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“My Personal Desert Storm”
Eating Crow and Humble Pie
Honor and Glory may have alluded me during the war, but victory was still His – and mine.”
Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm saw Marcus deployed as part of an Apache Battalion. He arrived dreaming of the honor and glory that could be achieved in service and combat. And yet, victory would not be for him, not until he returned home.
As the war progressed, things happened. Stupid things. Embarrassing things. Things that were far from the honor and glory he eagerly desired. Combat should be an opportunity for valor, but what seemed like an opportunity, began to tear him down instead.
And yet there was light at the end, a blend of humility and frustration. In the midst of that war, something changed and it just so happened that Desert Storm would be the beginning of a 17 year odyssey to Christ.
Part memoir and part evangelism, My Personal Desert Storm follows Marcus journey as he travailed the deserts of Saudi Arabia and Iraq in 1991, where he was confronted with the reality of a flawed outlook about combat and life. Along the way, Marcus shares bits and pieces of how own radical conversion story and talks about how he draws on the sacrifice and love of Jesus Christ to help better understand his purpose and the depths of his own limitations.
I do not consider my first book “My Personal Desert Storm” a part of The Wilderness Project book series, but the story I share in the book is definitely a part of my Wilderness Journey. When I approached the idea of sharing my journal of my war experience in the first gulf war, I was filled with a range of emotions: exhilaration, excitement, but also shame. I used my Desert Storm experience in chapter 18 of Breaking Free From the Shadows, but that one chapter cannot capture the true essence of the events that transpired around me during the war. My Personal Desert Storm expands significantly on that chapter.
When I deployed to the war in late December 1990, I was a 21 year old soldier leaving behind my very young wife after celebrating our first anniversary and my first born son who was 5 months old at the time. I had no idea what would happen to me in the war, if I would survive or if I would be killed; but to be honest, that wasn’t my focus. I was focused on the excitement of valor, glory, and honor in combat. I hungered for it and it drove me. But alas, that wasn’t for me.
I had a lot of bizarre and odd events happen to me and around me during the war. To be clear, a lot of it was of my own making, but more importantly, it was due to the condition of my heart. I was struggling with my identity and my purpose and I was not a Christian; I was absent of any faith. I was looking to this war to help define who I was. I maintained a journal during the war and I transcribe my journal word for word in this book.
There are gaps in the journal, important events, that to this day I am not sure why I did not include in the journal. Perhaps it was due to embarrassment and I did not want to document them, but yet I remember them today as clearly as the day they happened. I also stopped writing in my journal a few weeks after the ground war ended and almost 7 weeks before I redeployed back home to my family. I have no idea why I stopped, perhaps it was boredom. Ironically, it was during my final week in Saudi Arabia that the most dramatic event happened to me – I was involved in a dramatic helicopter crash (photos are included in the book).
This helicopter crash was the final culminating event of a series of stupid and crazy things that happened to me and I was pissed. I had had enough and it was time for a change. It was at this moment that I experienced what I refer to as my life-pivot. I got my act together. I started attending college, I performed better as a soldier, and I learned how to invest. Sadly, I did not come to Christ, this would happen almost 20 years later. But, this WAS the moment they my odyssey to Christ began. While I was deployed, my wife reconnected with Christ and committed her life to Him.
It was not until September 2008 that I bent the knee to Christ, but it was Desert Storm that was the moment Christ started to really get my attention. When I opened my journal in 2019 for the first time in almost 20 years, I was not prepared for what I would feel. As I started sharing my story, I found that was admitting to a lot of junk, mistakes, and episodes of immaturity. I did my best to compare and contrast who I was in 1990 and 1991 to who I am today, but I found that I was eating a lot of very cold crow and several slices of humble pie. That is when I came up with the subtitle to the book. If you don’t know what it means to eat cold crow and humble pie, then perhaps this book is for you.
I want people, men in particular, to see that no matter how bad you are, no matter what you’ve done and what you’ve experienced, Christ still loves you and He still wants you in His Army. God will never leave you behind if you accept Him and believe in Him – He loves you that much.
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