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I Believe We Can Take 'Em

Written while visiting Black Knight Troop at COP Keating

Corie and I didn’t put Ft. Carson on our ‘wish list’ for our first assignment. Maybe it was just plain ignorance, but we had other places that were more familiar on our list. So, when we received the call last summer about our assignment, it began to make perfect sense, simply because we absolutely love the mountains. Having spent most of my college years either hiking or rock-climbing outside of class, I couldn’t imagine being in a better place.

Looking up at the Peak when driving around the Springs is oddly comforting, there is something unchanging, something consistent about its presence on the horizon, something that puts a perspective on everything.

And it is comforting that I have such a similar view here in Afghanistan. We noticed it when we first landed at Manas AFB. In the distance, we saw a towering, snow-covered mountain range to the south of us with peaks that disappeared above the horizon and became visible again above the clouds, as if they were floating. Now, as SPC Mike Hyer and I have been flying around visiting all of our locations, we have gotten exposed to the heights and valleys of our Area of Operations (AO), and we’ve been amazed at the terrain.

For anyone who has completed the Incline, I can tell you that our time spent training there was well-spent. The DA could not have picked a more prepared unit for this area than the Destroyers of 3-61CAV. And as I have been mulling this over during the many hours spent on the flight line waiting for a bird, I am reminded of a similar situation in history. Now, you don’t have to be Jewish or Christian to get the point of the following story, but for those who are it may hold special meaning.

There’s a point in the history of Israel when they send out Scouts to check on the land which they are about to claim. A classic use of a ‘Cavalry Scout’. The scouts are led by a man named Caleb, who at the time is 40, and returns from the mountainous region reporting that they can indeed succeed there. Others doubt, and consequently Caleb (45 years later) is the only one from the original group that is allowed to enter into the land that they scouted.

But it is the manner in which Caleb asks for that section of land when they enter in, 45 years later, that is striking. He states that though he is 85, he is just as strong as when he was 40, and he still shows all the confidence in God that he showed four decades earlier. He is a man of staunch determination and strength of will, and he chooses the difficult ground to conquer. Someone summed this up years ago by simply paraphrasing, “Give me the mountains…because I believe we can take ‘em.”

I hope for those reading this back home that you have no less confidence in your ability to handle the many tiring issues that come up, intermingled with your missing of your soldier. Oftentimes, there is something great that awaits us on the other side of the peak, energy when we did not expect it, or the sheer determination to not give up when our mind is telling us to. We can cultivate the belief in God and ourselves that we will not simply roll over when things get difficult, but we will tighten our boot straps, fix our eyes ahead of us and laugh, knowing that we will not let adversity win. We are not masters of every aspect of our futures, but we can decide exactly who will win each battle of difficulty and challenge that we encounter during the next year. I hope that your attitude will be like many of our troopers, to look up at the skyline and simply say, “Give me the mountains…because I believe we can take ‘em.”