Meeting Mac….

I don’t feel like writing, but after the news tonight that my friend killed himself on his wedding day, I can’t stop writing. When I moved to Germany, I had been home in Texas less than thirty days. I blew through the process and was off to my next duty station. I met Mac after I in-processed into the unit. As was my custom, after the interviews and meeting the platoon, I walked down to the motorpool to take stock of the equipment, locations, etc.

In the distance, I could hear the most profane yelling I have ever heard.

“Great, no telling what I’m gonna walk into now.”  I kept walking and two mechanics were having it out over what to do next on the vehicle. “What’s going on? What’s wrong with the truck?” Both leapt to their feet and started stammering. “Um, well, you see, SGT…” I wave my hand and shake my head. “I’m not a Sergeant, just a Corporal. Now, what is wrong with the truck?”

They launched into the various things that the vehicle needed, and we all jumped on it. Soon the truck was running like it was new. As we stood around shooting the breeze, I introduced myself. “I’m Freeman, I am over in the 3/5 platoon.” Mac stuck out his hand. “I’m MacDonald, but everyone calls me Mac. I’m part time redneck, part time gangsta rapper.” I nod. “Alright then, Mac.”

It was the beginning of a long friendship. We trained together and deployed together in 2007. Mac fell on some hard times, but he bounced back. The last time I talked to him, he was doing good. Then Saturday, something happened to change all that. My brother, my friend, was gone.

My heart is broken for his family, his fiancée’, and for all of us who served with Mac. I will never be able to forget his smile, his sarcastic wit, his unbroken professionalism, and his dedication to this country that he loved so dearly. It’s too late for me to do anything about Mac, but to those who need an ear, I’m here to listen.

I know this stupid virus has people upset and acting all sorts of stupid, but 22 veterans commit suicide per day. Mac was just one of them Saturday. It is a sad thing to see people who sacrifice so much, take their lives when they get home. Keep in touch with your veterans. We need you more than you know.

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