No Marine Left Behind… Except This One
On July 7th, 2017, James Hollon, his wife Angela and their 3-year old baby got in James’ truck and they drove a few hours south from Portland, Oregon to a friend’s place. For the next few nights, they’ll sleep on their friend’s couch.
Yes. It’s summer. But no. They’re not on vacation.
Let me tell you a little about James. He’s from a small texas town. As a teenager, he had a motorcycle that he rode too fast. He realized his life was going nowhere and that he need structure and discipline. He joined the marines at age 20 – the day was january 18th, 2000. Just a handful of months before terrrorists with box cutters flew planes into the Twin Towers.
He was trained. And deployed overseas. On his first mission, he assisted with evacuation of the U.S. embassy in Yemen after the USS Cole was attacked.
FIVE COMBAT TOURS: Then, he served 5 combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as an infantryman. For those who don’t know, James was on the front line of the war… he wasn’t protected in a secure base camp, he wasn’t an officer secured away from the fighting… like thousands of other infantrymen, James carried an M4, he took ground, defended ground, killed the enemy… and ducked when the enemy fired back.
He was a soldier higher ups relied on. There came a point where he was in charge of a squad and multiple millions in warfare weaponry.
PTSD & TBI: While serving in combat, he got 14 concussions from being too close when IEDs exploded.
IEDs are “improvised explosive devices” – it’s c4 or another explosive, crudely mixed with nails, ball bearings or other shrapel – and it’s all packed into a container, like a length of pvc pipe or the like. It’s got a power source and some material that iniciates a detonation.
The enemy hid these improvised bombs all over Iraq and Afghanistan, one of James’ jobs was to find them. They might be in a building, or among some trash, or inside a teddy bear on the side of a road, or just covered by some dirt, for example, or buried in a field. In the beginning of the war, they had long wires that led to a detonator operated by the enemy – as the war progressed, the bombs got a little more sophisticated… and could be triggered remotely with a cell phone, a radio or garage door opener…