Somewhere along the line in his quest to conquer and be great in the eyes of the “gun club”, he started to see an erosion of a major part of his life that he held most dear. He knew his wife wasn’t alright, but he didn’t know what was going on with her not necessarily because he was gone often, but more importantly because he was emotionally absent from his home.
In my last blog post Developing the Inspiration to Fight for Victory on and off the Battlefield Part 2 of 3 where I spoke about the Marine legend GySgt John Basilone, I mentioned that I would tell the story about another Marine named John. This Marine however lives 76 years after John Basilone died on the sands of Iwo Jima. This man, John Rudd, is also a staff non-commissioned officer, a Master Sergeant at that. Like John Basilone, he is also a much-decorated veteran of combat in the post 9/11 world with personal decorations such as the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device as well as a Bronze Star with Combat Distinguishing Device for heroism in combat actions during Operation Enduring Freedom in the Post 9/11 world. Not unlike John Basilone, John Rudd was a young man who watched in horror as his nation was suddenly attacked in the only other time since the Pearl Harbor attacks that launched the US into World War II during the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center Towers on September 11, 2001. John Rudd couldn’t stand the thought of not doing anything while his nation was under the threat of terrorism so he dropped out of his studies to be an architect and joined up with his beloved Marine Corps. He initially joined the Marine Reserves as a parachute rigger, but wanting more, he eventually was accepted to service on active duty and subsequently was accepted to attend and eventually complete the rigorous Marine Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Course. In a hurry to see action and get into the fight, he was disappointed in 2008 on a tour to Iraq when it appeared that all the fighting was done. Starting in 2010 that changed though on a tour to Afghanistan where he got his wish to hook and jab in the fight in what would turn out to be a very violent deployment. Later in 2013 he would become accepted into the ranks of the elite Marine Special Forces Command units as an EOD tech in which would eventually become known as the Marine Raider units in homage of the initial Raiders formed for Pacific fighting in World War II. John was living the dream so many warriors aspire to. However, after multiple years and back to back deployments, this is when things started going south for John.
You see John Rudd, while a great gunslinger in every right just like John Basilone who made a name for himself stacking bodies on the deck and rescuing his fellow Marines as well as others from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). However, he slowly became addicted to his identity solely coming from his actions and subsequent accolades recieved in combat. As a result, he started neglecting his personal life in terms of his faith and his family. John Rudd, like John Basilone, is a simple man, a man of faith, a man who loves a great woman, a man who loves his children, and a man who loves his country. However, somewhere along the line in his quest to conquer and be great in the eyes of the “gun club”, he started to see an erosion of a major part of his life that he held most dear. He knew his wife wasn’t alright, but he didn’t know what was going on with her not necessarily because he was gone often, but more importantly because he was emotionally absent from his home. He poured all of his mental, emotional, and spiritual energy into his job to be the best. Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually the toll of violent deployment after violent deployment with no break in between was causing him to erode personally while also eroding his relationship with his family. John’s single-minded focus and identity wrapped up in simply being a beast on the battlefield and nothing more was slowly destroying his life.
More on John's fight to regain a work/life balance in the midst of his combat tours and duties as a Marine EOD tech tomorrow. Until then, remember, land of the free because of the brave.
Fit for the Fight and Life,
Founder/Director of Freedom Fitness America