come to know that. It’s not my primary function as a Soldier. But for a proud combat armsman, it’s what they do. They stomach the act of taking someone’s life. They take on that guilt so that soldiers like me and, I’m sure, SPC Victor Agosto, who would never have to do what my recruit had to do everyday in Iraq.

    I’m sure by now, you know where this is going. My recruit, my friend was shot and killed three day’s after he sent me that email.

    It wrecked me. I can only tell you that crying as a grown man should be done sparingly — not for this. He was 19 — he had just turned 19. Only old enough to smoke and chase women.

    It’s only been a couple of years since he died. I try to wonder why he had to die and I lived through it all. I’m not very spiritual. So, I won’t buy any theological reason why. Had I been given the chose, I would have. I’ve enjoyed life a lot more. I feel that I have accomplished more. I have loved. I’ve fathered a great son. I have seen so much of the world in my travels. I’d still trade out with him now if I could.

    His death did not bring about any questions of whether war is right or wrong. His death did not cause anyone in his family to bad mouth the country, it’s administration, private corporations or its ceo’s, nor did they ever say one negative thing about the Army or me.

    If his mother and grandmother knew one thing, it was that he died doing the one thing he wanted to do as a young child. He fulfilled a dream. Don’t we try to tell that of all youth?

    cont.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Today, I wear a $7 bracelet with his name, unit and location of his death to remind me that he existed at one point. My friends, who have all left recruiting command now, and I still talk about the high school student who was underweight — the one who loved make others laugh — even if it was at his own expense.

    He might have been a kid when he joined, but he quickly become a man. He quickly became a proud Army Infantryman. He is one of a very, small percentage of American men who decide to do a job where you never, ever get to be confortable. where you are taught that living confortably — being soft will get you killed. As boys, they take care of one another better than we could ever take care of a younger sibling. He didn’t join to go to college. He didn’t join to travel to korea or germany. He joined to be an Army Infantryman.

    I don’t care how much money you have or your family has. It can’t buy you soldierdom. SPC Louis G. Kim, got it because he had the guts … good old fashioned guts. It’s what most American boys are deficient in these days.

    I, and others like me, don’t want to keep Soldiers such as SPC Victor Agosto in the Army. Louis wouldn’t have wanted that either.

    I thank SPC Agosto for his service, and no one should ever take that from him. He served his country where millions of others would not … even during time of peace.

    But clearly, he has done the one thing Americans should not do during our darkest moments … turn your back on the country you claim to love. You don’t jump on and off the bandwagon when times and admistrations are considered to be “good.” You stick with it through thick and thin.

    Louis taught me something. It helped me finish my time in Iraq. I learned that the fear of dying would keep me from doing my job. He, at 19, did not have that fear. Why should I at 34?

    I’m done. It’s a low blow to mention SPC Victor Agosto’s commander by name. Company commanders don’t going around ordering specialists to “… deploy in support of OEF on or about [XXXXXX] with 57th ESB.”

    They usually just tell a formation of troops, “we’re going. We’ll get orders for you as soon as we can.”

    You know well in advance that you are going. You train up for it almost all year long on Fort Hood.

    I’m done except for one thing: Soldier’s always have all the same rights as any other person in America under contract. Every soldier incurrs an eight-year military service obligation. So, SPC Victor Agosto had some more time to go, huh?

    OK, I’ve written enough and read enough. Stop villifying this SPC. Don’t forget he served his country. If only once, he still did. By the Viet Nam vet rule, he deserves to be treated like a combat vet should be treated.

    kk

  37. kathleen says:

    You make all of us as United States citizens really proud! You are one of the few true leaders who can change this world by standing up and acting on their conscience! You are within your rights as a citizen to do so and I for one applaude your actions against this war. You are heroic in your actions. You are of the select few, with the strength to do what they feel is right. You set a good example for those who are weak.

  38. masterspork says:

    By doing what? He joined the Army and gets upset about having to do his job.

    Because one thing you forget is that someone else will have to take his place because he decided that he is too selfish. That person will have tell their family that they will have to deploy(again) because of Victor’s actions.

    He is wrong for doing this.

  39. CommonSense says:

    Good for him, proud of this guy. No reason to murder or be killed just to make the right wing republican “christian” jarheads happy.

  40. masterspork says:

    He would have been inside a base the entire time. Also we are working on trying to save lives over there by removing the threat of IEDS and such.

    You have no idea one why people serve.

    http://uk.news.yahoo.com/18/20090806/twl-afghan-bomb-kills-21-wedding-guests-696b303.html

    A bomb ripped through a trailer taking guests to a wedding and towed by a farm tractor — a common mode of transport in rural Afghanistan — on Wednesday in the southern province of Helmand, government officials said.

  41. Anonymous says:

    M.Spork, if you want to believe you are “saving lives” by removing IEDs and are not the main reason for them, that is your prerogative. But when “The Afgan’s [sic] invade us” as Ghost predicts above, watch the sales of IEDs go up in your local supermarket!

  42. rr says:

    Mr George Bushs “stop loss” program needs to be stopped. Stop loss was a political program designed to make sure America stays at war, without having a draft and with as little debate as possible. Period. It was a way to keep more troops fighting and dieing. . .while the civilians and politicians sit around watching reality TV shows.

    I agree with this soldier, he did he duty and needs not to fight another war. His contract with the US government is done. The stop loss program is illegal and unconstitional.

    If we are at war, then we need to have a draft. But oh no, we will just keep sending our troops back to war until they die or get so freaked out they kill each other like in Texas last week. Yeap stop loss is a real political winner for Mr. Bush and Obama.

  43. masterspork says:

    First of all Stop Loss is over. But you can be be extended as needs of the Army goes. That is part of the Contract.

    Also the case in Texas was NOT about PTSD from a guy you spent 12 years in and never deployed ONCE.

    http://thisainthell.us/blog/?p=15574

  44. Anonymous says:

    Currently I am deployed in Iraq I just found out today Dec 16th that Dec 12th of this year 2009. On that day I had 45 days to sign a extension for 1 year to my contract that I signed because I got orders as well as many other in my unit to go to Fort Drum. If I do NOT SIGN the extension I will be flagged I will not be able to recieve promotions, I will not be able to re-enlist when my window

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.