I shared this picture on the Photo Blog earlier because it puts a gripping face behind all of the “Fuck Yeah America!” and “USAUSAUSA!” we enjoy doing. In the ‘Cac, patriotism exists side by side with a healthy distrust of authority and a sharp tongue for criticism of America’s current engagements.
However, politics and 4th of July nostalgia aside, appreciation for our servicemen and women is essential to the cohesion and integrity of our society.
There are hundreds, even thousands, of pictures like this out there–especially with the end of the Iraq war, and the return of soldiers hatching elaborate plans to surprise their family on national television or maybe just pull up to the house one night in the middle of dinner.
And then there are those still engaged abroad, like Bowdoin alum Edward Yoo ’09 who was recently quoted in an article about the heart of effective counterinsurgency in Afghanistan.
DVIDS “The cornerstone of counterinsurgency strategy lies in empowering the public, and in doing so making the insurgency irrelevant.
‘When we first arrived it was pretty kinetic for the first week or two, even the patrol bases were getting shot at. (We) pushed out a pretty aggressive patrol rotation,’ said 1st Lt. Edward Yoo, a platoon commander from Bronxville, N.Y., and a 2009 Bowdoin College graduate. ‘People began telling us that security has improved.’
‘In a COIN fight, security comes first,’ said Yoo. ‘By doing the basic things and building trust, the area has calmed down a lot, which is the result of doing the less flashy things each day. It’s easy to lose focus so close to the end…need to focus on shuras and collecting as much data as possible to bring [our replacements] into a good place.’”
All things considered, let us not lose admiration for the day to day struggle of soldiering on.