From the Foxhole…

There are few things I need to get off my chest.

First of all there is nothing I will say that hasn’t’ already been stated by greater minds and more nimble tongues than I. This notion is not shared by many other people as evidenced by millions of other blogs by people more interesting than myself millions of times over. I have only a vague idea what a Twitter is… I just don’t have anything interesting to say. So many have already said it much better than I could ever hope.

Second of all I am uneducated. I remember watching “Bill Nye the Science Guy” as a kid and one thing he said a lot that I remember is he would say “Scientist, like you and me, scientists believe…” I am not a scientist. I am a fan of science standing on the sidelines.

And finally I am an atheist and a skeptic who happens to be in that most conservative of circles, the military, more specifically the Army. I am currently stationed at a small Combat Operating Base near Sadr City Iraq. I am a Combat Medic serving in a Tanker company in a combat arms unit.

So if The Foxhole Atheist is rarely updated that is why.

That being said I do believe I may have something to offer the world: My perspective as a young uneducated atheist serving his county’s military in time of war.

Being an atheist in the military has its own set of challenges and its own set of hardships. When I first joined the Army we were asked what religion we were. This information is stamped on your dog tags in the event of your death. I wrote “None” instead of “Atheist”. It is not wise to freely advertise your personal beliefs for that my hinder advancement. As the first President George Bush stated “An atheist cannot be a true patriot” and many in the military take this to heart.

In case you are wondering, now I have several sets of dog tags which read everything from “Jedi” to “No Religious Preference” to “Atheist”.

Those of us in the military and specially those of us deployed to a combat zone have to deal with the random chance of an early grave and a hasty death. If you’ll forgive the phrase, that is the cross that we bear. That is our profession and it’s what we do. Day in and day out you risk your neck. Our wives and sweethearts back home also understand the risk of that dreaded phone call. It’s common for those not typically religious to turn to religion as a safety net or to hedge their bets in case of premature demise. That is what the phrase “There are not atheists in foxholes” is implied to mean.

When the lead is flying there are not politics. I may not agree with the judgments of the Men in Suits that sent me here but I need to get out alive and make sure the other men in my unit do likewise. Democrat or Republican don’t mean a thing to an IED and the suicide bomber does not distinguish nor does he/she have any prejudices against either. They are both Infidels to him/her. To the enemies that which we fight be it whatever name we choose for them, be it Haji (slightly offensive) or Sand Nigger (grossly offensive) or insurgent (misleading to say the least, boldfaced lie to some), this is a religious war. That is the chief difference between this enemy and most others my country has faced. He is not following orders from a legitimate military authority. He is following orders from what he believes is the most supreme authority in the universe. Some of the Christians I serve with also hold this same belief, names of the deities changed. To some on both sides, it’s a modern day Crusade.

And here I am, the Foxhole Atheist caught in the middle of it all.

Private First Class Paul K. Brickey 68W Combat Medic

Charlie Mike, Roger Out.


3 Responses to “From the Foxhole…”

  1. Like2think2much Says:

    Wow… great entry. When I joineed the Army, Atheist was not an option. I chose NRP. But it was important to me to NOT be buried with a cross on a stone. I put it in writing before I left. No cross. Cremation and the word atheist on any marker. There wasn’t an “atom” symbol back then that I knew of.

    I stood tall during prayer. I was respectful, but did not bow my head. I looked around. When you do that, you’ll notice and sometimes make eye contact with other people. The look in their eyes says it all… this is nonsense (prayer).

    We are not the only ones. I think we can stand true without being obnoxious, but also without deferring. No one ever gave me any flak about it. Maybe I was just lucky. But I like to think I was a good soldier, I made my thoughts known (when asked), and I stood firmly by them with quiet dignity.

    You seem to do the same. Well done.

  2. Ramie Horner Says:

    Last paragraph says it all and I don’t think could have been said better.
    I know it is old but I just come across if you are still checking this good luck.

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