A Magnificent Bastard's last walk
see, I'm a writer, and an artist. my paintings have been showcased in the National Veterans Art Museum in Chicago and my first book, 'One Magnificent Bastard' wil be published soon. I can say that these productive outlets have saved me from a life I was hell bent on destroying. I have to be honest here becasue you deserve that. And if we are ever going to cast appropriate light, veterans need to tell their stories. This is where I come in. I have told my story and put it on pages. I started writing years ago, but never knew the power I held. I was able to read my memories and face them, in print. I never dreamed it would be published, I just wanted it for me. After sharing a rough copy with my brothers, they pushed me to publish it.
I am a Marine. I am prideful and I believe I always have it figured out. And Pride drove me never to reach out because I was afraid of what men I shared dire moments with would think of me. I could never bring myself to call anyone to ask for help when I needed it. I racked up two DUIs followed by a suicide attempt. I am not proud of myself but I came back to find myself after throwing it all away. when you slam into rock bottom, you either sit there or get the fuck up. i sat there for a while before getting up. This walk is not about me. It is about my brothers. It is about their stories. and these stories, they need to be told!
so, on September 11 2015, i begin walking to meet with all of the remaining bastards, and gold star families that wll have me. i have a tent, sleeping bag, a ruck and my feet. My route is overwhelming to say the least. with a total just shy of 11000 miles, I will end at the 5th Marines war memorial aboard Camp Pendleton where all the names of our lost brethren are etched in memorium.
This is a walk to serve my brothers one more time. It will never be the last time, but this service to them is all I believe in anymore. There is a true need to tell stories and relive events with brothers to help them find the closure I have battled to obtain since leaving the Marine Corps in late 2009. It is something, I know, will help my struggling brothers process the memories and more importantly, will bring us together for one on one meetings where new memories can be made.
I know that in order to be a great father, there only needs be desire. But to reach my son, in California, after being with my brothers, will help me not only get to him, but to be stronger than I ever was before. I desire to be a great father, like mine was for me, but I must do this to lay those demons to rest. My son deserves the man I am driven to be, not the one who almost ripped his world apart. For my son and my Brothers I will walk.
Once in California, I will compile the stories I have gathered along my journey into a book of our times and the times of the gold star families who fight demons day in and day out. these are the true heroes of any war, the families that have to move through the darkness after losing a son, a brother, a husband, a father.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is with great humility that i ask for your consideration in helping me do this. I've never been one to ask for help and especially money. But I need a bit of help on this journey. Please watch the video below to understand what we have been through; when our time as children stopped and fighting men emerged triumphant from the lions den.
CBS news story on the Battle of Ramadi
John, It was sure my privilege to hear a bit of your story as you were leaving Gillette, WY. I'm the guy in the Subaru with the daughter in Jinja. I'd love to hear how your walking mission has progressed. Be well. God bless!!
Jon did you know LCpl Travis Layfield? Will you be visiting his mom, Diane, when you're in San Francisco? It turns out, my old SgtMaj, Doug Lyvere, has been dating her (or was, years ago). I hope you call me when you're here (San Fran) - I wrote my name and numbers and gave that to you when we met at the Bonneville Dam on Sat 03 Sep 2016.
I am LCPL Jeremiah Savage's mom and If you are in TN please let me know. I would love to meet you and spend time with you. I have met a few of his brothers and they are my sons now.
John, I am spreading the word of your journey. I am a former United States Marine 0311, Active 07-11 and wanted to reach out to you to see if we could talk. Here is my nonprofit's website and a little about what we do. We are OIF/OEF veterans who found a possible treatment for PTSD that could heal a lot of our brothers and sisters. Please contact me. Safe journeys my brother, and thank you for your courage to take the plunge in for so many who can't be here today and for those who may take their life and won't by seeing your story. Semper Fidelis, Ryan LeCompte Always Faithful, Ryan Cpl, U.S. Marine Corps, Infantryman 0311 Active 07-11, Founder, Veterans for Entheogenic Therapy, 501.C3 www.vetentheogenic.org www.facebook.com/vetentheogenic www.fromshocktoawe.com
It was quite the experience meeting May 6th in Plankinton, SD. Stay strong, brother. If you make it back this way, look us up. God bless you and your service.
Hey Jonathan! Hope you and your feet are faring well