Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Two Salutes To The Marines

This morning, I received an e-mail from Nick Olmstead, an Annapolis graduate and a recently retired naval officer. Nick was kind enough to forward me an article that is worthy of sharing with readers of this Blog. The story highlights an extraordinary Marines Corps bomb disposal expert - USMC Gunnery Sergeant Michael Burghardt, who has served three tours of duty in Iraq. In the accompanying picture, the “Gunny” is show offering a “one finger salute,” to insurgents who had failed in their attempt to kill him with an IED. Burghardt’s courage and the picture have become symbols of the resolve of our troops serving in the Gulf.

Here is what Nick had to say in sharing the picture and story with me:

“Al, this may be worthy of discussion....From my Navy Chief connections... made my goosebumps stand up tall.”

Thanks, Nick.

* * * *

On January 10, I offered a review of the book, “One Bullet Away” by Nathaniel Fick.

Towards the end of my review, I made the following observations:

"Mr. Fick strikes me as exactly the kind of individual we need to encourage to find a place in public service - either in an elected or appointed capacity. The combination of brilliance and well-grounded decision-making that characterized Nate's military leadership career is precisely what is needed to steer our nation through the rocky shoals that lie before us. Fick seems to embody all of the best traits of a John McCain. I look forward to seeing him take the additional tools he is now acquiring on the bank of the River Charles and pouring them in a meaningful and substantive way into the stream of our public discourse and policy-making. If I do have an opportunity to develop a relationship with Nate, I hope to be able to influence him in this direction."

Nate’s busy travel schedule recently brought him back to Cambridge, so he and I were able to catch up over a meal in Harvard Square. While much of our conversation was private and shall remain so, I feel comfortable in sharing with the readers of this Blog two things that emerged from my conversation with Nate Fick.

First, I am not the only person that is encouraging him to seek a career in public service. The timetable for such a potential career and the form that it will take are matters that will be revealed over time. Second, when I asked Nate what he found most encouraging as he has toured the country, speaking and signing books, his answer was passionate and unequivocal: “Meeting the veterans who were moved by my book. I remember in particular a man who came to speak to me. He had won the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1943!”

Every veteran I know who has read “One Bullet Away,” has been moved by Nate’s account of his life as a USMC officer. This book would make a great surprise gift for someone you know who has served our country in uniform.

Thanks, Nate.


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