Friday, March 24, 2006

Who Is Milo Freeman?

My name is Milo Freeman

"Milo Freeman," of course, is a pseudonym; the surname borrows from the name of my paternal great-grandmother, while "Milo" is a pet name from an old girlfriend, from the Greek Milos, or "Soldier." As of yet, I don't feel entirely comfortable posting under my real name, due to concerns about administrative repercussions. So, for the moment at least, Milo Freeman will have to suffice.

I should begin by divulging some information about myself. I'm a U.S. Army specialist with the Corps of Engineers, just shy of my 23rd birthday. I've been in the Army since early 2004, and have been serving on Active-Duty since July of 2005. I'm currently stationed in central Germany with my wife, and my unit has recently received orders to deploy to Iraq, sometime later this fall.

I grew up in a quiet harbor town on the shores of Lake Huron, and before I joined the Armed Services, I attended a university in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, with the intent of studying creative writing. In 2003, I disenrolled from school due to financial difficulties, and after spending several months effectively homeless, I took the oath of enlistment and entered Basic Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. My reasons for joining are complex, but contrary to expectation, they have relatively little to do with my poverty at the time I enlisted.

One of my greatest passions has always been writing, as a means of recording and examining human experience. I begin this newest journal at a pivotal time in my life, for I am a soldier who has yet to know war, and as my unit prepares to leave for Iraq later this year, I will joining them to leave behind my wife, as well as my family, friends, and everything that I have ever known. To be honest, I have mixed feelings--I disagree with our presence in the Middle East, and all told, my politics and philosophy (Soto Zen Buddhist) lean heavily to the left. While I would never allow such leanings to interfere with the job I'm paid to do, my predispositions have taught me to discern carefully between the images we are fed by the media pundits, and the images which actually play out on the ground. Which image is more accurate, and to what degree, I have yet to ascertain.

Most of the soldiers I know are so wrapped up in their own self-images as servicemen, that when it comes to writing about military life, I can't help but feel that the resulting works come across often as two-dimensional and generic. I am not a typical grunt. What I intend to do here is provide a chronicle of military life leading up to, during, and after deployment, free of prejudice or excessive flag-waving patriotism. I have no intention of being the next Colby Buzzell. The only thing I want is to capture the world I serve in, and the men and women that I am slated to serve WITH. I intend to capture the conversations that go on between soldiers while inside the wire, and as I do so, I intend to publish along with them my personal musings, essays, and poetry, much of which may ultimately have nothing to do with Army life. If you came here looking for another Mom-and-apple-pie salute to the troops, expect to be disappointed. I'm proud of what I do for a living, but I refuse to be cited as an appendage to some political agenda, right or left.

My name is Milo Freeman, and this is my journal. What follows is a meditation on living, dying, spirituality, and personal relationships within the modern American war machine. All is quiet for the moment in garrison, but what looms distant now on the horizon will soon rush to meet us all by fall.

I'm glad to see you've come along, and I invite you to follow me on my journey.

Welcome to the Calm Before The Sand.


Anonymous armydoc said...

I'm looking forward to listening to your blog and your views on the world and the military. I am a 2LT in med school (second year), with little time, a lot of stress and some "different" ideas on the war and the military.

I'm older than your average 2LT and med student - I had another life before I was finally ready for this route (either element). I've always known I wanted to be here, it just took me longer to find the confidence to do it.

I'm more than ready to hear mature, well-thought discussions regarding the current war and the military in general.


11:32 PM  
Anonymous Cheryl said...

My nephew returned from the sandbox in March. He is a Marine and served with the 3/6. I just stumbled on your website from a post you made at "The Will to Exist". I will read with great interest your thoughts and experiences when you arrive in Iraq. Don't forget to bring lots of candy for the children.

3:59 PM  
Blogger Barb said...

I was pointed here by Sgt Hook, and I had to read your first posts to get the lie of the land (or sand?), you might say. I'm looking forward to rolling forward, based on what I've read so far.

Thank you for your service, because that can't be said often enough. And I like your pseudonym - my father's middle name was Milo. Good choice ;-)

7:04 AM  
Blogger Helen said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3:12 AM  
Blogger Helen said...

Can't wait to read more. I'm going to share your blog with my writing group ;-)

Thank you for your service.


3:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It will be nice to read your blog when you inside the stockade...oops! no computers there. You are violating your oath of enlistment, a voluntary enlistment I might add.

3:56 PM  
Blogger Meric said...

Interesting title, what does it mean?

4:00 AM  

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