He ain't heavy, he's my brother


There's one thing that sets the military apart from any other job in the world, and it isn't that few can do it.

Hell, anyone can do it. It's just that very few are willing to.

It isn't the pride of doing a job few others will, and it sure as hell isn't for the money.

So why would anyone subject themselves to the extreme physical and mental punishment of training and then volunteer to fight a war in some foreign field knowing you may not return home?

The brotherhood.

You ask any grunt and you can be sure they've heard of John 15:13.

"Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends." - John 15:13

This is the core of the brotherhood. It is demonstrated within the military like no other trade on the planet.

What's important is that the apostle John doesn't say, "to lay down one's life for his brothers." That would denote blood ties and bonds where there is a dutiful obligation to family.

He says, "to lay down one's life for his friends."

There is no duty or obligation here because that's not why you're doing it. It's a choice, not because you have to but because you wan't to.

You've gone 5 days on 4 hours of sleep, and they weren't together. But you can be sure you'll volunteer yourself for first patrol duty 'cause there's no way in hell you're going to let your fire team partner do it.

He needs his sleep, and he comes first in your mind.

I watched an Infantryman with severe ligament damage to his knee run a 10 km qualifying run in under 54 minutes. You should have seen the fire in his eyes on that last kilometer.

"Picture your brother over that hill right there. He's hurt and he needs you. He's screaming for you man, fucking hustle up." I shouted to him.

He pushed through the excruciating pain of severely torn tendons like an absolute savage because his brothers were more important than his own well being.

Sebastian Junger, the journalist and director behind the film Restrepo, pointed out that it wasn't the combat that veterans missed, it was the bond they shared.

A bond where each would do anything for the other and where everyone would sacrifice themselves for his fellow man, without hesitation.

That's the definition of love isn't it? When someone else becomes more important than yourself.

In this brotherhood, we would sacrifice anything for the man standing next to us and I'll tell you why.

We loved each other.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jozef Lalka is a former Infantryman with the Canadian Armed Forces and founder of War Doll. Since releasing from the military, Jozef continues to rigorously train and expand his knowledge of a variety of weapons platforms and tactics.

Having earned a diploma in Media / Video production, Jozef works as a graphic designer and photographer while pursing a passion for current global conflicts and how they relate to historical events.

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