I don't have pics of my fallen friends that I share, but can appreciate the thread. I'm very opinionated about the state of today's armed forces and how it has changed imo. I've been retired officially for just under 2 years. I retired because I couldn't bear to see and hear these young kiddos clamor on about the new and improved military where dinosaurs like myself were behind the times as I heard one Marine say. He was intel and thought he was above going out on patrol. My CO ensured that he accompanied me and my guys on a dismount through one of the worst areas in our battle space. He literally cried. Literally. I spoke freely with everyone and believed that before Marines we were men first and thus deserved the respect afforded a man until you proved otherwise. My rank was my rank, not who I was. However everyone had better choose their words wisely because I was known to choke slam the shit outta people for being shitbags.
After being sniped at, mortar'd and near miss daisy chained (IEDs) I think he found a new respect for us dinosaurs with several deployments under our belts. Salty is as salty does. He apologized later on, but still, it's the old experienced shits like myself that go out the wire when they don't have to that keep the youngsters safe and take the same risk as them. I saw one too many members of the senior leadership opt not to risk going into harms way. My Sergeant Major once asked me why the fuck was I so crazy and I replied with "It's the way I was raised in this shit. If my Marines are out, I'm out. Nobody dies before their time and time don't fuckin stop for no man."
After my last tour in The Stan I refused E8 and opted to retire. When you are smarter than everyone above you calling the shots it's time to go. No disrespect intended, I loved every day of the time I served my country at the cost of 3 marriages and years away from my loved ones, but I knew that my son in high school needed me more now than ever if was to realize his dream of playing college football and not being a utter shithead. God, Country, Corps... Semper Fi! Ohh Rah!