Week 3 Kaiser
Todd and I met in the studio to take photos. He wouldn’t smile, not even a try. After the photos, we sat down for our first interview. I felt a bit overwhelmed at first because Todd has such a long history. He has been to Germany during the cold war, launched artillery in the Gulf War and trained Iraqi soldiers during OIF. That covers a lot of earth, and not the best parts of it.
Maybe one of the most interesting things about hearing Todd’s stories was hearing pieces that fit into my own. He spoke of training Iraqi soldiers to protect polling sites in the first Iraqi election. I deployed to Iraq from 2005 to 2006, and ran convoys from Kuwait to almost every base in Iraq. During this election Todd spoke about, I was on one of the only seven convoys that were allowed to travel on that day; otherwise all routes were black, meaning no one was allowed to travel on them. The Marines were not told about us coming through, so they shot warning shots at us at every bridge for about 30 miles.
I also remember how excited the Iraqis were. They used a thumb print to mark their ballot. It was a point of pride for several Iraqis to show their thumbs to us as mark of their enthusiasm for democracy
Today Todd told the story about the soldier for whom he wears the memorial black bracelet to honor a fallen comrade. These are common and I know a lot of vets who were similar bracelets, but I noticed Todd often twists and fiddles with his bracelet. I can only speculate why he moves and plays with it, but after the story I heard about his friend, I think he lets it reminds him of what he has lost, and to be thankful for the life he has.